ACE Camps in 2004

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ACE Camps in 2004

Post by jrbarry » Mon Jul 26, 2004 7:11 pm

Our two camps are now over. We had 93 players and 12 coaches at SEMO on July 11-15 and 199 players and 21 coaches at Furman on July 21-25. The 292 players is a record for ACE in any one year.

Thanks to all participants and staff members who attended/worked at ACE this summer. We hope to be back with 2 camps in July of 2005.

Note: this is the 11th year that ACE has sponsored quiz bowl prep camps.

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Post by Allandaros » Tue Jul 27, 2004 11:35 pm

I attended the Furman camp last week, and I felt somewhat disappointed coming away from the camp.

First, the bad:

:arrow: Bad questions. Obviously, every single quizbowl endeavor will have some bad questions. It's impossible to avoid them. And obviously, there are different question formats (NAQT, Keegan questions, and Patrick's Press all pop quickly to mind). But from what I've seen, quizbowl should not have questions with givaway clues in the first line, or one-liner questions. When both are put together in the same sets, the results are horrific. Example question: "This Mongol leader..." <<BUZZ>> "Genghis Khan!" "Correct."

This should not happen. While there was "only one" Danish astronomer, the same is not true for Mongol leaders. Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, and Tamurlane all come to mind very rapidly. And this aforementioned question was not an exception - for that practice session, it was the rule. I will grant that somewhere, there may exist a format where these questions are encouraged. But for the vast majority of quizbowl players, these questions can only encourage sloppy buzzing and, worse, sloppy thinking.

:arrow: Unprepared teachers. This only occured in my math minor, but the teacher was not fully conversant with the material she was going over. She was unprepared to discuss vectors. While it is completely understandable that a teacher may not have perfect recall of everything that is taught in a course, and may (if not will) need to look things up...the syllabus (or equivalent thereof) was printed and ready before the camp opened. For a short camp like this, where the material is already known, it is incumbent upon the teachers to be conversant with what they're talking about.

:arrow: Inability to switch your classes. I signed up for the Science I major (biology), on the basis that biology occurs much more in quizbowl than astronomy (the information covered in Science II). When I realized that the major was merely a warmed-over version of my freshman biology class, I wanted out. But was this even an option? No, not at all. We were told in the strongest terms on the first day that major and minor switching was NOT an option. This is somewhat foolish and short-sighted. The camp is created for the purpose of making the attendees better quizbowl players. If they enroll by accident in a class that doesn't help them, then it's a waste of their time and money, and the teacher's effort.

:arrow: "4 (Wrong) Interrupts And You're Out!" This was a rule instituted for the major-related finals. While it is admirable that ACE wishes to ensure accurate buzzing, this often has the completely undesired effect of making people buzzer-shy. It's better for the more timid people to dare a little than to punish the very gung-ho. There's a much better solution to this dilemma than to institute a 4-interrupt rule: USE NEGS. Much simpler, better turnout overall.

:arrow: Lack of standardized rules. This one's a biggie. There was NO, repeat NO time where the rules for our tournaments were set out. I was chastised once for the infamous bugaboo of "non-verbal conferring," a <i>standard</i> in my region of Quizbowl Country. I would not mind this...had I been told EARLIER of the rules. Were they ever, EVER mentioned? Nyet. Nope. We got squat.

During the practices, negs were maintained AT THE DISCRETION OF THE MODS. Not "institute at a certain time," not "always use negs," not "no negs ever." Is it not obvious that this will skew the scores recieved from practices? Someone playing in a room where negs were instituted from the beginning will have a marked score disadvantage compared to someone playing without negs.

This is probably my biggest gripe with ACE, and the main reason why I felt somewhat gypped.

The good:

ACE allows quizbowlers from all over gather and meet with their peers - and see who's the best (to a certain degree). It also lets them gain practice in quiz-bowl related categories, which is quite valuable. ACE isn't completely and irrevocably awful. With just a bit of fixer-upper, it would be great.

