Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

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Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Well, it's nearly eight months since the 19th Delta Burke tournament was held at Valencia, but like the year before, there were mirrors going on into June, so it's only now fully clear for discussions. Of course, only one or two of the CC players who played in Orlando really ever look at these boards, and I'm not sure how many folks who played mirrors will chime in now. But having said all that, I always enjoy hearing what people thought of the questions, how much any liberal invective contained therein affronted players, etc. The packets are on the packet archive, so if you read them, I'd love to know what sucked and why.

I usually have a conversion chart made from the Valencia iteration, but I was lazy this year. However, I can note that the first toss-up of the first packet, with answer line "The Purloined Letter," was not answered correctly in any of 16 rooms. Crazy!
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Lighthouse Expert Elinor DeWire »

ValenciaQBowl wrote: I usually have a conversion chart made from the Valencia iteration, but I was lazy this year. However, I can note that the first toss-up of the first packet, with answer line "The Purloined Letter," was not answered correctly in any of 16 rooms. Crazy!
Derek So picked that answer up after my team negged :mad:

I liked the set, and I think it should be mirrored in more places as an introductory set restricted to novices. Was a distribution ever posted? I didn't enjoy the only 2/2 Fine Arts.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Yeah, I only have 2/2 fine arts because I like to include 1/1 geography and 1/1 current events or trash. So it goes like this:

Lit 4/4
History 4/4
Science 4/4
RMP 3/3
FA 2/2
Geo 1/1
Trash/CE 1/1
Social science 1/1

I don't have a big rationale for this other than it's the way I've always done it, and it seems to work for the CC field in Orlando.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Considering that a lot of people really don't get much exposure to the fine arts in real life, that seems like a perfectly reasonable thing for a set meant to serve an introductory purpose to do.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

Chris doesn't need me to play Monday morning quarterback, but I would imagine fine arts might see (depending on the type of topics plumbed) better conversion rates than philosophy or social science (although from what I've seen, the set's social science is usually extraordinarily accessible). I actually have never noticed the distribution quirk anyway until explicated here, so it seems fine.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

The diminution of fine arts is indeed a little weird. As I noted, it just sort of happened, so any rationale I put forward is after-the fact, but I think the main reason it came about is that back in the dark ages of the late 90s, for my own writing purposes, I broke the FA distribution into two categories: visual art and music.

Veterans of old DB discussions may remember that I also increase the quantity of America-based material in both literature and history (since I think that helps novice CC players), so the distribution definitely doesn't really hew to mACF expectations.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Lighthouse Expert Elinor DeWire »

Cheynem wrote:Chris doesn't need me to play Monday morning quarterback, but I would imagine fine arts might see (depending on the type of topics plumbed) better conversion rates than philosophy or social science (although from what I've seen, the set's social science is usually extraordinarily accessible). I actually have never noticed the distribution quirk anyway until explicated here, so it seems fine.
Yeah, the 2/2 SS/phil seemed weird while playing a pseuo-highschool set, and it always seemed (apart from the American content of course) the hardest part of the set.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Not "pseudo-high school"--it's a CC set. There's a difference (the median player at my tournament is likely not nearly as strong as the one at a good HS tournament, for instance, while the top 4-7 players might be very similar). But I'd love to hear specifics about SS or philosophy questions/answer lines that seemed harder than the rest of the set.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by minusfive »

I really enjoyed the set; one question sticks out to me though. The tossup on a colour (blue, I think? or green?) begins with a clue about a Matisse work being partially titled for "this color", and had I not been beaten to the buzzer (with a neg) I would have negged with red ("Dessert: Harmony in Red"). What, if anything, differentiates the colours which Matisse apparently used in titles?
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by wd4gdz »

minusfive wrote:I really enjoyed the set; one question sticks out to me though. The tossup on a colour (blue, I think? or green?) begins with a clue about a Matisse work being partially titled for "this color", and had I not been beaten to the buzzer (with a neg) I would have negged with red ("Dessert: Harmony in Red"). What, if anything, differentiates the colours which Matisse apparently used in titles?
The tossup refers to Blue Nude (Souvenir de Biskra).
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by sonstige »

This color partly names an Henri [ahn-REE] Matisse painting that was inspired by a trip to Biskra and depicts a reclining nude woman. In a series called Anthropometries, naked women covered in a shade of this color named for Yves Klein made imprints of themselves on canvas. Jonathan Buttall wears clothing of this color in a Thomas Gainsborough painting. A group partly named for this color that attempted to express spiritualism in painting included Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky as members. For 10 points, name this color often used to depict the sea or a clear sky.
ANSWER: blue
It's question 15 from Round 4.

