Good Current Events

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Good Current Events

Post by Brian Ulrich »

As NAQT's current events editor, I've thought about what makes a good current events question, so I thought I'd start an independent thread on the topic. In another thread, someone suggested "the modern world," which seems too broad. What I usually shoot for is "Current Affairs," and I've described it on here as what you would get from reading a good current affairs magazine, such as the analysis pieces in the Economist or Foreign Policy, as opposed to CNN headlines.

Last year, I wound up writing the bulk of NAQT's college CE myself hoping to push it into the shape I wanted, and, as production of this year's college sets is now underway, I wouldn't mind seeing the section dissected in terms of whether it, in fact, represents an improvement over the "ripped from the headlines" CE that understandably drives people crazy.

Things that I deem appropriate for this category include but are not limited to:

1.) Political leaders, ideally with clues based off their policies, connections, or important aspects of their background
2.) The current state or major issues within ongoing conflicts, such as Israel's disengagement from Gaza, Kosovo's declaration of independence, and negotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh
3.) Organizations and political parties, if the question is primarily focused on the present. A tossup on Hamas that deals with its role in the Oslo years would be history; one that deals primarily with it's current situation is CE, with those in between assigned according to a feel test.
4.) Developments within society that affect lots of people, such as the gay marriage
5.) Other "ongoing issues that shape our world," to use my usual catch-all, such as EU expansion

Also, NAQT uses a 5-year limit to differentiate between CE and history, though in practice I've tended to send things like questions about the Sept. 11 attacks to general knowledge for the time being. This also means that something like the 2006 Second Lebanon War could still turn up as CE on the theory it's important for ongoing "current affairs," though long-established writer habits and issues with finding easy sources mean most questions are based on developments of recent months.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by cchiego »

Something the avoid: Boring political TUs i.e. "the AFP and the KJC are two political parties in this country that also features the BBH and the PPPQI. Last election, the Reds beat the Greens and the Blues came in a surprising third after X and Z did their thing. FTP, identify this country led by Y." This is a pretty boring style of TU that sounds weird with all the random acronyms and ignores a lot of the more important and interesting events that might be going on in that election. Something like the Bangladesh election would probably be more appropriate to write about since both the candidates are indicted and the military is holding free and fair elections instead. There would probably have to be a few mentions of party names, but it would be far less than some of the TUs I've seen recently. Trying to write a TU on say the Ghana elections would probably be a lot harder without becoming uninteresting.
Brian Ulrich wrote:The current state or major issues within ongoing conflicts, such as Israel's disengagement from Gaza, Kosovo's declaration of independence, and negotiations over Nagorno-Karabakh
On these kinds of questions, I think you have to incorporate at least some historical clues into the question. For instance, it's fine to mention current developments over N-K, but writing a full TU on that would probably mean a buzzer race near the end. Instead, devoting the first line or two to the recent developments, adding in a historical line about "the site of the Ring Operation and the assault on Shusha," and then getting to the giveaway would make it less "pure" current events, but a better TU as the whole.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Cheynem »

I've got to be honest, I've never liked current events. Now, current events clues are okay and can be used judiciously in history, political science, trash, whatever tossups. But explicitly current-events tossups tend to either be really transparent ("you're talking about a recent leader and so and so was just in the news") or somewhat wonky due to actual things in the news (say a question on the political affairs of Illinois becomes way more easier after the events of the last few months). Your mileage may vary.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Susan »

