ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Fond du lac operon » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:28 pm

Okay, I'll only make utterly uncontroversial statements from now on. I'll be a character from The Bald Soprano. Because that's way better than having to defend principles that you (presumably) believe to be defensible. Sorry for insulting physics, too.

(And I wouldn't be surprised if most people with just a passing interest in physics metonymize CMS/ATLAS to LHC in ten years, but that's neither here nor there.)
Last edited by Fond du lac operon on Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:34 pm

What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:Okay, I'll only make utterly uncontroversial statements from now on. I'll be a character from The Bald Soprano. Because that's way better than having to defend the principles of quizbowl to convince me they make sense.)


Man, I hope we're all invited to the pity party! After all, it's not like I haven't been more than indulgent in pointing out why your fantasy version of quizbowl bears little to no relation to what actually happens! Look at all them words, so hard to read.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby The Ununtiable Twine » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:37 pm

What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:Okay, I'll only make utterly uncontroversial statements from now on. I'll be a character from The Bald Soprano. Because that's way better than having to defend the principles of quizbowl to convince me they make sense.

(And I wouldn't be surprised if most people with just a passing interest in physics metonymize CMS/ATLAS to LHC in ten years, but that's neither here nor there.)


The thing is that these good quizbowl principles have been defended, usually successfully, in previous threads. There are reasons we can have repeats sometimes, just like there are reasons that we shouldn't use made-up statistics to break ties, just like we should allow the occasional hard tossup in a regular difficulty tournament. I'm sure Jerry can point you to some of his previous arguments if you need to be pointed to them. These "points" that good quizbowl makes have been defended before for the most part, so you can find them in the archives if you know where to look.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:38 pm

What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:(And I wouldn't be surprised if most people with just a passing interest in physics metonymize CMS/ATLAS to LHC in ten years, but that's neither here nor there.)


Oh, and by the way, even if this were true (which I don't think it is), what would it have to do with a question that's being played right now?
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Fond du lac operon » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:38 pm

It's probable that this just isn't the game for me.

As such, I hereby announce my retirement from quizbowl, and, in news people will actually care about, from trolling the forums. I'm honestly more disappointed about the latter.

EDIT: I'm redacting this post, because I was being an idiot.

User was warned for substantively editing a post to remove something dumb. Even though it had already been quoted two times in this thread.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:42 pm

What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:It's probable that this just isn't the game for me.

As such, I hereby announce my retirement from quizbowl, and, in news people will actually care about, from trolling the forums. I'm honestly more disappointed about the latter.


We now return you to your regularly scheduled, hopefully more sane, discussion.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby The Ununtiable Twine » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:50 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:It's probable that this just isn't the game for me.

As such, I hereby announce my retirement from quizbowl, and, in news people will actually care about, from trolling the forums. I'm honestly more disappointed about the latter.


We now return you to your regularly scheduled, hopefully more sane, discussion.


I want to thank the editors for making The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past a part of this tournament.

EDIT: I'm not retiring.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Cheynem » Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:53 pm

People:

Stop just posting things. Discuss this tournament and its questions.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Z Rex » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:04 pm

I liked the LHC bonus, I'm quite sad I didn't get it.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Fond du lac operon » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:08 pm

Okay, not trolling, talking about specific questions.

I wish people would stop writing tossups on Stanley Milgram, because I think so many clues about him are well-known that what happens in a lot of rooms (it certainly did in ours) is that you hear one or two sentences, and then a clue about the lost letter experiment or the six degrees of separation experiment and then there's a big buzzer race.

My other pet peeve: People using clues about Cicero vs. Tully or Hesperus vs. Phosphorus or Scott vs. the author of Waverley as lead-ins for philosophers. I've read a lot of the papers/books ("On Denoting," "Sense and Reference," "Two Dogmas", "Naming and Necessity") that use these, and pretty much everyone quotes everyone else on these examples, so I'm not sure that it's helpful. Maybe other people keep track better of who said what first, but I'm guessing not, because who cares?

OTOH, I really liked the tossup about tilting at windmills. I thought it was a great example of a tossup with an unusual answer line that could conceivably be converted early, but that almost everyone in the field would be able to convert toward the end. Similarly the tossup on "all men are created equal," even if I think that, in retrospect, the Gettysburg clue came a little early.

Oh, and because I'm a hilariously insecure/inexperienced question writer, I'd love to hear any constructive criticism of the questions from the Alabama packet.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby The Atom Strikes! » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:09 pm

I liked the fact that this set had bonuses with Part "C"s that were usually not simply a "fuck you."

I generally quite enjoyed this tournament. I felt like a few categories-- specifically music-- seemed more difficult than the others on average, although this might just be my own ignorance talking.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Auroni » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:15 pm

My other pet peeve: People using clues about Cicero vs. Tully or Hesperus vs. Phosphorus or Scott vs. the author of Waverley as lead-ins for philosophers. I've read a lot of the papers/books ("On Denoting," "Sense and Reference," "Two Dogmas", "Naming and Necessity") that use these, and pretty much everyone quotes everyone else on these examples, so I'm not sure that it's helpful. Maybe other people keep track better of who said what first, but I'm guessing not, because who cares?


I don't agree. The points that Mill, Frege, Russell, and Quine make in these different papers is different. I specifically mentioned what Mill was trying to say in that question, so you can't complain about that being indistinct.

OTOH, I really liked the tossup about tilting at windmills. I thought it was a great example of a tossup with an unusual answer line that could conceivably be converted early, but that almost everyone in the field would be able to convert toward the end.


I'm glad that this was enjoyed.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Fond du lac operon » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:20 pm

Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:
My other pet peeve: People using clues about Cicero vs. Tully or Hesperus vs. Phosphorus or Scott vs. the author of Waverley as lead-ins for philosophers. I've read a lot of the papers/books ("On Denoting," "Sense and Reference," "Two Dogmas", "Naming and Necessity") that use these, and pretty much everyone quotes everyone else on these examples, so I'm not sure that it's helpful. Maybe other people keep track better of who said what first, but I'm guessing not, because who cares?


I don't agree. The points that Mill, Frege, Russell, and Quine make in these different papers is different. I specifically mentioned what Mill was trying to say in that question, so you can't complain about that being indistinct.


