Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

The Toad to Wigan Pier wrote:
jbarnes112358 wrote:In all the games we played on Saturday, nobody on either team ever actually chose a math calculation bonus. All other categories were regularly chosen, however. Did anyone in the tournament choose a math calculation bonus? How many times were they actually chosen? Just curious.

In the room that I moderated, the math calc bonus was chosen several times. What struck me was that the bonuses ranged from one that a 4th or 5th grader could have done(and the answer given on the page was wrong) to one that required 2nd semester of calculus knowledge. Personally I would like to see this category replaced with theory(or better yet change the PACE format)
Yeah, I wasn't sure what to do about this in the few packets I saw. One of the submissions I saw had "what is 2+2," which obviously wouldn't fly; others ranged through the typical discrete math topics to some calc. It's hard to determine what is hard to do in fifteen seconds or however long you have. I think it's an anachronism, honestly; people will play or not play the PACE format for reasons probably unrelated to computational math; if HSAPQ's "NSC format sets" want to retain math calculation CQ bonuses because they see their role as being more evangelical, then that's fine. But the number of teams who don't attend WoQ or NSC because of a lack of computational math must hover pretty close to zero.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by Whiter Hydra »

jbarnes112358 wrote:Did anyone in the tournament choose a math calculation bonus? How many times were they actually chosen? Just curious.
Math Calc was around the third or fourth bonus we chose, so we saw most of them. I agree that there was massively variable difficulty, but I have a feeling this was more of a result of writers not knowing what difficulty to aim for.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by pray for elves »

jbarnes112358 wrote:
everyday847 wrote: It also allows for the presence of math calculation to appease teams that like that sort of thing. I think it's getting old.
In all the games we played on Saturday, nobody on either team ever actually chose a math calculation bonus. All other categories were regularly chosen, however. Did anyone in the tournament choose a math calculation bonus? How many times were they actually chosen? Just curious. Perhaps they could dispense with the math calculation bonus and throw in a math theory bonus every couple of rounds. I believe that would be more satisfactory to the mathematically oriented players out there.

I have no real problem with the format of PACE. Bouncebacks add an interesting dimension to the game, as does choosing bonus categories. However, I don't see the real need for "related" bonuses in the first period. Also, it is a bit strange when more than half the available points are in the third period. But all in all our players have enjoyed playing this format over the years, though probably much of that enjoyment has come from the quality of the questions as much as anything else.
I can also report several teams choosing computational math, and the same problems as Will noticed.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

"what is 2+2"
This is what happens when you make me write a math calculation question. For all those looking at me to write that in the future, remember Santayana's belief that those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by DumbJaques »

The problem with math calc bonuses in this set was that everyone wrote their own; NSC, to my knowledge, has always had one person write all the calculation. This assured difficulty was constant, lots of topics were covered, the person knew what they were doing, etc. The lack of someone working in this capacity on this set was compounded by having a few writers who are bad at math (although please tell me the 2+2 thing is a joke). I feel beyond no need for computational math in any set on the planet, but most of these problems don't apply to the NS.

Responding to Andy, I think there are in fact many programs who do not attend tournaments that lack computational math, and some of them have expressed that specific objection. That shouldn't really affect what happens with the format either way, though.

As to the NSC format discussion on the whole, I actually disagree. I very much liked the format as a player, and I do not think it's hard to write. I think there is a lack of a clear standard of how to write it, and that results in inconsistencies. For example, everyone uses the easy-medium-hard model for stretch bonuses, but what should the standard be for related bonuses? I have always used easy-hard, but I think the only problems would occur when people aren't sure how to set it up.

As for the power issue, I think there are inconsistencies in theory that lead to problems with writing these as well. A stretch 20 is not the same as an NAQT 15; namely stretch powers are going to include more in the question than the average powermark. Again, my understanding (and application) of this principle has always been that stretch tossups should include more challenging clues, and should be constructed (including picking answers) such that no drastically easy information occurs before the FTP. Usually that manifests in more challenging answers, but it could just result in the question being "focused" on harder clues of an easy answer (spending 60% of the question summarizing less famous Hemingway works and giving titles of the most famous ones, rather than spending 60% of the question summarizing the most famous ones, as a regular season question might do).