Overall, I can see how ACE is a worthwhile investment for teams close-by to the camp. But for northern teams (like my own), I can't honestly consider it a justified investment, or money well spent.
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Post by what? » Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:19 pm

:arrow: okay, to your first complaint: the questions. I don't understand what you are complaining about...it is perfectly fine, in my opinion, to start a question out with "This mongol leader" or "This English author", because there are more than one of them. If anyone is buzzing in there, they are playing stupidly, and deserve any negs they get. I don't think this kind of start encourages "sloppy thinking" and "sloppy buzzing;" in fact, it encourages quite the opposite. This type of question forces you to have restraint, to know not only information, but when to buzz. Sure, you can go in early, and take a guess, and get it right. But chances are, you will miss it (the gengis khan buzz you mentioned is at best a 33% chance of getting it right), and anything you miss counts off a full point. Now, if your room is not taking negs, then I agree with you. However, if this happens, the room should be taking negs...but more on that later.

You also mention that you don't like one-liner questions. Sorry, but its a format that many teams do in fact play. ASCN uses many one-liners, as do many southeastern schools in their own tournaments. You say that this doesn't help you, because you don't play that format in your region: true, but that's life. Camp can't be perfect for everyone. Chip Bealle (sp?) Night never helped me, but we did it anyone. The NAQT/Yale (aka pyramid) night should be familiar to northeastern schools.


:arrow: well, i didn't take math this year, but last year, the math minor teacher was more than competent (this year he taught the math major). All the same, when you have a new teacher, you cannot be sure how they will perform until they actually do. I can't comment on the math teacher, as I never had her, but since this is her first year (I believe), give her a break.

:arrow: The inability to switch classes is imperative. One the one hand, you complain about unprepared teachers, and yet you want to be able to switch classes. You can't have your cake and eat it too. How much more unprepared would a teacher be when his/her class grows 20 people from one day to the next? That teacher would have to take time out of class to make copies for the extra people, and catch the other people up, thus taking away from other people's camp experience. If you could switch, you would have people who took all three majors over three days, and it would be chaotic. It would drive me insane if at the start of each class, I lost 20 minutes of valuable learning time because a few people wanted to switch classes, and had to get all the previous notes, handouts, etc. It's bad that you were stuck in a class that didn't help you much, but I know for a fact that if you ask the major area teachers what they think you should take, and explain your situation to them, they can (usually) correctly advise you as to which class you should take. I understand why you thought taking Biology would be more beneficial, and I'm not saying I wouldn't have done the same thing, but the ability to switch classes would cause too much confusion and commotion in general, so the camp directors have to make a blanket rule, with no exceptions.

:arrow: actually, I like that rule. It encourages you to be aggresive (3 free negs), but punishes you for being overly aggressive. You mentioned before that you hated it when people buzzed in on "this mongul leader (or something like that)"...well, how much angrier would it make you if the major competition finals turned into the same thing? I believe the 4-neg rule is the best way to ensure that the best player wins. A good player who knows his stuff isn't overly penalized for a good guess, and the overly aggresive players who would take logical, if wild, guesses are penalized. Perhaps straight-up negs would work just as well, but in my opinion, the 4-neg system works as it is. Don't fix it if it isn't broken.

:arrow: non-verbal conferring. For one thing, the camp is run southeastern coaches, so non-verbal conferring will not be allowed. However, every time it came up, the player was always warned, not penalized, that I saw. Perhaps you were penalized, I wouldn't know, I wasn't there, but three times someone in my room was warned for non-verbal communication, and 3 times they only received a warning. One guy on my team at one of the tournaments continued to do it anyway, and was never punished. I know it's probably hard for teams who are used to non-verbal communication to stop it, but it's also hard for teams who are not used to non-verbal communication to stomach it at NAQT run tournaments (and others that allow non-verbal communication). Heck, some formats even allow verbal communication. It's all a matter of preference.

:arrow: This complaint is one that is heard a lot at camp, but almost always unwarranted. Usually, the top rooms play with negs (better players), the bottom rooms don't. I played in rooms with negs all camp, and I never felt gipped. More importantly, you complain that negs were not consistent throughout camp. You are right: they weren't--except for on ASCN day (one-liners). Then, I believe everyone played with negs. However, EVERY reader was instructed (to my knowledge, and I was told this) that, if they felt the players were getting out of hand (i.e. "This mongul ruler" BUZZ Genghis Khan or "This English Author" BUZZ Milton), that they should institute negs. Thus, players are rewarded for playing with restraint and logic, but punished if they play with reckless abandon. I like this system a lot, because it's kind of a self-check, of sorts.

Also, rankings are not done simply based on points total. I'm sure that Mr. Barry and cohorts would notice that if room 7 were taking negs, and room 8 weren't, etc. The neg system doesn't affect you as much as you think it does, because it's really not about points total--it's about how you did in your room. Thus, the rule is consistent w/i your room, and functions to improve the competition. I'm all for it.

ex. On one-liner day, room 2 took negs at -1/2, room 1 at -1. The people who won room 2 had about ten more points than the people at the top of room 1, but to my knowledge, the people in room 2 did not move to the top of room 1, although they did move into it.

:arrow: I agree that it IS a better investment for a southeastern school than a northern school, because camp does have a southeastern format to it. However, if a northern school were to ever come down to a sotuheastern tournament, then camp would likely benefit them greatly. Don't be too harsh on ACE camp, just because it is different--it is an experience unto itself, and I think you would VERY hard pressed to say that camp did not help you improve as a player.


P.S. Mr. Barry--when are the major area subject winners going to be put up for Furman camp? Not to be impatient or anything, but I'd really like to see who all won...

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Post by MLafer » Wed Jul 28, 2004 2:56 pm

okay, to your first complaint: the questions. I don't understand what you are complaining about...it is perfectly fine, in my opinion, to start a question out with "This mongol leader" or "This English author", because there are more than one of them. If anyone is buzzing in there, they are playing stupidly, and deserve any negs they get. I don't think this kind of start encourages "sloppy thinking" and "sloppy buzzing;" in fact, it encourages quite the opposite. This type of question forces you to have restraint, to know not only information, but when to buzz. Sure, you can go in early, and take a guess, and get it right. But chances are, you will miss it (the gengis khan buzz you mentioned is at best a 33% chance of getting it right), and anything you miss counts off a full point. Now, if your room is not taking negs, then I agree with you. However, if this happens, the room should be taking negs...but more on that later.
I don't give half a damn about quiz bowl camp, but this is just wrong. A person with perfect knowledge should always be able to buzz before a person with incomplete knowledge (to prevent the so-called "burden of knowledge"). Take some random person off the street. It's quite likely that the only Mongol leader they've heard of is Genghis Khan. So if the answer is in fact Genghis Khan, the person with incomplete knowledge will no doubt have less hesitation buzzing in on the question than the person who wrote their dissertation on the troop movements of Hulugu. Or for a more extreme example, if you start an Ibsen question with "this Norwegian playwright" you are punishing people who know more than one, and rewarding people who jokingly say "HURR HURR IF U HEAR NORWEGIAN PLAYWRIGHT, BUZZ" (I know, no other would come up in high school, making this a bad clue in every sense of the word).

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Post by what? » Wed Jul 28, 2004 3:34 pm

in a perfect world, all questions would be answered by those who know the most information and are the best players. But this isn't a perfect world, and to say that you cannot start of "This English Author" is being overly harsh, in my opinion. Make the questions harder, if you must, so that people who take aggressive, random guesses will not know the answer, but to knock a camp because some of its questions start of with vague hints that SOME campers feel the need to guess on is wrong. Also, I don't think ACE actually writes the questions we practice on...so if you are complaining about the pyramidal questions we played on, blame NAQT or those who wrote the Yale tournament from years ago (I think it was one of those two, I'm not sure which)...

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Post by Allandaros » Wed Jul 28, 2004 3:37 pm

Note: Quoted responses have been truncated; see the original post above for exact quotes.
what? wrote::arrow: okay, to your first complaint: the questions. I don't understand what you are complaining about...it is perfectly fine, in my opinion, to start a question out with "This mongol leader" or "This English author", because there are more than one of them. If anyone is buzzing in there, they are playing stupidly, and deserve any negs they get. I don't think this kind of start encourages "sloppy thinking" and "sloppy buzzing;" in fact, it encourages quite the opposite.
Ah, my friend, you're missing the point of the 'plaint. All the questions there, in that session, were the "only one" questions. They never asked about the more esoteric answers, only the most common ones. It was just
buzzer-racing. While buzzer-speed is a good thing, drilling exclusively on buzzer-speed questions is foolish.
what? wrote:You also mention that you don't like one-liner questions. Sorry, but its a format that many teams do in fact play. ASCN uses many one-liners, as do many southeastern schools in their own tournaments. You say that this doesn't help you, because you don't play that format in your region: true, but that's life. Camp can't be perfect for everyone.
Yes, to me it does seem a silly format. But I wouldn't have minded it at alll if the questions were a bit more discriminating, providing the giveaway clue at the END of the question rather than the first three words in.
what? wrote:I can't comment on the math teacher, as I never had her, but since this is her first year (I believe), give her a break.
First year? That's fine, but she should still be able to discuss, even a LITTLE bit, the items that were on the sheets handed out at the start of classes. I stand by my statements.
what? wrote:The inability to switch classes is imperative. One the one hand, you complain about unprepared teachers, and yet you want to be able to switch classes...How much more unprepared would a teacher be when his/her class grows 20 people from one day to the next? That teacher would have to take time out of class to make copies for the extra people, and catch the other people up, thus taking away from other people's camp experience.
There's a simple solution to this: not providing the catch-up information. If you transfer, you have to get the information on your own. Talking with the teacher, getting the info from other people in the major...the responsibility can devolve to the student and the teacher doesn't have to worry about a thing.
what? wrote: :arrow: actually, I like that rule. It encourages you to be aggresive (3 free negs), but punishes you for being overly aggressive...Don't fix it if it isn't broken.
I must disagree. Instituting a bounceback rule (3 bouncebacks, then the question dies), and putting in negs would be much fairer than the 4-rule. As the moderators took pains to remind us, someone getting every single question in the tourney right except for the four in which they neg will be eliminated. Their incredible prowess is ignored because they buzzed in a mite hastily all of four times. This doesn't strike me as right.
:arrow: non-verbal conferring.
I'm afraid you may have misinterpreted my post. My complaint wasn't with nonverbal conferring (or lack thereof), but the fact that we were NEVER told the ground rules about nv-conferring, interrupts, and so forth...the information which is usually covered in the "info session" before a tournament.
what? wrote:More importantly, you complain that negs were not consistent throughout camp. You are right: they weren't--except for on ASCN day (one-liners)...Also, rankings are not done simply based on points total...The neg system doesn't affect you as much as you think it does, because it's really not about points total--it's about how you did in your room. Thus, the rule is consistent w/i your room, and functions to improve the competition.
I'm afraid I'm not following your comment on self-checking. It seems a tad bit inconsistent to institute negs at the whim of the reader. The way I see it, it should either be a "negs-on" or "negs-off", binary, not negs-when-I-feel-like-it.

But if the rankings aren't tallied based on total points, then my complaints lessen greatly; I was under the impression that they were done in exactly that fashion. *wryly* It would help if we were told of the ranking system...*points to above complaints on lack of rules-explaining*
what? wrote: :arrow: I agree that it IS a better investment for a southeastern school than a northern school, because camp does have a southeastern format to it. However, if a northern school were to ever come down to a sotuheastern tournament, then camp would likely benefit them greatly. Don't be too harsh on ACE camp, just because it is different--it is an experience unto itself, and I think you would VERY hard pressed to say that camp did not help you improve as a player.
Let me revise my statements. ACE Camp is perhaps a good place to send, say, northern B-team or JV players. If they attend, I can see how their skills would improve. But as for the A-teamers, I can't honestly see ACE proving too useful.

The question isn't "Did ACE help you or not?" The question is "Did ACE help you in a manner proportionate with its costs?" For example (Warning! Exaggeration forthcoming!), paying ten grand to get one tossup a mite sooner than you would have otherwise isn't a good idea. [/b]
what? wrote:...and to say that you cannot start of "This English Author" is being overly harsh, in my opinion. Make the questions harder, if you must, so that people who take aggressive, random guesses will not know the answer, but to knock a camp because some of its questions start of with vague hints that SOME campers feel the need to guess on is wrong. Also, I don't think ACE actually writes the questions we practice on...
That's precisely what I'm saying - the questions were of such difficulty (or lack thereof) that the answer was ALWAYS the obvious one. That's my gripe. The people buzzing in on "English Author" with Milton were, nine times out of ten, correct. That was my gripe.
That would make sense. That's why they didn't.
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Post by Chris Frankel » Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:03 pm

