csrjjsmp wrote:I am unclear whether, when you say "discussion," you mean public discussion here or comments/criticisms sent directly to the editors.
ezubaric wrote:From my notebook, I only counted four math tossups (ODE, Prime Num. Theorem, ODE, and regression), but zero computer science tossups and (I don't keep track of bonuses, so I'm working from memory here) one bonus. This seems rather unfair. There were more probably more trash questions than Math and CS questions, which I don't think has ever been the case at ACF as far as I can remember. I don't think that there aren't any accesible questions available for ACF Fall (if Davisson-Germer and Plotinus are fair game) ...
ezubaric wrote:There were more probably more trash questions than Math and CS questions, which I don't think has ever been the case at ACF as far as I can remember.
ValenciaQBowl wrote:One very minor beef I had, though, was in a packet in which the 20th toss-up was on a pro football team.
ezubaric wrote:Finally, why were packets merged in the way they were? It makes no sense to merge packets from the same region. It makes the packets unusable in that region and prevents the teams that wrote the packets from hearing their packets being played.
There are two problems I've consistently had with the few ACF tournaments I've been to: length and diversity of field. First, length.
All three ACF tournaments I've gone to have had problems with running way overtime. This particular tournament promised thirteen rounds; after round 7, there was seeding into upper and lower brackets for a double round robin, and it was already 4:15. The teams consensus voted to eliminate the last three rounds (I believe Charles was the only person in the tournament to object). The tournament didn't end until 7 anyways; it may have gone to 9 or 10 if we hadn't sheared off the last 3 rounds.
vandyhawk wrote:Our math guy said he would've like some more math questions, but I'll leave that to people who care about it more than I do.
grapesmoker wrote:Although I had no part in editing the literature, the abundance of biography questions in the lit distribution jumped out at me. If I were playing, I would definitely have preferred more tossups on works rather than authors. Too many of the questions, to me, had the feel of being laundry-lists of works.
I found that almost all of the music was biographical and hence trivial, and much of the literature also biographical. I have nothing against biography in particular (other than the fact that it requires very little beyond memorizing names of works and brief details of the best works),
If I were playing, I would definitely have preferred more tossups on works rather than authors. Too many of the questions, to me, had the feel of being laundry-lists of works.
ValenciaQBowl wrote:Both of the sentiments expressed above (by Ray and Jerry, respectively) strike me as indicative of a bias in the game these days toward writing toward the elite in the game. Both Ray and Jerry pay lip service to the notion of ACF Fall's existence being predicated on its being an introductory tournament for novice players, but the fact that they're bummed out by the preponderance of biography or list-of-work type questions makes me wonder if they really understand less-experienced, less knowledgeable players.
Some of you have already been subjected to my already-strong concerns about the tilt of the game in the past 5-8 years toward writing questions that challenge the top 10% of players in the game or making them acceptable to specialists in a field.
First there was collective will to eliminate Colvin Science (aka science bio),
then came the desire to make music questions focus on descriptions of specifics of a particular piece (leading to the now common intro of the type, "Beginning with a B-flat trill on the flugelhorn"),
and now the strong urge (or at least powerful request) that questions in lit, humanities and social sciences focus on works/concepts rather than writers when possible.
These movements, coupled with the expansion of the canon, have led to undergraduate invitational or national tournaments which may have the effect of disheartening or boring some new players. I agree with those who hope that one encountering such obscuranta will dutifully take notes, study up, write questions and come back ready to compete better. But as a coach (and occasional dinosaur player) in a state where both CC and four-year programs are in a bit of a trough, with many elite players having moved on, I've seen first-hand how some people in their first or second year get tired listening to round after round of lead-ins that don't help them much; they're often left out of the question till after the "FTP" prompt.
This is not meant as some sort of bleeding-heart, let's-dumb-the-game-down type of plea, but rather as an observation. Am I wrong in thinking that most of the suggestions for writing and complaints about packs posted around here in the last eight weeks are the kinds of things that would only bother elite players (or at least bother them more than some kid in his second year playing for, say, Oklahoma State)?
Or perhaps I should try this question: what is inherently wrong about a well written toss-up on, say, Herman Hesse, that sentence by sentence introduces works of his in a pyramidal fashion, while simultaneously adding in some biographical detail? If the answer is that this rewards memorization, well, is that inherently bad?
