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ZooChat Cup - rebooted

Discussion in 'ZooChat Cup' started by CGSwans, 28 Jul 2019.

  1. twilighter

    twilighter Well-Known Member

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    It is hard to imagine for me too ! It could be, that Chester, Boueval, Vienna, Zurich, Wroclaw are arguably the best National zoo and most attention, resources and wildlife research centres are focused in to them, as a flagship zoos. For Plzen, next to Prague in Chech Republic and Bronx, Omaha next to San Diego in the States, applies probably same logic, I don't know. While in Germany the zoo world is much more fragmented. All leading zoos have drowing cards and unique qualities. Berlin itself as a world's zoo capital is cut on two in the terms of this competition. The Netherlands were also very unlucky, cos one can imagine, what Burgers would have done in the last round...
     
  2. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    If I’d sat down and tried to predict a top eight it would have included those three, but probably at the expense of Plzen, Vienna and perhaps Zurich. The latter had wonderful strengths, which is mostly got to use, and some glaring weaknesses. Only one of those got exposed but it was enough to put it within one vote of elimination.

    I also wouldn’t have been surprised by Cologne, Burgers or Pairi Daiza. Columbus and Miami were two that I would have expected to make at least the round of 16 and might have been strong chances to advance further if they had too.
     
  3. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Don’t rub it in. I’d already planned out this approach by the time I realised Burgers was destined for an early departure. I wasn’t happy. :(
     
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  4. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    Oh that’s interesting, I guess I eliminated San Diego then:D. I switched from 3-0 to 2-1 SD when I herd Lintworm’s description of Cologne’s African Holdings.

    On a side note, Biome categories are very interesting, I can’t wait for it to start!
     
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  5. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Dive into the practice threads! Even if you’re feeling confident with the new format, I had the luxury of choosing contestants and categories, and I think there’s some juicy debates to be had.
     
  6. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    In four of the seven categories they would have been very well placed, but they got unlucky in the draws, of which the same couldbe said for Pairi Daiza and San Diego. Plzen and Taronga have had a lote more luck overall, but that element of surprise is what makes this challenge so interesting.
     
  7. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    To be honest, I'm not that surprised to see San Diego get eliminated. After seeing it get stomped by Beauval on hoofstock in the first group stage, I realized that a lot of SD's strengths are not obvious winners against top-tier European zoos. SD made it to the finals in the taxa-only North American cup, but I think when faced with tougher, more consistent competition its weaknesses come more into view.
     
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  8. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    To be fair to San Diego, it won 4 out of 6 cup games, with wins over Frankfurt, St. Louis, Plzen and Cologne. That’s 3 high-tier European collections and a top-5 North American Zoo. Its two losses came to Zurich in Australia and Islands and Beauval in hoofstock. Only Taronga would have a real shot at beating Zurich in that category, and Beauval was very strong in hoofstock. San Diego missed qualifying by 0.3% and won 66% of their matches, so this wasn’t a bad showing at all.
     
  9. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    You're right, it was a good showing and I would've been equally not surprised to have seen it advance. However, it should be noted that a fair amount of luck carried it through some of those matches. It matched with St. Louis and Frankfurt in two of its best categories, birds and primates (and birds happened to also be one of St. Louis's weaker categories). It also got lucky drawing Africa and Asia in the next stage; had it drawn either of the New World categories it could have been a different story. Its win against Plzen on Asia was the narrowest (55%-45%) and I voted in favor of Plzen on that one (I personally felt it should have been closer to 50%-50%). As for the match with Cologne on Africa, I'm inclined to believe that the lack of information offered about Cologne compared to San Diego played a large role in that win; I chose to not vote precisely for that reason.

    TL,DR: San Diego is undoubtedly a great zoo, but I never expected that it would win and I'm personally not surprised to see it eliminated... although I did not think Plzen would be the one to do it in. Kudos to @TeaLovingDave on that; he has almost single-handedly changed my perspective of that zoo, which I once only associated with an overabundance of rodents.
     
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  10. antonmuster

    antonmuster Well-Known Member

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    Interesting (though arguably quite similar to the geographic category). I fully expected more Sheridanesque categories along the following lines:

    Collection
    Enclosure design
    Animal enrichment & research
    Horticulture
    Education
    Conservation
    Theming ("is the zoo good at being what it intends to be?")

    ...perhaps in another cup?



    As for the current categories:
    How do you draw the boundaries between 'temperate forests', 'tropical forests', and 'savannah/grasslands'? Particularly, where would you place open woodlands? These are often associated with 'savannah' in more tropical climes, but not considered grasslands in temperate ones.
    Also, where do you see the boundary between 'mountains and poles' and 'temperate forests'? Are boreal/mountain forests the former or the latter? Taiga I'm assuming is the former.
     
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  11. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    And of course "Allows Dogs" :p
     
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  12. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    I’ll try not to be too insulted by this comparison. :p

    I think this could play out in potentially interesting ways, but my guiding light throughout this project is that it’s not my role to tell people what to value in a zoo, and that differences in what people *do* value are what gives life to the debates. My job is to set ‘what’ people talk about: the things listed above are all valid ways for ‘how’ to talk about them.

