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The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State 
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Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Questions Galore HOSE wrote:
Calculate the derivative of 4x<sup>2</sup>-7x-ln(x)


That's a legit calculation (although I acknowledge that some people think that's an oxymoron). I don't know why you wouldn't wait until the mod stopped talking, especially when there are plenty of polynomial functions in the real world that have a ln term.

To elaborate: the calculations I thought were terrible were the ones that required you to find the surface area of more complicated solids AND multiply out by pi to get a decimal answer (all within 15 seconds).


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/3023101/'>PaxHispanica</a>, May 11 2009, 07:39:14 PM.</div>


Mon May 11, 2009 6:34 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
U. Lou Sthagaim wrote:
There was at least one math hose:
Questions Galore HOSE wrote:
Calculate the derivative of 4x<sup>2</sup>-7x-ln(x)

At the end of the bold part, any remotely competent math player would buzz in and say 8x-7. This is a blatant trick intended to punish players who are fast at math. In the case of the game I watched, it hosed Clayton, adding 20 points to (read: doubling) the margin between Truman and Clayton.
Yeah...I was really very annoyed at that question. That seemed like a completely deliberate mislead.

Also, to those referencing past tournaments Clayton has attended, I am aware that we have participated in a few here and there over the past few years, and even had some decent players. However, all I was saying is that we don't have much of a tradition or a training regimen set up at our school. Hence, the development of individual player has caused a drastic improvement in our team over the past few months. Again, I am not legitimizing our victory over NKC since I am pretty sure we would get crushed with good questions.


Mon May 11, 2009 6:35 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
PaxHispanica wrote:
Questions Galore HOSE wrote:
Calculate the derivative of 4x<sup>2</sup>-7x-ln(x)


That's a legit calculation (although I acknowledge that some people think that's an oxymoron). I don't know why you wouldn't wait until the mod stopped talking, especially when there are plenty of polynomial functions in the real world that have a ln term.
Yeah, I know. I realize that I really should have waited on it, and I definitely beat myself up over it after making that error. Still, I think that question just represents a larger trend within QG questions. Most degenerate into buzzer races, rewarding early and rash buzzing, but at the same time many have misleading intros. I just find that to be a contradiction in the setup of the game. If you know material, and go fast, you get punished. But if you know material and wait, then you get punished because the last clue is pretty obvious to all players and you end up in the middle of a buzzer race.


Mon May 11, 2009 6:38 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
PaxHispanica wrote:
I don't know why you wouldn't wait until the mod stopped talking
Imagine saying that about any other category of question.


Mon May 11, 2009 6:41 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
ashkenaziCD wrote:
Imagine saying that about any other category of question.
Imagine that math calculation is a different type of question... like, what, are you supposed to blitz math now? :P


Mon May 11, 2009 6:45 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
The whole point is that math calculations suck and shouldn't be in quizbowl.


Mon May 11, 2009 6:48 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Quote:
At the end of the bold part, any remotely competent math player would buzz in and say 8x-7. This is a blatant trick intended to punish players who are fast at math. In the case of the game I watched, it hosed Clayton, adding 20 points to (read: doubling) the margin between Truman and Clayton.


I agree, and I felt bad "stealing" those points. I almost buzzed in after the 7x, but I had a strong feeling that more was coming (in fact, I distinctly remember thinking some sort of ln term could come next).

On another note, you were in there that round? Wow, I must have been completely out of it. I didn't notice anyone in the room, though I don't think I looked back toward the chairs, even once.


Mon May 11, 2009 6:57 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Quote:
The whole point is that math calculations suck and shouldn't be in quizbowl.


There's been a lot of debate about this, but I think that on the whole, math calculation is a perfectly acceptable format under certain conditions. People on this forum have emphasized the "theory" behind math, but in the real world you're supposed to put theory into practice, in other words, like, actually do math.

That being said, a lot of the QG questions, specifically the ones that ask you to do crazy things like multiply out by pi, are pedantic and obnoxious. However, the ones that simply ask you to take an (anti)derivative are perfectly legitimate, in my opinion. While this may create the dreaded "buzzer race," this can be solved by elevating the process to a reasonable level of difficulty, i.e. one that takes around 10 seconds to perform properly. While this obviously varies by person, given the proper research and effort, I feel reasonable math calculation questions could be routinely composed and used in competition.


Mon May 11, 2009 7:03 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
About the computation thing, I actually think that question falls into a gray area. You can have the same situation in another topic like history--for example, if I buzz in too early on something like "He led United States troops in Vietnam" *Buzz*--Westmoreland--incorrect--"from 1968-1972." (Abrams) Pyramidality (with its early uniquely defining clues) helps with that, but theoretically that situation is possible in other topics as well.



<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89143/'>Charbroil</a>, May 11 2009, 08:08:03 PM.</div>


Mon May 11, 2009 7:06 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
With regards to math calculations, I agree with Marc that they can be good if made more conceptually difficult and less numerically stupid. That is, none of the multiplying by pi silliness. Also, the calculus and general math in QG sets are usually fairly elementary. It would be nicer if they had and integral that wasn't just a one step. Maybe one where you had to use trigonometric substitution or something like that. Also, all of the math in the QG sets is high school level. This is completely different from other questions, where you find plenty of stuff not covered in a standard high school curriculum. Similarly, instead of asking basic stuff like the volume of some cone, math calcs would be better with more higher level math.
Also, the question sets are sorely lacking on mathematical history, famous mathematicians, and famous theorems. i.e. non-calc math.


Mon May 11, 2009 7:09 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
PaxHispanica wrote:
Quote:
The whole point is that math calculations suck and shouldn't be in quizbowl.


There's been a lot of debate about this, but I think that on the whole, math calculation is a perfectly acceptable format under certain conditions. People on this forum have emphasized the "theory" behind math, but in the real world you're supposed to put theory into practice, in other words, like, actually do math.

