2010 ICT discussion

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2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:53 pm

Feel free to discuss specific questions in this thread.

Warning that I will not have much time/energy to read this thread until I get back to California tomorrow afternoon.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:42 pm

I will eventually write a more detailed examination of this tournament, but one thing that particularly galled me were the vast number of "concept" tossups that basically read like "Philosopher A wrote a book called Poverty and THIS, while Philosopher B discussed THIS and its Ancestors in a work focusing on the ancient Boobykids of Dickety Doo Land." These were pretty frustrating for me because even when I was familiar with the philosophers and their ideas, it was annoying to have to figure out what specific word was being looked for and I felt like it turned into "title bowl." While some of these tossups would work in moderation, their short length also made it difficult to avoid a cliff developing as well.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:43 pm

Anybody playing on these sets anywhere, like the DII set (especially for the high school "regional" NAQT things popping up in the next month or so), please be cool and don't read this thread.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:46 pm

Carangoides ciliarius wrote:Anybody playing on these sets anywhere, like the DII set (especially for the high school "regional" NAQT things popping up in the next month or so), please be cool and don't read this thread.
That's on DII SCT, which has a hidden discussion forum.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sat Apr 10, 2010 11:48 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Carangoides ciliarius wrote:Anybody playing on these sets anywhere, like the DII set (especially for the high school "regional" NAQT things popping up in the next month or so), please be cool and don't read this thread.
That's on DII SCT, which has a hidden discussion forum.
Oh, yeah, that's right, mixed em up. Good, then.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:26 am

I liked a lot of things about this set. I didn't see anything wrong with the biology, though I don't have a whole lot of knowledge in that field; its power-marking did seem weird, though, pretty frequently. (That's not the subject editor's job in NAQT's structure, and that might be a problem; I don't know.) Chemistry was overall pretty strong and occasionally introduced new stuff that I know Chemists Actually Do (like the Bamford-Stevens reaction); it occasionally showed Matt Keller's age a little bit with respect to the canon (as we discussed during the tournament, he took orgo before click chemistry existed--and hey, eighteen months ago, 99% of quizbowl didn't know it existed either). But I was overall pretty happy with it.

Physics was generally weaker, as evidenced by my ability to guess where questions were headed before actual physicists I was playing against. Astro had really questionable ideas, like those tossups on Ganymede, Sagittarius (legitimacy of astrogeography being categorized as astro aside, it led in with the one famous asterism in Sagittarius; I really don't know what was coming next), and molecular clouds.

I should thank my teammates for a fantastic tournament experience, and everyone who worked on logistics for NAQT, since things went really smoothly. Over the course of the tournament, there were a bunch of times I got to demonstrate some real knowledge of things I've studied in class, and I liked that; there were equally many times that I had to go in with my most reasonable guess and it ended up right--that was less fun, but it''s part of the NAQT experience, perhaps.

Congratulations to everyone.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:00 pm

First off, congratulations to Harvard. They played extremely well and dominated the finals.

I honestly thought this was an extremely mediocre tournament. For a national set, I would even go so far as to say that this was a below-par set that had some serious shortcomings. The literature, philosophy, and social science questions tended to be ridiculously fill-in-the-blank types, bonus variability was all over the place, and much of the physics seemed like it was really lazily written, with a shitton of namedropping and other stock clues that rewarded wikipedia reading over actual knowledge.

I will never stop complaining about the overwhelming trash/geography content in NAQT. I think it's horrible and it sucks and I'm sure it's going to get me called out for demanding that NAQT become like ACF or whatever, and I don't care. Losing a game where you play as hard and as well as you can because the last tossup is a tossup on Craig Ferguson is the mental equivalent getting kicked in the balls and no amount of appeals to the precious difference of NAQT is going to change my mind about this. If some other topic, like, say, astronomy or math got the same kind of representation that geography and trash get, I bet there would be unending howls about this, but somehow rewarding people who know archipelagos and old-timey baseball remains more of a priority for NAQT than rewarding either of those categories.