Since I haven't read much Mill, other than On Liberty, I can't really speak to how well you summarized it -- I'll trust that it was a good, uniquely-identifying summary. But I'm fairly sure I've read similar questions in the past that use similar clues but don't disambiguate. (EDIT: An example, from MUT 2010: "Saul Kripke piggybacked off of this philosopher’s treatment of 'Hesperus' and 'Phosphorus' as two names for Venus.") Plus, since philosophers themselves often have a hard time agreeing on what a certain argument or paper means, I don't know that we should always trust quizbowlers to do so...
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby aescandell » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:33 pm

In Texas, we moderators had a long discussion about the antiprompts. For example, in the two treatises of government tossup there was an instruction to antiprompt players who buzzed with the answer "second treatise of government". To me, such an answer seems like it should just be wrong since the tossup had described information from the first treatise. None of us had seen an antiprompt before and we've been around for a while. Have those been used in other tournaments?
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Smuttynose Island » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:42 pm

aescandell wrote:In Texas, we moderators had a long discussion about the antiprompts. For example, in the two treatises of government tossup there was an instruction to antiprompt players who buzzed with the answer "second treatise of government". To me, such an answer seems like it should just be wrong since the tossup had described information from the first treatise. None of us had seen an antiprompt before and we've been around for a while. Have those been used in other tournaments?


They really haven't been too formalized yet (although the idea has floated around for a while amongst some people), but I can almost say for certain that choosing to not take "Second Treatise of Government" is the wrong choice in that situation as the player is buzzing in with the correct answer to a given clue, in which case you just penalized a player for having correct knowledge, furthermore it is unreasonable to expect a player to know that previous clues came from a different work, because if the player knew that then that means that they most likely know said work and would have buzzed in with that work on those clues.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Matt Weiner » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:54 pm

aescandell wrote:In Texas, we moderators had a long discussion about the antiprompts. For example, in the two treatises of government tossup there was an instruction to antiprompt players who buzzed with the answer "second treatise of government". To me, such an answer seems like it should just be wrong since the tossup had described information from the first treatise. None of us had seen an antiprompt before and we've been around for a while. Have those been used in other tournaments?


In the future, the moderators should not overrule the editors unless there is a clear case of factual error or other protestable content. I don't know how on earth anyone thought it was acceptable for "we moderators" to "discuss" whether to alter the questions you were given by the qualified people who produced them for ideological reasons, but it's not.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby evilmonkey » Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:57 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
aescandell wrote:In Texas, we moderators had a long discussion about the antiprompts. For example, in the two treatises of government tossup there was an instruction to antiprompt players who buzzed with the answer "second treatise of government". To me, such an answer seems like it should just be wrong since the tossup had described information from the first treatise. None of us had seen an antiprompt before and we've been around for a while. Have those been used in other tournaments?


In the future, the moderators should not overrule the editors unless there is a clear case of factual error or other protestable content. I don't know how on earth anyone thought it was acceptable for "we moderators" to "discuss" whether to alter the questions you were given by the qualified people who produced them for ideological reasons, but it's not.


Unless I'm wildly mistaken, he's talking about our post-tournament discussions. To the best of my knowledge, no one "overruled the editors", and nowhere in his statement did he imply that we did.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby aescandell » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:01 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
aescandell wrote:In Texas, we moderators had a long discussion about the antiprompts. For example, in the two treatises of government tossup there was an instruction to antiprompt players who buzzed with the answer "second treatise of government". To me, such an answer seems like it should just be wrong since the tossup had described information from the first treatise. None of us had seen an antiprompt before and we've been around for a while. Have those been used in other tournaments?


In the future, the moderators should not overrule the editors unless there is a clear case of factual error or other protestable content. I don't know how on earth anyone thought it was acceptable for "we moderators" to "discuss" whether to alter the questions you were given by the qualified people who produced them for ideological reasons, but it's not.


Yeah, we didn't do that. But thanks for assuming we're morons.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Fond du lac operon » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:05 pm

Did the editors mandate that the players not be told about antiprompts and how they worked? Because no one told us, and had I been "antiprompt"ed during the tournament, I would have had no clue what the hell was going on.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Papa's in the House » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:08 pm

I was reasonably happy, overall, with the SS in the set, and pretty happy to see Gunnar Myrdal come up. I wish the Coase tossup was not a tiebreaker, but what can you do. I would, however, like to take a moment to discuss the "financial risk" tossup being the only quiz bowler (I know) to possess a Finance degree:

Tossup 10, Yale A wrote:This quantity’s namesake premium is the slope of an SML graph. A rate of return symbolized R-sub-f is independent of this quantity in the formula for the Treynor and Sharpe ratios. One type of it correlates with a measure symbolized beta along the x-axis of graphs in the capital assets pricing model. A concave utility function results from avoidance to this quantity according to Kahneman and Tversky, who developed prospect theory to deal with its presence in decision-making. The ability of agents to alter this value without bearing costs creates moral hazard, and firms in interconnected markets can cause collapse when they have the “systemic” type. It can be lessened by diversification. For 10 points, name this economic quantity, the chance that an investment or decision will bring losses.
ANSWER: financial risk

When I was scrimmaging on this packet, I did not hear anything before "beta along the x-axis..." or I would have buzzed before CAPM (which is where I buzzed). That said, there are a finite number of things that have an associated premium in the world of finance, and risk is the most famous of these (to my knowledge), so it's pretty bad to drop this four words in. Let's say I didn't have the balls to buzz and guess right there and I don't really know what the SML (Security Market Line), Treynor ratio, and Sharpe ratio* are, I'm once again tempted to just buzz and say "risk" after hearing "rate of return... is independent of this quantity" because you have just ruled out one of the two most famous quantities measured in the world of finance and the other most famous quantity is "risk." In my view, the first couple lines of this tossup do very little to distinguish people with actual knowledge of the subject from those that have the balls to just guess early on.

Ranting aside, the second half the tossup contains partially correct/partially incorrect information. When you say "firms in interconnected... 'systemic' type," it would be more accurate to say "market collapse may result when firms have the 'systemic' type of this quantity and there is a negative economic event" (such as an economic downturn or the collapse of a financial intermediary like Lehman Brothers). The way the question is written, one would think that firms cause the market collapse, when it is actually some negative economic event that causes one firm to fail, which causes connected firms to fail, which goes on and on in a chain to cause a market collapse. Also, your definition of risk is far too narrow. You are better off to define risk as "the chance that a decision differs from expectations." This definition encompasses all potential financial risks, including the risk of an investment** outperforming your expectations, the risk an investment underperforms your expectations (but does not cause you a loss), and the risk an investment underperforms your expectations (and causes you a loss). I will admit that I did not learn about this distinction until one professor ranted about the definition of risk one day when the class gave the definition you used in response to the question "What is risk?"

