ACF Nationals Submissions

Old college threads.
Locked
User avatar
Ike
Yuna
Posts: 950
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:01 pm
Contact:

ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by Ike »

I wanted to create a new thread to discuss various submissions to ACF Nationals.

Before I begin, I want to point out something that Zeke and Andrew Yaphe told me was true when they edited ACF Nationals nearly a decade ago now: they didn’t expect to receive any usable packets; if they did, it was a windfall. 10 years later it’s the opposite way: the editors just expect to receive good packets and a tournament of this magnitude is impossible without them. So with that in mind, I want to thank all teams for submitting packets. However, I want to thank various groups of people in this thread for submitting surprisingly useful packets.

First of all, if your packet ended up getting used, it was a good packet with some decent material; for some packets this is merely a lower bound, some packets had GREAT material - obviously this isn’t a surprise to many top caliber teams, but I’m hoping that teams who didn’t make the top bracket or even the top two brackets realize that if their packet got used, they are writing good stuff that we, as editors, can turn into usable material. So thank you!

I also want to call out some packets from teams that had writers who were decent but flew under my radar: Probably the most surprisingly good packet we received that was usable was Stanford B - of course they ended up making the top bracket - so they are a great team as well, but it’s always great to see a surprisingly great packet from a new cadre of writers. I hope that they - Nathan Weiser, Tabitha Walker, Alex Freed and James Bradbury, continue their writing efforts. Other packets I was surprised by include Kenyon (Gabe Brison-Trezise, Graham Reid, and Andrew Stewart) - which ended up being combined with Penn B and Penn C in the tournament, as well as MIT B and Northwestern, which ended up not being used due to how late we received these late in the game - if they had come earlier, they almost certainly would have been combined with another packet (at least in my categories).

I’m sure Billy will have more to say about this, but the only packet where we just used all four science tossups flat out was Brian McPeak’s science from Maryland. He wins the best science* packet award. Eric Mukherjee would have won this award as well too, but he chose to submit a tossup on lattice QCD, which Billy chose to rewrite because of how hard the submission was (sad face for writing such a hard tossup!) Other very close efforts include Stanford A (Austin Brownlow / Nikhil Desai I think?), and Harvard (Sriram?) - I’ll let Billy comment if he thinks they deserve to be co-winners, but I think it was again, that the tossups were too hard - though if they might be because of repeats, I guess they deserve to win the award too if they are!

Minnesota, followed closely by Chicago, wins my “best packet” in my categories award. Thank you guys for submitting a packet that required very little work!

Here were my favorite submissions in each of my categories:

Other Science: Brian McPeak’s “exact” tossup or I think Sriram of Harvard’s process scheduling tossup - hard to say which is better.
Painting: Dartmouth’s Lictors Bring to Brutus the Bodies of His Sons or UCSD’s photorealism tossup (Auroni I think?)
Other Arts: John Lawrence’s Virgil Thomson tossup - the only tossup I received that required absolutely no editing in this category, though I did switch a sentence around.
Philosophy: Shan of Minnesota’s Timaeus tossup, along with his great bonus.
Social Science: Whoever on Harvard wrote that Basque tossup.

I also want to take this moment to say that while my days are free, I want to give as much feedback to teams as I can. I know Kenyon and Rice has asked for feedback, I will give them feedback tomorrow, but I want to extend this offer to any team that wants to know why I cut their submission - feel free to email me or PM me and I will try to get back to you with an email or we can even do a Skype call! Keep in mind though this offer won’t last forever because of other work that I am doing, but hey I want to see even better submissions for next year, and I want you all to produce good questions, so I’m going to offer to help you guys out as much as I can.

Ike

PS - I might have forgotten some team who also has a decent packet; I’ll check my email tomorrow to make sure that I didn’t leave you out.

