RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

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RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

It's almost midnight, so I assume that the RMPFest mirror in Canada is either over or just about wrapping up. I also trust the players there to be honorable enough to not peek at this thread while playing. As all other mirrors have long been completed, the set is now cleare for discussion. It has been sent or will shortly be sent to Chris Carter, Stanford, and other reputable collegiate packet archives near you.

I'd like to thank Shantanu Jha and Dominic Machado for co-editing the tournament and I look forward to working with each of them again one day. Also thanks to the other people who wrote questions: Dallin Kelson, Mike Cheyne, Andrew Yaphe, Ahmad Ragab and Tommy Casalaspi. Mike Bentley and Fred Morlan made crucial contributions to the Trash packet, without which it could not have come into existence.

The following people helped playtest: Auroni Gupta, Zach Foster, Susan Ferrari, Brian, Nick Brumfield, and Sandy Huang. If I am forgetting any playtesters I apologize.

If you are Chris Ray, please send me a check to cover your mirror fee.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Here is the answer selection and distribution for Mythology and Religion. If Shantanu wishes, he can post similar data for Phil:

Classical Mythology
1. Juno {DM}
2. Ajax {DM}
3. Pirithous {DM}
4. Epimetheus {DM}
5. Pygmalion {DM}
6. Hercules/Heracles {DM}
7. Being transgendered {DM}
8. Athena {DM}
9. Zeus {DM}
10. Mars {DM}
11. Thebes {DM}
12. Peleus {DM}
13. Pasiphae {DM}
14. Pan {DM}
15. Pasiphae {DM}
16. Romulus {DM}
17. Pegasus {DM}
18. Meleager {DM}
19. Cybele/Magna Mater {DM}
20. Philoctetes {DM}

Norse Mythology
1. Thor {BA}
2. Odin {BA}
3. Loki {BA}
4. Thrym {BA}
5. Baldur {BA}
6. Bragi {BA}
7. Sigurd {BA}
8. Suttungr {BA}
9. Laevateinn {BA}
10. Ynglinga Saga {BA}

Celtic Mythology
1. Nuada {BA}
2. The Dagda {DK}
3. Cuchulainn {DK/BA}
4. Culhwch and Olwen {DK}
5. Pryderi {DK}
6. Fomorians {BA}
7. Sir Gawain {BA}
8. Finn McCool {BA}
9. Conchobar {BA}
10. Celts [using Gaulish myth + anthro-linguistic clues] {BA}

Other European Mythology [e.g., Slavic, Finno-Ugric]
1. Hungarians [from pre-Christian myth] {BA}
2. Ukko {BA}
3. Dazhbog {BA}
4. Perun {BA}
5. Gypsies {BA}
6. Vainamoinen {BA}
7. Ilmarinen {BA}
8. Pohjola {BA}
9. Kullervo {BA}
10. Basques {BA}

Hamito-Semitic/Hittite/Elamite Mythology
1. Ut-napishtim {BA}
2. Gilgamesh {BA}
3. Humbaba {BA}
4. Tiamat {BA}
5. Enlil {BA}
6. Haddad/Ba'al {BA}
7. Elamites {BA}
8. Osiris {BA}
9. Isis {BA}
10. Geb {BA}

Mythology Grab-Bag
1. sheep {BA}
2. wolf {BA}
3. Rainbow Serpent {BA}
4. el Chupacabras {BA}
5. gods of death {BA}
6. Coyote {BA}
7. spiders {DK/BA}
8. fire deities {DK/BA}
9. Huitzilopochtli {DK}
10. rain gods [using only Mesoamerican clues] {BA}

Christianity
1. Oxford Movement {BA}
2. Arius {BA}
3. Lutheranism {BA}
4. John Calvin {BA}
5. Jehova's Witnesses {BA}
6. Veneration of Icons {BA}
7. Praying for the Dead {BA}
8. Salvation by Faith Alone {BA}
9. Epistles of Peter {BA}
10. Council of Ephesus {BA}

Judaism
1. Hasidism {BA}
2. Samaritans {BA}
3. Kohanim {BA}
4. Ark of the Covenant {BA}
5. Lithuania {BA}
6. Mikvah {BA}
7. Rabbi Akiva {BA}
8. Rabbi Shammi {BA}
9. Guide For the Perplexed {BA}
10. Shavout {BA}

