Chicago Open Discussion

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

Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Ike » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:34 am

Hi guys,

This is the CO discussion thread. First of all, thank you for coming out to play Chicago Open this year. I'd like to thank our tournament staff - Billy Busse, Jason Thompson, Ryan Westbrook, Morgan Venkus, Ramapriya Rangaraju, Alexandra Damisch, Eliza Grames, Halle Friedmann, Saul Hankin, Young Lee, Victoria Cui, and Naomi Sweet for staffing. They were responsible for ensuring that the tournament ran in a timely manner and they did a great job. I handled much of the pre-tournament logistics - my goal was to get players in and out as quickly as possible and minimize downtime so that people could go home / party early.

I'd also like to thank my co-editors for working their rear-ends off on the set. They include Billy Busse on physics, chemistry and biology; Jason Thompson on music; Ryan Westbrook on the history, mythology, and religion. Ramapriya caught a huge number of proofreading errors in the set. Also, very special thanks to Matt Jackson for freelancing 3/3 - he saved me a bunch of time.

In terms of errata - there seems to be a very frustrating versioning issue with google docs affecting the editor's packets in particular. Some of the errors that we caught and amended did not appear in the final printed version, and that was particularly upsetting. We apologize to moderators who had to sputter to deal with the issue, and to some teams who were affected by missing prompts. Also, I don't know what the hell happened to the Copan TU, it had the right giveaway at some point according to a local copy I had before I uploaded, but I apologize for that too.

The packets will be posted sometime in the future when I get around to tracking down what happened with the packets and fixing all the errata. Ramapriya will organize a reading of the three unused packets sometime in the future too.

I wanted to leave a message explaining why I made the tournament so incredibly hard this year. I have left an audio file here that explains my intentions. I recorded it without a script, but I had thought a lot about why I made this tournament so hard, and what I wanted to say--in fact I had explained some of this to some of you in person. But because of a particularly nasty message that insinuated how this tournament was the culmination of a deep flaw in my character, I wanted to speak to people directly so they know I of course do deeply care.

And to be honest, I'm not going to read this thread. I'm in the middle of a move across town and I just got more responsibilities / a promotion at work, meaning that I do not have the mental energy to deal with drama / any more attack of character in my life. While I certainly don't mind constructive criticism, I do mind the personal attacks and the insinuation from people that by crafting this set I'm a shitty human being. If you really want to talk with me directly, you are more than free to email me, (do not PM), but honestly, if it's anything less than a reasonable or pleasant message, I'm not reading it. Also, with the exception of ACFNATIONALS2, this was my final writing project for quizbowl. I actually logged my time for this tournament, and it came out to little more than 413 hours. With a full-time job, and some big life changes, this is journey's end. It's been a blast writing for all of you, and I'll see you around when I can.
Ike
UIUC 13
User avatar
Ike
Yuna
 
Posts: 838
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:01 pm

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:25 am

Ike Jose used to be one of my favorite people in quizbowl. I honestly really enjoyed that one Illinois Open he edited that nobody else liked. There was something pure about him, he was this big kid having fun learning things and having fun sharing the things he was passionate about with people who played his questions. I was so happy to see him win ACF Nationals.

It's really sad to see him turn into this holier-than-thou dick. If any kids are reading this, please try not to follow in Ike Jose's footsteps. No matter what success you may find in life, try not to constantly act like you think you're better than everyone else and that the concerns of others are trifling pittances.
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source
User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
 
Posts: 3120
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Cheynem » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:41 am

So I certainly do not think Ike is a bad person, that he deliberately wrote a tournament to troll quizbowl, or anything of that nature. He is a good dude and my feelings on the set are independent of his (or anyone else's) character.

I actually found the set fairly enjoyable. The literature and history (that I knew about) seemed pretty well done. Even though I played the set on less than 2 hours of sleep, I enjoyed what I heard. I wish I could be more florid about what I liked.

However, there were two issues that I didn't particularly enjoy about this tournament:

1. It was oppressively hard. When you're playing top bracket games and like 6 tossups are going dead, your set is very, very hard. Some of the prelim packets seemed to have better senses of difficulty; the playoff packets were pretty intense. Sometimes the way the difficulty played out was tossing up a pretty hard thing but pretty much spelling out what the answer was early--for example, the tossup on the "Paradise" panel of the Garden of Earthly Delights that made no effort to hide it was talking about GoED. Sometimes we got some pretty trivial tossups (the Whitman family? really? Not a tossup on common link Whitman? Not a tossup on Oregon?).

2. The bonuses were not well calibrated. A typical bonus in this set was ass-hard part/ass-hard part/very very easy part that wouldn't be out of place at ACF Regionals or Fall. This is why I think every team was above or at 10 ppb; the easy parts were super easy, but barely any team was above 15 ppb. The feeling of flailing at windmills until you found the free points at the bottom of the rainbow was pretty huge playing this set.