When I get home (or perhaps, given my recent adventures with that cankerous sore known as American Airlines, if I get home, ever), I'll probably have some more specific criticisms to offer regarding this tournament. Overall, I would say I generally had a pretty negative experience.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Apr 11, 2010 12:39 pm

While I'll say that the pure geography did seem to be down from previous years (certainly relative to 2008, but since I'm going on impression rather than meticulous counting, I can't speak relative to 2009), I noticed there were still a fair number of geography clues in mixed tossups (or it seemed so). Trash seemed skewed: the enormous popularity of the NFL means I probably should not have heard one-third as many NFL questions as hockey questions. Granted, I heard a college football bonus and a tossup on the World Bowl (!), but the actual, honest-to-goodness NFL is watched by about a hundred times more people than hockey.

I think first priority at NAQT should be reducing or eliminating trash.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Charbroil » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:22 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:...there were equally many times that I had to go in with my most reasonable guess and it ended up right--that was less fun, but it''s part of the NAQT experience, perhaps.
I'd like the second this and mention that while I'm a supporter of the idea of hard tossups on easy answers, it's somewhat irritating when questions have only one reasonable answer from the very beginning--ex. the tossup on Volcanoes in DII, which more or less began with "This is some sort of mountainous landform, an example of which exists on Venus." Also, while this was less egregious in literature or history, is it really necessary to add so many dates in questions even when all those dates do is to make the question transparent? For example, it was possible to answer the Racine tossup because you heard French names, the tossup dropped a date in the 17th century, and you knew it wasn't Corneille or Moliere because they'd already come up.

Also, just out of curiosity, would it be possible to get a breakdown of conversion rates by subject as exists with the HSNCT?

In any case, congratulations to everyone; this was a fun tournament and we really enjoyed it.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:58 pm

I don't think it will ever be possible for me to have an objective opinion about this tournament, but here is one thing I did notice:

During the early rounds of the initial round robin, there was a rumor going around that many of the Current Events questions were written out of the most recent issue of the Economist. Now, it so happens that I read the most recent issue of the Economist on the plane ride from Boston to Chicago. And as the tournament continued, I noticed that many CE tossups were not just about things that were the subject of articles in the latest issue of the Economist, but also used clues that were in those articles. This was true of many, but not all, of the CE. Also some had clues that weren't in the Economist as lead-ins, but then clues from the article later.

Of course, it's possible that the Economist simply does a good job of summarizing the most important current events and that this is a coincidence.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Sun Apr 11, 2010 3:19 pm

I had a lot of fun playing this tournament, but I think that was more because of the field than the questions. I had the impression that there were way too many questions that were basically "There is a (reaction, law, formula...) named for this guy and ___. There is another (reaction, law, formula...) named for this guy and ___." I could be remembering more than were really in the tournament, but I hate questions like that. Save the names for later in the question.
I'm not a fan of trash, but I don't mind a question or so coming up every game if it is on interesting things. I'm really, really tired of questions on sports from decades before anyone playing the tournament was born. I'm pretty sure the people being asked for don't still hold any relevant records, and I find it hard to believe there are quiz bowl players out there who really enjoy watching recordings of those games (if recordings even exist).
Also, (and I realize this comes up every year), the way questions are placed into packets gets annoying sometimes. I like science a lot, but the 3 physics tossups in packet 7 just does not seem like a good idea.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:15 pm

Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat wrote:Also, (and I realize this comes up every year), the way questions are placed into packets gets annoying sometimes. I like science a lot, but the 3 physics tossups in packet 7 just does not seem like a good idea.
Thoughts on how we should fix this? The ICT currently has 18 rounds, and 19 tossups in each of the three major science categories. So round 7 had two physics tossups, and an astronomy tossup on the no-hair theorem that looks physics-ish to this historian.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:18 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:I didn't see anything wrong with the biology, though I don't have a whole lot of knowledge in that field; its power-marking did seem weird, though, pretty frequently. (That's not the subject editor's job in NAQT's structure, and that might be a problem; I don't know.)
I did a bunch of the power-marking in this set, so any weirdly placed power marks you saw in science tossups are probably my fault.

Should we have subject editors place power marks? Maybe. The reason we don't do that now is to avoid having power be systematically harder or easier in particular categories; instead we have set editors place power marks in large batches while they are reading over assembled packets.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Susan » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:20 pm

It also sort of messes with the packet feng shui to have a bunch of history/CE/politics questions to which the answer is a nation when there are also more than one or two literature questions to which the answer is something geographical (a city or a nation). I'm not sure how many of these there were in the set, but there were enough that people were commenting.