I don't see how it's asking too much that clues like "This Mongol leader/English author" not be used before giveaways, if at all. As Lafer said, they have the doubly negative effect of both frustrating knowledgable players with vagueness and rewarding fraudulent players by insantly reducing the scale the answer to one small category without requiring deep knowledge. It's a really simple problem to get around: just use different clues like works by a creator, historical accomplishments of a leader, etc. Nobody expects perfection and all, but it's really lazy not to take the 5 minutes required to use google or a textbook and find some better early clues that are both challenging and rewarding, especially since it avoids a major problem with minimal effort required.

edit: got a little sidetracked, and wanted to say something about the notion of QB camps in general.

I understand that the purpose of the camp is to improve competitive skills, which do entail crap formats, but still a lot of that seems to be missing the point of the game, which is to encourage knowledge and learning. When I "study," I get books and do in depth research on topics that intrigue me, and end up walking away with not only a good short list of names/terms to buzz on, but also a feeling of satisfaction and interest at having learned something beyond a superficial level. I think that, and the mental exercise and improvement of research/reading skills involved, is just as rewarding, if not more so than being able to get a quick tossup in a future game. The whole idea of going to a camp to practice ASCN/Chip seems analogous to burying one's head in ESPN columns and Yahoo News for a month in the hopes of getting cheap sports/CE buzzes at NAQT (which I know several people have done), and that just seems to defeat the point.

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Post by NoahMinkCHS » Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:27 pm

I'll agree with Frankel, et. al., that "Mongol leader" clues, in general, are terrible. But -- and correct me if I'm wrong -- don't competitions such as It's Academic, ASCN, and sometimes NAC use questions like that? Yeah, I know, the population of this board generally ignores or criticizes such tournament as outside the qb mainstream (and, I might add, I think they're justified in doing so), but the fact is, many people all over the country do play in that kind of event. So while it doesn't benefit a mainly-NAQT player to play on QU or one-liners, it's not that great for It's Ac players to practice on pyramidial questions. As long as you know what kind of questions to expect, you can adapt. (Unless that Mongol ruler question was on pyramid night... then that's just bad...)

But where else can you be exposed to quiz bowl formats and players from so many different regions and styles? That, to me, was an asset. But if you'd rather play just pyramid-style or whatever, I'd contact ACE. If the market would rather not have the one-liners, I imagine they might do something about it.

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Post by what? » Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:28 pm

for what it's worth, that wasn't exactly the best ASCN-like set I've every heard

as far as the math teacher goes, i'm just saying don't blame the camp. They couldn't have known what kind of teacher she would be until she actually taught at camp. If she was indeed a bad teacher, then she probably won't be back next year, but as I said, I can't really comment on that...

the student COULD take on the responsibility, but there would still be a problem with the daily test (for the day of the switch) and, in general, people don't want to take on the responsibility. I'm not saying you wouldn't, but I think a good number of the people that would switch would not take on that responsibility, and instead just gripe about it an expect everything to be handed to them, thus becoming a headache for the teachers

well, if you have gotten every single question right, just stop on your 3rd neg :)

and a bounceback-limit rule would be foolhardy. What if I had 2-3 teammates up there with me, and I have a 1 point lead with a question left...they could simply take the fall to protect my lead, and it would be completly legal...you couldn't accuse them of any impropriety, as long as they have logical guesses, just as you can never really call anyone for delay of game on a strategic neg at timed NAQT (unless of course they draw out their answer, etc.)

I don't know...I still think that the 4-neg rule works to insure that the person who knows the most wins (or at least places high)...it limits guessing, and generally, if the neg penalties are that harsh, you aren't going to go in until you are 99% sure it's right...

and I would think you would like that, since you don't like buzzer race questions

let me explain: if negs are only -1, with no other penalty, I am much more likely to be aggressive and take guesses, than if I get kicked out if I miss another...

I see where you are coming from, but I still maintain that the system works well enough, and does not merit a change...

Well, I don't remember being told this year about non-verbal conferring, but maybe they did, maybe they didn't, I'm not sure. If they didn't, then they should have, but every time I saw it called it was in a very polite manner...but yeah, I see where you are coming from, I just don't see why you are so upset about it

did they take a question away from you? Or were they rude? Otherwise, people are human, and can forget to say things (though I'm not saying you shouldn't have been told; you should have)

no, I'm sure the rankings weren't based strictly on points; they told us that on day one. And I still think its okay to not have negs, until the reader feels that people are just taking random guesses (i.e. buzzing in on "Mongol ruler--genghis khan"...but maybe that's just me. I can understand wanting it to be clear cut, I just don't think it's all that bad :/

well, you were playing against some of the best competition from the southeast, for what it's worth, though I do agree with your statement...

and as for the benefit/cost ratio, I think that is more of an individual thing...

but then again, to make the questions harder to make the top players happy (so that random guesses aren't right), what is going to happen to the players in room 20? If they are playing questions so hard that they don't get them, or only get them at the very end, they won't enjoy quizbowl and will likely quit. It's imperitive that everyone practice on the same questions, so that people can move up and down, but I think a happy medium would be hard to reach...

lol, I think we will just have to agree to disagree, though I do admit you have some very good points...I just think, overall, you are coming down a little too hard on the ACE people...I imagine it is very hard to do what they do...

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Post by jewtemplar » Wed Jul 28, 2004 5:17 pm

Chris Frankel wrote: I understand that the purpose of the camp is to improve competitive skills, which do entail crap formats, but still a lot of that seems to be missing the point of the game, which is to encourage knowledge and learning. When I "study," I get books and do in depth research on topics that intrigue me, and end up walking away with not only a good short list of names/terms to buzz on, but also a feeling of satisfaction and interest at having learned something beyond a superficial level.
Amen to that.

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Post by NoahMinkCHS » Wed Jul 28, 2004 7:31 pm

what? wrote:and a bounceback-limit rule would be foolhardy. What if I had 2-3 teammates up there with me, and I have a 1 point lead with a question left...they could simply take the fall to protect my lead, and it would be completly legal...you couldn't accuse them of any impropriety, as long as they have logical guesses, just as you can never really call anyone for delay of game on a strategic neg at timed NAQT (unless of course they draw out their answer, etc.)
The only tournament I've ever played with singles (outside of camp) is the Gordon College Bowl (a buzzer playoff btwn the top 3 scorers from each of 3 written subject area tests given during the day; usually about 15-20 Middle Ga. schools compete), where there's a one-bounceback limit (two responses then the question dies). Granted, there are no negs, but generally what happens is 1-2 players monopolize the buzzer so that, even when wrong, anyone who can't beat them to it is out of luck. Negs might slow that somewhat, but I doubt it. Even if they did, "what?"'s concern seems likely enough to mess things up at least once every few years. The neg-limit isn't perfect, and I've seen some of the best players I've ever played against get knocked out as a result; but they know the rules and the risks of going early ... it's fair to everyone.

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Post by somerandomguy » Wed Jul 28, 2004 7:33 pm

First, I was on Humza's team the first night as the captain. The nonverbal consultation would not have been that big of a deal if the opposing team (NOT THE MODERATOR) hadn't started screaming about it. It wasn't even a scream match, the opposing team simply tried to call him on consultation, he said that it was unsubstantial, and the moderator requested that he not do it again. I don't see why you're so upset about it, it's not as big a deal as it seemed.

I agree that there probably should have been some kind of rules set out before each tournament began, and I'm sure Mr. Barry will probably notice this and hopefully institute some kind of rule sheet for next year's camp.

As far as questions not being of the best quality, it doesn't matter.

Though a few questions did indeed start out with giveaway clues, other's didn't. As far as that affecting competiton, and any kind of complaint about competition, if i remember right, the first night, Mr. Barry got up and stressed the fact that the camp was NOT a competion. The objective of the camp was to help you learn and be better prepared for various tournaments and tournament styles.

I personally have no complaint about the questions. They served their purpose to give people practice, and more importantly to present information. I'm not sure how many people at camp utilized the whole note-taking aspect, but there were many clues that i've heard as NAQT power marks before (i.e. "it is analagous to Newt..." "coulomb's law").