Seriously, what is this game about? Even the toss-up on Marvell that Andrew included above expects memorization, or at least clear memory of lines from a poem. Is the idea that memorizing lines of a poem is better/more important than memorizing the titles of obscure works? If so, why?
In any case, many's the time I've been beaten to a toss-up at the Chicago Open on a novel I've read by someone who hasn't read the novel but has written a toss-up on it or studied it on Sparknotes or something. Heck, Kelly McKenzie had a regular taunt for me on this.
The bottom line is that it seems like the expectation now is that EVERY tournament should be written structurally like one that elite players would like; it's just that a beginner tournament, like ACF Fall, can then have easier answers. And that makes me wonder whether the game will winnow out newer players and programs.
yoda4554 wrote:On the one hand, for a question such as the one on Murakami, how many people have really memorized (and retain) novel titles as vague as After Dark and Hear the Wind Sing without having read any Murakami, particularly considering that neither have been officially translated into English? However, if you've a fan of his work you're likely to know about his latest novel, or of the first novel in his Rat series.
On the other hand, even if you've seen Pinter's The Caretaker, hearing any short plot synopsis isn't terribly helpful, because not much happens in the play. The (what I'm interpreting in retrospect) vague references to the plot of Siddharta in the Hesse question are similarly unhelpful, as they could easily be referring to some vaguely similar story by someone else.
NotBhan wrote:In particular, a tossup this long poses more difficulty for inexperienced players, who are more likely to "tune out" as they sit through 7 lines of clues they have no hope of answering. Beyond that, new players are more likely to either get discouraged or say "screw this" and not come back. I recognize that ACF Fall writing aims to satisfy the two (usually competing) goals of being accessible to newer players and challenging to experienced players, but based on my own experience as a moderator and coach, I feel that the excessive tossup length is an obstacle to the first of these goals.
ValenciaQBowl wrote:Some of you have already been subjected to my already-strong concerns about the tilt of the game in the past 5-8 years toward writing questions that challenge the top 10% of players in the game or making them acceptable to specialists in a field. First there was collective will to eliminate Colvin Science (aka science bio), then came the desire to make music questions focus on descriptions of specifics of a particular piece (leading to the now common intro of the type, "Beginning with a B-flat trill on the flugelhorn"), and now the strong urge (or at least powerful request) that questions in lit, humanities and social sciences focus on works/concepts rather than writers when possible.
Matt Weiner wrote:
I don't understand this. Are you saying that there exist players who otherwise enjoyed the set, but found it too hard, and/or won't attend ACF events in the future, solely because of some philosophical dispute about tossup length?
I want to note that this year's ACF Fall is the easiest and best written novice tournament I have ever seen.
Yes, [memorizing a poem instead of titles] is better. It's better because when you read the poem to memorize it, you internalize that poem. You process the work of literature, you gain something from it, you in some sense become better for having read it. When you memorize a title, it's just a phrase floating around in your head that you associate with an author.
Obviously, in the course of my playing career, I've managed to acquire a ton of "quizbowl-level" knowledge, but on a good question, a player with real knowledge will almost always beat me. And that's correct; that's as it should be.
We the (humanities-based portion of) professional players-- by which I mean people who have been around for a while, go out of their way to try to improve, and post about quizbowl on the Internet--find that easy, but probably can't tell you what the Arrhenius Equation is all about. I know I fit this description and I will wager that you, Chris, do too, although please let me know if I'm wrong.
Matt Weiner wrote: Anyone who has heard a lot of packets or read notorious sources for fake quizbowl play can tell you that Svante Arrhenius won the first Nobel in chemistry.
But science deserved better questions and got them, but if one's writing four science questions, is a question incorporating science biography (by which I mean a rundown of activities, advancements and discoveries done/made by a scientist) really that bad? Just maybe the one extra science question in a distribution?
Independently of Joseph Le Bel, he discovered that the four bonds that carbon can form are direct towards the corners of a tetrahedron, thus helping to found stereochemistry. In a book titled Studies In Dynamic Chemistry, he developed a general thermodynamic relationship between the heat of conversion and the displacement from equilibrium, laying the groundwork for the formulation of Le Chatelierâ€™s principle. The following year, he studied dilute solutions, and concluded that concentration and absolute temperature could be combined to give the osmotic pressure, which differs from an analogous gas pressure by his namesake constant, which he determined by application of Raoultâ€™s law. Best known for his namesake factor in the chemistry of solutions, for ten points, identify this Dutch chemist who in 1901 received the first Nobel Prize in his field.