Also, and I'm not asking this sarcastically or anything, but are there people out there who enjoy bonuses like the one in D1 to which the answers were Dvorak/Florida Panthers/Rilke (I think those were the answers, at least; feel free to correct me if I screwed it up). There was a similar one featuring some academic part, David Bowie, and perhaps a film third part. When I read those bonuses, it seemed like people felt pretty jerked around by them (I think hearing them in a timed format exacerbates this feeling), and I recall other people being unhappy with the Dvorak/Panthers/Rilke bonus.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Apr 11, 2010 6:40 pm

myamphigory wrote:Also, and I'm not asking this sarcastically or anything, but are there people out there who enjoy bonuses like the one in D1 to which the answers were Dvorak/Florida Panthers/Rilke (I think those were the answers, at least; feel free to correct me if I screwed it up).
This is completely fucking stupid and I loathed this bonus with every fiber of my being.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:22 pm

They are mildly amusing (and not poisonous when they're 100% academic), and I guess if you're having trouble filling the distribution you are probably better off writing one of these than a bonus that is pure-category but shitty or pure-category but too hard, but I really don't see a good argument in favor of actively choosing to include them.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:24 pm

When writing FICHTE, I found that such questions are a good/the only way to fill out a mandatory GK distribution. I don't see what's so odious about them compared to any other question that might be categorized as "mixed impure academic;" obviously, that leaves open the question of how large such a category needs to be in the first place.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:34 pm

Yeah, I was really sick of literature questions that felt the need to be about "these novels take place in this city" type of thing. Again, I think a few questions like this are okay, but not a lot.

I'm probably in the minority here, but if you're going to have "General Knowledge" bonuses or what have you, I see no problem with a bonus that does something like Dvorak/Panthers/Rilke. Like I think a "Your Choice" bonus for ACF (operating under the no 1/1 Trash clause) could involve some odd mixing of academia/borderline/trash. Again, this is assuming that these things are allowed within the distribution to begin with.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:36 pm

The mandatory GK: distribution is, unfortunately, distinct from the mandatory MI: distribution and the MI:PC: (mixed, can include trash clues) distribution. All three should be smaller, particularly the first and last.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:38 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:MI:PC: (mixed, can include trash clues) distribution.
Worth noting that this is "can" and not "must." So we could write all of the MI: questions with pure academic clues.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:39 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:When writing FICHTE, I found that such questions are a good/the only way to fill out a mandatory GK distribution.
Not only do I refuse to believe that this is true, but if it is true it doesn't do anyone any favors either; in fact, if the best result possible under such a requirement is that kind of question, that's pretty good evidence that we should just do away with that category altogether.
I don't see what's so odious about them compared to any other question that might be categorized as "mixed impire academic;" obviously, that leaves open the question of how large such a category needs to be in the first place.
How ironic. What's odious about them is that they are a clear attempt to be "clever," but they're not. It's like going to a museum and seeing a Kincaid between a Rembrandt and a Velazquez because the museum has a policy which requires them to fill empty wall space. It's contrived and stupid.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:46 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:When writing FICHTE, I found that such questions are a good/the only way to fill out a mandatory GK distribution. I don't see what's so odious about them compared to any other question that might be categorized as "mixed impire academic;" obviously, that leaves open the question of how large such a category needs to be in the first place.
Mixed impure academic is pretty obnoxious. A team in my room got all excited for a bonus when they knew the first part cold... and proceeded to 10 it because it changed directions twice. They were pretty bummed. While the bonus on horse parts was pretty dumb, GK questions on one theme are less gimmicky than "hey look the word panther! I think the point to be had here, though, is that GK/the other topics Andy mentioned can't be filled with good questions--with the exception of the occasional "mixed academic" question that doesn't contain some bizarre chimera of trash and academic clues--and should be ditched.

And two tossups on countries in one packet is in no way equivalent to two tossups on "people" in one packet. The ridiculous number of tossups per packet on countries/cities/islands(!) and on concepts/words in titles were not fun to read and, judging by teams' responses, less fun to play.