Islam
1. Jerusalem {BA}
2. Cordoba {BA}
3. Zakat {BA}
4. Averroes {BA}
5. the Mahdi {BA}
6. Eid al-Adha {BA}
7. Day of Ashura {BA}
8. Halal {BA}
9. Mohammad {BA}
10. Wahhabism {BA}

Hinduism
1. Rig Veda {BA}
2. horse {BA}
3. Yama {BA}
4. Vajra {BA}
5. Asvin twins {BA}
6. Durga {BA}
7. om {BA}
8. Kali {BA}
9. Kalki {BA}
10. Battle of Kurukshetra {BA}

East Asian Religion [e.g., Japan, China, Korea, Southeast Asia]
1. Izanagi {BA}
2. Susanowo {BA}
3. torii {BA}
4. Raijin {DK}
5. Journey to the West {DK}
6. Tengri {BA}
7. Hachiman {BA}
8. foxes {DK}
9. the sun {DK}
10. Trobriand Islanders [off coral garden magic, etc.] {BA}

Other Asian/Subcontinental Religion [e.g., Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Jainism]
1. Fravarane {BA}
2. Vendidad {BA}
3. daevas {BA}
4. Tirthankaras {BA}
5. Jainism {BA}
6. The Bab {BA}
7. Book of Certitude {BA}
8. Guru Nanak {BA}
9. turbans {BA}
10. Ilahi [Din-i-Ilahi] {BA}

Religion Grab-Bag
1. Ghost Dance {BA}
2. Serbia {BA}
3. human sacrifice {BA}
4. Baron Samedi {DK}
5. Facing Mount Kenya {BA}
6. Cao Dai {BA}
7. Book of Genesis {BA}
8. Isaiah {BA}
9. Book of Daniel {BA}
10. Moroni {BA}
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Frater Taciturnus »

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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Here is a partial list of the Phil. This is accurate as of 24 hours before the tournament was completed.

Anglo-American/analytical 20th century philosophy
1. Paul Feyarabend {SJ}
2. Brains in a vat {SJ}
3. G.E.M Anscombe {SJ}
4. Robert Nozick {SJ}
5. Word and Object {SJ}
6. Alfred Jules Ayer {SJ}
7. Gottlob Frege {SJ}
8. Stanley Cavell {SJ}
9. The Fixation of Belief {TC}
10.
11. The Open Society and Its Enemies {SJ}
12. The Concept of Mind {TC}
13. Family Resemblance {Y}
14. John Dewey {AR}
15. George Santayana {BA}

Continental 20th century philosophy
1. Antonio Gramsci {SJ}
2. Gender Trouble {SJ}
3. Julia Kristeva {SJ}
4. Simulacra and Simulation {SJ}
5. Theodor Adorno {TC]
6. Eros and Civilization {SJ}
7. Mikhail Bakunin {TC}
8. Franz Fanon {TC}
9. Louis Althusser {SJ}
10. The Order of Things
11. Sartre {AR}
12 Albert Camus {C}
13. The Human Condition
14. Welcome to the Desert of the Real

Middle era + Pre-Socratics
1. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding {SJ}
2. Meditations on First Philosophy {SJ}
3. The Essence of Christianity {TC}
4. Porphyry {TC}
5. Consolation of Philosophy {SJ}
6. Sentences {TC}
7. The Monadology {TC}
8. Discourses on Livy {TC}
9. Emmanuel Swedenborg {TC}
10. Axial Age {BA}
11. Jeremy Bentham {TC}
12. Meditations {SJ}
13. Epictetus {SJ}
14. Plato {AR}
15. Oeconomicus {BA}
16. On the Genealogy of Morals {BA}
17. Two Treaties on Government {AR}
18. Phenomenology of Spirit {AR}
19. The World as Will and Idea {BA}
20. Walter Benjamin {SJ}

Other thought
1. Rene Girard {SJ}
2. John Mearsheimer {BA}
3. Immanuel Wallerstein {SJ}
4. Hydriotaphia, Urn Burial {SJ}
5. Erving Goffman {BA}
6. Antonin Scalia {BA}
7. Self-Reliance {SJ}
8. Freedom of the Seas {Y}
9. Efficient Market Hypothesis {BA}
10. Hungary {BA} [using Michael and Karl Polanyi, Lakatos, Lukacs]

Nonwestern (becomes catch-all in emergency) (aka Philosophy Grab-Bag?)
1. Arthashastra {TC}
2.
3. Multiple Realizability {SJ}
4. Nagarjuna {SJ}
5.
6. Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight {BA}
7. Mohism {SJ}
8. Mencius {SJ}
9. Al-Ghazali
10.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by setht »

I had a great time playing the tournament. Thanks to Bruce, Shantanu, Dominic and all the writers for putting it together.
Whig's Boson wrote: 1. Hungarians [from pre-Christian myth] {BA}
5. Gypsies {BA}
10. Basques {BA}
3. Dazhbog {BA}
What sources did you use for these questions?

