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PB11 Packet Requirements
Penn Bowl 11:
The Penn Bowl Identity

25-26 January 2002
Packet Requirements

Announcement | Registration Form

Updates | Introduction | Difficulty | Distribution | Question Styles | Formatting & Submission | Unacceptable Packets | Question Writing | Comments, etc.





Text Last Updated: 9 September 2001

27 October 2001: Added internal navigational links. No changes to text.

9 September 2001: A section on writing questions (comprised mostly of common-sense information that an experienced player should already understand) was added. [Please forgive the lack of specific examples in this document; in general, mentioning specific examples often leads to teams submitting questions on those topics.]

9 September 2001: A printer-friendly version of these guidelines have been posted.







Introduction

This document contains the packet requirements for Penn Bowl 11. These requirements are largely the same as those for Penn Bowl 10.

Schools sending one team are required to submit a packet of 21 tossups and 21 boni.

Schools sending two teams are required to submit a packet of 36 tossups and 36 boni.

For schools sending three or more teams, please contact the PADT as soon as possible regarding packet requirements.

Please submit all packets directly to the tournament director. Please do not mail them to the Penn Bowl account.

The deadlines are at 11:59:59 PM EST as follows (all dates are Mondays):

Extremely early deadline (-$30/-$15): 29 October 2001
Very early deadline (-$20/-$10): 12 November 2001
Early deadline (-$10/-$5): 26 November 2001
Regular deadline: 10 December 2001

An automatic extension of 72 hours beyond the above deadlines will be granted provided that at least 50% of a school's required questions are submitted by the deadlines above.

PADT reserves the right to charge late fees or to deny registration to teams that have not submitted the required packets by the regular deadline. Such penalties will be announced during the first week of December.







Difficulty

Packets should be accessible to all teams competing. Packets that are inordinately difficult will be returned for rewriting.

Tossups:

Aim for as high an overall tossup conversion rate as possible. Avoid questions that are likely to go dead in every room: the bottom two teams in a bracket should be capable of answering at least two-thirds of the tossups as written. This is not the same thing as saying that teams should "recognize the answer."

[Last year, the overall tossup conversion rate was 72%. We are aiming for an overall conversion rate of 83-87%.]

Boni:

While 30s and 0s should be rare, zeros should be rarer than 30s. Questions should be written so that teams with at least rudimentary knowledge of a subject will get some points, but are not likely to get all the available points. For example, do not write a bonus along the lines of "Name these geological features related to glaciers that aren't eskers, fjords, or moraines," or "For 10 points each, name these works by French economist Claude Frederic Bastiat."

[Last year, the overall bonus conversion rate was 42%. We are aiming for an overall conversion rate of 50-55%.]







Distribution

Like last year, we are using a new distribution which we hope will result in a higher overall question quality, and fewer "wasted" questions.

We have not explicitly specified exact distributions. However, we expect that all teams will exercise common sense, and will submit packets that are diverse with respect to time, location, and content both within and across categories. We reserve the right to reject any packet that fails to show a reasonable attempt at diversity. A good rule of thumb is this:

If a subject could not reasonably be expected to come up once every other packet, it should not come up twice in your packet.

The term "subject" here means the narrowest category that will include both questions. As an example: having two questions on US history before 1900 is acceptable; having two tossups on slave rebellions is not.

The numbers in the table represent the total number of questions required in each category or subcategory, which must be split evenly between tossups and boni. For example, "4 questions" means 2 tossups and 2 boni, not 3/1 or 1/3 (or 4/4); 3 questions means 2/1 or 1/2, etc..

Subjects listed as encouraged are exactly that: we would like to see them written, but, for various reasons, we are not explicitly requiring them in all packets.

Finally, please note that the "special requirements" under History and Literature are not new requirements added this year, nor are they unique to Penn Bowl. They have been set apart in this manner because they do not require extra questions to be written; rather, they should be met among the questions in the category.

Finally, minor omissions and deviations in an otherwise well-written packet are acceptable, though gross deviations are not. [For example, if you're short half a history bonus and have half a lit bonus too many, we won't reject your packet. But don't try to send us, for example, a packet with five European lit tossups.]
 
 

ONE TEAM

TWO TEAMS

Science [S]

6
12

Human biology (genetics, anatomy, diseases, etc.)

0-1

1-2

Other biology

1-2

2-3

Chemistry

1-2

2-3

Physics

1-2

2-3

Mathematics and computer science, max 1 each

0-1

1-2

Other sciences, max 1 each

1-2

1-3

History of science

0-1

0-2

Computer Science is for questions on the operation of computers and computer programs. Questions on specific programs, web sites, etc., belong under Popular Culture or Your Choice.

Questions whose answers are people or that focus on historical facts are considered History of Science.







Literature [L]

6
12

US

2-3

3-5

British and other English

2-3

3-5

European, max 1 per language; includes ancient

0-1

1-3

Non-Western

0-1

1-3

Literary theory/criticism/terminology

0-1

0-2

Special requirement: 1-3 Qs (one team)/2-6 Qs (two teams) on poetry, drama, and short stories.
Up to 3 Qs on "genre" literature: "popular", children's, science fiction/fantasy, mystery (max 1 each).



Questions should be spread out across time; your questions should ideally cover at least three different centuries. Questions on religious texts belong under Rel/Myth/Phil, not Literature. Questions on romance novels cannot go here.







