Missouri 2006-07

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
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Post by quizbowllee » Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:56 pm

[quote="charlieDfromNKC"]First off, his entire demeanor was hostile to us from the get go, which I didn’t understand because it was the first time he’d moderated for us the entire day.
Our protest was on a bonus thing where we had to list 4 of the seven wonders of the ancient world. We said “Mausoleum at Helicarnassus, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Colossus at Rhodes, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria.â€

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:02 pm

It was frustrating, but more I'm baffled at his behavior. He didn't have us the entire day up until that game, so I don't know what we'd possibly done to piss him off.

I have a theory that this guy used to play quizbowl in the 90s and got blown out by Mike Wehrman when he was our captain, so he has all kinds of pent up rage because of that. It's actually not that far fetched, as a Mizzou tournament director from the 90s did something similar to us because Mike Wehrman had beaten him a couple year earlier.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

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Post by ecks » Wed Mar 14, 2007 3:16 pm

quizbowllee wrote:Welcome to the world of being a successful team. Automatically, you are the bad guy. People hate you. Everyone roots for the underdog, which you clearly are not.

We're treated almost the same way every time we go to a tournament in Alabama these days. I like going out-of-state.

Just don't let people like that get to you.
I don't understand things like this. Having been a moderator at several of our (Truman) tournaments, I definitely have some schools that I like to win over others--like teams that are fun in my room--but I would never let that overtly affect my moderating.

Why can't people be reasonable or flexible a lot of the times when they moderate?! Srsly...
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Mar 18, 2007 10:34 am

Quick Savannah results:
Large school: NKC 1st, Liberty 2nd
Small school: Tarkio 1st, Pilot Grove 2nd.

Very good tournament.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:26 pm

Lexington tournament results:
Large Schools:
1 - Liberty (400 pts)
2 - NKC (340 pts)
3 - Smithville (who beat Savannah for the very first time)
4 - Rockbridge

Small Schools:
1 - Richland
2 - Plattsburg
3 - Lexington
4 - St Mary's from Independence

Questions Galore wrote the questions. They were assy. Seriously, "What rock artist's name can be respelled as 'Narcoleptic?'" was an entire question. As we learned, it was Eric Clapton. We were playing Smithville that game and their coach was not pleased. The upside was that 5/6ths of our games were against good or at least decent teams, so that was a good thing for us. In the prelims we played Ft. Osage (bad), Smithville, and Savannah (who weren't too good on these questions), and then we played St. Joseph Benton, Rockbridge, and Liberty in the playoffs.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

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Post by Jeremy Gibbs Lemma » Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:28 am

When the questions are as retarded as those, I can understand why some teams would struggle. Why do schools buy questions from these companies every year?? .. You would think they would learn that there are certain companies that totally suck and that they shouldn´t continue to promote them.

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Post by Matthew D » Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:08 am

Guys I feel your pain, our state association buys both the middle school and junior varsity questions from Questions Galore and for some reason doesn't see anything wrong with the questions..

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Post by Byko » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:11 am

Kentb426 wrote:When the questions are as retarded as those, I can understand why some teams would struggle. Why do schools buy questions from these companies every year?? .. You would think they would learn that there are certain companies that totally suck and that they shouldn´t continue to promote them.
How cheap are these questions? I hate to say it, but economics seems to dictate the situation in a lot of these circumstances. Better questions tend to cost more, and more expensive questions, with the exception of :chip:, tend to be better.

I'd be happy to put my name and company out there as a tournament question vendor for Missouri. While I can be somewhat flexible about the cost of a set of tournament questions, I do have limits since I do need to at least generate a profit.
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Post by DumbJaques » Mon Mar 26, 2007 12:18 pm

How cheap are these questions? I hate to say it, but economics seems to dictate the situation in a lot of these circumstances. Better questions tend to cost more, and more expensive questions, with the exception of Chip Beall, tend to be better.

I'd be happy to put my name and company out there as a tournament question vendor for Missouri. While I can be somewhat flexible about the cost of a set of tournament questions, I do have limits since I do need to at least generate a profit.
Really? I thought it was standard operating procedure to charge ludicrous amounts of money for awful questions (ASCN, Chip, numerous "state championship" formats such as Ohio, Pansonic to a degree). Let me take this opportunity to point out that DACQ offers 40 pyramidal tossup-bonus rounds for $125. Oops, I didn't use "/shameless plug." I guess I don't know code very well, deal with it. In any event, where are these cheap and awful/good and expensive questions you speak of?

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:21 pm

David, you should visit moaca.org and advertise yourself there.