I haven't listened to Ike's audio defense yet; as i said, I think he had good intentions for this set and I don't really mind playing hard sets, so I'm not going to complain. But I think you can make a set harder and still be more enjoyable/fairer for everyone as well, and I hope future CO's can do that.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger
User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
 
Posts: 6118
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:47 am

For whatever my old man thoughts are worth...

Yeah, this set was hard. Was it some crime against quizbowl? Nah. It's not the CO I most cherish, but I appreciate that Ike had the opportunity to put his vision into practice. I thought that there was a lot in this tournament that was neat and interesting, and my major difficulty complaint would have to do with the impossibility and unbalanced difficulty of the bonuses. I definitely think you want more gettable hard parts than this tournament had, and many of the "medium" parts were also near-impossible, which led to a compression of bonus stats. I guess that's a charge you could level at any CO probably, but this one suffered from it more than most. Also, as Mike notes, some of the answer lines just seemed pretty trivial to me. And some questions were written in a really strange way: one specific offender was the tossup on Wisconsin, which expected you to reverse-engineer your way into "Alice Goffman" (you didn't even get her name anywhere in the question, you just had to know who wrote "On the Run.")

On the flip side, I thought the science was generally excellent and the choice of answer topics in physics and math was really great. Lots of important stuff covered in a deep way, which was delightful. The literature was largely pretty good. Also the modern philosophy was fun, even if I was robbed, ROBBED, I SAY, by a tossup that falsely claimed that the answer of "extended cognition" should have been "extended mind." Anyway, like I said, it's not my ideal CO, but it happened and I generally enjoyed myself even though I'm old and suck now.

I will echo Bruce, however, in saying that the attitude of "I'm not going to read any of this" is pretty inappropriate for a tournament discussion. I think the norms of quizbowl at the very least dictate that you should address good faith critiques in a like manner. I don't think the questions one writes are a direct reflection of one's personal worth or character, so whoever sent Ike nasty emails about that, shame on you. But also, most of us didn't send you nasty emails and don't think you're a defective human being, and hey, it's just me, but I kind of feel like when you write a thing that you put out there for public consumption and people have (normal, non-abusive) comments about that thing, you sort of owe it to them to engage constructively.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
 
Posts: 6358
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby The Stately Rhododendron » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:56 am

I didn't read the set and didn't play, so I'm coming at this from a position of ignorance (like usual). That being said, I think Ike's audio file was lovely. I haven't always enjoyed Ike's questions, or hard questions in general, but I think Ike explained his decisions in a beautiful way and I hope others take time out of their days to listen to the file.
Oakland Mills '14 - The Most Unpredictable Team in Quiz Bowl
Yale '18 - Majoring in X Studies
"Field Commander" Isaac KD, "The Savior of the Forest"
User avatar
The Stately Rhododendron
Rikku
 
Posts: 433
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:18 pm
Location: Heart's in the woods

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:53 pm

Perhaps I'm biased, but I too definitely enjoyed playing this tournament. The history and myth covered a lot of topics that I hadn't seen come up much before, and that was a really enjoyable experience. Also, there were a lot of really strong buzzes despite the content being super duper tough, so kudos to everyone who took the tournament on.

I do agree that the set was needlessly hard. I think one of the core lessons of quizbowl writing is that you can (and should) introduce a lot of new material without making people suffer answer-wise, and through this you can reward people for knowing completely fresh content that has not come up yet without reducing the quality of the game experience through dead tossups.

I think next year's CO definitely needs to be easier, not only than this one but than the 2016 edition as well. You don't need to make a set this hard to make it an adequate challenge for the game's best, and it would be nice to have some more early buzzes and give weaker teams a better chance at 20 points and stronger teams a better chance at 30. I feel like this sentiment is widely shared among the regular CO audience, and hope next year's editors take note.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16
"You are beyond parody" -Auroni Gupta
"...should be treated as the non-stakeholding troll he is" -Matt Weiner
User avatar
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Auron
 
Posts: 1550
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:53 pm
Location: Falls Church, VA

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby csheep » Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:34 pm

Is it possible for the unedited/corrected packets to be posted in the interrim while waiting for the "official" release?
Michael Zhuang
NYU '13
csheep
Lulu
 
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:16 pm

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby mozzarella » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:11 pm

I transcribed the text of the Dropbox file, for those who read faster than they listen, or don't have 13 minutes to spare.
K Kohn
Cheltenham High School 2015
American University 2018

Ask me about my trash packets.
User avatar
mozzarella
Lulu
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:48 pm
Location: Shadow Moses Island

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby theMoMA » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:12 pm

Jerry wrote:I appreciate that Ike had the opportunity to put his vision into practice.


