Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

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Mike Bentley
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Re: Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

Post by Mike Bentley »

theattachment wrote:
theMoMA wrote:Even if we had time to "change" those bonuses, we wouldn't have done it because they were perfectly fine (good, even!) bonuses for the high school level, and rewarded knowledge over lack of knowledge, while maintaining the standards of difficulty that were appropriate. What more could you possibly want?!
I think you missed most of my points, Andrew...

For one, I'm saying that for some topics there is a place for that kind of bonus, namely when there are no second parts in the guy's work because only one title and his name are canonical. In the case of the two Dickens works in the tournament, this was far from the case. On Great Expectations, getting Uriah Heap as the third part was like getting a Christmas present. It wasn't a difficult bonus part, and when Dickens himself came up in a bonus that was quite the same it should have been rewritten.

This brings me to another point. You guys did actually have time to "'change' these bonuses." You also had a responsibility to as the head editors. Instead, you wrote one of your packets the night before and left effectively the entire tournament pretty unedited. That's how 3/5ths of the bonuses sounded the same. That's how you had repeats. My issue now isn't the fact that you used that format. I understand that you think it's perfectly fine and that we disagree. What I dislike (and what I've disliked about the non-NAQT sets that I've encountered this year) is that the editors didn't actually edit. They just compiled. Andrew, your comment was rather flippant about the fact that you didn't have time to edit the set. When that's your job, shouldn't you make time to do it?
I'm not going to take the same position as Andrew and say that the tournament was as good as it could be and that things didn't need to be changed. I agree that there were issues with the tournament and I tried to correct some of these for the Maryland mirror. However, I do agree that these issues were mainly pretty minor when put in perspective of usual high school sets.

In regards to editing the tournament, I agree that in an ideal world that questions should be finished well before the night before. However, pretty much all of the writers for this tournament are experienced writers and editors who produce pretty good questions in the first place. Yes, there could have been better copy editing, better checking for repeats and better difficulty checking (especially for the Minnesota tournament and the mirrors held on the same day). But it's not like the questions were being written by novice writers filled with blatant pyramidality or distribution problems. I'd say that the majority of the questions, even when not "edited" by a central editor, were better than the typical high school fare.

Also, complaining about bonuses sounding the same is a really weird complaint. Did this really affect your enjoyment of the tournament?

Anyways, I encourage people to continue commenting about the set or the tournaments.
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Re: Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

Post by Mike Bentley »

SwissBoy wrote:If we can talk about specific questions, I noticed a few questions with especially egregious clue placement. The three that immediately spring to mind are the Ummayyad question that had "moved to Spain" in power, the Nietzche question that discussed "Apollonian and Dionysian" concepts in the first clue, and the tossup about Faust that mentioned Adrian von Leverkuhn, the protagonist of Doctor Faustus, within power. Otherwise, I thought that the tournament was generally fairly good. It would be one of my favorite High School sets this year, along with the TJ Housh Classic.
In regards to that Nietzche tossup, there was at least one clue before "Apollonian and Dionysian", but I do agree that I should have reordered that a bit more. For whatever reason I don't know that much about the Ummayyads so that didn't immediately jump out to me when I was skimming through the questions.

In terms of "clues in power", we did have pretty generous powers in this tournament, so having clues like Adrian von Leverkuhn in power may not have been the worst thing ever since I recall it was at least half way through the question. But, again, I'm not all that familiar with Faust, so I suppose it's possible this was a good bit too early.
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Re: Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

Post by Matt Weiner »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:In terms of "clues in power", we did have pretty generous powers in this tournament, so having clues like Adrian von Leverkuhn in power may not have been the worst thing ever since I recall it was at least half way through the question. But, again, I'm not all that familiar with Faust, so I suppose it's possible this was a good bit too early.
Most high schoolers don't know specifics of Doktor Faustus, that clue was fine.
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Re: Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

Post by theattachment »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote: I'm not going to take the same position as Andrew and say that the tournament was as good as it could be and that things didn't need to be changed. I agree that there were issues with the tournament and I tried to correct some of these for the Maryland mirror. However, I do agree that these issues were mainly pretty minor when put in perspective of usual high school sets.

