General discussion

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General discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

General impressions of, or questions about, the set should go here.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Peter13 »

In the set that I played, there were more than a couple instances of "According to Wikipedia" or the like, and I found that rather annoying. Also, while the pack was mostly well written, I do feel that there were one or two examples of rather large difficulty swings in different rounds.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Can you give the example of the difficulty swings?

"According to Wikipedia" is an unpopular joke that is popular among us.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Windmill Tump »

There were definitely some quirks to the set, e.g. the pokemon/academic bonus, the four part tea bonus, the classic "you are a very rich Muslim," but I didn't think there was an overwhelming amount and they didn't detract from the set for me. Also, I laugh at the "According to Wikipedia" thing every time, so...

There were some answer lines that were repeated, such as Mexico, Cuba, Boston. I don't think any of these overlapped - the closest was Boston being the answer to, I think, both painting and architecture - but I overheard some people complaining.

In terms of difficulty, it seemed pretty well standardized to me. Of course there were some bonuses that seemed somewhat easier or harder than the average, but not a large amount, and most of that in this set is probably just due to variance in people's individual knowledge bases. My immediate reaction was that science seemed easier to power, especially compared to literature, but upon retrospect, I think that the science was just really good at rewarding things you actually learn in class. Honestly, I really liked this set, especially the science for the reason I just mentioned, so I don't have anything major to point out.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Peter13 »

Speaking about science, I don't know if anyone felt this, but I definitely felt one or two difficulty cliffs. Of course I am not trying to come across as being overly critical, but I do try to explain improvement if I can. I am weak on Literature, so maybe I didn't notice those clues as much. I also remember a tossup on Minnesota, and wondering if that was meant to be a "lampshade hanging" or not. Overall, very well done as always.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Peter13 wrote:Speaking about science, I don't know if anyone felt this, but I definitely felt one or two difficulty cliffs.
It would be helpful if you could tell us where they were!
Peter13 wrote:I also remember a tossup on Minnesota, and wondering if that was meant to be a "lampshade hanging" or not.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Except of course your Crowning Moment of Awesome at ICT.
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Re: General discussion

Post by touchpack »

I extend my thanks to Ike Jose for helping me finish the science during the last week--he wrote most of the computer science, most of the earth science, and the biology tossup on "shells."

@Peter, if there were only a couple questions you feel were problematic, go ahead and feel free to post about those in more detail in the specific question thread. If you felt there was some sort of widespread/overarching problem through the set, I'd encourage you to explain in more detail giving a few examples here.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Cody »

I'd like to praise the Earth Science [tossup] answerlines. They were all very good, from what I remember.

I also want to discuss something I see a lot in NAQT and saw a little bit in MUT, which is that you don't accept common "abbreviations" for quantities/things/elements (from packet 1: prompt on E_a for activation energy and prompt on Ca for calcium). I'm sure there are cases where the representational form of a quantity/thing/element is not unique, but you should absolutely outright accept them when they are unique or ubiquitous compared to their counterpart [until they are read, of course]. There's no reason not to.
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Re: General discussion

Post by touchpack »

Cody wrote:I'd like to praise the Earth Science [tossup] answerlines. They were all very good, from what I remember.

I also want to discuss something I see a lot in NAQT and saw a little bit in MUT, which is that you don't accept common "abbreviations" for quantities/things/elements (from packet 1: prompt on E_a for activation energy and prompt on Ca for calcium). I'm sure there are cases where the representational form of a quantity/thing/element is not unique, but you should absolutely outright accept them when they are unique or ubiquitous compared to their counterpart [until they are read, of course]. There's no reason not to.
Glad you enjoyed them. I wrote the tossups on calcium and the stratosphere, and Ike wrote the tossup on freshwater.

My thoughts on symbols: This isn't really something I've put a lot of thought into, since I don't think it affects game results ever, but my initial impression is that the set of people who are going to say Ca, and then not know what to say after being prompted, is basically zero. From an ideological standpoint, "Ca" is not the answer to the question, but it's reasonable pragmatically to accept it since everyone that says it knows the answer anyway.

Basically I'll go with whatever hsqb decides the consensus is, since I don't think it will change how games are played in anyway and is mostly an aesthetic choice.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Cody »

touchpack wrote:My thoughts on symbols: This isn't really something I've put a lot of thought into, since I don't think it affects game results ever, but my initial impression is that the set of people who are going to say Ca, and then not know what to say after being prompted, is basically zero. From an ideological standpoint, "Ca" is not the answer to the question, but it's reasonable pragmatically to accept it since everyone that says it knows the answer anyway.
I don't understand this. Ca IS the answer to the question because it is precisely equivalent to "calcium". That's how quizbowl works - a unique referent to the answer is correct. I'd also turn it around: if "Ca" is unique to "calcium" & everyone is always going to say "calcium" when you prompt them on "Ca" - what are you prompting for? What kind of knowledge are you trying to distinguish?
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Re: General discussion

Post by KissND »

