It's Academic discussion

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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by zachary_yan » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:16 pm

VishnuRachakonda wrote:I think Varun and the others have done a great job elucidating the accessibility point I was referring to. QB has a tough barrier to entry. It's not particularly established and you have to look damn hard for info on it when compared to other scholastic activities like debate, Science Bowl, Model UN etc. which also don't have a "bad" form making entry more difficult.
Having done policy debate for two years in high school, I can tell you that the debate circuit has and has had problems that are similar to the ones faced by quizbowl. It would be nice if someone knowledgeable about debate can try to explain this more.
I only got onto the forums within the past year and have really began to get into this sport recently. I suggested It's Academic based practice as a way of getting into quiz bowl because that's exactly how I got into this activity and became a somewhat competent player who has fun going to tournaments. I think Matt Weiner corrected a lot of the prejudices I had, but I was simply suggesting using the fun (and official) sense of It's Ac and faster paced quiz competition as a means of getting students interested in the quiz competition idea itself. I never suggested DBCR join the TV show (which is probably impossible, since I heard there's already a waiting list for new teams and stuff).
Like people have said, introductory and novice qb events should be appropriate enough entry level quizbowl competition. If that isn't true than players need to be getting the proper training to compete in quizbowl or the activity just isn't for everyone. For example, hockey is considered a sport with a high learning curve, but yet there are thousands of players of all ages who start playing for the first time very year. Part of this is because skating is not an innate human skill and is a necessary requisite in order to play. At the same time, least in Minnesota, there really isn't any organized "no skating" hockey (for people who don't know, field hockey is completely different from ice hockey). People who want to participate in hockey learn how to skate first, and there's not really way around this. There is usually off-ice stickhandling training and other things, but this isn't really done to introduce players to the sport. Furthermore, no one really uses street hockey as a real introduction to proper hockey (at least not for kids). To sum this up, It's Academic=off ice hockey (organized forms don't exist) pyramidal quizbowl=on ice hockey; skating lessons=preparing for quizbowl)
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Bolt52 » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:29 pm

zachary_yan wrote:Like people have said, introductory and novice qb events should be appropriate enough entry level quizbowl competition. If that isn't true than players need to be getting the proper training to compete in quizbowl or the activity just isn't for everyone. For example, hockey is considered a sport with a high learning curve, but yet there are thousands of players of all ages who start playing for the first time very year. Part of this is because skating is not an innate human skill and is a necessary requisite. At the same time, least in Minnesota, there really isn't any organized "no skating" hockey (for people who don't know, field hockey is completely different from ice hockey). People who want to participate in hockey learn how to skate first, and there's not really way around this.
Having played DBCR, A-sets would even be difficult. Now of course, it goes hands down, want to get good at quizbowl, go to lots of tournaments. Looking for ones using A sets would be perfect for DBCR to have fun while still getting plenty of practice.

As for the Hockey analogy, I don't think that was what Vishnu and some of the others were trying to say. A problem with current quizbowl is that a lot of people that are needed for a school to run a team (coaches, admins, etc.), don't understand what QB is find it shady because new teams go to competitions, pay ~$70 and then come back home with nothing to show for it. The TV show works, even though it may be "bad," to convince administrators and parents to place support behind a team. In a way, in the DC area, the show has somewhat as an outreach, keeping new teams interested and working as a path for new teams to start up and actually form to learn new knowledge and make it to their first pyramidal tournament.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:35 pm

The "come back home with nothing to show for it" is a fault of quizbowl's inability to promote itself properly, not some way it is inferior to It's Academic. For example, teams could point to Fred Morlan's ranking system as an indication of their succcess. Many tournaments give out scoring prizes. Teams could note that they defeated a ranked opponent or finished in a top bracket (or second bracket) or had team members win scoring prizes. Yes, I get that it isn't as prestigious as a TV gig but there are ways to properly promote this.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by zachary_yan » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:36 pm

Bolt52 wrote: A problem with current quizbowl is that a lot of people that are needed for a school to run a team (coaches, admins, etc.), don't understand what QB is find it shady because new teams go to competitions, pay ~$70 and then come back home with nothing to show for it. The TV show works, even though it may be "bad," to convince administrators and parents to place support behind a team. In a way, in the DC area, the show has somewhat as an outreach, keeping new teams interested and working as a path for new teams to start up and actually form to learn new knowledge and make it to their first pyramidal tournament.
I guess in this case I'd agree that It's Ac and other forms of bad qb may be a necessary evil then for now. The hockey analogy is a response to the people who say that It's Academic is a good and necessary way to introduce players to quizbowl.

Edited for clarification.
Last edited by zachary_yan on Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:19 pm

Nooo, it's not "necessary" at all! Why would you conclude that?
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by zachary_yan » Sat Apr 12, 2014 10:53 pm

Cheynem wrote:Nooo, it's not "necessary" at all! Why would you conclude that?
Edit: In retrospect I think misunderstood which instance of "necessary" this question was referring to.