I completely agree with this. This was a very difficult tournament with lots of hard answer lines, difficult hard and medium bonus parts, no powers, and seemingly pretty stringent question length limits. Content-wise, it was unmistakably the work of its authors in the ways it tried to reach beyond the standard fare of quizbowl. It was probably the hardest CO I've ever played, and I certainly would've preferred an easier event.

But I'm glad that Ike had a vision for the tournament and produced a set in line with that vision. CO isn't just the most cherished title on the open circuit; it's a forum where, after months in the lab putting together a set of questions that pushes the boundaries and explores new areas where quizbowl might go, the editors invite the best players in the game into a single building to see a vision of the future of the game. This year's vision was a more difficult one, but to me, that's ok. It's a matter of taste. The tournament was still fair, a deserving team still won, and we all still got a set of questions that reflected an extraordinary amount of thought, care, and time on the part of the editors.

If this tournament reflects in any way on Ike's personality, I think it shows him to be someone who's willing to put a ton of work to make good on his own vision, even if it might not be the popular way of doing things.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum
User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 5436
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Cherrybell Miramonte » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:25 pm

This was my first Chicago Open, and I agree with Will and Mike that it was an enjoyable experience, despite being extremely difficult, and indeed oppressively so at times. I agree with Jerry that the science was very good and seemed to have a good balance of tossups on easier answerlines (thinking of things like Green's functions, density matrix, polymerizations) to balance out the ones on much harder stuff (ultrafilters, aptamers, and partial wave expansions come to mind here).

While I did largely enjoy this tournament despite its difficulty, in our last game of the day only 9 tossups were converted. I understand that CO is supposed to be hard and that a lot of tossups will go dead in the bottom bracket, having less than half the tossups converted between teams that were by no means terrible is probably not optimal.
Sam Rombro
Arizona '20
Maryland '18
Writer, NAQT
User avatar
Cherrybell Miramonte
Sec. of Cursed Images, Chicago SJW Cabal
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 10:43 pm

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby No Rules Westbrook » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:33 pm

I don't have the time or desire to write a long post right now, but I may compose one later.

Ike brought me onto this tournament explaining from the start that he wanted it to be his "final flourish," his goodbye manifesto to mainstream quizbowl writing, and that (because of Ike's interests and intellectual leanings) necessarily entailed making this event punishingly, brutally hard. I've always really enjoyed Ike's writing, and I was happy to offer what services I could to accomplish his end. All in all, I think it was a good polished rendition of Ike's vision.


(ps: the Whitman tu is one of the last I was expecting to be cited as trivial - that almost borders on social history, gasp! Now, I was totally prepared for the Matthew "Spitting" Lyon critiques).
Ryan Westbrook, no affiliation whatsoever.

I am pure energy...and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!

Left here since birth...forgotten in the river of time...I've had an eternity to...ponder the meaning of things...and now I have an answer!
User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
 
Posts: 1217
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby theMoMA » Tue Jul 25, 2017 6:44 pm

I'll add to my above post that I've always appreciated Ike's thoughts on quizbowl, and his questions, for giving me a lot to think about. This set, and his reasoning for its conception and difficult, were no different. If this is indeed Ike's final editorial flourish, I think it's fitting that he's giving us a problem to consider.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum
User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 5436
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Cheynem » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:06 pm

Let me rephrase: the concept of the Whitman Massacre is not trivial, but the selection of "Whitman" as the answerline is perhaps the most trivial way of writing an already ass-hard answerline.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger
User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
 
Posts: 6118
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Valefor » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:41 pm

Hello everyone. I'll keep this relatively short, but as the classical music editor for this tournament, I wanted to offer some brief thoughts on how I approached this.

First, I want to sincerely thank everyone who wrote a music tossup or bonus for their team's submissions. :smile: I really enjoyed working on the player-written questions in the set; the submitted packets had some fantastic, creative ideas, and I'm sorry that I couldn't use all of them.

Overall--and especially in the editors' questions--I wanted this tournament to reflect a mix of both core, canon works, and new or relatively un-asked-about topics that spanned early music to the very recent. I wanted to see if I could find ways to tie the traditional, common-practice-era music content in with contemporary and/or less-explored scholarship, criticism, and works in engaging ways.

In terms of post-tournament reflection, my self-criticisms would include that my bonus middle parts and a couple tossups definitely skewed too difficult, that a couple of my questions didn't functionally play like I would have liked (though I imagine every editor of every tournament can probably say that), and that opera ended up being a bit under-represented on the whole and could have used a few more questions. I could discuss specific examples from both the previous paragraph and this one, but as I mentioned, I wanted to keep this brief.

