General Discussion

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Mewto55555
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General Discussion

Post by Mewto55555 »

This is a good thread for general thoughts about the set (things like length, powermarking, difficulty, general trends in a specific category/the whole set you thought were good/bad).
Max
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Re: General Discussion

Post by shrey96 »

I liked the set, but I thought the plethora of common link tossups on numbers in science was kind of weird. They were good tossups, but I just felt that the theme got repetitive.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Mewto55555 »

Glancing at our answer doc, it appears we had two science tossups on numbers (both in chem, 0 in round 2 and 3 in round 9), three math tossups (7 in round 3, 4 in round 10, 1 in round 13), and one music tossup (4 in round 8) -- I'll probably flip some of these into later packets so it doesn't feel like every single packet has a number question. Thanks!
Max
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Re: General Discussion

Post by vinteuil »

Great set! I personally found a tiny bit of difficulty variability that tended to be subject-dependent (math and lit were often pretty difficult, history and physics was often pretty easy), but it was all definitely high school-appropriate.
Jacob Reed
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Mewto55555 »

perlnerd666 wrote:Great set! I personally found a tiny bit of difficulty variability that tended to be subject-dependent (math and lit were often pretty difficult, history and physics was often pretty easy), but it was all definitely high school-appropriate.
Did any in particular stand out?
Max
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann »

I didn't get to see too many actual games, but the difficulty of this set strikes me as pretty good, but not quite great. For reference, here are the stats from the NYC site: http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournament ... /combined/

You can see that the set was pretty reasonable at the bottom of the field. All teams were over 10 ppb, and I saw plenty of exciting-looking scoresheets throughout the day, even in the bottom bracket. On the other hand, I think this tournament was too hard at the top. The top bracket teams were all over 20 ppb, but no one could crack 23. To me, that indicates that the hard parts were too hard. The top teams couldn't use third parts to separate themselves from the pack, and thus we get this clumping effect.

I wonder if the fact that there were 16 packets had anything to do with this difficulty issue. I applaud the ambition (and the delivery -- actually finishing sixteen packets, wow!), but that's a helluva lot of material for a high school set. Perhaps it would have been better not to have a packet 16 and instead spread its contents out to even up the rest.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by conquerer7 »

As an ultra-specialist who didn't even recognize most of the answerlines outside of math and physics, after the first few rounds, I thought it played great. Many of the questions were obviously written by true experts. Overall, the set had a sort of subversive feel to it, which was very nice.

It's good that the focus on math clues got shifted from modern (unlearnable) results to elementary stuff. The set also didn't contain trivia involving obscure properties of curves or Platonic solids, thank god. I loved the idea of the "n+1" tossup (though I didn't buzz in because I couldn't believe it), and the "composite" was best of all (a deliberate shot at tripping up word association people;I fell for it out of exhaustion, and rushing, but it was good). Clues were solid.

Actual formulas were thrown in, which was a nice touch, such as in the "perfect cubes" tossup. I imagine it must have been hard to find things that fit nicely. Some of them flew by too quickly for me to process, but that's just because I'm sort of rusty. (in retrospect, I should've started writing the formulas down as they were read. the "third finite difference is six" clue was also very nice, since if you understood what a finite difference does you'd instantly get that it's something cubic, and if you connect it with differentiation you can figure out it's the cubes (x^3 to 3x^2 to 6x to 6). still, I wish people read them just a tiny bit slower, or you threw in semi-filler / explanation to give a bit more time)

Many tossups lined up well with "things you learn in math competitions" or "math lore you pick up while training for math competitions". ACoPS by itself got me several firstlines. I suppose that's a good thing, since that means I got them on real knowledge, but it feels sort of unnatural! This is, honestly, the first time ever that the majority of my buzzes in a subject have been "real", rather than from looking up stuff I've never heard of after a tossup and memorizing it. It feels pretty awesome! So I guess my motives aren't exactly pure, but I think quizbowl math should become a lot more like this, converging with HS competition math: elementary but deep.

Also, barycentric bonus was cool. And the tossup on the number 7 was nice, for breaking new ground (it's almost always a number between 0 and 3!).

As for physics, around half of it wasn't any different from regular stuff. The other half was nice in what it tried to do, though sometimes the effect was depressing. Max wrote in the other thread that "knowing the formula for de Broglie wavelength is a firstline clue", and there were some hard bonus parts that simply involved doing the most basic possible calculations ("what is the moment of inertia of a point mass?"). This isn't even AP level! The fact that this kind of thing can be a firstline or a hard bonus part reflects poorly on quizbowl in general (not to mention it'd be laughed out at any stage of Science Bowl, which this year was far harder than any packets posted online).