I think the challenge with the wording on this one is that before the term "Biskra," it's not uniquely identifiable enough to justify buzzing given the many Matisse works that have various colors in their titles. Probably an improvement here would have been rephrasing the first sentence to something like: "A trip to Biskra inspired an Henri Matisse painting partly titled for this color which depicts..."
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by wd4gdz »

sonstige wrote:
This color partly names an Henri [ahn-REE] Matisse painting that was inspired by a trip to Biskra and depicts a reclining nude woman. In a series called Anthropometries, naked women covered in a shade of this color named for Yves Klein made imprints of themselves on canvas. Jonathan Buttall wears clothing of this color in a Thomas Gainsborough painting. A group partly named for this color that attempted to express spiritualism in painting included Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky as members. For 10 points, name this color often used to depict the sea or a clear sky.
ANSWER: blue
It's question 15 from Round 4.

I think the challenge with the wording on this one is that before the term "Biskra," it's not uniquely identifiable enough to justify buzzing given the many Matisse works that have various colors in their titles. Probably an improvement here would have been rephrasing the first sentence to something like: "A trip to Biskra inspired an Henri Matisse painting partly titled for this color which depicts..."
If the first couple of words of a tossup are not uniquely identifiable enough to justify buzzing, then one should probably not buzz, just as one wouldn't buzz two words in on a tossup beginning "This man..."
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit »

wd4gdz wrote: If the first couple of words of a tossup are not uniquely identifiable enough to justify buzzing, then one should probably not buzz, just as one wouldn't buzz two words in on a tossup beginning "This man..."
This isn't a good analogy. If you're playing a tournament where it's very possible to get tossups on the first clue and are facing players that you know know enough to make those buzzes, it's not completely (just mostly) ill-advised to buzz in on the chance that you snipe the question based off an educated guess of what Matisse works are difficulty appropriate to be the leadin to the tossup. This problem would of course be solved by the rewording suggested by Travis above.

I enjoyed playing this set (even if it had a lot more US history than normal mACF). My only complaint is that in the tossup on "swords," Guan Yu's Green Dragon Crescent Blade is used in the leadin, when it's actually a polearm type weapon.
Last edited by Masked Canadian History Bandit on Wed Jul 08, 2015 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by minusfive »

Over and above Patrick's point (and completely agreeing with Travis), this qualifies as a "non-differentiable clue" (similar to people getting hosed on legitimate knowledge of "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" or "The Swimmer" when the first clue is the protagonist not recognizing the stars above him) and is thus not the same as a non-clue descriptor ("this figure," "this entity" etc.).
It's not fair to require someone to know more about the subject than the question appears to, and the first "clue" in this case can be correctly answered "blue," "red," or even "pink." It's as if you negged someone buzzing on a first clue of "this writer of "Nine Stories" with Salinger because your answer line said Nabokov (both wrote a text with this title).
Perhaps Travis should join the writing team for next year.

EDIT: Are we still doing phrasing?
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I agree that the simple fix is just rearranging the clues in the sentence (especially if it was the first sentence of the tossup). In general, though, there are always slight ambiguities in sentences that require the person hearing the question to either use context clues or wait to rule out other possible answers.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by women, fire and dangerous things »

"This color partly names an Henri Matisse painting" is, in fact, not a clue, because it's part of a longer clue. There are tons of paintings named after colors (even a number of Matisse ones - it could also have been green or yellow), such that a reasonable player would not expect that to be the end of the clue. It's true that the problem could have been avoided by different phrasing, but it's also true that by buzzing on those words alone you're knowingly taking a large risk, which is not analogous to the "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"/"Swimmer" situation.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Cody »

women, fire and dangerous things wrote:"This color partly names an Henri Matisse painting" is, in fact, not a clue, because it's part of a longer clue. There are tons of paintings named after colors (even a number of Matisse ones - it could also have been green or yellow), such that a reasonable player would not expect that to be the end of the clue. It's true that the problem could have been avoided by different phrasing, but it's also true that by buzzing on those words alone you're knowingly taking a large risk, which is not analogous to the "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"/"Swimmer" situation.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Captain Sinico »

