Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Matt Weiner » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:18 pm

Look, certainly it's within Harvard's rights to create a difficult tournament, and there may be a niche served by an event where lots of top national teams can come together and play a difficult tournament. The problems are:

1) Harvard seemingly insisting that all tournaments should look like this and the other 95% of teams can go copulate themselves - Ted calling HSAPQ tournaments "illegitimate" as discriminators between top teams, etc
2) The notion that this tournament is written this way for some grand reason other than "no one at Harvard has the interest or ability to write questions at the correct difficulty level for high school quizbowl"
3) The crazy self-evaluation problem that plagues quizbowl in general. This is something that Harvard did not invent but is only participating in. Every year we get subpar tournaments where the random unqualified editors of said events assure us that they personally made sure the questions were good (Fall Novice, anyone?) In this case, Stephen Liu is getting all indignant that we're not taking his word for it when he assures us he made HFT a good event. Stephen, who are you besides some guy who was pretty good as a player in high school and is now pretty good as a player in college? Where did you learn to write or edit? Who taught you? What have you worked on before? Are you relying on anything to establish your credibility besides your skill as a player and the fact that you go to Harvard? Neither of those things mean that you are even a competent editor, let alone someone who is such a great editor that you can simply assert this tournament was well-edited and expect us to believe you without question.
4) Short memories about terrible ideas. Ted seems unaware that the idea of creating an "easy" version of HFT where none of the answers changed but the first couple of lines were removed from every tossup was already tried. This is strange, since it was done for HFT 2008, a tournament he participated in creating. I for one did not have a good time reading the shortened "easy" version of tossups on the Euler totient function to the VCU field.
5) The missed opportunity for growing high school quizbowl in New England. While it's not necessarily any obligation of Harvard to do more than what they do right now to attract Massachusetts teams (which, as best I can tell from the outside, is literally nothing, combined with giving them questions that will have a questionable impact at best on interest in quizbowl at any school that does show up), people who are interested in growing participation need to find a better way to do it. This tournament is not equipped to do outreach of any kind, nor is it interested. Any strategy that involves sending more new teams to HFT is going to be counterproductive.
6) The usual lack of care shown to making a tournament readable/playable by people not steeped in quizbowlese and typo-tongue. I certainly remember the problems with mirroring HFT down here, particularly in 2009 when the packets only technically qualified as English. I don't care who the audience of your tournament is, this needs to stop.

I think this year marked the end of the "everyone in every corner of the country should run a local mirror of our difficult tournament for top teams who already flew to Harvard to play it" trend, so that's progress at least.

This is going to be a hard tournament where people not in line for the top two brackets at NSC are not going to be able to answer a good deal of the questions. That's a fact. If other teams, fully aware of that, still want to play it, good for them. But let's not pretend that this isn't the case, or that high school quizbowl can survive any more tournaments turning to this model.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Not That Kind of Christian!! » Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:58 pm

It seems like the self-evident response to point 3 is simply the opinions of all the coaches and players who've posted on here so far saying that all their players enjoyed themselves, even those who had PPBs that Yoda would only need one hand to count...
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Mooman » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:01 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Look, certainly it's within Harvard's rights to create a difficult tournament, and there may be a niche served by an event where lots of top national teams can come together and play a difficult tournament. The problems are:

1) Harvard seemingly insisting that all tournaments should look like this and the other 95% of teams can go copulate themselves - Ted calling HSAPQ tournaments "illegitimate" as discriminators between top teams, etc
2) The notion that this tournament is written this way for some grand reason other than "no one at Harvard has the interest or ability to write questions at the correct difficulty level for high school quizbowl"
3) The crazy self-evaluation problem that plagues quizbowl in general. This is something that Harvard did not invent but is only participating in. Every year we get subpar tournaments where the random unqualified editors of said events assure us that they personally made sure the questions were good (Fall Novice, anyone?) In this case, Stephen Liu is getting all indignant that we're not taking his word for it when he assures us he made HFT a good event. Stephen, who are you besides some guy who was pretty good as a player in high school and is now pretty good as a player in college? Where did you learn to write or edit? Who taught you? What have you worked on before? Are you relying on anything to establish your credibility besides your skill as a player and the fact that you go to Harvard? Neither of those things mean that you are even a competent editor, let alone someone who is such a great editor that you can simply assert this tournament was well-edited and expect us to believe you without question.
4) Short memories about terrible ideas. Ted seems unaware that the idea of creating an "easy" version of HFT where none of the answers changed but the first couple of lines were removed from every tossup was already tried. This is strange, since it was done for HFT 2008, a tournament he participated in creating. I for one did not have a good time reading the shortened "easy" version of tossups on the Euler totient function to the VCU field.
5) The missed opportunity for growing high school quizbowl in New England. While it's not necessarily any obligation of Harvard to do more than what they do right now to attract Massachusetts teams (which, as best I can tell from the outside, is literally nothing, combined with giving them questions that will have a questionable impact at best on interest in quizbowl at any school that does show up), people who are interested in growing participation need to find a better way to do it. This tournament is not equipped to do outreach of any kind, nor is it interested. Any strategy that involves sending more new teams to HFT is going to be counterproductive.
6) The usual lack of care shown to making a tournament readable/playable by people not steeped in quizbowlese and typo-tongue. I certainly remember the problems with mirroring HFT down here, particularly in 2009 when the packets only technically qualified as English. I don't care who the audience of your tournament is, this needs to stop.

I think this year marked the end of the "everyone in every corner of the country should run a local mirror of our difficult tournament for top teams who already flew to Harvard to play it" trend, so that's progress at least.

This is going to be a hard tournament where people not in line for the top two brackets at NSC are not going to be able to answer a good deal of the questions. That's a fact. If other teams, fully aware of that, still want to play it, good for them. But let's not pretend that this isn't the case, or that high school quizbowl can survive any more tournaments turning to this model.


1) I don't think anybody is saying that HSAPQ is somehow illegitimate at distinguishing top teams, but wouldn't you agree though that somewhat harder questions do a better job at distinguishing top teams? HSAPQ questions are certainly good, but there's a reason why NASAT is harder than standard HSAPQ sets. As Stephen said before there is also a reason why State College didn't really go to many standard difficulty high school tournaments the past couple of years, and why top teams come to Harvard to play HFT.
2) No need to start a flame war.
3) I certainly don't have much writing experience so I'm not particularly qualified to comment on the set, but can we at least wait until the set is out to criticize the editors? I'm not saying the questions were necessarily good, and sure the set was definitely a bit harder than a standard high school set, but I think calling Stephen out as an incompetent editor (which is what "neither of those things mean that you are even a competent editor" pretty much is saying) seems a bit premature to me. It seems based on the comments in this thread that most teams rather enjoyed HFT, although there may be some amount of response bias to that.
4) If I recall when playing HFT back then, some of the answer lines were changed between the two. If there were an honest effort two write two different question levels I agree that more than just lopping off the beginning of questions would probably be required and a fair amount of effort would have to go into adapting the questions.The answerlines for this year's HFT were for the most part more reasonable than back then, I think.
5) I think we all agree that using HFT to attract new teams without any quizbowl experience isn't the world's best idea under the current HFT. Perhaps it would be under a (well thought-out and carefully implemented) two question-set style tournament. Perhaps the idea of doing some sort of HMMT-like thing with a smaller "local" tournament and a bigger "national" tournament would be a good idea...
6) This was certainly an issue that hopefully will be dealt with this week.

I don't think HFT this year was as hard or impossible as some of the people on the board are suggesting. The stats for the Michigan mirror definitely suggest that the set was most likely too hard, and the set definitely is somewhat hard, but the stats from the Georgia mirror seem pretty decent for the most part.
I could definitely be wrong seeing that I'm not as quizbowl experienced as many, but we'll see once the set is released. Thank you for your critiques and suggstions Matt.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby DrCongo » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:14 pm

I wouldn't use Michigan stats as a good gauge for the difficulty of a tournament because as a whole Michigan quiz bowl isn't all that strong. MSU probably should have chosen an easier house write.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby gyre and gimble » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:15 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Look, certainly it's within Harvard's rights to create a difficult tournament, and there may be a niche served by an event where lots of top national teams can come together and play a difficult tournament. The problems are:

1) Harvard seemingly insisting that all tournaments should look like this and the other 95% of teams can go copulate themselves - Ted calling HSAPQ tournaments "illegitimate" as discriminators between top teams, etc
2) The notion that this tournament is written this way for some grand reason other than "no one at Harvard has the interest or ability to write questions at the correct difficulty level for high school quizbowl"
3) The crazy self-evaluation problem that plagues quizbowl in general. This is something that Harvard did not invent but is only participating in. Every year we get subpar tournaments where the random unqualified editors of said events assure us that they personally made sure the questions were good (Fall Novice, anyone?) In this case, Stephen Liu is getting all indignant that we're not taking his word for it when he assures us he made HFT a good event. Stephen, who are you besides some guy who was pretty good as a player in high school and is now pretty good as a player in college? Where did you learn to write or edit? Who taught you? What have you worked on before? Are you relying on anything to establish your credibility besides your skill as a player and the fact that you go to Harvard? Neither of those things mean that you are even a competent editor, let alone someone who is such a great editor that you can simply assert this tournament was well-edited and expect us to believe you without question.
4) Short memories about terrible ideas. Ted seems unaware that the idea of creating an "easy" version of HFT where none of the answers changed but the first couple of lines were removed from every tossup was already tried. This is strange, since it was done for HFT 2008, a tournament he participated in creating. I for one did not have a good time reading the shortened "easy" version of tossups on the Euler totient function to the VCU field.
5) The missed opportunity for growing high school quizbowl in New England. While it's not necessarily any obligation of Harvard to do more than what they do right now to attract Massachusetts teams (which, as best I can tell from the outside, is literally nothing, combined with giving them questions that will have a questionable impact at best on interest in quizbowl at any school that does show up), people who are interested in growing participation need to find a better way to do it. This tournament is not equipped to do outreach of any kind, nor is it interested. Any strategy that involves sending more new teams to HFT is going to be counterproductive.
6) The usual lack of care shown to making a tournament readable/playable by people not steeped in quizbowlese and typo-tongue. I certainly remember the problems with mirroring HFT down here, particularly in 2009 when the packets only technically qualified as English. I don't care who the audience of your tournament is, this needs to stop.