Generally, I think that tossups on (financial) risk tend to do a pretty bad job at distinguishing between people with real knowledge of the subject and people who figure out what the question is doing and make an educated guess. I learned this the hard way by writing a tossup on risk for the last incarnation of Princeton Buzzerfest and watching it picked up early by someone who had no real knowledge of reinvestment risk (the risk that bondholders receive a lower rate of return on a new bond after having an old bond called/canceled/paid back early/etc.). That said, I can't (and don't wish to) control what people write on. I just hope that future tossups on "risk" are more correct and pyramidal.

* I do want to note that I am very happy to see these 3 things brought up in the world of quiz bowl. Hopefully they will eventually appear as tossup/bonus answers in and of themselves and I won't have to rant about (what I consider to be) a bad tossup on risk.
** I use the word "investment" here because an investment is a decision. I just want to stress that risk applies to decisions in general and investments (a type of decision) in a specific case.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Papa's in the House » Mon Feb 20, 2012 11:17 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
aescandell wrote:In Texas, we moderators had a long discussion about the antiprompts. For example, in the two treatises of government tossup there was an instruction to antiprompt players who buzzed with the answer "second treatise of government". To me, such an answer seems like it should just be wrong since the tossup had described information from the first treatise. None of us had seen an antiprompt before and we've been around for a while. Have those been used in other tournaments?


In the future, the moderators should not overrule the editors unless there is a clear case of factual error or other protestable content. I don't know how on earth anyone thought it was acceptable for "we moderators" to "discuss" whether to alter the questions you were given by the qualified people who produced them for ideological reasons, but it's not.

So, this tossup actually decided the second game of the finals at our site. From what I know, someone negged early on, and at the end of the tossup one player (from Michigan) buzzed and said "treatise on government," was prompted by M. Sorice*, said "second treatise on government," was again prompted by Sorice (per the packet guidelines), and finally said "two treatises on government." The bonus was read to them and a protest was lodged. Sorice ended up consulting one of the editors of the tournament and explaining his reasoning behind why there should not have been a prompt. The gist of the argument was: at some point the tossup stops being about one of the two treatises and starts being about both treatises (because material from both treatises is mentioned in the tossup), so at some point there should not be a prompt on "treatise on government," "first treatise on government," or "second treatise on government." The editor agreed and the protest was resolved against Michigan, allowing Chicago A to win the game and the tournament.

*I don't know the impetus for the first prompt since I was not actually in the room when the tossup was played.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby itsthatoneguy » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:08 am

Papa's in the House wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:
aescandell wrote:In Texas, we moderators had a long discussion about the antiprompts. For example, in the two treatises of government tossup there was an instruction to antiprompt players who buzzed with the answer "second treatise of government". To me, such an answer seems like it should just be wrong since the tossup had described information from the first treatise. None of us had seen an antiprompt before and we've been around for a while. Have those been used in other tournaments?


In the future, the moderators should not overrule the editors unless there is a clear case of factual error or other protestable content. I don't know how on earth anyone thought it was acceptable for "we moderators" to "discuss" whether to alter the questions you were given by the qualified people who produced them for ideological reasons, but it's not.

So, this tossup actually decided the second game of the finals at our site. From what I know, someone negged early on, and at the end of the tossup one player (from Michigan) buzzed and said "treatise on government," was prompted by M. Sorice*, said "second treatise on government," was again prompted by Sorice (per the packet guidelines), and finally said "two treatises on government." The bonus was read to them and a protest was lodged. Sorice ended up consulting one of the editors of the tournament and explaining his reasoning behind why there should not have been a prompt. The gist of the argument was: at some point the tossup stops being about one of the two treatises and starts being about both treatises (because material from both treatises is mentioned in the tossup), so at some point there should not be a prompt on "treatise on government," "first treatise on government," or "second treatise on government." The editor agreed and the protest was resolved against Michigan, allowing Chicago A to win the game and the tournament.

*I don't know the impetus for the first prompt since I was not actually in the room when the tossup was played.


If my memory serves me correctly, that's exactly how it happened. I believe Mike's decision to prompt on "Treatise on Government" was brought about by the packet instructing the moderator to prompt on "First Treatise on Government" and "Second Treatise on Government." Personally, I was very confused at the end because the question asked for "this work" after the FTP and didn't know whether they wanted "Two Treatises" or just one of them. This really bummed me out, as we could have won if the question had been more specific. Ironically, the Second Treatise was a book prize.

Other than that, I thought the set was pretty good. I thought some of the classical music bonuses had too-hard hard parts (the Delius bonus comes to mind), but maybe that is just reflective of how little I know about theory / "real" music clues.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby touchpack » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:29 am

So this is off topic from the main discussion, but I'd like to point out a couple general things about tossing up named reactions using examples from this tournament.

Alabama + Yale C + Alberta wrote:7.In the degradation of threonine to glycine, the PLP aided reverse of this reaction liberates a sulfur containing compound. The reverse of this reaction is also carried out by thiolases in the primary pathway that compounds like oleic acid and this reaction occurs between acyl synthase and malonyl-CoA in fatty acid synthesis. One version of this reaction creates Ethyl 2-oxocyclopentanecarboxylate from Diethyl hexanedioate. Unlike mechanistically similar reaction, in this reaction the OR group is expelled to collapse the tetrahedral intermediate. A version of this reaction occurring within a molecule that is useful in making five and six membered rings is named for Dieckmann. For 10 points, name this base catalyzed reaction between two esters that yields a beta-keto ester.
ANSWER: Claisen condensation


First off, condensation should be underlined as well to distinguish from the Claisen rearrangement, but if that were the only issue with this TU it wouldn't deserve a mention. However, more importantly, if you're going to put a bunch of very-difficult-to-buzz-on biochem clues, please don't just copy clues straight from wikipedia. Not cool. (especially because the wording of the TU claims that that specific reaction with those specific reagents is the ONLY Dieckmann condensation, which is false)

More importantly though, the problem with this TU is the mechanism clue. When including mechanism clues in these TUs (a practice that is very important if you want to avoid buzzer races on eponymous variants and such) you [I mean this in the general you, I'm not blaming anyone in particular] have to be careful that those clues are unique. This clue talks about the addition-elimination mechanism which is really cool since that mechanism is very important and is an awesome clue that helps reward people with knowledge, but this mechanism is used in literally hundreds of reactions (well, if you cut out the ones that don't have names, less than hundreds. But still, more than one. Fischer esterification, aldol condensation and Baeyer-Villiger oxidation come quickly to my mind). I would argue that the best way to go about this is simply to be more specific, ultimately adding MORE mechanism clues to make it [more] unique. For example, I might write something like this:

It's not the aldol condensation, but this reaction sees the formation of an enolate which goes through an addition-elimination mechanism to produce the product.