Clues should be ordered so as to minimize the extent to which it's rational for a player with perfect knowledge (of a clue) to take a probabilistic risk (A knowledgable player may hear the first few words, think "Knowing Matisse, I know this is one of maybe 3 or 4 colors, which means I've got a shot. The other team's going to buzz in a moment anyway." and buzz.) and so as to avoid awarding/punishing (severely) partial knowledge (A somewhat less knowledgable player may hear the first few words, think "As far as I know, there's one Matisse painting with a color in its title." and buzz.) Here, as often, those issues are two sides of the same coin. For those reasons, that's not an ideal lead-in and I'd have changed it, either through something like the suggested change of word order or by adding an earlier clue.

Note that since the above reasoning applies to some extent to any clue and not just the lead-in*, I'd have altered the word order to disambiguate this clue anywhere it might have appeared. I suspect most people's sympathy for a player who buzzes at a clue with a reasonable (given that clue) but wrong guess decreases as we move into the question. I concur with that only to a point - I sympathize about the same (not very much) with such a buzz anywhere in the question.

All that said, it's certainly not the worst lead-in one could dream up, and I don't think a player who negs after buzzing on the lead-in has a fairness case against the question. It's just a question that could have been slightly better!

*As the player by hypothesis didn't know the earlier clues enough to buzz off them and as they expect a question with multiple, independent clues, it's not wholly fair to expect them to use those unknown, earlier clues to disqualify answers admitted by a later clue (though it's fine if they are able to do that - most good players are!)
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by sonstige »

minusfive wrote:Perhaps Travis should join the writing team for next year.
It's a kind thought, but I've got enough things to keep me busy (i.e. my *mostly* single-handed attempt to revive Sun n Fun!); usually,though, Borglum has a group of us playtest DB a few days / weeks before it happens in Orlando.

While I don't remember this specific question during the playtesting, I'd guess that we most likely sat on it waiting for additional verbiage to exclude all non-blue answerlines.

In the position of a hypothetical TD, if a team buzzed in before "Biskra" and said "red" (or whichever other non-blue color that works here), I'd be sympathetic to a protest (as in, "You asked me to name a color in the title of a Matisse painting, so 'red' is technically correct!"); however, I'm not sure if that's a universally accepted attitude.

Some may argue: "No, I asked you to name a color in the title of a Matisse painting that was inspired by a trip to Biskra --- only you interrupted me before I said Biskra." In such a case, though, I'd still be more inclined to err in favor of the player than with the question writer.

Now, if a team buzzed in after simply "This color" and said "red" or "green" or literally any non-blue color, then I'd be less sympathetic to a protest.; however by the same logic as before, someone could say, "You asked me to name a color, so 'puce' is technically correct!"

To avoid this, I'd just as rather attempt to phrase the question in such a way as to eliminate as much as possible these scenarios.

In this case, moving the idea "appears in the title of a Matisse painting" before "this color" eliminates answers like "puce", but does not eliminate "red" or "green". Now, including "Biskra" and "appears in the title of a Matisse painting" before "this color", you have eliminated the answerline of "puce", but also "red", "green", and all non-blue colors. Any non-blue answers here would be unambiguously incorrect (unless you named a shade of blue, but that's probably its own separate topic).

Either phrasing of the question is still playable, IMO, but the original is certainly set up to bait players into plausible early guesses that are inconsistent with the intended answerline. I'd think when writing questions, that's a thing to try and avoid as much as possible.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Cody »

sonstige wrote:In the position of a hypothetical TD, if a team buzzed in before "Biskra" and said "red" (or whichever other non-blue color that works here), I'd be sympathetic to a protest (as in, "You asked me to name a color in the title of a Matisse painting, so 'red' is technically correct!"); however, I'm not sure if that's a universally accepted attitude.

Some may argue: "No, I asked you to name a color in the title of a Matisse painting that was inspired by a trip to Biskra --- only you interrupted me before I said Biskra." In such a case, though, I'd still be more inclined to err in favor of the player than with the question writer.

Now, if a team buzzed in after simply "This color" and said "red" or "green" or literally any non-blue color, then I'd be less sympathetic to a protest.; however by the same logic as before, someone could say, "You asked me to name a color, so 'puce' is technically correct!"
The situations are exactly the same: a player buzzed before sufficient information was given that could determine an answer. This is not protestable and falls on the player to avoid being not smart about buzzing. I'd say it's absurd that anyone moderately versed in the English language and modern quizbowl could treat "This color partly names an Henri [ahn-REE] Matisse painting" as both a complete clue or sufficient unto itself to determine the answer. That's more than enough grounds to deny any protest.

Now, this isn't to say that the lead-in shouldn't just be re-arranged so that all the information needed to answer is up front (it should). This makes the question slightly better, as Mike Sorice has noted. However, making a dumb buzz is ultimately on the player and this lead-in isn't problematic in any fairly large way.
Last edited by Cody on Wed Jul 08, 2015 3:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by wd4gdz »

Do people think the way this tossup (from ACF Regionals 2015) begins is okay?
"Cristobal de Morales composed a work in this genre..."

I think it's okay because there's clearly stuff after the ... that gives you more info and the ability to buzz definitively. Sure, you could buzz prematurely and have pretty much a 50-50 shot with either madrigals or motets. However, that requires in-depth music knowledge of a relatively obscure composer. I think the situation is analogous with the Matisse tossup.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by sonstige »

Cody wrote:a player buzzed before sufficient information was given that could determine an answer
The subtlety here is that before Biskra, the player was given enough information to determine an answer, just not necessarily the intended answer of the question writer.

If you want players to answer "blue" --- fine. One simple approach is establish "blue" unambiguously right away, either by re-ordering the clues or (like Sorice points out) by including an additional preceding clue for that purpose.

It can be called a "dumb buzz" (probably more of a "high risk buzz") by answering before the intended answerline is uniquely established. I don't disagree with that whatsoever. As a general practice, though, I'd think the better approach to question writing is to avoid ambiguities as much as possible, particularly in lead-ins --- which this question failed to do. Again, it's a playable question, just not ideal.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Yay! We're getting interesting and useful discussion here! (Or at least it's interesting and useful to me).

The first thing I'll say is that Jordan is correct that for players listening to this question in game time, there's a short period of ambiguity at the beginning of that toss-up, which is not ideal. However, I suggest that that time period is very brief--the time it takes to read the following information that makes the Matisse painting being alluded to concretely identifiable seems to take about two seconds, but I understand that that's a lot more time than it takes to be beaten to a buzz. Still, it's not like that ambiguous clue hangs there for too long, I think.

I think Travis's fix--putting the Biskra and reclining nude information before the dropping of "this color" (the identifier of the answer type)--makes sense, as it eliminates any pressure on players to feel that they better guess to avoid losing the question to a better guess by an opponent. But then I'm reminded of some criticism of some DB questions from a couple years ago (2011 or 12, maybe?) by Charlie Dees about not dropping the identifier ("this novel," "this ruler," etc.) within the first few words, a critique that was echoed by some others. So maybe rewriting the question this way would've worked best:

"This color partly titles a painting inspired by a trip to Biskra featuring a reclining nude by Henri Matisse."

Regardless, in the way it was actually written, one's opponent has no more concrete information on which to buzz than oneself, so I don't think a player is in danger of being beaten unless the opponent makes a guess (as apparently Jordan's opponent did wrongly in their match).

Anyway, I appreciate the discussion, as I'm always happy for good commentary to help in my writing and editing. But at risk of justifying a poor formulation, I'm certain the CC players at my site weren't bothered by it.

EDIT: grammarzz
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Cody »

sonstige wrote:
Cody wrote:a player buzzed before sufficient information was given that could determine an answer
The subtlety here is that before Biskra, the player was given enough information to determine an answer, just not necessarily the intended answer of the question writer.
No—there isn't enough information to uniquely determine ANY answer and it's clear from the wording that the clue is not complete. Your view is that the partial phrase is ambiguous, but that's not how quizbowl works; it's on the player not to buzz on a clue that is very clearly incomplete and ambiguous because it hasn't been read in full yet. Your reasoning here would be the exact same as saying that the partial phrase "This color" or "This color partly titles" is "enough information to determine an answer, just not necessarily the intended answer of the question writer"—after all, how many colors can you toss up at Delta Burke? how many that title a painting?—which you've stated above is not true.

(which, again, is not to say that the lead-in can't be made perfectly cromulent by just re-arranging the sentence. but the idea that any buzz that early was justifiable is wrong.)
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by sonstige »

Cody wrote:Your reasoning here would be the exact same as saying that the partial phrase "This color" or "This color partly titles" is "enough information to determine an answer, just not necessarily the intended answer of the question writer"
What I think is the main issue here (putting the tangents aside --- which are probably great discussion points for a separate thread, if you want) is that the lead-in to the "blue" question has avoidable ambiguity, and that it is evident that the question writers/editors anticipated the first "clue" which established the unique answerline to be taken as all (or most) of the first sentence.

In some cases, such ambiguity is unavoidable or is quickly mitigated; as written, this question achieves that when it mentions "Biskra," but is that too late in the question to prevent someone from guessing a color that titles a different Matisse painting? Borglum's proposed rewrite is better at resolving this.

Still, guessing a color then trying to argue that it satisfies being in the title of a Matisse work on a protest (before "Biskra" is mentioned) --- I've seen this sort of thing ruled in favor of the player before, with the justification that the question was not clear enough to eliminate the player's answer at the time of buzzing. Maybe that ruling was wrong. As said, I'm open for sidebarring that discussion since I'm not sure how much that will detract from the main focus of providing DB feedback.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

The rewritten clue is better, but the original clue was not meaningfully "wrong", nor should a potential protest have been resolved in favor of the player, given that there were at least five potential answers at the buzz point. Seems pretty straightforward.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Muriel Axon »

Not that it matters much, but I tend to resolve such situations by changing phrases like "This color partly names an Henri Matisse painting that was inspired..." to "An Henri Matisse painting titled in part for this color was inspired..." which I think makes it clear that the clue is not over and keeps "this color" early in the sentence. Of course, Will, Cody, Rob, et al are right - even in the original formulation, it's your problem if you take the plunge - but this tournament is written for community college players, so I can understand the consternation.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

But wait, Shan--if I understand your very last (maybe even throwaway) point, I disagree--inexperienced CC players are far LESS likely (like, zero percent) to simply guess wildly at the mention of a color without further clues. Heck, in my experience, the newbies are sometimes unwilling to guess after the question is finished, even when they have a good idea about the answer. The bigger consternation comes when folks want to use Delta Burke questions for tournaments involving players with grad-level experience playing the game.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by sonstige »

To expose (or further expose?) my ignorance on the subject, but in what case is it appropriate to provide a TU answerline of the form: "ANSWER: XYZ (also accept ABC before 'D' is mentioned)" ?

By Cody's previously given logic, this construct is nonsensical as a player would have buzzed in on an incomplete clue (i.e. that which does not uniquely identify the answerline of XYZ). However, the question writer has acknowledged that ABC, up until a certain point, D, is also an appropriate response.

To me, this scenario is a consequence of ambiguity based on the clue selection the writer elected to employ (although the question writer could have always reworded things to avoid this to begin with); and to concede this, the question writer is saying, "Eh, I'll allow more than one answer because more than one thing satisfies the information I've provided to a certain point --- and why penalize the player for not anticipating the continuation of the question beyond that point?"

I'd say this scenario is entirely hypothetical, but a very quick packet archive search returns many examples of this sort of phenomenon.

As such, why is this fundamentally different than if the DB "blue" question had an answerline: "ANSWER: blue (also accept yellow, red, green, ..., or purple before 'Biskra' is mentioned)" ? Sure, the amount of allowable alternate answers would need to be many in this example (again, why the current lead-in would have benefited from minor rewording to avoid this situation entirely).

I suppose what I'm attempting to say here is: when is it appropriate to concede at least one or more alternate answers as acceptable due to non-specific writing, and when isn't it?

In the case of the "XYZ, also accept ABC before D" case --- had the "also accept ABC before D" not been included, and a player protested with ABC, it seems some opinion in this thread is that the player has no grounds to protest for buzzing on a "partial clue" that did not uniquely establish XYZ.

Perhaps this is why I struggle to reconcile what distinguishes a partial clue vs. an ambiguous clue. In the "blue" question, I see the lead-in as an ambiguous clue because it opens multiple legitimate answerline possibilities (i.e. those which satisfy naming colors in the title of a Matisse painting) before "Biskra" is mentioned; whereas thoughts in this thread tend to indicate that it's merely a partial clue that merits no legitimate buzzes until "blue" is uniquely established.