(Some of these quotes are taken slightly out of context but reflect a general sentiment)
VishnuRachakonda wrote:This is going to be controversial maybe, but an idea is for you is to use the It's Academic TV Show or its questions as a preliminary training ground for your students to get into the concept of trivia first, before entering the DC area's daunting and difficult quiz bowl circuit. ... We've used It's Academic and its format as an easy vehicle to make QB more accessible, which I don't think it particularly is right now. Please feel free to contact any of us for help- we've been where you are very recently.
jessbowen wrote:Quiz Bowl seems like it's really big in certain regions - like the midwest. It's not as big here in Massachusetts and there simply aren't that many events. I also like that you can use the [KMO] discs as practice afterwords (and after a couple of years, you have several to choose from.)
Howard wrote:And this is patently false. There is not a single thing in practicing for or competing on It's Academic that can possible make a player worse at pyramidal quizbowl. Not the learning of material. Not the answering of questions. Not the thought processes behind answering the questions. Not the thinking skills developed. Not a single thing.
Last edited by zachary_yan on Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:01 pm

All this shows is that the good quizbowl circuit needs better expansion, not that KMO or It's Academic or Atari Club or playing checkers or literally eating grass is the solution to connect schools to good quizbowl. Surely things like, I dunno, more accessible, cheaper high quality HSAPQ, NAQT, or other events would do even better than It's Ac or KMO in connecting students to good quizbowl.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Schmidt Sting Pain Index » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:19 pm

Cheynem wrote:All this shows is that the good quizbowl circuit needs better expansion, not that KMO or It's Academic or Atari Club or playing checkers or literally eating grass is the solution to connect schools to good quizbowl. Surely things like, I dunno, more accessible, cheaper high quality HSAPQ, NAQT, or other events would do even better than It's Ac or KMO in connecting students to good quizbowl.
Ideally, Yes. Clearly some regions have been able to become somewhat active in good quiz bowl after starting from scratch. However, I think using It's Academic for recruiting new teams remains an untapped outlet for good quizbowl outreach. Building up an association with such TV shows (people need to look from an outsider's perspective and realize that such formats are revered and prestigious) and then showcasing all the facets of good quiz bowl once new teams begin to acclimate to the new format seems like an effective way to expand quiz bowl in areas where such a method remains viable.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Sat Apr 12, 2014 11:27 pm

I like all the people who know nothing about it's Academic posting here.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by jonah » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:45 am

zachary_yan wrote:
RexSueciae wrote:The IHSA has apparently gotten worse this year as a side-effect of all the good writers resigning in protest and/or being fired for reporting plagiarism. VHSL Scholastic Bowl hasn't gotten worse in terms of questions in the past few years, although the redistricting nonsense that occurred right before this year's season automatically takes them down a few notches. I have had no contact with the MSHSAA; hopefully some Missouri player can give firsthand information. Kansas is a post-apocalyptic quizbowl wasteland and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
(Note:I'm not directly responding to either posts here, these are just some assorted thoughts I had) I don't know if it's just me misunderstanding what "good quizbowl" means, but what I'm talking about here are the fact that good questions are used. The term kinda gets conflated with what I'd consider "bad conduct" or "bad organizations" for whatever reason, and there certainly have been problems with good quizbowl events. Things like plagiarism and David Reinstein being fired for doing the right thing and reporting it is horrible and all, but at least some of these organizations have acknoledged that their questions suck. Plus wikipedia says that IHSA as a whole has been the center of tons of athletics related problems anyways, so it's not just a problem with quizbowl.
You clearly have no idea what you're talking about with respect to the IHSA issue.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:16 am

As somebody who co-founded the Missouri Quizbowl Alliance and spent a subsequent 5 years of my life fighting very vigorously to convince teams that the MSHSAA series was a horribly run boondoggle and had to work even harder to force good quizbowl to exist at all in the state in the face of a bunch of coaches and state officials clawing and screaming over how much they hated it (I've been attacked personally in official MSHSAA coaches training slideshows that made fun of how I was an unemployed college dropout or something to that effect, had one coach make up stories about my behavior at tournaments in an unsuccessful attempt to get me fired as a coach, and when she couldn't do that she dug her way through a bunch of paperwork and found out that the school I was working for hadn't completed all of my MSHSAA approval papers, unbeknownst to me, and forced them to send their AD to MSHSAA state to make sure I never actively "coached" them at that tournament, had MSHSAA threaten to not sanction my tournaments unless I met with them in person at my first attempt to run something as a freshman, and the list goes on over the many many fights that have been fought in order to make pyramidal quizbowl in Missouri a reality, not alongside, but in spite of the entrenched culture of MSHSAA quizbowl), I also have to scoff at how little you know about what you speak. Who even are you dude? Is there anything more obnoxious than somebody who doesn't actually know anything and instead makes a ton of wrong assumptions in order to fill out his uneducated drivel, rather than shutting up and admitting maybe he's not qualified to talk about LITERALLY EVERYTHING EVER POSTED ON THIS GODDAMNED FORUM?
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by zachary_yan » Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:11 am