All of that said, I very much hope that you enjoyed playing the music at this tournament, and I also hope that you came away from the tournament interested in a couple of things that you might not have heard of prior to Saturday. If you have any comments or questions about the music in the set, positive or negative, please feel free to reach out to me via email or PM. I am super-busy both this week and next teaching marching band camp and writing drill for said marching band, but I will get back to you as best as I can.
Jason Thompson
aka "that one reader with the ponytail and the Transylvania sweatshirt"
NAQT writer and editor
User avatar
Valefor
Wakka
 
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:23 pm

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Cheynem » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:04 pm

I respect Ike's vision, but I'm sort of puzzled...did anyone find the last few years of CO "overly canonical" or "too easy"? Indeed, people complained that last year's CO was too hard as well. Did we need a tournament to amp up difficulty so much in order to get interested in learning again?
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger
User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
 
Posts: 6118
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby vcuEvan » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:16 pm

Ike, in the CO announcement thread wrote:Our target difficulty is similar to recent incarnations. We encourage teams to submit quality and adventurous questions: Chicago Open is the ground to ask about difficult and interesting topics, but it is not the place to fill your packets with 13-line tossups and/or insanely hard topics that punish the field.


I'd understand saying the quoted thing and then accidentally overshooting your difficulty target. But it sounds like you said this and proceeded to intentionally subvert these expectations for the purpose of exposing people to the revelatory difficulty experience you describe in the monologue.
Evan Adams
VCU '11, UVA '14, NYU '15
User avatar
vcuEvan
Auron
 
Posts: 1084
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 5:49 pm
Location: Richmond VA

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby The Stately Rhododendron » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:31 pm

vcuEvan wrote:
Ike, in the CO announcement thread wrote:Our target difficulty is similar to recent incarnations. We encourage teams to submit quality and adventurous questions: Chicago Open is the ground to ask about difficult and interesting topics, but it is not the place to fill your packets with 13-line tossups and/or insanely hard topics that punish the field.


I'd understand saying the quoted thing and then accidentally overshooting your difficulty target. But it sounds like you said this and proceeded to intentionally subvert these expectations for the purpose of exposing people to the revelatory difficulty experience you describe in the monologue.

c.f. Martyrs (2008)
Oakland Mills '14 - The Most Unpredictable Team in Quiz Bowl
Yale '18 - Majoring in X Studies
"Field Commander" Isaac KD, "The Savior of the Forest"
User avatar
The Stately Rhododendron
Rikku
 
Posts: 433
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:18 pm
Location: Heart's in the woods

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby mozzarella » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:07 pm

The Stately Rhododendron wrote:c.f. Martyrs (2008)


French New Extremity?
K Kohn
Cheltenham High School 2015
American University 2018

Ask me about my trash packets.
User avatar
mozzarella
Lulu
 
Posts: 48
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2016 5:48 pm
Location: Shadow Moses Island

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Emperor Pupienus » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:32 pm

I had lots of fun at this tournament, so many thanks to the editors. However, I also agree that I likely would have enjoyed it more if it had somewhat lower difficulty. For history at least, the difficulty issue was exacerbated by the perceived triviality (in my opinion, at least) of some of the answerlines.

For instance, I think that something like the Laotian Civil War is a cool and underasked thing to toss up while still being really hard. And things like Venizelos, Lesbos, and Carlos the Jackal are hard yet important things that have come up before and deserve to be tossed up at CO. In contrast, something like Matthew Lyon or Le Loutre seem unnecessarily obscure and had. Or Tiglath Pilaser I whom we know very few real things about because he is so old. As writers, I think we should be conscientious of in what manner we are making things hard as well as the overall difficulty of the question.
Jason Zhou
Nichols School '14
University of Chicago '18

Food or not food?
User avatar
Emperor Pupienus
Lulu
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:53 pm

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby touchpack » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:09 pm

Hey guys, as you know, I wrote the biology, chemistry, and physics for this tournament. (Outside my categories, I also wrote the tossup on Wes Montgomery, a tossup on transfer functions which Ike converted to a bonus, and the score clues in the tossup on Maiden Voyage)

First, I'd like to apologize to Sriram Pendyala, Adam Silverman, and Aaron Rosenberg, for publicly criticizing their work on previous COs as having been harder than necessary and then producing questions that ranged from "just as hard" to "quite a bit harder." I strove to keep the science consistent with Ike's vision of what the tournament should look like, and it seems like I mostly succeeded--from the feedback I've gotten so far it seems like my stuff was somewhat easier than the humanities, but not majorly so.