And again, not to derail the DB conversation --- this is just a curiosity inspired by this discussion.


EDIT: Word choice --- yikes.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Well, this IS the DB discussion (I'm hopeful other questions may be discussed as terrible or wonderful, but not expectant), so no derailing. But Travis, I think you're fighting too hard over a clue structure that isn't really, pace Jordan, hurting players. QB questions sometimes have small gaps during which information is being conveyed that players have to wait through. For instance, how about a hypothetical toss-up that begins, "An Elizabeth Bishop poem describes this animal as "...." Well, a player could get all excited and buzz in with any number of animals here, as Bishop wrote about many, but no good player would. Maybe here you would suggest an inversion of that hypothetical toss-up to begin "This animal is described as "..." in a poem by Elizabeth Bishop, and that might be better. But it doesn't mean the previous question allows negging with any old animal Bishop ever described and then protesting.

The takeaway from all this for me is good--I'm writing DB questions all this week, and now I'm definitely thinking about this kind of construction. But I appreciate the comments of those who agree that the common-sense way of playing such a question is to wait for the identifiable information.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Cody »

sonstige wrote:To expose (or further expose?) my ignorance on the subject, but in what case is it appropriate to provide a TU answerline of the form: "ANSWER: XYZ (also accept ABC before 'D' is mentioned)" ?

By Cody's previously given logic, this construct is nonsensical as a player would have buzzed in on an incomplete clue (i.e. that which does not uniquely identify the answerline of XYZ). However, the question writer has acknowledged that ABC, up until a certain point, D, is also an appropriate response.

To me, this scenario is a consequence of ambiguity based on the clue selection the writer elected to employ (although the question writer could have always reworded things to avoid this to begin with); and to concede this, the question writer is saying, "Eh, I'll allow more than one answer because more than one thing satisfies the information I've provided to a certain point --- and why penalize the player for not anticipating the continuation of the question beyond that point?"

I'd say this scenario is entirely hypothetical, but a very quick packet archive search returns many examples of this sort of phenomenon.
Specifically in the case I think you are talking about*, you see this when a question is describing, say, a novel by an author. But in doing so, the answerline identifier isn’t until the end of the sentence, so the question writer also accepts the novel before “this author” is read. For what it’s worth, I think that’s a bad way to go about things and you can nearly always write the lead-in to avoid such ambiguity. And, indeed, quizbowl has moved away from it.

* The more common case, I would say, is when another answer is truly acceptable because all the clues (in full) apply to it – whether we’re talking a subset of the answerline or a closely related answerline. For example, in a question I wrote for NASAT (not yet clear)—I was describing a subset of a process and so took the subset until a deeper point in the question because it was correct.
sonstige wrote:As such, why is this fundamentally different than if the DB "blue" question had an answerline: "ANSWER: blue (also accept yellow, red, green, ..., or purple before 'Biskra' is mentioned)" ? Sure, the amount of allowable alternate answers would need to be many in this example (again, why the current lead-in would have benefited from minor rewording to avoid this situation entirely).

I suppose what I'm attempting to say here is: when is it appropriate to concede at least one or more alternate answers as acceptable due to non-specific writing, and when isn't it?

In the case of the "XYZ, also accept ABC before D" case --- had the "also accept ABC before D" not been included, and a player protested with ABC, it seems some opinion in this thread is that the player has no grounds to protest for buzzing on a "partial clue" that did not uniquely establish XYZ.

Perhaps this is why I struggle to reconcile what distinguishes a partial clue vs. an ambiguous clue. In the "blue" question, I see the lead-in as an ambiguous clue because it opens multiple legitimate answerline possibilities (i.e. those which satisfy naming colors in the title of a Matisse painting) before "Biskra" is mentioned; whereas thoughts in this thread tend to indicate that it's merely a partial clue that merits no legitimate buzzes until "blue" is uniquely established.
I think there are a couple of clear differences in this case. For one, including such answers completely defeats the point of the question. If you allow a player to answer with any number of wrong colors based on a partial clue, then there’s no point in having a question on a specific color. For two, I think it’s clear to anyone paying attention to the question that the partial phrase “This color partly titles a Matisse painting” is not a real clue that you’re supposed to buzz on—it’s a partial phrase that, unavoidably, does have a lot of possible answers because the full clue hasn’t been read. The big question for me is always “is this phrasing clear to the player”**? Here I would say: it is clear to the player that the clue is incomplete at the point the answerline identifier is dropped. (to go back again: this is not to say that the lead-in can’t be improved—it can).