Eric Mukherjee was talking with a couple players and myself about what he jokingly said he'd patent as the "Mukherjee reduction": taking a question on something just slightly off and creating a good question from it. You wrote a lit question on "man from Porlock?" Apply the Mukherjee reduction, and you've got a question on "Kubla Khan!" You wrote a bio question on "brown fat?" Apply the Mukherjee reduction, and you've got a question on adipose/adipocytes. This entire tournament needed liberal application of the Mukherjee reduction to turn, say, common links on the word "laughter" in literary titles to a tossup on a novel with the word "'laughter" in the title.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:07 pm

I don't know, I think a bonus with an odd theme is okay in moderation. Again, for something like the Your Choice portion of a packet distribution, I would have no problem with a bonus on like "Panthers" that might use something from history, something vaguely trashy, and something from music. If someone gets pissed because they thought all of it thought was going to be on the Agadir incident, then, well, sorry, that's not what the bonus is about. Obviously, not all editors agree with this style, which is fine.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Birdofredum Sawin » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:30 pm

Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote:
Mixed impure academic is pretty obnoxious. A team in my room got all excited for a bonus when they knew the first part cold... and proceeded to 10 it because it changed directions twice. They were pretty bummed. While the bonus on horse parts was pretty dumb, GK questions on one theme are less gimmicky than "hey look the word panther! I think the point to be had here, though, is that GK/the other topics Andy mentioned can't be filled with good questions--with the exception of the occasional "mixed academic" question that doesn't contain some bizarre chimera of trash and academic clues--and should be ditched.
I don't really get this critique. (For what it's worth, I wrote the possibly offensive bonus.) Since when is there an implied guarantee that a bonus whose first part is on "Dvorak" will invariably have two other parts that will also be on Dvorak?

I used the same kind of "Answer A leads to answer B which leads to answer C" format with questions in other subcategories. For instance, I wrote a "MI" bonus whose answers were Alice Munro, Sophie Kovalevskaya, and the Swedish language. I would argue that that bonus would have been fine in the "Your Choice" section of an ACF tournament; I'd also observe that it employed exactly the same structure as the "Dvorak leads to Florida Panthers leads to Rilke" bonus. If you know all about Alice Munro, get really excited to hear a bonus part on her, and then get "pretty bummed" when the question veers in other directions, I'd be inclined to say "too bad; this is a perfectly acceptable bonus that just didn't happen to take the direction you were hoping it might."
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Kyle » Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:09 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:I don't think it will ever be possible for me to have an objective opinion about this tournament, but here is one thing I did notice:

During the early rounds of the initial round robin, there was a rumor going around that many of the Current Events questions were written out of the most recent issue of the Economist. Now, it so happens that I read the most recent issue of the Economist on the plane ride from Boston to Chicago. And as the tournament continued, I noticed that many CE tossups were not just about things that were the subject of articles in the latest issue of the Economist, but also used clues that were in those articles. This was true of many, but not all, of the CE. Also some had clues that weren't in the Economist as lead-ins, but then clues from the article later.

Of course, it's possible that the Economist simply does a good job of summarizing the most important current events and that this is a coincidence.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:19 pm

Birdofredum Sawin wrote:I don't really get this critique. (For what it's worth, I wrote the possibly offensive bonus.) Since when is there an implied guarantee that a bonus whose first part is on "Dvorak" will invariably have two other parts that will also be on Dvorak?

I used the same kind of "Answer A leads to answer B which leads to answer C" format with questions in other subcategories. For instance, I wrote a "MI" bonus whose answers were Alice Munro, Sophie Kovalevskaya, and the Swedish language. I would argue that that bonus would have been fine in the "Your Choice" section of an ACF tournament; I'd also observe that it employed exactly the same structure as the "Dvorak leads to Florida Panthers leads to Rilke" bonus. If you know all about Alice Munro, get really excited to hear a bonus part on her, and then get "pretty bummed" when the question veers in other directions, I'd be inclined to say "too bad; this is a perfectly acceptable bonus that just didn't happen to take the direction you were hoping it might."
I think the difference that was visibly upsetting people is the cute and/or clever veering between trash and academic (and the in-between of GK knowledge), which your bonus avoided. It's not that the bonus wasn't on all Dvorak; it's the sort of "tee-hee, panthers!" sense of the it that teams were looking askance at. This isn't, like, the greatest sin in bonus writing, but it seemed too prevalent for comfort. Perhaps that contributed to the mental kicks in the balls Jerry mentioned.