That said, I'm still very proud of many of the ideas I had for this tournament, and I hope you all enjoyed them as well. If I had to edit this set into my ideal CO, I don't think I'd actually change that much--certainly a bunch of the medium parts would need to be toned down, the tossups on easier answers would have to give easier clues, and some of the really sadistic tossups (stuff like eddy viscosity and solid-phase oligonucleotide synthesis) would have to go, but I'm glad I was able to ask about a lot of very underasked topics, and write many tossups on things that have never been tossed up before. Just like Jason said, feel free to reach out to me (or post here if you want, but I suspect this thread is gonna be dominated by difficulty discussion) if you want to talk about any individual questions or why I cut/edited/did whatever with your submissions.
Billy Busse
Illinois '14
Member, ACF
Writer/Subject Editor/Set Editor, NAQT
touchpack
Rikku
 
Posts: 255
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:25 am

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby DumbJaques » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:34 pm

I'd like to take some time to reflect and look at the set before posting in full. For now though, I think I'll just note that as far as I have been able to discern, nobody sent Ike any nasty messages. If that is indeed the case, I think it's pretty dubious to clearly suggest otherwise in a public forum (to say nothing of the melodramatic refusal to even try to engage in dialogue with a community that has spent 10 years engaging with you).
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE
User avatar
DumbJaques
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 3024
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Jem Casey » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:40 am

Cheynem wrote:I respect Ike's vision, but I'm sort of puzzled...did anyone find the last few years of CO "overly canonical" or "too easy"? Indeed, people complained that last year's CO was too hard as well. Did we need a tournament to amp up difficulty so much in order to get interested in learning again?

I thought at the time and still think that last year’s CO was very hard, but it’s important to differentiate the sort of hard questions in that set from the sort in this one. The answerlines in last year’s set were far from “overly canonical,” but they did draw almost entirely from the canon of things that had come up in quizbowl before, and as such rewarded people for studying that canon. If you diligently followed the things that were being mentioned in upper-level quizbowl over the previous few years and prepared for tossups on “trending” topics in your categories, you’d have no problem answering questions on Autobiography of Red, Francesco Hayez, or R.G. Collingwood, though these answers are indisputably challenging. While the editors incorporated a lot of canon-busting material via common-links and bonus parts, few people (I’d guess) were coming away from the set with a sense that their engagement with real-world knowledge, as mediated by quizbowl, was deeply incomplete. By contrast, no amount of knowledge about trends in the canon could prepare you for questions on, say, Anna Barbauld or James Barry. To be clear, I’m not siding with either model of difficulty here, and am certainly not suggesting that the editors of the excellent CO 2016 set had chosen answers based on canon trends (though I’d guess they greenlit some ideas due to their canonicity, as most writers do); simply that the 2016 set represents a much more “quizbowl as usual” approach to open-level difficulty*, and it’s worth noting how and why Ike’s vision diverged from that. More so than any other set I know of, CO 2017 resisted being played as part of the usual quizbowl process, in which you prepare for certain things that come up or might come up, then answer questions on them. Indeed, my most frustrating negs--e.g. on the _Duhem_ and the _extended mind_ tus--resulted from treating the set as part of this process instead of just saying the correct answer, an experience I'd guess others had too.

I am very sympathetic to Ike’s reasons for writing the tournament the way he did, but also appreciate the perspective of players who feel that they were already humble enough without being dunked on by the set, or that its decreased playability wasn't justified by, or wasn’t necessary for, whatever humility/excitement they got out it. But in any case, it should be obvious that neither the tournament nor the ideas behind it were “bad” in any sense. Ike wasn’t motivated by vindictiveness, elitism, obliviousness, etc., and the cluing in all categories was of very high quality. And independent of whether the set needed to be as hard as it was to produce this effect, I'm sure I'm not the only one who came away from the tournament excited about the material that had come up and hungry to learn and read more things.

It could be argued that the community’s apparent frustration has more to do with a few specific issues in the set than the substance of Ike’s vision. One of these issues was cross-editor variance in philosophy, which made the set feel like much less of a cohesive project. I can’t speak to Billy’s science or Jason’s music, (though I’m sure both were excellent) but while Ike and Ryan were both clearly writing “very difficult” questions, their respective types of “very difficult” were at cross-purposes. If the message of Ike’s canon-busting questions was “What you’ve been doing to prepare for the game of quizbowl isn’t enough,” the message of Ryan’s might have been “Anything that gets mentioned in quizbowl a few times can be tossed up.” I am not a full-time scholar of American history and could be off-base here, but I’m pretty sure most details about the Whitman massacre/family are of no significance beyond local history trivia, and certainly don’t count as “social history” (which implies something is studied in a social historical context!). I enjoy Ryan’s work--even if I don’t always agree with his answer selections, I know he puts a ton of time into finding great clues--and hope I’m not mischaracterizing his approach to canon expansion (I think he’s described it in similar terms in other threads), but it was jarring and distracting to have diametrically-opposed visions of high-level difficulty at work in one tournament. As has been noted, not only in this thread but also, presumably, by everyone who played the set, another one of its issues was bonus difficulty. This has been said about every tournament ever, most often needlessly, and plenty of bonuses in the set were fine; but there was a tendency towards impossible middle parts and easy parts ranging from very difficult to “find your ass” that was, again, at cross-purposes with Ike’s vision. For example, I think of a bonus on which we excitedly pulled Notes of a Crocodile…then ran into a brick wall--and 20 points--since we didn’t recognize the title of a Kobo Abe short story collection that’s out of print in the U.S. (apologies if there was more accessible information in this part that I’m forgetting). This sort of thing doesn’t make you want to go out and read more books, in the way that missing a tossup on Vera Brittain might; it could, however, make you think “I guess I’m not supposed to be getting points at this tournament” or “I guess I’d better go back to reading lit questions from 2008.” I honestly suspect that far fewer people would have minded the dead tossups if their reward for answering them wasn’t more bonus parts of this sort.