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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots »

This was pretty awesome. I especially enjoyed how the myth tossups rewarded people who'd read classical epics, even though it only helped me minimally. My only criticism is that there was little gradation between "pretty easy" answer lines (like Thor and Zeus) and "I have never, ever heard of that" answer lines (like that Zoroastrian creed). Then again, it was a side event, so those are supposed to happen: and they were certainly interesting.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

setht wrote: What sources did you use for these questions?
Online reference materials. Possibly also that big black "encyclopedia of ancient gods and deities" book for Hungarians and Dazhbog; I forget its exact title.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Sir Thopas »

Whig's Boson wrote:
setht wrote: What sources did you use for these questions?
Online reference materials. Possibly also that big black "encyclopedia of ancient gods and deities" book for Hungarians and Dazhbog; I forget its exact title.
This or some version of it?
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Yeah that thing. That thing rules.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by setht »

Whig's Boson wrote: 9. Laevateinn {BA}
Possibly this should go over in the Rewarding Different Levels of Knowledge thread, but I think this answer is a prime example of the phenomenon of downwards creep of random hard stuff described in that thread by Andrew Yaphe. As far as I'm aware, Laevateinn appears in only one fairly minor story (that of the hero Svipdag) in Norse myth. There's no packet history-independent reason to believe that people "ought" to know more about Laevateinn than they do about Svipdag, but I suspect Bruce would have felt much less comfortable writing a tossup on Svipdag in place of this tossup on Laevateinn. The difference between these two minor answers is that Laevateinn has shown up more often as a hard clue associated with an easier answer (including several times in my own questions) than Svipdag himself, and a couple times as a bonus part. It's easier to connect Laevateinn with at least one easy answer than it is with Svipdag, so it makes sense for Laevateinn to come up more frequently as a clue, but when it comes to hard answer selection I don't think there's any real (quizbowl-independent) difference between the two.

When something like this (picking something that's come up a couple times as a hard lead-in as a tossup answer) happens at a vanity tournament or focused-subject side event, like RMPFest, I don't think it's a big problem--these tournaments are going to have wacky answer selection and they're not necessarily aimed at differentiating many different levels of real knowledge. I think this is more of a problem if someone combs through RMPFest for question ideas and blindly propagates Laevateinn as a hard tossup answer for a high-level tournament.

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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Laevateinn is extremely famous among quizbowlers (top-shelf quizbowlers at least), in part because there was a significant amount of time during which quizbowl (incorrectly) believed that Laevateinn was Freyr's sword. I think that at the Harvard, UIUC, and UMD sites, the Laevateinn tossup was most likely rather well-converted.

I had no qualms with writing that TU, as I was confident that many people would answer and enjoy it. I also feel that the Laevateinn tossup is something of a work of quizbowl art, as there are few available clues and there had been some doubt in the community that such a TU could be written.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

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setht wrote:When something like this (picking something that's come up a couple times as a hard lead-in as a tossup answer) happens at a vanity tournament or focused-subject side event, like RMPFest, I don't think it's a big problem--these tournaments are going to have wacky answer selection and they're not necessarily aimed at differentiating many different levels of real knowledge.
I rarely disagree with Seth: but shouldn't subject-specific side events do more to distinguish different levels of real knowledge, since a big chunk of the target audience will be subject specialists?
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by setht »