Clearly, some players have no problem with this type of bonus, but I think I'm far from alone in objecting to them.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Auroni » Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:30 pm

Not to mention that those bonuses, if written on just one thing, don't cause repeat issues and don't exhaust other potential topics for other questions, which can get a little hard to manage in an 18 packet set. So it's beneficial to the writers and editors as well to limit or not write those bonuses at all.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by matt979 » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:42 am

Cheynem wrote:Yeah, I was really sick of literature questions that felt the need to be about "these novels take place in this city" type of thing. Again, I think a few questions like this are okay, but not a lot.
Looking just at tossup lead-ins, I could only find two Literature questions in the first 16 Division I packets where the answer is a place name (New Orleans; Virginia). (There were also lit answer choices -- Manuel, or the brain -- that fit the more general critique but not the "these novels happen here" critique quoted above.) However, five of the 17 Miscellaneous tossups in the first 16 Division I packets had place names as an answer (four cities + Greenland), and many of those had early literature clues.

For example, I wrote a Buenos Aires tossup (that's the real reason I was interested enough to look all this up) that basically goes Buenos Aires Quintet, Marcel Duchamp, The Ministry of Special Cases, Betrayed by Rita Hayworth, Mossad captured Eichmann, Pink Palace, Eva Peron.

Perhaps this actually exacerbates your critique, if there was not only too much works-set-in-this-city but also less literature in the set than you'd previously thought.

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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:22 am

The problem with place names as answers has, for me, nothing to do with places as such but rather the fact that so many of these questions were just "fill in the blank" things. A lot of common links tend to go in that direction, and that's fine, but this tournament felt like about half the literature was basically about "have you heard of this title?"
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:13 am

Yeah, not to pick on it, but the Buenos Aires tossup sort of irritated me because it felt like it wasn't rewarding deep knowledge of any of those things other than a title or a setting, which I guess is okay in a way, but was kind of frustrating. I also completely misremembered the question and thought it was all literature which made it even more unsatisfying, so that's what i was originally alluding to above. Sorry for getting that wrong.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:29 am

Oh, let me grouse for a moment about the trash distribution. First, every point I made about trash being harder than the academic content at SCT was duly ignored. The trash questions, at least the sports, remained an order of magnitude more difficult for us than almost any other category. There were very few questions that even remotely threw a bone to teams that were not hardcore followers of the sport. The predominance of baseball at a time when the NBA and MLB are approximately equal in popularity is likewise unacceptable. In fact, I don't get why there were 3 times as many hockey questions as basketball questions, and why the lone tossup I heard on the NBA was about Shawn fucking Bradley. Seriously, Shawn Bradley, a dude known for a) being tall and b) having knees made of Silly Putty? A guy who hasn't played for 5 years and wasn't relevant for another 2 years or more prior to that? What the fuck is he doing in any tournament whatsoever? Way to reward, you know, having actually watched the NBA during the last 4 years.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:41 am

To be "fair," I cannot recall any baseball questions on things from the last few years either, although there was a ton of old school baseball.

EDIT: I recall a bonus on Chone Figgins, but the other baseball questions I remember are Lou Piniella, who I guess is at least a current manager; a bonus on very old Cincinnati Reds players; a tossup on the St. Louis Browns, a team that hasn't existed for decades; a bonus on the gay Billy Beane, who hasn't played in years; and probably other stuff. This doesn't alter Jerry's point, I just wanted to point out that ICT enjoyed asking on old crap from all sports rather than recent material, which is an...odd...philosophy, I suppose.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:45 am

Yeah, I'm with Jerry here, though I know squat about the NBA so for all I knew Shawn Bradley is as well known as Kobe. I could write a hundred very hard tossups on the NFL--instead, we get the World Bowl which is just about impossible not to make into a roughly 50/50 decision with the Arena Bowl (as "hm, these are second-tier NFL players who reasonably could have been sent off for a while... man, did I play with Rohan Davey when he was on the Berlin Thunder in Madden 2005?" isn't much different from the same train of thought, but instead thinking about his stint with the New York Dragons). There is zero reason to do that unless you think that the World Bowl is more culturally important than any of the 600 current NFL starters, of whom easily fifty are better known than the World Bowl and easily two hundred are better made into a tossup. Or the fifty most famous historical NFL players. Why? Why?
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:56 am

Sid "The Limit" Chandrashekar has obscenely deep sports knowledge and locks it down at normal trash tournaments, and he was having real problems with the sports in this set.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by fleurdelivre » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:00 pm

Kyle wrote:
Whig's Boson wrote:I don't think it will ever be possible for me to have an objective opinion about this tournament, but here is one thing I did notice:

During the early rounds of the initial round robin, there was a rumor going around that many of the Current Events questions were written out of the most recent issue of the Economist. Now, it so happens that I read the most recent issue of the Economist on the plane ride from Boston to Chicago. And as the tournament continued, I noticed that many CE tossups were not just about things that were the subject of articles in the latest issue of the Economist, but also used clues that were in those articles. This was true of many, but not all, of the CE. Also some had clues that weren't in the Economist as lead-ins, but then clues from the article later.

