ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

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rahulkeyal
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ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by rahulkeyal » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:05 pm

Welcome to the general discussion thread for ACF Fall 2019. I hope all of you enjoyed playing the tournament!

Here is a breakdown of who edited what:

Ganon Evans: CE/geography/pop culture/other
Justin French: British literature, European literature, mythology
Halle Friedman: painting/sculpture, visual other fine arts
Katherine Lei: biology, chemistry, physics
Caroline Mao: American literature, World/Other literature
Ben Miller: American history, World history
Tracy Mirkin: European history, religion
Clark Smith: music, auditory other fine arts, philosophy, social science
Kevin Yu: other science

Additionally, Rohin Devanathan provided valuable oversight on science and history.

I’m really lucky to have worked with such a diverse and aspiring group of editors. Every one of them demonstrated an ability to write and edit questions that were creative and engaging, while still managing to generally keep the questions accessible to the tournament's primary audience.

In addition, this set couldn’t have been possible without the help of many others. Jonathan Magin and Nathan Weiser both gave me great advice early on in how to approach head-editing ACF Fall. Stephen Liu, Will Alston, and Ryan Rosenberg each freelanced a few crucial questions late in the production process in areas that were lacking to make sure we could see the set through. Graham Reid provided a significant amount of feedback on the science. We also received a lot of constructive feedback from our playtesters. Ophir Lifshitz, Ramapriya Rangaraju, Tejas Raje, Eric Chen, Eddie Kim, Carsten Gehring, and Evan Lynch all contributed greatly to proofreading the set. Ophir was also instrumental in getting the set packetized and ready to be distributed to hosts.

I’d also like to give a huge thanks to Alex Damisch for doing a superb job communicating with and overseeing our 18 (!) different sites. Hosts can attest to how thorough and proactive she was in her role as Mirror Coordinator, and her dedication and hard work made my job significantly easier.

Finally, I’d like to thank all our hosts who made the tournament happen, as well as all the teams who came out to compete this weekend, many of whom submitted packets with lots of great material to work from. It was truly heartwarming to see so many people enjoying the questions that our team has been hard at work on for the last few months.

Comments on specific questions or errata should go in the other thread. Discuss away!
Last edited by rahulkeyal on Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Rahul Keyal
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by ganman0305 » Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:23 pm

Hey all, it was an absolute blast to help edit this set. I remember being really on the fence about whether I should apply or not, but looking back, I'm really glad for the experience this set has been.

I first want to thank Rahul for doing an awesome job of head editing and communicating. I never felt like there was a communication disconnect, and any issues/questions with the set we had were immediately resolved.

I really really really enjoyed the questions in this set. I thought everyone did an awesome job of exploring the subjects while keeping it a novice-centered set with accessible answerlines and content. I loved Clark's auditory questions for their blend of important music theory and interesting subjects (I especially loved the bonus set on Alma Mahler)! Props to the literature editors Justin and Caroline for making some of the best poetry questions I've seen in a set at this level, while also including a rich variety of content from across the spectrum. Halle and Tracy both did an excellent job on visual arts and religion respectively with going in-depth with the content and making the most out of the novice canon. Katherine and Kevin did awesome on making some creative science questions as well! I'd also like to thank Tejas Raje and Aaron Dos Remedios for helping me playtest my content, and to the other ACF members like Ophir for giving helpful feedback towards making my questions better.

I truly hoped that everyone enjoyed the CE/Geo/Other/Pop Culture distribution. I'd like to go through some of my philosophy in writing this set, and hear any feedback good or bad!

CE - I generally wanted to stray away from "This party defeated this party, this person beat this person in this election, etc." CE content. While obviously this is unavoidable, I wanted to make questions that really covered important details about current events - such as in the Myanmar and Hong Kong questions. I think my learning experience from this is that I need to put more emphasis on what people know versus what is important in the ordering of questions, but I'd love to hear more feedback.

Geo - Nothing too groundbreaking here. Again wanted to stray a bit from "this city in this country" content.