That being said, a lot of the QG questions, specifically the ones that ask you to do crazy things like multiply out by pi, are pedantic and obnoxious. However, the ones that simply ask you to take an (anti)derivative are perfectly legitimate, in my opinion. While this may create the dreaded "buzzer race," this can be solved by elevating the process to a reasonable level of difficulty, i.e. one that takes around 10 seconds to perform properly. While this obviously varies by person, given the proper research and effort, I feel reasonable math calculation questions could be routinely composed and used in competition.
Then how come nationally computation is being reduced and reduced into irrelevancy. If a true solution to the problem of keeping computations pyramidal existed, you would think that around the country (and especially universally at the college level) they would have implemented that solution already.


Mon May 11, 2009 7:09 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Charbroil wrote:
About the computation thing, I actually think that question falls into a gray area. You can have the same situation in another topic like history--for example, if I buzz in too early on something like "He led United States troops in Vietnam" *Buzz*--Westmoreland--incorrect--"from 1968-1972." (Abrams) Pyramidality (with its early uniquely defining clues) helps with that, but theoretically that situation is possible in other topics as well.
I'll agree with Charles here.


Mon May 11, 2009 7:13 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
ashkenaziCD wrote:
Then how come nationally computation is being reduced and reduced into irrelevancy. If a true solution to the problem of keeping computations pyramidal existed, you would think that around the country (and especially universally at the college level) they would have implemented that solution already.
This is kind of a massive logical fallacy.

I could think of any number of reasons from the logical: you can't do most college level math problems in 15 seconds, to the absurd: writing math calculation questions gives people bad gas.


Mon May 11, 2009 7:17 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
PaxHispanica wrote:
ashkenaziCD wrote:
Then how come nationally computation is being reduced and reduced into irrelevancy. If a true solution to the problem of keeping computations pyramidal existed, you would think that around the country (and especially universally at the college level) they would have implemented that solution already.
This is kind of a massive logical fallacy.

I could think of any number of reasons from the logical: you can't do most college level math problems in 15 seconds, to the absurd: writing math calculation questions gives people bad gas.
Or maybe it's because nationwide standards hold quizbowl up to be something more than a test of robotic number crunching speed and instead be a game that promotes instruction and learning indepth. If you threw in your solution to math calculation questions in the distribution of a tournament in, say, Washington D.C., there would be some pretty heavy reviling. Read here for more argument that it really is something that is pretty unworkable - http://hsapq.com/math.html


Mon May 11, 2009 7:27 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
ashkenaziCD wrote:
Read here for more argument that it really is something that is pretty unworkable - http://hsapq.com/math.html
The arguments on the link are as follows

1. It is not possible to write math calculation tossups in the pyramidal style [because it is ultimately a buzzer beater]

I've already addressed this.

2. Math calculation tossups are fundamentally unlike all other quizbowl because "Quizbowl is about recall of factual and conceptual knowledge."

you need factual and conceptual knowledge to perform a math calculation. This argument is stupid.

3. Math calculation tossups do not educate

Sure they do, if you don't know how to take a derivative, you can be like, hey, Jack Chen, how do you take a derivative?

4. Math is covered in other questions in the packet

This argument presents no reason why math calculation is inherently bad. Also, i've already addressed this.

5. The canon of askable math calculation is too small

This is untrue. There are thousands of concepts you can ask about, especially on the college level.

6. Math is adequately covered in other competitions

I'm pretty sure there are competitions which cover every focus of quiz bowl, e.g. History Day, Science Olympiad, Historical Essay contests etc. And this is just on the high school level. I'm sure there are plenty of other pursuits in college that overlap knowledge with quiz bowl.


Mon May 11, 2009 8:06 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
PaxHispanica wrote:
ashkenaziCD wrote:
Read here for more argument that it really is something that is pretty unworkable - http://hsapq.com/math.html
The arguments on the link are as follows

1. It is not possible to write math calculation tossups in the pyramidal style [because it is ultimately a buzzer beater]

I've already addressed this.

2. Math calculation tossups are fundamentally unlike all other quizbowl because "Quizbowl is about recall of factual and conceptual knowledge."

you need factual and conceptual knowledge to perform a math calculation. This argument is stupid.

3. Math calculation tossups do not educate

Sure they do, if you don't know how to take a derivative, you can be like, hey, Jack Chen, how do you take a derivative?

4. Math is covered in other questions in the packet

This argument presents no reason why math calculation is inherently bad. Also, i've already addressed this.

5. The canon of askable math calculation is too small

This is untrue. There are thousands of concepts you can ask about, especially on the college level.

6. Math is adequately covered in other competitions

I'm pretty sure there are competitions which cover every focus of quiz bowl, e.g. History Day, Science Olympiad, Historical Essay contests etc. And this is just on the high school level. I'm sure there are plenty of other pursuits in college that overlap knowledge with quiz bowl.
If I were judging this as a rebuttal in a debate round, I'd definitely vote against you. You either do not comprehend the points on the HSAPQ site or are misconstruing them to fit your previous statements (with particular regards to point 3 which is a very cogent statement that math calculation as practiced is a series of tricks memorized, not actual knowledge applied and a trick is something a prostitute does for money ... or cocaine), I don't really care which. Their statement is essentially the following: math calculation essentially turns into a buzzer beater because you usually have q's like the egregious one at State (the derivative one) which does not comport with pryamidality at all. Pyramidal questions have an established answer usually based in the first words and are not written in ways that punish the truly knowledgeable simply because the moderator has not gotten out enough information. Those questions are hoses. Secondly, the point of pyramidal questions, which you blithely overlook, is that it is impossible to write a calucalation tossup in the pryamidal structure of HARDEST CLUE AS LEADIN, EASIER BUT HARD CLUE, MEDIUM CLUE, For ten points, EASIEST CLUE. I do not even see where or how you address this in writing as that is basically the argument on their site.