Or perhaps:

This reaction requires a full equivalent of base to create an enolate, which attacks a carbonyl, prompting an -OR group to be expelled in the final step.

etc, etc, there's more than one way to write a good TU blah blah blah...

The Wittig reaction TU also partially suffered from this, but not nearly as egregiously (I don't think anyone is going to be tossing up the Corey-Chaykovsky reaction at Regionals, right? But its a bad idea to defend non-unique clues with an "but none of those other things are going to be tossed up" argument anyway)

An example of a tossup that uses mechanistic clues well:

2009 science nonstrosity wrote:13. AMA is used as a reagent in a modification of this reaction involving oligoethylene glycols. One alternative to this reaction uses 2,4,6-trichlorobenzoyl chloride, while another forms an o-acylisourea intermediate and uses 4-dimethylaminopyridine as a catalyst; those alternatives are named for (*) Yamaguchi and Steglich. This reaction begins with the protonation of one reactant by an acid catalyst followed by nucleophilic attack by the other reactant yielding a tetrahedral intermediate, which undergoes a tautomeric shift to give the products. The yield of this equilibrium reaction can be improved by the use of azeotropic distillation or drying agents to remove water since the reverse reaction is hydrolysis. For 10 points, name this reaction which joins an alcohol and a carboxylic acid to form a fragrant functional group.
ANSWER: Fischer Esterification [prompt on partial answer] (3) [DF]
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:31 am

I believe the two treatises were actually published as a single work, being two "books" of the same single publication. So it makes sense to speak of "this work" in reference to it, rather than in the plural.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby The Toad to Wigan Pier » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:46 am

touchpack wrote:First off, condensation should be underlined as well to distinguish from the Claisen rearrangement, but if that were the only issue with this TU it wouldn't deserve a mention. However, more importantly, if you're going to put a bunch of very-difficult-to-buzz-on biochem clues, please don't just copy clues straight from wikipedia. Not cool.

That clue wasn't taken from wikpedia. It was taken from http://books.google.com/books?id=3aYJlL ... &q&f=false .
Sometimes clues in real sources are also on wikipedia!
The biochem clues(and this tossup in general) were designed to reward knowledge of biochemistry. Again, they are literally examples textbook knowledge of biochemistry.
touchpack wrote:More importantly though, the problem with this TU is the mechanism clue. When including mechanism clues in these TUs (a practice that is very important if you want to avoid buzzer races on eponymous variants and such) you [I mean this in the general you, I'm not blaming anyone in particular] have to be careful that those clues are unique. This clue talks about the addition-elimination mechanism which is really cool since that mechanism is very important and is an awesome clue that helps reward people with knowledge, but this mechanism is used in literally hundreds of reactions (well, if you cut out the ones that don't have names, less than hundreds. But still, more than one. Fischer esterification, aldol condensation and Baeyer-Villiger oxidation come quickly to my mind). I would argue that the best way to go about this is simply to be more specific, ultimately adding MORE mechanism clues to make it [more] unique.

I'll grant you that this wasn't the most specific clue in the world and could have been better. Its purpose was to distinguish the Claisen condensation from the Aldol condensation, so I suppose to make it clearer I should have specified that the R in the OR being expelled is not simply a hydrogen.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Matthew Jackson » Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:57 am

grapesmoker wrote:I believe the two treatises were actually published as a single work, being two "books" of the same single publication. So it makes sense to speak of "this work" in reference to it, rather than in the plural.


Modern publications will often publish the Second Treatise separately, so this wording will actually confuse a lot of real people, particularly students who've obtained any of those editions for class.

Obviously packet order is random, and it's not sensible to say "a protest on this decided the finals at the Northeast site too, so this question is worse than usual," but that tossup decided our site as well just as an FYI.

I think it was unwise to write a tossup on both treatises in the first place, when a tossup on the Second Treatise would do (allowing for a traditional prompt on "Two Treatises") given that it's read by students at least 99 times more often (and summarizes anything you'd need to know about the First Treatise at its own beginning). Even if one were compelled to do so, perhaps to get some early clues from the First Treatise, more proper pronoun/demonstrative adjective usage would be less confusing to everyone, using "this set of works" or "one of these works" as appropriate. Even if that alone made the question a little easier, it's a reasonable price to pay for the question to actually make sense.

My more general thoughts on the anti-prompt experiment are that most questions with antiprompts can and should be written less confusingly so they don't need them. On the whole, I'm glad someone tried the anti-prompt experiment, but I'm not sure it worked and wouldn't encourage future editors to do it again.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:13 am

touchpack wrote:
Alabama + Yale C + Alberta wrote:One version of this reaction creates Ethyl 2-oxocyclopentanecarboxylate from Diethyl hexanedioate.

However, more importantly, if you're going to put a bunch of very-difficult-to-buzz-on biochem clues, please don't just copy clues straight from wikipedia. Not cool.

Hey, man, given his nomenclature he probably stole it from McMurry. Yeah, this is an impossibly bad clue. IUPAC names are of limited use and you can't copy structures from them at quizbowl speeds unless you're extraordinarily experienced--which is one way to filter people of different skills, but that misses the point. And if you can't copy the structures, then you can derive one of two pieces of information from this clue, assuming you were asleep during the preceding:
1) "This reaction between esters has an intramolecular form" (because it's one molecule to one molecule, and because of the dioate--so here, the "version" is the fact that it's intramolecular only in THIS case), or
2) "This reaction is a rearrangement, and one form of it occurs in diesters" (starting materials don't always have two esters, but it's always one molecule to one molecule"

Here's the issue of using random specific examples of reactions as "clues": they're IMPOSSIBLE to know in a true sense, and DEAD easy to lateral. It's equivalent to "He wrote a sonnet while sitting on the banks of the Avon in 1601." Is it nigh-impossible for anyone to know, given that information, that it's Shakespeare? You couldn't learn it from any source, but you're bombarded with such super-easy information as "sonnet writer Avon." So saying "this reaction COULD BE USED to make 2-methyl-1-pentene from 2-pentanone" is just an unclear way of saying "it replaces a carbonyl oxygen by a CH2 group. It's not harder or better or more special.