I agree with Jerry and Andrew; I’m glad Ike had the chance to write this tournament and glad I had the chance to play it. During my time in quizbowl, Ike has written extraordinary quantities of great questions, saved a bunch of tournaments from noncompletion (including multiple national championships), and improved every part of the season with his “knowledge-intoxicated” (to modify Novalis’s phrase) approach to question-writing. Quizbowl’s a better place for his work and I’m going to miss playing his questions a lot. Thanks, Ike.

*Now's as good a time as any to mention that Auroni Gupta, Jacob Reed, Joey Goldman, a TBA physical science editor, and I will be editing Chicago Open 2018. We will be scaling back difficulty to a more traditional CO level, but will, I think, also draw inspiration from the unapologetic enthusiasm for learning that this set exuded.

Edit: grammar
Jordan Brownstein, University of Maryland '17, Plymouth Regional '13, New Hampshire

"Calm is the one thing that will never let us down"--2666
User avatar
Jem Casey
Sec. of Cursed Images, Chicago SJW Cabal
 
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:15 pm
Location: New Hampshire

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Muriel Axon » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:21 pm

I agree with what's turned out to be the emerging consensus -- that this was a fun, exciting set that was also punishingly hard at times. It's not bad for a set to be that hard, but I don't think we were set up to expect it -- unlike, say, Arrabal.

I like playing tournaments like this for two reasons: (1) there are few feelings in quiz bowl more satisfying than pulling an answer like Dhalgren or Zibaldone or something else that has rarely, if ever, come up before, and (2) more to Ike's point, all the things you can't pull, or haven't even heard of, are reminders of the limits of one's experience in comparison to the enormous scope of human life. I wouldn't want every tournament to be like it, but I enjoyed it.
Shan Kothari

Plymouth High School '10
Michigan State University '14
University of Minnesota '19 (hopefully!)
User avatar
Muriel Axon
Tidus
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:19 am

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby The King's Flight to the Scots » Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:47 pm

I don't know. I thought it was often enjoyable - as Jerry said it wasn't an abomination - but the difficulty often felt kind of artificial. I'm not sure why we had to ask about Ammu instead of "The God of Small Things," or that secondary Danilo Kis book instead of Kis himself. The point here isn't that those tossups were impossible, but that they felt very hard for unclear reasons, and they were frequent. The other issue is that events like this don't occur in a vacuum. For better or worse, when I edited Chicago Open, I remember a lot of the topics I introduced becoming more popular or widely-asked the next year. Even if that was a coincidence, I think it's pretty easy to trace other popular hard answers back to a Gaddis or Chicago Open where they were tossups. It feels like there's an unspoken rule that after an answerline has been a Chicago Open tossup one or more times recently, it can't be a hard part at the Nationals/Nationals+ level (with all clues provided). For that reason, I think there are negative externalities to writing an event like this, which promotes lots of answers that would have been hard bonus parts before to "tossup" status.

Overall, I'm skeptical of the project to avoid rewarding quizbowl studying by choosing more obscure topics. Although noncanonical, interesting answers like Dhalgren can be good, questions here often felt unrealistically demanding and obscure. I would guess that the effect of this tournament will be to accelerate the clue treadmill rather than help get beyond it.

Again, though: I had fun. I liked many questions and appreciate the enormous efforts of the editors. But I'm uncomfortable at how quickly consensus has moved from "playable but flawed" to "different but basically fine." I like Ike but I don't think we should refrain from being critical here.
Matt Bollinger
UVA '14, UVA '15
User avatar
The King's Flight to the Scots
Auron
 
Posts: 1378
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:11 pm

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby No Rules Westbrook » Wed Jul 26, 2017 6:34 pm

Jordan's post on cross-purposes is interesting, followed up by Bollinger's post looking at the same sort of dichotomy.