Mon May 11, 2009 8:20 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
ok, maybe this wasn't clear, but here goes. We don't love pyramidal questions because the name sounds cool. We love them because they eliminate buzzer beaters. I've already talked about how to eliminate buzzer beaters with regard to math calculations. Thus it doesn't really matter that math calculations can't be "pyramidal," as long as they aren't buzzer beaters.

Oh no! "Tricksy" math! It's not like it has like... a defined, empirically proven process or anything... :P

Like... I guess if knowing that the derivative of ln(x) is a trick... I don't know. This is ridiculous.

Furthermore, I've already addressed how the "egregious" derivative question was actually pretty legit.


Mon May 11, 2009 8:26 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
That's not the only reason why we love pyramidal questions - they provide a combination of teaching new facts, reinforcing old ones, and rewarding those who do learn more about the topic. They don't prevent a buzzer race from happening if 2 people know the same fact and buzz on it (which happens most often at giveaways). Also, there still doesn't seem to me to have been a satisfactory response to the portion of the argument where we're saying that there isn't really a good reason why it is OK to set aside 20% of the round and say it is going to be written about in a completely different way than the other 80%. I would think that you would have to agree that in order to create the most logically consistent game of quizbowl, we would need a setup where everything was pyramidal, not where everything is pyramidal but one thing that is reliant on natural skills of calculating speed.
It doesn't inherently prove someone knows more about math if they buzz in faster on any kind of calculation, but it does show they know more about it if they buzz in early on a pyramidal question about a math concept. We have this out to create a more logically consistent game, why argue to keep making it more nonsensical?


Mon May 11, 2009 8:35 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
U. Lou Sthagaim wrote:
Questions Galore HOSE wrote:
Calculate the derivative of 4x<sup>2</sup>-7x-ln(x)
I don't know how this question went down, but if it was a hose, that seems to be more based on a moderator ambiguously pausing than actually being written as a hose.


Mon May 11, 2009 8:35 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
PaxHispanica wrote:
ok, maybe this wasn't clear, but here goes. We don't love pyramidal questions because the name sounds cool. We love them because they eliminate buzzer beaters. I've already talked about how to eliminate buzzer beaters with regard to math calculations. Thus it doesn't really matter that math calculations can't be "pyramidal," as long as they aren't buzzer beaters.

The whole point of the High School Academic Pyramid Questions is to make q's that are pyramidal. Which is why your responses to their site are 1) unconsidered and 2) inappropriate. And frankly, no, no you haven't shown how to eliminated buzzer beaters in math q's. If anything the derivative of 4x2-7x-lnx q shows (especially given the tedious pace a MSHSAA mod reads) that they trigger hoses. Doing "research" to make questions take 10 seconds is precisely what NAQT tried to do and guess what? More tricks, more buzzer races, more games swinging on a facet of the game not evidenced in any part of the distribution. Some of us have been doing this for over a decade now (quite a few of us with degrees in mathematics), and it has become increasingly obvious over time to all of us that it simply isn't feasible.

And if you don't believe me, you try writing the little buggers.


Mon May 11, 2009 8:35 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Quote:
The whole point of the High School Academic Pyramid Questions is to make q's that are pyramidal.


well, yes... one would assume... lol

Quote:
they provide a combination of teaching new facts, reinforcing old ones, and rewarding those who do learn more about the topic.


So do math calculations. No one has ever stated differently.

Quote:
there isn't really a good reason why it is OK to set aside 20% of the round and say it is going to be written about in a completely different way than the other 80%.


How about because we're trying to treat all facets of human knowledge? And that you can't "canonize" all of that? Seems like a dece response to me.

Quote:
we would need a setup where everything was pyramidal, not where everything is pyramidal but one thing that is reliant on natural skills of calculating speed.


why? oh right, I forgot that we need pyramidal questions so that we can have pyramidal questions.

(see my earlier post and above arguments for actual reasons why we have the pyramidal structure)

Quote:
It doesn't inherently prove someone knows more about math if they buzz in faster on any kind of calculation, but it does show they know more about it if they buzz in early on a pyramidal question about a math concept.


Then make the calculation reflect a particular concept... Why can't they do this?

Quote:
Doing "research" to make questions take 10 seconds is precisely what NAQT tried to do


this is nice, but doesn't actually say what the problem was.


Mon May 11, 2009 8:48 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
PaxHispanica wrote:
Quote:
Doing "research" to make questions take 10 seconds is precisely what NAQT tried to do


this is nice, but doesn't actually say what the problem was.


It does if you read the rest of the post, instead of cherry picking statements and quoting them out of context to try to prove a point. You see, THIS. THIS is why no one in the rest of the country on the hs circuit respects MO Debate either. None of them ever learn to engage the other side and rebut, they just say what they were always going to say and never adapt to the other side or the audience.


Mon May 11, 2009 8:54 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
scphilli wrote:
PaxHispanica wrote:
Quote:
Doing "research" to make questions take 10 seconds is precisely what NAQT tried to do


this is nice, but doesn't actually say what the problem was.


It does if you read the rest of the post, instead of cherry picking statements and quoting them out of context to try to prove a point. You see, THIS. THIS is why no one in the rest of the country on the hs circuit respects MO Debate either. None of them ever learn to engage the other side and rebut, they just say what they were always going to say and never adapt to the other side or the audience.
I'm actually going to go with it's because speaking at a faster than conversational rate and arguments like kritiks and counterplans are widely discouraged... but yeah. Ok.


Mon May 11, 2009 8:57 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
scphilli wrote:
PaxHispanica wrote:
Quote:
Doing "research" to make questions take 10 seconds is precisely what NAQT tried to do


this is nice, but doesn't actually say what the problem was.