Also, there are few named reactions truly important enough to toss up, far fewer than are often tossed up. Because really, there's very little special about boiling a carboxylic acid in methanol and (usually formed in situ) HCl; you push the arrows and what happens is what you expect. A big part of why Eric's tossup on it is great is because it focuses on the special modern developments that have made us interestingly good at making esters in clever ways.

Of course, this is understanding I myself didn't have until I was a couple years into a chemistry degree; I didn't like many of these tossups but I didn't know why--and I was good at them, so my motivation to campaign against them was limited. But they don't serve any larger purpose, and unless you're very sure of yourself, you should be cautious about writing them.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby The Toad to Wigan Pier » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:21 am

Mechanical Beasts wrote:Here's the issue of using random specific examples of reactions as "clues": they're IMPOSSIBLE to know in a true sense, and DEAD easy to lateral.

That's actually the reason I included the clue. The point is not so much to know that exact example, but to give players a sense of what type of molecules are involved and consequently what sort of reaction is occurring. I personally think this is a better way to distinguish people who have taken orgo or who have learned what the reaction is actually about vs non-science people who have memorized a couple clues for a reaction but don't actual know what it's about.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus » Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:52 am

Contra billy, I actually thought this tossup was pretty good. The clue about thiolases is fairly important even if I couldn't piece it together fast enough. I'm a little surprised that you didn't use the clue about citrate synthase, though.

I don't know if other people can convert IUPAC to molecules in their head that quickly (I certainly can't), so all that clue told me is that there are oxygen molecules being rearranged. The addition-elimination clue I don't think was unique, even the way you have it written, because in saponification (another tossupable thing) an OR group gets kicked out after an O-minus resonates its electrons back onto the carbon center.

More after we play the next four packets in practice today.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:16 am

RyuAqua wrote:Modern publications will often publish the Second Treatise separately, so this wording will actually confuse a lot of real people, particularly students who've obtained any of those editions for class.


I don't deny that such modern publications exist (I even own one!), but I don't think that matters too much, provided the anti-prompt is in place. So if I know everything about the Second Treatise but nothing about the first, and I say "Second Treatise of Government" and get prompted, I should have the presence of mind to then answer "Two Treatises of Government." In the same fashion, for example, "Of Miracles" is often excerpted and published separately from Hume's Enquiry, but if I say "Of Miracles" on an "Enquiry" tossup, I should be able to understand what's being asked for if prompted.

I think it was unwise to write a tossup on both treatises in the first place, when a tossup on the Second Treatise would do (allowing for a traditional prompt on "Two Treatises") given that it's read by students at least 99 times more often (and summarizes anything you'd need to know about the First Treatise at its own beginning). Even if one were compelled to do so, perhaps to get some early clues from the First Treatise, more proper pronoun/demonstrative adjective usage would be less confusing to everyone, using "this set of works" or "one of these works" as appropriate. Even if that alone made the question a little easier, it's a reasonable price to pay for the question to actually make sense.


That seems fairly hyperbolic and I'm not sure where you're getting this information from. That the Second Treatise includes a summary of the First Treatise is highly irrelevant, considering that the First Treatise exists; presumably Locke intended them to be read together, since they were published as a single work. Unless my understanding of the original publication is totally off, they are not "a set of works" but rather two parts of a single work with a unifying title; just because that title includes a plural indication does not mean that it is now a collection. I find it weird to have to defend this answerline, but I think it's completely reasonable to ask about. Maybe this question wasn't great or well-constructed, but the answer itself is completely legitimate.

My more general thoughts on the anti-prompt experiment are that most questions with antiprompts can and should be written less confusingly so they don't need them. On the whole, I'm glad someone tried the anti-prompt experiment, but I'm not sure it worked and wouldn't encourage future editors to do it again.


There were (many) tossups on "Two Treatises" well before there was any concept of "anti-prompt" and everything went fine; no one ever complained that this was somehow problematic or confusing. I think this abstruse theorizing is actually harmful to the game because it leads to what I view as absurd conclusions like "don't write about 'Two Treatises'" which I can't see as being supported by any sort of common-sensical approach.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Matthew Jackson » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:45 pm

I suppose I can clarify/concede a bit.

Here's the question, for those following along:
ACF Regionals 2012, Penn packet wrote:The end of the sixth chapter of this work quotes a laundry list of those who “sometimes” have fatherhood. This work argues that, presupposing Grotius’s just war theory, a conquering nation cannot gain power over the conquered nation, just like native kings of the British isles gained the throne after the Norman conquest. This work argues that there cannot be a rightful king since it is impossible to tell who the heir of Adam is to attack the contradictory propositions that man is un-free and that kings have a divine right to rule. This work argues that gold does not rot, thus it can be traded for material goods, and that picking an apple makes one its owner in a defense of landowners and private property. The opening segment of this work is a takedown of Patriarcha by Robert Filmer. For 10 points, name this work which argues for “life, liberty, and estate,” a work of political philosophy by John Locke.
ANSWER: Two Treatises of Government: In the Former, The False Principles and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, And His Followers, are Detected and Overthrown. The Latter is an Essay concerning The True Original, Extent, and End of Civil-Government [antiprompt on Locke’s Second Treatise; antiprompt on Locke’s First Treatise]


So, some things:

- I shouldn't be saying "Don't ever write questions on Two Treatises of Government ever; always pick the second." If I said or implied that, I hereby take it back. I do still think that a majority of the knowledge people have about the Treatises as a set comes from a reading of the Second Treatise independent of (and perhaps published in an independent paperback from) the first, and that a good tossup on both Treatises will reflect this fact with variation either way to account for the difficulty level of the tournament. So yeah, the answer isn't legitimate, rather, this question isn't well-constructed, and I think talking about why is a fruitful endeavor.