I think this year marked the end of the "everyone in every corner of the country should run a local mirror of our difficult tournament for top teams who already flew to Harvard to play it" trend, so that's progress at least.

This is going to be a hard tournament where people not in line for the top two brackets at NSC are not going to be able to answer a good deal of the questions. That's a fact. If other teams, fully aware of that, still want to play it, good for them. But let's not pretend that this isn't the case, or that high school quizbowl can survive any more tournaments turning to this model.


1) There are a couple of things wrong with this point. First, I don't recall Ted asserting that every set should look like HFT. I don't know where you get things like this but you should probably stop stating them just to make people look bad. Second, Ted's ideas do not represent what every person on the Harvard team thinks, so please don't use "Harvard" and "Ted" interchangeably.

2) I really don't understand why you would make this an issue, or even raise this question. What evidence do you have that we didn't set out to write a tournament that was more difficult than usual because we wanted to make it worth it for teams flying in from all over the country? Or that we wrote challenging questions because that's the sort of niche that HFT has come or is coming to fill? I personally don't think we need to be writing another set every year at the difficulty of HSAPQ sets because there's plenty of those and if people want to run a tournament on questions like that, I'd prefer they play HSAPQ or NAQT questions because hey, those companies are businesses and I like to see quizbowl businesses doing well. So yes, there was a "grand reason" behind the difficulty of this tournament other than that we are a bunch of lazy elitists.

3) When did I imply that I was a great editor? Why would you not take my word for it when I say things like "I promise you that there were no bonuses on works of Roland Barthes or tossups on Haldor Laxness or whatever screwed up HFT in 2008" or "I'll also say that I compared this year's answer selection to last year's to make this year's set easier, given the complaints about difficulty we had last year"? These are pretty objective things that aren't hard to accomplish by any editor, regardless of experience.

In fact, I didn't even really talk about how good the editing was for this tournament. My posts here were regarding the philosophy behind choosing what topics to ask about, not my competency at meeting the requirements of whatever your philosophy or the accepted philosophy is. I'm quite aware that this set was difficult for random schools in Michigan. What I was asking was whether this is something I as an editor should be worrying about. I'm certainly accepting of the fact that this is the first set I ever edited and that I've never assumed such a role before, and I'm not too proud or self-deluding to take Daniel Hothem's advice and playtest our questions with more experienced editors next year, or to consider any other pieces of advice people have to offer. Really, I'd rather you be patient with me and explain to me why my philosophy is misguided, since you obviously think my choices for answer lines comes from my lack of editing experience. How is making stuff up about how I'm over-evaluating myself helpful? Do you just want me stop talking because as a new editor I really don't have a say in the matter?

Also, I'm going to ask you to stop using the fact that I or any of my teammates "go to Harvard" to make your points, because that really has nothing to do with any of this and you should be old enough to know that. Or at least several years of interacting with Dallas should have taught you that not everyone who goes to Harvard is some sort of delusional narcissist.

6) Your criticisms here are perfectly justified and I'll do my best to make the typos stop.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Auroni » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:22 pm

I don't think anybody is saying that HSAPQ is somehow illegitimate at distinguishing top teams, but wouldn't you agree though that somewhat harder questions do a better job at distinguishing top teams?


I'm not entirely convinced of this fact. Yes, top teams buzz on lines 2-3 on most tossups at regular high school difficulty level. Yes, they get 25 ppb on the bonuses that they hear. I still think that there's a lot of room for improvement here -- they don't get consistent leadin buzzes and it's not that they rarely miss a bonus part.

Moreover, there are quite a few questions that are written on unconventional answers that are nevertheless easy to pick up by the end. For example, a lot of social history questions fit into this category. I don't think that all of the top teams are automatically as good at questions on creative answer lines as they have proven themselves to be on questions on answer lines that show up at every tournament.

There's still room to distinguish between two top-notch teams on HSAPQ's and NAQT's regular difficulty sets, as well as such excellent vendor sets as OLEFIN, LIST, and Prison Bowl.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby TheKingInYellow » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:24 pm

Speaking from my past experience as a high school player on a pretty good team, I would disagree with you Auroni.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Auroni » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:27 pm

I was trying to argue that at regular sets, games between top teams don't come down to chance.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby TheKingInYellow » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:43 pm

Yeah, I was disagreeing.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Distance model » Tue Nov 15, 2011 2:58 pm

Looking back at my previous comment (which was actually in the other thread), I think I can say something a bit more helpful than I did before. One typo I would definitely fix if I were the editors of this set is "lead" for "led"; this happened quite a lot and I managed to get tripped up by it nearly every time. I will admit to being somewhat easily flustered while moderating, though, and others may not have been bothered so much. Typos in function words, though there were quite a few, weren't so bad as the occasional lack of an important content word, e.g. "This author of Previous Bonus Part wrote about a called 'Title Location' in another work."

Other things I thought there should have been more of were original-language titles and parses thereof (and alternate non-literal translated titles), e.g. the answer line for the fictional German novel ANSWER: Harvard Fall Tournament [or Tournament in the Fall; or Der Wettkampf im Herbst; or (The) Competition in (the) Autumn] was often just ANSWER: Harvard Fall Tournament. A few times, I wasn't sure whether something was close enough to accept as a potential translation because I didn't have any information about the original title (e.g., if a team said "The Autumn Championship" -- i.e., something which I now know I was right to disallow after looking it up, but help with this from the packet would have been nice). Obviously nobody's knowledge of such things can ever be perfect, but in many cases it can be looked up when writing/editing.

Also (to use an example that didn't come up): stuff like "Note to moderator: do not mention the name 'Mahler' when revealing the answer to the first part" if the answer is "Symphony of a Thousand" and the second part asks for "Mahler". I caught myself (and admittely should have looked at the entire bonus first), but this also could have been helpful.

On New England quizbowl: I agree that if an effort is made to strengthen HS quizbowl in general in the area, HFT won't be in this position of trying (or being expected to try) to be all things to all people, which would be good. In particular, if we're successful in resurrecting MITBAT in the long term -- being new to MIT and all, I'm not one of the people personally in charge of it, but I'm getting the impression that there is significant local interest in coming to MITBAT, which is also good.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Coldblueberry » Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:20 pm

[quote="People"]social science blah...quote]


?

At least in my school, we are REQUIRED to spend as much time on social science (Gov and Econ; one semester each) as we are for chem, bio, world history, us history...etc. We need those classes to graduate. Plus, AP Psych is a popular class... The only problem is sociology then.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Cheynem » Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:24 pm

This is not true for many other schools.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Coldblueberry » Tue Nov 15, 2011 3:39 pm

Well, what about other Quizbowl subjects that aren't being "attacked":

AP World History has 160,000 test takers in 2010
Bio has 170,000.
Ap Physics B has only 60,000 and the curriculum barely relates to Quizbowl, unlike Gov (personal experience.)
Physics C has only 30,000 (!).

Compared to social science subjects:

AP Gov has 200,000, and at least in my school, it's a SENIOR course.
AP Micro and Macro have 130,000 combined; it's a SENIOR course and idk the difference between them...
AP Psych has 150,000, and it's not a required course at my school.


Data from wikipedia, which in turn got data from the Collegeboard reports.

Used AP data because there's no other available comprehensive and accurate data regarding the course availability in schools across the country.
Besides, Quizbowlers are usually more academically motivated than average high schoolers...

The point of this post: partially prove that social sciences aren't lacking in the curriculum of high schools.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Yellow-throated Honeyeater » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:06 pm

You are comparing AP courses that are designed to be first year courses in a field to AP courses that are designed to be second or third year courses in a field. There are about 4,000,000 high school seniors each year, and they all have taken history at some point during high school.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:00 pm

I think comparing AP test information is an especially poor way to go about this - you would be astounded at the number of schools (especially small rural schools) where AP classes aren't offered, or at how few of them are offered even at some large, suburban schools schools.