As for expensive, good questions, my best example is NAQT (although people rag on them, I think we should take a step back and see that they still do a much better job than the vast majority of companies). A 32 team tournament costs $565 (-$50 later on). By contrast, http://www.questionsgalore.net/nonilorder.html is an order form for Questions Galore, which is much cheaper. The vast majority of teams in Missouri are totally unwilling to spend money for NAQT questions. Also, the vast majority of teams in MO think that NAQT format is awful. A game must have 4 quarters, preferably in MSHSAA format, and they can't be long questions. Our coach has heard many people complain that NAQT just meanders with all kinds of useless, unanswerable information that doesn't go anywhere (no, their teams suck). Another coach complained because there are too many foreign words in the questions. When we used NAQT questions at our tournament a bunch of teams gave negative responses about the questions. Part of the problem is that MSHSAA continues to sponsor bad question writers and bad formats, and lots of teams love MSHSAA. Another problem is that I think most people locally don't realize that the questions are actually very focused and answerable by a knowledgeable team. I think if they were to watch us play an NAQT set they would think twice before complaining about answerability, but there aren't any opportunities for that.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:00 pm

Last night the "Suburban Conference: Big 7" championships were held at Liberty HS. We all are the schools in the Suburban Conference (I know, vague name) that have the largest populations. There are 3 other divisions. The championships are determined by a round robin, and the team with the best record wins. All seven teams of Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Lee's Summit North, Liberty, North Kansas City, Oak Park, and William Chrisman attended, with NKC going 6-0 to win and I assume Liberty going 5-1. It was an odd juxtaposition. The tournament was run really well by Liberty, with great moderators, helpers, and complimentary pizza, but the questions Suburban Conference requires everyone to use were bad. Lots of speed with no depth, lots of vague crap, factual errors that could make a difference in a game, LOTS of repeats or incredibly closely related questions (I swear FDR was an answer in every game, albeit with different clues.) The 60-second rounds were really bad (imbalanced). For instance, in our Liberty game they scored 20 on theirs, we picked up 30 from theirs, then we had to chose between really vague "money" and something else topics. We went money and sat on the first question for the whole minute once we realized they were going to pull all kinds of random crap we might not know. I know some people were contemplating suicide after playing this set.

The next tournament is JV state on March 31, and then varsity districts are on April 14 (see MSHSAA thread in tourney discussions). So districts are all we have left (besides the 50% probability of going to state, Liberty being the other 50%.)
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

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I feel for you

Post by AShoaib » Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:34 pm

Lots of speed with no depth
I feel for you. Many a games have we lost due to the fact that the questions were more buzzer speed than knowledge.

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Re: I feel for you

Post by ecks » Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:39 pm

AShoaib wrote:
Lots of speed with no depth
I feel for you. Many a games have we lost due to the fact that the questions were more buzzer speed than knowledge.
That quote also describes every CBI game ever played.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 02, 2007 5:59 pm

JV state was held at Marshall HS this weekend. It used Triple Q questions (blegh) and split itself into large and small school divisions.
Large school results:
1. Kirksville (by 5 points)
2. Liberty
3. Truman
4. Marshall

I know the small school champ was Savannah, although i'm unsure of the other placements. The grand Champion was Savannah.

This tournament sparked a lot of controversy when Kirksville's varsity math freshman player Ravi Fernando and a varsity junior named Laura played here (and were the vast core of the team). Also, Oak Grave had a player who was on the all-district team last year, but thankfully someone called them out and they left in the morning.

I just don't think Kirksville should have done that, and I think Liberty's JV (which played within 5 points of K-ville) should get the recognition as best JV in the state.

I'll edit this when I find out more results.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

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Post by ecks » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:13 pm

charlieDfromNKC wrote:This tournament sparked a lot of controversy when Kirksville's varsity math freshman player Ravi Fernando and a varsity junior named Laura played here (and were the vast core of the team).
Although this is going on in the Missouri boards too, I thought I'd post a little addendum here: Ravi, being a freshman, isn't too controversial--other coaches and people from rival teams haven't had much issue with him. It was more the inclusion of the juniors on the team, which is certainly open to debate/controversy.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:18 am

Actually, in Misosuri I know a lot of people (coaches and players) who were bothered by Ravi playing.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

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Post by ecks » Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:49 pm

charlieDfromNKC wrote:Actually, in Misosuri I know a lot of people (coaches and players) who were bothered by Ravi playing.
I can't see why people would be bothered with a FRESHMAN playing in a JV tournament, no matter how good he is--that is essentially saying that if you're actually good at quiz bowl, you shouldn't be allowed to play. Does that mean that anyone who places in the Top 10 scorers should be condemned for placing in the Top 10? I guess I view this whole JV/V distinction like the DII/DI distinction in NAQT--just because you might be able to do okay in DI as a freshman doesn't mean you shouldn't at least get to see how you'd do in DII. Maybe that's the not the way I should be looking at it, I don't know. But with such loose requirements on who can play, I suppose that questions such as these are bound to come up.

As for the number of people, I was just going off of the boards, where the couple of people who had been at the tournament were fine with Ravi, and other sparse anecdotal evidence, which came from an adimttedly small sample size and may not have been truly representative.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:53 pm

Yeah, because the boards are everybody in quizbowl. I heard a lot of other people (both on and off the boards) complain about it.

