2016 WHAQ General Discussion

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2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby 1992 in spaceflight » Mon Sep 26, 2016 2:30 pm

This is your thread to post general thoughts about the set (such as trends you saw, like "all the literature in this round was all poetry" or whatever you noticed). I'd prefer for other people to post what they noticed about the set first before I offer my thoughts about the set, but I'm very happy with how the set turned out after my hectic week before the Chattahoochee and Enloe mirrors.

I have several people I'd like to thank for their help with completing the set:
-David Dennis, whom I work with on a regular basis coaching the Washington High School team, edited all of the science (with a few comments/some oversight by Eric) after Andrew Wang, our original biology and chemistry editor did not do his assignment (I'm definitely nominating him for the Order of Socialist Quizbowl Labor Heroes the next time nominations come around).
-Jake Sundberg edited the last 10 tossups in physics/other science when Seth had his real-world commitments make him be unable to finish the set.
-I'd also like to thank everyone who playtested/looked over questions for the set. Mike Cheyne, Matt Bollinger, Chandler West, Chris Manners, Tejas Raje and Ankit Aggarwal all playtested some portion of the set and really helped with making sure any residual bad ideas didn't make it into the set.
-Ike Jose looked over my philosophy questions and provided me with a ton of feedback.
-Billy Busse and Cody Voight looked over some of Seth's physics questions that he wanted feedback on and gave him great feedback on what is appropriate for the high school game.
-I'd also like to thank Sean Phillips, who was a calming influence whenever I was starting to get worried about the state of the set.

If you have any comments about a specific questions, those can go in the question-specific discussion thread. Discuss away!
Jacob O'Rourke
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Formerly: Kirksville HS Assistant Coach (2012-2014); Truman State '14; and Pacific High (MO) '10


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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby dwd500 » Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:45 pm

David Dennis, whom I work with on a regular basis coaching the Washington High School team, edited all of the science (with a few comments/some oversight by Eric)


Bear in mind, my last science class was in 1997. I teach choir. This definitely fell in the "someone's gotta do it, guess it'll have to be me" category.

Our main science writers didn't seem to coordinate subjects with one another (there was originally a TU on Gibbs Free Energy in addition to the Nernst equation, etc.) and there was a TON of org chem in there, originally. After a half-week of whittling and cursing and no sleep, I think I ended on stuff that is in the usual canon. I had my team play it, and the response was "stocky, but OK." That's about as good as I could hope for.

What I'm saying is - if you noticed stuff that's just plain wrong, or that leadin is really too easy, or, just switch that stuff around, please let me know. I really don't know better, and I want to make sure those subjects are at least decent to play.

As far as overall difficulty, I know I was keeping the middle-of-the-pack teams at our December tournament in mind. Nationally, those teams aren't very good, and no one likes dead tossups.
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby i never see pigeons in wheeling » Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:14 pm

This was mirrored yesterday for the Varsity division of Cal Cup 1, which contained a fair number of pretty casual teams. I liked the fact that when the set erred, it generally erred easier instead of more difficult. This is a trend that I think really worked with CALI and that needs to continue to provide a good competitive experience for teams from the entire field. I thought it had a good variety of answerlines that provided a good test of team knowledge in all distributions (there was a feng shui issue in one packet where both American history questions were on judicial history). I generally liked the set.

That said, there were points at which this set seemed to not know when it would be a novice set or a regular difficulty set. The staffers at the tournament yesterday all generally agreed that the tournament was way too generous with power marks, including have a tossup on the Divine Comedy where Virgil was in power (???), various bonuses that seemed to have multiple easy parts (see: the bonus on the Doppler Effect) contrasted heavily with certain very difficult bonuses (the bonus on stages with the Globe Theater was an easy part; there were other bonuses where something as difficult as the Globe Theater might have been a harder-than-medium part). Though the quality of individual questions was often high, the difficulty variation meant that the teams might have had to rely a bit too much on the luck of the bonus. More of a unifying vision of the set between individual editors could help iron out these kinks.