Of course, it's possible that the Economist simply does a good job of summarizing the most important current events and that this is a coincidence.
My teammate claims that every one of his three powers in the prelims was thanks to a single issue of the Economist. Not just to the Economist in general — to a single issue of the Economist.
I remember this same feeling at SCT 2006, when Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Jean-Bertrand Aristide both came up (each having been featured recently in the Economist, though I'm not sure it was most recent edition prior to the tournament). Now, if that's how someone is writing questions, I don't particularly mind the source... I'm not even sure it's terribly unfair to benefit teams willing to follow a respected weekly news source to prep for current events, but a correlation between Economist-reading and CE points isn't precisely new, either.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:42 pm

The most objectionable thing about trash is how closely it hews to the interests of the writers. This happens in academic questions too, but with academic content, good faith arguments from importance could be made about similarly obscure answer choices; no such arguments exist for the World Bowl and Shawn Bradley.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:23 pm

By the way, will the ICT be available in electronic form? It's a real pain to have to comb through a 2-inch high stack of packets to cite the thing you want to talk about.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:25 pm

Here's the sports distribution from the ICT:

Baseball 3/3
Football 3/2
Basketball 3/3
Hockey 1/1
Soccer 1/1
Minor Sports 3/3

(There's 4/3 "miscellaneous sports" listed in the set: I broke that down by what sport it actually was and included it in the above, to see if the miscellaneous was all baseball or something.)

At least 6/6 of the above (including at least 1/1 in each of the big three sports) is required to be about the last ten years of play.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:32 pm

This is the only tournament ever to have made me cry.

You read that right. This tournament made me cry.

I've sat here for half an hour trying to think up some way to expand this into a traditional Dwight Wynne-length post, but I think the above two lines sum up everything I could say.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:39 pm

cvdwightw wrote:This is the only tournament ever to have made me cry.

You read that right. This tournament made me cry.

I've sat here for half an hour trying to think up some way to expand this into a traditional Dwight Wynne-length post, but I think the above two lines sum up everything I could say.
And, conversely, this might be the only time I actually wish one of your posts were longer (I kid, I kid).
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Apr 12, 2010 1:59 pm

grapesmoker wrote:First, every point I made about trash being harder than the academic content at SCT was duly ignored. The trash questions, at least the sports, remained an order of magnitude more difficult for us than almost any other category. There were very few questions that even remotely threw a bone to teams that were not hardcore followers of the sport.
Here's some past data:

2008 DI ICT: sports tossups answered in 84% of rooms (tournament average: 82.9%)
2009 DI SCT: sports tossups answered in 80% of rooms (tournament average: 83.1%)
2009 DI ICT: sports tossups answered in 89.5% of rooms (tournament average: 81.3%)

This doesn't suggest to me that NAQT's sports tossups have been much harder than the rest of our questions, but maybe the most recent tournaments have seen really difficult sports questions for whatever reason.

Edit: added 2009 ICT after R. fixed the server bug
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:01 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:2008 DI ICT: sports tossups answered in 84% of rooms (tournament average: 82.9%)
2009 DI SCT: sports tossups answered in 80% of rooms (tournament average: 83.1%)
2009 DI ICT: not available right now because naqt.com has decided to hate me this morning.

This doesn't suggest to me that NAQT's sports tossups have been much harder than the rest of our questions, but maybe the most recent tournaments have seen really difficult sports questions for whatever reason.
My point is that trash questions are far less generous to non-experts than their academic counterparts.

edit: and further, the kinds of things that NAQT's trash questions reward predictably represent a small and very particular slice of the total world of popular culture out there. I just find it remarkable that for all that I'm a reasonably social individual who does things like listen to music, see movies, and read the internet virtually none of the things I know anything about ever come up as trash questions at NAQT tournaments.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:08 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:Here's the sports distribution from the ICT:

Baseball 3/3
Football 3/2
Basketball 3/3
Hockey 1/1
Soccer 1/1
Minor Sports 3/3

(There's 4/3 "miscellaneous sports" listed in the set: I broke that down by what sport it actually was and included it in the above, to see if the miscellaneous was all baseball or something.)