** One of the top five questions you should ask yourself when writing a question.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Muriel Axon »

ValenciaQBowl wrote:The bigger consternation comes when folks want to use Delta Burke questions for tournaments involving players with grad-level experience playing the game.
Well, I'm not shedding any tears for Jordan Palmer!
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by minusfive »

To find unique, obscure, yet still "know-able" lede-ins (yes, I know it's been officially declared that no one uses lede-in, and in fact, I don't know why anyone would) is a real challenge which demands good writing. A number of people have stated that the question could be re-written easily ("A Matisse Nude titled for this color etc."), which I agree with, but I have to say I can't agree that this ends the discussion.
I find Travis and Chris' point to be valid. There's no way for a player to know what constitutes a "whole clue" (apart from signifiers such as "this x") as opposed to a "partial clue" during a game. Sometimes this is legitimate; I also negged the Gospel of John with Luke on "go and..." (where I was thinking the next words would be "and do the same" but in fact were "and sin no more"), but as a first clue, I think it needs a rigid designator (yes, I don't know what that term means in its original context) almost right away. A player buzzing in with "red" on what appears to be a whole clue (but isn't) surely has a legitimate grievance against "when I say a thing, it means exactly what I want it to mean and nothing else" reasoning that appears to have carried the day.
As for whether ambiguity like this is ok for some levels of quizbowl (where players might not buzz as early), I'd just say that standards of quality writing shouldn't vary, only difficulty should. Delta Burke is almost without exception a well-written tournament, even if the difficulty is somewhat different from other levels of play.
Muriel Axon wrote:Well, I'm not shedding any tears for Jordan Palmer!
Umm, thanks, I guess? Or go to hell, depending on what that incoherent statement means.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I think what Shan means is that this tournament wasn't your first rodeo but you're probably aware that not every phrase in a question is a complete and discrete clue and that if there is a slight ambiguity in clues (which it seems like that everyone who buzzed on this question realized when they did so), you might need to wait.

Again, I think it's best to just rearrange the wording, but "oh, this could apply to a few things, so I'll guess on one" seems dangerous wording to reward.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

If you (or anyone) was unaware that there are many Matisse paintings with colors in the titles, and chose to buzz on that phrase alone, then they did not know as much as they thought. You either thought that there was only one such painting, and were wrong, or chose to guess among several, and it didn't pay off. There's no "ambiguity", as the question hasn't yet even offered specificity - the game is working as intended. It would be better to rephrase the question (to discourage players from wildly guessing) but there's nothing strictly wrong with the original, since there has to be a point at which it's no longer the question's responsibility to dissuade the player from making a bad buzz.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by theMoMA »

The buzz was not optimal because it came before a concrete, uniquely identifying clue. The question was not optimal because it encouraged buzzing before a concrete, uniquely identifying clue. Ideally, questions would be better and this situation would not occur. But in this particular instance, the onus is placed on the player to make optimal buzzes, because the alternative involves intractable protest rules.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by at your pleasure »

theMoMA wrote:The buzz was not optimal because it came before a concrete, uniquely identifying clue. The question was not optimal because it encouraged buzzing before a concrete, uniquely identifying clue. Ideally, questions would be better and this situation would not occur. But in this particular instance, the onus is placed on the player to make optimal buzzes, because the alternative involves intractable protest rules.
How many times have we been through "bad questions are not protestable"?
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

I find Travis and Chris' point to be valid. There's no way for a player to know what constitutes a "whole clue"
Sorry, Jordan--I don't think I endorsed that point. I did agree that I could've edited the question better (I didn't write that one, I don't think), but I DO think experienced players know that sometimes certain phrasings may allow a bit of ambiguity to hang very briefly, and in such cases one should wait till s/he's got something tangible to buzz on.