On different matters:

I think part of the reason so many people have expressed frustration at HFT's difficulty is not inherently because it's harder than usual, but because it's part of a frustratingly large group of tournaments that have been harder than usual in the recent past, and because of the proliferation of HFT mirrors. If Harvard really wants their event to be the preeminent event of the regular season using questions that are going to be challenging to many top teams who will flock to play it, then I think we need to make it clear to other housewriters that they can't also write sets that are of a similar difficulty, and basically set aside HFT as the hard set of the year. Similarly, a lot more discretion would need to be shown in where it gets mirrored, rather than just giving it to everyone that wants to run a set that's got the Harvard name on it. If these things were to become standard, then I think there would be basically nothing wrong with the current model of HFT. I also think it would be necessary for people to abandon all hope of HFT being the catalyst to create the Massachussetts circuit. On this path, the only way Harvard could really be effective would be for them to host some other, much easier tournament that's geared explicitly towards local teams, similar to Yale's FACT. I have no idea if Harvard has any interest in doing this, so unless they do I think we should basically write off HFT being used for local expansion.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Cody » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:03 pm

College Park Spyders wrote:I think part of the reason so many people have expressed frustration at HFT's difficulty is not inherently because it's harder than usual, but because it's part of a frustratingly large group of tournaments that have been harder than usual in the recent past, and because of the proliferation of HFT mirrors.
A lot of the frustration also comes from Harvard continually lying about the difficulty of their tournament, leaving TDs at mirror sites in a very uncomfortable position.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Madagascar Serpent Eagle » Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:42 pm

SirT wrote:
College Park Spyders wrote:I think part of the reason so many people have expressed frustration at HFT's difficulty is not inherently because it's harder than usual, but because it's part of a frustratingly large group of tournaments that have been harder than usual in the recent past, and because of the proliferation of HFT mirrors.
A lot of the frustration also comes from Harvard continually lying about the difficulty of their tournament, leaving TDs at mirror sites in a very uncomfortable position.


While I don't know if I would say lying in boldface, I certainly wouldn't have recommend that we mirror it had I been aware in advance of its difficulty. I was under the impression that this set was intended to be easier than last year's, and, personally, I feel like this year was significantly more difficult.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Coldblueberry » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:41 pm

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:You are comparing AP courses that are designed to be first year courses in a field to AP courses that are designed to be second or third year courses in a field. There are about 4,000,000 high school seniors each year, and they all have taken history at some point during high school.


You have your experiences and I have mine. I don't really understand what you're trying to say with your post. FYI, history is usually 4/4, compared to SS's 1/1.

As I said, there's no way to see the popularity of high-school courses other than AP/IB stats or some massive highschool website digging. AP subject population should at least sufficiently reflect the popularity of certain regular courses: U.S. History and English are popular no matter what (math doesn't count because only Calc is available) and Music Theory and Italian are popular in neither AP nor regular courses...
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Cheynem » Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:46 pm

I think Dr. Reinstein is trying to state that so many people take "AP Gov" because it's an intro course that covers a wide range of topics, many of which are extremely difficult to ask about in quizbowl. However, while not as many people take "AP World History" (a more advanced class), almost everyone does take some sort of history class in their high school career.

Also, Charlie is right about the lack of AP classes at many schools. I went to a rural school and took all of the available AP classes--Calc, Stats, and Spanish, almost none of which were helpful in quizbowl, by the way. AP classes are a very incomplete way of tracking what people learn in high school.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Charbroil » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:33 pm

Coldblueberry wrote:...As I said, there's no way to see the popularity of high-school courses other than AP/IB stats or some massive highschool website digging...


I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that every school requires students to take some sort of US history class, class that covers non-US history in some way, physical science class which at least covers the basics of physics and chemistry, and some sort of biology/life sciences class. In contrast, plenty of schools don't have social science classes, or at least only offer them as optional classes*.

In other words, every team should have some knowledge of those areas of the "canon," while it's quite possible to have a team of four reasonably intellectually curious, intelligent, high schoolers with good grades which has essentially zero knowledge of social sciences.

* To contribute my personal experience of this, at my high school, sociology and psychology were essentially classes for people who didn't want to take an actual history class (AP US or Euro) but still wanted four years of social studies.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Cody » Tue Nov 15, 2011 10:35 pm

Coldblueberry wrote:You have your experiences and I have mine. I don't really understand what you're trying to say with your post. FYI, history is usually 4/4, compared to SS's 1/1.
You have your experiences at a very good school in a very affluent county. Not everyone is lucky enough to go to one of the top 100 schools in America, so you should probably refrain from trying to generalize your experience to the uncountably numerous students who haven't been afforded the same advantages you have.

Coldblueberry wrote:As I said, there's no way to see the popularity of high-school courses other than AP/IB stats or some massive highschool website digging. AP subject population should at least sufficiently reflect the popularity of certain regular courses: U.S. History and English are popular no matter what (math doesn't count because only Calc is available) and Music Theory and Italian are popular in neither AP nor regular courses...
AP subject population doesn't reflect the popularity of certain regular courses at all. At least in Virginia, US History is a required course (along with Government) of every single high school student. Biology, while not strictly required as you only have to take two (three if you get an advanced diploma) of earth science, biology, chemistry and physics, is still taken by almost every single high school student (if not all. It's very common to skip Earth Science but I'm not aware of anyone not taking Bio). However, 3 times as many people take the APUSH exam as the Biology one, which clearly reflects how common it is for US History to be offered as an AP course vs Biology and has nothing to do at all with whether people are actually taking US History or Biology. In fact, even though Calculus isn't even required to be taught (and certainly wasn't at my high school), one and a half as many people took the AP Calc exam as the AP Biology exam, which you can't honestly expect me to believe actually reflects the distribution of what classes are taught in high school.

Also, this is completely tangential to the point that plenty of schools don't even offer any of these social science classes in any form.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby ryandillon » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:34 pm

And even if social science classes are offered in schools, they aren't always in-depth enough to give kids any basis of knowledge regarding stuff that comes up in quiz bowl. At my school, AP classes in economics and psychology weren't offered, and even though they had non-AP versions of the class, they were just simple intro classes that didn't really serve any good with regard to getting a handle on the canon. At least from what I've seen, the only people who are really adept at social science questions at a high school level gain the majority of their knowledge from reading old questions anyways, so even if the amount of AP classes was something that accurately measured the popularity of these courses in every high school, I feel that it wouldn't really matter too much in the quiz bowl realm.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Broad-tailed Grassbird » Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:40 am

DrCongo wrote:I wouldn't use Michigan stats as a good gauge for the difficulty of a tournament because as a whole Michigan quiz bowl isn't all that strong. MSU probably should have chosen an easier house write.


We had our reservations about some of the other housewrites, which is why we picked HFT. I gave Harvard the benefit of the doubt, because they had a lot more experience writing. Additionally, we went the idea that teams would rather play HFT rather than another housewrite based on the fact that it was Harvard. If we had mirrored DAFT, DCC probably would have still gone to the main site last week, and sent teams to the A-set in Ohio this week.

We thought some of the following schools which would find the difficulty appropriate would show up:
Detroit Catholic Central B-D (they went to an A-set, but I'm not going to question Jones on how he runs his program)
Novi
Dewitt
Okemos
U of D Jesuit
Lansing Catholic
Troy
Utica Academy
Farmington

There is also a group of schools which for whatever reason don't come out here often if ever, who would have found this set appropriate:
Plymouth
Northville
Churchill
There are others, but I have no idea who they are because they never play outside of leagues.


The biggest issue here is that teams in Michigan only want to play NAQT. In 2007, 12 teams in Michigan went to HSNCT at O'Hare, some 4 hours away. 4 teams managed to go to PACE NSC which happened to be in Ann Arbor. One time when I was TDing, I told a coach that his team had qualified for NSC, he said, "Oh we don't care about that." That seems to still be the prevailing thought despite NSC being in Chicago and HSNCT being in Atlanta. There does need to be some sort of outreach here, but I'm more concerned with the fact that Western Michigan is another country that is more or less void of good quizbowl, than the fact that schools from Detroit and Lansing choose only to play IS sets and HSNCT.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Newsteinleo » Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:45 am

I feel one of the problems is that there aren't enough house written tournaments to bring enough exposure to non-NAQT tournaments in Michigan. The only one that I know of in the last few years is DCC's tournament, which many teams went purely out of convenience.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Magister Ludi » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:03 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Look, certainly it's within Harvard's rights to create a difficult tournament, and there may be a niche served by an event where lots of top national teams can come together and play a difficult tournament. The problems are:

1) Harvard seemingly insisting that all tournaments should look like this and the other 95% of teams can go copulate themselves - Ted calling HSAPQ tournaments "illegitimate" as discriminators between top teams, etc
2) The notion that this tournament is written this way for some grand reason other than "no one at Harvard has the interest or ability to write questions at the correct difficulty level for high school quizbowl"
3) The crazy self-evaluation problem that plagues quizbowl in general. This is something that Harvard did not invent but is only participating in. Every year we get subpar tournaments where the random unqualified editors of said events assure us that they personally made sure the questions were good (Fall Novice, anyone?) In this case, Stephen Liu is getting all indignant that we're not taking his word for it when he assures us he made HFT a good event. Stephen, who are you besides some guy who was pretty good as a player in high school and is now pretty good as a player in college? Where did you learn to write or edit? Who taught you? What have you worked on before? Are you relying on anything to establish your credibility besides your skill as a player and the fact that you go to Harvard? Neither of those things mean that you are even a competent editor, let alone someone who is such a great editor that you can simply assert this tournament was well-edited and expect us to believe you without question.
4) Short memories about terrible ideas. Ted seems unaware that the idea of creating an "easy" version of HFT where none of the answers changed but the first couple of lines were removed from every tossup was already tried. This is strange, since it was done for HFT 2008, a tournament he participated in creating. I for one did not have a good time reading the shorten "easy" version of tossups on the Euler totient function to the VCU field.
5) The missed opportunity for growing high school quizbowl in New England. While it's not necessarily any obligation of Harvard to do more than what they do right now to attract Massachusetts teams (which, as best I can tell from the outside, is literally nothing, combined with giving them questions that will have a questionable impact at best on interest in quizbowl at any school that does show up), people who are interested in growing participation need to find a better way to do it. This tournament is not equipped to do outreach of any kind, nor is it interested. Any strategy that involves sending more new teams to HFT is going to be counterproductive.
6) The usual lack of care shown to making a tournament readable/playable by people not steeped in quizbowlese and typo-tongue. I certainly remember the problems with mirroring HFT down here, particularly in 2009 when the packets only technically qualified as English. I don't care who the audience of your tournament is, this needs to stop.