Though, I guess, it went fantastically for me, so I'm not complaining. :party:

The first clue for the capacitor tossup was nice (because the formula it gives tests "have you ever derived the capacitance of things?", and a spherical capacitor is the most basic thing). But the question on g (gravitational acceleration) felt sort of awkward... nobody ever puts those things in terms of g, and it felt like it was trying a bit too hard to stuff formulas in.

You might want to change "illuminated" to something else in the wave-particle bonus, because it sounds a lot like "eliminated". Also, I think I heard (not sure) "these objects are made of pn junctions" in a bonus on semiconductors, which is backwards. (pn junctions are made of two doped semiconductors) The tossup on "bubbles" seemed to be a stretch -- I didn't hear most of it, but... how does one make a nice difficulty gradient on that?

Bonuses on physics were way easier than math. I don't think I saw a team that wasn't High Tech A 30 a math bonus all day, but most physics bonuses were 30'd easily with the usual quizbowl knowledge.

Overall, great set, very enjoyable, separated by reality of knowledge well. Let's hope these clues don't get copy-pasted ad infinitum into other sets and turn from cool to memorizable stock.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Mewto55555 »

Don't have time now to get to the rest of your post, but the bubbles tossup at least was:
Round 3 Tossup 8 wrote: 8. These entities can be modeled by the Rayleigh-Plesset equation, which assumes an infinite liquid volume. Sound causes short bursts of light to emit from these objects in sonoluminescence. They’re not forks, but thousands of “replication” ones open up during DNA replication, and a (*) sorting algorithm which compares adjacent elements of a list is named after them. Electrically charged particles leave helical paths in the superheated liquid of a “chamber” named for these things, which largely replaced cloud chambers. For ten points, name these hollow spherical objects that can be formed by a thin film of soapy water enclosing some air.
ANSWER: bubbles
<HX>
so Haohang dealt with filling the medium clues through common-linky stuff (replication bubbles, bubble sort, bubble chamber), while the R-P eq. and sonoluminescence are about Actual Bubbles.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by vinteuil »

Mewto55555 wrote:
perlnerd666 wrote:Great set! I personally found a tiny bit of difficulty variability that tended to be subject-dependent (math and lit were often pretty difficult, history and physics was often pretty easy), but it was all definitely high school-appropriate.
Did any in particular stand out?
Go Tell It On the Mountain/Baldwin/Giovanni's Room seemed like a stretch.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by MorganV »

Prof.Whoopie wrote:You can see that the set was pretty reasonable at the bottom of the field. All teams were over 10 ppb, and I saw plenty of exciting-looking scoresheets throughout the day, even in the bottom bracket. On the other hand, I think this tournament was too hard at the top. The top bracket teams were all over 20 ppb, but no one could crack 23. To me, that indicates that the hard parts were too hard. The top teams couldn't use third parts to separate themselves from the pack, and thus we get this clumping effect.
Conversely, I believe that the bonus difficulty was something that this year's LIST set did far better than last year's. LIST II had a large number of thirties that were trivial for most top teams (8/12 teams at Ultima last year broke 25 ppb, and three matches ended in Andrew Hart grails). This year's set, while continuing to guarantee easy parts that 95% of teams could convert and middle parts of appropriate difficulty, provided a lot more third parts that were interesting and challenging for top teams. The easy/medium/hard bonus structure, like the pyramidal tossup, is designed to allow teams of all strengths to compete at their respective levels; in this respect, LIST III did an excellent job of providing meaningful gameplay for teams at all levels. Seven teams have thus far broken 23 ppb on this set, so there is by no means some sort of asymptote of difficulty preventing teams from doing well: I would suggest that the apparent "clumping" of teams at your site has more to do with them being of similar strength than any problems inherent with the set.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Mewto55555 »