Other Academic - Definitely the hardest to define. I mostly held this category for common links/themed questions.

Pop Culture - For Pop Culture, I really wanted to include content pertaining to women and people of color. Not just having answerlines that are women or people of color, but genuine cultural content. Of all the feedback, I want to know people's thoughts, as I consider it to be incredibly important and I hope to shift all of the pop culture canon to be broader and include multiple perspectives and cultures. This is hard to do in about 4/4 of the entire set, but every question matters.

Lastly, I just want to thank everyone who played the set too. It was a blast to see people enjoying it, and I appreciate being a part of what helps our community come together and do what we do best: play trivia. Thanks again and let me know your feedback!
Ganon Evans
Francis Howell High School '18
University of Iowa '22

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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by Muriel Axon » Mon Nov 04, 2019 12:00 am

My first impressed was that this set was better polished, better controlled for difficulty, and had fewer clumsy tossups that most sets of the same difficulty. Thanks to the set editors and producers for your hard work!
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by rahulkeyal » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:36 am

The set has been posted. Once all the major errata, etc have been resolved, a final version of the set will be uploaded.
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by The Abydos Helicopter » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:17 am

From the perspective of someone who only read it and did not see it being played, this was the best Fall set in a while, and it was definitely appreciated to receive it earlier, and with much less work needed than in the past for the purposes of Briticization
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by connor.mayers » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:36 am

I loved this set and thought that all the major categories were extremely well written while also being accessible. This is one of the better sets I've played/read at this level and I'd like to commend the editors for their great work.

The only problem I did notice though was a problem that I think many sets at this difficulty suffer from, which is the tendency for some of the non big 3 categories (most notably fine arts and social science) to become probably a bit hard for this level. With a limited array of askable topics in these categories as well a as trying to utilize as many submissions as possible, I realize this task is not easy, but I would suggest editors of these categories in the future to be more aware of how hard their distribution will actually be for novice players.
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by CPiGuy » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:14 am

connor.mayers wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:36 am
I loved this set and thought that all the major categories were extremely well written while also being accessible. This is one of the better sets I've played/read at this level and I'd like to commend the editors for their great work.
Seconding this. Difficulty was on point and very consistent across the tournament. I think this is the best Fall I've played.
Conor Thompson (he/him)
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Michigan '20

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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by csa2125 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:26 am

connor.mayers wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:36 am
The only problem I did notice though was a problem that I think many sets at this difficulty suffer from, which is the tendency for some of the non big 3 categories (most notably fine arts and social science) to become probably a bit hard for this level. With a limited array of askable topics in these categories as well a as trying to utilize as many submissions as possible, I realize this task is not easy, but I would suggest editors of these categories in the future to be more aware of how hard their distribution will actually be for novice players.
Unfortunately, this is a big issue at lower levels, especially with philosophy and social science, because writers have to not only balance difficulty based on the depth of material one could expect players to know, but how few you can expect to be interested in the subject and how relatively unpopular related majors are.

Feel free to point out any examples, good or bad, to help future writers with difficulty control in these categories.
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by Thaumatibis gigantea » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:41 am

I really enjoyed this set and wanted to point out what seemed to me to be a more conscious than usual effort to include important (not just hard!) people of color and women (and their work etc) as answer lines. I think this set did a fine job of representation that reflected important academic concepts, not just token mentions.
Rebecca Rosenthal, BFMS (Ridgewood), BCA (Hackensack),
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by ryanrosenberg » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:48 am

csa2125 wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:26 am
connor.mayers wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:36 am
The only problem I did notice though was a problem that I think many sets at this difficulty suffer from, which is the tendency for some of the non big 3 categories (most notably fine arts and social science) to become probably a bit hard for this level. With a limited array of askable topics in these categories as well a as trying to utilize as many submissions as possible, I realize this task is not easy, but I would suggest editors of these categories in the future to be more aware of how hard their distribution will actually be for novice players.
Unfortunately, this is a big issue at lower levels, especially with philosophy and social science, because writers have to not only balance difficulty based on the depth of material one could expect players to know, but how few you can expect to be interested in the subject and how relatively unpopular related majors are.
Psychology, economics, and political science are all among the top 20 most popular majors. My impression is that the introductory psychology course is almost always the largest course at a university. There are also 1-2 AP courses in all three. Barring some sort of hugely unexpected selection bias, quizbowl novices certainly have a broad interest in and knowledge of a good part of social science.
Ryan Rosenberg
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by SparkleOyster » Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:44 pm

The arts is significantly better than last year! And consistency improved quite a bit.
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by halle » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:27 pm

I had a great time working on this set, and am very appreciative of the positive feedback!
connor.mayers wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:36 am
The only problem I did notice though was a problem that I think many sets at this difficulty suffer from, which is the tendency for some of the non big 3 categories (most notably fine arts and social science) to become probably a bit hard for this level.
I'm sorry to hear that art was one of the categories that skewed harder. I tried to stay very conscious of the target difficulty as I was writing and editing, and I'm curious to hear which of the questions you felt missed that mark.
Thaumatibis gigantea wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:41 am
I really enjoyed this set and wanted to point out what seemed to me to be a more conscious than usual effort to include important (not just hard!) people of color and women (and their work etc) as answer lines. I think this set did a fine job of representation that reflected important academic concepts, not just token mentions.
I'm really happy to hear that this was your impression of the set! Obviously I can't claim any credit for the great work that other editors did when it comes to inclusive clue and answerline selection, but this was a very conscious choice when it came to the visual arts. In particular, I focused on making sure women were represented in my categories. Often, this meant finding ways to clue women artists even if they were too difficult to be answerlines themselves: I tried to think of common links that allowed for women artists to be clued (e.g. UK, Japan, children), and if I needed an additional clue in a bonus part mainly drawing from a male artist's work, I would try to find a female artist to include (e.g. Louise Bourgeois for Bilbao, Judy Chicago for tables). I'm fairly happy with how this turned out, and would love to hear people's thoughts on whether it was successful and what could be improved in the future.
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by caroline » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:49 pm

I really enjoyed working on this tournament and considered it a wonderful learning experience. Thank you to Rahul for being an excellent head editor—you were communicative, checked in frequently, kind, and understanding. I also really liked reading my fellow editors' questions and getting to Learn New Things.

If you would like feedback on your submission in the categories I edited (American and World/Misc/Other Literature), I strongly encourage you to contact me! You can reach me through a PM on the forums, Discord, or Facebook; alternatively, my email is [email protected]. (You can also contact me through these methods if you'd like to give me feedback privately, as I know Posting can be intimidating.) I genuinely enjoyed reading many of the submissions and appreciate the effort submitters put into them, and I hope you all enjoyed Fall. :) (EDIT: even if I didn’t use your submission, I am still happy to give feedback; I did not throw out any tossups due to quality, only repeats or subdistributional issues.)
Caroline Mao [they/she]
Barnard College '22, American International School of Guangzhou '18
ACF, Provisional Member

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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by Thiccasso's Guernthicca » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:49 pm

I thought that this set was overall very polished and enjoyable to play, and I particularly admired the inventive yet accessible ways that the editors incorporated salient topics centering on women / POC / other marginalized communities into the set's content. The literature, history, arts, and popular culture were especially a delight to play, and I also appreciated the editorial decision to prevent white colonial history from taking up important space in the world history distribution.
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by rahulkeyal » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:03 pm

I'm very glad to see the positive reception to the set! All the editors worked very hard on their categories, and it's great to see their work recognized by the community. One of the major goals of ACF Fall is to train the game's up-and-coming editors and provide them a bridge to further editing opportunities, if they so desire. I'm pleased to say that each editor stepped up to the challenge and executed their tasks quite well.