I think this year marked the end of the "everyone in every corner of the country should run a local mirror of our difficult tournament for top teams who already flew to Harvard to play it" trend, so that's progress at least.

This is going to be a hard tournament where people not in line for the top two brackets at NSC are not going to be able to answer a good deal of the questions. That's a fact. If other teams, fully aware of that, still want to play it, good for them. But let's not pretend that this isn't the case, or that high school quizbowl can survive any more tournaments turning to this model.



I haven't read most of the posts in this thread, but will simly engage with this post as as a cogent summary of the various problems plaguing the reception of HFT.

1- This is an example of Matt's primary arguing technique of presenting a caricature of someone's argument and then making that caricature the argument he responds to rather than the real argument. I'm not saying 95% of the country should "suck it" as Matt claims. I think that high school quizbowl has a problem that good high school teams don't play high school tournaments very much anymore and we are trying to write a tournament that is valid for those top teams to play on. In reality, HSAPQ isn't a very valid way to determine the differences in skill between best teams, which is why we don't use HSAPQ difficulty at the NSC and the HSNCT. To offer a hypothetical example, there is a problem where an easy part on Sylvia Plath is wildly inaccessible for the bottom barrel of teams, so we are faced with a choice of making every literature and arts easy part something like Shakespeare, Michelangelo, or T. S. Eliot or having those teams get 5 ppb.

So the choice is to systemically switch every easy part way down so Michigan County D will get 5-6 more easy parts and the swath of easy teams have slightly higher points per bonus, but the opportunity cost of making those parts as easy as an HSAPQ set is that HFT will be invalid for making distinctions between the top teams. So we are not writing a tournament geared towards the top teams per se, but rather one of the few high school tournaments of the year in which we can tell top high school teams that they can expect a meaningful tournament for someone of their skill.

Most of the tossup answers (75-85%) in the areas I am knowledgeable about, outside of the finals packets, were the run-of-the-mill, ultra-accessible answers typical of every high school tournament.

2- This comment is just a pointless jab at our writing team. Moreover, Stephen is a perfectly good writer and from my personal evaluation would be in the upper half of the writing staffs of HSAPQ and NAQT if he joined.

3- Stop berating us for alienating teams with the difficulty of the tournament-- WHEN THOSE TEAMS LIKED THE TOURNAMENT! Every year the internet demagogues treat this tournament as their ideological whipping boy to further their own ideas about difficulty, but it would be great to hear from the actual teams who played. You in fact are guilty of evaluation bias yourself when you assume the bonus conversion rate of the bottom ten teams is the only factor we should use when evaluating whether a set is successful when you haven't even seen the questions. We had the most overwhelmingly positive reception to HFT this year that we have ever had, and we will value the responses of the coaches survey about what they would like to see changed much more than the typical board posters who criticize this tournament every year regardless.

4) I was perfectly aware of the problems with the 2008 HFT, but in fact you are the one who is "unaware" of the distinction I was trying to make. As I said earlier, it wouldn't take any extra work to produce a version of the set with slightly longer version of the set for the top bracket that better approximates nationals questions because most people write their questions longer anyway. To take a hypothetical example, that Tess of the D'Urbervilles tossup would be 7 lines long like you would see in the NSC rather than 5 lines. This suggestion was something that might improve the experience of the top teams, which I understand is something you don't care about so I would expect you to dismiss this idea immediately.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Remember-the-Alamo-Remember-Goliad » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:06 pm

I have a lot of respect for Matt's perspective on things even if we clashed on some points. Especially, regarding the point of 'growing QB" under # 5, I think he is right on the money. When a given school, coach, regional tournament (whatever!) is too busy to actually assist the formation of new teams at new schools while increasing the quality of play in general, then the warrant for the slow death of Academic Qiuz Bowl has already been written. In Texas, Chris Romero has done a tremendous amount of new, innovative things at the HS level and the MS level -- sure, not all of them are a home run, but at least he is trying -- and making the expansion of our state programs better and better is a priority that he communicates to those of us in Texas. In my own very, very small bailiwick in north Texas, there have been a couple of teams I've helped lauch and kept going. My point is not self-indulgence or praise, despite the obvious, but rather simply to remind one and all that this focus on renewal and expansion MUST be a top, top priority. Thanks for listening and reading!
Matt Weiner wrote:Look, certainly it's within Harvard's rights to create a difficult tournament, and there may be a niche served by an event where lots of top national teams can come together and play a difficult tournament. The problems are:

1) Harvard seemingly insisting that all tournaments should look like this and the other 95% of teams can go copulate themselves - Ted calling HSAPQ tournaments "illegitimate" as discriminators between top teams, etc
2) The notion that this tournament is written this way for some grand reason other than "no one at Harvard has the interest or ability to write questions at the correct difficulty level for high school quizbowl"
3) The crazy self-evaluation problem that plagues quizbowl in general. This is something that Harvard did not invent but is only participating in. Every year we get subpar tournaments where the random unqualified editors of said events assure us that they personally made sure the questions were good (Fall Novice, anyone?) In this case, Stephen Liu is getting all indignant that we're not taking his word for it when he assures us he made HFT a good event. Stephen, who are you besides some guy who was pretty good as a player in high school and is now pretty good as a player in college? Where did you learn to write or edit? Who taught you? What have you worked on before? Are you relying on anything to establish your credibility besides your skill as a player and the fact that you go to Harvard? Neither of those things mean that you are even a competent editor, let alone someone who is such a great editor that you can simply assert this tournament was well-edited and expect us to believe you without question.
4) Short memories about terrible ideas. Ted seems unaware that the idea of creating an "easy" version of HFT where none of the answers changed but the first couple of lines were removed from every tossup was already tried. This is strange, since it was done for HFT 2008, a tournament he participated in creating. I for one did not have a good time reading the shortened "easy" version of tossups on the Euler totient function to the VCU field.
5) The missed opportunity for growing high school quizbowl in New England. While it's not necessarily any obligation of Harvard to do more than what they do right now to attract Massachusetts teams (which, as best I can tell from the outside, is literally nothing, combined with giving them questions that will have a questionable impact at best on interest in quizbowl at any school that does show up), people who are interested in growing participation need to find a better way to do it. This tournament is not equipped to do outreach of any kind, nor is it interested. Any strategy that involves sending more new teams to HFT is going to be counterproductive.
6) The usual lack of care shown to making a tournament readable/playable by people not steeped in quizbowlese and typo-tongue. I certainly remember the problems with mirroring HFT down here, particularly in 2009 when the packets only technically qualified as English. I don't care who the audience of your tournament is, this needs to stop.

I think this year marked the end of the "everyone in every corner of the country should run a local mirror of our difficult tournament for top teams who already flew to Harvard to play it" trend, so that's progress at least.

This is going to be a hard tournament where people not in line for the top two brackets at NSC are not going to be able to answer a good deal of the questions. That's a fact. If other teams, fully aware of that, still want to play it, good for them. But let's not pretend that this isn't the case, or that high school quizbowl can survive any more tournaments turning to this model.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Magister Ludi » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:25 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:5) The missed opportunity for growing high school quizbowl in New England. While it's not necessarily any obligation of Harvard to do more than what they do right now to attract Massachusetts teams (which, as best I can tell from the outside, is literally nothing, combined with giving them questions that will have a questionable impact at best on interest in quizbowl at any school that does show up), people who are interested in growing participation need to find a better way to do it. This tournament is not equipped to do outreach of any kind, nor is it interested. Any strategy that involves sending more new teams to HFT is going to be counterproductive.


One thing David Madden understands better than you do is how to package quizbowl to outside audiences. Accordingly, he has succeeded in finding funding where many on this board have failed. Moreover, he understands that sometimes other things than the allure of pyramidal quizbowl can attract teams and sponsors. The simple existence of an official sounding organization such as the National History Bowl has led to the creation of numerous new programs.

I knew nothing when I was an ignorant freshman in high school playing the PACE NSC as my first tournament. According to Fred Morlan this should have been a horribly alienating experience that should have driven me from quizbowl forever, but it played out differently. Experiencing the excitement of a national tournament, seeing the best players on stage, and the general sense of importance surrounding appealed to my vain sensibilities and enticed me to want to improve. If I had answered four more easy parts of a bonus at the tournament it wouldn't of made any difference. Actually, if my first tournament had been an easy NAQT set at a local tournament I may never of gotten involved in any serious way. What I'm trying to say is that different people and schools respond to different things when it comes to recruiting. There are many self-important New England prep schools that could easily be more responsive to the glitz and glam of the Harvard name than playing the easiest possible tournament. So if David Madden wants to use the Harvard brand to recruit new teams I would welcome it, nor would I feel any moral qualms about writing the set to be slightly harder than regular. If anything, this past HFT showed that a lot of teams respond well to the experience of HFT even if the questions are slightly harder than the average set.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:35 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:the opportunity cost of making those parts as easy as an HSAPQ set is that HFT will be invalid for making distinctions between the top teams.