There seems to be an assumption going on in this thread that good current events questions have to be on people/events/etc. that are, this very moment, in the news. I don't think this is the case; in fact, I think this is a fairly lazy way to write CE questions that produces questions with a very short shelf life. In the general distribution thread, Bruce referred to senators who are "important to know about if you want to understand modern American politics, but are not likely to be well-known as historical figures in the future" and said that a category covering the "modern world" would allow one to write a tossup on one of those senators "even if they weren't [sic] up for election recently or haven't [sic] done anything headline-grabbing in the past few months." I would argue that a tossup on one of those senators would be a perfectly acceptable CE topic and would be much preferable to a tossup written about a current news story as it would be less likely to become dated very fast.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Brian Ulrich »

myamphigory wrote:There seems to be an assumption going on in this thread that good current events questions have to be on people/events/etc. that are, this very moment, in the news. I don't think this is the case; in fact, I think this is a fairly lazy way to write CE questions that produces questions with a very short shelf life. In the general distribution thread, Bruce referred to senators who are "important to know about if you want to understand modern American politics, but are not likely to be well-known as historical figures in the future" and said that a category covering the "modern world" would allow one to write a tossup on one of those senators "even if they weren't [sic] up for election recently or haven't [sic] done anything headline-grabbing in the past few months." I would argue that a tossup on one of those senators would be a perfectly acceptable CE topic and would be much preferable to a tossup written about a current news story as it would be less likely to become dated very fast.
I agree with this wholeheartedly; it's my reason for preferring "affairs" rather than "events."
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Cheynem »

Yeah, I want to reclarify--I wasn't arguing that current affairs/events questions should only be about stuff in the news now, I was just saying that a good chunk of said questions are "ripped from the headlines" and for the aforementioned reasons, tend to come up lacking. I was specifically thinking of the vast majority of NAQT current events questions I've encountered this year, either reading them as a moderator or playing them.

I agree that many good questions can be written about "modern" personalities, events, works that do not necessarily have to be come from your morning newspaper.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Brian Ulrich »

Cheynem wrote:Yeah, I want to reclarify--I wasn't arguing that current affairs/events questions should only be about stuff in the news now, I was just saying that a good chunk of said questions are "ripped from the headlines" and for the aforementioned reasons, tend to come up lacking. I was specifically thinking of the vast majority of NAQT current events questions I've encountered this year, either reading them as a moderator or playing them.
I'll admit that I'd not as draconian with standards for hs sets as I am college, due to a combination of the fact that the hs circuit is more accepting of the traditional CE view than college and the fact that I simply don't have time to do massive overhauls of the existing submission, as opposed to trying to guide writers toward a subtly different vision with intermittent success.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Matt Weiner »

Brian Ulrich wrote:the hs circuit is more accepting of the traditional CE view than college
What is your basis for this assertion?
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Sir Thopas »

Matt Weiner wrote:
Brian Ulrich wrote:the hs circuit is more accepting of the traditional CE view than college
What is your basis for this assertion?
Yeah, this is pretty dangerous. This could be used to rationalize all sorts of bad practices. Like computational math. Oh wait...
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Matt Weiner »

Well, I'm not necessarily saying Brian is being dishonest here; I'm just wondering what high school tournaments he reads at, what elite teams he has seen play, what non-elite or newer teams he has seen play, whether his experience encompasses the traditions of more than one geographic area, etc. Obviously someone who doesn't read for a variety of high school teams would be in no position to make statements about what "the high school circuit" is and is not accepting of, right?
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Brian Ulrich »

Matt Weiner wrote:Well, I'm not necessarily saying Brian is being dishonest here; I'm just wondering what high school tournaments he reads at, what elite teams he has seen play, what non-elite or newer teams he has seen play, whether his experience encompasses the traditions of more than one geographic area, etc. Obviously someone who doesn't read for a variety of high school teams would be in no position to make statements about what "the high school circuit" is and is not accepting of, right?
It is true that my statement was an offhand assertion based in part on occasional postings here that refer to things like CE and geography as "relics of high school" and part of a broader view of quiz bowl over age ranges which holds that high schoolers know much less about social science and somewhat less about certain other areas proportional to their representation in the college canon, and that these areas are made up by current events and geography. I worked with high schools in Wisconsin for a few years before I left for Israel in Fall 2006; since I've been back this academic year I've been in central New York where there doesn't seem to be much happening.

