Missouri 2006-07

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Post by AKKOLADE »

How to become the most successful high school quiz bowl question author in the world, in four easy, succinct steps.

1) Start writing questions. Do not worry about the quality of them; if they are not good, step two will handle this problem.
2) When the quality of your questions is protested, respond with a childish attack questioning the maturity of your critics.
3) Repeat steps one and two as necessary.
4) You are now the most successful high school quiz bowl question author in the world! Enjoy filling your bathtub with millions of single dollar bills and using your power to rewrite history by having all records of Mark Twain's birth name expunged from historical records.

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Post by Jeremy Gibbs-Duhem Equation »

Wow Bryce, way to make yourself look like an idiot, whenever you want to stop that would be great.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

This post will be a repeat of what people have already said (with a few extra things added in), but it was my gut reaction just to reading your post before I read everybody else's response.
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.
Hold up there, partner.

I would say I'm actually, you know, handling my problems in a semi-mature manner. Correct me if I'm wrong, but have I not pointed out specific problems that came up or have come up in the past with your questions, as opposed to simply saying "TH3Y wuzz ARFUL!" Am I not also pointing out some positives with the set too?

Or wait? Does criticizing your questions entail immaturity? I'm confused.

Anyway, you still have yet to deal with the other problems I've brought up. If you don't want to own up to repeating questions and having pet topics, that's fine, but I have a giant stack of your questions right in front of me that say otherwise.

The state scores thing, yeah I would agree with you on that were it not for the fact that some of those teams not putting up scores were phenomenal at other tournaments. Also, 3 of the players at state (David Hoffelmeyer, Andrew Hoekzema, and Jason Wu) should definitely have been in the top 25 or so in MSHSAA history, but their averages were incredibly lower than I think they should have been.

As for Moldova proving that we're a bunch of smart-asses, I fail to see that. Moldova is not like giving an alternate answer just to show off and slow down a match. Moldova is a logical answer considering it's sandwiched between the Ukraine and Romania (both of which were answers on your page). And it's a factually correct answer because the Danube flows all on it's southern border. I could understand maybe not putting Samuel Clemens on the page because it's an alternate, but when you say "list 4 countries that border the Danube (or should I say Donau, since I'm such a smart-alec?)" you should have all the countries that border the Danube there no matter how obscure. If someone asked "list 4 countries that border Afghanistan" (which has come up before) and they didn't put China on the page because "well, no one will say that, plus it only borders for like 20 miles" then that would be a problem too. And as a tag-on to that, isn't quiz bowl about knowing things?

So yeah, nice job job attacking immature Missourians. Maybe you should stop taking lessons out of their book.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Post by Awehrman »

Wow. Well, now it seems like Missouri coaches will surely be able to utilize the suggestions given by the Illinois coaches to go after this question writer's professionalism. Riddling a question set with wrong answers and then blaming the students should get Missouri a new question writer for next year. If it doesn't Missouri has even more problems than I thought.

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Post by DumbJaques »

Wow. Well, now it seems like Missouri coaches will surely be able to utilize the suggestions given by the Illinois coaches to go after this question writer's professionalism. Riddling a question set with wrong answers and then blaming the students should get Missouri a new question writer for next year. If it doesn't Missouri has even more problems than I thought.
I would recommend printing out the part where he calls some of the players so dumb they can't find their asses with a map or whatever and reading it at the next meeting.

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Post by Tegan »

If I could steer a bit a moment ..... and to state obvious points brought up in other parts of the forum(s):

I won't be anyone's apologist for anything anywhere, but I'm not sure the piling on will necesarily hep ......

I've attempted to make this point to coaches who complain about "long questions" .....: This is the ever growing national trend. More and more teams, and more and more states are slowly or quickly moving toward pyramidal questions. You can choose to stick with short questions, knowing you will improve your team marginally, or you can change with the times.


That's not passing judgement on anyone .... I see that as simply making an observation about the trend over the past ten years ...... and it is not a trend that is showing signs of slowing or stagnating.

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Post by Jeremy Gibbs Lemma »

Wait, why would one need a map to find one's buttocks anyway? I cannot figure such things out since I am a dumb Missourian.