I think this is a fallacy; the easy parts aren't there to distinguish between the top teams in the first place. (Surely the top teams are "top" precisely because they know about Sylvia Plath already and are prepared for the challenge of whatever less-notable poet is the third part of the bonus.) Making the easy parts of bonuses a bit easier improves the experience of bottom-bracket teams without having any significant impact on top teams at all.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:39 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:There are many self-important New England prep schools that could easily be more responsive to the glitz and glam of the Harvard name than playing the easiest possible tournament.


I would like to make a point that I think is getting a bit lost in this thread as it stands: the best option for expanding New England quizbowl is not "let's revise the difficulty of the Harvard Fall Tournament," it's for teams around Boston (including Harvard, but also MIT, the other less-active colleges in the area, and eventually the local high schools), to host more tournaments at all difficulty levels. If there are half-a-dozen events in Massachusetts, some novice sets, some regular-difficulty, some more-difficult-than-regular, then everyone gets to play more quizbowl and choose the level of question set they prefer.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:42 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:In reality, HSAPQ isn't a very valid way to determine the differences in skill between best teams, which is why we don't use HSAPQ difficulty at the NSC and the HSNCT.

I have seen nothing really indicative of this in the time I've spent looking at stats, though I never specifically looked for this issue. What evidence are you citing for such a statement?
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby gyre and gimble » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:03 pm

Jeff makes an important point here, and our team is currently talking about hosting a tournament in the spring.

With regards to mirrors, I certainly don't think another MSU mirror where competent teams from the Detroit and Lansing areas don't show up is necessarily good for quizbowl, so, while it's still pretty far away, Harvard probably won't be pursuing mirror sites like that next year. On the other hand, the Georgia teams acquitted themselves quite well on this set, and I would expect Illinois to do similarly if not better. My lack of knowledge of the Kentucky circuit gives me reservations about predicting how the set will run there, but I think a mirror site serving the Ohio-Kentucky area is also perfectly reasonable. Really, the only region we seriously depopulated of elite teams by attracting them to our own tournament is Texas, since both Seven Lakes and LASA came, but I don't think it's at all a stretch to say that St. Mark's or Cistercian or even lesser known teams like Bellaire would not get discouraged while playing this set. Wherever this "HFT being mirrored in every corner of the country is bad" idea came from, it's neither true nor a serious issue. In fact, I think plenty of teams in Southern California could have played on this set and enjoyed themselves, enough to justify a full tournament. We certainly wouldn't have seen <10 ppb from over 50% of the field if all the regulars showed up.

Anyways, I think people are seriously overreacting to the MSU's stats. I apologize to the MSU folks for handing them a set that wasn't appropriate for their audience, since I get the feeling that the Fall Novice set or something like that would have suited those teams better (please yell at me if I'm being condescending here, as that's not my intention).
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:15 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:I knew nothing when I was an ignorant freshman in high school playing the PACE NSC as my first tournament. According to Fred Morlan this should have been a horribly alienating experience that should have driven me from quizbowl forever, but it played out differently.


The closest I came to saying anything like this was "I think it's actually harmful to the game if a quiz bowl team's first exposure to the game is a set that is quite a bit harder than what is being produced as "introductory" or "regular" difficulty.". At no point did I claim that hard tournaments were impossible to be enjoyed by players that weren't very good. I do believe that it's more likely that if someone starts out as a poor player, they won't enjoy the game as much as if they did well. As a result, I do believe that introducing new players to the game in a manner that makes it more likely that they will perform well will do more to grow the game.

You did point to yourself as an example of someone who was introduced to the game at a high level and weren't scared away. I believe that you were referring to the 2005 NSC, right?

I'd have to say I wouldn't consider someone who put up 38.57 ppg in the '05 NSC prelims or someone who improved that number to 44.00 ppg in the same tournament's top tier of playoffs to be a poor player.


Edit: I dug a little deeper and found that Ted's first NSC was 2004, at which he scored 2 ppg for a Gonzaga team that finished 3rd in the consolation bracket. I should note that I also think that the argument of "I, as a person who did poorly at my first tournament, was not turned off of quiz bowl; therefore, anyone else who does poorly at their first tournament won't be turned off of quiz bowl" is a pretty awful one.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Nick » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:31 pm

I heard this set and I agree that some of the bonuses were inappropriately difficult. I would also agree that although most teams enjoyed themselves at this tournament, it probably is not the best set with which to be introducing most teams to quizbowl. I will also add that the direction, efficiency, and format of the tournament were excellent, and hats off to Ted, Dallas, et al for their achievements on that front.

What makes ZERO sense to me is that people are suggesting that the difficultly of the set is what contributed to only having TWO in-state schools compete at this tournament; which is what I believe Madden was originally addressing (i.e. that the Harvard tournament could and should be much much bigger). Why do people seem to think that the other 300+ schools in Massachusetts know what quizbowl is, knew the Harvard tournament existed, had the resources to attend, but decided against it b/c they know the set is harder than usual. Or similarly those teams attended Harvard before (when it was also too difficult) and decided not to return? REALLY!?!?

Related to the price-of-tournament-fees discussion, I think that there isn't really a good comprehensive understanding of which factors determine the size of a tournament field. People want to talk about set difficulty and registration fees because thats what makes simple short-sighted economic sense, and thats great, but I would argue that those two factors barely make the top-5 most important factors which affect tournament turn-out. If Harvard had the same hard set and charged $95 I think they probably would have had 36 teams. Likewise if they had an HSAPQ set and charged $35 a team I think they probably would have had......36 teams. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but either way I just can't believe that the the other 348 high schools in Massachusetts (or however many there are) decided not to go to this tournament because they were discouraged by the Roland Barthes bonus from 2009. (as outrageous as that was)
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:43 pm

Nick wrote:What makes ZERO sense to me is that people are suggesting that the difficultly of the set is what contributed to only having TWO in-state schools compete at this tournament; which is what I believe Madden was originally addressing (i.e. that the Harvard tournament could and should be much much bigger). Why do people seem to think that the other 300+ schools in Massachusetts know what quizbowl is, knew the Harvard tournament existed, had the resources to attend, but decided against it b/c they know the set is harder than usual. Or similarly those teams attended Harvard before (when it was also too difficult) and decided not to return? REALLY!?!?

I'm not seeing where there was a post that said that the difficulty of the set was the main, or even just "a" factor, in the current lack of Massachusetts teams. I see one asking about the effect of raising the entry fee on local teams' interest level. Here's one stating that given the lack of MA teams at the tourney, it can't be considered a "catalyst for New England quizbowl". Matt's post at the top of this page says that the tournament is a missed opportunity for qb in New England but doesn't attribute that to difficulty. Charlie's post says that an easier set would do better at helping create a local circuit.

Sorry if I missed a post/misrepresented an argument/whatever that makes your argument true, but I don't see anyone is saying "this set is hard, so teams won't show up." I do see "this set is hard, so it will make it harder for new teams that play it to keep showing up."
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Matt Weiner » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:06 pm

Alright, time to put on the Typical Pep hat and respond to this :capybara:ing :capybara:pile of a post.

Magister Ludi wrote:I haven't read most of the posts in this thread


Then maybe you shouldn't be responding!

1- This is an example of Matt's primary arguing technique of presenting a caricature of someone's argument and then making that caricature the argument he responds to rather than the real argument. I'm not saying 95% of the country should "suck it" as Matt claims.


This is an example of Ted's long-relied-upon tactic of refusing to engage with people's arguments and instead accusing them of being illogical for pointing out the flaws in his own reasoning. In this case, it's about the fifth instance of a Harvard person coming into the thread to deny that Ted said HSAPQ and other non-difficult high school sets are illegitimate, followed LITERALLY IMMEDIATELY by a reiteration of the "argument" for those sets being illegitimate.

I mean, this is one and a half :capybara: lines after the above quote!

HSAPQ isn't a very valid way to determine the differences in skill between best teams


So stop wasting everyone's time denying that you are saying this when you repeat it IMMEDIATELY, IN THE SAME POST!

So the choice is to systemically switch every easy part way down so Michigan County D will get 5-6 more easy parts and the swath of easy teams have slightly higher points per bonus, but the opportunity cost of making those parts as easy as an HSAPQ set is that HFT will be invalid for making distinctions between the top teams.


Complete this sentence: "Differentiation between top teams should occur on the easy parts of bonuses because ___________________"

So we are not writing a tournament geared towards the top teams per se, but rather one of the few high school tournaments of the year in which we can tell top high school teams that they can expect a meaningful tournament for someone of their skill.


Again, directly stating that other tournaments are not "meaningful" for top teams. But don't quote Ted Gioia in context saying what he actually said! That's the sort of unfair gotcha journalism that victimized people like Sarah Palin and Herman Cain in the past!

2- This comment is just a pointless jab at our writing team. Moreover, Stephen is a perfectly good writer and from my personal evaluation would be in the upper half of the writing staffs of HSAPQ and NAQT if he joined.


Perhaps he is. Having examined the HFT packets, my chief issues remain the difficulty (in the mirror contexts) and the garbage excuse for English. Structurally, the questions are sound. But the point is not to claim that Stephen is a bad editor, it's to remind him that he needs to establish his bona fides as good editor the way everyone else does, by producing a tournament on which knowledgeable people evaluate him, not by asserting on the Internet based on nothing relevant that he's a good editor.

