Introducing new moderators to the game

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Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby bolshevik » Fri May 27, 2016 12:25 pm

I have a friend interested in moderating at a tournament we're attending soon, but they don't know anything about the game (other than the matches they've seen us play in the past) and have no past experience with moderating. Any tips on how to introduce them to the game in general, and the more specific and difficult aspects of moderating? Resources?
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby Ent » Sat May 28, 2016 4:50 pm

I'll throw out a few things.

1. Before he moderates at a tournament, have him watch some good moderators. While not ideal, there are likely a few on YouTube. I would preview these in advance and pick only good mods to emulate.

2. See if you can get them to moderate at a practice, with a practice match run like a real match. You can share critiques, and give this person a chance to do this with friendlier faces, before facing real teams.
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby serasuna » Sun May 29, 2016 1:37 am

There's a list of tips for moderators on the PACE website. Knowing the rules, and practicing moderating are both fairly important.
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby Amizda Calyx » Sun May 29, 2016 12:20 pm

There's someone interested in waking up early on a Saturday to read questions to strangers for six+ hours for free who isn't even interested in quizbowl itself? Where can I find these people??
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby i never see pigeons in wheeling » Sun May 29, 2016 11:22 pm

Amizda Calyx wrote:There's someone interested in waking up early on a Saturday to read questions to strangers for six+ hours for free who isn't even interested in quizbowl itself? Where can I find these people??


At Berkeley.
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby bolshevik » Tue May 31, 2016 1:39 am

serasuna wrote:There's a list of tips for moderators on the PACE website. Knowing the rules, and practicing moderating are both fairly important.


Ah, yes, didn't think to look on PACE's website. Thanks!
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby Great Bustard » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:59 am

Amizda Calyx wrote:There's someone interested in waking up early on a Saturday to read questions to strangers for six+ hours for free who isn't even interested in quizbowl itself? Where can I find these people??

Local historical societies for NHBB. Rotary and Lions clubs are a good place to look for everyone. Also, advertise in community interest sections of local newspapers. In a pinch, couchsurfing, craigslist, reddit, though you're more likely to need to pay people off those sites.
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby Cody » Wed Jun 01, 2016 12:58 pm

I think Joelle is looking for good moderators.
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby Angry Babies in Love » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:49 am

Cody wrote:I think Joelle is looking for good moderators.


Inexperienced but competent moderators > no moderators
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby romeokar » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:31 pm

My advice is to go over the basic rules with them and then have them come to a practice. They can watch you moderate for a few questions, but have them moderate the rest of the match. Be there with them to give them instant feedback.

No question- it's a blessing to have volunteers! Be as patient with them as you possibly can be!!!
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby The Laughing Cavalier » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:58 pm

Angry Babies in Love wrote:
Cody wrote:I think Joelle is looking for good moderators.


Inexperienced but competent moderators > no moderators


I would not assume competence in moderators found via the methods Dave suggested, based on what I've seen of alumni association staff at VHSL States all too many times.

The larger point, though, wherever you're finding your inexperienced staff, is that you need to take the time to train them - explain not just the rules but how to keep a game moving, how to read a schedule and a scoresheet, and, in cases where this may seem necessary, that they are not game show hosts and should not waste time expounding, chatting, etc. It's always worth asking if people have prior staffing experience, and if they do, what it was - someone who has read at 10 tournaments but never seen something outside of VHSL format will need to know a few things about mACF quizbowl, for example. You're setting your new staff and your tournament as a whole up to fail if you don't take a moment to check on these things.