I still place the majority of the blame on MACA for hiring this guy because he is cheap. If they would have done research on his questions and his reputation by reading these boards, they would have seen all of the problems being discussed. However, since we have so many coaches perfectly fine with these questions and see no problem at all with tons of mistakes, ambiguities, etc. I see nothing productive being accomplished here anytime soon.

If the amendment passes this summer that would allow travel, I could see that opening the door to teams getting exposure to real questions and bringing back what they see if they travel to any of the national tournaments.

I was partially shocked when I read at districts that nobody really thought bad of the questions at all. My HS coach didn't have any idea that these were bad and I probably wouldn't have known any better in HS either. SE Missouri gets absolutely no exposure to good questions or competition unless the individual players go out of their way to find better stuff. It is a problem when the only areas that know what good quizbowl is reside in the Northwest corner of the state with a couple of enlightened ones in STL. That is a lot of area that does not know good quizbowl and a lot of coaches with influence on decision-making that don't really know any better because they have never seen or find good questions to be "too hard" because it is not what they are used to.

Anyway, that may have just been a lot of rambling but there are obviously inherent regional problems that definitley aren't helping the situation.

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I should note MACA does not pick question providers. It's 100% MSHSAA.

Quizbowl came under MSHSAA's control when a bunch of administrators voted to unify it under one organization that controls most other competitive activities. I guess it's just an easier package for them. The problem is that MSHSAA immediately decided to put us under the same restrictions as sports, which is absolutely ridiculous.They also took away control from the coaches.
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 Byko »

charlieDfromNKC wrote:I should note MACA does not pick question providers. It's 100% MSHSAA.

Quizbowl came under MSHSAA's control when a bunch of administrators voted to unify it under one organization that controls most other competitive activities. I guess it's just an easier package for them. The problem is that MSHSAA immediately decided to put us under the same restrictions as sports, which is absolutely ridiculous.They also took away control from the coaches.
Thanks for the clarification, Charlie. That definitely makes pulling it away from MSHSAA a much tougher nut to crack. It also makes it sound like MACA is more of a good coaches' support group in the state rather than an organization with any sort of lobbying power. In any case, anything to help with lifting the travel ban can only help.
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Post by Tegan »

charlieDfromNKC wrote: Quizbowl came under MSHSAA's control when a bunch of administrators voted to unify it under one organization that controls most other competitive activities. I guess it's just an easier package for them. The problem is that MSHSAA immediately decided to put us under the same restrictions as sports, which is absolutely ridiculous.They also took away control from the coaches.
This is similar to what happened in Illinois, though at first it was wlecomed as a unifying force and for adding legitimacy to the comeptition. The problem is that it soon was placed in a subordinating position, and then subjected to restrictions with few of the advantages that people were hpeing for. Over time, that has changed somewhat, though I think a lot of the people have not seen many of hte advantages they were hoping for.

Get on the AdCo ...... make calm, logical arguments. Help others to see reason. Take polls ..... get other coaches to support you ..... show them what other states are doing ..... explain the difficulties in continuing on this path .....

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Post by johnboy81918 »

TH3Y wuzz ARFUL!
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Post by Jeremy Gibbs-Duhem Equation »

im with john
I'm in Rosemary's Camp: MACA 2009!

- Spencer Fish -
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Washington University in St. Louis 13

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Here's what Avery responded to Brandon Thomas from Mound City with after Brandon alleged that Tarkio was rigging conference played on Avery questions:
As this year's vendor, we take the incidents mentioned with Tarkio (and Purdy in a previous topic) very seriously. I have contacted the people at Tarkio and Purdy who bought this year's set from us, detailing the allegations made on this board regarding bad moderating and looking at the questions beforehand and sending a copy of my note to MSHSAA for their information.

Both schools wanted the set of questions extremely early in the school year even though their tournaments apparently aren' t until now. We will make sure not to send them out so early next year.

I will make two other comments here:

1) If you are a player in a match under hostile conditions (moderator older than dirt and dumb as a post, questions stink to high heaven, tournament director summarily denies all protests, the other team may have seen the questions beforehand, etc.), it is far better to adjust during the match than to keep doing what you've been doing and whine about it later. In that situation, you don't gratuitously say "poriferous" instead of "porous" even though they're synonyms, nor would you say "Samuel Clemens" for "Mark Twain." Things like that just ask for trouble. You and your coach should only need to see one issue with an answer or with a protest denied to realize, "Time to keep it simple and give the simplest and most likely answers." If you need more than one issue to realize this, it's not the situation that's killing you. It's you that's killing you.