3- Stop berating us for alienating teams with the difficulty of the tournament-- WHEN THOSE TEAMS LIKED THE TOURNAMENT! Every year the internet demagogues treat this tournament as their ideological whipping boy to further their own ideas about difficulty, but it would be great to hear from the actual teams who played.


Yes, if you only produce questions that a certain kind of team is interested in playing, only those teams will play them, and they will probably like them. So what? How is this any different from the "well, my team had lots of fun playing Chip Beall, so stop criticizing it!" argument that we've seen so many times?

You in fact are guilty of evaluation bias yourself when you assume the bonus conversion rate of the bottom ten teams is the only factor we should use when evaluating whether a set is successful when you haven't even seen the questions. We had the most overwhelmingly positive reception to HFT this year that we have ever had, and we will value the responses of the coaches survey about what they would like to see changed much more than the typical board posters who criticize this tournament every year regardless.


One of the reasons I'm so invested in this is because I was a paying customer of HFT as a mirror site two times, and both times you :capybara:ed me over by delivering stupid-hard questions (after promising on a yearly basis to stop writing them that way) that teams at VCU did not, in fact, find fun, and we had problems running the set due to things like getting the packets at 6 AM the day of the tournament from noted "deadline fascist" Andy Watkins or the packets being written in some :capybara: moon language with rudimentary similarity to American English. My assertion is not even that HFT as a difficult tournament should not exist--it's that it shouldn't be mirrored in places where elite teams are few and far between, and it should certainly not be the vanguard of some crusade to declare all sub-HFT-difficulty tournaments illegitimate and reshape them in the mold of this event, which you seem intent on doing.

I was perfectly aware of the problems with the 2008 HFT, but in fact you are the one who is "unaware" of the distinction I was trying to make. As I said earlier, it wouldn't take any extra work to produce a version of the set with slightly longer version of the set for the top bracket that better approximates nationals questions because most people write their questions longer anyway. To take a hypothetical example, that Tess of the D'Urbervilles tossup would be 7 lines long like you would see in the NSC rather than 5 lines. This suggestion was something that might improve the experience of the top teams, which I understand is something you don't care about so I would expect you to dismiss this idea immediately.


This is the biggest bunch of :capybara: I've ever read. Somehow I think that if I didn't care about top teams I wouldn't have kept PACE alive and fixed its entire question-writing philosophy to actually address the needs of top teams, I wouldn't have founded this :capybara:ing website, I wouldn't have spent years on an ultimately successful crusade to get speed-math tossups out of the HSNCT, I wouldn't put dozens of hours a week into HSAPQ (which, contrary to your bleating, participates in the ideal of good quizbowl such that both top teams and lesser teams can find a rewarding experience playing the questions), I wouldn't have done my part to turn VHSL into the most legitimate state championship anywhere in the country, I wouldn't have :capybara: invented NASAT, and I wouldn't have spent years of my life dealing with the likes of Tom Chuck and Trygve Meade for the privilege of directing this year's PACE NSC, another project which I am spending significant amounts of time on every day and which is a direct benefit to "top teams." I even tried to save Weekend of Quizbowl, the direct ancestor of this "let's have a pre-nationals where all sorts of top teams fly to one location to play hard questions" idea, which should tip you off to the point that I don't object to the idea of HFT existing as HFT, I object to the idea of making every tournament into HFT or mirroring HFT in other locations.

Without me and my efforts for "top teams" there would be no PACE, there would be no HSAPQ, and the people who sought reform in NAQT would have been reduced to the current crop of insecure showoffs who wouldn't know a good question from a hole in the ground but think they gain Internet cred by shouting "more difficulty equals better than," so it's anyone's guess what the HSNCT questions would look like. I'm gonna pull that rank on you because everything I boast about is accurate and it shows just how little you know about where quizbowl, for "top teams" or otherwise, comes from. Don't you :capybara: DARE suggest that I don't care about "top teams" if you don't want to hear this again.

And by the way, I actually consider the real long-term interests of "top teams" as a whole, not just the Internet crowd. Like Ryan Westbrook, you choose to pick the low-hanging fruit by impressing people who will sign on to any statement of "quizbowl should be harder" because they think being an Internet tough guy about difficulty is easier than actually demonstrating their skill at good questions. The pathology of people who have to overcompensate for their own lack of self-esteem has come to be the defining motivation of a substantial number of quizbowl tournaments and the rhetoric surrounding same.

THE WHOLE :capybara: POINT OF GOOD QUIZBOWL IS THAT TOP TEAMS, BAD TEAMS, AND IN-BETWEEN TEAMS CAN MEANINGFULLY PLAY THE SAME SET OF QUESTIONS. If you do not "get" this then you might as well just play Impossible Speedcheck and then throw a party for yourself to celebrate how hardcore you are. In the meantime, consider why it is necessary for you to write a fantastic alternate history of quizbowl just to defend your arguments about HFT, and what that says about the quality of those arguments.

Post was sanitized by the capybara. --mgmt
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby NickConderWKU » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:27 pm

Nick wrote:What makes ZERO sense to me is that people are suggesting that the difficultly of the set is what contributed to only having TWO in-state schools compete at this tournament; which is what I believe Madden was originally addressing (i.e. that the Harvard tournament could and should be much much bigger). Why do people seem to think that the other 300+ schools in Massachusetts know what quizbowl is, knew the Harvard tournament existed, had the resources to attend, but decided against it b/c they know the set is harder than usual. Or similarly those teams attended Harvard before (when it was also too difficult) and decided not to return? REALLY!?!?


I'm not sure anybody is suggesting this, but rather pointing out that HFT is run as a pre-nationals event for elite teams from all over the country, and has hardly nothing at all to do with New England quizbowl. HFT's effect on local quizbowl wouldn't be much different if it was a mirror of Chicago Open and was hosted on the moon. The seemingly higher difficulty is at most a symptom of the field Harvard wants to draw to this tournament, which is a field of top teams from all over the country. If HFT was meant to be a catalyst for New England quizbowl, then Harvard would market their tournament as a whole towards local teams as opposed to LASA and Dorman. The clear answer to this issue, one that Harvard seems ready to accept, is for Harvard to host a separate event to grow local quizbowl.

gyre and gimble wrote:My lack of knowledge of the Kentucky circuit gives me reservations about predicting how the set will run there, but I think a mirror site serving the Ohio-Kentucky area is also perfectly reasonable.


As far as I know, the field we have should do decent on the set. Our field isn't quite as strong as what we anticipated when we first announced (we thought for sure that more top Tennessee teams would come) but it's still quite strong and if the median PPB is below 10 I'll be shocked. However considering what is going on in this thread, I'm going to come up with a survey for coaches to fill out about various things related to our tournament, especially the questions.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby gyre and gimble » Wed Nov 16, 2011 5:47 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Perhaps he is. Having examined the HFT packets, my chief issues remain the difficulty (in the mirror contexts) and the garbage excuse for English. Structurally, the questions are sound. But the point is not to claim that Stephen is a bad editor, it's to remind him that he needs to establish his bona fides as good editor the way everyone else does, by producing a tournament on which knowledgeable people evaluate him, not by asserting on the Internet based on nothing relevant that he's a good editor.


I'd really appreciate it if you stopped saying this, because it's not at all representative of my words. What I was saying was not relevant to my skills as an editor because I wasn't talking about my skills as an editor. You're one of the most experienced editors around, so why don't you just take the time to explain why the approach I took to controlling difficulty for this set was wrong and what I could do about it? That's what I was outlining in my post; there's a difference between my lack of understanding (due to lack of experience) of what I did wrong and denial that anything I did could have been wrong. (Although I think it does remain to be established that I did seriously screw up difficulty.) And again, I apologize for the readability. I admit it was one of the worst copyedited sets I've ever read.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Nick » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:21 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I think the reason that New England schools don't come to HFT is because New England schools are not particularly good at quizbowl, and HFT has generally been on the harder side of the high school difficulty spectrum,....


To me this implies that if HFT wasn’t on the harder side of the spectrum, New England schools would come.

Cheynem wrote:I agree with David that more outreach is necessary. I think this is not done by artificially increasing a field size or raising registration fees, but through the age old means of producing a solid, accessible set, doing work on the ground to promote a circuit and tournaments, etc.


Again, implying that a more accessible set, among other things, would bring more teams.

Fred wrote:Well, if you're trying to appeal to new teams and grow the game, I would have to advise against designing your tournament to appeal exclusively to the top 20-30 teams.


I assumed by that “design” you meant the difficulty of the questions…..which would then suggest that an easier design would bring in more teams.

Fred wrote:I agree with your points on team recruitment - quiz bowl is very flawed in this regard, and needs to do a lot better work at it. But Harvard Fall Tournament as it is has recently been produced, and as early statistics indicate, was produced this year, is not the way to go about it.


Again, to me this sounds like producing an easier set would lead to higher team recruitment.

College Park Spyders wrote:I also think it would be necessary for people to abandon all hope of HFT being the catalyst to create the Massachussetts circuit. On this path, the only way Harvard could really be effective would be for them to host some other, much easier tournament that's geared explicitly towards local teams, similar to Yale's FACT.


Again, this seems to be saying that if Harvard used an A-set, a bunch more Mass. schools would have attended.