Friends you can persuade to come to tournaments can also be awesome, with the aforementioned training. My roommate has been staffing events since I first dragged him to one of my GSACs back in the day, and he took to scorekeeping like a fish to swimming - he helped teach some of VCU's freshmen to do it this year, and he'd never played a tournament until he attended this year's Fall with them. He's somewhat like some of the fringe team members we had when I was at UVA - people who rarely came to practice and never went to tournaments but faithfully staffed every event I asked of them. Those people, who like quizbowl enough to do it on their own campus for pizza but not enough to get in a car at 5 AM, are a highly underrated resource. If you have some on your team, keep them.
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby Great Bustard » Sat Jun 11, 2016 4:52 am

To clarify, though I had thought this was stating the obvious, Rotary Clubs, historical societies, and the like are not going to be a magical source of experienced and/or good moderators at the outset, though there are more people than many would think who can basically understand the basics of at least competent moderating within the course of an opening meeting and some basic pre-tournament training. I would also think that this organization which has a public speaking focus: https://www.toastmasters.org/ might have on average better readers/public speakers than other clubs and societies.
Not only is having moderators > having no moderators, but people have often been too quick to dismiss sources like these altogether rather than looking at them as groups of (by and large) competent and successful people, many of whom, with some degree of training/experience can become good to great moderators. NHBB has had a lot of success in this regard, and other organizations / teams should take a look at how they could reach out to groups like that too. Shockingly, even the Jeopardy/trivia community can be a good source for tournament help (refreshingly, the anti-Jeopardy tone common on the forums about five years ago seems to have declined in the post-Weiner era).
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby Irreligion in Bangladesh » Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:48 pm

Great Bustard wrote:To clarify, though I had thought this was stating the obvious, Rotary Clubs, historical societies, and the like are not going to be a magical source of experienced and/or good moderators at the outset, though there are more people than many would think who can basically understand the basics of at least competent moderating within the course of an opening meeting and some basic pre-tournament training. I would also think that this organization which has a public speaking focus: https://www.toastmasters.org/ might have on average better readers/public speakers than other clubs and societies.
Not only is having moderators > having no moderators, but people have often been too quick to dismiss sources like these altogether rather than looking at them as groups of (by and large) competent and successful people, many of whom, with some degree of training/experience can become good to great moderators. NHBB has had a lot of success in this regard, and other organizations / teams should take a look at how they could reach out to groups like that too. Shockingly, even the Jeopardy/trivia community can be a good source for tournament help (refreshingly, the anti-Jeopardy tone common on the forums about five years ago seems to have declined in the post-Weiner era).


I disagree with David on a thing here - "basic" pre-tournament training isn't enough for moderating at a lot of tournaments -- say, a National championship, or an NAQT timed format tournament, or (as we suffer in Illinois with the IHSA) a State championship. There's nothing that can replace experience for making sure someone knows what to do when a game goes off-script, and first-time readers just can't make that happen out of thin air. That said, this thread isn't about finding readers at Nats; it's about building up the larger community, which involves lots of tournaments where first-time readers aren't just vital to making sure the tournament gets staffed, but where first-time readers need to be used to build up their chops. Pulling from self-selected groups like historical societies improve the prior probability that they'll care enough to continue to help out.

On the flip side, NHBB nationals is in an interesting position; speaking unofficially, it seems like the tournament's building roots in DC rather than planning on rotating around the country like other national tournaments, and it doesn't use byes or a field cap to lighten the staffing load. The more new, local staffers NHBB nats can bring in as scorekeepers, the more likely it is that some of them want to join the community and help out at tournaments in the DC area (and eventually becoming reliable NHBB nats moderators). I have no idea how much circuit value this has actually produced, but conversations with David sound like it's >0 so far. I think it's plainly obvious that, say, PACE isn't in a position to need to go through the hassle of training people from scratch; the NSC can be staffed purely from PACE members, other experienced college quizbowlers, and the local highly experienced moderating crew. (And based on the awesome moderators I had at coaching at NSC last week, they're knocking that out of the ballpark.)
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby Great Bustard » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:29 am