But frankly, I would improve the category in high school if I could, I'm just saying I spend my limited time where it is most needed. And time really is a barrier here, since a lot of NAQT's CE gets written at the last minute, and often by people who don't like the category that much.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

I'll repeat what I said in the other thread: the "good CE" questions that people talk about are actually history questions. Questions on the policies of George Bush are history, regardless of whether they happened 5 years ago or not. I make this distinction because I can envision someone 50 years from now writing a TU on George Bush. Historic events are historic because of their nature, not because of how recent they occurred. The Sept. 11 attacks, for example, are history (but I wouldn't suggest writing a TU on them currently, as finding hard clues might be tough (but not impossible)) If you want meaningful CE, I think the best idea would be to add the distribution for CE to history and include specific subdistribution guidelines that these questions should be used on events including and after the 90s (or more or less recent per preference). This would encourage people to write on important, historic, but recent events rather than more trashy or ripped-from-the headlines CE.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Auroni »

Brian Ulrich wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:Well, I'm not necessarily saying Brian is being dishonest here; I'm just wondering what high school tournaments he reads at, what elite teams he has seen play, what non-elite or newer teams he has seen play, whether his experience encompasses the traditions of more than one geographic area, etc. Obviously someone who doesn't read for a variety of high school teams would be in no position to make statements about what "the high school circuit" is and is not accepting of, right?
It is true that my statement was an offhand assertion based in part on occasional postings here that refer to things like CE and geography as "relics of high school" and part of a broader view of quiz bowl over age ranges which holds that high schoolers know much less about social science and somewhat less about certain other areas proportional to their representation in the college canon, and that these areas are made up by current events and geography. I worked with high schools in Wisconsin for a few years before I left for Israel in Fall 2006; since I've been back this academic year I've been in central New York where there doesn't seem to be much happening.

But frankly, I would improve the category in high school if I could, I'm just saying I spend my limited time where it is most needed. And time really is a barrier here, since a lot of NAQT's CE gets written at the last minute, and often by people who don't like the category that much.
If the writers who are assigned current events portions dislike the job and tend to cobble it together at the last minute, then why not deemphasize this and put more effort into the other, more substantive categories (lit, fine arts, myth, etc) instead?
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Deviant Insider »

It seems like Brian is moving things in the right direction, but the definition of "last five years" is not very useful, especially because some of the topics being mentioned, such as Hamas or a prominent Senator, could best be handled by questions that combined events from several years ago with events that are ongoing. There are several other topics that fit the same bill, such as Social Security, IMF, SDI, Afghanistan, and so forth. It might be better to think of Current Events questions as questions that deal with ongoing issues--stuff that one reasonably could expect to be in the news in the future.

A Hamas question would be Current Events if it mentioned people who are still active or events that led very directly to the ongoing conflict (or in other cases conflicts whose resolutions were still tenuous), and it would be History if it did not mention those things.

Pope John Paul II would not be a proper answer to a Current Events question, even though he would be mentioned if somebody wrote a book on the History of the World, 2004-2008.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by setht »

JelloBiafra wrote:If the writers who are assigned current events portions dislike the job and tend to cobble it together at the last minute, then why not deemphasize this and put more effort into the other, more substantive categories (lit, fine arts, myth, etc) instead?
I don't think this is a good argument for reducing current events (or any other portion of the distribution that many people dislike writing--e.g. chemistry). Also, I don't think anyone who writes for NAQT is "assigned a current events portion" but I could be wrong about that.