Also, another thing that some of the staffers wanted to point out was that many of the pronunciation guides were outright incorrect.
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby 1992 in spaceflight » Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:17 pm

i never see pigeons in wheeling wrote:This was mirrored yesterday for the Varsity division of Cal Cup 1, which contained a fair number of pretty casual teams. I liked the fact that when the set erred, it generally erred easier instead of more difficult. This is a trend that I think really worked with CALI and that needs to continue to provide a good competitive experience for teams from the entire field. I thought it had a good variety of answerlines that provided a good test of team knowledge in all distributions (there was a feng shui issue in one packet where both American history questions were on judicial history). I generally liked the set.


Thank you for the feedback and the kind words, Ankit. If you could ask the staffers from Cal which packet had two American history questions on judicial history, I will fix this.

i never see pigeons in wheeling wrote:That said, there were points at which this set seemed to not know when it would be a novice set or a regular difficulty set. The staffers at the tournament yesterday all generally agreed that the tournament was way too generous with power marks, including have a tossup on the Divine Comedy where Virgil was in power (???), various bonuses that seemed to have multiple easy parts (see: the bonus on the Doppler Effect) contrasted heavily with certain very difficult bonuses (the bonus on stages with the Globe Theater was an easy part; there were other bonuses where something as difficult as the Globe Theater might have been a harder-than-medium part). Though the quality of individual questions was often high, the difficulty variation meant that the teams might have had to rely a bit too much on the luck of the bonus. More of a unifying vision of the set between individual editors could help iron out these kinks.

Also, another thing that some of the staffers wanted to point out was that many of the pronunciation guides were outright incorrect.


The Divine Comedy tossup:
Packet 1 wrote:In this work, the narrator encounters a tree spirit that killed itself as a human because of the jealousy of Frederick II’s court. The narrator of this work learns the story of Paolo and Francesca and is assisted by Geryon. In this poem, Virgil guides the narrator through the nine(*) circles of hell. The narrator of this poem passes through an entrance, where he reads an inscription that proclaims “abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” For 10 points, name this epic poem by Dante Alighieri that is divided into sections called Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso.
ANSWER: The Divine Comedy [or La Divina Commedia; or the Inferno before it is read] <Wenzer Qin>/<ed. Jacob>


In general, I tried to aim for being easy. However, I forgot to fix this, so the wording in the third sentence will be changed to "The narrator of this poem is guided through the nine(*) circles of hell by Virgil."

I also agree with your general point about bonus variability: I think that's the weakest part of the set. Next year, we will definitely make sure that category editors are on the same page. If you wouldn't mind asking around for more specific ideas about which bonuses seemed harder than the majority of the set, I would appreciate it.

I already talked to you about the pronunciation guides, too, so I know that ancient history and myth are the categories I need to look at. Thanks for the feedback!
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby AKKOLADE » Sun Oct 30, 2016 3:04 pm

One thing I really liked about this set was that, other than some issues with using apostrophes incorrectly in the case of plurals vs. possessives, it was very well edited grammatically. I may have had to stop once during the 11 rounds I read to check what was going on in the question.

One thing I think was pretty interesting was the decision to allow electronic distribution of the set to teams that attended a site. I'm hopeful it won't lead to any problems, but there's always the worry that some team will forget what ethics are and why they're important.

One thing I did not like was that I think this whiffed pretty notably on difficulty, in general and in one category specifically. This was supposed to be a regular difficulty HS set, but it definitely read like something at or even easier than an A set. Tossups had clues in the 2nd or 3rd lines that I was used to seeing used as giveaways, or at least pre-FTP clues. Bonuses often almost all had two easy parts and then an actual hard part, with no middle part.

However, within this set, there was one category that was a clear outlier: pop culture questions. These questions were more specific, read like an actual regular difficulty tossup, and rarely had true easy parts on the bonuses. These questions that were randomly much harder than their surrounding could have a serious effect on the results in games played on these set. For a close game, randomly getting the bonus that's the very specific pop culture one for the packet could very well mean a loss of 20 or 30 points.