Having just played the MUT at Illinois today, my immediate reaction is very, very positive. Especially towards the end of the difficult ICT/NATS three week swing this tournament was immensely enjoyable, serving to remind me that Quiz Bowl at its heart is supposed to be fun while also educating well along a great many subjects. The distribution was solid and I never felt as if anything was unfair or beyond the difficulty of past tournaments, making it easily accessible to a number of community colleges and newer teams in the area. I found the trash particularly good, moving from Bambi and GTA 5 to Charles Xavier, the Loch Ness Monster, and "The Who" was innovative and kept teams on their toes which added a unique dimension to the set. Well done by all the editors!
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Re: General discussion

Post by Aaron's Rod »

Just by talking to some members of my team, they felt the lit was both heavy on authors as opposed to works. They also felt like there were a ton of questions, especially in lit, to the tune of "from this country" and "written in this language" (although I also feel like those questions happened to be concentrated in the earlier packets, which may have contributed to this impression). But of course a great tournament overall. Props to UIUC for smooth logistics, even if we did get a bit hungry after 7 rounds.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

damisch wrote:Just by talking to some members of my team, they felt the lit was both heavy on authors as opposed to works. They also felt like there were a ton of questions, especially in lit, to the tune of "from this country" and "written in this language" (although I also feel like those questions happened to be concentrated in the earlier packets, which may have contributed to this impression). But of course a great tournament overall. Props to UIUC for smooth logistics, even if we did get a bit hungry after 7 rounds.
I just investigated this, by dividing all the regulation literature tossups up into "authors", "country or language", and "other" (works, characters, common links). This is what I got:

Code: Select all

author: 2 1 3 3 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 2 2 1 = 25
c + l:  2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 = 8
other:  0 2 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 3 2 2 2 = 23
So you're definitely right that authors dominate in the earlier rounds (nine in the first four, for example), and I certainly understand how three country/language tossups in the first two rounds could color your perception. On the whole, though, I think it's fairly well-balanced. Glad you enjoyed the tournament!
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Re: General discussion

Post by heterodyne »

Just wanted to drop in here to say that this was by far the best set that my teammates and I played all year. There was interesting and varied answerline selection, and while I did get the same impression about the lit and the preponderance of country tossups, that was incorrect, likely due to the way they were loaded up front and the wonderfully embarrassing experience of blanking on Neruda's home country. The Jewish women TU was especially inventive and fun to play, but there were others like it across the set.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Galadedrid Damodred »

I had a good time playing this set, but it did feel like there were a lot of really long bonus parts. Eventually, I just started interrupting the moderator on a lot of the bonuses because it was tedious to listen through 2 more lines after hearing what I thought were giveaway clues. Anyone else get this impression?
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Re: General discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Some of the bonuses were lengthy, a trait occasional in my (and especially) Rob's writing.
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Re: General discussion

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) »

For the most part, this set was excellent. There were a few bonuses which were a hair on the difficult side (Judges) and some that were by far too easy (Poe) but all in all I had no major complaints. The science in itself was quite good as it wasn't name-riddled and required you actually knowing stuff to get power.
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Re: General discussion

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

I had a great time playing this set yesterday. Every subject was very well-written, clue selection across the board was solid, and there were few or no "bad ideas" in the set (aside from the decision to not really have much in the way of current events, but I respect the editors' choice here). The editors were spot-on with regards to difficulty; no tossup answer in this set would have been out of place at ACF Fall or an HFT-level high school tournament, but from what I saw while playing and heard through discussion, the questions really did a great job distinguished who knew things and how deep they knew them, at least among the players who played this tournament.

The history questions were great, and were fun and rewarding to play on. Clue selection was good and consisted of important things that you'd actually learn while reading a book or even looking at a Wikipedia article instead of litanies of amusing incidents - if I had studied some history topic that came up at this tournament in some depth, I got it (or screwed up and negged with something close to the answer) and the same was true for the other history players I talked to. The one gripe I had was that there was very little classical Roman or Greek history across the set - I only recall hearing tossups on Thebes and Justinian and bonuses on the Battle of Salamis and the Second Punic War in ten rounds, which seems like very little to me. Also, this is just an aesthetic comment, but the frequent use of the identifier "this world leader" in the beginning of 20th-century history questions felt really fresh as opposed to endless "this politician," "this figure," "this leader" etc.

The best part about the set, IMO, was the science, which seemed like it was really rewarding things people learn in class as opposed to associations involving named reactions and the like. My teammate who was a fourth-year chemical engineering student was able to power a lot of chemistry questions and 20 or 30 every chem bonus, as well as the physics questions pertaining to the quantum mechanics he's studied. The only things I got were stuff I had done in class (polynomials from finding the eigenvalues of a matrix, a few physics topics) or read about (heritability bonus, some astronomy), which in my opinion marks a great job on Billy and Ike's part.