- The fact that the Second Treatise contains a summary of the First at its own beginning is in fact relevant to why this particular question was confusing at its end, and why I buzzed with "Second Treatise" after an opposing team's neg let me wait till the end. Many students, myself included, read only the Second Treatise, and the Second Treatise alone also has an "opening segment" (its Chapter I) which recaps his "takedown of Patriarcha" from the prior treatise. Since the First Treatise is entirely about Filmer, it thereby seems incorrect to say only the First Treatise's "opening segment" is about Filmer. The anti-prompt makes this seem like it's not a problem, but the tossup already has clues which should render an answer of either individual treatise acceptable, and in that case saying "this work" over and over again, rather than just making people's lives easier by saying "these works" (since they are separable and often separated), would better direct teams to the only answer which should be acceptable at the end, without needing to anti-prompt an answer which has become incorrect.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby grapesmoker » Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:50 pm

Do you think it would have been better to write "the first half of this work is a takedown of Patriarchia by Robert Filmer."? I think this should eliminate any ambiguity about whether the Second Treatise is what's being asked about. Or maybe "this work's first book" would be even better, since that's an accurate statement about the constitution of "Two Treatises" as a single work.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Magister Ludi » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:15 pm

Papa's in the House wrote: So, this tossup actually decided the second game of the finals at our site. From what I know, someone negged early on, and at the end of the tossup one player (from Michigan) buzzed and said "treatise on government," was prompted by M. Sorice*, said "second treatise on government," was again prompted by Sorice (per the packet guidelines), and finally said "two treatises on government." The bonus was read to them and a protest was lodged. Sorice ended up consulting one of the editors of the tournament and explaining his reasoning behind why there should not have been a prompt. The gist of the argument was: at some point the tossup stops being about one of the two treatises and starts being about both treatises (because material from both treatises is mentioned in the tossup), so at some point there should not be a prompt on "treatise on government," "first treatise on government," or "second treatise on government." The editor agreed and the protest was resolved against Michigan, allowing Chicago A to win the game and the tournament.

*I don't know the impetus for the first prompt since I was not actually in the room when the tossup was played.


Ironically, we lodged the same protest at our site in the first game of the finals, but received the opposite ruling. I don't have a problem with the ruling, but think the community should clarify exactly how long the anti-prompt is applicable in a tossup. It makes sense to prompt someone who buzzes with the Second Treatise on a clue in the middle of the question specifically about the second treatise, but after the giveaway that specifies the exact answer that the question is looking for an anti-prompt is less defensible. At some point the "attention must be paid" mantra needs to kick in. To me it is just wrong to answer "The Dead" on a Dubliners tossup or answer "Of Miracles" on an An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding after the giveaway, and the player should not be prompted. The main solution to this problem, like Jerry pointed out, is for writer's to phrase their questions more exactly, so there is less ambiguity about the answer being sought. Specifically, writers should use more specific words than "work" later in the question if the topic lends itself to any potentially ambiguous answers.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Auroni » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:43 pm

Since I knew that this would come up eventually, here's a bit of reflection from me about that Two Treatises work:

It was poorly written, and there's no excuse for that. I would like to apologize to the finals teams at the UIUC and Brown sites for negatively affecting the outcome of your game with that question, which had problems that would have been quite easily fixable had IRun them by anyone else Thursday night when that was written. In particular, I agree with Matt's suggestion that "this set of works" is less confusing than that tossups repeated use of "this work" -- I know that the Second is published on its own and the majority of the clues were from that half. Furthermore, I think the clue about the takedown of Patriarcha would have been better worded as "the first book of this work" or "the first of these set of works" as Jerry and Matt have suggested.

However, I'm still unconvinced that a tossup on the Two Treatises is not viable if done properly. I realize that the second is way more significant than the first, but the first provides background for most of Locke's arguments and ranks among the best literary iceburns (for lack of a better word) of all time, so including clues from it in a good tossup on this answerline is worthwhile. It confuses me that people got a regular prompt instead of being told to be less specific on an answer like "the second treatise." Future questions that get on the antiprompt train should say something like "prompt to be less specific."
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby JamesIV » Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:49 pm

On another note, there were at least two tossups whose opening lines were strange to me. The tossup on The Seagull began with a clue about the details of a specific (2006?) production of the play. Similarly, there was a tossup on The Consolation of Philosophy that opened with a quote from the introduction of a Penguin Classics edition.

Perhaps others disagree, but I think this is slightly wrong-headed. I don't think that rewards detailed knowledge of the work, so much as rewarding particular modes of imbibing that knowledge. I'm not sure it makes sense to say that someone who's read The Consolation of Philosophy has had any less valid an exposition to the work. Certainly, for some plays or operas, a particular production could be famous enough to be a clue. Likewise, some introductions (W. B. Yeats on the Gitanjali, or Bernard Williams on The Gay Science, for example) are just fine. I don't want to suggest that these aren't legitimate types of clues, only that they should be used sparingly. The research needs to be done to make sure, and I don't think either of the tossups fits that criteria. In any case, I would be very curious to know if anybody got those tossups on those clues, because, all other concerns aside, it seems like wasted space.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Ringil » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:00 pm

I think Chicago got the Seagull off the production clue at our site, but I'm not 100% sure.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:04 pm

JamesIV wrote:On another note, there were at least two tossups whose opening lines were strange to me. The tossup on The Seagull began with a clue about the details of a specific (2006?) production of the play. Similarly, there was a tossup on The Consolation of Philosophy that opened with a quote from the introduction of a Penguin Classics edition.

Perhaps others disagree, but I think this is slightly wrong-headed. I don't think that rewards detailed knowledge of the work, so much as rewarding particular modes of imbibing that knowledge. I'm not sure it makes sense to say that someone who's read The Consolation of Philosophy has had any less valid an exposition to the work. Certainly, for some plays or operas, a particular production could be famous enough to be a clue. Likewise, some introductions (W. B. Yeats on the Gitanjali, or Bernard Williams on The Gay Science, for example) are just fine. I don't want to suggest that these aren't legitimate types of clues, only that they should be used sparingly. The research needs to be done to make sure, and I don't think either of the tossups fits that criteria. In any case, I would be very curious to know if anybody got those tossups on those clues, because, all other concerns aside, it seems like wasted space.


I think quizbowl needs to come to terms with the fact that there are multiple legitimate ways to imbibe "real knowledge" of a thing.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Matthew Jackson » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:10 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Do you think it would have been better to write "the first half of this work is a takedown of Patriarchia by Robert Filmer."? I think this should eliminate any ambiguity about whether the Second Treatise is what's being asked about. Or maybe "this work's first book" would be even better, since that's an accurate statement about the constitution of "Two Treatises" as a single work.