I will note that, on my last point, I was reading for the national division of a tournament that did a split bracket. It could be that given how rarely I'm able to attend tournaments and that the last few I've been to have been high school national difficulty or higher, my viewpoint of what is difficult could have been affected.

Final point I'll make right now: power marks were incredibly generous, but at the same time this was consistent throughout the set. This isn't a complaint so much as it's as a remark upon an interesting decision you made, which I'm not saying was inherently wrong.
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby 1992 in spaceflight » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:46 am

AKKOLADE wrote:One thing I did not like was that I think this whiffed pretty notably on difficulty, in general and in one category specifically. This was supposed to be a regular difficulty HS set, but it definitely read like something at or even easier than an A set. Tossups had clues in the 2nd or 3rd lines that I was used to seeing used as giveaways, or at least pre-FTP clues. Bonuses often almost all had two easy parts and then an actual hard part, with no middle part.

However, within this set, there was one category that was a clear outlier: pop culture questions. These questions were more specific, read like an actual regular difficulty tossup, and rarely had true easy parts on the bonuses. These questions that were randomly much harder than their surrounding could have a serious effect on the results in games played on these set. For a close game, randomly getting the bonus that's the very specific pop culture one for the packet could very well mean a loss of 20 or 30 points.

I will note that, on my last point, I was reading for the national division of a tournament that did a split bracket. It could be that given how rarely I'm able to attend tournaments and that the last few I've been to have been high school national difficulty or higher, my viewpoint of what is difficult could have been affected.

Final point I'll make right now: power marks were incredibly generous, but at the same time this was consistent throughout the set. This isn't a complaint so much as it's as a remark upon an interesting decision you made, which I'm not saying was inherently wrong.


I think that the overall difficulty of the set is a legitimate conversation to have. Our original goal was something in-between an A-set and an IS-set, but as the project went on, there were some questions that made me worry that they would not be appropriate for a set of that nature. Hence, I decided to label it a regular difficulty set.

However, I should have done a better job of noting that I expected the set to be easier than most other regular difficulty sets. This is something I will do for next year on the mirroring post. For this year-my bad, I absolutely should have noted that for incredibly competitive mirrors like U. of Kentucky's.

Re: Trash. Easy parts for each trash bonus were: Rubik's cube; Tiger Woods; Benedict Cumberbatch; Wall Street; LEGO Star Wars (the issue with this one was noted in the question-specific thread); French Toast Crunch; Minecraft; Moving screen; Tom Cruise; Motown; Fenway Park; Netflix; Air Force One; Nemo. If there was an issue with the easy parts of the trash, my guess is that it was with the clues that were given.

Re: power marks. Yeah, I wanted to be generous with power marks. I know the strength of teams that the Washington site will attract-I want them to be able to get a few powers at this tournament. There's nothing wrong with good teams getting a lot of powers, in my opinion.

Thanks for your feedback, Fred!
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby High Dependency Unit » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:19 pm

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:Re: Trash. Easy parts for each trash bonus were: Rubik's cube; Tiger Woods; Benedict Cumberbatch; Wall Street; LEGO Star Wars (the issue with this one was noted in the question-specific thread); French Toast Crunch; Minecraft; Moving screen; Tom Cruise; Motown; Fenway Park; Netflix; Air Force One; Nemo. If there was an issue with the easy parts of the trash, my guess is that it was with the clues that were given.


The Martin Sheen (Wall Street) and basketball bonuses struck me as particularly difficult. I'm a good sports player, and I 20'd the basketball bonus missing "moving screen." Most people who haven't played organized basketball won't know what that is.