But I think you're missing the point that Junior Varsity is exactly that: JUNIOR VARSITY. Not varsity, no matter how young you are. Now, if the tournament were advertised as "Freshman-Sophomore" I would be fine with a varsity freshman playing.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 03, 2007 4:41 pm

What is the definition of "junior varsity" in Missouri?

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Post by ScoBo » Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:41 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:What is the definition of "junior varsity" in Missouri?
This is exactly the problem - there really isn't one. The only specific definition I have ever seen in 5 years of following scholar bowl is "a non senior who does not regularly play on the Varsity team", as defined for the Lexington JV tournament in December. This definition would disqualify Kirksville as they regularly play Varsity.

Also, Ravi said on the MO board that Kirksville doesn't have a JV team, so they effectively took their Varsity team to the tournament. They did put emphasis on playing the less inexperienced players but their starters were there to bail them out when the games got harder.

We're hoping that MACA (Missouri Academic Coaches Association, which runs the JV State tournament) will come up with a definition what a JV player is at their convention this fall so this kind of thing doesn't come up again.

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:53 pm

Although yes there is no standard definition, there is a sort of gentleman's agreement on it, which I can get more into later.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Post by Tegan » Tue Apr 03, 2007 7:23 pm

ecks wrote:
charlieDfromNKC wrote:Actually, in Misosuri I know a lot of people (coaches and players) who were bothered by Ravi playing.
I can't see why people would be bothered with a FRESHMAN playing in a JV tournament, no matter how good he is--that is essentially saying that if you're actually good at quiz bowl, you shouldn't be allowed to play.
I don't know the exact nature of the issue in Missouri, but this sounds similar to one I am more familiar with. I don't think anyone is saying "you're too good, so don't play .... I think people are saying: If the concensus is that you are so good as to be among the best in the state, then stop playing developmental levels.

The issue here is based on the philosophy of what the "JV" is there for? I suspect that there are a great many people, in states where a JV or Frosh-Soph level exists that look at these levels as "developmental"; that is for players not yet ready to join the varsity, but are beeing prepared.

If a player comes along who is a freshman (or sophomore) and is not only playing varsity as a starter, but is being considered among the best varsity players in the state, then I can see why a great many coaches may get miffed if this player is being permitted to play JV. This certainly isn't to say that the best freshmen and sophomores should be barred from playing. If they are the best at that level, so beit. The issue is: if this freshman or sophomore (let's say top 20 varsity player in the state) is allowed to play on the JV level, then why not let less accomplished seniors play there to get them playing time?

We've had issues erupt over the past year in Illinois where players are playing frosh-soph tournaments, and then turning around and being nominated for All-State awards..... some coaches refuse to vote for such players sparking an outcry. Others vote for said player, sparking more outcry: How can a player be among the best in the state, if a healthy percentage of their matches and stats are against JV teams?

Based on very recent experience: I would strongly suggest that if this really is an issue in Missouri, do not handle this the way we are going about it in Illinois with a hodge podge of decisions: get this decided one way or the other at the state level.
Last edited by Tegan on Wed Apr 04, 2007 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by ecks » Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:37 pm

charlieDfromNKC wrote:Although yes there is no standard definition, there is a sort of gentleman's agreement on it, which I can get more into later.
Which, of course, is the source of the problem: without explicity stated rules of eligibility, there will always be programs that will exploit them. This isn't the first year that a controversy involving quasi- or non-JV players playing in the JV tournament, and they won't be resolved unless something is changed.
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Post by johnboy81918 » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:40 pm

My solution, which others have probably said, but I don't feel like reading all the posts...is to have MACA define what JV is. End of problem.



And now, to avoid looking behind, I'm going to look ahead. Should be one hell of a weekend next week, eh?

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:43 pm

It should. Too bad a lot of it's going to be buzzer races or crappy questions, as opposed to questions that consistently test depth.
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Post by johnboy81918 » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:44 pm

Well, since we're hosting, I bet I get to the buzzers before you. You may as well not even try :lol:

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:48 pm

Fook that sheet, main.
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Post by johnboy81918 » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:49 pm

Now, what could you POSSIBLY mean by that? I just don't get it!

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:50 pm

It's so totally NOT related to swear words.
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Post by johnboy81918 » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:58 pm

You know, maybe Kyle was right about you guys, that you'll be his "Kirksville" pick. :lol:


Honestly though, I had to admit, I was slightly dreading that game last year at state, but only until it actually started. Then, I felt much better, wondering why he got me so high strung.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:54 pm

The Missouri poll came out, based on the moderators of the Missouri board. It's also sparked some discussion there, but here's what it is:
Based more on best teams not where you will finish at state. As always open to talk but make sure you provide reason why you believe in that team. If you would like to know the reason where a team was ranked feel free to Ask.