Whig's Boson wrote:Laevateinn is extremely famous among quizbowlers (top-shelf quizbowlers at least), in part because there was a significant amount of time during which quizbowl (incorrectly) believed that Laevateinn was Freyr's sword. I think that at the Harvard, UIUC, and UMD sites, the Laevateinn tossup was most likely rather well-converted.
I'm not sure you understand my point. I also suspect the Laevateinn tossup saw decent conversion, especially among top-shelf quizbowlers. My point is more that the number of "deep-knowledge buzzes" on Laevateinn was probably much less than the number of such buzzes on tossups on more important topics where more people are likely to have primary knowledge; also, that this is precisely the sort of tossup that is most likely to reward a quizbowl-playing robot with no interest in Norse myth, and no exposure to it other than what comes up in packets, over a non-top-shelf Norse myth enthusiast who has good but not incredibly deep knowledge (or people who hang out in the IRC talking about Laevateinn over people who read Norse myth sources).
Whig's Boson wrote:I had no qualms with writing that TU, as I was confident that many people would answer and enjoy it. I also feel that the Laevateinn tossup is something of a work of quizbowl art, as there are few available clues and there had been some doubt in the community that such a TU could be written.
I wasn't aware that some people were so interested in the question of whether a Laevateinn tossup could be written; aside from those people and quizbowl-playing robots, is there anyone who particularly enjoyed hearing that tossup as opposed to a tossup on some other topic from Norse myth (e.g. Baldur)?

When I wrote my myth tournament, you praised it for having many accessible answers and for not delving into arcana (using the name of the hilt of Borvo's sword as a comic example of the sort of stuff you thought was going to come up). Perhaps your target audience for RMPFest is more restrictive than mine was for the myth singles, or perhaps you believe that there's a lot more hardcore myth knowledge in quizbowl today than there was 4 years ago, but I think Laevateinn is not far from Borvo's sword-hilt as comically extreme answers go--unless you feel that repeated mentions in packets make things more worth knowing. I guess we just have different views of what constitutes quizbowl art: I'd say the tossups on Odin and the Ynglinga Saga are far more praiseworthy than the one on Laevateinn, for instance. I can't speak for all quizbowl-playing myth enthusiasts, but as far as I'm concerned I'd be happy to see more of a focus on answers that are famous-in-themselves as opposed to quizbowl-famous in future events.

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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by setht »

bt_green_warbler wrote:
setht wrote:When something like this (picking something that's come up a couple times as a hard lead-in as a tossup answer) happens at a vanity tournament or focused-subject side event, like RMPFest, I don't think it's a big problem--these tournaments are going to have wacky answer selection and they're not necessarily aimed at differentiating many different levels of real knowledge.
I rarely disagree with Seth: but shouldn't subject-specific side events do more to distinguish different levels of real knowledge, since a big chunk of the target audience will be subject specialists?
I think you're right in general, Jeff. In the particular case of RMPFest I doubt there was more real Norse knowledge present at any site than there was for IO/Terrapin. In any case, I probably should have said that since it's my impression that players care less about side events as opportunities for competition (as compared with regular tournaments), and since they cost less, require less time commitment, and are usually centrally written rather than packet-submission, I think it's okay if a side event doesn't have the same polish as a regular tournament--whether that manifests as overly-long tossups, some wacky answer choices, or whatever. I think most side events would benefit from curbing some of the length and difficulty excesses, and from picking more answers that are likely to rank players by depth of real knowledge, but as long as they're not riddled with issues along these lines I don't think there's a big problem.

Getting back to RMPFest in particular, I want to say that I'm carping about the Laevateinn tossup and I could probably find several other questions to criticize, but I did have a very good time playing the tournament and I consider it well worth the $10 I paid.

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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

2009 RMPFest, packet 6 wrote:4. This object is found inside of Laegjarn’s chest, which is fastened by nine locks and guarded by Sinmora the giantess. This object was created using runes, and its creator is currently tied to a rock where serpent’s venom drips on him. This object created by Loki can be used against a figure who lives on top of the Tree of Mimir, which is usually taken to mean on top of Yggdrasil. For ten points, name this only weapon that can be used to slay Vidofnir the rooster, a sword from norse myth whose name translates as “wounding wand”.
ANSWER: Laevateinn [accept: Haevateinn]
I don't know, I wasn't particularly impressed with this tossup -- it's not bad, but it's not really a "work of art". You basically took all, like, five potential clues for this relatively minor thing, then added a tangential clue about Loki and the delightful note that it was "created using runes". I recently wrote a bonus part on Laevateinn, so I buzzed on "nine locks" and wondered where else it would go. In fact, if you distill the language down and remove the tangential/useless clues, what you have is basically a pyramidal bonus part anyway. Like Seth, I was far more pleased with tossups like the ones on Odin and the Ynglinga saga (though I got mental-blocked and couldn't pull the name of the latter, which was frustrating but by no means the fault of the question).