If one is set on referring to the Two Treatises as a single work, I think that would indeed help a lot.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Matthew Jackson » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:14 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
JamesIV wrote:stuff about specific introductions and plays


I think quizbowl needs to come to terms with the fact that there are multiple legitimate ways to imbibe "real knowledge" of a thing.


Indeed, calling for a blanket ban on such clues would be stupid. When it comes to clues about introductions, specific productions, etc. it's all about being judicious as to which are famous enough to serve as a clue at that point in a tossup. I personally have no objection to the type of clue used in these tossups, but especially at the leadin level, it has to be not only something the author knows, but something the author knows is knowable to other people with a deep interest in the work. I am curious (yellow) to hear Auroni's thoughts on whether these clues fit that bill.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:38 pm

The Toad to Wigan Pier wrote:That's actually the reason I included the clue. The point is not so much to know that exact example, but to give players a sense of what type of molecules are involved and consequently what sort of reaction is occurring. I personally think this is a better way to distinguish people who have taken orgo or who have learned what the reaction is actually about vs non-science people who have memorized a couple clues for a reaction but don't actual know what it's about.

But what I'm saying is that that clue, if the tossup gets to that point, could mean "a rearrangement/other one-to-one reaction that could go on esters" or "a reaction involving esters that can go in a one-to-one way." In fact, Eric-easily-best-all-around-science-player-of-the-past-five-years-Mukherjee got out of his game-speed gloss of that clue "oxygen molecules rearranging." He's not a chemist, but he certainly should have a 0% probability of understanding the wrong meaning of a clue, and his interpretation was far closer to the wrong one than the right one.

If you understand the least thing about that clue--you know that esters end in "oate" and you figure "dioate" means "two oate-s"--then you're going to be able to make it work. It's like putting "This term refers to ciphers that rotate the alphabet by a constant" through ROT13 or something. Chances are the best cryptography players can turn their Ns into As faster than the worst cryptography players, but there are better ways.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:54 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:The addition-elimination clue I don't think was unique, even the way you have it written, because in saponification (another tossupable thing) an OR group gets kicked out after an O-minus resonates its electrons back onto the carbon center.

I'm of two minds on this. On one hand, mechanistic clues are all necessarily a little bit nonunique: either two Diels-Alder reactions on different substrates ought to be called "different reactions"--and transamidation and transesterification ought to be called "different reactions"--or they're both the same. The point where we declare mechanistic parallels to be too strained to call two things the "same reaction" is not a clear one; it's somewhere between "it's all just molecules behaving in physically allowable ways" and a blind refusal to draw parallels. So my perspective is that it operates more or less the way that "FTP, name this work by Jane Austen" does: the most it can do is narrow the field for you (a type of clue I should maybe have waited for on an EFT 2008 tossup on Sons and Lovers I accidentally conflated Paul Morel with Julien Sorel and then became distraught upon buzzing that no, none of the plot elements of The Red and the Black had appeared yet...) and there's a place for that. On the other hand, it's a shame when they're used to begin a tossup, because the writer mistakenly thinks they're the very deepest knowledge--that leads to hoses and anger. Or when they make up too great a proportion of a tossup, or to the extent where the necessary sentence structure interrupts the pyramidality... Or, in this case, where it follows a clue with a specific named product of this reaction that uses the uncommon "ethyl []carboxylate" nomenclature for an ether; someone could mishear a tiny bit, hear "oh, a carboxylate, that's COO-" and "oh, the expulsion of an -OR, that forms an acid"--and amino acids teach us the whole glutamate/glutamic acid thing, and so the saponification negs might roll in.

Now, so many reactions operate the same way it's silly to buzz on those clues unless you know they've been wisely placed in the tossup; now, I disagree that saponification is tossupable, or that it should be, because it's just a hydrolysis like any other (put in water. boil. stop.)--but that's no reason to assume you're safe from it.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby The Toad to Wigan Pier » Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:59 pm

Mechanical Beasts wrote: In fact, Eric-easily-best-all-around-science-player-of-the-past-five-years-Mukherjee got out of his game-speed gloss of that clue "oxygen molecules rearranging." He's not a chemist, but he certainly should have a 0% probability of understanding the wrong meaning of a clue, and his interpretation was far closer to the wrong one than the right one.

Yes..., if one draws the wrong conclusion about a clue, then yes, they might not arrive at the correct answer. Just because we have a small sample size of people being not properly interpreting a clue, doesn't mean the clue is inherently flawed. In fact, I imagine that for any given clue in any given tossup there will be a group of people playing that tossup who properly internalize it, sometimes even when they have knowledge of the answer and/or clue. It's just the nature of the game.

Mechanical Beasts wrote:If you understand the least thing about that clue--you know that esters end in "oate" and you figure "dioate" means "two oate-s"--then you're going to be able to make it work..

Again, that's the point of the clue!

One can make an argument, a good argument, that this clue is bad. You aren't.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Auroni » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:15 pm

JamesIV wrote:On another note, there were at least two tossups whose opening lines were strange to me. The tossup on The Seagull began with a clue about the details of a specific (2006?) production of the play. Similarly, there was a tossup on The Consolation of Philosophy that opened with a quote from the introduction of a Penguin Classics edition.

Perhaps others disagree, but I think this is slightly wrong-headed. I don't think that rewards detailed knowledge of the work, so much as rewarding particular modes of imbibing that knowledge. I'm not sure it makes sense to say that someone who's read The Consolation of Philosophy has had any less valid an exposition to the work. Certainly, for some plays or operas, a particular production could be famous enough to be a clue. Likewise, some introductions (W. B. Yeats on the Gitanjali, or Bernard Williams on The Gay Science, for example) are just fine. I don't want to suggest that these aren't legitimate types of clues, only that they should be used sparingly. The research needs to be done to make sure, and I don't think either of the tossups fits that criteria. In any case, I would be very curious to know if anybody got those tossups on those clues, because, all other concerns aside, it seems like wasted space.


I think you're half-correct there. On second reflection, my edit-job of the Consolation of Philosophy tossup was pretty subpar, for both that reason and some others. This leadin clue was actually in the original submission, and I verified that it was true and thought it was hard enough, but possibly gettable by certain people. On second thought, it seems to be more of how one guy interprets the work than anything else, and I don't think I helped anyone by including it.