Class 4
1. Liberty
2. NKC
3. Ladue
4. Clayton
5. FZW

Class 3
1. Savannah
2. Smithville
3. NMCC
4. Cape ND
5. Cuba

Class 2
1. Richland
2. Tarkio
3. McAuley
4. Plattsburg
5. Purdy

Class 1
1. Tj
2. Bradleyville
3. Pilot Grove
4. Wellington-Napoleon
5. Glasgow

Overall top 5
1. Savannah
2. Liberty
3. NKC
4. Ladue
5. Smithville
I would probably agree with this poll were it MSHSAA specific, but it says "best teams not where you will finish at state," and I'm pretty firmly convinced that we're the best on better formats, which should imply being the best overall. More discussion here: http://z4.invisionfree.com/Academic_Com ... topic=1454
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Post by ScoBo » Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:49 pm

I'm not sure why Bill posted it that way - it is most definitely based on MSHSAA questions exclusively. The only time I would put Liberty above NKC is on MSHSAA-style questions and even then it's almost a coin flip. Plus, all but 2 people so far (one being Charles) have picked NKC to beat Liberty at Districts so far - and all of the moderators who came up with the list picked NKC. This definitely doesn't add up.

We debated between Liberty and NKC for a while but essentially picked Liberty because they've done better on questions that are more like MSHSAA questions - it really is "best on MSHSAA questions" which is apparently not the same as "who will win state"
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Post by Jeremy Gibbs-Duhem Equation » Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:30 am

I am pretty angry with Kirksville for using varsity players. I consider us the best JV team in the state.

-Fish, Liberty JV Scholar Bowl

P.S.

Gratz Charlie, have fun tearing up state.
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Post by ScoBo » Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:46 am

FishyFreshman wrote:I am pretty angry with Kirksville for using varsity players. I consider us the best JV team in the state.

-Fish, Liberty JV Scholar Bowl

P.S.

Gratz Charlie, have fun tearing up state.
Fish--Have you joined the Missouri board?

It doesn't look like this has been posted anywhere: MSHSAA district tournaments were held Saturday. In each of the 4 classes, there are 8 districts. The winner of each district advances to the State tournament on May 5.

The significant games of note are North Kansas City defeating Liberty in Class 4, District 8 340-305, Ladue defeating Clayton in Class 4, District 3 430-260, and Savannah defeating Smithville on a tiebreaker in Class 3, District 8 (they tied 300-300 at the end of regulation).

I watched the Liberty/NKC game and it was a very well played game for both teams; infinitely better than last year's district semifinal mess with both teams making several bad mistakes.

After hearing a couple of games today I'm reminded how generally speed-oriented and short MSHSAA questions really are. It's quite disappointing.

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:07 am

That final was really good. This year it is in many ways an honor to say we've beaten Liberty because they are REALLY GOOD. They got screwed out of a chance to do really well at state (I'm pretty sure we already played the state championship game on Saturday in all but name). I'm especially frustrated when I see teams going to state like Blue Springs who, compared to Liberty, blow. In winning their district they scored less than Liberty did losing. Blue Springs actually scored less than 3 losers in our class, and playing them firsthand I can say they suck. Argh.
The questions were a better set than last year, but that still doesn't make them good. There were still lots of factual errors, vague questions (in one match there were 4 upheld protests), and it was mostly speed. There were more semi-pyramidal structures than before, which is good, and I noticed more diversity than before (all the lit used to be about the same few works, nationalities, time periods, and authors, for instance. Avery had lots of pet topics to write about). With the errors it became very clear that Avery was writing what he thought was right without bothering to factcheck it. For instance, he asked "who is the merchant of Venice?" essentially. The answer on the page was Shylock, but anyone can read the play or check a website and know that it's Antonio. The worst part of this was in the Savannah-Smithville game. There was a bonus part that was incorrect, and Smithville gave the right answer but didn't protest. They ended up losing on a tiebreaker. While yes they should have protested, at the same time they should have not had to deal with it being wrong in the first place.
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Post by Byko » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:54 am

charlieDfromNKC wrote:The questions were a better set than last year, but that still doesn't make them good.
Yeah, that doesn't sound like a huge vote of confidence to me. The one thing that got me last year when I asked Arkansas teams at HSNCT for feedback on the set I wrote was how one team said they were great because there were no protests. The fact that that seemed to be an expectation and a regular occurrence was disturbing, to say the least.

When I heard how bad the questions were last year, I had thought to do all we could this year to get the MSHSAA contract next year. However, after seeing their distribution, I sadly want no part of it. I really don't feel like writing 3 tossups and 1 bonus per round on grammar, spelling, and vocabulary and 4 tossup and 2 bonuses per round on miscellaneous/vocational education (which they specify as "sports, business education, agriculture, home economics, driver's education, health/physical fitness, industrial trades/industrial arts"). And I get the feeling that distribution is something they're not quite so willing to give leeway on, too.