That said, I liked most of the tournament a great deal (also I still owe whoever some money for it). Perhaps if I want to keep procrastinating later I'll offer more specific criticisms.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker »

This was a fun tournament. There were a few odd questions that made me raise my eyebrows, but most of it was pretty good and enjoyable.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Let me talk about a few things I tried to do with this tournament, in case anybody noticed and/or had opinions.

1) I tried to write, as much as possible, from primary sources. For instance, I bought copies of the Poetic and Prose Eddas and wrote most of the Norse myth from that. I bought a small paperback book titled something like "Myths of Mesopotamia" that turned out to be a translation of assorted tablets and wrote some tossups from that; for instance the Ut-Napishtim tossup draws many of its clues from the Epic of Atrahasis, which I found in that book. I was perhaps most pleased with the results for Finnic mythology; by reading the Kalevala I was able to find a lot of interesting clues that I hadn't seen come up before. For some myth systems and religions, this proved harder. I found the Kojiki and the Nihongi to have an extremely low clue-to-noise ratio; so much of it was spent listing genealogies or telling stories about characters who have yet to enter the quizbowl canon that I quickly gave up mining the text for clues. And as for my English translation of the Koran, I regret to say that it does not appear to have a single intelligible sentence in it, and I had much better luck reading secondary commentary and websites of mosques.

My purpose in taking this approach was two-fold. First, I (correctly) guessed that primary sources would have a lot of new, interesting clues in them that had not yet come up. Second, I got the sense that a lot of mythology questions appeared to be written from reference works; they would be made up of disjointed clues like "his son was x. he had the attendant z. he slew y". I figured that if I wrote from primary sources, I would be able to place these clues in greater context. This would lead to tossups that had better flow and would allow people who wanted to learn clues from my tossups to build a stronger cognitive map.

2) I tried to keep the tossup length to between 5-7 lines. I didn't always succeed, but plenty of times I did. My co-editors didn't seem to have this on their agenda at all and perhaps I should have told them that shorter tossups were a goal of mine for this set. But there are still a lot of rather short tossups in there.

3) For the 10/0 Christianity distribution, I tried to write a lot of questions on concepts that Christian theologians actually argue with each other about; this turned into tossups like "prayer for the dead", "salvation by faith alone", and "veneration of icons". In my experience these sorts of things aren't really common tossup answers historically. I am curious to see how accessible people found these.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by maxis7 »

This was a fun tournament, atleast judging from the 3 rounds we played at the Guelph mirror. I think the Christian theology questions were fine - the tossups on salvation by faith alone and prayer for the dead were pretty clear. I do remember Charles Taze Russell being dropped awfully early in the Jehovah's Witnesses question but perhaps this was just an oversight. The TRASH pack was great especially stuff like Heaven is a Place on Earth and the Undertaker making it under the "Religion" distribution.
This denomination rejects the idea that the wicked dead are punished in Hell, instead holding that those not saved and resurrected by God will simply cease to exist, a fate they term the “common grave”. This denomination traces its origin to the Bible Students movement led by Charles Russell. They interpret Old Testament references to “the Word” or Archangel Michael to be references to pre-incarnation Christ. Since this denomination holds that Christ was a creation of God, they are non-Nicean and anti-Trinitarian. This denomination trains its missionaries at the Gilead School and its adherents meet at Kingdom Halls, and they interpret a Biblical prohibition on eating blood to apply to transfusions as well. For ten points, name this Christian denomination perhaps most notable for door-to-door proselytizing.
ANSWER: Jehovah's Witnesses
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

I honestly had no idea that Charles Russell was well-known. I apologize for this.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker »

Whig's Boson wrote:I honestly had no idea that Charles Russell was well-known. I apologize for this.
Well, he was the founder of the movement, so he should have been at the end of the tossup.

One thing I really enjoyed about this tournament was the religion questions, which I'm normally pretty indifferent to. I liked how most of the questions were about doctrinal issues and actual controversies that were important to worshipers of that religion. For example, the icon worship tossup was one of my favorites; it's an important topic and I thought Bruce was very adventurous with his answer selection in a good way. I think more religion questions should look like the ones in this RMPfest did, instead of being boring recitations about books of minor prophets or something.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by setht »

Whig's Boson wrote:Let me talk about a few things I tried to do with this tournament, in case anybody noticed and/or had opinions.

