ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

I am pleased to announce the 2020 Michigan Winter Tournament, a regular-minus-difficulty tournament to be available for mirrors starting January 2020.

The tournament will be written largely by members of the University of Michigan club, as well as several outside editors. The following people will be editors for the tournament (in alphabetical order):

Harris Bunker [UCSD] -- philosophy, social science
Emmett Laurie [Rutgers] -- US literature, history
Evan Lynch [Southampton] -- overall difficulty and quality control
Matt Mitchell [Colorado] -- physics, CS
Eric Mukherjee [ex-Penn] -- bio, chem
Jacob O'Rourke [ex-Truman State] -- literature
Rudra Ranganathan [Michigan] -- myth
Conor Thompson [Michigan] -- math, other science, religion, geography, other academic
Jeremy Tsai [Maryland] -- auditory fine arts
Chandler West [Auburn] -- visual fine arts

This will be a closed tournament, with the exception of an online playtesting mirror to be announced later. Teams must consist of players from one school, which can be a middle school, high school, college, or any other well-defined educational institution. Other than at the online playtest mirror, chimera teams will not be allowed. If you are directing a mirror and would like to request an exception to these eligibility rules, please email me ([email protected]) with your request. If you are playing a mirror and would like to request an exception to these eligibility rules, you will need to clear it both with me and with the tournament director of your mirror.

Our target difficulty is a 2 on the quizbowl calendar scale; we hope to produce a tournament similar in difficulty to past instances of EFT and somewhat easier than ACF Regionals. My goal is for the set to be interesting and break new ground without being particularly oppressive in difficulty; I don't believe that spiciness has to come at the expense of accessibility and will be doing my best to put that philosophy to work in my writing and editing.

The tournament will consist of fifteen packets of 22/22, intended to be read in their entirety and using the following distribution (all categories will have an equal representation as tossups and bonuses):

4 Literature
1 American
1 British
1 European
1 World

4 Science
1 Biology
1 Physics
0.75 Chemistry
0.625 Math (about two-thirds pure and one-third applied)
0.625 Earth/Astro/CS/Other

4 History
1 American
1 European
0.5 Asia (incl. the Middle East and other non-East Asia things)
0.5 World Non-Asia
1 "Grab Bag" (incl. Commonwealth, ancient, other, etc.)

3.5 Fine Arts
1 Classical Music
1 Painting
0.75 Other Auditory/Performance
0.75 Other Visual

2.5 "Thought"
1 Philosophy
1.5 Social Science (split six ways equally between economics, linguistics, anthropology/archaeology, psychology/sociology, IR/polisci, and other social science)

2 "Beliefs"
1 Religion (split evenly between Judeo-Christian and not that)
1 Mythology (split 6/4/6 between Greco-Roman, other European, and non-European)

2 Other
1 Geography
1 Other Academic

Questions will be powermarked.

There will not be a designated finals packet; hosts not using all fifteen packets are free to use either packets 14/15 for finals or simply to continue in order. For tournaments which are using all the packets, or which might be using them for tiebreakers, we will provide a short packet of "extras" to use as tiebreakers or replacements. This will likely consist of fewer than ten tossups and fewer than five bonuses.

We are seeking mirrors in each of the following regions. The mirror fee will be $40 per non-house team. If you are interested in hosting a mirror, email me at [email protected]; if you are not in one of the listed regions or believe that your region could support multiple mirrors, we would still like to hear from you -- this is not an exhaustive list! (Likewise, we understand that there may not be mirrors in all of these regions.)

We would prefer mirrors in January or February to provide teams with a tournament to play during those months that is not Regs or SCT, but if you feel your circuit would be better served by a March mirror, we are open to that possibility.

As mentioned above, we expect hosts to read all 22/22 of the packets, rather than only the first 20/20 as many mirrors of e.g. NAQT's high school sets do. We will be keeping a strong control on question length (I expect all questions to be shorter than 750 characters, or 6-7 lines of 10-point TNR) in order to make sure that this doesn't lead to a significantly higher time burden on hosts.

