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A hose is a quizbowl question that deliberately punishes a player for having greater knowledge of the topic being asked about in the question. Hoses are considered the cardinal sin of quizbowl questions, as they specifically punish players who possess uniquely identifying knowledge of the correct answer at the time the player buzzed.

Hoses are one of the most prominent, though not necessarily the most common, hallmarks of "bad quizbowl". Hoses are related to swerves.

A player who falls victim to a hose is said to have gotten "hosed."


The Classic Hose

The first well-documented naval battle in history, it took place in 480 BC. (*) The Battle of Salamis saw a victory for what Greek city-state?

ANSWER: Athens

A player who buzzes with "Salamis" based on specific knowledge of Salamis at the asterisk will be punished for no reason other than poor question-writing. There's nothing in the question to indicate that it will eventually ask about Athens and it specifically baits players who know information about the Battle of Salamis into buzzing early. This is a classic hose in that is penalizes players for knowing more about the Battle of Salamis (its significance and date) while players who do not know the date of Salamis and wait until the end have a better chance of "correctly" answering the question.

The Non-Uniquely Identifying Hose

Another example of a hose presents factually accurate information, but does not uniquely specify the one answer being sought and does not account for the potentially correct alternative answer. For example:

This man argued that AC power should be used over Edison's DC power. (*) For 10 points, name this inventor of a railroad air brake.

ANSWER: George Westinghouse

Someone who buzzes in at the star could reasonably assume that the answer could be Tesla, and in some "bad quizbowl" formats be ruled incorrect despite the given answer being correct based on the information available.

The Non-Acceptable Identical Answer Hose

Similar to a swerve, this is a question that puts a late restriction on an answer making an equivalent answer incorrect. For example:

Name the type of membrane this allows some kinds of molecules to pass through it while prohibiting others. We are looking for a 13-letter word.

ANSWER: semipermeable membrane

This question is bad because it punishes anyone who buzzes in with "selectively-permeable membrane," "partially-permeable membrane," or "differentially-permeable membrane," which depending on the given clues are basically identical terms. Questions that requires certain numbers of letters or syllables, spellings, or anything similar are most likely flawed.

Name a country larger than Monaco in continental Europe (*) that borders just one country.

ANSWER: San Marino

Someone who buzzes at the star here could easily say many other answers that would be correct at the time they buzzed, since it is not unique. This is a fundamental problem with non-pyramidal questions: it's often not clear to the player what is specifically being asked for due to the non-pyramidal nature of the question and it forces players to make guesses based not on knowledge of the material but on where the question writer might be going.

The Factually Incorrect Hose

Consider the following question:

He initiated a crusade against the Catholic Church called Kulturkampf as well as a war with Austria over Schleswig and Holstein. (*) Otto von Bismarck lived at the same time as what twenty-first president of the United States?

ANSWER: Chester A(lan) Arthur

A player with knowledge of the career of Otto von Bismarck or European politics in the 19th century may buzz in at or before the (*) mark, say "Bismarck," and be stunned to find out that the question is looking for an American president. In most formats that practice "good quizbowl", such a question would never be written or included in a tournament. However, under the rules of some high school state quizbowl associations, an answer of "Bismarck" would be marked incorrect, and there would be rules designed to prevent coaches from successfully challenging such a ruling by claiming only the answer on the paper should be accepted.