2) As far as questions: We were told before we got the job that half the state of Missouri loves one-line tossups and half prefers "pyramid" tossups. Judging by comments here, this is true. The "one-line" lovers call pyramid-style "boring, long, yada, yada, no one cares, goes on forever", while the "pyramid" lovers call one-line "too short, too easy, too stupid, every question is a buzzer race."

Every round we write in Missouri has some of both _because both styles are used statewide_. Though this guarantees that everyone will hate the questions, it also guarantees that the winners will be the ones who can adjust best to a style that is not their favorite. And that is a mark of a true champion.

If you have constructive comments on questions (i.e. if you're not whining about why all the tossups are not your favorite style), you can e-mail us at [email protected]


best, Bryce Avery
President, Avery Enterprises, Inc.
The link is http://z4.invisionfree.com/Academic_Com ... wtopic=983
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Post by Matt Weiner »

If you have constructive comments on questions (i.e. if you're not whining about why all the tossups are not your favorite style), you can e-mail us at [email protected]
Bryce Avery: Total Asshole

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Didn't he use to write for PACE?

Before PACE was at the level it's at now?
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Post by Matt Weiner »

charlieDfromNKC wrote:Didn't he use to write for PACE?

Before PACE was at the level it's at now?
He appears to be credited in the 2000 set, which was before my time. He certainly wouldn't have been approved to write by me.

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Post by DumbJaques »

I would think some (most, really) of these idiotic and offensive comments would disqualify someone from being employed by a public school system. I heartily recommend the choice bits to be presented to the board in some form.

Any Missourians who will be at ACE camp should take note of the hybrid speed-pyramidal set that will be run the first night. DACQ is currently considering marketing that to states in some form for the coming year, and if a number of attendants from the Show Me state find it appealing, perhaps the organization could start employing someone who isn't a complete psycho.

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Post by NotBhan »

DumbJaques wrote:I would think some (most, really) of these idiotic and offensive comments would disqualify someone from being employed by a public school system. I heartily recommend the choice bits to be presented to the board in some form.

Any Missourians who will be at ACE camp should take note of the hybrid speed-pyramidal set that will be run the first night. DACQ is currently considering marketing that to states in some form for the coming year, and if a number of attendants from the Show Me state find it appealing, perhaps the organization could start employing someone who isn't a complete psycho.
Bryce clearly made some ill-advised comments out of frustration, but "disqualify someone from being employed by a public school system" is a bit overboard, as is "complete psycho." Best of luck to DACQ in getting the Missouri contract, though -- your sample questions look good, and I hope y'all get the chance to write Missouri's state competitions.

--RD
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Chris, if you want DACQ to write for Missouri format (which as David mentions, can be a real mess), you need to act quick, because this is a year when they make contracts. I think it's at the Ad Co meeting in May when they discuss some of this stuff. I will mention if you have cheap prices it will infinitely improve your chances. Email me if that's what you have in mind at all.
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Post by Byko »

Matt Weiner wrote:
charlieDfromNKC wrote:Didn't he use to write for PACE?

Before PACE was at the level it's at now?
He appears to be credited in the 2000 set, which was before my time. He certainly wouldn't have been approved to write by me.
I wasn't involved in the question writing process back then (nor am I currently), but I can speak at least some of what I know. In the earlier days of PACE, questions were contributed by a large number of sources (in fact, the first year, everyone running a PACE-affiliated tournament was required to send one full packet of pristine questions for use in the NSC). Some of these were very good, some of them were very lacking. However, even the ones that were lacking were, to my understanding, worked up to an acceptable level for the competition.

On that basis, I am sure he contributed questions. Whether they were ultimately used in the original form in which they were submitted is something I can't answer.
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Post by DumbJaques »

Bryce clearly made some ill-advised comments out of frustration, but "disqualify someone from being employed by a public school system" is a bit overboard, as is "complete psycho."
If I ever refer to some young, inexperienced high schoolers as too dumb to find their asses with both hands and a map in a laughable attempt to justify my own awful questions, I would certainly expect the school system they reside in to fire me. Instantly.