1) I tried to write, as much as possible, from primary sources. For instance, I bought copies of the Poetic and Prose Eddas and wrote most of the Norse myth from that. I bought a small paperback book titled something like "Myths of Mesopotamia" that turned out to be a translation of assorted tablets and wrote some tossups from that; for instance the Ut-Napishtim tossup draws many of its clues from the Epic of Atrahasis, which I found in that book. I was perhaps most pleased with the results for Finnic mythology; by reading the Kalevala I was able to find a lot of interesting clues that I hadn't seen come up before. For some myth systems and religions, this proved harder. I found the Kojiki and the Nihongi to have an extremely low clue-to-noise ratio; so much of it was spent listing genealogies or telling stories about characters who have yet to enter the quizbowl canon that I quickly gave up mining the text for clues. And as for my English translation of the Koran, I regret to say that it does not appear to have a single intelligible sentence in it, and I had much better luck reading secondary commentary and websites of mosques.

My purpose in taking this approach was two-fold. First, I (correctly) guessed that primary sources would have a lot of new, interesting clues in them that had not yet come up. Second, I got the sense that a lot of mythology questions appeared to be written from reference works; they would be made up of disjointed clues like "his son was x. he had the attendant z. he slew y". I figured that if I wrote from primary sources, I would be able to place these clues in greater context. This would lead to tossups that had better flow and would allow people who wanted to learn clues from my tossups to build a stronger cognitive map.

2) I tried to keep the tossup length to between 5-7 lines. I didn't always succeed, but plenty of times I did. My co-editors didn't seem to have this on their agenda at all and perhaps I should have told them that shorter tossups were a goal of mine for this set. But there are still a lot of rather short tossups in there.

3) For the 10/0 Christianity distribution, I tried to write a lot of questions on concepts that Christian theologians actually argue with each other about; this turned into tossups like "prayer for the dead", "salvation by faith alone", and "veneration of icons". In my experience these sorts of things aren't really common tossup answers historically. I am curious to see how accessible people found these.
I noticed and generally appreciated the shorter tossups. I also noticed and appreciated the myth tossups that were clearly drawn from primary source material, and I think those were generally the strongest of the myth tossups--for one thing, questions drawn directly from a specific primary source avoid the issue of stuff like "Polynesian mythology" where there's presumably a fair amount of variance in the beliefs of the Polynesians at different times and different places. I understand that it's nice to get some variety in there with tossups on Gypsy/Basque/Hungarian/etc. myth, but I think RMPFest (and quizbowl tournaments in general) might benefit from reducing the number of myth tossups on such topics where there don't seem to be great primary sources available. Marnold and I were pretty weak on the Christianity questions, but I don't think we found your Christian theological concept tossups any less accessible than more common quizbowl Christianity tossups.

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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Speaking of Polynesia, I did do that thing we talked about where I used extremely canonical anthropology texts to write myth or religion tossups. Perhaps by your mention of Polynesia you are referring to the Trobriand Islanders TU. And of course there was also the Kikuyu religion TU disguised as a tossup on Facing Mt. Kenya.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by setht »

Whig's Boson wrote:Speaking of Polynesia, I did do that thing we talked about where I used extremely canonical anthropology texts to write myth or religion tossups. Perhaps by your mention of Polynesia you are referring to the Trobriand Islanders TU. And of course there was also the Kikuyu religion TU disguised as a tossup on Facing Mt. Kenya.
My "Polynesian myth" comment wasn't a reference to any particular question in RMPFest. If you have specific recommendations on where people ought to look for source material on various minor mythologies I for one would be glad to hear about them; so far I've got "some online sources have information on Hungarian, Basque and Gypsy mythology," which doesn't seem all that promising (yet).

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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by dmac587 »

Like Bruce, I wanted to comment on a couple of things that I did with my classical mythology questions. I tried, in general, to stick to widely accessible answer choices like Zeus, Juno and Hercules. I also tried to dress these question up a little bit by including more clues on the religious significance of these figures. How did people like this? Was it helpful to more knowledgeable players or was it just a couple extra lines of unbuzzable filler? Did the tossups on easy answers lead to avoidable buzzer-races?