History [H]

6
12

US

1-2

3-5

Canada

0-1

0-1

Europe, max 2 per country

2-3

3-5

Latin America, Africa, and Asia, max 1 per country

1-2

2-3

Ancient, before AD 732

0-1

1-2

Special requirement: Max 1/3 of your Qs on military history, max 1 per war.



Also, be sure your questions are spread out across various time periods.







Current Events [C]

2
4

US Political/social

0-1

1-2

World Political/social

0-1

1-2

Business and industry

0-1

0-1

Questions should cover events since May 1, 2001. Avoid crime-of-the-week questions. Questions on celebrities and athletes belong under Popular Culture.







Popular Culture & Sports [P]

4
8

TV

0-1

1-2

Movies

0-1

1-2

Music

0-1

1-2

Other, in different fields

0-1

1-2





Professional team sports, max 1 per sport

0-1

1-2

Other sports

0-1

1-2

Encouraged -- women's sports, content before 1995







Fine Arts [A]

4
6

Classical music, not opera or jazz

1-2

2-3

Visual arts, not film

1-2

2-3

Opera and jazz, max 1 each

0-1

0-2

Film

0-1

0-1

Other fields, max 1 each

0-1

0-1

The distinction between Film in Fine Arts and Movies in Pop Culture is a relatively arbitrary one; please use your judgment.







Religion/Myth/Philosophy [R]

4
6

Religion, max 1 per religion

1-2

1-3

Mythology, max 1 per culture

1-2

1-3

Philosophy, max 1 per school

1-2

1-3

Encouraged -- Questions on non-Western religions and philosophies.







Social Sciences [O]/Geography [G]

4
6

Psychology

0-1

0-1

Economics

0-1

0-1

Government and law

0-1

0-1

Anthropology, archaeology, and sociology

0-2

0-2

Other social sciences, max 1 per field

0-2

0-2

Questions on specific court cases and laws go under History, not Social Sciences.






Geography

1-2

2-4

Geography questions should have different types of answers and cover different continents.





   

Your Choice [Y]

6
6

Foreign languages and word origins

1-2

1-2

Your Choice

4-5

4-5

Questions on foreign languages may go under another category if more appropriate; word origin questions must involve more than single etymological clues.

The only restrictions on Your Choice questions are: (1) max 1 TU and 1 bonus per major category above, and (2) no duplication of information.







TOTALS

42
72

21/21
36/36






Question Styles, etc.

TOSSUPS



BONI







Formatting and Submission

DO NOT USE AUTOFORMATTING.

We have provided sample files illustrating formatting for packets sorted by category and for randomized packets. Please follow these samples closely in preparing your packet.







Unacceptable Packets

PADT reserves the right to reject packets that contain gross violations of the above guidelines, or that are essentially unusable as written. Please note that any discounts that might have been earned will be forfeited if they are rejected. [If corrected quickly enough, though, the discounts can be re-earned.]

In addition, please note that a $10 fine will automatically be levied if: (a) the text of any tossup exceeds seven lines, (b) the text of any bonus exceeds eleven lines, or (c) the text of any bonus contains more than four prompts.







Writing Questions

Penn Bowl attracts players at a wide variety of experience levels: some are playing in their first tournament ever, some have been playing for a dozen years. Questions need to be written to accommodate both. In any case, there is one fundamental rule which must always be obeyed:

Questions must NEVER intentionally mislead players into giving an incorrect answer, and care must also be taken to insure that questions do not unintentionally mislead players.

Also, please note that no question type, with the possible exception of the single-part, all-or-nothing bonus, is inherently flawed; rather, it is the individual questions themselves that are inappropriate.

Finally, as far as the distribution of answers: except as noted below under Science, while we are not specifically placing an upper limit on the number of questions that have people as answers, you should make every effort to have a mixture of people (real and/or fictional), places, works, and other things as answers.

Tossups:

With rare exceptions, tossups should be written in a pyramidal style. The lead-in should be difficult or obscure, but not vague; the answer desired should be uniquely specified as soon as possible. The remaining clues should gradually lead towards the answer; the final clues, after, the "for 10 points" marker, should contain the most helpful information. Tossups should not end "For 10 points--name this man." Also, keep in mind the "pronoun rule:"

The first pronoun in a tossup that (a) lacks an antecedent, (b) is not part of a quote, and (c) is not clearly part of a grammatical construct, should refer to the answer being sought.

Tossups should be factually dense; they should not be one-fact questions.

Since we are considering using power marks, there should be some point in the question, before the words "For 10 points" appear, that marks a division between difficult clues and less-difficult clues. This does not mean a single easy clue in a sea of otherwise unrecognizable information.

In general, you should aim to have a mixture of people, places, and things as answers to your questions.

Boni:

Multidisciplinary boni are allowed and encouraged, especially when they combine answerable questions in a unique or unusual way.

You do not need to have every bonus in your packet be a 3x10. In fact, this is strongly discouraged. Any question type, other than single-part all-or-nothing boni, and boni with more than four parts, are allowed at Penn Bowl. Each question type, however, has appropriate and inappropriate uses. A question asking whether certain statements apply to specific fundamental forces may be reasonable; a question asking for the order in which a composer's works were written probably would not.

A final reminder on style: remember that Penn Bowl is a timed tournament. So be succinct: don't use six words to say what can be said in three, use "name" instead of "identify", etc. Economical writing allows for shorter, more factually-dense packets. [The average tossup can be shortened by 5-10 words without removing any clues.]







Questions/Comments/Suggestions

Please contact the Penn Bowl staff.



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