I think this set can be compared with MFT in that it was roughly the same difficulty overall (though perhaps MFT shaded a little harder), but basically the opposite in terms of overall feel while playing and tournament philosophy. MFT was a lot less "streamlined", had a lot more difficulty variation in tossups, and more "creative" ideas in the tournament; that was quite enjoyable. This tournament was a lot more consistent, and while you didn't get that many pleasant surprises (the MFT tossup on "Sanskrit" probably could never have made it into this set) people who had strong knowledge in specific subjects were rewarded, and people who didn't had a much tougher time getting powers. In that sense, it felt a lot more like an eminently fair test of knowledge, which is what the competitive aspect of this game should be all about.

Overall, the set was fantastic. Assuming this tournament is run again next year and written by a similar cohort, I'll definitely play it again. Thanks again to Rob, Mike, Billy, Andrew, Bernadette, Ike, and Melanie for their hard work - I think a lot of people really appreciated it, as I certainly did.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Thanks for the feedback, Will. Current events ended up getting the shaft mostly because we had a lot of trash ideas and still wanted to feature a full academic distribution (although at times, hacking up philo and social science into some current events might have been appreciated). I don't have any beef with CE, but it just didn't end up happening.

I will admit there wasn't a super ton of (classical) ancient history, although I tried to feature it at a reasonable clip. There definitely should have been another ancient Roman history tossup outside of the finals, but 2/2 Greco-Roman stuff (and there were other ancient history topics, including a bonus on Xenophon and one on the fall of Rome) doesn't seem too far off the mark. I do try when writing history to block off specific time periods and places to avoid having some of the problems in my MO's where little ancient or Middle Eastern history would appear, so I can try to be more diverse in this regard.
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Re: General discussion

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

I suppose that's not too unreasonable, and I do appreciate having more other European history thrown into the mix.

I meant to point out one thing: Not to recycle the useless "bonus varied in difficulty" comment thrown around after every tournament too much, but I think the world history shaded a fair bit easier than the rest of the history categories, at least in bonuses, and I found this pretty noticeable because it didn't seem like there was a world history bonus in every single packet (I'll check to verify my claims now that I have the set, though). I'm listing a lot of questions in here, so I think it's fine to but this in the general discussion forum. Not sure if everyone will agree with me here, but here are a few of the world history bonuses that shaded pretty easy, compared with some European and American bonuses:

Sundiata (hard)/Mansa Musa (medium)/Mali (easy) - "Epic" was given for Sundiata, and the latter two are fine ACF Fall tossup answerlines with straightforward clues
Shaka (medium)/Zulu (easy)/Mfecane (hard) - Mfecane is a fine hard part, but the first two seem like softballs (it gives you African ruler, which is already a very narrow answer space at this difficulty level, and the later battle of Isandhlwana)
Getulio Vargas (hard)/Brazil (easy)/Pedro II (medium) - Pedro II is also a fine ACF Fall answerline and by far the most famous ruler of Brazil.
Tokugawa (medium)/samurai (easy)/Osaka (hard) - Osaka is a pretty easy hard part, and the Tokugawa shogunate is quite easy for a medium part (it tells you it's a Japanese government and gives you Sekigahara).

I would contrast these with the European and American history, where you could be expected to know specific Douglas MacArthur quotes or the streltsy to get 20, which seems reasonable to me, but a lot harder than these world bonuses.

Was this intentional, due to what might be perceived as accessibility issues (which I'd dispute), an accident, or more a reflection of the writers' knowledge?
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Re: General discussion

Post by The Dance of Sorrow »

I was personally under the assumption that Narva was meant to be the middle part of that Russia bonus, but I guess you can argue that that bonus did not really have a middle part either way.

EDIT: Or at least I would say that bonus probably could use a bit easier of a middle part, but I'm not sure.
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Re: General discussion

Post by 1992 in spaceflight »

Goole by-election, 1971 wrote:I was personally under the assumption that Narva was meant to be the middle part of that Russia bonus, but I guess you can argue that that bonus did not really have a middle part either way.

EDIT: Or at least I would say that bonus probably could use a bit easier of a middle part, but I'm not sure.
I think that Peter the Great bonus could have used an easier medium part, definitely.
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Re: General discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

gamegeek2 wrote:it didn't seem like there was a world history bonus in every single packet
Mike can speak even more to this, but every single packet contained a tossup and a bonus categorized as "world history".
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Re: General discussion

Post by Cheynem »

It's probably fair, Will. I do think that people generally tend to have weaker world history bases. For example, the Sundiata bonus was harder, but was deemed too hard in playtesting. I would say the biggest issue with those bonuses are kind of easy middle parts. I agree the American and to a lesser extent, European, skewed harder, which reflects my own knowledge. I'd say in answer to your question, it's a bit of all three--I think people know world history weaker, I know American/Euro better, and some of it was just the usual "upon further review, yeah, that's a little easy."

Rob is correct that every packet had a world history tossup--keep in mind that I was counting anything outside of Europe/US as world.
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Re: General discussion

Post by vinteuil »

Hey guys, this is really late (forgot about this!), but just popping in to say that I really enjoyed the parts of the set I heard, including some very good music questions (maybe one clue here and there not great, but nothing major). Thanks!
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