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Re: Good Current Events

Post by ... and the chaos of Mexican modernity »

I think Chris brought up a good point about including historical clues within current events questions. Historical clues may provide a much clearer answer, but honestly I could only speak from experience based on practicing on IS packets.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Brian Ulrich »

setht wrote:
JelloBiafra wrote:If the writers who are assigned current events portions dislike the job and tend to cobble it together at the last minute, then why not deemphasize this and put more effort into the other, more substantive categories (lit, fine arts, myth, etc) instead?
I don't think this is a good argument for reducing current events (or any other portion of the distribution that many people dislike writing--e.g. chemistry). Also, I don't think anyone who writes for NAQT is "assigned a current events portion" but I could be wrong about that.
What it means is that, if a set is due in the next couple of days and questions remain unwritten, a set editor has to write them. This often happens with science in college sets, and current events in high school.
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Re: Good Current Events

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AlphaQuizBowler wrote:I'll repeat what I said in the other thread: the "good CE" questions that people talk about are actually history questions. Questions on the policies of George Bush are history, regardless of whether they happened 5 years ago or not. I make this distinction because I can envision someone 50 years from now writing a TU on George Bush. Historic events are historic because of their nature, not because of how recent they occurred. The Sept. 11 attacks, for example, are history (but I wouldn't suggest writing a TU on them currently, as finding hard clues might be tough (but not impossible)) If you want meaningful CE, I think the best idea would be to add the distribution for CE to history and include specific subdistribution guidelines that these questions should be used on events including and after the 90s (or more or less recent per preference). This would encourage people to write on important, historic, but recent events rather than more trashy or ripped-from-the headlines CE.
I'm not sure I entirely agree with the argument here. The issue is this: it is unclear to us what will be important as history. For example, if I apply your definition to the circa-1920's you, I might find you blusterfully telegraphing editors nominal history questions (or even nominal science questions!) about the Zeppelin industry, though I find it dubious that such questions would be called legitimate history or science today (by me, for example.) My point, then, is that current events is of an essentially different character than history as its contents have essentially undefined historical import.
I do agree with the spirit of what's being said, though. Therefore, I think that writers ought to make a good-faith effort to select CE content (answers and clues) that they deem to be of likely significance, understanding that their ability to judge such is imperfect.

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Re: Good Current Events

Post by setht »

Captain Scipio wrote:
AlphaQuizBowler wrote:I'll repeat what I said in the other thread: the "good CE" questions that people talk about are actually history questions. Questions on the policies of George Bush are history, regardless of whether they happened 5 years ago or not. I make this distinction because I can envision someone 50 years from now writing a TU on George Bush. Historic events are historic because of their nature, not because of how recent they occurred. The Sept. 11 attacks, for example, are history (but I wouldn't suggest writing a TU on them currently, as finding hard clues might be tough (but not impossible)) If you want meaningful CE, I think the best idea would be to add the distribution for CE to history and include specific subdistribution guidelines that these questions should be used on events including and after the 90s (or more or less recent per preference). This would encourage people to write on important, historic, but recent events rather than more trashy or ripped-from-the headlines CE.
I'm not sure I entirely agree with the argument here. The issue is this: it is unclear to us what will be important as history. For example, if I apply your definition to the circa-1920's you, I might find you blusterfully telegraphing editors nominal history questions (or even nominal science questions!) about the Zeppelin industry, though I find it dubious that such questions would be called legitimate history or science today (by me, for example.) My point, then, is that current events is of an essentially different character than history as its contents have essentially undefined historical import.
I do agree with the spirit of what's being said, though. Therefore, I think that writers ought to make a good-faith effort to select CE content (answers and clues) that they deem to be of likely significance, understanding that their ability to judge such is imperfect.

MaS
This reminds me of something I wanted to discuss with the community (and Brian in particular): how should science current events questions be handled? In last year's post-ICT survey thread, I proposed allowing science current events questions that talk about recent developments in science along with background science that wasn't necessarily developed in the last 5 years. As an example, I talked about writing a tossup on GRBs that would mention a very dramatic recent GRB and an ongoing satellite mission, both of which seemed likely to produce some interesting new data, followed by later clues on "basics of GRB science." I suppose there's still some risk that the science current events material won't age too well, but I think there's much less chance of having a whole question seem laughable several years down the road (the way a 1920's business CE question on the zeppelin industry might) if the question is tied in to active fields of research that have been around for a while. In the case of my proposed GRB question, I suppose it could have happened that GRB 080319B turned out to be a bust (in terms of generating interesting new data about GRBs), but Swift was already well established as a useful mission by last April, and the science of GRBs seems well established as an important and active field of astrophysics.

