Knowledge v. guessing

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rchschem
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I know this one! I know this one!

Post by rchschem »

While there was "only one" Danish astronomer
Ejnar Hertzsprung, right?

Oh.

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Post by somerandomguy »

I didn't even notice that; there are three that i've heard of...

1. Ejnar Hertzsprung
2. Ole Roemer
3. Tyco Brahe

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Post by ihatenicksaban »

In four years of quizbowl i have never heard a question concerning just Hertzsprung alone, it always concerned his diagram or had the answer Hertzsprung and Russell. Also there are maybe about five high school quizbowl players who can tell you a single thing Ole Roemer did. To anyone reading this if you hear the lead-in "This Danish astronomer..." if you answer Tycho Brahe you will get it right 99% of the time and the jerk on the other team who claims you blitzed and names either Hertzsprung or Roemer is just jealous that you beat him.

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Post by rchschem »

And obscurity somehow negates their contributions? If I were writing questions (which I do), I would ask about Hertzsprung by himself just to keep from hearing another damn Tycho Brahe question. Roemer would be a great way to start a pyramid about c.

I only meant to comment on the arrogance of a statement like "there's only one Danish astronomer" in the context of someone saying that ACE camp was a waste of time. As a practical matter, there is only one Danish Astronomer, but that's because of a lack of innovation in question writing. TB's got lots of great facts about him that make him unique, but let's face it: everyone knows them all! Good players move on to the second- and third-stringers in these categories, and while I'm sure you're right about the rarity of knowing Roemer, that tells me something about the height of the bar, not the importance of these figures.

So to the rest of you reading this, if you hear a question that opens with "this Danish astronomer," and you get burned because the only one you know is Brahe, let that be a lesson to you. And to those of you writing questions, give the players a break and avoid those cliches: "Elizabethan playwright", "Danish Astronomer"...

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Post by Matt Weiner »

ihatenicksaban wrote: To anyone reading this if you hear the lead-in "This Danish astronomer..." if you answer Tycho Brahe you will get it right 99% of the time and the jerk on the other team who claims you blitzed and names either Hertzsprung or Roemer is just jealous that you beat him.
Maybe he's not angry at you, but at his coach for taking him to a crappy tournament that would use "This Danish astronomer" as a leadin.

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Post by jrbarry »

I doubt Mr IHateNickSaban is mad at his high school coach for taking his team to NAQT and Chip-NO since Mr IHateNickSaban requested to attend those two tournaments. :wink:

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Post by ihatenicksaban »

Mr. Barry is of course right, I am one of the few people who posts on this board that would say that NAC is in my top 2 favorite tournaments and i don't really give much of a crap what the rest of you say regarding their question quality, its still fun. Oh, and Mr. Barry if you read this don't sprint out the door at 2:11 Friday afternoon I have to drop off a bunch of old study stuff you gave me before i leave for Athens.

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Post by Matt Weiner »

You can like what you want, but I was talking about this myterious opposing team that gets angry when you show your "knowledge" (guessing ability) by buzzing in on "This Danish astronomer." Their anger is more than justified.

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Post by irmogopher »

I don't see how that team's anger is justified. Isn't the ability to guess just as important as knowledge. Not to make them sound wholly separate since they obviously go hand in hand in the context of competitive quiz bowl. I see how one could make the argument for the burden of knowledge in not jumping in This Danish astronomer..." but maybe that is just a step below the person who is good at probability and willing buzz in at this point. With it being almost unanimous on this board that Brahe is going to be the answer with 99% certainty, who would take that chance?

As for this basically stating obscurity negating contribution, put everything in a larger context. If we were talking about possible recipients for Greatest Danish Astronomer of all time that would be fine, but we aren't. We are talking about a competitive activity that is based on asking the largest number of questions in a given amount of time.

I'm not lowering the bar by justifying an absence of multiple Danish Astronomers in quiz bowl competition; I'm being a realist.

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Post by Matt Weiner »

irmogopher wrote: Isn't the ability to guess just as important as knowledge.
No.

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Post by jewtemplar »

In quiz bowl yes, guessing is as important as knowledge. That is one of the great faults of current questions, one which I try to remedy when I write questions or have my team write them. It is not a skill that should be rewarded, although it is often found in players with a good knowledge base as well ("good" players). I can understand it being an important part of the curriculum of a camp dedicated to winning at quizbowl, but such a teaching program doesn't help things.