As I read Bollinger's post, he's advocating more in favor of the "gradual canon expansion" model that I've always used as my baseline for writing (at least, as opposed to Ike's impulse to jump way outside of the canon to create a different playing experience - which in turn, I think Bollinger's right, can introduce negative externalities in the form of a "bumpy landscape" where people have distorted ideas of what can be a hard part next or what can be a tossup next).

I don't think there's many people left whose writing taps into that old "canon expansion" model - and that's fine, things change, so be it. Most modern quizbowl theorists would probably eschew both my model and Ike's model, in favor of some kind of "back to the classroom"/"core curriculum" approach to learning. At some point, I may make a lengthy post laying out what I believe to be the dangers and inadequacies of that route. I certainly won't clutter this discussion thread with that screed.

I'll just say for now something that perhaps a few more of us can agree upon - there's too much homogeneity in quizbowl writing right now. In the last few years, everything to me just kind of looks like the same style over and over. For that reason alone, it's a bit nice for me to see a tournament that looks markedly different. I remember the one year that Zeke Berdichevsky came back to edit ACF Nats, and most everyone liked the set - largely because it looked and felt different, I think. It was an older player injecting a style and content of writing that was different from the status quo.
Ryan Westbrook, no affiliation whatsoever.

I am pure energy...and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!

Left here since birth...forgotten in the river of time...I've had an eternity to...ponder the meaning of things...and now I have an answer!
User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
 
Posts: 1217
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:16 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Jordan's post on cross-purposes is interesting, followed up by Bollinger's post looking at the same sort of dichotomy.

As I read Bollinger's post, he's advocating more in favor of the "gradual canon expansion" model that I've always used as my baseline for writing (at least, as opposed to Ike's impulse to jump way outside of the canon to create a different playing experience - which in turn, I think Bollinger's right, can introduce negative externalities in the form of a "bumpy landscape" where people have distorted ideas of what can be a hard part next or what can be a tossup next).

I don't think there's many people left whose writing taps into that old "canon expansion" model - and that's fine, things change, so be it. Most modern quizbowl theorists would probably eschew both my model and Ike's model, in favor of some kind of "back to the classroom"/"core curriculum" approach to learning. At some point, I may make a lengthy post laying out what I believe to be the dangers and inadequacies of that route. I certainly won't clutter this discussion thread with that screed.

I'll just say for now something that perhaps a few more of us can agree upon - there's too much homogeneity in quizbowl writing right now. In the last few years, everything to me just kind of looks like the same style over and over. For that reason alone, it's a bit nice for me to see a tournament that looks markedly different. I remember the one year that Zeke Berdichevsky came back to edit ACF Nats, and most everyone liked the set - largely because it looked and felt different, I think. It was an older player injecting a style and content of writing that was different from the status quo.


As I play the game more, I've grown to appreciate a wider range of writing styles. It is, in a way, refreshing to see a tournament take a break from a style that's become more common these days and boldly throw a bunch of tough answers out there, but it is also a reminder of why various techniques (common links or other easy answers that incorporate tough material) are used to ask about these things. I think it's also worth taking a look at how these hard answers are arrived at, as well.

I think the issue people take with a tossup on somebody like Father Le Loutre or Unkulunkulu is that they are really derivative in a trivial way - even more so than the Old Court-New Court controversy, which to some extent had national implications (as discussed back in the 2015 Nationals thread). If there were an ICT-style tournament for CO material, then questions on these figures would probably be fine, since you can pretty well gradate the (probably limited) amount of non-trivial knowledge about these subjects that people possess - an example of this would be Ike's tossup on Hermod from 2016 ICT. However, at a tournament like CO when you put together eight lines of clues on these answers, whereas people probably would never encounter eight lines of material worth of without writing a paper on the subject or deliberately preparing for these specific answers, you're sending an entirely different message than a "shot in the dark" where you write a tossup on an independently important topic that hasn't gotten much play, but which nonetheless is something people can and should care about and has a lot of askable material (i.e. Richard Price, who was asked about at Jordaens).