In the set overall, I thought the tossups were fairly easy and led to many early buzzer races (I was in the nationals division at Columbia, so you have a bunch of top-10 to 25 teams playing this set), while bonuses were more inconsistent. I was not expecting something closer to an a-set, so I think this could have been advertised better, but it was a very good set for less talented quiz bowl teams, especially those looking to improve -- it would have been very valuable to me my freshman and sophomore years thanks to its accessible and canonical subjects. I did enjoy playing this set on Saturday.
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby 1992 in spaceflight » Mon Dec 05, 2016 8:56 pm

2013 in amusement parks wrote:
The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:Re: Trash. Easy parts for each trash bonus were: Rubik's cube; Tiger Woods; Benedict Cumberbatch; Wall Street; LEGO Star Wars (the issue with this one was noted in the question-specific thread); French Toast Crunch; Minecraft; Moving screen; Tom Cruise; Motown; Fenway Park; Netflix; Air Force One; Nemo. If there was an issue with the easy parts of the trash, my guess is that it was with the clues that were given.


The Martin Sheen (Wall Street) and basketball bonuses struck me as particularly difficult. I'm a good sports player, and I 20'd the basketball bonus missing "moving screen." Most people who haven't played organized basketball won't know what that is.

In the set overall, I thought the tossups were fairly easy and led to many early buzzer races (I was in the nationals division at Columbia, so you have a bunch of top-10 to 25 teams playing this set), while bonuses were more inconsistent. I was not expecting something closer to an a-set, so I think this could have been advertised better, but it was a very good set for less talented quiz bowl teams, especially those looking to improve -- it would have been very valuable to me my freshman and sophomore years thanks to its accessible and canonical subjects. I did enjoy playing this set on Saturday.


For the Martin Sheen bonus, are you saying the easy part was difficult? I just want to make sure I know what you're saying there.

On the basketball bonus: I see a moving screen get called all the time and talked about in the NBA (thanks to Draymond "moving screen" Green). I might think of a different hard part for that bonus, though-I'll see how it played at other sites.

I already explained the marketing thing after Fred's post, but I had some things submitted to me during the process that made me hesitate to label it "somewhere between regular IS and an A-set." Next year, I will definitely market it like this; for this year, my bad. Was there a specific place in the tossups where the buzzer races happened at your site?

Thanks for your feedback, and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed playing the set!
Jacob O'Rourke
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Formerly: Kirksville HS Assistant Coach (2012-2014); Truman State '14; and Pacific High (MO) '10


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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby High Dependency Unit » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:21 pm

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:
2013 in amusement parks wrote:
The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:Re: Trash. Easy parts for each trash bonus were: Rubik's cube; Tiger Woods; Benedict Cumberbatch; Wall Street; LEGO Star Wars (the issue with this one was noted in the question-specific thread); French Toast Crunch; Minecraft; Moving screen; Tom Cruise; Motown; Fenway Park; Netflix; Air Force One; Nemo. If there was an issue with the easy parts of the trash, my guess is that it was with the clues that were given.


The Martin Sheen (Wall Street) and basketball bonuses struck me as particularly difficult. I'm a good sports player, and I 20'd the basketball bonus missing "moving screen." Most people who haven't played organized basketball won't know what that is.

In the set overall, I thought the tossups were fairly easy and led to many early buzzer races (I was in the nationals division at Columbia, so you have a bunch of top-10 to 25 teams playing this set), while bonuses were more inconsistent. I was not expecting something closer to an a-set, so I think this could have been advertised better, but it was a very good set for less talented quiz bowl teams, especially those looking to improve -- it would have been very valuable to me my freshman and sophomore years thanks to its accessible and canonical subjects. I did enjoy playing this set on Saturday.


For the Martin Sheen bonus, are you saying the easy part was difficult? I just want to make sure I know what you're saying there.

On the basketball bonus: I see a moving screen get called all the time and talked about in the NBA (thanks to Draymond "moving screen" Green). I might think of a different hard part for that bonus, though-I'll see how it played at other sites.