Edit: grammar typo.

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Post by rchschem »

While it is often better to be lucky than good, one thing we do not see in our pantheon of nationally respected teams is players whose knowledge stops at Tycho Brahe (for example). Having been beaten by some really good teams in my life, I know that I would rather have players who know more but are slower than those who are quick guessers but don't have depth. Guessing will get you the occasional question; it may even break open the occasional match, but your bread and butter is "know more than thy neighbor".

That being said, everyone is entitled to their own strategy. If playing the percentages is your priority, then you will often be right against teams who are no better than you are. You have to decide if that's good enough.

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Post by First Chairman »

If being "psychic" is an important skill in quiz bowl, then hosing is a justifiable way for question-writers to make sure that guessing is not always rewarded.

Discuss.
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Post by jewtemplar »

Hosing is a different thing. I define hosing as the early use of an essentially uniquely identifying clue in a question about something else.

"A compatriot of his tutor, Aristotle, Alexander the Great conquered much of the mediterranean and west asia. What was the name of his horse?"

Chip-style hoses like this serve only to punish knowledge, not to discourage guessing. The idea is to promote knowledge over guessing, not to discourage both and attempt to make players less aggressive.
Openers which narrow the list of answers to a group of about 5 need to be eliminated. This does make it harder for question writers to make the type of answer explicit early on, but it needs to be done.

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Post by irmogopher »

Great point Matt, I feel you really countered my argument. Thanks for the insight.

I think there is a misconception with some people that guessing requires no intelligence, or at least not an exceptional level of intelligence. The point I was trying to make was not that the ability to guess supersedes knowledge at any point, merely that in using not only your abundant knowledge of Danish Astronomers (back to the original argument) but also your vast experience that while Tyco Brahe is not the only notable Danish Astronomer he is the only Astronomer who is also Danish that you have heard come up frequently you have beat the member of the opposing team who also knows multiple Danish Astronomers and is unwilling to buzz because of the very rare chance the question is looking for someone else.

So maybe I should change the wording from just guessing to intelligent guessing. Maybe it should be informed guessing.

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Post by Stained Diviner »

Can't we all just get along?

If you're at a tournament with bad questions, then guess away if it helps you win.

If you write questions or pick which tournaments your team goes to, then avoid that Danish astronomer junk.

If you want to practice such questions because you go to tournaments that use them, then understand why other people don't want to practice with you. If you like such questions, then you are in the majority in certain places but not here.

OK?

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Post by Matt Weiner »

irmogopher wrote:Great point Matt, I feel you really countered my argument. Thanks for the insight.
You didn't give an argument, you made an assertion. I made my own assertion. I'm operating from the principle that this game should reward knowledge and self-discipline, so my answer, based on that principle, requires no further reasoning. When you have a logical way to show that the thousands of hours and dollars that go into an elite quizbowl team are best spent rewarding the older players for being aware of what has come up before instead of rewarding actual knowledge with an application outside of competition, please post it.

What you did say was that the player who buzzed in on "This Danish astronomer" is strategically justified at most tournaments. I agree with that, but I find this fact to be a problem. I also find that the opposing team can be morally? justified if they lost by "foolishly" waiting for an identifying clue instead of guessing.

Extra points to college players for seeing the connection between this problem and the tendency of people who don't think things through to complain, in the same breath, about allegedly rising question difficulty and the alleged anti-new-player bias of using popular question topics.

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Post by First Chairman »

ReinsteinD wrote:Can't we all just get along?

If you're at a tournament with bad questions, then guess away if it helps you win.

If you write questions or pick which tournaments your team goes to, then avoid that Danish astronomer junk.

If you want to practice such questions because you go to tournaments that use them, then understand why other people don't want to practice with you. If you like such questions, then you are in the majority in certain places but not here.

OK?
I officially request that this thread be split into Discussion. We have strayed enough from the original topic, and Discussion is more appropriate for agreeing to disagree. :)
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Post by harshrealm »

The only hard and fast rule I can figure is to always guess when the question is over, the other team got it wrong, and enough time has elapsed that you know nobody on your team knows the answer.

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