At least 6/6 of the above (including at least 1/1 in each of the big three sports) is required to be about the last ten years of play.

All I know is that I heard 1/1 basketball, the Bradley tossup and a bonus on college ball about 15-2 upsets which I believe we simply skipped because we were trying to come back from a deficit with no time left (it didn't work). I heard most, perhaps all of the baseball, some parts of the football, all of the hockey and the Tim Howard tossup.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:17 pm

grapesmoker wrote:My point is that trash questions are far less generous to non-experts than their academic counterparts.
Here are three consecutive bonuses from round 13:
round 13 wrote: He started out as a pinch runner when he debuted for the Angels, but became their leadoff hitter after David Eckstein left the team. For 10 points each--

A. Name this utility player, who broke the Angels club record for career stolen bases in 2007.

answer: (Desmond DeChone) "Chone" _Figgins_

B. In 2009 Figgins signed with this other West Coast team, whose roster includes Felix Hernandez and Mike Sweeney.

answer: _Seattle_ _Mariners_ (accept either)

C. Sweeney made the Mariners' roster over this former Stanford star, who will now backup first base for the Texas Rangers.

answer: Ryan (F.) _Garko_


This artist depicted the medieval couple Aucassin and Nicolette as a smokestack and a water tower in one painting. For 10 points each--

A. Name this American artist, whose other works include 1918's ~Turkish Bath with Self Portrait~ and the painting ~My Egypt~.

answer: Charles _Demuth_

B. Demuth is best known for this painting of a numeral, which is based on William Carlos Williams's poem "The Great Figure."

answer: _I Saw the Figure Five in Gold_

C. Early in his career, Demuth was associated with this photographer who founded the journal ~Camera Work~.

answer: Alfred _Stieglitz_

For 10 points each--name these 18th-century Scottish philosophers:

A. He proposed a "moral sense" theory which was influential on Hume, and wrote about aesthetics in ~An Inquiry into the Original of our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue~.

answer: Francis _Hutcheson_

B. He argued that happiness is obtained through the pursuit of social goods, not selfish private goals, in 1766's ~An Essay on the History of Civil Society~.

answer: Adam _Ferguson_

C. This thinker proposed an "impartial spectator" theory of ethics in his ~Theory of Moral Sentiments~.

answer: Adam _Smith_
So, the easy/medium/hard parts for the baseball bonus are obviously Mariners/Figgins/Garko in that order. Say I decided to make this easier to give people who aren't baseball fans a better chance at 10 points. I would, for instance, add Ichiro Suzuki (the most famous Mariners player) to B. instead of Felix Hernandez (who is the second most famous). My question is: why, exactly, is that less accessible than the Scottish enlightenment bonus? Wouldn't that, in parallel, require ~Wealth of Nations~ instead of ~Theory of Moral Sentiments~?
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:31 pm

Well, I think it's a stretch to say that "every part of every sports bonus was harder for non-experts than every academic bonus"; I think that that was a perfectly fine baseball bonus, generally.

I think your argument, Jeff, suffers most from suggesting that giving the nth-best-known property of x, where x is your intended easy part answer, makes it the same difficulty as another easy part that gives the nth-best-known property of y. Are Adam Smith and the Seattle Mariners necessarily of the same difficulty when both have their second-best-known properties given? I say no.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Geringer » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:35 pm

I played the D2 set on Saturday and I kind of feel like the trash was a little more difficult than some of the other stuff. Comparing the lead-ins of two memorable questions: buzzing on "this dude lived next to Salamano" is far, far, far easy than actually buzzing about the playing career of Lou Pinella. Each player in the tournament has the potential to have read the Stranger, while 0% of the D2 field has seen Lou play live. I would estimate that the powers per question on trash was far lower than any other subject, save maybe CE and geography. I also can't recall hearing too many trash questions or even bonus parts on "this stuff is on the air/on tv/recently in theaters." In D1, there are players old enough to be my father, so this is understandable, but in a D2 field made up primarily of freshman and sophomores, constantly hearing answer lines about stuff that my parents grew up on was a little frustrating. I think I covered 24 questions only once and 18-20 for the majority of the tournament, so I could have missed some questions that would make me feel otherwise.

