PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

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PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

So Penn Bowl purported to be a regular difficulty tournament, and mostly it seemed to live up to this, but I noticed a few outliers. In history, for instance, there were tossups on "Baybars" and "Jahangir", which seemed more like Nats level difficulty (though I heard that State College got Baybars on the third clue).

Anyone else notice this?
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by grapesmoker »

Yeah, I alluded to this with my faux-outrage at the notion that something like "convex hull" is a good tossup choice for this tournament. You really need to have taken some kind of topology to even know what that is, and I imagine the number of people at any of the sites that could answer this question at any point was very small.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by TheKingInYellow »

Difficulty swings on bonuses were more readily apparent to me. The one on music criticism in particular, seemed rather far out.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

I'd have to see the set to recall. Any chance that it'll be posted any sooner than the stats?

EDIT: easiest example. One packet has both the "rhyming chroniclers" and the servant from Cherry Orchard, Firs, as hard parts. The former is way harder, particularly as CO+Chekov is much easier a twenty than Lake poets+Sons of Ben is. This trend persisted within packets.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by grapesmoker »

There were still entirely too many third parts that were basically impossible to get. I don't get what the point is of asking for the name of the abbey being built by Robert Faehmel in Billiards at Half Past Nine. I've read and love that book and I still couldn't remember what it was called. It's a minor detail that's pretty much irrelevant to the story. Likewise, something like the battle that Suvorov won over Pugachev's forces seems like complete minutia; no one I talked to at the tournament, including several very good history players, knew its name. And, I don't want to pick on Mehdi here, but when I complained about one of the bonus parts of an earth science bonus being about a Japanese mission to dig to the mantle, I got the feeble justification that it had been a clue before for tossups on the Moho or some such thing. Maybe I'm understating the degree to which that mission is known, but it seems like this is not a good reason to make it a bonus part.

I think when selecting hard parts, too many people just go for something that either looks obscure or they haven't seen before. I've gotten quite a few bonus parts for Regionals where I don't even understand who is expected to answer them, so this isn't just a problem for Penn Bowl. It's incredibly annoying when people don't think about whether their bonus parts are particularly relevant or whether they will be converted by people even with very good knowledge of the field.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Yeah, sometimes I saw difficulty being modulated by transparency at this tournament, which bothered me. Things like "the MOHOLE mission is trying to dig to it" indicates that, well, it's digging through the Moho, and what's next?" Other questions--I'll have to do some looking up shortly--would attempt to make a bonus part harder by being awkwardly opaque.

Sometimes attempts to make clues more or less opaque or transparent failed quite a bit. A tossup on "center" gave the definition of the center of a Lie algebra. That sounds tough, but unfortunately that's also the center of a group, so the leadin was accessible to anyone who's studied a little quizbowl group theory or taken the first half of an intro group theory class (and I've, through strange properties of a discrete math course that ended up having very little discrete math in it, taken about four first halves of group theory courses). I waited (since I figured it must therefore have a different, more specialized name), and thus missed the tossup.

Of course, that may not have been a conscious effort on the part of the editors, but rather a function of editorial attention: if actually it was just that the editors didn't do anything to a submitted tossup on "center," then that sucks but it's not part of the larger trend.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

Personally, I definitely made an effort to keep bonus difficulty manageable- I worked off the general rule that I should be 30ing just about every music bonus, for instance. I think the only parts where I didn't stick to that rule were McCoy Tyner (this was a mistake) and the G&S bonus (an area I happen to know very little about), which was still made much easier than the initial submission. I know less about history and some of the social sciences (especially psychology), so I wasn't able to modulate things quite as well there.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by Important Bird Area »

grapesmoker wrote:the battle that Suvorov won over Pugachev's forces
Ow. That sounds awesome but there's no way it belongs at any tournament of "regular difficulty." (No, I don't remember its name either.)
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by grapesmoker »

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:Sometimes attempts to make clues more or less opaque or transparent failed quite a bit. A tossup on "center" gave the definition of the center of a Lie algebra. That sounds tough, but unfortunately that's also the center of a group, so the leadin was accessible to anyone who's studied a little quizbowl group theory or taken the first half of an intro group theory class (and I've, through strange properties of a discrete math course that ended up having very little discrete math in it, taken about four first halves of group theory courses). I waited (since I figured it must therefore have a different, more specialized name), and thus missed the tossup.
I don't think there's anything wrong with that clue there. The number of people who know group theory in quizbowl is not that large, so I don't think there's any problem with starting the tossup that way.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by Captain Sinico »

I agree with Jerry here, there were some impossible-ass third parts. I didn't think St. Anthony's Abbey was one of them and thought that was actually a pretty good third part (also, Robert isn't building that; not to spoil the book, but HE BLEW IT UP!) but I think the point still stands in general.

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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by grapesmoker »

Captain Sinico wrote:I agree with Jerry here, there were some impossible-ass third parts. I didn't think St. Anthony's Abbey was one of them and thought that was actually a pretty good third part (also, Robert isn't building that; not to spoil the book, but HE BLEW IT UP!) but I think the point still stands in general.
Sorry, that's right; his father built it and he blew it up. Anyway, the reason why I thought that was a very hard third part is because, of all the things that were memorable to me in that book, the name of the abbey wasn't even close. It feels very much like minutia rather than something that's important. Maybe that's just me; I'm happy to simply agree to disagree on that one.

Lest it seem like I'm trashing this tournament, I actually had a good time. I thought there were plenty of good questions and with some noted exceptions, I thought the tossups were generally both appropriate in difficulty and well-written. There were a few questions that were just bad (like that horrible "Rain Steam and Speed" tossup that was all like "this painting has brushstrokes and forms... and also a train!") but for the most part I thought they were well-constructed. The bonuses, as noted, could have used a little calibration.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by grapesmoker »

Oh yeah, what made that convex hull question egregious was that it was missing the giveaway; in our round, Eric simply made one up on the spot, but that didn't really help me (fortunately I knew it from other clues). There was also a packet that was missing all the science bonuses and that's bad!
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Re: Difficulty Swings

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Captain Sinico wrote:I agree with Jerry here, there were some impossible-ass third parts. I didn't think St. Anthony's Abbey was one of them and thought that was actually a pretty good third part (also, Robert isn't building that; not to spoil the book, but HE BLEW IT UP!) but I think the point still stands in general.

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I think this was merely an effect of not working on submitted questions enough. I'll raise my hand and say that I wrote some bonuses with such parts, and am pretty sure a few were edited to reflect this (the two I know of that had this happen were in history.) Some of my other questions that in retrospect had some wording issues (the Isis tossup was mine,) but were untouched.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by DakarKra »

So, first, a continuation of the St. Anthony's derail: I wrote the question and definitely assumed that since the structure itself was central to the plot, as well as serving as a recurring theme of sorts, it would make a good hard answer rewarding those who read the book, while staying within Billiards and not making the third part on some other Boll work. What other things would you have preferred to see in its place, Jerry?

Second, The Wild Duck bonus was mentioned in the other thread, but I think it deserves a mention here: the third part was Haakon Werle and Haakon was required (I assume) as Werle was mentioned in the question. But, Haakon's name appears as such twice in the play to my knowledge (I checked this with an e-text and very briefly in my own copy): in the Dramatis Personae and in a very brief reference late in the second act. Elsewhere, he is referred to as Werle, if by name, and his son is usually called Gregers to distinguish. My concern is that this was a bonus that was written by someone who hadn't read the play (which is probably exceedingly common of literature questions) or who didn't realize that, despite the fact that he is listed first among the characters, that Haakon is hardly a knowable fact about him. My question is, is there anyway that an editing team could correct for such a thing in the future? It seems highly unlikely (the availability of searchable texts is less than perfect, an editor may have no reason to assume that the name found in a character list is not the name by which the character is identified, etc.), but I thought that it might be worth some discussion.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

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DakarKra wrote: Second, The Wild Duck bonus was mentioned in the other thread, but I think it deserves a mention here: the third part was Haakon Werle and Haakon was required (I assume) as Werle was mentioned in the question. But, Haakon's name appears as such twice in the play to my knowledge (I checked this with an e-text and very briefly in my own copy): in the Dramatis Personae and in a very brief reference late in the second act. Elsewhere, he is referred to as Werle, if by name, and his son is usually called Gregers to distinguish. My concern is that this was a bonus that was written by someone who hadn't read the play (which is probably exceedingly common of literature questions) or who didn't realize that, despite the fact that he is listed first among the characters, that Haakon is hardly a knowable fact about him. My question is, is there anyway that an editing team could correct for such a thing in the future? It seems highly unlikely (the availability of searchable texts is less than perfect, an editor may have no reason to assume that the name found in a character list is not the name by which the character is identified, etc.), but I thought that it might be worth some discussion.
Actually, the editing team was one who placed that clue in. I originally wrote this:

If you appreciate large muttonchops, skeletons in closets, and Norwegian plays, you’ll like this bonus. Name some Henrik Ibsen works for ten points each.
[10] When the syphilitic Dr. Rank and childhood friend Kristine Linde visit Nora Helmer in this most famous Ibsen play, the debt owed to Krogstad is revealed. While the debt is repaid and Torvald forgives her, the last scene ends with Nora leaving her husband.
ANSWER: A Doll’s House or Et dukkehjem
[10] In this drama, Gregers undermines the foundation of lies that buttresses the delusional Werle family when he finds out that Hjalmar is marrying into the clan. Dr. Relling’s comment, “Deprive the average human being of his life-lie, and you rob him of his happiness” lives out in Hedvig’s suicide after killing the title bird.
ANSWER: The Wild Duck or Vildanden
[10] With multiple allusions to a white horse, this Ibsen masterpiece centers on the protagonist and his love for Rebecca despite social pressures in lieu of his wife’s suicide. Although Rebecca reveals she is the one who drove Beata insane, the protagonist decides to jump into a mill race along with her in a display of emo devotion.
ANSWER: Rosmersholm
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by Captain Sinico »

Reference to (male adult) people by last name was a general feature of Norwegian society from that time. E.g. even Nora Helmer usually calls her husband "Helmer" in A Doll's House. Outside of knowing things like that or having read the play, there's no good way to avoid that situation.

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Re: Difficulty Swings

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DakarKra wrote:So, first, a continuation of the St. Anthony's derail: I wrote the question and definitely assumed that since the structure itself was central to the plot, as well as serving as a recurring theme of sorts, it would make a good hard answer rewarding those who read the book, while staying within Billiards and not making the third part on some other Boll work. What other things would you have preferred to see in its place, Jerry?
Maybe it's just a case of me having read the book about 5 years ago; I remember the larger themes of the lamb/bull symbolism and the recurring figure of Hindenburg, for example, but not the name of the abbey. If I'd written that bonus, I probably would have made Robert Faehmel a hard part from plot clues, or perhaps had Joseph Faehmel as the third part instead of the abbey's name.

Anyway, this kind of thing is actually much more problematic in myth questions. People love doing things like demanding you name some stupid rooster that's briefly mentioned in one part of one section of the Elder Edda, and that's really There are plenty of minor characters in mythology, especially in Norse myth, that just happen to have names but are not particularly important. Asking about them doesn't make any sense and doesn't even do a particularly good job of rewarding people who have read the work.
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Re: Difficulty Swings

Post by endersdouble »

grapesmoker wrote:Yeah, I alluded to this with my faux-outrage at the notion that something like "convex hull" is a good tossup choice for this tournament. You really need to have taken some kind of topology to even know what that is, and I imagine the number of people at any of the sites that could answer this question at any point was very small.
I didn't read this tossup (the UW mirror was...short) and can't comment on it, but you don't have to know any topology at all to know convex hulls. It's also the most fundamental algorithm in computational geometry, and thus something a lot of good computer scientists know. Also a small constituency, I suppose, but my point is more people know this than you give credit for.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Hmmm, I distinctly remember an IO where convex hull was the easy part of a bonus. Delaunay triangulation or Voronoi diagrams, anybody?