*Billy can of course, choose to overrule me, since I only edited one of the four sciences.
Ike
UIUC 13

User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1424
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by vinteuil »

Ike wrote: Philosophy: Shan of Minnesota’s Timaeus tossup
My favorite tossup of the tournament! And I thought I had Ike to thank for it.
Jacob Reed (he/him/his)
Chicago ~'25 | Yale '19, '17 | East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

User avatar
The Dance of Sorrow
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 850
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:45 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by The Dance of Sorrow »

Thanks for the good feedback, Ike. While I certainly think that some of my questions left much to be desired and that it's probably better that you all were spared a tossup on Horace Silver, it's encouraging to hear that I'm making some improvements in my writing.
Dylan Minarik
PACE (Former Director of Communications, 2018-19 season)

Northwestern '17
Belvidere North High School '13

JRPG Champion, BACK TO BACK Robot Slayer

User avatar
naan/steak-holding toll
Auron
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:53 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Thanks for the feedback - I've been trying to improve the quality of my visual arts writing since I first wrote questions on the subject for Penn Bowl, and I'm glad to see it's paid off.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16, Columbia Business School '21
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor

User avatar
Muriel Axon
Tidus
Posts: 714
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:19 am

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by Muriel Axon »

vinteuil wrote:
Ike wrote: Philosophy: Shan of Minnesota’s Timaeus tossup
My favorite tossup of the tournament! And I thought I had Ike to thank for it.
You do have Ike to thank for making the last 2-3 clues significantly better! In general, I was impressed by how much better the questions we submitted came out post-editing (thinking also in particular of my monarch butterfly bonus).
Shan Kothari

Plymouth High School '10
Michigan State University '14
University of Minnesota '20

User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
Posts: 3195
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

What was the most random repeat in the submissions?
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source

User avatar
Auks Ran Ova
Forums Staff: Chief Administrator
Posts: 4101
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:What was the most random repeat in the submissions?
CRISPR
Rob Carson
University of Minnesota '11, MCTC '??
Member, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer and Editor, NAQT

User avatar
The Dance of Sorrow
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 850
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:45 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by The Dance of Sorrow »

Most common repeat? What was that one silly thing you got like 6 tossups about?
Dylan Minarik
PACE (Former Director of Communications, 2018-19 season)

Northwestern '17
Belvidere North High School '13

JRPG Champion, BACK TO BACK Robot Slayer

User avatar
Ike
Yuna
Posts: 950
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:01 pm
Contact:

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by Ike »

We received two tossups on CRISPR the biology technique.

I think I received three William Stanley Jevons questions and one on Leon Walras. We ended up combining two of those packets Originally, this led to a hilarious editing process where I thought they were the same person (because they're kind of almost the same!) to the point where I wrote "FTP, name this author of ~Elements of Pure Economics~ and ~The Coal Question~" or something stupid and then realized that these guys are two different economists.
Ike
UIUC 13

User avatar
naan/steak-holding toll
Auron
Posts: 2166
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 11:53 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Ike wrote:Originally, this led to a hilarious editing process where I thought they were the same person (because they're kind of almost the same!) to the point where I wrote "FTP, name this author of ~Elements of Pure Economics~ and ~The Coal Question~" or something stupid and then realized that these guys are two different economists.
For what it's worth, I get these two guys confused all the time as well (leading to lost points on bonuses!) and I'm supposed to be an economics major.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16, Columbia Business School '21
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor

not quite
Lulu
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:43 pm

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by not quite »

Auks Ran Ova wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:What was the most random repeat in the submissions?
CRISPR
Heh, Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats. Random repeat indeed!
Akhil Garg
Lisgar '13
VCU '16
McGill '20

touchpack
Rikku
Posts: 373
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:25 am

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by touchpack »

In my categories, Maryland was far and away the best packet. Big thanks to Brian for writing it--my only complaint is that it was so late in the game that I had to change multiple questions due to repeats so I could use his well-written tossups. Other packets that were good but not great (in order from high to low quality) include:

Dartmouth (Nick Jensen): Nick's submissions very closely adhered to my writing philosophy for this tournament: there were great innovative but important clues that were tied together with an elegant and easy answerline. I did some editing here since I thought a lot of the original question wordings were somewhat confusing, but other than that the packet was superb.

Penn (Eric Mukherjee): There were a few issues with these questions--for example, the original steel tossup was far too easy and the lattice QCD tossup was far too hard--but again, there was a lot of great clue selection here.

Harvard (Sriram Pendyala): Apart from a rather ill-advised biology tossup which was replaced, this packet was full of good submissions. The KdV equation and EPR spec were great ideas for questions which have a wealth of clues for them that were before this tournament not well-explored by the quizbowl canon.