On the other hand, I would strongly disagree with the critique of the tossup on The Seagull, which is a major play that's often performed. I think that performance clues about certain plays, such as The Seagull, are like performance clues of classical pieces, which I'm sure that nobody has a problem with. I edited this tossup with the goal of integrating a performance clue somehow, and after some digging, that is the clue that I came up with. If the rumor about someone on Chicago getting it off that clue was correct, then I'll be pretty delighted. I will admit that the tossup I got was much less top-heavy than the final product ended up being, and the reasons for that are purely selfish (I have written questions on The Seagull before, I wanted to hunt for some new clues). My standards for its inclusion, to recap, are:

- it was interesting and integrated some elements of the plot to establish context
- there should be more clues about famous performances of often-staged plays
- there are people in quizbowl who often see plays and would benefit from hearing clues about performances (much like people who go to classical concerts and see operas should be rewarded in the same fashion, from time to time)

Of course, none of this excuses the factual error in that question that Saajid privately told me about, which is that Konstantin speaks Hamlet's lines about Gertrude, not Gertrude's lines about herself(?) Apologies if that confused anyone.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus » Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:47 pm

The Toad to Wigan Pier wrote:
Mechanical Beasts wrote: In fact, Eric-easily-best-all-around-science-player-of-the-past-five-years-Mukherjee got out of his game-speed gloss of that clue "oxygen molecules rearranging." He's not a chemist, but he certainly should have a 0% probability of understanding the wrong meaning of a clue, and his interpretation was far closer to the wrong one than the right one.


Yes..., if one draws the wrong conclusion about a clue, then yes, they might not arrive at the correct answer.


I'm not being clear here. I understood that one oxygen-containing compound was being transformed into another, so I think that clue did give me context in an on-the-fly sort of way.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby touchpack » Wed Feb 22, 2012 2:10 am

One thing I would point out in this IUPAC discussion is that not all IUPAC names are made equal--the "stilbene from benzaldehyde" clue in the Wittig tossup is much easier to parse and buzz on than the clue in the Claisen TU, but it's not necessarily a bad thing that the clue in the Claisen is harder--as long as both of those two TUs maintain pyramidality.

I don't know much about biochem and am not attempting to criticize the quality of those clues. I will stand by my point that they are difficult to buzz on, however, especially considering that "Eric-easily-best-all-around-science-player-of-the-past-five-years-Mukherjee" was unable to buzz there.

Mechanical Beasts wrote:I'm of two minds on this. On one hand, mechanistic clues are all necessarily a little bit nonunique: either two Diels-Alder reactions on different substrates ought to be called "different reactions"--and transamidation and transesterification ought to be called "different reactions"--or they're both the same. The point where we declare mechanistic parallels to be too strained to call two things the "same reaction" is not a clear one; it's somewhere between "it's all just molecules behaving in physically allowable ways" and a blind refusal to draw parallels.


I think this is a good point, and I understand that it's basically impossible to always make mechanistic clues fully unique. My argument is that TUs featuring mechanistic clues should try to capture the scope of the entire mechanism--and that the weakness of the Claisen tossup was that it talked about just one mechanistic motif which is featured in many, many reactions. It frustrates me to no end when I listen to a mechanism clue and am thinking "well that could be like 10 things."
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Wed Feb 22, 2012 1:20 pm

The Toad to Wigan Pier wrote:
Mechanical Beasts wrote:If you understand the least thing about that clue--you know that esters end in "oate" and you figure "dioate" means "two oate-s"--then you're going to be able to make it work..

Again, that's the point of the clue!

"If you can rapidly interpret an obtuse nomenclature then this clue is equivalent to the giveaway; if you cannot it is literally impossible to buzz on and in any event hard to buzz on with confidence." If that's the point of the clue, but you don't think I'm making a good argument against the clue, then you must think that rapidly interpreting IUPAC nomenclature is an interesting or helpful skill. O--okay, then.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus » Wed Feb 22, 2012 3:07 pm

touchpack wrote:One thing I would point out in this IUPAC discussion is that not all IUPAC names are made equal--the "stilbene from benzaldehyde" clue in the Wittig tossup is much easier to parse


Oh hey, that makes complete sense in retrospect.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby jmannor2 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 5:03 pm

Does anyone know if this set is going to be posted to the archive soon?
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Fond du lac operon » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:36 pm

I'm going to take the unorthodox step here of criticizing my own question...

Alabama + Yale C + Alberta wrote:This entity was called “the biggest festival of [its] century” in a series of theses on it published by the Situationists. Claude Lecomte and Jacques Thomas were killed by sympathizers with this body. This government was set up in opposition to the Government of National Defense. Women supporters of this entity known as pétroleuses burned down buildings by throwing gasoline on them. This body abolished workers’ registration cards and night work for bakers. Its leaders toppled the Vendôme Column and were rebuffed in their efforts to exchange Archbishop George Darboy. Its nominal president, Louis Blanqui, was arrested on the orders of Adolphe Thiers, who later led the assault on it known as the “bloody week”. For 10 points, name this body which attempted to establish a socialist regime in the French capital in 1871.
ANSWER: Paris Commune [or Commune de Paris]


Okay, this is admittedly way better than what I originally submitted (in my defense, it was like the 10th question I'd written ever), but the lead-in seems to me to be a little transparent/fraudable. (I didn't write that clue, I wrote most of the stuff from "this body" on). If you know a little bit about the history of leftist thought, you'll know that the Situationists were a bunch of French Marxists in the mid-20th century. Combine that with the fact that Marx himself admired much of the structure of the Paris Commune when it was set up, and the Commune should be in mind for sure. It's possible that I know more about Marxism than I like to think, or that I was biased because I could guess that a Paris Commune question was in the packet, but from my perspective it's not a great lead-in.
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Re: ACF Regionals 2012 Discussion

Postby Sir Thopas » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:51 pm

What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:Okay, this is admittedly way better than what I originally submitted (in my defense, it was like the 10th question I'd written ever), but the lead-in seems to me to be a little transparent/fraudable. (I didn't write that clue, I wrote most of the stuff from "this body" on). If you know a little bit about the history of leftist thought, you'll know that the Situationists were a bunch of French Marxists in the mid-20th century. Combine that with the fact that Marx himself admired much of the structure of the Paris Commune when it was set up, and the Commune should be in mind for sure. It's possible that I know more about Marxism than I like to think, or that I was biased because I could guess that a Paris Commune question was in the packet, but from my perspective it's not a great lead-in.

Yeah, I worried a little about that when I put it in. You may be right, but I'd be curious to see how it actually played.
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