In my ideal world, a hard tournament has a good mix of "core" answers and common links to mix easy and hard material, a few "standard fare" mid-upper canon answers, and a few tougher topics per round that haven't gotten a lot of play before. One thing I've loved about Ike's work is how he chooses the latter of these - he's always been able to come up with important stuff in the last of these areas and used it to reward people who've interacted with stuff outside the canon. To some extent, this means that his questions can feel variant and a bit brutal at times - when you get a more standard fare Ike bonus, it feels a lot different than the (caricatured) "I write a bonus and you get somewhere between 0 and 30 points" model, and some of his tossups won't get a ton of early buzzes.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16
"You are beyond parody" -Auroni Gupta
"...should be treated as the non-stakeholding troll he is" -Matt Weiner
User avatar
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Auron
 
Posts: 1550
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:53 pm
Location: Falls Church, VA

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Muriel Axon » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:25 pm

I'm curious about the motivation behind answer lines like "photography books by Robert Frank" and "essays by George Orwell" -- especially the latter, since Robert Frank hasn't really done much else, as far as I know. Why not just "Robert Frank" or "George Orwell"?
Shan Kothari

Plymouth High School '10
Michigan State University '14
University of Minnesota '19 (hopefully!)
User avatar
Muriel Axon
Tidus
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:19 am

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:16 pm

Muriel Axon wrote:I'm curious about the motivation behind answer lines like "photography books by Robert Frank" and "essays by George Orwell" -- especially the latter, since Robert Frank hasn't really done much else, as far as I know. Why not just "Robert Frank" or "George Orwell"?


Having answered both these questions, I would reverse the confusion. I understand why you would ask about Orwell's essays, since his nonfiction work is extremely important and was written in essay form. Having also written such a question a long time ago, and fielded the same complaint, I would make the case that Orwell's essays are a distinctive and important part of his oeuvre and worth knowing about in and of themselves. The Frank thing, I don't get at all. Is "books by Robert Frank" sufficiently different from "Robert Frank" and from "photos by Robert Frank" that we need to know about them? Maybe so, but it seems both trivially easy and more annoying to come up with and it's not at all clear to me that there's a meaningful difference between knowing about Frank's photographs and knowing that they were collected in books.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance
User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
 
Posts: 6358
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Cheynem » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:38 pm

So I once wrote a question on "photographs of Bourke-White," so I'm hardly a good judge here:

I remember being very confused and annoyed at the photo-book question (what was the prompt, if any, by the way, on "photographs of Frank"?)...I guess the idea is that you have to understand that compared to other photographers, Frank was collecting his stuff in books...but I would also guess that most people who could answer a question on Frank would know that anyway.

What was the specific instruction at the beginning of the Frank and Orwell questions? Normally, I have no problem understanding what is being sought, but for some reason, perhaps lack of sleep, I could not really understand the instruction.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger
User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
 
Posts: 6118
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:40 pm

Yeah, that Robert Frank answerline confused me a bit as well for pretty much the same reasons as Mike stated. The Orwell thing I can understand, but I think a tossup on Orwell would have done the job just fine as well.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16
"You are beyond parody" -Auroni Gupta
"...should be treated as the non-stakeholding troll he is" -Matt Weiner
User avatar
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Auron
 
Posts: 1550
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:53 pm
Location: Falls Church, VA

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby theMoMA » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:55 pm

I think people should consider using the least restrictive answer line that will allow them to use all the clues they want to use. In the case of these tossups, that would be Frank and Orwell, using clues drawn exclusively from their books/essays. I understand that people often like to make the players say more specific answers, and in the case of music tossups (such as "piano sonatas by Beethoven"), this has become a reified thing, but the analogous tossups on Frank or Orwell would have been fundamentally the same, with the only difference being much less potential for player confusion.

That said, in some cases, having two-part answers is fine; I think "essays by Orwell" is much less confusing than "books by Frank," for instance (the latter confused me greatly, because I was concerned that Frank may have exhibited his work under the same titles as his books). This is probably because "essays by Orwell" are often considered as a coherent body of works, as Jerry suggests above, while this is the first time I've stopped to consider whether "books by Frank" is a thing.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum
User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 5436
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby sephirothrr » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:01 pm

Edit: So it looks like today is the most popular day, I'll be reading at 9:00 EDT tonight on discord! I hope to see people there!
Ramapriya Rangaraju
University of Louisville 2009 - ??
duPont Manual High School 2005-2009
Birdofredum Sawin wrote:If you don't want to be regarded as a "raving lunatic," it might be advisable to rave less, or at least to do so in a less loony manner.
User avatar
sephirothrr
Quizbowl Detective Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Louisville, KY

Re: Chicago Open Discussion

Postby sephirothrr » Thu Aug 03, 2017 4:51 pm

I've submitted the packets to the DB for approval, so hopefully they'll show up soon. Please let me know if I missed any egregious errors so that I can fix them.
That said, I sill haven't fixed the stats errors because I'm a slacking slacker who slacks, but that will happen...eventually.
Ramapriya Rangaraju
University of Louisville 2009 - ??
duPont Manual High School 2005-2009
Birdofredum Sawin wrote:If you don't want to be regarded as a "raving lunatic," it might be advisable to rave less, or at least to do so in a less loony manner.
User avatar
sephirothrr
Quizbowl Detective Extraordinaire
 
Posts: 167
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:00 pm
Location: Louisville, KY


Return to Collegiate Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests