Non-Specific Discussion of VA State Championship set

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Non-Specific Discussion of VA State Championship set

Post by Tower Monarch » Sat May 09, 2009 3:56 pm

So, Matt beat his own record and gave us 10 games before 3:00 (we had announced the winners in the main meeting area and begun leaving when I noticed it was 2:55).

Evidently, VCU knows how to run NAQT tournaments: quickly. If this had gone on until just an average time, I might have left to avoid hearing more of these questions. This tournament shows the only way to play on these questions is to move the computation out of the first 20, but to me it also showed that 7 (or however many, I didn't count and didn't care) questions that contained at least a couple CE/Geography/PC(/General Knowledge/not academic at all) clues makes all games meaningless.
Today, I have no idea who the second best team was. We, Cosby, split games with MW B and Collegiate, but it seemed like the winner was whoever went 20 questions without landing a bonus on worthless knowledge (not hard, just worthless). So many questions provided horrible clues that I don't think I demonstrated any knowledge today, despite getting around 8 TU per game. Bottom line: I answered questions I don't really know anything about, but I missed subjects I'm sure I know better than most players do to lack of good clues. Hopefully we can rematch MW B in an actual meaningful setting at NSC or something.

Also, since others are probably just getting home: the top bracket in order went MW A, Collegiate A, Cosby, MWB. It was also nice to come home with not only a Nella Larsen book from the tournament but also a couple textbooks that were free to take from an "unwanted shelf." Overall, best-run tournament and worst questions I've played in my three years.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by pblessman » Sat May 09, 2009 4:36 pm

Tower Monarch wrote:So many questions provided horrible clues that I don't think I demonstrated any knowledge today, despite getting around 8 TU per game.
Was one of the answers you got "Hyperbole"? :wink:
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Tower Monarch » Sat May 09, 2009 5:05 pm

pblessman wrote:
Tower Monarch wrote:So many questions provided horrible clues that I don't think I demonstrated any knowledge today, despite getting around 8 TU per game.
Was one of the answers you got "Hyperbole"? :wink:
The worst part is I don't think I exaggerated much.
Any 1st grader could memorize a (relatively simple) list of stuff that is not studied academically (for good reason, I believe) and buzz at the same time (and very, very often earlier) as I when I consider myself a decent player with a lot of experience (considering the number of college tournaments I have played in or read for, you'd think I'd be able to power a few high school questions on subjects I've actually studied: this rarely occurred).
Define misplaced clue, transparency or difficulty cliff how you want, but I attribute some type of these errors even in the questions for which I got points. Among even roughly similar teams, there is little correlation between actual knowledge and success on this question set. Maggie Walker A clearly won today. After that, I could not support the statement that Collegiate A is a better team than James River A based on today alone.
Based on this set and the similarity in distribution and writers for HSNCT, I don't consider it a valid National championship this year. We'll see if I play SCT or ICT next year based on who signs on as writers and if the distribution becomes rational.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sat May 09, 2009 5:20 pm

Tower Monarch wrote:Based on this set and the similarity in distribution and writers for HSNCT, I don't consider it a valid National championship this year. We'll see if I play SCT or ICT next year based on who signs on as writers and if the distribution becomes rational.
Then what do you consider valid, considering PACE offers quirky rounds with bouncebacks, 20-point powers, and the option of computational math bonus questions?
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Tower Monarch » Sat May 09, 2009 5:33 pm

Was there any reason Cleo Dan played only 99% of the questions?
Caesar Rodney HS wrote:
Tower Monarch wrote:Based on this set and the similarity in distribution and writers for HSNCT, I don't consider it a valid National championship this year. We'll see if I play SCT or ICT next year based on who signs on as writers and if the distribution becomes rational.
Then what do you consider valid, considering PACE offers quirky rounds with bouncebacks, 20-point powers, and the option of computational math bonus questions?
I will say straight off that a major advantage to bouncebacks is they correct for horrible distributions: I promise that if MW B or Cosby had played Collegiate A with bouncebacks both of us would have come away with clear victories today. The option is just that: it's dumb that it's there, but I doubt it will stay in the upcoming years and the issue has all been approached rationally. When NSC decides to feature 2/2 name that politician and 5/5 name that insignificant fact about something with actual importance, I will declare no national tournament to be valid. Take it however you like, but my own opinion is that nothing should be decided on questions with the issues I saw today.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sat May 09, 2009 5:40 pm

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:
Tower Monarch wrote:Based on this set and the similarity in distribution and writers for HSNCT, I don't consider it a valid National championship this year. We'll see if I play SCT or ICT next year based on who signs on as writers and if the distribution becomes rational.
Then what do you consider valid, considering PACE offers quirky rounds with bouncebacks, 20-point powers, and the option of computational math bonus questions?
You're comparing a tournament's format with a tournament's question quality. Those are two different things.

EDIT: Taking a look at some of these questions, I really hope that they will be better at HSNCT. I really don't want to end my high school career on some of this stuff.
Last edited by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite on Sat May 09, 2009 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Sat May 09, 2009 5:47 pm

hwhite wrote:
Caesar Rodney HS wrote:
Tower Monarch wrote:Based on this set and the similarity in distribution and writers for HSNCT, I don't consider it a valid National championship this year. We'll see if I play SCT or ICT next year based on who signs on as writers and if the distribution becomes rational.
Then what do you consider valid, considering PACE offers quirky rounds with bouncebacks, 20-point powers, and the option of computational math bonus questions?
You're comparing a tournament's format with a tournament's question quality. Those are two different things.
Indeed, they are completely separate. The quality of past NSCs makes me quite excited for this year. As for HSNCT, I honestly hope it's better written and edited than today's set, which is frankly the worst non-VHSL/Battle of the Brains set I've played all season.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Sat May 09, 2009 5:53 pm

Was this worse than any A set you guys have seen as well? We didn't play 85 this year but i remember being profoundly annoyed at set 83 in particular, while not nearly as much at the others except for the only A set we saw this year, 82A.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by at your pleasure » Sat May 09, 2009 6:02 pm

Based on this set and the similarity in distribution and writers for HSNCT, I don't consider it a valid National championship this year.
Just to give NAQT the benefit of the doubt, it may be that HSNCT is a higher priority than this set. That being said, I'm not despondent that I won't be at HSNCT.
Then what do you consider valid, considering PACE offers quirky rounds with bouncebacks, 20-point powers, and the option of computational math bonus questions?
I don't think that non-extreme format variation affects matches significantly. The one PACE format tournament I played this year(WoQ day one) produced results more or less consistent with results at other events that used more standard formats.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sat May 09, 2009 6:17 pm

There is nothing inherently awful about math computation bonuses the way there is something inherently awful about math computation tossups. There is no reason to care if something is pyramidal in the bonuses, and to me it seems like the only really "bad" thing about it is that it's vestigial from the formats that have lots of math. To argue that PACE having this particular bonus in play makes it a problem is not actually understanding why computation goes wrong.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Tower Monarch » Sat May 09, 2009 6:42 pm

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:Was this worse than any A set you guys have seen as well? We didn't play 85 this year but i remember being profoundly annoyed at set 83 in particular, while not nearly as much at the others except for the only A set we saw this year, 82A.
I don't know since I obviously haven't been attending NAQT events this year, but I know it was worse than last year's A sets that I did get a chance to see, and it seemed very similar to NAQT sets Cosby owns from 3+ years ago in terms of subject choice. (all humor value in Charlie's liveblog was lost for me when I noticed similarities)
Per Doug, I would hope HSNCT has higher priority, but I believe it's a fundamental error in judgment as to what is academic/important that could really only be masked without a serious effort to change. I haven't seen the change yet, but, as I said, I will reavaluate before attending anything else produced by the company.
Sometimes I wish NAQT would be willing to produce one mACF (meaning no powers and standard ACF Distribution) so we could see if NAQT is actually viable to succeed in the future of good quizbowl, or if it will end up just being a step in the right direction; after today I seriously wonder whether in 8 or so years, NAQT will be viewed as this board currently sees CBI and the like.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Bananaquit » Sat May 09, 2009 8:58 pm

It's been said before, but this set was bad.