Not that its at all an appropriate tu choice here; I just enjoy giving the quizbowl knowledge angle.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Hmmm, I distinctly remember an IO where convex hull was the easy part of a bonus. Delaunay triangulation or Voronoi diagrams, anybody?

Not that its at all an appropriate tu choice here; I just enjoy giving the quizbowl knowledge angle.
Voronoi diagrams came up at the Emergency (right?) and I know they came up at a science monstrosity, but, like, even from the quizbowl knowledge angle it's a weird choice.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by magin »

I'll second or third St. Anthony's Abbey as a fine hard part; it's central to understanding the novel, and not minor in any way. In fact, I think it's an ideal hard part in that anyone who's read or read about Billiards at Half-Past Nine is likely to know it (because of its importance to the novel), but it requires more effort than just memorizing a bunch of Boll titles.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

In fact, I think it's an ideal hard part in that anyone who's read or read about Billiards at Half-Past Nine is likely to know it (because of its importance to the novel),
An interesting claim, given that Jerry's very argument for it being a poor hard part is that people who have read said novel will not be likely to know that.

If I were a more petty and opportunistic person, I'd use this as a nice example of how inaccurate/speculative the claims of people often are when they go about pontificating on what people are likely to know if they have studied a given subject properly (that is, as opposed to the heathen improper studying - the definition of which is equally unclear).
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by marnold »

I was going to make this a separate thread, but it's not really worth it.

It's nice to say stuff like "anyone who's read or read about Billiards at Half-Past Nine is likely to know it" but that's pretty obviously wrong. Example 1: Jerry, whose love of Boll is like 1b on the list of meta-things to know about Jerry. Example 2: me. I love that book and was glad the other team got it because I thought that part was impossible. (EDIT: Ryan sort of stole my thunder here. He's right that those sorts of claims are just useless in general: just because a pronouncement that something is memorable comes from Magin, Lord High Literature Deity, it doesn't mean it actually is, especially given actual gameplay evidence to the contrary.) When I hear these sorts of bonuses, I remember things like "St. Somebody's Abbey" but am fucked trying to remember which particular saint it actually is because... who cares, really? Saying that the only alternative for a third part is to have a minor title susceptible to list knowledge is also obviously wrong. In fact, I wish more third parts were about specific things from novels but without needing their exact name: in this case, then, you could ask what kind of structure Robert blows up and have the answer be "abbey." Instead of asking for character names, you could ask for relationships between characters (e.g., answers like "father") or professions or something ("housekeeper"). It seems this captures everything good about these kinds of bonus parts without screwing over people who read but don't constantly refresh their memory of character names and place names on the off-chance they'll come up in a bonus.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by Cheynem »

That's an interesting point. I'm also fond of the bonus parts that ask you to say how particular characters kill themselves.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by Pilgrim »

marnold wrote:I was going to make this a separate thread, but it's not really worth it.

It's nice to say stuff like "anyone who's read or read about Billiards at Half-Past Nine is likely to know it" but that's pretty obviously wrong. Example 1: Jerry, whose love of Boll is like 1b on the list of meta-things to know about Jerry. Example 2: me. I love that book and was glad the other team got it because I thought that part was impossible. (EDIT: Ryan sort of stole my thunder here. He's right that those sorts of claims are just useless in general: just because a pronouncement that something is memorable comes from Magin, Lord High Literature Deity, it doesn't mean it actually is, especially given actual gameplay evidence to the contrary.) When I hear these sorts of bonuses, I remember things like "St. Somebody's Abbey" but am fucked trying to remember which particular saint it actually is because... who cares, really? Saying that the only alternative for a third part is to have a minor title susceptible to list knowledge is also obviously wrong. In fact, I wish more third parts were about specific things from novels but without needing their exact name: in this case, then, you could ask what kind of structure Robert blows up and have the answer be "abbey." Instead of asking for character names, you could ask for relationships between characters (e.g., answers like "father") or professions or something ("housekeeper"). It seems this captures everything good about these kinds of bonus parts without screwing over people who read but don't constantly refresh their memory of character names and place names on the off-chance they'll come up in a bonus.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by magin »