It does if you read the rest of the post, instead of cherry picking statements and quoting them out of context to try to prove a point. You see, THIS. THIS is why no one in the rest of the country on the hs circuit respects MO Debate either. None of them ever learn to engage the other side and rebut, they just say what they were always going to say and never adapt to the other side or the audience.
No, it really doesn't. Your post goes on to say that tricks still existed, but you don't say what naqt did, how they implemented the policy, for how long the trial period was, what the exact results were, what the methodology was, etc. Furthermore you never really elaborate on what a "trick" is in the first place. It's not my fault you don't provide any substantive information for me to rebut.

Notice how you still don't actually say what the problem was...

If you provide me with some sort of actual study/experiment that proves math calc doesn't work, i'll shut up.


Mon May 11, 2009 9:00 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
To clarify my point:

1) Marc proposed a solution to make math q's less of a buzzer race and therefore justify math calc's existence in the distribution.
2) I stated that Marc's solvency had been attempted by some of the foremost experts on mathematics in quizbowl (NAQT) who are more eminently qualified than he who has never attempted such. They found that it solved for none of the problems and only created the disad of wasting time and effort.
3) Marc ignored the disadvantage and miscontextualized the response.

The affirmative is hereby dropped on solvency.


Mon May 11, 2009 9:00 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
scphilli wrote:
To clarify my point:

1) Marc proposed a solution to make math q's less of a buzzer race and therefore justify math calc's existence in the distribution.
2) I stated that Marc's solvency had been attempted by some of the foremost experts on mathematics in quizbowl (NAQT) who are more eminently qualified than he who has never attempted such. They found that it solved for none of the problems and only created the disad of wasting time and effort.
3) Marc ignored the disadvantage and miscontextualized the response.

The affirmative is hereby dropped on solvency.
I'm pretty sure MO debaters aren't respected for their command of solvency presses either.


Mon May 11, 2009 9:01 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
carpenoctem63141 wrote:
I'm pretty sure MO debaters aren't respected for their command of solvency presses either.
Dude, solvency defense doesn't win championships. . . offense, offense, offense. . .


Mon May 11, 2009 9:08 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
scphilli wrote:
To clarify my point:

1) Marc proposed a solution to make math q's less of a buzzer race and therefore justify math calc's existence in the distribution.
2) I stated that Marc's solvency had been attempted by some of the foremost experts on mathematics in quizbowl (NAQT) who are more eminently qualified than he who has never attempted such. They found that it solved for none of the problems and only created the disad of wasting time and effort.
3) Marc ignored the disadvantage and miscontextualized the response.

The affirmative is hereby dropped on solvency.
what? seriously? fine.

2) You dropped that your statement has no warrants. You still provide no evidence, specifics, or even a witty anecdote. Furthermore, your DA is not impacted. But that doesn't matter because it's unwarranted to begin with.

3) dropping the DA functionally makes no difference as there is no carded impact; and at least I made a response instead of shadowextending everything.

Affirmative wins all flows because neg can't make a warranted response. To anything.


Mon May 11, 2009 9:09 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
PaxHispanica wrote:
scphilli wrote:
PaxHispanica wrote:
Quote:
Doing "research" to make questions take 10 seconds is precisely what NAQT tried to do


this is nice, but doesn't actually say what the problem was.


It does if you read the rest of the post, instead of cherry picking statements and quoting them out of context to try to prove a point. You see, THIS. THIS is why no one in the rest of the country on the hs circuit respects MO Debate either. None of them ever learn to engage the other side and rebut, they just say what they were always going to say and never adapt to the other side or the audience.
No, it really doesn't. Your post goes on to say that tricks still existed, but you don't say what naqt did, how they implemented the policy, for how long the trial period was, what the exact results were, what the methodology was, etc. Furthermore you never really elaborate on what a "trick" is in the first place. It's not my fault you don't provide any substantive information for me to rebut.

Notice how you still don't actually say what the problem was...

If you provide me with some sort of actual study/experiment that proves math calc doesn't work, i'll shut up.
It wasn't an experiment as much as their whole approach to math calc which can be found in just about any NAQT IS set for the last decade. Instead of basically saying "find the derivative of 4x2-7x-ln" they'd be written as follows (QUOTING IS68):

A first-class postage stamp in Freedonia now costs an unknown whole number of
gold coins. The same stamp had cost 38 gold coins until the Freedonian government raised the price by
approximately 21 percent. To find the new price it helps to notice that 21 percent is slightly more than one
fifth. (*) For 10 points—give the new price, in gold coins, of first-class postage in Freedonia.
ANSWER: 46

Let's dissect this a bit. In the first sentence, we know what the q is asking for the whole number of gold coins. The second statement tells you how to find that number. The third gives out a nifty little trick for getting close. The final sentence is just driving the point home of what it is they're asking for. Pretty much anyone who has been playing or coaching by this point knows to use the trick that NAQT themselves put in the answer line after the answer (38 X 1.21) because it's just that simple. NAQT rigorously implements this policy on the hs level by taking exquisitely detailed statistics of what questions went answered, unanswered, negged, etc. and compares them to an optimal model of desired correct answers in the field which they'd ideally have even amongst the distribution. I am not privy to exact results as I am not a member of this organization. I don't have to be. They pretty much admit, there is no way to write these pyramidally or as anything other than here's the trick (by which I mean shorthand that no one actually has to have real knowledge on ust the ability to plug and chug numbers), good luck.