Perhaps I misunderstood one or all of these posts, but I don’t think this is an uncommon mentality. It may be correct that this isn’t the ideal set to introduce new teams to. I would disagree, however, that somehow, before having heard the set, there are all of these local teams (of which there are hundreds) not attending the tournament because theyre worried about difficulty. That’s just not true.

This tournament is/was not a “catalyst for New England quizbowl” but not because of set difficulty. It has nothing to do with Bruce Arthur’s original plan for HFT vs. Ted Gioia’s contemporary vision of HFT vs. Stephen Liu’s ability to edit HFT. Its because of a host of other reasons preventing quizbowl growth, like high schools “not knowing quizbowl exists,” and “not knowing Harvard is having a tournament.” But those issues don’t seem to be getting as much attention.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:30 pm

My posts were intended with a long-term view to them, rather than "Massachusetts teams are all scared of super hard HFT." I could have made that clearer; sorry.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:59 pm

Nick wrote:This tournament is/was not a “catalyst for New England quizbowl” but not because of set difficulty. It has nothing to do with Bruce Arthur’s original plan for HFT vs. Ted Gioia’s contemporary vision of HFT vs. Stephen Liu’s ability to edit HFT. Its because of a host of other reasons preventing quizbowl growth, like high schools “not knowing quizbowl exists,” and “not knowing Harvard is having a tournament.” But those issues don’t seem to be getting as much attention.

Indeed, what I've observed is that generally teams haven't refused to come back because of the difficulty. Year to year teams have returned, or not, roughly independent of their PPB; in most cases I heard from coaches that they couldn't come back for specific reasons. And year to year, the barrier to field expansion has been that, among the set of fewer than a hundred schools I contacted, not very many said "sure, I'll come"--very rarely has a team, once convinced to come, not come back (for reasons short of "the coach's kid is getting married, so sadly that weekend is out" or something analogous). Thanks, Nick, for pointing this out--I hadn't actually thought about it much at all.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Magister Ludi » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:15 pm

Fred wrote:
Magister Ludi wrote:I knew nothing when I was an ignorant freshman in high school playing the PACE NSC as my first tournament. According to Fred Morlan this should have been a horribly alienating experience that should have driven me from quizbowl forever, but it played out differently.


The closest I came to saying anything like this was "I think it's actually harmful to the game if a quiz bowl team's first exposure to the game is a set that is quite a bit harder than what is being produced as "introductory" or "regular" difficulty.". At no point did I claim that hard tournaments were impossible to be enjoyed by players that weren't very good. I do believe that it's more likely that if someone starts out as a poor player, they won't enjoy the game as much as if they did well. As a result, I do believe that introducing new players to the game in a manner that makes it more likely that they will perform well will do more to grow the game.

You did point to yourself as an example of someone who was introduced to the game at a high level and weren't scared away. I believe that you were referring to the 2005 NSC, right?

I'd have to say I wouldn't consider someone who put up 38.57 ppg in the '05 NSC prelims or someone who improved that number to 44.00 ppg in the same tournament's top tier of playoffs to be a poor player.


Edit: I dug a little deeper and found that Ted's first NSC was 2004, at which he scored 2 ppg for a Gonzaga team that finished 3rd in the consolation bracket. I should note that I also think that the argument of "I, as a person who did poorly at my first tournament, was not turned off of quiz bowl; therefore, anyone else who does poorly at their first tournament won't be turned off of quiz bowl" is a pretty awful one.


Please don't misrepresent me. I expect to be attacked by Matt Weiner, but lets keep it to attacking me for things I actually said. I said there are a variety of methods that attract people to quizbowl. If you actually read my post instead of caricaturing my argument, I said different people are attracted to quizbowl through different means. Accordingly, I said there are some programs that might be attracted to things different than easy questions such as prestige. I NEVER SAID THIS SHOULD BE THE UNIVERSAL APPROACH TO RECRUITMENT. I specifically made a point to not make a causal link between my experience and the claim "therefore: anyone else who does poorly at their first tournament won't be turned off." I specifically tried to make that clear so you and Charlie Dees wouldn't accuse me of exactly the thing you accused me of. I simply said you shouldn't discount the incredible allure of official, prestigious sounding things like Harvard or national championships.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:44 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:
Fred wrote:
Magister Ludi wrote:I knew nothing when I was an ignorant freshman in high school playing the PACE NSC as my first tournament. According to Fred Morlan this should have been a horribly alienating experience that should have driven me from quizbowl forever, but it played out differently.


The closest I came to saying anything like this was "I think it's actually harmful to the game if a quiz bowl team's first exposure to the game is a set that is quite a bit harder than what is being produced as "introductory" or "regular" difficulty.". At no point did I claim that hard tournaments were impossible to be enjoyed by players that weren't very good. I do believe that it's more likely that if someone starts out as a poor player, they won't enjoy the game as much as if they did well. As a result, I do believe that introducing new players to the game in a manner that makes it more likely that they will perform well will do more to grow the game.

You did point to yourself as an example of someone who was introduced to the game at a high level and weren't scared away. I believe that you were referring to the 2005 NSC, right?

I'd have to say I wouldn't consider someone who put up 38.57 ppg in the '05 NSC prelims or someone who improved that number to 44.00 ppg in the same tournament's top tier of playoffs to be a poor player.


Edit: I dug a little deeper and found that Ted's first NSC was 2004, at which he scored 2 ppg for a Gonzaga team that finished 3rd in the consolation bracket. I should note that I also think that the argument of "I, as a person who did poorly at my first tournament, was not turned off of quiz bowl; therefore, anyone else who does poorly at their first tournament won't be turned off of quiz bowl" is a pretty awful one.


Please don't misrepresent me. I expect to be attacked by Matt Weiner, but lets keep it to attacking me for things I actually said. I said there are a variety of methods that attract people to quizbowl. If you actually read my post instead of caricaturing my argument, I said different people are attracted to quizbowl through different means. Accordingly, I said there are some programs that might be attracted to things different than easy questions such as prestige. I NEVER SAID THIS SHOULD BE THE UNIVERSAL APPROACH TO RECRUITMENT. I specifically made a point to not make a causal link between my experience and the claim "therefore: anyone else who does poorly at their first tournament won't be turned off." I specifically tried to make that clear so you and Charlie Dees wouldn't accuse me of exactly the thing you accused me of. I simply said you shouldn't discount the incredible allure of official, prestigious sounding things like Harvard or national championships.


Well, sorry for misinterpreting your post. It definitely came across to me that you were trying to make the argument that you were not good at your first NSC, and the earliest set of stats I could find for you at a NSC - until I corrected the post - was you putting up about 40 ppg as the second scorer on a top playoff flight team, and that made it seems overly absurd to me. Once I found the other stats, I crossed out what I wrote using the mistaken information as its basis.

For what it's worth, I actually agree that there are several reasons that people are attracted to quiz bowl in the first place, and have also antagonized for prestigious schools to do more to grow the game, given their unique positions. However, the only reason I started posting in this thread was to say that using Harvard to recruit new teams should not be done with the Harvard Fall Tournament as it's currently written.

That said, I am going to point out that I am really amused by your shock and offense at my "misrepresenting" your views when you've done the same thing to me twice in this thread. ("According to Fred Morlan this should have been a horribly alienating experience that should have driven me from quizbowl forever, but it played out differently." and "I'm not really sure what you [Fred Morlan] are disagreeing with in my post because you basically agree with my claim that it's impossible to write a set that caters both to a pre-nationals field and gives the worst teams in the country a bonus conversion acceptable deemed acceptable by Auroni Gupta.")
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Great Bustard » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:02 pm

Remember-the-Alamo-Remember-Goliad wrote: blah blah blah then the warrant for the slow death of Academic Qiuz Bowl has already been written. blah blah blah

Ok, thought I was done with this thread (I'm one of the coaches who along with his 3 novice teams had a great time at this tournament, don't forget) but the above argument is invalid because I will not let this happen. Period. Actually, the reverse is going to happen. Exclamation Point!
In fact, as I've mentioned elsewhere, quizbowl is going to explode in the number of participating schools in the next few years due to the relentless push of NHBB's outreach staff which will be visiting 12 countries and about 40 states this year to bring new schools on board. Also we are backed by the History Channel at the middle school level, which means we get to bring their students into good quizbowl even before they move up into high school, but we'll get in touch with them when they're in high school so they keep at it and move into regular quizbowl too.
So, fine, we'll do the outreach - we're good at it, we love doing it, and you'll all benefit from it. And to reiterate, we're interested in establishing good quizbowl in these regions, not just NHBB. Just don't complain if our tournaments cost slightly more than the average, since you know what your participation in NHBB is thus enabling. Back to the beautiful grind.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby AlphaRasmus » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:38 pm

gyre and gimble wrote:I apologize to the MSU folks for handing them a set that wasn't appropriate for their audience, since I get the feeling that the Fall Novice set or something like that would have suited those teams better (please yell at me if I'm being condescending here, as that's not my intention).

I don't take that as condescending. Honestly, like Nalin said, I was surprised at the lack of upper-tier Michigan programs in our actual "audience." The set would have been fine for us (if obviously harder than average) if teams like UD Jesuit had responded in time for us to accommodate them, or if Novi and DeWitt weren't disorganized due to coach turnover, or if DCC sent their B team to East Lansing, or if Okemos... well I have no idea why Okemos didn't show. But anyway, this set was in general more appropriate for Michigan than our stats would indicate, because of who wasn't there. And it really didn't help that by those teams not showing up, we had Brighton's D and E teams instead.