The information was there, it was up to the students to utilize the camp experience and to learn as much as possible while having fun with the competition.

I'd also like to thank Mr. Barry and the rest of the staff at ACE for running an educational and enjoyable camp.

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Post by what? » Wed Jul 28, 2004 7:34 pm

actually, I go to camp not for the practices and nightly competitions (fun though they are), but for the major classes. I went to the Literature 2 class (taught by Mr. Jim Garrick), and I found it to be very valuable. Admittedly, you will not learn as much about one or two books as if you sat down and actually read them, but who has the time for that? Instead, in two-three minutes Mr. Garrick goes over everything you need to know for quizbowl about that book (well, maybe not everything, but he tries).

and if I find a plot that interests me (such as Anna Christie or A Light in August) then I can go home and read the book

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Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Jul 28, 2004 8:59 pm

If the goal is to prepare you for Chip, then terrible questions and arbitrary rules will certainly do the trick.

what?
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Post by what? » Wed Jul 28, 2004 11:04 pm

lol

it certainly would

luckily, camp finally dropped the whole chip thing this year

after all, practicing for chip is inherently pointless...unless you are practicing sucking up to TD's, in which case...

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Post by First Chairman » Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:15 am

what? wrote:after all, practicing for chip is inherently pointless...unless you are practicing sucking up to TD's, in which case...
And that's not a useful skill? I'd pay a little money to take that seminar. :lol: (cool) :wink: :P :D :mrgreen: :chip:

Damn... need more obnoxious smilies on this board.

I'm surprised they would drop Chip. After all, Irmo and Walton go there all the time, and it would behoove them to actually be served... isn't it?
Last edited by First Chairman on Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by First Chairman » Thu Jul 29, 2004 8:36 am

what? wrote:as far as the math teacher goes, i'm just saying don't blame the camp. They couldn't have known what kind of teacher she would be until she actually taught at camp. If she was indeed a bad teacher, then she probably won't be back next year, but as I said, I can't really comment on that...
Okay, there are certain instances where I accept volunteers for things that I do. I have no clue what that person is like in the duty I assign, but I have a certain level of competency which I either assume the person has or I know that person has.

In this instance, I'm going to disagree with you because I'm assuming that the math teacher was not a volunteer. I doubt all the teachers there are pure volunteers, especially when it comes to teaching math; this person should be compensated somehow, free room/board at least. I don't know much more on this topic on the teaching style or bedside manner of this instructor, so I cannot comment more aside from what you've said.

I work with an excellent math teacher in Ohio AD who boils all the concepts you need for that competition down to 20-30 minutes. Quiz bowl skills require much of a variation of those concepts (he teaches that session to coaches and presumes that all kids can do everything without calculators, like we did in the old AD days).

So my point is: no, the ACE camp probably should have known when it came to selecting teachers for its subject courses. I would have, and for the Ohio AD coaches workshop, my superior does assign subject areas based on the expertise of our core of coaches. One complaint however does not make a person not invited again, so maybe other people liked her style. That does happen.
. on the 4-neg rule, etc.
At least in the college world, there is the Eric Hilleman-originated singles format, where you read a set number N of tossups among a number S of students. If I describe it correctly: a student gets "promoted" (and thus doesn't have to answer any tossups) whenever he achieves N*(points for correct answer)/S threshhold, with rankings given in the order of promotion, then the final score among those who did not get promoted by the last tossup. In general, everyone gets three buzzes before the question dies, but you can make the tossups one-shot (no rebounds) if you wanted, though promotions become more difficult that way.

Then for subsequent games you can "randomize" all rooms, or for a "final" (minimum two qualifying rounds), you can place all your 1st place people in one room, then 2nds, then thirds as needed.
but then again, to make the questions harder to make the top players happy (so that random guesses aren't right), what is going to happen to the players in room 20? If they are playing questions so hard that they don't get them, or only get them at the very end, they won't enjoy quizbowl and will likely quit. It's imperitive that everyone practice on the same questions, so that people can move up and down, but I think a happy medium would be hard to reach...
Maybe it's a philosophy for me, as I do commiserate with the people in the lower tiers, but there are two factors that I figure are confusing this point. The point of the tournament format is that in the end people are playing against others at similar skill level... but you do/should not compromise your question quality for that. By the time you have completely stratified your field (i.e., the best kids play each other in the same room), you really shouldn't have the "random guesses" making a difference if this is all about improving your skills. It's not a question of having "harder" questions as opposed to making sure your questions are consistently written in a manner than the best players can buzz early and those not in the top tier can still buzz at the giveaway. That is philosophically the point of a pyramidal-style question, and why so many people on this board believe it is the gold standard.