Irreligion in Bangladesh wrote:
Great Bustard wrote:To clarify, though I had thought this was stating the obvious, Rotary Clubs, historical societies, and the like are not going to be a magical source of experienced and/or good moderators at the outset, though there are more people than many would think who can basically understand the basics of at least competent moderating within the course of an opening meeting and some basic pre-tournament training. I would also think that this organization which has a public speaking focus: https://www.toastmasters.org/ might have on average better readers/public speakers than other clubs and societies.
Not only is having moderators > having no moderators, but people have often been too quick to dismiss sources like these altogether rather than looking at them as groups of (by and large) competent and successful people, many of whom, with some degree of training/experience can become good to great moderators. NHBB has had a lot of success in this regard, and other organizations / teams should take a look at how they could reach out to groups like that too. Shockingly, even the Jeopardy/trivia community can be a good source for tournament help (refreshingly, the anti-Jeopardy tone common on the forums about five years ago seems to have declined in the post-Weiner era).


I disagree with David on a thing here - "basic" pre-tournament training isn't enough for moderating at a lot of tournaments -- say, a National championship, or an NAQT timed format tournament, or (as we suffer in Illinois with the IHSA) a State championship. There's nothing that can replace experience for making sure someone knows what to do when a game goes off-script, and first-time readers just can't make that happen out of thin air. That said, this thread isn't about finding readers at Nats; it's about building up the larger community, which involves lots of tournaments where first-time readers aren't just vital to making sure the tournament gets staffed, but where first-time readers need to be used to build up their chops. Pulling from self-selected groups like historical societies improve the prior probability that they'll care enough to continue to help out.

On the flip side, NHBB nationals is in an interesting position; speaking unofficially, it seems like the tournament's building roots in DC rather than planning on rotating around the country like other national tournaments, and it doesn't use byes or a field cap to lighten the staffing load. The more new, local staffers NHBB nats can bring in as scorekeepers, the more likely it is that some of them want to join the community and help out at tournaments in the DC area (and eventually becoming reliable NHBB nats moderators). I have no idea how much circuit value this has actually produced, but conversations with David sound like it's >0 so far. I think it's plainly obvious that, say, PACE isn't in a position to need to go through the hassle of training people from scratch; the NSC can be staffed purely from PACE members, other experienced college quizbowlers, and the local highly experienced moderating crew. (And based on the awesome moderators I had at coaching at NSC last week, they're knocking that out of the ballpark.)


My original comment was meant much more in reference to regional tournaments than Nationals, though people who have come in before in a pinch for Nationals for NHBB have gradually become more experienced over the years to the point where they're some of the better moderators we routinely rely on for Nationals. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much spillover there really has been from NHBB staffers into the greater community. As I've said before, I'm happy to encourage our moderators to do this (as I am to promote all-subject quiz bowl tournaments), but that, again, is much more incumbent on the community to take advantage of my willingness to help facilitate that - it's not nearly as much a priority for me as for obvious reasons, promoting NHBB itself is.
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Re: Introducing new moderators to the game

Postby ScottF » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:50 pm

The Laughing Cavalier wrote:
Angry Babies in Love wrote:
Cody wrote:I think Joelle is looking for good moderators.


.

The larger point, though, wherever you're finding your inexperienced staff, is that you need to take the time to train them - explain not just the rules but how to keep a game moving, how to read a schedule and a scoresheet, and, in cases where this may seem necessary, that they are not game show hosts and should not waste time expounding, chatting, etc. It's always worth asking if people have prior staffing experience, and if they do, what it was - someone who has read at 10 tournaments but never seen something outside of VHSL format will need to know a few things about mACF quizbowl, for example. You're setting your new staff and your tournament as a whole up to fail if you don't take a moment to check on these things.

.


I'd say the key is 70% training and 30% making sure they have a good time and want to come back.
I teach at a fairly large school, and we have hosted 10+ events over the past 3 years and now have 25-30 readers trained. We require readers to come to two practices, mainly so that they are comfortable and confident on tournament day.
Having clear rules, edited packets, and good scorekeepers (usually our players) all help keep the stress level down. We also have our parents ask restaurants and business for donations so that we can put together a small $10-12 gift bag for each reader. It's cheesy, but the readers appreciate it.
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