I didn't mean "everyone who reads a book will remember all the important things about it when answering a bonus," but rather "asking for really important plot details from a novel as a hard part is a good idea which tends to reward reading things." I'm a little confused how you could love Billiards at Half-Past Nine and not think the abbey was important; it's central to the plot of the novel (others may disagree, and I'd be interested in their arguments why it's in fact not significant). I think there's a tendency among players do go "I know answer X, and if this bonus asks about something related to answer X that I don't know/care about, it's inherently a bad bonus part," when in fact their knowledge of answer X may be incomplete to some degree (of course, there are cases where the bonus part is too minor/crazy/confusing, in which the fault lies with the bonus). My argument is not that "I am Lord High Literature Deity Jonathan Magin, and with divine wisdom know what is memorable and what is not for all," but instead, "I've read this book and have read a fair amount about it, and based on that experience, I disagree with claims people are making about the difficulty of this bonus part." I sort of sympathize with your desire to make the answer "abbey," and I think that would also be a fine bonus part, but at the same time, quizbowl asks for things that generally have names; if a bonus part asks for the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk," and I say "this is that 1918 treaty in which Russia withdrew from World War I," but don't know what it's called, I think my knowledge of it is not complete. I don't think it's unreasonable for questions to require that sort of more complete knowledge.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by Sir Thopas »

magin wrote:I didn't mean "everyone who reads a book will remember all the important things about it when answering a bonus," but rather "asking for really important plot details from a novel as a hard part is a good idea which tends to reward reading things." I'm a little confused how you could love Billiards at Half-Past Nine and not think the abbey was important; it's central to the plot of the novel (others may disagree, and I'd be interested in their arguments why it's in fact not significant).
...Except for the part where people are saying that they have read the book, and didn't get that part. Nobody is saying that the abbey isn't important, but that it's specific name isn't. It's the fact that it's an abbey that is.

Also, anecdotal evidence tells me that Ted Gioia got this part from quizbowl knowledge (what with its bias toward named things), while we have Jerry and Marnold who missed it, despite reading and loving it. Empirically, this part didn't reward reading things properly. I'm not sure how you can argue this point.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by magin »

Vienna summit wrote:
magin wrote:I didn't mean "everyone who reads a book will remember all the important things about it when answering a bonus," but rather "asking for really important plot details from a novel as a hard part is a good idea which tends to reward reading things." I'm a little confused how you could love Billiards at Half-Past Nine and not think the abbey was important; it's central to the plot of the novel (others may disagree, and I'd be interested in their arguments why it's in fact not significant).
...Except for the part where people are saying that they have read the book, and didn't get that part. Nobody is saying that the abbey isn't important, but that it's specific name isn't. It's the fact that it's an abbey that is.

Also, anecdotal evidence tells me that Ted Gioia got this part from quizbowl knowledge (what with its bias toward named things), while we have Jerry and Marnold who missed it, despite reading and loving it. Empirically, this part didn't reward reading things properly. I'm not sure how you can argue this point.
I mean, I'm hesitant to say that it "didn't reward reading things properly," when it might be the case that Jerry and Marnold had incomplete knowledge (for one, Jerry read the book five years ago, which is plenty of time to forget major parts of the novel). There are many books I read and don't remember major plot points/themes from, but that doesn't mean my lack of knowledge of those plot points/themes makes them poor bonus parts, but that my knowledge of them needs to improve for me to answer the bonus part. One question that comes to mind is the bonus on The Sea Wolf in the 2008 ICT final; I read it a few years back, but was only able to 10 the bonus because I didn't recall plot points that, in retrospect, were fairly major. That doesn't mean the bonus was flawed, but that my knowledge was.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by marnold »

Alright, maybe it's too strong to say I "love" Billiards at Half-Past Nine. My first year it came up a couple times in quizbowl and it sounded interesting so I checked it out of the library and read it. I thought it was really cool, so I read a couple of things about it on JSTOR to try to understand it better. I haven't re-read it since then. So yes, point conceded: in those three years the specific name of the abbey escaped me and I don't have perfect knowledge of the book.