I think it's a mistake to call for science current events questions where people that have been in a coma for two years can't possibly buzz before the giveaway--a mistake both in terms of making it harder to write science current events questions, and in terms of how they play out and who they reward. After all, when some advance is made in science, it's pretty much always intimately tied to previous work (from more than two years ago), and I would argue that knowing the science that is relevant to an appreciation of a scientific advance is more worthwhile than knowing all of the most recent details associated with such an advance. I'm certainly fine with having a sentence or two focusing primarily on recent work in such questions, but if there are some middle clues that "let in" players with good, relevant science knowledge I think that's fine. It's not clear to me that people who know (and buzz off of) the science behind an advance demonstrate less understanding of that advance (even if they were completely unaware that such an advance had occurred) than people who know some details about the advance but don't know the science.

Note that I am not calling for questions with one sentence naming a recent paper followed by a standard science tossup. This sort of question has been coming up more and more in circuit/ACF events, and I'm generally not a fan. The papers people pick almost never seem useful in and of themselves (this is somewhat alleviated when people describe some of the study, but then that description becomes the useful clue, not the author list of the paper). They feel a bit like quotations--either it's famous and shouldn't be in the lead-in, or it's not and probably shouldn't be used at all. There are plenty of exciting new things happening in science; I don't think there are enough such topics that have multiple recent developments that could fill out full tossups, but there are certainly enough without resorting to writing science tossups and sticking a recent paper at the front.

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Re: Good Current Events

Post by grapesmoker »

I don't see any problems with good CE questions and I'm not sure why so many hairs are being split over this matter. Is it good to write CE questions on important things that are happening around the world? I say yes. It doesn't matter much to me that sometimes this may involve the occasional alphabet-soup leadin about separatist movements or whatever; that's part of knowing the news. Leaders, countries, senators, legislation, economic programs, etc. are all good topics for CE questions. The 5-year mark is a decent metric for differentiating CE from history, if a mark needs to be placed, but I care much less about this arbitrary distinction than I do about whether the questions being written are good and about worthwhile things that people who care about the news would plausibly know.

As for including CE-type clues in science questions, I have no problem with that. The example Seth provided about GRBs is a good one that would allow people clued in to the recent developments to answer the questions first. My objection to the questions that came up in the last ICT was not based on the use of CE clues as such but rather on the fact that the questions and clues tended to be on things that were mostly not all that interesting to people who did not specialize in that one thing, whatever it was. That's how I feel about questions on things like space missions; unless the mission was quite famous, chances are most people don't know enough to differentiate between them, so for 90% of the field it becomes a guessing game. Likewise tossups on unremarkable satellites.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Brian Ulrich »

As far as the CE-history link, I think that much like we ask details about the 20th century we wouldn't about the 8th, so we ask about current events based on their importance at this moment and not 100 years.

By the way, the reason I resist the "modern world" framing is that its too broad. Sports and geography are also part of the modern world.

Somebody please do something with science CE, or I'll find myself having to make my annual decision between writing good questions on NASA missions or bad questions on something I don't fully understand. I don't much care what it is we do, as long as people like it.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Captain Sinico »

Brian Ulrich wrote:As far as the CE-history link, I think that much like we ask details about the 20th century we wouldn't about the 8th...
Nobody sensible denies that we do so. The question is (and has been): ought we?