That said, I probably wouldn't mirror HFT in East Lansing again either unless we could guarantee that some of those better teams would in fact show up. But obviously that's (nearly) impossible.

Also,
Pszczew wrote:I'm more concerned with the fact that Western Michigan is another country that is more or less void of good quizbowl, than the fact that schools from Detroit and Lansing choose only to play IS sets and HSNCT.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Magister Ludi » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:53 pm

Matt Weiner wrote: Again, directly stating that other tournaments are not "meaningful" for top teams. But don't quote Ted Gioia in context saying what he actually said! That's the sort of unfair gotcha journalism that victimized people like Sarah Palin and Herman Cain in the past!


As someone who respects HSAPQ's mission (and used to work for the company), I tried to state my point coyly so I could make my point without unnecessarily badmouthing an organization I like. Everyone else on the Harvard team was also trying to avoid directly criticizing a good organization. So congratulations, you have unnecessarily drawn attention to the fact myself and many top national teams think HSAPQ is an invalid question source for differentiating good teams. Another resounding PR success for HSAPQ. This would be an example of how your brash posting style can do more damage than good.

Matt Weiner wrote: Yes, if you only produce questions that a certain kind of team is interested in playing, only those teams will play them, and they will probably like them. So what? How is this any different from the "well, my team had lots of fun playing Chip Beall, so stop criticizing it!" argument that we've seen so many times?


Because coaches of teams such as Kellenberg and Ridgewood, who had sub 10 ppb (and several other coaches in person at the tournament) who you claim dislike the set have come forward saying they enjoyed the set.

Matt's quizbowl resume written with a couple extra expletives thrown in for the high school students


No one recognizes or appreciates your contributions to quizbowl more than me. In fact, I edited your quizbowl wiki profile to better reflect your historical importance to the game. I apologize for unfairly claiming you don't care about good teams, but in this thread you are criticizing mistakes made in past iterations of HFT rather than mistakes made in this year's set.

I'm doing exactly what you were doing in this year's VCU Open thread. The same way you put your foot down and said that tournament was pretty good and didn't deserve the level of vitriol directed at it, I'm saying this tournament was pretty good and doesn't deserve to be demonizing for mistakes made in the past by people like you. This wasn't the greatest high school set ever, but it was pretty darn good--a solid 8 out of 10. Its only major flaw was bonus parts that were a little too hard and that flaw does not merit the level of criticism you've aimed at it, not does it mean the set will only be meaningful for the top 15 teams in the country.

And by the way, I actually consider the real long-term interests of "top teams" as a whole, not just the Internet crowd. Like Ryan Westbrook, you choose to pick the low-hanging fruit by impressing people who will sign on to any statement of "quizbowl should be harder" because they think being an Internet tough guy about difficulty is easier than actually demonstrating their skill at good questions. The pathology of people who have to overcompensate for their own lack of self-esteem has come to be the defining motivation of a substantial number of quizbowl tournaments and the rhetoric surrounding same.

Post was sanitized by the capybara. --mgmt

This paragraph is the least comprehensible and most embarrassingly childish thing I've ever seen you post. I understand you are trying to discredit me by throwing around fancy sounding phrases such as "overcompensat[ing] for their own lack of self-esteem" as though I put any personal stock in the success of a tournament in which I wrote less than ten percent of the questions. These silly ad-hominem are unworthy of you and represent the worst form of internet argumentation in which you caricature my argument with a half-asked Neo-Freudian interpretation of my posts. You've nailed it, I'm trying to impress Brother Nigel and Fred Morlan with my skills as a player because I apparently prefer to be an "Internet tough guy about difficulty" in an attempt to avoid "actually demonstrating [my] skill at good questions." Especially considering I've been a staunch advocate of easier, more canonical questions in the college game, this accusation comes across as particularly hollow. Come on, Matt you're better than this.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Matt Weiner » Thu Nov 17, 2011 12:06 am

I don't think you're doing HSAPQ any favors by being "coy" about your desire for HSAPQ and all other sub-HFT-level events to cease existing because they are so illegitimate. Furthermore:

Magister Ludi wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote: Yes, if you only produce questions that a certain kind of team is interested in playing, only those teams will play them, and they will probably like them. So what? How is this any different from the "well, my team had lots of fun playing Chip Beall, so stop criticizing it!" argument that we've seen so many times?


Because coaches of teams such as Kellenberg and Ridgewood, who had sub 10 ppb (and several other coaches in person at the tournament) who you claim dislike the set have come forward saying they enjoyed the set.


I think you have a serious problem with following rhetoric closely. When I say "this is why it's not necessarily meaningful to assert that teams enjoyed the tournament," your repetition that "teams enjoyed the tournament" is not a logical response to that argument.

I'm doing exactly what you were doing in this year's VCU Open thread. The same way you put your foot down and said that tournament was pretty good and didn't deserve the level of vitriol directed at it, I'm saying this tournament was pretty good and doesn't deserve to be demonizing for mistakes made in the past by people like you.


If this year's VCU Open had been mirrored for a bunch of high school B teams in Michigan it would have been a terrible idea and I would have been unjustified in defending it. Out of HFT and VCU Open, which of these tournaments actually followed through on such a terrible idea?

This wasn't the greatest high school set ever, but it was pretty darn good--a solid 8 out of 10. Its only major flaw was bonus parts that were a little too hard and that flaw does not merit the level of criticism you've aimed at it, not does it mean the set will only be meaningful for the top 15 teams in the country.


As I said above, the set is structurally sound. That is entirely beside the point being discussed here.

This paragraph is the least comprehensible and most embarrassingly childish thing I've ever seen you post. I understand you are trying to discredit me by throwing around fancy sounding phrases such as "overcompensat[ing] for their own lack of self-esteem" as though I put any personal stock in the success of a tournament in which I wrote less than ten percent of the questions. These silly ad-hominem are unworthy of you and represent the worst form of internet argumentation in which you caricature my argument with a half-asked Neo-Freudian interpretation of my posts. You've nailed it, I'm trying to impress Brother Nigel and Fred Morlan with my skills as a player because I apparently prefer to be an "Internet tough guy about difficulty" in an attempt to avoid "actually demonstrating [my] skill at good questions." Especially considering I've been a staunch advocate of easier, more canonical questions in the college game, this accusation comes across as particularly hollow. Come on, Matt you're better than this.


But you're clearly not better than this at interpreting written language, since I'm obviously talking about the high school players who are so easily impressed by a hard set that they will defend its use in inappropriate contexts, and not about yourself. Read and comprehend before you respond!
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Thu Nov 17, 2011 9:41 am

Matt Weiner wrote:I don't think you're doing HSAPQ any favors by being "coy" about your desire for HSAPQ and all other sub-HFT-level events to cease existing because they are so illegitimate. Furthermore:

I hope "you're not doing HSAPQ any favors by [a sentiment Ted's never expressed, or at least a wild willful misinterpretation of one he has], but let's move on" is just as transparent a rhetorical device to the audience for whose benefit you're blustering about as it is to the rest of us.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby Remember-the-Alamo-Remember-Goliad » Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:06 am

Wow, after plowing through a pile of these postings, all I can say is, "y'all can come to texas and play us any time."

We've got some good competition in Seven Lakes, LASA A,B,C,D, and I guess I better say Cistercian Prep, too.

On a more rhetorical note, the advanced form of the Italian "Tenzone" was well illustrated here in the back-n-forth of the many sides to a complex issue. I loved it.

In any case, we are motoring up to Oklahoma tomorrow for the Bulldog Tournament. Hope all goes well.

Ciao!
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby NickConderWKU » Sun Nov 20, 2011 1:30 am

The Hub (Gainesville, Florida) wrote: Our field isn't quite as strong as what we anticipated when we first announced (we thought for sure that more top Tennessee teams would come) but it's still quite strong and if the median PPB is below 10 I'll be shocked. However considering what is going on in this thread, I'm going to come up with a survey for coaches to fill out about various things related to our tournament, especially the questions.


Our median PPB was just a shade over 10 from my calculation, a little bit worse than I expected in the middle of the field. The top teams all did well on the set, I knew that the top third of the field or so would all do really well on the set.

We only had 7 coaches elect to fill out the survey because some were scattered about and weren't there when I explained it to people. I know some were from schools with multiple teams so i think it represents about half of the field. Of the 7 responses I got, 6 answered that the questions were "Somewhat Difficult" while 1 answered "Very Difficult." "About Average", "Somewhat Easy", and "Very Easy" all recieved a whopping total of 0 votes. However 4 of those people responded that the questions "Should Stay the Same", while 3 people said they "Should Be Easier" and nobody thought they should be harder. I know this is fairly unscientific, but I think the general mood among everyone today were that the questions were a bit harder than average, but people were torn on whether or not they liked it. Either way, our spring tournament is going to use an easier set.

We were told this week that Harvard was copy editing the set more before they could send it to us. While I don't know how much actually changed, there were still a large number of mistakes in the set.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Postby gyre and gimble » Sun Nov 20, 2011 4:31 am

The Hub (Gainesville, Florida) wrote:We were told this week that Harvard was copy editing the set more before they could send it to us. While I don't know how much actually changed, there were still a large number of mistakes in the set.


Could you just point a few of these out to me (in an email if you'd like). I'm wondering if there's a specific kind of mistake that we weren't catching. Our copyediting was basically just reading through it again and trying to catch mistakes, which I thought would work.
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