The point about one-liners... it's okay, but in It's Academic and some of the other competitions that have used them (including ones I write) usually have an overarching theme prior to going into the question set. "For ten points each, identify these things beginning with the letter schwa. ;) ".
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Post by jrbarry » Thu Aug 05, 2004 6:53 pm

Our math minor teacher has taught at ACE for 3 years. We have three years of student evals that suggest she is good and that kids were satisfied with what they learned in that short class. Vectors were NOT part of her curriculum as they were taught in Math II minor for the last 2 years. We take all criticisms seriously, however, and have changed much of what we do at ACE camp based on campers' evals, both players and coaches.

It always disappoints me to hear players who felt that camp was a waste or, at least not worth the price or time. ACE does have a pretty good track record of players returning to camp and campers from the same schools attending year after year. We obviously do not meet everyone's needs nor could we.

We abandoned using national tournament formats this year and received widespread high marks form returning campers. We simply used toss-ups and bonuses written by college students for high school tournaments held in the 1990s at Yale and out West. We also used one set of shorter questions in one practice, but even those questions were pyramid in style. We used no "Who wrote Moll Flanders?" type questions this year.

The comment about camp being for JV players or Southern players is interesting. I guess weze jes not as smart down here-uh as those smart Yankees! :-)

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Post by mrblinux » Thu Aug 05, 2004 8:44 pm

jrbarry wrote:We used no "Who wrote Moll Flanders?" type questions this year.
Actually, there were. The second day of practice was a total buzzer race in my room because of the ultra-short questions. One question used for the first match of the final (third) day of the tournament during the first round was... "Hamlet was written by William Shakespeare. Who wrote The Hamlet?" Hose!
No longer affiliated with Blake It's Ac team :D

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Post by Allandaros » Fri Aug 06, 2004 6:30 pm

jrbarry wrote:Vectors were NOT part of her curriculum as they were taught in Math II minor for the last 2 years.
We ended up covering vectors, but it was due to a question read during one of the practices. If the vectors were not part of the curriculum, then they should not have been on the sheet she handed out, or, at least, it should have been labeled "Info Not Covered In Class." I took the sheet's presence to mean "We will be covering all these items in the class, that's why we're giving you this sheet."
We take all criticisms seriously, however, and have changed much of what we do at ACE camp based on campers' evals, both players and coaches.
I'm glad to hear that.
The comment about camp being for JV players or Southern players is interesting. I guess weze jes not as smart down here-uh as those smart Yankees! :-)
:shock: Methinks you might be interpreting my remarks in a spirit not intended. I would recommmend that most people go to the camp if it will provide appropriate "bang for your buck," as it were. JV players of all sorts, no matter the location, will certainly get a lot from the camp - it builds a lot of fundamental skills needed for quizbowl.

The North/South factor is different. I don't think I got a lot out of the camp (partially because of a bad choice of classes, but that's another issue altogether, one that's been addressed above). Now, I still had a good experience - but the travel time and expense (not ACE's fault at all, but still something that must be considered) diminished my total value gained from the camp. What I was trying to say was that if you're an A-teamer and the camp's in your backyard, as it were, then by all means you should go. But the further away you get, the more the travel expenses and problems crop up, and the more your return value diminishes.
That would make sense. That's why they didn't.
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Post by jrbarry » Fri Aug 06, 2004 9:56 pm

Humza:

I was TRYING to be funny with my Southernese comments. All in good fun, but I did learn some things from your comments on ACE. Unfortunately, we neglected to change that Hamlet question Michael brought up, between camps. Definitely MY fault on that one.

Your point on travel expenses on top of a $400 entry fee for 4.5 days is well-taken. That's probably why most of our campers are close enough to drive in and out on the days camp starts and ends. Same deal in Missouri.

I will take up the vector deal with our math people.

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