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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Captain Scipio wrote:
Brian Ulrich wrote:As far as the CE-history link, I think that much like we ask details about the 20th century we wouldn't about the 8th...
Nobody sensible denies that we do so. The question is (and has been): ought we?
An argument saying we ought to certainly can be made. If this game is about cultural literacy, at least to a large extent (and I say it is), then it's reasonable to say that knowing things about the present day (that you aren't really expected to know about the past) ought to be one component of cultural literacy. Indeed, we understand more by becoming familiar with the process through which CE gets winnowed into history, so knowing both is relevant. The question is (remains): is that a good argument?
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by grapesmoker »

Brian Ulrich wrote:Somebody please do something with science CE, or I'll find myself having to make my annual decision between writing good questions on NASA missions or bad questions on something I don't fully understand. I don't much care what it is we do, as long as people like it.
Uh, I don't know who is in a position to do anything about this here. I've pointed out that a) those questions tended to dominate the Science-CE distribution at ICT, and b) they are of relatively little interest to the vast majority of actual scientists and of even less interests to an even greater number of non-scientists. So I guess my proposal would be to not write those questions anymore? I have to confess that I do not see a need to mandate a Science-CE distribution; what purpose does it serve? This is a great example of fine-splitting of hairs about what I think is a non-existent problem (the problem presumably being a lack of current events in science questions? I guess...). I would suggest doing the thing that Seth outlines in his sample question, which is to incorporate meaningful clues about recent happenings in science into tossups on science things and scrap that portion of the distribution altogether.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by First Chairman »

Throwing in a small question that probably is just an issue of making it explicit to me. Current events/affairs as has been pointed out should likely involve deeper writing than just being from the headlines, so I am wondering how one would necessarily work on the current economic situation as a current events/affairs topic. It's no doubt this is going to be historic. I'm wondering just to gauge general opinion on how one would like to see (or would NOT like to see) questions on the various bailout proposals, the falling currencies, mortgage and foreclosures, etc., in quiz bowl at both high school and college levels.
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dtaylor4
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by dtaylor4 »

First Chairman wrote:Throwing in a small question that probably is just an issue of making it explicit to me. Current events/affairs as has been pointed out should likely involve deeper writing than just being from the headlines, so I am wondering how one would necessarily work on the current economic situation as a current events/affairs topic. It's no doubt this is going to be historic. I'm wondering just to gauge general opinion on how one would like to see (or would NOT like to see) questions on the various bailout proposals, the falling currencies, mortgage and foreclosures, etc., in quiz bowl at both high school and college levels.
If people really wanted them that bad, I might be able to pull it off, if I can find my old textbooks and notes on the subject. However, I see two problems with this: 1) I doubt a significant number of people would like such questions, and 2) I hold that such questions would likely devolve into buzzer races.

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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Deviant Insider »

Donald probably is right, but I'll throw in some of my high school level efforts in response to ETC and make an observation or two...

From a little over a year ago:
This term can be a synonym of B-paper and second chance. It is used to describe situations in which the customer has a FICO score under 620, and companies involved with them, such as Fremont General, are now having severe financial problems. These problems are becoming severe as interest rates rise and housing values drop. Name these types of mortgages made to people with problematic credit histories.
ANSWER: Subprime (or Near-Prime) (Loan(s) or Mortgage(s))
(The biggest problem with this now probably is transparency, but at the time it was conversion rate.)

From a few months ago:
Its current Managing Director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is a Socialist and former Communist. He recently stated, “Exceptional times call for an exceptional response,” when introducing its short-term liquidity facility. Its recent increased activity has included deals with Hungary, Ukraine, and Iceland. Along with part of the World Bank, it was created in the mid 1940s at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Name this organization that often offers financial aid to various countries.
ANSWER: IMF (or International Monetary Fund)

He succeeded Jon Corzine as the head of Goldman Sachs. In recent years, he helped start the Hope Now Alliance, though he may be most famous for a three-page plan he wrote earlier this year. That plan contained a controversial clause stating that his actions may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency. Though one of the dollar amounts it mentioned was over eleven trillion, it became associated with the amount of seven hundred billion dollars. Name this man who replaced John Snow in 2006 as Secretary of the Treasury.
ANSWER: (Henry ‘Hank’) Paulson(, Jr.)