In regards to editing the tournament, I agree that in an ideal world that questions should be finished well before the night before. However, pretty much all of the writers for this tournament are experienced writers and editors who produce pretty good questions in the first place. Yes, there could have been better copy editing, better checking for repeats and better difficulty checking (especially for the Minnesota tournament and the mirrors held on the same day). But it's not like the questions were being written by novice writers filled with blatant pyramidality or distribution problems. I'd say that the majority of the questions, even when not "edited" by a central editor, were better than the typical high school fare.
I feel as though I already said that this was one of the best sets for individual question quality that I've played all year. That said, even if they are, they still should at least go through more than the quick glance-through that Andrew said he did before sending them out.
Bentley Like Beckham wrote: Also, complaining about bonuses sounding the same is a really weird complaint. Did this really affect your enjoyment of the tournament?
Honestly? Yeah. It did. It's boring to know what the second answer will be not off of knowledge of the book but off of knowledge of bonus structure. When lit questions are like that, it makes it so I (who would be a D team's occasional lit assistant if I wasn't on A for trash/CE) can thirty most of them off of sheer fraud. I don't know anything about Madame Bovary but I 20'd it off of "This sounds like Madame Bovary" and "How does every question that mentions Madame Bovary end?" I feel that if you shy away from those types of bonuses you remove that level of fraud and test knowledge at the level this tournament was aimed at.
Colin O'Donnell -- ex-Eden Prairie High School (man, that feels nice to say), eventually University of Minnesota
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Re: Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

Post by Gonzagapuma1 »

theattachment wrote:Honestly? Yeah. It did. It's boring to know what the second answer will be not off of knowledge of the book but off of knowledge of bonus structure. When lit questions are like that, it makes it so I (who would be a D team's occasional lit assistant if I wasn't on A for trash/CE) can thirty most of them off of sheer fraud. I don't know anything about Madame Bovary but I 20'd it off of "This sounds like Madame Bovary" and "How does every question that mentions Madame Bovary end?" I feel that if you shy away from those types of bonuses you remove that level of fraud and test knowledge at the level this tournament was aimed at.
What??? That means that you know Flaubert wrote Madame Bovary, which is NOT fraud knowledge, and I really still don't understand how the lit bonus structure makes it a worse tournament.
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Re: Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

Post by AKKOLADE »

theattachment wrote:
theMoMA wrote:Even if we had time to "change" those bonuses, we wouldn't have done it because they were perfectly fine (good, even!) bonuses for the high school level, and rewarded knowledge over lack of knowledge, while maintaining the standards of difficulty that were appropriate. What more could you possibly want?!
I think you missed most of my points, Andrew...

For one, I'm saying that for some topics there is a place for that kind of bonus, namely when there are no second parts in the guy's work because only one title and his name are canonical. In the case of the two Dickens works in the tournament, this was far from the case. On Great Expectations, getting Uriah Heap as the third part was like getting a Christmas present. It wasn't a difficult bonus part, and when Dickens himself came up in a bonus that was quite the same it should have been rewritten.

This brings me to another point. You guys did actually have time to "'change' these bonuses." You also had a responsibility to as the head editors. Instead, you wrote one of your packets the night before and left effectively the entire tournament pretty unedited. That's how 3/5ths of the bonuses sounded the same. That's how you had repeats. My issue now isn't the fact that you used that format. I understand that you think it's perfectly fine and that we disagree. What I dislike (and what I've disliked about the non-NAQT sets that I've encountered this year) is that the editors didn't actually edit. They just compiled. Andrew, your comment was rather flippant about the fact that you didn't have time to edit the set. When that's your job, shouldn't you make time to do it?
I don't exactly think two bonuses on works of Dickens is bad. I mean, he is one of the more celebrated classical authors. It's not like Harper Lee or someone with a smaller list of works was the repeat. Also, bonuses sounding the same is not an essential problem - there's probably at least ten legitimate issues I can think of that I'd want to take care of first.

I also agree with Charlie's point. If you haven't edited or written a tournament, that does not mean that you can't criticize the tournament. However, it does make it difficult to understand why certain things like monotony in the set-up of bonuses can fall through the cracks until you've been there.
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Re: Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

Post by sam.peterson »

Is this set available online or must one purchase it?
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Re: Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

Post by vandyhawk »

I guess I'll make a post here to address a couple comments. First, it's not really fair to complain about Andrew in terms of acting as the "head editor" for this set. He had never planned to function as such and was basically just serving as the compiler and quick checker while placing power marks, acting under the assumption that MD and we would edit our stuff ourselves, as both schools are quite capable of. I will say that the Vandy rounds weren't quite to the level I would've liked, but IMO were still just fine, since I was only able to spend a small amount of time fixing the most egregious stuff that made it through my teammates' writing/editing efforts. Things like the Umayyads moving to Spain are clues I normally would've changed/moved, but oh well. I don't remember any anti-pyramidal things or flat-out errors, etc. Also, with the repeats, there was a nice system in place to pro-actively prevent them, but some sort of miscommunication with a few people caused issues there that took a while to fix on Friday night, in place of more polishing time and such. Clearly not everything was caught (esp. since the last 3 rounds weren't available at the time to look at), but at least all 3 mentions of Zachary Taylor had different info...