List of Mirrors
New England: Harvard (date TBD)
Northeast: Rutgers (15 February 2020)
Mid-Atlantic: VCU (1 February 2020)
North: Iowa (29 February 2020)
Midwest: Michigan (18 January 2020)
Canada: Waterloo (11 January 2020)
Southeast: Auburn (18 January 2020)
Texas: North Texas (22 February 2020)
Southern California: California-San Diego (1 February 2020)
United Kingdom: Southampton (29 February 2020)

The Internet [open]: Discord (21 December 2019, playtest mirror)

Social Distancing Mirror [open, tossups only]: Discord (21 March 2020)
Last edited by CPiGuy on Sat Mar 14, 2020 4:41 pm, edited 40 times in total.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by heterodyne »

Does this tournament have a head editor? If not, how do you plan on handling the well-documented issues that arise in the absence of one?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

heterodyne wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 12:32 pm Does this tournament have a head editor? If not, how do you plan on handling the well-documented issues that arise in the absence of one?
Based on conversation in the Discord, I realized that I was somewhat fundamentally misinformed about the nature of a head editor. So, to answer this question:

I will be managing the logistics and organization for the set, so we will have a central person to manage that. We have also brought Evan Lynch on to oversee difficulty consistency and control, as well as question quality, across categories (thanks, Evan!). Between the two of us, we will be fulfilling the roles generally performed by a head editor.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by Carlos Be »

CPiGuy wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:42 am I expect all questions to be shorter than 850 characters, or 7 lines of 10-point TNR
850 characters is still quite long— for comparison NASAT has a maximum of 900 characters. 24 tossups of 850 characters is about the length of 22 tossups of 900 characters, and 24 bonuses will take substantially longer than 20 bonuses regardless of question-length since the bulk of time spent on bonuses is from conferring.
CPiGuy wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:42 am This will be a closed tournament, with the exception of an online playtesting mirror to be announced later.
This should be a decision left to local TDs. If a TD wants to run an open tournament, the editors of the set should trust that the TD understands their region and thus has a very good reason for running an open tournament. Sure, the TD can ask for permission from the editors, but why should the person that understands what's going on need to ask permission from an editor on the other side of the country?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

justinfrench1728 wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:33 pm
CPiGuy wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:42 am I expect all questions to be shorter than 850 characters, or 7 lines of 10-point TNR
850 characters is still quite long— for comparison NASAT has a maximum of 900 characters. 24 tossups of 850 characters is about the length of 22 tossups of 900 characters, and 24 bonuses will take substantially longer than 20 bonuses regardless of question-length since the bulk of time spent on bonuses is from conferring.
Unfortunately you have been scooped. This has been edited to 750 characters based on my having received feedback to this effect from several others. We are planning on a hard cap of 750 characters and keeping most questions under 700.
justinfrench1728 wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:33 pm
CPiGuy wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:42 am This will be a closed tournament, with the exception of an online playtesting mirror to be announced later.
This should be a decision left to local TDs. If a TD wants to run an open tournament, the editors of the set should trust that the TD understands their region and thus has a very good reason for running an open tournament. Sure, the TD can ask for permission from the editors, but why should the person that understands what's going on need to ask permission from an editor on the other side of the country?
I don't want to turn this into a thread about the merits of open mirrors, but you're wrong, and editors absolutely have a right to set restrictions on how their questions should be played. I'm not an unreasonable person; if you have a good reason to hold a mirror as open I'll grant it, but you're going to have to explain why you need it. This also makes sure that we're 100% transparent about which mirrors are open so we avoid situations where TDs are holding "semi-open" mirrors without making that information public.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by Cody »

justinfrench1728 wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:33 pm
CPiGuy wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:42 am I expect all questions to be shorter than 850 characters, or 7 lines of 10-point TNR
850 characters is still quite long— for comparison NASAT has a maximum of 900 characters. 24 tossups of 850 characters is about the length of 22 tossups of 900 characters, and 24 bonuses will take substantially longer than 20 bonuses regardless of question-length since the bulk of time spent on bonuses is from conferring.
I generally agree about the tossup length, and think that reducing the length of tossups when the number of tossups increases is the right move.

Bonus length is probably the most important component, though, and must be strictly controlled in order to have matches run smoothly. (This was a problem with the first mirrors of FST this year.)

Related, 16 packets is pretty ambitious and equivalent to 19.2 packets of 20/20. If I recall correctly, 15 packets is sufficient for all field formats (using statistical tiebreakers).
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by Jack »

The distribution, difficulty, and length of tossups of this tournament together look very appealing. Looking forward to playing this at Rutgers next year! Will this tournament be powermarked, or is it 10's and negs only?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

jacke wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:50 pm The distribution, difficulty, and length of tossups of this tournament together look very appealing. Looking forward to playing this at Rutgers next year! Will this tournament be powermarked, or is it 10's and negs only?
Ugh, I knew I'd missed something.

The tournament will have powers.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by Jack »

CPiGuy wrote: Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:11 pm Ugh, I knew I'd missed something.

The tournament will have powers.
:party: :party: :party:
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

After some internal discussion we've tweaked the distribution a bit. Most importantly, it's now 22/22. Length is unchanged.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

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Another adjustment to the initial announcement: we will be providing 15 full packets and a set of tiebreakers/replacements. There will still be no designated finals packets; teams are welcome to use packets 14/15 or just follow on from the last round if they have fewer than 13 non-finals rounds.

Also, this set is now over 50% complete! As a reminder, we're still looking for mirrors in many regions. Please contact me if you're interested in hosting one!
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

We've set dates for the Michigan and Auburn mirrors of this, as well as announced an online playtest mirror.

If you're interested in hosting a mirror of this tournament, please contact me! We'll also be actively soliciting mirrors in most of the regions that we don't have a mirror in already.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

A few updates:

We now have mirrors in New England (Harvard), Texas (North Texas), and the North (Iowa).

We'd love to get sites in the Mid-Atlantic region (preferably in Virginia or North Carolina), and in Florida, Canada, the UK, Northern California, and the Pacific Northwest if possible!

Jeremy Tsai has also replaced Tyler McMaken as auditory fine arts editor.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by rdc20 »

Will a North Texas forum post go up soon? Thanks.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

We're likely to host an open, tossups-only online mirror of this tournament in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for an announcement.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

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This tournament has been submitted to the packet archive for uploading.

Thanks to everyone who hosted, played, or was otherwise involved with a tournament using this set.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Michigan Winter Tournament (Winter 2020)

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I decided to write one or two nice things about everyone I worked with on this set. I'm going to try to do this with every set I work on in a major role the future, and I hope it catches on -- we could all use more positivity.

Mollie Bakal contributed a creative Judaism common link that unfortunately had to be cut due to overlap issues, as well as a cool modern history question.

Harris Bunker’s work on the logistical side of set production (packetization, etc.) was truly invaluable, and I appreciated his creative and “real” take on the expanded social sciences distribution, as well as his knowledge of all the math I’m bad at.

Austin Foos contributed a few creative history bonuses to the set, including a really neat common link bonus on assassinations in American history.

In addition to a number of classical music questions, Beverly Fu contributed her trademark immunology knowledge; we also chose her tossup on the small intestine to be TU1 in Packet 1.

Colton Graham wrote one question for this set when we were in need of physics content, and it was an interesting tossup with a cool applied lead-in.

I don’t know very much about classical music, but James Hadley was a strong contributor to that category and great to work with; his questions played well when I read them too.

Editing Sean Higgins’s geography questions was a pleasure -- he submitted a number of inspired ideas, especially on areas of the world I’m weaker on.

Emmett Laurie was an incredible workhorse on this set, editing 5/5 of the distro (and doing a great job of it!) and writing a ton of literature to boot; without his hard work, this set might not have been finished.

Having Evan Lynch on board as a head editor was really important to the set’s overall consistency; he did a great job of keeping our ambitions in check and making sure we stayed on our difficulty target.

Tyler McMaken contributed a number of really creative auditory arts questions on less traditional answerlines, and was definitely a factor in making that category compelling.

Matt Mitchell was our physics and computer science editor and did a good job of it, in my opinion deftly avoiding many of the pitfalls that often plague quizbowl computer science questions.

Eric Mukherjee knows lots of things about chemistry and biology, and his experience and expertise ensured that those categories turned out well.

The non-American literature was edited by Jacob O’Rourke, who did a great job of it, as well as writing one of my personal favorite bonus parts of the set, on “you must change your life”.

Ameya Phadnis wrote over 5.5% of the set, almost all of it in science; he was a major contributor to this set’s chemistry and biology and deserves a ton of credit for how it turned out.

Rudra Ranganathan was responsible for the numerous creative mythology ideas and did a great job with that category. His contributions to the religion were also interesting and gave me a lot to work with.

Aleija Rodriguez was an enthusiastic contributor to this set’s literature and fine arts, and did a great job of incorporating feedback and consciously improving his writing skills.

James Stevenson wrote a few really cool tossups for this set; in particular, I thought his tossup on the Great Depression in Canada was a great idea and well-executed.

Jeremy Tsai put a bunch of work into both the visual and auditory arts in this set, and took over as editor for the latter and did a great job. There were a lot of other auditory arts ideas that I really liked, despite being very bad at the category.

Allan VanZandt also wrote only one question for this set, an astronomy question for the final push, but it was a fun and creative question and I appreciate his pitching in.

Chandler West did a great job as visual arts editor, taking full advantage of the expanded “other visual arts” categories to ask about a lot of really interesting things.
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