I'll add that it is very difficult to write a question with the answer "Foreclosure Rate" or several of the other terms that ETC mentioned because, like Donald said, transparency problems and difficulty cliffs are going to arise. However, I would think that there probably are some good economics questions that could reference the current situation and still be good economics questions. I also think there are plenty of good proper noun answers (like IMF and Paulson above, but also including corporations, members of Obama's team, and other nations) where it would be easy to combine past and present to create a good question.
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Re: Good Current Events

Post by dtaylor4 »

Shcool wrote:Tossups
The subprime tossup is transparent by the first clue, let alone the second sentence. The second has bad clue after bad clue (people, stupid quotes). Also, once you eliminate World Bank as a possible answer, that's gonna be a buzzer race. As for Paulson: if you're going to write a tossup on a current/upcoming Cabinet member, focus on what he has actually done, and not just dance around it.

To reiterate: there are answers related to this that could be tossed up, but even if they are pyramidal and have no cliffs, they won't be good because the answers would be beyond the reach of most of the field.

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Re: Good Current Events

Post by Brian Ulrich »

Shcool wrote:Donald probably is right, but I'll throw in some of my high school level efforts in response to ETC and make an observation or two...

From a little over a year ago:
This term can be a synonym of B-paper and second chance. It is used to describe situations in which the customer has a FICO score under 620, and companies involved with them, such as Fremont General, are now having severe financial problems. These problems are becoming severe as interest rates rise and housing values drop. Name these types of mortgages made to people with problematic credit histories.
ANSWER: Subprime (or Near-Prime) (Loan(s) or Mortgage(s))
(The biggest problem with this now probably is transparency, but at the time it was conversion rate.)
I agree this is really transparent. In Fact, I don't see how it goes past the comma in the second sentence in most Div. I rooms; that clue is probably easier than Fremont General.
Shcool wrote:From a few months ago:
Its current Managing Director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is a Socialist and former Communist. He recently stated, “Exceptional times call for an exceptional response,” when introducing its short-term liquidity facility. Its recent increased activity has included deals with Hungary, Ukraine, and Iceland. Along with part of the World Bank, it was created in the mid 1940s at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Name this organization that often offers financial aid to various countries.
ANSWER: IMF (or International Monetary Fund)
I'd trim the opening to "Its Managing Director DSK recently said..." as a lot of the rest is unnecessary verbiage or isn't uniquely identifying. I'm also not sure the quote is that useful, since it sounds like something lots of people would say in response to lots of different things. By the second sentence, we're into IMF or World Bank as the only two options I can think of, and you knock out WB right after.
Shcool wrote:He succeeded Jon Corzine as the head of Goldman Sachs. In recent years, he helped start the Hope Now Alliance, though he may be most famous for a three-page plan he wrote earlier this year. That plan contained a controversial clause stating that his actions may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency. Though one of the dollar amounts it mentioned was over eleven trillion, it became associated with the amount of seven hundred billion dollars. Name this man who replaced John Snow in 2006 as Secretary of the Treasury.
ANSWER: (Henry ‘Hank’) Paulson(, Jr.)
Treasury's GS connections are well known to experience CE players, so I'd start with Hope Now. The third sentence applies to multiple Bush administration figures - I think it has clue value, but in NAQT format should take up fewer characters, and the whole plan thing should ideally become a single sentence. That said, there's the potential here for a decent A-series question.

I think any of these could become a decent answer choice, with the first as the most difficult. However, in my own writing, this is something I've found much easier to do as bonuses.

I also hope the sample of my editing has been useful to anyone thinking of writing for NAQT but worried about the ability of the editors with whom they'd be working.
Brian Ulrich
NAQT Current Events Editor, 2005-
University of Wisconsin 1999-2003
Quincy University 1995-1999

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