Like I said, DACQ is likely going to be preparing a hybrid-style set of as many as 20 packets for use in various states. I imagine we could make it available at quite a cheap rate, if Missouri was interested. If any parties who know more about the situation (what the exact requirements are, what they were paying Avery, how many games are played, how the state series works), I'd appreciate an email.

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Re: MO districts

Post by bigtrain »

bdavery wrote: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.
I find one thing very interesting: the kids can name minor countries that touch the Danube while you have a tough time using a map to find all the countries that touch the Danube. Meanwhile, you are suggesting that they, and not you, are the stupid ones that need a map to find their rear ends. I believe this is known as irony. Of course those gosh darn smart alik Missouri high school students would probably use some obnoxious, obscure phrase to show how much knowledge they have like "situational irony." AWW HEAVENS TO BETSY THOSE LITTLE DEVILS ARE DRIVING ME NUTS!

Most disturbing of all is that you homeschool your children (which in your case should probably not be allowed) and you write for the US Department of Energy's Science Bowl. I'd advise you to teach your children about both Pluto and Hades as knowledge of both is a minimum requirement for basic cultural literacy. At least that's what my public high school teachers said...

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Post by AWPoikonen »

1) If you are a player in a match under hostile conditions (moderator older than dirt and dumb as a post, questions stink to high heaven, tournament director summarily denies all protests, the other team may have seen the questions beforehand, etc.), it is far better to adjust during the match than to keep doing what you've been doing and whine about it later.
As a tournament director for several tournaments and always have challenges to recruit enough volunteer moderators and judges--I would hope that all on this forum would not resort to language as "moderators older than dirt and dumb as a post...." Constructive criticism of volunteers is reasonable. But the trashing of volunteer readers by profit making enterprises that would not be able to earn monies without the volunteer help is shameful.
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.
Now this is special. Very classy comments by the question writer. No further comments are needed--enough stated. [/i]
Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.
~Albert Einstein

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I should mention that that moderator mentioned was actually being awful and dictatorial. No protests, no remotely alternate answers (ie Carrie Meeber for sister carrie), and not being good in general. But that doesn't change the rest.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Post by ecks »

charlieDfromNKC wrote:I should mention that that moderator mentioned was actually being awful and dictatorial. No protests, no remotely alternate answers (ie Carrie Meeber for sister carrie), and not being good in general. But that doesn't change the rest.
And he has done that for several years now; despite the complaints, he is still allowed to moderate important district games at his school.
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Post by Jeremy Gibbs Lemma »

charlieDfromNKC wrote:I should note MACA does not pick question providers. It's 100% MSHSAA.
My bad .. that was a bad error ... sorry to any offended MOACA members even though they may have some say in the decision through MSHSAA.

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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

State's 2 days away, and some hijinks are going on on the MO board. http://z4.invisionfree.com/Academic_Com ... try2106010 and http://z4.invisionfree.com/Academic_Com ... =1490&st=0. I'm Laughing my ass off.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Oh my god Avery your questions for state were intensely awful. Much worse than districts. Seriously, Canadian sitcoms, Iron Chef America, an unanswerable rafting bonus, multiple upheld protests, and the Russian language coming up way too much. You blow chunks.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Post by Byko »

charlieDfromNKC wrote:Oh my god Avery your questions for state were intensely awful. Much worse than districts. Seriously, Canadian sitcoms, Iron Chef America, an unanswerable rafting bonus, multiple upheld protests, and the Russian language coming up way too much. You blow chunks.
Canadian sitcoms and Iron Chef America? As I recall, there was no room in the Missouri distribution for such television hijinks. Clearly those questions should have been replaced with the vocational education questions as required by the distribution.

In all seriousness, though, I would like to think that well-phrased, respectful comments from players like you (and coaches too) and others who did not like the questions yet again this year should be sent to the MSHSAA to help them in their decision process for a new provider. I know that at least one worthy question provider has already stepped up with an offer (and no, I'm not talking about myself--it is likely that we will not submit a bid for Missouri this year).
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