I've also edited my original post to reflect the contributions of Stephen Liu, Will Alston, and Ryan Rosenberg, who each contributed a handful of questions late in the process when some categories fell behind. Thank you!!
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Re: ACF Fall 2019 Thanks and General Discussion

Post by Mahavishnu » Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:28 am

Hello everyone. I'm very glad that the (seemingly prevailing) opinion of this set seems to be quite favorable. Fall requires a tremendous amount of time from a great many people, and all of this effort is justified by the number of people that were able to have an enjoyable time playing, reading, or just interacting with the set.

This was my second real editing experience, following last year's rendition of FST. My editing process in regards to European/Other History (which was slightly new to me), and Religion (which was entirely new to me), was liberally guided by a couple of points that I considered important to pursue during my time working on this project.

Perhaps second only to my goal of making an enjoyable set, I viewed Fall as a set that can be appropriate for newer collegiate players, while still incorporating a large number of interesting, "fresh" (as over-used as this term seems to be) clues that a) haven't been mined to death by past sets, and b) aren't immediately discounted by virtue of the set being of "Fall difficulty." Now, given that this was my primary aim during the writing process, I also had a constant nagging fear that, as noble as my goals may be, many of my chosen clues would play out too hard for the audience, and any attempts to justify my philosophy would resemble masturbatory, self-aggrandizing repetitions of "This really is important!" as another question is last-clued.

But as I staffed the Florida Fall mirror this past weekend, these fears was consistently allayed. After watching a number of my intended "hard" parts crushed with impunity and hearing of my tossups first-clued by students with unusually deep knowledge of Origen of Alexandria, I felt rather vindicated (from the accusations of the mental critic), and that I largely succeeded in the implementation of my goal.

European/Other History: As for specific thoughts, things are a bit more scattered. I had some sort of geographical and temporal cross-hatch that I tried to conform to, to ensure a wide variety of asked-about material. I also made sure to encompass a mix of social, political, military, and cross-disciplinary/extra-categorizable topics. As previously mentioned, I incorporated some "colonial" content (Portuguese exploration bonus, British East India Company tossup, to a lesser extent the Alexander in Asia Minor bonus) into this category to minimize the encroachment of Western-centric topics on the already-small World History area. Apart from this, I mostly just tried to ask about interesting things that haven't come up that much at this level (longitude problem, Yasuke, pigs in history, politically-relevant 20th century air disasters), and rephrase common subjects into unique forms (fall of the Berlin Wall, social history of the Restoration, Victorian tropes of femininity).

Religion: While I was originally under the impression that my prior experience was nonexistent, a tepid Taoism question from FST 1 means that the 2nd through 31st religion questions that I have ever written were done so in the course of my editing duties for this tournament. Distributionally, the religion questions were divided between an Abrahamic "core" of slightly-greater than 50% of the material, and a selection of non-Abrahamic traditions from other areas of the world. In the periphery I included straightforward material on widely-practiced traditions, while also highlighting some areas that have traditionally received less attention (African animism, Chinese folk beliefs, ritualistic dance). Additionally, in my "expanded" view of the category, I included a couple questions on historically relevant traditions (pharaohs as religious leaders, ancient Celtic faith, ancient dualism). Furthermore, I emphasized asking about practices (particularly ones that followers may have personally performed) and concepts central to their faiths (the oneness of God in Islam, Buddhist meditation), while generally trying to minimize the narrative-based nature of many religious stories. Where this was unavoidable, I did my best to present the material in a new way (Cain's murder of Abel) or to tie it in to relevant practices (Ibrahim's resolve inspiring the celebration of Eid al-Adha).

While this post is probably longer than is necessary, I hope it provides any desired insight on the process by which I contributed to this set.
Thanks in particular to: Rahul, for his excellent oversight and watchful eyes; Ophir, Rohin, and many others that contributed valuable comments; Ben, for creating the other half of a swell history selection, and; the rest of the editors, for being so great to work with, and helping to make such a lovely product.

As spurred by a member of my own club who played Fall and requested feedback, if you submitted questions in my areas, and you'd like feedback, I'll do my best to accommodate you. You can email me at [email protected] with any relevant questions or comments.
Tracy Mirkin
South Fork '17
- 2015-17 President
Florida '21
- 2018-19 President

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