The one point I do think is pretty valid is that the stretch tossups are "worth" more than the others. I guess traditionally stretch tossups are meant to be longer and more pyramidal, but question length has reached such a universally acceptable point in terms of clue density that that's not such an issue. None of this is speaking as a PACE member (and certainly not for PACE), and if there's a universal dislike of the format that's something that will drive changes, but the format brings some uniquely cool stuff to the table; I don't think that it is any less valid in ranking teams than a 20/20 format, and having more tossups is always good for my money. If the stretch tossups consistently reflect more challenging material and are more clue dense, I don't see a problem with making them theoretically worth more - the first two rounds of theoretically less difficult, clue dense questions still equal the value of the final round, and it's balanced with the first two halves in terms of distribution. The issue is, again, making sure everyone is on the same page with the guiding principles behind the format construction, and that's hard to do with a set in which a host of people each write a packet or two, but not as hard to do with a centrally edited one, which I believe accounts for why there are not rampant complaints at NSC about the format each year.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

DumbJaques wrote:The lack of someone working in this capacity on this set was compounded by having a few writers who are bad at math (although please tell me the 2+2 thing is a joke).
No; now that Dees has outed himself I'm not outing him when I confirm that he did, in fact, submit as part of the packet he is getting paid real money for, and I quote verbatim, "It is the number of sides on a rectangle. For 15 points, name the number that is equal to 2 plus 2." I... changed this question.

Okay, maybe I'm outing him. Honestly, I don't care. While apparently he still thinks it's a cute protest against computational math, it didn't change the number of such questions in the set and it did affect the quality of more legitimate categories, since every second I had to spend writing another CQ math bonus I couldn't spend editing other questions.

In the future, as is apparently already the policy for NSC, there should be one computational math writer; I agree with you, Chris.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by AKKOLADE »

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:
"what is 2+2"
This is what happens when you make me write a math calculation question. For all those looking at me to write that in the future, remember Santayana's belief that those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by First Chairman »

Thank you all for your feedback on the PACE format. I know I am always interested since I had the history of trying to come up with it based on taking elements of various game formats that were popular 10 years ago and creating something new and hopefully more fair. I am reading and interested in your thoughts would be regarding what would constitute a fair result because it is hard to quantify this given the multiple authors for this weekend's set, but I also note that a standard 20/20 is not satisfactory as a standard for a fair result since multiple authors in a 20/20 format can also result in fairly wild results on a game-by-game basis.

There are many unstated expectations when it comes to math calc. All I can say is the one nod to math calc as a CQ satisfies me and many teams (read: coaches) who insist math calc must be required in quiz bowl games. It's better to do it this way than a math calc tossup, or a math 3-part calc each part bonus. You all have the right not to have math in your games by your choice and the coaches can't do anything about it. I won't say that writing math calc questions are so easy a caveman could do it, but for many question-writers who want to "break in" to state formats where math calc is required, it is a skill that I think still needs to be cultivated with writers, and I'd rather have writers who write pyramidal style learn and incorporate those questions when it comes to offering their services than having them lose to question-writers who would rather ask "why" questions because the state qb championship group says, "they had math in their sample."
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by Susan »

Tom Chuck wrote:but I also note that a standard 20/20 is not satisfactory as a standard for a fair result since multiple authors in a 20/20 format can also result in fairly wild results on a game-by-game basis.
Wait...what? What do you even mean by this? Gosh, I guess college quizbowl has been doing it wrong all these years!
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by The Time Keeper »

First Chairman wrote:but I also note that a standard 20/20 is not satisfactory as a standard for a fair result since multiple authors in a 20/20 format can also result in fairly wild results on a game-by-game basis.
Only in a packet set which is poorly edited. Even then, the 20/20 format with bad editors still provides a much better, if still bad, result compared to other formats with similarly bad editing. I don't see where you're coming from with this statement.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by Frater Taciturnus »

Also is this a suggestion that a single person should write the entire NSC?
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by at your pleasure »

I think the point Dr. Chuck is trying to make is that if you have multiple people with incosistent ideas about difficulty and a inability to communicate responsible for a set, you will have problems whethter or not you use 20/20. I think that this has more to do with the issues with the math bonuses.
Also, I doubt that even the most fanatical anti mathcomp people will dispute that a option in the category quiz round is the least bad place to put mathcomp.
Also, since format does have some effect on gameplay, a tournament with an unusal format will inevitably produce results at a variance with tournaments in a more standard format. Trying to avoid giving an adavantage to people who are more familar with certain formats does not really enter into this, as ACF format has become the circuit standard and pretty much all circuit teams are familar with this format(hence, any familarity advantage is levelled anyways).
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Anti-Climacus wrote:I think the point Dr. Chuck is trying to make is that if you have multiple people with incosistent ideas about difficulty and a inability to communicate responsible for a set, you will have problems whethter or not you use 20/20. I think that this has more to do with the issues with the math bonuses.
Right, and other people are making precisely the point that you make later on: a counterargument to "the PACE format introduces variability" is not "when there are lots of writers with different ideas of difficulty, you will have variability." Because our argument is, in fact, that the PACE format introduces additional variability.
Also, I doubt that even the most fanatical anti mathcomp people will dispute that a option in the category quiz round is the least bad place to put mathcomp.
Sure, and that's why it's there and not elsewhere. I don't see the point.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by Howard »

Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:I can also report several teams choosing computational math, and the same problems as Will noticed.
Ditto.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by sam.peterson »

So, one aspect of the PACE format that I've never understood is the target difficulty of the category quiz bonuses. For instance, the first round of last year's NSC includes an RMP bonus asking for the most famous work of Arthur Schopenhauer. It also includes a social science bonus asking for the author of Ishi in Two Worlds. Surely, The World as Will and Representation is by far easier than Kroeber. This is the most striking example in the packet, but I have often noticed this phenomenon. Is there an agreed upon target difficulty for CQ bonuses?

(I don't mean to harp about one aspect of what I consider a generally awesome tournament; I find this more perplexing than I do frustrating.)

Edit: Added parenthetical comments.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by Ike »

Ok, so glossing over these threads and ideas, I think broadly speaking here's what's good about PACE.

1.) The large amount of tossups. I am of that train of thought that the more tossups you ask, the better off you are. I personally like seeing 28/28, and if we are going to just switch over to pure and simple Tu/B, then I think 24/24 or even 26/26 is great in my opinion.

2.) The power before the phrase FTP really forces writers to make sure those clues are tough. A lot of people (and I have done this before with some of my stuff for the lit tourney,) think they can remedy a bad tossup by just marking the horrific out of power, and its most certainly slided before. (I cite the tossup on 2nd law's at Penn Bowl.) Sometimes you get a cleve writer, like Andrew Hart, who will just have a long giveaway, but most other times, challenging clues fill the density of the good tossups at the PACE NSC stretch round. I think that is definitely a plus for the format.

3.) The Bounceback format. I personally think that this is a fair part of the game, because it reduces that "good defense" strategy - wherein you nullify the points an opponent may get on a bonus by actually answering a tossup correctly, to about zero.

What should go:

1.) Those two part bonuses. I am very confused by a lot of them, and sometimes their difficulty really confuses me. I personally think that they should just be made into three part bonuses, but if you really must keep them, why not make one part ten points, and the other part fifteen points, and make the first part equivalent to an easy part, and the last part equivalent to a hard part. (This rewards people for knowing hard parts of bonuses more, and brings it closer imo to a bonus conversion distribution more similar to a three part bonus.)

2.) The CQ round is really bizarre. I mean, I could have sworn a coach told his players to pick Lit just to aggravate me, and I was about to say "suck it," but I really wasn't sure. I mean I guess I could annoy Henry G. by taking Current Events, Geography, then history, and maybe that might incite him...but whatever...my point is, its just really weird what the CQ round does. And we aren't even talking about how hard it is to make sure it is consistent, which is another issue entirely. Oh yeah, and its conversion statistics do not meet my ideal bell curve point conversion you see with a thirty point distribution.

Broadly speaking, the PACE format imo is really good because of the writers behind it. IF NAQT members and PACE members did a role reversal, I have no problem believing the members behind the new NAQT organization would put on a tournament really good. Then I would just criticize the heck out of PACE. The gimmicks just add hurdles to the writing that others have to put up with, and if they want to see those cut down, then that really isn't surprising. I personally would prefer to have a 26/26 packet of three parts with power before FTP all the way, and maybe one Math calc bonus all the way home to keep people happy, but generally speaking the PACE format will always be good as long as the writers behind it are good.

Ike

Edit: Oh god error, that Ben pointed out.
Last edited by Ike on Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by TheKingInYellow »

Ike wrote:IF NAQT members and PACE members did a role reversal, I have no problem believing the members behind the new NAQT organization would put on a tournament so good. Then I would just criticize the heck out of NAQT.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by Ike »

Thanks Graham, for pointing out a fatal error.
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Re: Weekend of Quizbowl II (3/14 + 3/15/09, Fairfax, VA)

Post by TheKingInYellow »

I know what you meant though, and I still agree very whole heartedly
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