Contrast that with a math theory q in the same packet:

These entities are the points of a projective space. Each step of Newton's method involves constructing one
whose single root is the next approximation. A pair of them comprise the degenerate (*) hyperbola x squared
minus y squared equals 0. They are the graphs of first-degree polynomials and have constant slope. For 10
points—name these geometric objects defined by two distinct points.
ANSWER: lines

As you can see MUCH more information is being communicated in the theory question as opposed to the calculation question. And it is using the information in a way that rewards the person with the most in-depth knowledge in the first sentence, something the calculation question simply can't do. It rewards something that is studied in real life and actually is germane to people's work. One thing you will learn once you are out of high school is how useless a lot of the things that matter to you now (like math calc. which is insanely laughable that it takes such prominence on the ACT and SAT and then a complete backseat to a large percentage of college majors) aren't actually knowledge. They're just little pieces of shorthand (like quadratic formula to pop goes the weasel) designed to aid speed and reflex. That is what a trick is.

And like I said, you try writing the little buggers. Your solution does not work and only places an excessive burden already over-worked writers. This is why we don't ask you "to analyze the meaning of a primary historical source, interpret the symbolism in a literary passage, perform a science experiment" per the HSAPQ site.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89056/'>scphilli</a>, May 11 2009, 10:22:23 PM.</div>


Mon May 11, 2009 9:19 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
scphilli wrote:
It wasn't an experiment as much as their whole approach to math calc which can be found in just about any NAQT IS set for the last decade. Instead of basically saying "find the derivative of 4x2-7x-ln" they'd be written as follows (QUOTING IS68):

A first-class postage stamp in Freedonia now costs an unknown whole number of
gold coins. The same stamp had cost 38 gold coins until the Freedonian government raised the price by
approximately 21 percent. To find the new price it helps to notice that 21 percent is slightly more than one
fifth. (*) For 10 points—give the new price, in gold coins, of first-class postage in Freedonia.
ANSWER: 46

Let's dissect this a bit. In the first sentence, we know what the q is asking for the whole number of gold coins. The second statement tells you how to find that number. The third gives out a nifty little trick for getting close. The final sentence is just driving the point home of what it is they're asking for. Pretty much anyone who has been playing or coaching by this point knows to use the trick that NAQT themselves put in the answer line after the answer (38 X 1.21) because it's just that simple. NAQT rigorously implements this policy on the hs level by taking exquisitely detailed statistics of what questions went answered, unanswered, negged, etc. and compares them to an optimal model of desired correct answers in the field which they'd ideally have even amongst the distribution. I am not privy to exact results as I am not a member of this organization. I don't have to be. They pretty much admit, there is no way to write these pyramidally or as anything other than here's the trick (by which I mean shorthand that no one actually has to have real knowledge on ust the ability to plug and chug numbers), good luck.

Contrast that with a math theory q in the same packet:

These entities are the points of a projective space. Each step of Newton's method involves constructing one
whose single root is the next approximation. A pair of them comprise the degenerate (*) hyperbola x squared
minus y squared equals 0. They are the graphs of first-degree polynomials and have constant slope. For 10
points—name these geometric objects defined by two distinct points.
ANSWER: lines

As you can see MUCH more information is being communicated in the theory question as opposed to the calculation question. And it is using the information in a way that rewards the person with the most in-depth knowledge in the first sentence, something the calculation question simply can't do. It rewards something that is studied in real life and actually is germane to people's work. One thing you will learn once you are out of high school is how useless a lot of the things that matter to you now (like math calc. which is insanely laughable that it takes such prominence on the ACT and SAT and then a complete backseat to a large percentage of college majors) aren't actually knowledge. They're just little pieces of shorthand (like quadratic formula to pop goes the weasel) designed to aid speed and reflex. That is what a trick is.

And like I said, you try writing the little buggers. Your solution does not work and only places an excessive burden already over-worked writers. This is why we don't ask you "to analyze the meaning of a primary historical source, interpret the symbolism in a literary passage, perform a science experiment" per the HSAPQ site.
The funny thing is that the question you provided isn't a terrible example of a pyramidal question. The first sentence states what you're looking for. The second statement tells you what to do. If you know what to do with that information, you can begin performing the calculation immediately. If you don't, the next sentence tells you what to do. Note that this is fairly similar to the concept of pyramidal questions getting easier as they progress.

And yes, I think you do have to know the results of a study to evaluate its effectiveness. That's kind of like... the point.

As for your second example, yes, it's a very nice question. But I've already discussed how someone with knowledge of a mathematical concept as it relates to an operation has a distinct advantage on your first question.

Also, I think knowing how to multiply is a LOT more germane to people's work than knowing that a pair of lines comprise the degenerate hyperbola x squared minus y squared = 0. :P

Furthermore, just because I don't want to write qb questions doesn't mean other people shouldn't try to improve. That is, after all, what they get paid to do.

Quote:
One thing you will learn once you are out of high school is how useless a lot of the things that matter to you now (like math calc. which is insanely laughable that it takes such prominence on the ACT and SAT and then a complete backseat to a large percentage of college majors) aren't actually knowledge. They're just little pieces of shorthand (like quadratic formula to pop goes the weasel) designed to aid speed and reflex. That is what a trick is.


I've just discussed how your "tricks" are perfectly acceptable.

Also, nice sentence. :P


Mon May 11, 2009 9:38 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
scphilli wrote:
As you can see MUCH more information is being communicated in the theory question as opposed to the calculation question. And it is using the information in a way that rewards the person with the most in-depth knowledge in the first sentence, something the calculation question simply can't do. It rewards something that is studied in real life and actually is germane to people's work. One thing you will learn once you are out of high school is how useless a lot of the things that matter to you now (like math calc. which is insanely laughable that it takes such prominence on the ACT and SAT and then a complete backseat to a large percentage of college majors) aren't actually knowledge. They're just little pieces of shorthand (like quadratic formula to pop goes the weasel) designed to aid speed and reflex. That is what a trick is.
If the point is to reward something that is studied in real life, then why don't we analyze novels? That would be much more applicable to the study of English than recall of factual knowledge in the book. Even though literature questions are not perfect by your own standards, we still acknowledge they have a place in quiz bowl. Similarly, just because it's difficult to write good math calculation doesn't mean we should throw it out entirely.

Also, math calculation is germane to the lives of many more people (essentially everybody) than math theory (math majors).


Mon May 11, 2009 9:52 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
uuuggh...I never want to hear the word solvency on these forums again...dear lord...I totally foresaw this debate becoming a policy round. *barfs*
excuse my feeble PuF mind.


Mon May 11, 2009 10:06 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
I won't deny that the given problem is legitimate.

My classification of that question as a "hose" is related to the fact that this question completely lacks pyramidality. There is only one place a player can buzz on that question - at the very end. Every single person who knows how to calculate that derivative is racing to complete the calculation, and the only way to gain an advantage against other players is to be faster on the buzzer. At least when I was in high school, if you heard a bunch of successive (ab)xb terms with descending b, you could reasonably expect that once you hear the (a1)x term, the only remaining term will be a constant, and since it wouldn't have any effect on the answer, you could safely buzz at that point if you calculated the terms as they were read. Basically, because there is no pyramidality, you have to resort to stupid tricks to gain an advantage. All adding an ln(x) term to the end of it does is penalize people who calculate the derivative as the moderator is reading and buzz in at a logical point in the question.

Admittedly, at one point in high school, before I was formally introduced to good question writing practices, I considered writing (and may have even written) a math computation with a cosine term tacked on to the end with the specific intent of tricking people who buzzed immediately after the (a1)x term. (Note that such a question never made it into an actual tournament packet) Even if it wasn't Questions Galore's intent, I see this problem as doing the exact same thing.

Basically, I consider it a hose under the assumption that a question asking for the derivative of a sum of (ab)xb terms (with descending b) will not add any extra terms onto the end, and believe doing so punishes math players who, instead of writing what the moderator reads (4x2-7x...) and performing the calculation once the question is finished, do the simple calculation as the original polynomial is read and instead write 8x-7 and buzz at that point. Maybe my assumption is erroneous, but that's what I would have done, that's (presumably) what Ikshu did, and I'm sure there are a couple other people in other rooms who did the same thing. In either case, using that TRICK is the only way to answer the question earlier than the end, and that alone is enough to show that it's a bad question.


Mon May 11, 2009 10:21 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Yeah, I definitely understand how somebody could have been fooled there. That being said, I don't think there is any particular reason why one should assume that the next term is a constant. It's not as if the question said to "take the derivative of this polynomial," and thus it would be perfectly valid for the question to have continued ln(x) or 5x<sup>-1</sup> (which would continue the decreasing exponent). It's not as much a hose as simply a question that's not pyramidal.


Mon May 11, 2009 10:27 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
In the interest of conserving space, I'm not going to quote directly. First, Marc, I said I did not know the EXACT results of NAQT's research, because I am not privy to that information; I am merely to the general summation which is that after a decade of trying it didn't work. Second, Marc that first tu that was calculation: that's not pyramidal structure really. There is no real descending order of difficulty. If anything there are two clues. That's not enough to differentiate amongst the best.

This sentence is just rich: "Furthermore, just because I don't want to write qb questions doesn't mean other people shouldn't try to improve. That is, after all, what they get paid to do."

OK, this just irritates me. First off, a lot of us who do write, don't get paid for this. Second of all, what I have been trying to tell you and evidently need a sledgehammer to drive the point home, is that many people, many of whom have bachelors, masters, doctorates, etc. in math or were excellent math calc. players have been trying for years and years to write these questions is a way that isn't a buzzer race. It has not met with success. I don't care if you don't want to be part of the solution by writing, but don't tell people "fix it" when they've tried your approach and it doesn't work. I don't expect you to write, but until you understand the amount of time and effort it takes to produce a set that isn't a steaming pile like QG is (and that set I read this year at Lexington was probably the worst I've ever read in my life), you have no real idea how unrealistic your suggestion is or how (like Marie Antoinette before) disconnected such suggestions are from reality.

Course I'm sure you'll just skim this, selectively quote whatever you think makes for the sassiest reply, and grin like a toddler proud of using the potty. That seems to have been the general direction of these responses.

(By the way, acknowledging another person's point and then saying "but I've already discussed this" and not offering further comment is not helpful as it forces the other side to parse what is now at least a half dozen posts to figure out precisely WHERE this was previously discussed. And half the time, you are not discussing it with anywhere near the breadth or specificity as the point you are disputing. Just a note.)


Mon May 11, 2009 10:32 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
I'm not going to lie that I have some very real misgivings with how experience is not being factored into this equation. The people who keep arguing that computation has no place in good quizbowl by a pretty large majority are those of us that have the most experience with good quizbowl and are coming to the conclusion that computation doesn't work from extensive experimentation with it. Illinois has instituted what i think was the thing you argued for - longer and harder math questions with more time to perform them - and Greg Gauthier, Mathcounts national champion who played quizbowl in Illinois and is pursuing a math degree in college, has come on here and argued against computation. On a similar note, Sean Phillips has been playing quizbowl since the 1990s and has been involved in writing and editing most Wash U tournaments of this decade. Matt Chadbourne edited and directed multiple tournaments at Rolla (and wrote the computation for it, trying to mimic the style of that NAQT question you thought was fine), and Jeffrey Hill aided him. I've edited a tournament, am in the middle of editing another, and written what is pushing 1,000 questions for all the HSAPQ sets, this year's PACE National Championship, and independent tournaments and packets for the Mizzou submissions at college events. All the people making decisions for HSAPQ have edited dozens, possibly hundreds, of tournaments. In addition to that, all of us combined have attended or staffed hundreds or thousands of tournaments, including national championships where we see the best teams in the country playing each other (and watch the NAQT-style calculation not work at all). By contrast, it appears to me that all of you Ladue players have resumes in quizbowl that include no known written questions, much less edited tournaments, and partial annual attendance at about 1 regular season event per year, plus attendance at the MSHSAA series (what is nationally considered one of the worst, possibly least legitimate events of the year that is basically Dada quizbowl). You understand that if I, a person who marginally participated in debate once in my life, got into the debate discussion to ram my preferences down your throat, you would have right to be annoyed and would probably start telling me I'm wrong because no matter how much I argue my point, all of you with experience know that my points don't actually work, right? That may be a fallacy you are trained to pick apart, but I think the massive amount of experience on the side of those of us arguing against you speaks to something.


Mon May 11, 2009 10:42 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Also, I forgot to mention this, but the NAQT computation distribution is in fact being scrutinized pretty heavily by their higher ups - there was a survey of HSNCT coaches this year that asked if they wanted calculation to be removed, and there will be a much more extensive survey this year about possibly removing it from the HSNCT and potentially IS sets. So yes, they do have questions about whether their policy is failing.


Mon May 11, 2009 10:48 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
ashkenaziCD wrote:
I'm not going to lie that I have some very real misgivings with how experience is not being factored into this equation. The people who keep arguing that computation has no place in good quizbowl by a pretty large majority are those of us that have the most experience with good quizbowl and are coming to the conclusion that computation doesn't work from extensive experimentation with it. Illinois has instituted what i think was the thing you argued for - longer and harder math questions with more time to perform them - and Greg Gauthier, Mathcounts national champion who played quizbowl in Illinois and is pursuing a math degree in college, has come on here and argued against computation. On a similar note, Sean Phillips has been playing quizbowl since the 1990s and has been involved in writing and editing most Wash U tournaments of this decade. Matt Chadbourne edited and directed multiple tournaments at Rolla (and wrote the computation for it, trying to mimic the style of that NAQT question you thought was fine), and Jeffrey Hill aided him. I've edited a tournament, am in the middle of editing another, and written what is pushing 1,000 questions for all the HSAPQ sets, this year's PACE National Championship, and independent tournaments and packets for the Mizzou submissions at college events. All the people making decisions for HSAPQ have edited dozens, possibly hundreds, of tournaments. In addition to that, all of us combined have attended or staffed hundreds or thousands of tournaments, including national championships where we see the best teams in the country playing each other (and watch the NAQT-style calculation not work at all). By contrast, it appears to me that all of you Ladue players have resumes in quizbowl that include no known written questions, much less edited tournaments, and partial annual attendance at about 1 regular season event per year, plus attendance at the MSHSAA series (what is nationally considered one of the worst, possibly least legitimate events of the year that is basically Dada quizbowl). You understand that if I, a person who marginally participated in debate once in my life, got into the debate discussion to ram my preferences down your throat, you would have right to be annoyed and would probably start telling me I'm wrong because no matter how much I argue my point, all of you with experience know that my points don't actually work, right? That may be a fallacy you are trained to pick apart, but I think the massive amount of experience on the side of those of us arguing against you speaks to something.
I think the most convincing argument against math computation in quiz bowl is that it is difficult to pull off. There is certainly some merit to this idea, and I guess your experience here is important. However, I still object to the idea that math calculation is thus inherently bad, or that it doesn't matter anyway because it isn't as important to a college math major. When Mr. Phillips suggests that even if math calculation could easily be tested that it would still lack merit because it isn't "germane" to people's lives, that is where I object. Like I said earlier, recognizing books/authors based on facts or their works is hardly the focus of a major in English, yet that is what is covered in quiz bowl.

I think you also risk generalizing our views here. Marc, Jason, and I certainly do not have identical viewpoints on quiz bowl, and we most definitely don't always agree on debate.


Mon May 11, 2009 11:01 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Quote:
I think you also risk generalizing our views here.

Not really, I think my comment is relevant to everything the three of you have posted no matter what it is about.


Mon May 11, 2009 11:09 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
ashkenaziCD wrote:
Quote:
I think you also risk generalizing our views here.

Not really, I think my comment is relevant to everything the three of you have posted no matter what it is about.
What specifically is your comment?


Mon May 11, 2009 11:13 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
...that whole general point of the post?


Mon May 11, 2009 11:16 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
hugatree1715 wrote:
On another note, you were in there that round? Wow, I must have been completely out of it. I didn't notice anyone in the room, though I don't think I looked back toward the chairs, even once.
Yeah, Charlie, Matt, and I were all there in the very back of the room.


Mon May 11, 2009 11:23 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
That we lack experience? That we neglect the importance of experience? That we're trying to ram our preferences down your throat?

If it's that we don't have as much experience as you guys do, that's a given.
If it's that we neglect the importance of experience, maybe so in your opinion, but I don't see experience as the trump card that you seem to - people experienced in subjects have been very wrong in the past, just as people inexperienced in subjects have been.
If it's that we're trying to ram our preferences down your throat, I certainly didn't want to start this crap.