But I don't think that it makes for good quizbowl to have those sorts of imperfections in knowledge end up costing you points. I remember quite a few other details (notably including that there is abbey that is, in fact, a key part of the book) and in any other arena my knowledge is totally sufficient (I could have a conversation with someone about it, I could reference it comfortably in class, etc.). I think it would be much better for hard parts to reward "reading the book" rather than "reading the book immediately before the tournament," "reading a tossup where the words St. Anthony's appears and remember that" or "reading the book and then making flashcards of the names of things so I can 30 bonuses instead of 20 them three years from now." In the grand scheme of things, this sort of stuff doesn't matter that much (these are a fairly rare kind of bonus part that's one subset of the distribution that's only annoying when it happens on a book you've read), but it sure as hell doesn't give a great incentive to actually read books or read them for the right reasons.
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

I agree; I have tried over the past year to do analogous things in my science writing. (Does this protein's name really matter, or are concepts about its function what cause it to come up in the academy?) Unless there's a lot of scholarship--to the point where there might be, like, some discussion in sections of a class that reads that book--about why it's that saint's and not another's, I don't see why the name itself is the best way to test that knowledge. (Of course, sometimes we ask about things in a certain way because they're the best way to correlate to something we can't ask about directly in quizbowl but DO believe is good knowledge. But I'd be hard to convince that the name of an abbey is a better way than the fact that it's an abbey, or "a Christian building," or...
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Re: PENN BOWL: Difficulty Swings

Post by grapesmoker »

magin wrote:I mean, I'm hesitant to say that it "didn't reward reading things properly," when it might be the case that Jerry and Marnold had incomplete knowledge (for one, Jerry read the book five years ago, which is plenty of time to forget major parts of the novel). There are many books I read and don't remember major plot points/themes from, but that doesn't mean my lack of knowledge of those plot points/themes makes them poor bonus parts, but that my knowledge of them needs to improve for me to answer the bonus part. One question that comes to mind is the bonus on The Sea Wolf in the 2008 ICT final; I read it a few years back, but was only able to 10 the bonus because I didn't recall plot points that, in retrospect, were fairly major. That doesn't mean the bonus was flawed, but that my knowledge was.
I didn't mean to turn this into a single-question derail, but here are my thoughts. First, I pretty much agree with everything Marnold said; I've read that book over 5 years ago, which is a long time, but I remember a lot about it, because it's a great book. I certainly remember relevant things like the symbolism, a lot about the characters, etc., and I knew when trying to convert that bonus part that the answer was "some dude's abbey," but the name I couldn't remember. I don't want to be all like "I'm a Heinrich Boll EXPERT," I'm just saying that, hey, I read this book, I know it pretty well, I didn't know this thing and its name doesn't particularly seem all that important to me. You've got two people telling you this. I don't think this question is irreparably flawed or anything, it's just kind of annoying. It's asking for a relatively minor detail about a work in which that detail is quite far from being very important. Sure, my knowledge was "flawed," for some definition of that term, but equally one might say that a bonus part on such minutia is also flawed. I read a lot of books and I have a pretty good memory, but I don't remember the names of most minor characters off the top of my head; most of them are not that important.

To make this into more than just a discussion of this question, I want to come out against these kinds of questions in general. It seems that a lot of people, when looking for a hard 3rd part for literature questions just pick a minor character or a minor work or whatever, without a whole lot of regard for whether anyone would actually know or care to know that answer. Minor characters and tertiary novels (or, say, novels of playwrights, plays of novelists, poems of people not primarily known for their poetry, etc.) are generally not that memorable. There's probably a good reason we know a lot about Catch-22, say, but not about We Bombed in New Haven. Given the fact that most people are not likely to have read any one work that's being asked about in a bonus, I don't think you lose very much by focusing on the main characters or events rather than minor ones. Just to throw another example out there, much less known than my love of Boll is my love of Wilkie Collins; I've read The Woman in White quite recently but it's full of minor characters who aren't that interesting or memorable and if one of them came up in a bonus part, I probably wouldn't get it. I don't think the proper response to this is just to wave off my knowledge as flawed, but rather to ask why questions are being written that even people who have read the relevant literature, even recently, can't convert those parts. I would like it very much if people didn't do that.
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