TRASH Packet Guidelines?

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TheCzechBulldog
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TRASH Packet Guidelines?

Post by TheCzechBulldog »

I've been looking to put together a tournament for TRASH, ideally writing my own set of packets. I was curious if anyone knew what the question distributions for TRASH generally requires.

I've got an entire set of old packet PDFs downloaded, so I may figure it out once I get that done, but I'm curious if anyone knows off hand.

Also, anything that typically annoys people within TRASH tournaments that I should know about?
Joshua Stein
California State University, Fresno

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DumbJaques
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Re: TRASH Packet Guidelines?

Post by DumbJaques »

If you're serious about this, you should probably identify yourself and provide at least some level of detail (for example, if you've never written for a tournament before, I would not recommend you start by writing an entire set yourself). In any event, you should definitely identify yourself in your signature per board rules.

I'm not sure if you're suffering from the trash (pop culture tournaments) vs. TRASH (one organization that writes these tournaments) confusion, but what do you mean? Are you just planning on writing a trash tournament, or are you somehow involved with TRASH? I assume it's the former, in which case there are multiple trash distribution - I personally recommend the distribution used by GARBAGE rather than that used by TRASH.
Also, anything that typically annoys people within TRASH tournaments that I should know about?
TRASH questions.
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Re: TRASH Packet Guidelines?

Post by answerguy »

As far as I know, the OP is not affiliated with TRASH. (Of course, I can't confirm that because he/she has not identified him/herself.)

Just to clear up the distinction, there are lots of "trash" tournaments out there, most of which have little (i.e. TRASH members doing some writing/editing/officiating in their capacity as individuals, which happens from time to time) or nothing to do with the TRASH organization. The term "trash" as used to refer to pop culture (i.e. entertainment, sports, certain types of general knowledge and/or current events) questions, and "trash tournament" to refer to events consisting entirely of such questions, predates the existence of TRASH the organization.

Some of what Chris posted above is helpful, though he's made it clear that there is something about our questions that he doesn't care for. I definitely agree with the idea that if someone has never written a round of questions before, it might not be a great idea to attempt to write an entire tournament (whether academic, trash, or something else entirely) by oneself. If that's not the case, there are likely to be plenty of people willing to play at such a tournament.

I think it would be helpful to look at the GARBAGE set to see what in general questions at trash tournaments look like.

Speaking for the organization TRASH, well, we write two sets of tournaments per year, a regionals set and TRASHionals. Players do not need to write any questions to play in these tournaments, though TRASHionals participation is generally by invitation only.

If this post is an expression of a wish to join or otherwise work directly TRASH, well, we could always use more help but want to know what prospective members have to contribute before adding someone on. Feel free to ask for more information if that is indeed the case.
Tim Young
GWU Law School (1996-99)
Dartmouth College (1992-96)
TRASH functionary
Tournament Director, TRASHionals 2009

TheCzechBulldog
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Re: TRASH Packet Guidelines?

Post by TheCzechBulldog »

DumbJaques wrote:If you're serious about this, you should probably identify yourself and provide at least some level of detail (for example, if you've never written for a tournament before, I would not recommend you start by writing an entire set yourself). In any event, you should definitely identify yourself in your signature per board rules.

I'm not sure if you're suffering from the trash (pop culture tournaments) vs. TRASH (one organization that writes these tournaments) confusion, but what do you mean? Are you just planning on writing a trash tournament, or are you somehow involved with TRASH? I assume it's the former, in which case there are multiple trash distribution - I personally recommend the distribution used by GARBAGE rather than that used by TRASH.
Sorry about that. I didn't know about the signature rule (corrected). I'm an undergraduate student at Fresno State

This will be my first tournament. It's not for a while, so I'm not particularly concerned about the time that it will take (and I don't intend to write the whole thing at once, as I want to play-test some of the questions and answers and see how it works).

I am talking about trash as pop culture, not the organization.
Joshua Stein
California State University, Fresno

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lasercats
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Re: TRASH Packet Guidelines?

Post by lasercats »

TheCzechBulldog wrote:
This will be my first tournament. It's not for a while, so I'm not particularly concerned about the time that it will take (and I don't intend to write the whole thing at once, as I want to play-test some of the questions and answers and see how it works).
Still, have you written a single trash packet before? I hope so, otherwise you should definitely not be doing this tournament like Chris has already said. I would be quite weary of an entire tournament written by a single person anyway.
Maggie Larkin
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Re: TRASH Packet Guidelines?