Provided I have sufficient manpower in the form of responsible question writers, I would like to get several state contracts and help gradually over time improve the state of quiz bowl in various states. But that would be a very difficult task that, sadly, I'm not sure is always worth it.
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Post by DumbJaques » Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:26 am

Maybe this isn't the place for this, but if everyone is so frustrated with these questions yet is having trouble with the State organization or the general populace changing to pyramidals all of the sudden or whatever, why don't we ask the question writer to hold themselves accountable? I think I've seen said individual(s) on the boards before. A question that thinks Shylock is the Merchant of Venice is inexcusable. I really can't think of why that would happen. With questions that short and standards that low, it's not exactly difficult to edit the set. Don't get me wrong, everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone experiences four upheld protests in a match. Based on the ~50 of these questions of seen or heard virtually verbatim, I'm going to call out the question writer and say that these are very, very poor questions. They are neither pyramidal nor well-written, but more importantly reflect a generally subpar effort in writing and editing. This is not a diatribe against regional preferences or questions I don't like or whatever, because Dave Bykowski's questions for Arkansas are an excellent example of how you can write short speed questions that are not egregiously problematic. I don't think those questions are preferable (on the basis that they are shorter, speed questions) personally, but they're thousands of times better than the stuff that's being played in Missouri right now. Pet topics? You've got to be kidding me. Even if it's true that short, speed questions are what's best for Missouri (how that could possibly be true is beyond me, as that state has produced its share of the better individual players in the last 5-7 years, if not some of the better teams due to the various problems with running a nationally-competitive team in Missouri), I would like to see someone who represents this vendor explain themselves. Prove me wrong or whatever, but please do it with some examples. Post some sample questions. It's possible to create well-written questions, no matter what your format limitations are. If anyone thinks "shorter" questions can't be well-written, I'd encourage you to pay extra attention to the first night's tournament questions at ACE camp that DACQ will be writing. I promise I will not make any of the most well-known mistakes in quizbowl. I suppose this might seem mistimed, as Charlie implies that this year's set was better, but I think everyone in high school quizbowl is starting to hold questions up to a stricter standard. Personally, I'd like to see some of the people who actually write these questions come on the forum and debate their validity. No one will make any ad hominem attacks. I'm not trying to start a fight with this, just a discussion that will hopefully be a little less one-sided than usual.

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Post by First Chairman » Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:59 am

Well, not everyone wants to post up... think :chip: .

Again, I'd be just as interested in having the writers and readers workshop in early August. I haven't gotten action on it yet (I have to check against the orientation schedules and availability of rooms), but I'll try to.

It also depends: you want food with this? How "upscale" do you want? Who will be my "faculty"? Etc.
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Post by Tegan » Mon Apr 16, 2007 12:56 pm

DumbJaques wrote:Maybe this isn't the place for this, but if everyone is so frustrated with these questions yet is having trouble with the State organization or the general populace changing to pyramidals all of the sudden or whatever, why don't we ask the question writer to hold themselves accountable?
Years ago, Illinois had a nawful question writer ..... he still writes, and slyly offers Illinois State "Series" questions, I'm sure hoping that people will be too gullible to realize he doesn't actually write for the State Series (he even says something to the affect that "he is amazed at how many topics that he writes show up at state' ... implying we are plagarizing, when in fact anyone with a huge question data base is bound to have such topics ..... though I digress.....

He was bombarded with complaints, and did nothing .... he didn't have to .... people were forced to buy his questions to get ready for the State Tournament. We finally convinced that State that the only way to keep him accountable was to refuse to resign his contract. We set up coaches and ex-players to write. Question got better, but sowly better, because at the time, most of the writers were still not used to pyramidality.

I was the one who took the proposal to IHSA. First, find writers competent in their fields, willing to write and edit questions in the fields you need ..... then take it to your association. Explain that poor questions burden moderators ...... burden coaches, and burden players. Collect testimonials ...... Make them see that there is no other alternative.

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Post by Deckard Cain » Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:14 pm

DumbJaques wrote:Maybe this isn't the place for this, but if everyone is so frustrated with these questions yet is having trouble with the State organization or the general populace changing to pyramidals all of the sudden or whatever, why don't we ask the question writer to hold themselves accountable?
Sadly, this isn't actually the case... the vast majority of the state still seems to love the one-line tossups, including many of the people with authority.

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:53 pm

Mr. Egan, did this happen to be Avery? Bryce Avery I know wrote for Masonic in 2003, and does other tournaments there. I know that "most hated coach in Illinois" accused Aegis of plagiarizing him because some of the same topics came up. I know he uses the board as bdavery and has been active fairly recently (offering his Kansas CC questions for the NIT tournament in Alabama).

