Visually displaying questions with programs?

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Visually displaying questions with programs?

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:28 am

Someone in the foreign language quizbowl thread mentioned possibly using Spreeder or similar one-word displaying programs (in case you're not familiar, they just mow through the text flashing one word at a time). In the context of the thread, this was an idea of making qb accessible to the deaf, but what about just entirely replacing readers with these (or similar) programs? That is, just presenting the questions in this format, keeping a moderator on but delegating question delivery.

I can think of a whole host of reasons this wouldn't work:
-No paper packets
-Even on a laptop would basically lead to both teams leaning necks in to get a good view of the question
-Any giveaways in pronunciation guides would be seen by players
-Moderator's reaction time might be slower (to pause the reading program) when not personally reading the question (i.e. just halting one's lips)
-If a moderator does mess up, it's much easier for teams to see entire new clues rather than hearing the first few syllables which would be obscured by the buzzer noise anyway
-Someone would probably have to make a program from scratch to have it be of any use

But then again, I can also think of some very nice benefits:
-Most obviously, not having to deal with sound issues, including poor reading or the need for pronunciation guides at all
-No variation in moderator pace
-Less moderator fatigue from reading all day
-The program, as a side-benefit, would track exactly where people buzzed, which would come in handy for protests

And some fanciful extensions that could make such a program even more useful:
-Scrolling words instead of flashing them, to imitate the effect of buzzing off the beginning sound of a word
-Displaying answerlines or other information (imagery a la Eyes?? :O) for fun that presumably wouldn't impede gameflow
-Directly connecting buzzers to the program, so that even mod reaction time problems are abducted. This one is really fanciful--presumably it'd be on laptop local connections, which is sort of ridiculous in scope, but hey, it's an idea right?

Anyways, this is just a post to query for ideas/responses; I'm interested in what other people have to point out about how great/terrible this idea is. I personally don't think it's worthwhile enough to change the system, but I think if such a program were created, it would be intriguing enough to be tested out at certain locations, teams willing--exhibition style, like the NFL does with new rules at the probowl.
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Re: Visually displaying questions with programs?

Post by tktennis » Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:56 pm

Personally, as a high school player who doesn't have near enough qb experience to say this (4-5 years total), I think this would take out a satisfying, personified aspect of quizbowl. I can't explain it as much as aesthetically I feel like this would lose a connection that makes the game intimate. While moderators would get less burnt out, I would also feel like I wouldn't have fun as a moderator (as I am for MS sometimes) just working a program instead of reading. Also, I have a bad habit of looking away, down, or every other way when trying to respond to a question, and this would take away this option for me, as well as many other players I've faced.

Also, if this is about accessibility, doesn't this make it less accessible? I know people have different reading speeds...

Just a thought though.
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Re: Visually displaying questions with programs?

Post by MLafer » Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:59 am

Some things that you didn't mention that would affect the game significantly:

--The ability to look back on previous parts of the question while the question is being read is a huge change to gameplay, and probably not a good one.
-- Much easier to linguistically fraud an answer when you can see how things are spelled/accented.
-- In power-marked questions, seeing where the mark is would significantly impact gameplay (i guess you could just program it not to display the power marks somehow)

I do also agree with the above poster, that 'aesthetically' as well this would be a downgrade. Sitting in a completely quiet room while reading a question off a projector is not my idea of a good time.
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Re: Visually displaying questions with programs?

Post by Howard » Fri Jun 12, 2015 1:07 pm

I once ran a tournament where we made a similar accommodation for a deaf team. I assigned one of my students the task of making a powerpoint which would reveal the words of each tossup one by one. The rule was that in the deaf team's room, the powerpoint would replace the moderator reading the question. The moderator would stop/start the question on a buzz/incorrect answer. Overall, feedback was positive for this as a way of inclusion, but there was no indication that players would prefer it in general.

Several suggested reading the question aloud along with the powerpoint. I elected not to do this because there exact synchronization would be dubious at best.
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Re: Visually displaying questions with programs?

Post by no ice » Sat Jul 18, 2015 5:43 pm

What if instead of displaying the words, the moderator just played, paused, and fast-forwarded an audio recording? I'm not saying this is a good idea, but if there was a centralized recording of the entire set produced and distributed by the set's writers, it could alleviate so many issues. Pronunciation would be more accurate (or at least more uniform), speed would be the same, and once again, fewer staffers and less manpower would be required to run a tournament. Plus, a recording of a set that is then released to the public could be more helpful for studying than packet-reading.
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