Also, when writing on these answer choices, I startled by the amount of novel clues that can be found from combing through the wealth of primary sources that exist for Greek and Roman mythology. I do believe that, given the abundance of primary sources on these topics, it is still possible to write new and exciting stuff about them.

On sort of an aside note, I wanted to state that I disagree with the view that myth is inherently a non-academic subject. The corpus (the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid and the Metamorphoses) from which we draw much the classical myth canon is taught in almost any university (both in-translation and in the original). In fact, many of the mythology tossups are essentially ancient literature tossups. Granted, most people aren't pouring over Hyginus' Fabulae or Apollodorus' Bibliotheke in class, but a good portion of the classical myth canon would be covered in a comprehensive classical literature major. Further, mythology permeates the study of ancient history, archaeology and art history. For example, one of the major justifications for Athenian imperialism was that they believed themselves to be chthonic, a belief derived from the story of Erichthonius' birth after Hephaestus' semen fell on the earth. In an archaeology or art history classes, one studies pottery and vases, which depict all sorts of scenes from mythology.

Anyways, I just want to thank Bruce again for giving me a chance to write this tournament despite my general dearth of writing experience and I hope to work with him again in the future.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Cheynem »

I didn't play but only playtested, but I enjoyed the Christian theology tossups, although FYI for those wanting to write these in the future, I really dislike clues involving "Some say that Biblical Book 29:3 is used to support this doctrine." I would have liked some more creative Biblical book tossups (ANOTHER one on Daniel?), but you can't have everything I suppose.

For the trash set, I wrote Heaven is a Place on Earth, most of the Last Temptation of Christ one, Pope John Paul I, The Jersey Devil, Bringing in the Sheaves, Bajorans, and maybe another one that I don't remember.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

Cheynem wrote:I didn't play but only playtested, but I enjoyed the Christian theology tossups, although FYI for those wanting to write these in the future, I really dislike clues involving "Some say that Biblical Book 29:3 is used to support this doctrine." I would have liked some more creative Biblical book tossups (ANOTHER one on Daniel?), but you can't have everything I suppose.
I also really enjoyed the theology tossups, especially since all of the concepts are important and studied by people. But, yes, Mike is right, please do not use clues that assert that X Biblical verse supports/may allude to/foreshadows concept Y. There are very few passages or chapters famous enough that they warrant a mention without a description or a quote, and even then, the ambiguity present in many verses really only gives one a vague idea of what a tossup could be looking for. Unless you're a Biblical scholar or you've just read these verses, usually these clues are more confusing than helpful.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Captain Sinico »

I conversely don't mind citing verses as leadins, though they are very difficult and unlikely to produce buzzes. Don't list a bunch of verses, but giving one as a leadin is probably okay, as long as it's specific.

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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Matt Weiner »

I enjoyed this tournament greatly, and I applaud the new direction in religion tossups.

One thing I would have liked to see a little more of was the creative common-link questions that were in this set last year. I think that style of writing is particularly suited to certain areas of R and M, and it's essential to mix things up a little when you're writing a single-subject tournament. I also think such questions are often good ways to test academic knowledge and are enjoyable to play on. It would be a shame if someone who is fairly well known for writing lots of those questions, such as Bruce, was cowed from doing so by recent dogmatic opposition to the common link tossup in and of itself.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

A couple of notes:

(1) I've had theological discussions with people (granted, non-quizbowl people) who would cite specific BIble verses to me off the top of their heads to back up their view on a given issue. So this kind of knowledge is out there. I understand its unlikely to be found among quizbowlers, given our heathenous bent, but it seems to exist.

(2) After writing a bunch of tossups on concepts like "veneration of icons", I felt kind of guilty that the Christianity distribution was favoring knowledge of scholarly theological debate rather than primary knowledge of Christianity. So Arminius and Zwingli would be powering a bunch of tossups at this tournament, while some dude who merely reads the Bible every day might get shut out. To assuage this guilt, I wrote a number of tossups on books of the Bible in the "Grab-Bag" distribution, and it was probably a motivation for the verse lead-in clues too.