TMCE (DeckardCain) is absolutely right when when he says most people, including decision makers, love the questions and MSHSAA's restrictions. The Fort Zumwalt West coach complains about NAQT and Wash U questions not being worthwhile (well, he says he likes Speed Check sets). He's on the Advisory commitee, and is doing a real detriment to the best teams in the state by not wanting to bring up removing the travel ban and not wanting to change the style of questions. Last year, after everyone skewered the state questions (which were dreadful), he got on and said that he liked them. And he gets a say in what coaches recommend. So does the lady who coaches at Marshall, who has run for two consecutive years the worst tournament we've attended. She is a sweet sweet person, but she has absolutely no idea what good quizbowl is and should have no business making decisions for the rest of us. The only other coaches I know are Ms. Camp from Liberty and Mrs. White from Mound City. I know Ms. Camp really tries to help competitive teams, and I'm sure Mrs. White does too, but they get drowned out by other coaches and MSHSAA bureaucracy and fellow board members. And the scary fact is that those sketchy members do really voice the majority opinion. I've heard so many coaches complain about how awful NAQT is that I want to scream. The coach from Fordland got on said and said he wouldn't take his team to any tournament where larger schools are attending, simply because he doesn't want to play teams with an "advantage" of having more kids and more classes. he said he wants an "even playing field," not realizing that playing better teams means they can see how it's done and learn to improve. The Richland team that beat them at districts does play larger teams that are much more competitive, but the Fordland coach didn't notice any correlation.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
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Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:20 pm

It was not Bryce Avery in Illinois. He wrote Masonics for one or two years, but another company before him wrote IHSA and Masonics for close to ten years, and they were much worse than Avery.

One way we got changes was to focus on the lack of professionalism of the writer. One coach had worked with the head of IHSA on a few issues and asked him if he thought that IHSA should have the best questions in the state. The head of IHSA said that they should have the best questions, and then the coach pointed out all of the problems with the writer we had. He didn't say that we needed pyramidality, but he did say that we shouldn't have one meaningful protest after another during matches in the State Series and that the moderators who read the questions the day before shouldn't have to make 5 edits per round. That argument worked.

We then suggested some writers we wanted.

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Post by Byko » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:21 pm

charlieDfromNKC wrote:(several frustrations about the MSHSAA in Academic Bowl, followed by AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
This may sound like an obvious question, but has the coaches' association (MACA) tried to do something, or is most of MACA favoring this same course? If MACA feels this way too, then the only recommendation I would have is secession (okay, moving out of Missouri would probably be easier), but if not, why not try to use some semblance of leverage to promote good quiz bowl in the state, even if we're not necessarily talking about NAQT? Could there not be "another state tournament" in Missouri (I'm sure MSHSAA would have something to say about that, which makes me wonder how MSHSAA got involved with quiz bowl in the first place, but that could be another conversation unto itself.)?

As someone who was nearly denied the chance to go to the state tournament in Georgia because of a math question where the other team and the moderator (who was a math teacher) agreed with me that my answer was correct but he "had to go with what was on the page," I understand how you feel about the situation in Missouri. If there's anything I can do to help--believe me, you have my support.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:28 pm

I'll point out the pet topics I've noticed through reading various Avery sets.
- The state of Utah or things in it.
- 19th Century American Literature, especially Hawthorne (and Rappacini's Daughter)
- Things occuring in the year before the questions were played.
- The Forsyte Saga
- A Hans Christian Anderson bonus/Lightning round that I swear has come up in varying configurations three times, but with the exact same wording.
- Psychological coping techniques.
- Judeo Christian Religion (Probably 95% of his religion questions are biblical, although there a Quran bonus this year)
- Questions that start out by describing a work but then want an author.
- Math and Science that is odd.

Also noted are repeats like a Tom Sawyer bonus that definitely had repeats from previous sets. He also would do things that really aren't related to the topic he labeled them. There was a question (in a different set) that was labeled math calculation, but it started out with essentially "This number is the new maximum score for the SAT" and then went on to a problem that gives you 2400. He put religion under Literature always. The language arts questions are only dubiously language arts. A bonus might be labeled Language Arts and then have the topic "Identify the most common language in these countries" or even more often "Identify these words that begin with (whatever letter). One was listing a bunch of first names with biographies and you had to recognize that they had the last name Miller (Bode Miller also is a bit of a pet topic). Sometimes the science calc was not labeled science while other times they were. It is very obvious that he recycles questions from his tournaments over history. It is also obvious that he has a big bank of them and, when assembling matches based on MSHSAA's template, tries to maneuver questions in that don't belong in certain categories simply because he is too lazy to write more questions in that category.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:44 pm

As for MACA, it still ultimately represents Missouri's attitude, as most members of MACA (including higher officials) express disgust for NAQT and related formats. The only schools that really leap to mind as liking pyramidal formats are us, Liberty, Ladue, Smithville, Savannah, maybe Clayton, WCA back in their heyday, and I'm not sure who else. I have heard many members complain about NAQT, and despite Chad Kubicek and Paul Nelson's work to the contrary, there have still been hardly any NAQT tournaments in Missouri. I hear Rolla Fall will be, as will maybe NKC and Truman, which is better than nothing but still woefully underrepresented. Also, Shawn Pickrell is making a bid for state, which would be a big step forward too. however, I'm not optimistic as MSHSAA has a history of picking the cheaper but lower quality provider.