In addition, I will list a couple of the mid-tier packets, talking about what they did well, and what they did poorly, so that those question writers can learn how to improve their submissions.

Stanford (not sure): The physics in this packet was excellent--the strain tossup covered a lot of good applied physics/engineering content that the set was somewhat low on until this submission came in. The bonus was good, but unfortunately had to be scrapped due to repeats. The biochemistry however, had some problems. While the answerline selection was solid, and all of the clue choices were good and well-written in a vacuum, I got the sense when reading these questions that the question writer used Wikipedia or a similar type of source to find their clues, and as a result, the tossups (lactams and calcium deficiency) were filled with obscure and impossible clues until near FTP. When writing science questions in the future, please try to consult online lecture notes/online textbooks/physical textbooks so you can get a better idea of what clues a player can reasonably expected to know! This packet was an example of well-executed clues that were chosen poorly.

Michigan (not sure): The bonuses in this packet were pretty good. I ended up tweaking some things to remove repeats and calibrate the difficulty (for example, I though X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy was pretty merciless for a medium part), but I really liked the selection of topics, especially the bonuses on anharmonicity and the interaction picture. The tossups however, were rather lacking in quality clues. I don't really care if Michael Berry won an Ignobel for trying to levitate a frog or that some dude named something called "ludicrous magnetoresistance" in homage to Spaceballs. These are not things that scientists or intellectually curious people who know some science are going to learn about anywhere. Take a look at your submitted tossup on Neurospora crassa and mine which I wrote for finals 1, and you'll see an example of the types of clues that make for good tossups. Also, this question on lattice energy, much like tossups on Cerenkov radiation, the Josephson effect, etc. has been ruined by years of awful quizbowl questions, and in my opinion it's just not possible to write a good question on this for nationals anymore. This is no fault of your own though, blame quizbowl from pre-2012 for this.

Here were my favorite submissions in each category listed in no particular order:

Biology:
Tossup: peroxidases (UCSD)
Bonuse: site-directed mutagenesis / PCR / alanine (UCSD)

Chemistry
Tossup: electric double layer (Maryland)
Bonus: Cottrell equation / diffusion / heterogenous (Penn)

Physics
Tossup: ergodicity (Maryland)
Bonus: Minkowski space / Poincare group / psuedo-Riemannian (Rice)

A few shoutouts to very creative/innovative questions which were not my favorites due to various reasons: CRISPR (both VCU and Stanford B), dispersion relations (Toronto), disulfide bonds (Illinois), and the spintronics bonus (Ottawa).

Also, like Ike, I would like to extend shout-outs to Stanford B and Kenyon. Despite not having a top science writer on their teams, the quality of the science in your submissions was pretty good--much better than I expected before I opened the packet. I hope that whoever wrote those questions reads this post, takes a few lessons from it, and keeps writing science in the future! Science can ALWAYS use more writers, at EVERY difficulty level.

As an editor, to me, the MOST important thing for question submitters to do is have good topic selection! Try to find clues that represent things that actual scientists care about and know, and then try to pick answers that are difficulty-appropriate for the tournament you are writing for. Examples of questions that did this very well include chemical potential, disulfide bonds, and chromatin. It is WAY less work for me to tweak the wording and order of good existing clues than to have to replace over half the question myself! Creativity is a plus, but it is not a requirement--I was very pleased with questions like chemical potential (MIT) and the quantum Hall effect bonus (Maryland), even though neither of them were particularly creative, since the topic/clue selection was very good.

I'll close to say that I'm perfectly happy to give anyone feedback on the biology/chemistry/physics in their packet either here on hsqb (via PM or via this thread) or by e-mail ([email protected]).

-Billy
Billy Busse
Illinois '14
President, ACF
Writer/Subject Editor/Set Editor, NAQT

User avatar
Ike
Yuna
Posts: 950
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:01 pm
Contact:

Re: ACF Nationals Submissions

Post by Ike »

Hello friends,

I have sent out the first wave of feedback to teams. Naturally this takes a bit of time to type up, so please be a bit patient. If you haven't received your feedback by Tuesday morning, feel free to re-email me.

Thanks,
Ike
Ike
UIUC 13

Locked