My summary: that question should've been better phrased at the beginning, but I don't think it "encouraged" good players to buzz recklessly.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Cody »

There's plenty of ways to know whether a clue isn't complete or not, including but not limited to "this isn't a complete sentence", "there are connecting clauses being read", and "if this was a whole clue, it would be farcical on its face because it makes no sense". The lead-in to the painting question falls under the last category.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by Deepika Goes From Ranbir To Ranveer »

Woot, I missed this discussion.

So I'm the much-maligned individual that negged this TU (I buzzed in with "green" because The Green Stripe was in my head). And I was a little grumpy about it, but on the whole there isn't too much to bitch about. I don't think it's the same thing as buzzing on "This man...", because you've been presented with no information whatsoever there. But it is comparable to buzzing on "This word titles a Nathaniel Hawthorne story..." and whining if the answerline turns out to not be "Burial" (I've been told he might have written other stories).

So not the best lede-in, perhaps, but ultimately I buzzed in while fully aware of the existence of The Red Room and The Blue Nude, and I picked the one I thought might make the best lede-in clue. Why I chose to buzz there was because I was playing a strong team and I get a savage player in beating Jordan Palmer to things. But, ultimately, all I got was a minusfive.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by minusfive »

Now that we've beaten Matisse and his ROYGBIV-infused titles to death, perhaps we could talk about the TU on abolition of slavery that began "This was the goal of the Manumission Society?"
I must stress that these questions were the exception to a very good tournament.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl »

Yeah, I wrote that one, and I was fully aware of the simple, one-to-one, definitional way to answer the toss-up. But for my audience, I was happy to give ten early points to players who know what "manumission" means. Our CC field isn't made up of fancy-pants Canadian lawyers, you know!

Consider this: only one team at Valencia's iteration of Delta Burke, the tournament winner State College of Florida (nee Manatee CC, who also won CCCT), averaged over 20 ppb, and they barely made it at 20.07. Only four other teams broke 15 ppb (one at just over 16, the other three between 15-16). Eight of the 24 teams didn't break 10 ppb. Compare this to the Waterloo mirror, where the lowest-ranked team--a team that went 0-7 and lost its games by an average of 339 points!--averaged 20.28: more than the DB champion!!!!

So what I'm saying is that that clue isn't egregiously easy for my field. However, I am open to a philosophical point that a purely definitional clue shouldn't appear that early regardless.

Also, not to quibble, but "manumission" doesn't appear in the first clue:
This action is the subject of John Greenleaf Whittier’s 1833 work Justice and Expediency. The New York Manumission Society, led by John Jay, had this change as its goal. Josiah Wedgwood crafted medallions pushing for it with the slogan "Am I Not a Man And a Brother?" Illinois printer Elijah Lovejoy was killed by a mob for supporting this action. FTP, what is this social stance advocated by Henry Ward Beecher and John Brown, which was codified in law by the Emancipation Proclamation and the Constitution’s 14th Amendment?
ANSWER: Abolition of slavery (accept reasonable synonyms for “abolition,” like “elimination”--at least in Orlando)
On reading it again, I'm mostly struck by a kind of clunkiness in the short, simple sentences I used.
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Re: Delta Burke 2014 Set Discussion

Post by minusfive »

ValenciaQBowl wrote:Our CC field isn't made up of fancy-pants Canadian lawyers, you know!
My pants are unfortunately not fancy, but I'm working on it. Recently my wife sewed on a blue button on grey (yes, damn you, not "gray") pants. It fell off but it was the fanciest thing I've ever owned.
ValenciaQBowl wrote:only one team at Valencia's iteration of Delta Burke, the tournament winner State College of Florida (nee Manatee CC, who also won CCCT), averaged over 20 ppb
I love Bradenton! Insert favourite (yes, not favorite, dammit!) joke about sex on the beach/Snooty
ValenciaQBowl wrote: Compare this to the Waterloo mirror, where the lowest-ranked team--a team that went 0-7 and lost its games by an average of 339 points!--averaged 20.28: more than the DB champion!!!!
Yes, we may have been slightly more experienced than the actual field. Very fun (cf. college games of drunk "Reach for the Top")
ValenciaQBowl wrote: not to quibble, but "manumission" doesn't appear in the first clue
My bad. Although on seeing the whole question, I should note that Elijah Lovejoy wasn't really "Illinois;" he was chased out of St. Louis a year or two before his death in Illinois.
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