I already explained the marketing thing after Fred's post, but I had some things submitted to me during the process that made me hesitate to label it "somewhere between regular IS and an A-set." Next year, I will definitely market it like this; for this year, my bad. Was there a specific place in the tossups where the buzzer races happened at your site?

Thanks for your feedback, and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed playing the set!


I'm saying "Wall Street" was probably difficult for an easy part.

As for buzzer races, there were several in the second line each round. Overall, I would say a majority of the questions in the playoff rounds at Columbia were picked up within the first 2 lines, but that may be a function of the skill of teams and the general use of more "stock" clues (not necessarily a bad thing for an easy set). Going over the set, it seems more to be very frequent first-two lines buzzes with maybe 2-3 buzzer races in the second line and a few more closer to the end of power.
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby dwd500 » Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:45 pm

The bonus with moving screen was in packet 5, bonus 15.
At Washington, it was heard in 21 rooms.
Going 0/10/20/30, it went 7/7/6/1.

The bonus with Martin Sheen was in packet 8, bonus 7.
At Washington, it was heard in all 24 rooms, at 9/6/5/4
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby jonpin » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:14 am

I understand the sense of wanting to be generous with powers, but some of those decisions were over-the-top. I noted a 6-line tossup where power stretched onto the fifth line, and many tossups would have more than half the question in power.

Was there any editing or fixing of the set done after its first use? Because there were multiple grammar errors, some of which were easily glossed over, but some of which made it difficult to tell what the question was trying to say. For instance, from the round I read at practice yesterday:
R10 T14 wrote: ... The cities of city in Morocco is within this range, as is most of northern Algeria. ...

R10 B11c wrote: [10] Chinese horseshoe bats were found to be are the carriers of the coronavirus that causes this disease related to MERS. This respiratory disease had a near pandemic in late 2002.
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby 1992 in spaceflight » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:08 pm

jonpin wrote:I understand the sense of wanting to be generous with powers, but some of those decisions were over-the-top. I noted a 6-line tossup where power stretched onto the fifth line, and many tossups would have more than half the question in power.

Was there any editing or fixing of the set done after its first use? Because there were multiple grammar errors, some of which were easily glossed over, but some of which made it difficult to tell what the question was trying to say. For instance, from the round I read at practice yesterday:
R10 T14 wrote: ... The cities of city in Morocco is within this range, as is most of northern Algeria. ...

R10 B11c wrote: [10] Chinese horseshoe bats were found to be are the carriers of the coronavirus that causes this disease related to MERS. This respiratory disease had a near pandemic in late 2002.


There were some harder tossups where I felt a later power was warranted. As Matt Weiner has said in the past, power should end at the first word that makes your tossup worth 10 points, and considering the bottom portion of the field at Washington had a power rate of close to 20%, I'd say I was justified in where I placed my powermarks.

Yeah, I've been editing things to fix difficulty-inappropriate parts. I noticed those grammar errors last Saturday while reading the 7th place game; I have a printed copy of the set that I'll be using to go over grammar issues this weekend. If you remember any other grammar issues, I'd certainly appreciate an email.
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby 1992 in spaceflight » Fri Dec 09, 2016 5:09 am

jonpin wrote:
R10 T14 wrote: ... The cities of city in Morocco is within this range, as is most of northern Algeria. ...

R10 B11c wrote: [10] Chinese horseshoe bats were found to be are the carriers of the coronavirus that causes this disease related to MERS. This respiratory disease had a near pandemic in late 2002.


Both of these issues have been fixed.
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Re: 2016 WHAQ General Discussion

Postby 1992 in spaceflight » Thu May 25, 2017 2:15 pm

I've uploaded the set to the database, and it will appear here once it's approved.

Everyone who wrote questions (and who wrote the most) can be found here.

Conversion statistics can be found here.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback, and to everyone who played on or hosted a mirror of WHAQ. WHAQ II is currently planned for a release around the same time next year (late September).
Jacob O'Rourke
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Formerly: Kirksville HS Assistant Coach (2012-2014); Truman State '14; and Pacific High (MO) '10


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