(3) I didn't make any conscious effort to write fewer common link tossups this year. If there are in fact fewer this year than last year, I am puzzled as to why. I certainly have not abandoned the form; I think it remains legitimate and interesting.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Cheynem »

Like I consider myself reasonably familiar with the Bible and I have a hard time getting those "verse X used to support Concept A" clues. This could be my own personal failing, but I find it difficult to just hear a verse without much context and if you give too much context you're venturing into figure it out territory.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Well, Evan Nagler just IM'ed me and showed off a couple of verses that he has memorized as backing up a particular concept. So at least one (ex-?)quizbowler has such knowledge.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Cheynem »

Yeah, I'd guess part of my problem here is that I rarely argue theological concepts, so with a few exceptions (like the salvation by faith alone), I don't have verses right on hand. This probably is more related to how I read the Bible.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Sargon »

I was fairly impressed with the Christianity tossups. There were notably no glaring factual errors (something not generally true of quizbowl Christianity questions), and most did reward deep knowledge. As for the chapter and verse debate, I found at least the clue on the passage from 1 Macabbees in the prayers for the dead tossup useful, but I think one would be better advised to summarize the content of the passage rather than give passages by chapter and verse. Most people will remember the gist of the passage and how it supports their argument, but not its exact verse number, just like most people don't memorize line numbers in Homer. It would be nice to see more questions on Christian holy days and practices (as is the case with most other religions in quizbowl), rather than just academic theology.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

That's an interesting point. Quizbowl Judaism in particular tends to focus very heavily on holidays. Probably because holidays are one of the few truly "Jewish" things about Judaism, a religion those holy texts and history are largely incorporated into two other religions?
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Sir Thopas »

Whig's Boson wrote:That's an interesting point. Quizbowl Judaism in particular tends to focus very heavily on holidays. Probably because holidays are one of the few truly "Jewish" things about Judaism, a religion those holy texts and history are largely incorporated into two other religions?
I mean, there's a crapton of exegesis that is separate from the other Abrahamic traditions, and that doesn't come up that much. The tossup on Hillel's adversary was, I think, a good step in that direction (if too hard; why not just Hillel?), as was the one on Rabbi Akiva, but you could toss up Biblical stories and Jewish practices based on Talmudic, etc. interpretations of them.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by pray for elves »

Sir Thopas wrote:why not just Hillel?
There was a tossup on Hillel (which I wrote) in last year's RMPFest, and Bruce wanted to avoid asking on the exact same answer lines.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Yes, RMPFest I (last year) featured at least two tossups on Rabbis:
He, like Moses, supposedly lived to the age of 120, and Yochanan ben Zakkai was said to be this man's youngest student. The sixth Nasi of the Sanhedrin, he held that anyone should be allowed to study Torah. An oft-repeated legend about this man states that, upon being asked to summarize the Torah while standing on one foot, he recited the Golden Rule. On Passover a "sandwich" named for this man is eaten. The most famous saying of this man in Pirkei Avot ends with the question "And if not now, when?" For 10 points, name this rival of Shammai who currently lends his name to a Jewish student organization present on most college campuses.
ANSWER: Hillel the Elder {EN}
This man wrote that the Torah should have begun with the commandment to observe the new moon. A legend about the birth of this man tells that his father threw a jewel into a river rather than sell it to a Bishop who wanted it for an ornamental cross. It is claimed by some that the Tosafot are strictly expansions to a commentary by this man, and much of the Tosafot were written by this man's sons-in-law and grandsons. He studied under Yaakov ben-Yakar in Worms before returning to his hometown of Troyes. This man’s most famous work is printed in a script named for him and can be found on the side of the page closest to the binding in the text he wrote about. For ten points, name this 11th century French rabbi who wrote a seminal early commentary on the Talmud.
ANSWER: Rashi [accept: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki; Rabbi Shlomo ben Yitzchak; Rabbi Shlomo bar Yitzchak; Rabban shel Yisrael; Rabbenu sheYichyeh] {EN}
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Sir Thopas »

Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:
Sir Thopas wrote:why not just Hillel?
There was a tossup on Hillel (which I wrote) in last year's RMPFest, and Bruce wanted to avoid asking on the exact same answer lines.
Aha.
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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by Gautam »

The tossup on the Din e Ilahi was pretty great.

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Re: RMPFest 2 Discussion Thread

Post by grapesmoker »

gkandlikar wrote:The tossup on the Din e Ilahi was pretty great.
This tournament pre-empted a bunch of questions that I had meant to write, this being one of them. I was very excited about this tossup.
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