ANSWER Jacobus Henricus van â€˜t Hoff
Well, I have to disagree. It's not easier than my Delta Burke sets, and it's not easier than the old USF Novice tournaments used to be (this year they're contracting with NAQT), and it's not easier than Charlie's Sword Bowl. I'm certain some would argue that ACF Fall was better written than any of these, and I won't argue (even if I don't entirely agree), but it's not easier.
Birdofredum Sawin wrote:I hope Chris won't be offended if I say that his tournaments aren't really suitable for veterans of the game; they aren't written to be. The handful of games that were played on those Sunshine packets at last year's MLK produced ludicrous results: an obscene number of powers and vastly inflated scores. Not surprising, since they weren't meant to be played by teams like Chicago or Rochester.
csrjjsmp wrote:At West, we saw 600-point rounds. Is this unreasonably high?
grapesmoker wrote:Consider the following tossup:
ANSWER Jacobus Henricus van â€˜t Hoff
So here's a question that I wrote for ACF Fall to which the answer is a person and which focuses on things he did (but, if you'll notice, not where he went to school, his personal life, or his parentage). Nothing wrong with that.
NotBhan wrote:...for many newer players, it just kind of sucks to sit there for line after line after line after line of material. Nine- or ten-line tossups are simply (based solely on my experience as moderator/player/coach, and not on any scientific studies) unpleasant for many newer players, and it's hard to get newbies to take a Saturday off work and come back for more of it. [It is by necessity an anecdotal claim, and if you disagree absolutely on that point, the next paragraph is rather less tenable.]
I'm not trying to make some kind of formal ironclad inductive proof. I simply believe that "accessibility" is not just a matter of choosing answers newer players are likely to have heard of; it also entails some consideration of the new player's experience tilting more toward the non-unpleasant. And it doesn't require "pandering" or any other such term ... it simply requires a bit of brevity. To cite your own (well-written) sentence, "The primary purpose of substantial pyramidal tossups is, of course, to make the same set of questions enjoyable for players of all difficulty levels and avoid turning the game into a speed contest." I agree with this statement, but I believe that there comes a point at which "substantial" passes some threshold which negatively affects "enjoyable." And I believe that a tossup of nine or more lines is usually beyond that threshold, especially for less experienced players. I believe that the aforementioned goals of the ACF Fall tournament would be better served by clue-dense pyramidal six-line tossups rather than clue-dense pyramidal nine-line tossups. This things I believe.
yoda4554 wrote:3. As postulated before the tournament in another thread, questions like that on "Quetzcoatl" at this level aren't necessarily a good idea, because it quickly devolves into an eight-way thought of "this is an easy tournament, so it's probably the by-far-most-famous answer in this particular area, but do I want to risk getting burned?", meaning that the tossup is more likely to go to an aggressive player than one who knows about the subject.[/i]
His twin brother was a god of lightning as well as a psychopomp, and guarded the sun during its nighttime journey through the underworld. In one story, he has sex with a female relative after getting drunk on four draughts of pulque. He recreated mankind at the beginning of the Fifth Sun by sprinkling blood from his penis over a bone taken from Mictlan with the help of his twin brother Xolotl [shoh-LOH-tull]. He commited suicide, or departed on a raft of snakes, after being shamed by his rival, Tezcatlipoca. Often identified with the morning star, FTP name this benevolent Aztec god, known as the Feathered Serpent.
setht wrote: "blood from his martian" in the tossup text
setht wrote:p.s.â€”apparently this site now has a feature that bleeps out certain words, explaining the appearance of the phrase "blood from his martian" in the tossup text
solonqb wrote:The solution would be to see Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc be more common bonus parts in lower-level (relative to ACF Fall) tournaments, so Quetzalcoatl wouldn't be the only askable Aztec god in ACF Fall. I know NAQT has done some of that at the high-school level, but the key here is in a raising of quality of the upper-level HS and maybe some of the college junior bird tournaments that draw a large field. ACF Fall should not have to lose its ability to ask new questions and still be accessible.
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