Post by cvdwightw »

A few pointers:

1. Trash (use lowercase unless referring to the company) tournaments written entirely by one person often cater to that single person's pet topics and are often plagued by subdistributional imbalance; enlisting a couple of co-writers, especially in areas you may have weaknesses in, will inevitably improve the quality of your tournament. In particular, since you're at Fresno, Ron would be an excellent source for collaboration, if he has the time. Also, set yourself a deadline - there are plenty of tournaments across the country that would be amenable to a good trash tournament, and if you're able to partner up with an academic tournament, you can probably use some of that club's writers as collaborators. Since you've never written much of anything before, I would seriously try to enlist people who have worked on a quality trash tournament to edit your questions. One of the great things about the quizbowl community, in both academic and trash worlds, is how much effort experienced writers/editors will expend mentoring newer, enthusiastic writers.

2. I'm a bit confused by what you mean by "old pdfs." Realistically, there are five tournaments produced prior to this year that you need to have in your possession if you want to learn how to write really good trash: in chronological order, 2005 Mordecai Richler (Chicago Open), 2006 Gottfried Keller (Chicago Open), 2007 ASS (Maryland), 2007 Chris McCray (Maryland), and 2008 Chicago Open Trash (Chicago Open). The first four can be found on the Stanford Archive and the fifth (and possibly the first four as well, I'm not sure) on quizbowlpackets.com. Download and study these tournaments. Figure out what makes them good trash, and try to emulate them. It's usually not the distribution that makes the tournament, it's the quality of the questions.

3. Figure out your difficulty level and try to stay consistent. Are you writing for people who live in a cave and have no popular culture knowledge? Are you writing what passes for a "regular difficulty" trash tournament? Are you writing something at the difficulty level of TRASHionals? Is your target audience high schoolers? College undergraduates? People who have been out of college for 15+ years? One of the most common complaints about trash tournaments is the common misconception that "anything goes." Keeping a consistent difficulty, and defining your target audience (both to yourself and when you announce your tournament), will go a long way toward helping you figure out answer choices.

4. Again, and I cannot stress this enough, find co-writers; find experienced editors to help shepherd the project along; find people to playtest your questions. It's exciting to see that new blood is trying to write good trash, as it's long been stereotyped as kind of the bastard child of academic quizbowl (due to its often poor quality) and I don't think anyone really wants it to be that way. However, even experienced writers have problems writing tournaments by themselves or largely by themselves. You're really going to need a team of at least 2-5 other people to produce a quality tournament.
Dwight Wynne
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Re: TRASH Packet Guidelines?

Post by InvadErGII »

Dwight, thank you for the suggestions. I'm also hoping to develop as a trash question writer and will definitely look over the tournaments you mentioned. However, I'm not seeing the 2008 Chicago Open Trash (or any of the others) on quizbowlpackets.com. Is there a trash-specific area for this that I'm just not seeing?
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Re: TRASH Packet Guidelines?

Post by cvdwightw »

InvadErGII wrote:Dwight, thank you for the suggestions. I'm also hoping to develop as a trash question writer and will definitely look over the tournaments you mentioned. However, I'm not seeing the 2008 Chicago Open Trash (or any of the others) on quizbowlpackets.com. Is there a trash-specific area for this that I'm just not seeing?
It exists, it's just not advertised on the main page for whatever reason. Link can be found in this thread.
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry

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Re: TRASH Packet Guidelines?

Post by rylltraka »

If you're the Josh I recall from Fresno State, I'm tentatively interested in signing up to help produce/write/test your tournament, as long as its deadlines are in the far future. I'm not necessarily the best writer out there, but I do have extensive experience in what not to do. I'm certainly willing to be a contributor and to help you create a working distribution.
Mik Larsen
USC '08, UCLA '14

TheCzechBulldog
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Re: TRASH Packet Guidelines?

Post by TheCzechBulldog »

Thanks for all of the pointers. (especially Dwight, that's a lot of great insight) I'll definitely look for help on the packet.
rylltraka wrote:If you're the Josh I recall from Fresno State, I'm tentatively interested in signing up to help produce/write/test your tournament, as long as its deadlines are in the far future. I'm not necessarily the best writer out there, but I do have extensive experience in what not to do. I'm certainly willing to be a contributor and to help you create a working distribution.
Yup, same Josh. The time frame is definitely not immediate (no deadline, at the moment), and I'd definitely appreciate the help.
Joshua Stein
California State University, Fresno

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