I haven't played any A-Sets this year, and the only other NAQT tournaments Gov has played were back in the fall, so I can't really compare the quality of specific sets.

However, this set exuded a general feeling of badness beyond the norm for IS-sets.

Besides the already huge distribution for CE, geo, and pop culture, this set seemed to have stealth trash in many bonuses (or a completely non-academic third part), and an extra dose of stupid information on normally OK topics. Plus, the shortness of the tossups drew my attention to many poor leadins, which I can't expose here, unfortunately. Finally, many of the science TUs had very iffy clues. One, which was on a topic I had learned in class recently but still don't have more than a cursory knowledge of, I was able to power because a specific statistic I had used in a calculation problem on a test appeared early in the question. I see no good reason why that should happen, since I am sure that the exact numeral value of that statistic is in no way important. (it's tantamount to listing the length of a river in the leadin)

I hope HSNCT does not make these kind of mistakes.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Sat May 09, 2009 9:16 pm

Tower Monarch wrote: Was there any reason Cleo Dan played only 99% of the questions?
Cleo left a game to get water and missed an entire TU bonus cycle.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by lagazzaladra » Sat May 09, 2009 10:24 pm

I wasn't able to go to this tournament, and I haven't looked at the questions, so I'm not quite sure how good or bad the questions are. However, I don't think the fact that they write a lot of question is an excuse for poor question quality, even if they are keeping up with the growing demand (quantity-wise) of the quizbowl community. Writing academic questions is no harder than writing trash questions (maybe even less so), and thinking about clue placement/transparency/and the quality of the clues themselves probably takes almost no time.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Sir Thopas » Sat May 09, 2009 10:25 pm

pblessman wrote:the number of (generally) high quality questions (all differences regarding trash, distribution, computational math questions, etc. aside) they produce is incredible
I haven't played this set, so I can't judge as to the veracity of this thread, but I think the claims being made here are saying that NAQT no longer produces high-quality questions. Which would obviate your point, beyond what Charlie pointed out.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat May 09, 2009 11:16 pm

Obviously we're disappointed that our question set drew some of the reactions in this thread. We certainly hope that we have produced (and will soon finish) a better HSNCT.

I would welcome any and all examples of problematic questions (email me at jthoppes -at- berkeley -dot- edu). Additionally, after HSNCT there will be a discussion thread to talk about the 2008-2009 IS sets in public.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun May 10, 2009 2:18 am

Anti-Climacus wrote:Is there any way for someone who has not played this set and does not intend to do so to see the questions?
Maybe. Worth noting that we're less than a month from just clearing all of this year's sets for public discussion anyway.
Anti-Climacus wrote:Also, how many IS sets did you produce this year?
Five (77, 79, 81, 83, 85), as has been our practice for some time now. It is possible that there might be a sixth set in the future.
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Re: Virginia NAQT Championship May 9 (Richmond)

Post by Tower Monarch » Sun May 10, 2009 5:44 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:Obviously we're disappointed that our question set drew some of the reactions in this thread. We certainly hope that we have produced (and will soon finish) a better HSNCT.

I would welcome any and all examples of problematic questions (email me at jthoppes -at- berkeley -dot- edu). Additionally, after HSNCT there will be a discussion thread to talk about the 2008-2009 IS sets in public.
I've got quite 6 more APs this week, but I am more than willing to look through the set and email you in a week or so. Unfortunately, only about half of the issues can be fixed with better editing. Answer and clue choice were so horrible in this set, that with the distribution, it required heavy rewrites to be what I consider bearable.
Re: Charlie, yeah, I didn't mean they were the same but after wasting the morning on this set, all I could see were the parallels that were almost absurd. Obviously, I can't say specifics.
Can we all take a break from the (somewhat strange) distribution discussion and look again at how quickly this tournament finished? This is seriously what has kept me going this weekend; I had 5 hours to rest and relax before returning to heavy studying yesterday.
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