Mon May 11, 2009 11:26 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Whether or not you want to admit it, the fact that I have a far more extensive experience playing, writing, and staffing quizbowl than all of you combined is in fact a pretty germane point to this discussion. I spent 3 years playing many tournaments around Missouri and in the case of Illinois, Vanderbilt, and NAQT events out of state, that included all manner of calculation questions - including those that are intentionally very hard like Marc proposed I think, those that attempt to be pyramidal, and those that are 3rd grade level multiplication. I have also attended many tournaments that have no calculation. I, along with the whole upper eschelon of the national circuit, have come to the consensus that there has never truly been a calculation tossup ever written that truly comes to the standard of pyramidal writing that you have a right to play on. The reason why my experience is so relevant to that is that it is what has guided my decisions, and it means that I have hours and hours and hours and hours of evidence to back that up. And bear in mind, this is not just me - both the entire collegiate circuit has abandoned supporting computation, and large swathes of the national high school circuit agree that computation has no place and have ditched it in their own house written events, HSAPQ events, PACE nationals, and is even being looked into removal at NAQT events including Nationals. This is decades of experience (including many people with math degrees) coming to a conclusion that calculation is not a workable aspect of quizbowl because nobody has been able to convince us that there is a computation question that doesn't boil down to who can crunch the numbers fastest as opposed to truly allow for knowledgeable people to prove themselves.
To my mind, it seems impossible for me to be able to reach a position where I am qualified give a real ruling on quizbowl if the extent of my experience had been 1 horrible state series plus maybe a decent tournament per year. I don't fault you all for not making quizbowl a priority, because that would be silly and I might as well just demand that everyone do everything. However, I do fault you all for acting like your experience somehow does put you on a plane where you are qualified to make judgments about the nature of this game, which I find to be quite grating considering you have no national experience and really, nothing comparable to Sean, Matt, Jeffrey, or I to judge by. As best as I can tell, your entire program is a team of people who do debate and science olympiad who very occasionally meet to play quizbowl, not a team of quizbowlers. Come back to me with your arguments when you've founded a quizbowl team, or edited a tournament that is well received nationally, or directed multiple praised tournaments, or placed highly in multiple national playoffs, or played a season full of tournaments, including multiple that are on good sets. Just one of those criteria will be enough for me to feel more comfortable listening to all of your arguments with some knowledge that you have enough experience to pass judgments on how quizbowl should work.


Tue May 12, 2009 12:00 am
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Not being a debater...I won't use the debate arguments that have been brought up already, but here's my two cents:

To Ladue: Whereas I know the argument that "everyone else does it this way" is a logically fallacious one, I'd say the collective experience of the national Quiz Bowl community is not something that you can just dismiss. Furthermore, it's worth noting, Marc (in response to your "Question writers should figure out a way because they're paid to do so" statement), that most Quiz Bowl players seeking to improve are also question writers because not only do they want to enhance the game, but it improves them as players (and because it's fun, to a degree)--and they receive very little (if anything) for it. For example, I'm planning on volunteering to help write that JV packet Charlie mentione simply for the pleasure of it. Thus, saying that "I'm a player, not a writer" is a rather poor argument because good players are both.

Furthermore, if you're going to continue being active in Quiz Bowl (and I hope you do--you guys seem very naturally talented), you're going to have to write questions for most tournaments. If so, try writing some of those math computation tossups. Who knows, you might figure out a way to make it work--I (as a moderate supporter of computation) would certainly be happy if you did.

It is worth noting, by the way, that the IS 68 question is an absolutely terrible example of pyramidality. The first clue should point to the answer (46) in a way that only the most knowledgable will know it, instead, it points to nothing other than the fact that gold coins and taxation are somehow involved.

To Everyone Else: That being said, that tossup makes an awful example for the same reason--it's nonrepresentative of the best efforts of NAQT (and other question writers) to make calculation pyramidal. Sean, do you still have WUHSAC's top 8 round? It had a computation question with an obscure calculation, followed by an easier one (1 + 1/x) as x goes to infinity--which requires knowledge that 1/infinity = 0 but isn't as hard to do, then a really easy way of finding the answer. What would the issue be with that one? (assuming the first calculation is relatively quick to do for a knoledgable individual).

If so, please post it so that we can debate that tossup (which I recall was fairly good) on its merits as to whether it prevents a more knowledgable individual from being beaten out by a less knowledgable one (which I believe we all agree is the major issue with non-pyramidality).


Tue May 12, 2009 9:05 am
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
ashkenaziCD wrote:
tl; dr
Did you even read what I wrote?


Tue May 12, 2009 12:55 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Yes I did. You should be able to figure out from that what it is I am bothered by from you.


Tue May 12, 2009 1:02 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
ashkenaziCD wrote:
Yes I did. You should be able to figure out from that what it is I am bothered by from you.
Was it where I acknowledged you had more experience than we did, or where I said there was some merit to the importance of experience, but that it wasn't a trump card?


Tue May 12, 2009 1:07 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
You don't seem to notice that there is more being addressed there and it is a different reason why I am annoyed then what it is you are trying to present it as. No, I do not believe that experience is a "trump" card, however, I do believe it is being far more downplayed than it should. Furthermore, given the massive asymmetries in our experience, I have good reason to not really care what you all argue because to my mind you aren't quizbowl people. I have lots of currency in quizbowl built up from a mix of decent performances, attending a lot of stuff, a writing and editing career, and generally working to improve the game for years. Your Ladue team has very little currency, a dangerously low amount given the wide, sweeping assertions you seem to want to make. You aren't going to convince me, and probably anyone else who cares about improving quizbowl, that your arguments are right no matter what, and as it is, your assertions are wrong and you have a really minimal involvement in the game, so I now don't ever really have a reason to care about what you are saying either. I already laid out my criteria for a career in quizbowl that will make me care more about what you have to say, come back here once you have that built up or maybe shut up when all of us with exponentially greater involvement in quizbowl than your whole school tell you your ideas are unworkable. And that comment isn't exactly to you Jack, as much as to the entire Ladue team that is posting here. I know you all are just obsessed with winning a debate by cherry picking statements and proving fallacies and calling the work of people who have been around quizbowl since the 1990s like Matt Weiner "stupid" but really, if that's all you're here for, go away, I think I speak for the quizbowl community that nobody wants to spend our time arguing with debaters who aren't going to change their minds and aren't going to argue the way we argue.


Tue May 12, 2009 1:34 pm
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Post The computation discussion post-MSHSAA State
Charlie, how would you respond if somebody like Coach Gibbs told you that your opinion was essentially meaningless and not even worth arguing against because you had no "currency" built up in working with a bureaucracy like MSHSAA? You begin your post by saying you agree that experience is not a "trump," but then go on to use it in this exact manner.


Tue May 12, 2009 1:43 pm
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