    I will preface this by saying upfront that I am not a specialist and I can’t give highly technical answers. I probably can’t give the precise ones you’re after, either.

    I initially called the ‘Grasslands’ category ‘Savannahs’ because I sorta-kinda appreciate the issue you raise. Certainly my expectation is that species like giraffes that live in those ’open woodlands’ environments in Africa would fit within the ‘Grasslands’ biome for Cup purposes, whereas a similar sort of tree cover in Europe makes more sense as ‘Temperate forest’ to me.

    Does it work if I suggest that open woodlands in warm and tropical climates fall within ‘Grasslands’, whereas those in cool climates are ‘Temperate Forests’? I think that encapsulates my thinking.

    I’m not going to give a height boundary between when a habitat is ‘temperate forest’ versus ‘mountains’: sometimes it will simply be both. That isn’t necessarily the case only for ‘temperate’ forests, by the way.

    edit: as for the ‘poles’ side, that category begins where the tree line ends, noting again that some species may inhabit both types of habitat. I know that’s treating ‘poles’ and ‘mountains’ a little bit differently, but I think there’s interesting debates to be had about how montane habitats can be displayed in different ways and I don’t want to cut that off just yet.
     
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  13. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Adding this here, and also making an additional note that I’ve changed how I want to role out the finals matches. I think launching four at a time will be a bit much so instead I’m going to create one new match each day, at least up until every zoo has one match left to go. Then we’ll see how many matches are relevant to the final result and hold those ones simultaneously.
     
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  14. Coelacanth18

    Coelacanth18 Well-Known Member

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    Will each match still be open 3 days?
     
  15. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    No, I don’t think that’s necessary with this approach.
     
  16. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Will the 1 match per day approach be starting today or later on down the line?
     
  17. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Patience, padawan.
     
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  18. ThylacineAlive

    ThylacineAlive Well-Known Member

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    I've been mulling over this for the past day now and after discussing with a few others who all feel the same way I figured I might try and point of a concern I (and others silently) currently have:

    TBH I feel as though the last couple matches have shown a potential major downside to using biomes as a final category. Back when we focused on species and continents, the incorporation of the habitats the zoos were trying to showcase was always taken into consideration by most of us. Now, we have to focus specifically on just a select few biomes. While all the zoos competing have had plenty of species from many different continents, I highly doubt there's a single zoo in this entire competition which has more than 2/3 of the biomes actually represented to the degree needed to win. It makes the competition become nothing more than a simple flip of the coin because none of the zoos remaining were ever in a proper position to win anyway. Apart from probably the forests and grasslands, I can see pretty much ever single remaining match going just as the last couple have where one zoo just has nothing for the biome at hand whereas the other may have one specialized building that's somewhat uncommon in zoos and therefore wins by default.

    Maybe others feel this way, maybe not. And perhaps I will be proven wrong in matches to come (I hope so), but I felt I should voice my concerns nonetheless.

    ~Thylo
     
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  19. CGSwans

    CGSwans Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts. Although I don’t agree that the matches we’ve had so far have been unusually lopsided, you have correctly identified some upcoming issues that were nagging away at me already.

    I’m currently workshopping some alterations that I think can restore balance. I’m not *quite* ready to share just yet, but I wanted to post now to make clear that I’m working on a response, rather than ignoring your concerns.
     
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  20. antonmuster

    antonmuster Well-Known Member

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    I do not see how the biome or geographic categories are more lopsided than the taxonomic ones. To make a tongue-in-cheek counterargument and loosely paraphrase Gary Lineker, the taxonomic cup matches unfold as follows: Someone counts that zoo x has 100 species of y, while zoo z has a gazillion species, then someone else mounts a quality versus quantity counterargument, to which yet someone else again counter argues that zoo z's enclosures aren't entirely bad either, hence, zoo Berlin wins.

    I expect that the fact that each zoo will play each zoo, as well as each category should balance things out fairly and lead to some interesting matches, as well as rather clear ones from the outset - but that was no different in the taxonomic matches. Furthermore, only in the Omaha-Vienna match did we have a situation of one zoo having nothing to show against the other (but Vienna in that match didn't have a particularly unique or rare development which led to its victory). The other two matches are overall fairly close calls, with specialized buildings or themed areas (currently) seeming to lead to close decision but with a strong consensus. Just because no one has mounted a counterargument to the 'unique biome-oriented development' argument, doesn't mean such counterarguments don't exist, nor (hopefully) that such arguments won't start surfacing in the match debates - much as it took some time for counterarguments to the 'speciosity' arguments in the taxonomic categories to surface, and yet more time for those arguments to gain traction with the cup voters.
    But wouldn't categories where there are a few zoos that have all categories represented to the degree needed to win be more lopsided? Besides, I would argue that most zoos still in the competetion have plus-minus five biome categories represented well enough to be competitive: Some biome categories are almost universally well represented, e.g. tropical forests and savanna/grasslands, some are frequently well represented, e.g. mountains/poles, and some are somewhat more rare, e.g. deserts.
     
    Last edited: 8 Jan 2020