conquerer7 wrote:As an ultra-specialist who didn't even recognize most of the answerlines outside of math and physics, after the first few rounds, I thought it played great. Many of the questions were obviously written by true experts. Overall, the set had a sort of subversive feel to it, which was very nice.
This is sort of what I was going for with this set -- obviously it couldn't be done with every question, but I wanted to write questions that actually rewarded Knowing Things instead of doing boring memorization (and also, avoid the seemingly omnipresent housewrite trend of "This artist painted [unbuzzable description] in one painting and [another unbuzzable description]. In addition to [TITLE] and [TITLE] [repeat]" which I felt like plagued LIST a bit last year as well), while still keeping it mostly accessible (we tried to balance a few slightly more difficult tossup answerlines by basically slashing half of world lit and using those clues in all the common-links like dogs and snow and time travelling, or art tossups on Jesus and pyramids. This hopefully was a welcome change for most teams and wasn't too much funky stuff.
It's good that the focus on math clues got shifted from modern (unlearnable) results to elementary stuff. The set also didn't contain trivia involving obscure properties of curves or Platonic solids, thank god. I loved the idea of the "n+1" tossup (though I didn't buzz in because I couldn't believe it), and the "composite" was best of all (a deliberate shot at tripping up word association people;I fell for it out of exhaustion, and rushing, but it was good). Clues were solid.
Glad you liked the math. I tried to mostly do "hard things that people who are interested in math would know" for early clues of tossups on super-convertable answerlines.
As for physics, around half of it wasn't any different from regular stuff. The other half was nice in what it tried to do, though sometimes the effect was depressing. Max wrote in the other thread that "knowing the formula for de Broglie wavelength is a firstline clue", and there were some hard bonus parts that simply involved doing the most basic possible calculations ("what is the moment of inertia of a point mass?"). This isn't even AP level! The fact that this kind of thing can be a firstline or a hard bonus part reflects poorly on quizbowl in general (not to mention it'd be laughed out at any stage of Science Bowl, which this year was far harder than any packets posted online).
The moment of inertia was originally far harder (the last part was "it all lies in one plane" with the clues being "moment of inertia about x-axis plus moment of inertia about y-axis equals moment about z-axis means what about the object?") so I last-minuted changed it, so it may be a slight difficulty outlier. Still, you get a thirty if you know what moment is and how to calculate it, which seems fair to me. Certainly I don't want to open the ScienceBowl can of worms again, but I would imagine there you have the luxury of people who know science -- keep in mind that many schools playing quizbowl don't have AP physics courses readily available, and also that quizbowl teams don't have the luxury of being composed of 4 science players -- you can make the science a lot harder if teams have a bio specialist, chem specialist, physics specialist, and other specialist, than when teams have a lit guy, history guy, science guy who has probably taken one or two AP courses tops, and other guy. From the name, I would guess High Tech has a far, far better science department than the majority of schools playing LIST mirrors.

Overall, great set, very enjoyable, separated by reality of knowledge well. Let's hope these clues don't get copy-pasted ad infinitum into other sets and turn from cool to memorizable stock.
Hopefully people come up with new clues when they're writing then! There are lots of good ones out there!
Max
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Re: General Discussion

Post by UlyssesInvictus »

While agreeing that this LIST took much better steps to differentiate top teams in bonuses, I think some of the lit went overboard; Anthills of the Savannah is a fine hard part even with Achebe given--and pretty dang hard without it--, as is Thin Man, and arguably In Cold Blood. On the plus side, those are the only specific examples I can remember, so they might just be a few bad apples clogging up my memory of some overall very good lit.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Beevor Feevor »

I really enjoyed this set and felt like most of the problems were very good in difficulty and content. I feel as though some of the bonus parts were a little too easy? I get that it's hard to make easy parts of bonuses not laughably easy, but everyone at our site got over 10 ppb, so I was wondering if that was a conscious effort or not. Maybe that's just me being a bad judge of question difficulty though. Some of the hard parts in lit seemed a little too hard, but overall, it was a great set and I'm glad I got the chance to play on it!

edit: Whoops, there's actually a specific question discuss thread. Silly me....
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Re: General Discussion

Post by Mewto55555 »

Einhard wrote: I get that it's hard to make easy parts of bonuses not laughably easy, but everyone at our site got over 10 ppb, so I was wondering if that was a conscious effort or not.
Intentional. PPBs on this set have gone as low as 4.71 so the easy parts aren't actually super easy (there are teams who know only 50% of them). It's been my experience that at the top, how easy the easy part is doesn't matter (good teams will get them anyway), whereas how easy the easy part is actually makes a huge difference to bottom teams. So like, when the game between the bottom of your bracket's teams has a score of 220-210, that is much more fun for everyone involved than 120-110.
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Re: General Discussion

Post by pajaro bobo »

I enjoyed this set when I played it yesterday. My only gripe is that some of the hard parts of some bonuses seemed a bit too easy (though it could easily just be familiarity with whatever was being asked). Otherwise, I thought that it was pretty well-written.
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