Here are some of the protests that showed up Saturday:
The aforementioned Shylock/Antonio.
In the finals, something math about arcsin where the answer should have been 240, not 300 (that's what Smithville had the problem on).
A bonus asking for the "homestate" of senators. We answered illinois for Hilary Clinton, because that is definitely her homestate. The page said New York.
Oak Park answered Hades on a bonus that wanted ruler of the underworld but never specified Greek or Roman (and the other parts seemed to make it Greek). The page said Pluto.
There were some other math things.
There was a listing bonus wanting 4 countries that touch the Danube. We said Moldova as one, which for some reason wasn't on the page.
I'll edit as they come to me.
Last edited by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) on Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Tegan » Mon Apr 16, 2007 4:47 pm

Coach Reinstein brings up a good point: Point out the weaknesses of hte questions ..... these can't be things like "they're too short" or "they're no pyramidal enough". These are wholly legit, but the people who don't want those will not be swayed.

Focus on the indisputable:

1. pet topics that keep coming up.
2. out and out repeats or near repeats.
3. questions with blatantly incorreect answers.
4. questions lacking alternative answers that should be equally acceptable.

Ultimately, these were the points that got our guy unemployed by the IHSA .... we had coaches with years and years of documented issues.

Ex-coaches have been writing our state questions for five years now. They have evolved slowly, and not without continued problems, but the overall quality is far better now than ever before, with this past season clearly the best ever. Document evidence, gather supporters, and get a foothold on your AdCo.

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Post by bdavery » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:24 am

I have a 3-part response.

1) The errors Charlie mentions are my fault. The Merchant of Venice is a true atrocity. Sincere apologies--and sincere embarrassment. I gotta edit a lot better--and do even more checking of the work of those I buy questions from.

The Clinton question was, "name the home states of these female U.S. Senators re-elected in 2006." I should have said, "states represented by..." That would have been clearer, though I still think more people would say "New York" as it was written than either "Illinois" or "Arkansas"--and knowing what state Maria Cantwell (one of the parts) was raised in is pretty obscure for HS questions. I haven't checked; she may not have been raised in the state she now represents in the Senate.

For the Hercules question, the first few reputable-looking sites I googled up to check the story all said Pluto as Lord of the Underworld. When I tried Hades in checking this response here, I see at least an equal number giving that as an answer.

For the Danube--my first answer set included Moldova--but in final checking, I googled up a couple of maps where the scale made it difficult to ensure that Moldova actually borders the Danube. So I took it out to be safe; I should have known that some wise-acre Missouri kid would say "Moldova "of all possible answers. (More on this below.)

2) As far as the Missouri contract goes--someone else is welcome to have it. But since even Charlie admits that NAQT/pyramid is not a welcome format in much of Missouri (he names maybe 10 schools who like it, out of more than 300 who played districts this year), the new writer will have to be willing to write some shorter questions--at a price MACA will like.

As Byko mentions, the distribution is not that much fun--and you get to write at least 13 rounds of it (only 9-11 of which are actually used in most years, and more than 13 if the vendor would actually like to make a few bucks to subsidize both the cut rate he had to give to get the gig in the first place and the requirement that only MACA gets to sell those 13 rounds throughout Missouri for the 12 months after the state finals.)

Good luck with all that.

3) Missouri seems to have more immature smart-aleck HS players per capita than any other state in the country. Every state has them, and I was one of them when I was that age.

But, based on all the other states where we do or have done quiz events, in any random quiz match, Missouri is the state most likely to feature a kid who : A) deliberately (and unnecessarily) answers "Samuel Clemens" when asked who wrote "Huck Finn" [to demonstrate his 'depth of knowledge'], B) screams loud, long and obnoxiously if (by error) only "Mark Twain" is written on the paper (so that his answer is ruled wrong by the moderator) [not accepting that his own 'superior' answer is what got him in trouble] and C) makes the assumptions that i) anything he knows is easy by definition, ii) anything he doesn't know or has never heard of is obscure by definition and iii) [based on comments after last year's event] any game where each team scores less than 100 points must be the fault of the questions and couldn't possibly indicate the presence of 8 clueless players who couldn't find their rear ends with both hands and a map.
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Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:40 am

Wow. Using namecalling to deride someone young enough to be your son because he dared to put forth the ludicrous request that he receive points for giving the correct answer when playing questions written by yourself, a 15+ year veteran of writing laughably bad questions. That's real classy, Bryce.

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Post by DumbJaques » Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:28 am

I have a 3-part response.

1) Yes, those are your fault. Also, if you need to use google to find out who the freaking god of the Greek underworld is, maybe quiz bowl editor/question writer isn't the best occupation for you.
For the Danube--my first answer set included Moldova--but in final checking, I googled up a couple of maps where the scale made it difficult to ensure that Moldova actually borders the Danube. So I took it out to be safe; I should have known that some wise-acre Missouri kid would say "Moldova "of all possible answers. (More on this below.)
That's stupid. First of all, since when is giving the exact thing asked for specifically by the question "wise-acre" or whatever the crap that means? It said name X countries that border it, not "the largest and best-known to hack question writers." What if some kid was from Moldova, and knew it bordered the Danube? What if he just happened to say that? What if you actually could have bothered, instead of going by what you eyeballed on a couple of google image searches, to take 5-10 seconds to look up THE DANUBE or COUNTRIES THAT BORDER THE DANUBE? These are questions without real answers, much like the ones from your question set!