As for specific questions, I'd tend to agree that if a high schooler knows that Adrian Leverkuhn = Doktor Faustus, I feel fine giving him 15 points. The Flaubert one was ours, and was sent to me sometime Friday evening. If I remember right, the original 3rd part was Guy du Maupassant (sp?), but I forget how it was tied in. Anyway, I changed it to Sentimental Education since I felt like it needed a harder (but still gettable for the top teams) 3rd part than Maupassant, despite it being predictable. I agree that having two Dickens bonuses in the same format is not so good - I think there were originally like 3 of them. I'm fine with 2 Dickens bonuses in a HS set, but yeah, having both go Dickens work / this guy wrote... / 3rd part is not ideal.

Anyway, people at our site seemed to enjoy themselves. The only real complaint question-wise, at least that we heard, was the lack of math computation, since many SE states have that as a large portion of their state formats. The MD site got to experience a slightly improved set, since I know I sent them a list of things that should be changed based on my experiences reading, and that Mike and maybe Andrew did their own polishing too.
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Re: Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

Post by DumbJaques »

I think you missed most of my points, Andrew...

For one, I'm saying that for some topics there is a place for that kind of bonus, namely when there are no second parts in the guy's work because only one title and his name are canonical. In the case of the two Dickens works in the tournament, this was far from the case. On Great Expectations, getting Uriah Heap as the third part was like getting a Christmas present. It wasn't a difficult bonus part, and when Dickens himself came up in a bonus that was quite the same it should have been rewritten.

This brings me to another point. You guys did actually have time to "'change' these bonuses." You also had a responsibility to as the head editors. Instead, you wrote one of your packets the night before and left effectively the entire tournament pretty unedited. That's how 3/5ths of the bonuses sounded the same. That's how you had repeats. My issue now isn't the fact that you used that format. I understand that you think it's perfectly fine and that we disagree. What I dislike (and what I've disliked about the non-NAQT sets that I've encountered this year) is that the editors didn't actually edit. They just compiled. Andrew, your comment was rather flippant about the fact that you didn't have time to edit the set. When that's your job, shouldn't you make time to do it?
It's entirely unfair to come down solely on Andrew about this. This set was written by Vandy, us, and Minnesota. If you want to identify bonus inconsistency (there was some) or specific questions that weren't great (the Uriah Heap thing), that's fine and I think we've been through and established that the set underachieved in certain areas. But what in the world are you talking about when you say nobody edited anything? Didn't you just make some comment about this being the best set you've heard all year? Do you seriously think that all the submitted questions just appeared that way? We did a lot of work as editors, it's pretty ridiculous for your to level some charge that "you didn't edit, you just compiled" when you really don't have any idea what you're talking about. And what are you even saying this in response to? The overused format of bonuses that you just happen to not like? Well, it's not ideal to have a similar format used for about 50% of lit bonuses, but it's not the worst thing in the world. It's certainly really off base to charge someone with failing their duties as editor because there were too many bonuses of the same format, especially when said person wasn't acting in a head-editor capacity at all. As for your charge that the portions written by us and Vandy were unedited, well, let me just say that NO ONE would be claiming this was all in all the best set of the year if we had submitted the unedited, compiled stuff that was submitted to us.
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Re: Minnesota/Maryland/Vanderbilt/Cleveland/K-State tournament

Post by theMoMA »

theattachment wrote:
theMoMA wrote:This brings me to another point. You guys did actually have time to "'change' these bonuses." You also had a responsibility to as the head editors. Instead, you wrote one of your packets the night before and left effectively the entire tournament pretty unedited. That's how 3/5ths of the bonuses sounded the same. That's how you had repeats. My issue now isn't the fact that you used that format. I understand that you think it's perfectly fine and that we disagree. What I dislike (and what I've disliked about the non-NAQT sets that I've encountered this year) is that the editors didn't actually edit. They just compiled. Andrew, your comment was rather flippant about the fact that you didn't have time to edit the set. When that's your job, shouldn't you make time to do it?
There were almost zero repeats, which is in large part because of the diligent efforts of Matt Keller, and to a lesser extent, my own multiple read-throughs of the set. We actually did have plenty of time to change things that were problematic with the set, and we did change dozens, if not hundreds, of minor and major problems. I know that some packets had repeat issues because of miscommunication, but Matt and I spent hours identifying and fixing these problems. In addition, I went through Minnesota's packets at least five times, and the other packets in the set at least twice, searching for grammatical, spelling, factual, difficulty, and repeat issues.

We had plenty of time to edit this set; what we didn't have time for, as my comment reflected, was unnecessarily changing dozens of bonuses so that they could conform to some standard of interestingness that no one even knew about before this tournament.
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