As a brief aside, I welcome tossups on goofy NBA centers with open arms.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:41 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:So, the easy/medium/hard parts for the baseball bonus are obviously Mariners/Figgins/Garko in that order. Say I decided to make this easier to give people who aren't baseball fans a better chance at 10 points. I would, for instance, add Ichiro Suzuki (the most famous Mariners player) to B. instead of Felix Hernandez (who is the second most famous).
I don't know who any of those people are. I guess maybe, as my dad would say, that's just a fact from my biography, but for my team, without Ichiro, this bonus is an automatic zero; compare to the other two bonuses which we would have 30d and did get 20 on, respectively (my knowledge of people named Ferguson appears to be defective).
My question is: why, exactly, is that less accessible than the Scottish enlightenment bonus? Wouldn't that, in parallel, require ~Wealth of Nations~ instead of ~Theory of Moral Sentiments~?
Because being an academic tournament means you can reasonably expect people to know Adam Smith's second most famous work. That's not the same as knowing the second most famous Seattle Mariner and that should be patently obvious. For what it's worth, I would have put "Wealth of Nations" in there; why not? It's not like you're going to fool any top-bracket team anyway, and you might as well give the lower bracket teams a bone, since many of them are probably not getting either Hutchenson or Ferguson.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Apr 12, 2010 2:51 pm

There's some conflation of trash arguments going on here. I sort of see Jeff's point, but a tossup on Lou Piniella seems perfectly fine to me [ASSUMING YOUR TOURNAMENT HAS TRASH]. He's a notable manager today and is historically important, far more so than Shawn Bradley. I will bet probably no one playing this tournament saw Lou play live, or at most, perhaps 1-2 people. I certainly didn't and neither did Frank Firke, but we both powered it because we've, I assume, read stuff about Lou Piniella and were intellectually curious about it. Now that doesn't justify asking about in the first place, but I always get leery when people object to trash questions on old things that they couldn't have seen live--hey, I never saw James G. Blaine live either!

That's a different argument than two other arguments about trash, though--I can't refute Jerry's "Trash shouldn't come up at all!" argument because, well, it's based on two different philosophies of quizbowl. My own argument is that I'm okay with trash coming up, but you could find more notable things than some of the stuff asked about. But I think this is different than Jeff's lament about too many old things coming up.
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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:41 pm

I'll start by re-issuing my yearly cry for NAQT to remove trash, at least from ICT. This is the big boys here: you don't have to coddle people who don't know/don't like academic subjects. Your trash isn't testing worthy things or making anyone happy. Why, then, is it there? In particular, you have so few questions that you're always going to have large skews (that people will spend most of every ICT thread discussing, no doubt.) As the leader of the nationally competitive team that benefits at least second-most from trash: please, please, please get rid of trash!
I'd like to say this ICT was probably the best so far in the mean, but it had a couple packets (7 and 12) that I found very poor. If my judgment is right there, that's unacceptable at a nationals, since any game is potentially very high leverage. This set had far too many superficial common link tossups, especially in literature and social science. I also thought that some categories were much more willing to do odd things than others; for example, there was always a steady diet of straightforward geography, but there were sometimes entire rounds without a straightforward literature question. I think that's an issue you guys should think about: you need to consider more carefully the types of questions you ask, across categories.
All that said, this was a good set in the mean. In particular, it did a much better job of having no really awful answers (that I can remember,) which I applaud. The science was much, much better than anything I can remember from an NAQT set. There was steadily real chemistry, math, biology, physics, and other stuff. Even in such usual NAQT bugbears as astronomy, the questions seemed better. My usual strong suits of physics and math sometimes didn't play my way (that's a criticism of me, incidentally) but I thought they were systematically the best I've seen in an NAQT set. I didn't think the bonuses were too variable, contra what some others have said; I actually thought this set did a decent job on that front.
Those are first impressions. As my evaluations of sets I've played important matches on is not always trusted even by me, take that for what it's worth. I may have further things to say later, once if I get a chance to read the questions (also, to agree with Jerry, electronic copies would be nice and would save us a good deal of trouble.)

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Re: 2010 ICT discussion

Post by Cheynem » Mon Apr 12, 2010 3:58 pm

I felt that the non-common link philosophy and social science questions were actually quite exciting and interesting. Having Robert Fogel come up was amazing.
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