2)
As far as the Missouri contract goes--someone else is welcome to have it.
Cool. Could you cross-post your resignation letter here?
the new writer will have to be willing to write some shorter questions--at a price MACA will like.
After some quick and dirty math, I calculate that Avery offers the "value" package of about 9 terrible, two-line questions for every dollar. This can be contrasted with something like, oh, say, DACQ, which offers much longer and better-constructed questions at the rate of about 13 dollar. Coincidentally, DACQ will likely be preparing a "hybrid" set of 18+ packets consisting of well-written speed and pyramidal questions, which will make their debut at ACE camp this summer. Still stand by your statement?

3)
Missouri seems to have more immature smart-aleck HS players per capita than any other state in the country. Every state has them, and I was one of them when I was that age.
Congratulations, you still are! This whole rant is way less mature than anything Charlie has ever posted, and I'm pretty sure he's challenged Jason Mueller to a chair-throwing contest. Also, the insinuation that MO is the only state where players know more than 2 countries that border the Danube or know Mark Twain's real name is ludicrous; please get your hands or rear end or whatever on a map and make the trip to nationals or to a midwestern or mid-atlantic or southern tournament, or any tournament which doesn't use your pitiful excuse for questions, and you will understand how ridiculous of a statement this really is.





But, based on all the other states where we do or have done quiz events, in any random quiz match, Missouri is the state most likely to feature a kid who : A) deliberately (and unnecessarily) answers "Samuel Clemens" when asked who wrote "Huck Finn" [to demonstrate his 'depth of knowledge'], B) screams loud, long and obnoxiously if (by error) only "Mark Twain" is written on the paper (so that his answer is ruled wrong by the moderator) [not accepting that his own 'superior' answer is what got him in trouble] and C) makes the assumptions that i) anything he knows is easy by definition, ii) anything he doesn't know or has never heard of is obscure by definition and iii) [based on comments after last year's event] any game where each team scores less than 100 points must be the fault of the questions and couldn't possibly indicate the presence of 8 clueless players who couldn't find their rear ends with both hands and a map.
Again, nothing says "maturity" like sidestepping all the legitimate requests for you to explain yourself and offer concrete evidence like making ad-hominem attacks on people half your age. Good show!

Also, you didn't even make a good (or entertaining) ad hominem attack! It's completely freaking irrelevant why someone said Samuel Clemens, or Moldova, or Mary Anne Evans, or whatever. If that's the correct answer and a reasonable equivalent, you need to put it on the damn page. Nobody's "superior" answer got them into trouble, your incompetence did that. In particular, if there's someone who happens to be Russian and wants to say Ivan grozny or whatever instead of Ivan the Terrible, or has only heard one of the ways to pronounce the thousands of canonical answers whose pronunciations scholars can't even agree upon, you don't get to decide that they shouldn't get points (particularly when your level of "research" into your question topics isn't even sufficient to convey to you that Pluto and Hades are analogous figures).

And the only one being overly obnoxious here is you. The rest of us are making legitimate arguments instead of trying to avoid them by acting like jerks (while I am a jerk, that is incidental to the aforementioned points I make).

Also, it's way mature to refer to inexperienced or whatever high school players who put up low point totals as not being able to find portions of their anatomy or whatever. Arbitrary point totals don't mean much either way, but I'm willing to wager that the packet referred to was more at fault than the teams. If you'd like to produce it to prove me wrong, again, I encourage you to. Also, the whole bit about players who think everything they've heard about is too easy/vice versa or whatever is completely asinine. Nobody here said anything like that and if you're referring to Charlie, he plays in a chat room with me and other college and top hs players and, while very impressive for a junior, does not score 100 ppg. I don't think he's under any illusions about either knowing everything or that things he doesn't know are infinitely difficult. Based on the whole "pet topics" thing, however, I'd say that you're the one with trouble in that department.

In closing, your argument was ridiculous, and woefully hilarious considering you made an immature, evasive response attacking a high schooler who wasn't even the one who called on you to respond, all the while calling other people immature. I tried to avoid personal attacks before, because I figured you easily could just be someone with a different perspective on things who meant well and reasonably disagreed with me. I don't think anyone's going to be under that impression now. Bryce Avery, your questions suck, your defenses for them suck, and this didn't even come close to a justification for why anyone anywhere would pay you to write them. You are entirely deserving of this kind of a response, given that joke of an argument you made.

And you didn't post any questions.

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Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Apr 17, 2007 1:32 am

Matt Weiner wrote:Wow. Using namecalling to deride someone young enough to be your son because he dared to put forth the ludicrous request that he receive points for giving the correct answer when playing questions written by yourself, a 15+ year veteran of writing laughably bad questions. That's real classy, Bryce.
Quoted for truth.

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