Horned Screamer wrote:As somebody who co-founded the Missouri Quizbowl Alliance and spent a subsequent 5 years of my life fighting very vigorously to convince teams that the MSHSAA series was a horribly run boondoggle and had to work even harder to force good quizbowl to exist at all in the state in the face of a bunch of coaches and state officials clawing and screaming over how much they hated it (I've been attacked personally in official MSHSAA coaches training slideshows that made fun of how I was an unemployed college dropout or something to that effect, had one coach make up stories about my behavior at tournaments in an unsuccessful attempt to get me fired as a coach, and when she couldn't do that she dug her way through a bunch of paperwork and found out that the school I was working for hadn't completed all of my MSHSAA approval papers, unbeknownst to me, and forced them to send their AD to MSHSAA state to make sure I never actively "coached" them at that tournament, had MSHSAA threaten to not sanction my tournaments unless I met with them in person at my first attempt to run something as a freshman, and the list goes on over the many many fights that have been fought in order to make pyramidal quizbowl in Missouri a reality, not alongside, but in spite of the entrenched culture of MSHSAA quizbowl), I also have to scoff at how little you know about what you speak. Who even are you dude? Is there anything more obnoxious than somebody who doesn't actually know anything and instead makes a ton of wrong assumptions in order to fill out his uneducated drivel, rather than shutting up and admitting maybe he's not qualified to talk about LITERALLY EVERYTHING EVER POSTED ON THIS GODDAMNED FORUM?
I'll to keep the metaposting brief but for the record, this is an informal discussion board (unless I'm misunderstanding something). I don't see what's necessarily wrong with discussing about things you're not "qualified to talk about". Almost everything you need to know about the quizbowl circuit can found online, and most of it isn't too hard to understand. (the thorough first-hand description of the IHSA plagiarism scandal can be found on qbwiki) Also, I thank you for your hard-fought effort in promoting good quizbowl in Missouri, Charlie, so I'm sorry if I made you angry about whatever comment I may have made. MSHSAA is far from being good quizbowl organization (or organization in general), but if it hadn't been for efforts of people like you, I wouldn't even consider Missouri with having good quizbowl.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:26 am

Well, yeah, that's the point, if not for people like me, quizbowl in Missouri would be a whole lot worse, it has nothing to do with MSHSAA, and we managed to get where we got without doing pretty much anything to help MSHSAA - none of us staff state, we had nothing to do with the NAQT bid for state, which is still not all pyramidal quizbowl, we refuse to sanction MSHSAA format events, etc. So if you don't know that, why would you bring us up as an example of why people should try to work with bad quizbowl organizations? Why do you feel it is your business to make incredibly half-baked claims about a whole host of issues if you very clearly have no actual firsthand knowledge or prior experiences with any of them? Do you have tournament directing experience, do you have quizbowl outreach experience, have you written any well received sets, have you done any quizbowl outside of Minneapolis other than HSNCT, do you have any unique insights to the game that only you are an expert on? If quizbowl is so easy to figure out from you browsing the internet a little, then why is it that so much of what you post gets sent to the Forbidden Zone over how bad your advice is, or seems to get people with more credentials than you to come in and tell you how wrong you are over and over again? Maybe it's because you're wrong, and there's a lot more to understanding quizbowl than scanning QBWiki and finding Sue Ikenberry's twitter account. You certainly have the right to post whatever the hell you want in any thread, but just because you CAN do that doesn't mean you actually have anything to contribute. What is the compulsion that you feel to keep posting in threads when they don't have anything to do with your own experiences, AND you don't have any apparent expertise you could bring to the situation? Is there anything to be lost by NOT responding to everything that piques your curiosity ever, and instead sitting back and letting people who know more than you hash out the issues once in a while?
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:11 am

Not necessarily germane to It's Ac, but awhile back in this thread, the issue of question length and difficulty came up, and I think it's important to clearly distinguish between the two with regards to outreach and new players and teams. Over the past three years, IHBB has introduced pyramidal quizbowl to over a dozen countries (and a major part of the next ten years of my life will be the continued expansion to dozens more, including foreign language events, eventually). Basically everywhere, our questions are well-received by students and teachers alike. Some teams certainly do better than others, but we rarely if ever get complaints that the questions are too hard or too long. And yet, our shortest tossup questions tend to be four lines long. This tells me that it's not pyramidality or question length that's the issue, but rather answer accessibility (and perhaps, though some will disagree with me here, the appeal of the IHBB/NHBB four quarter format which has more variety than 20/20)
I know HSAPQ is making strides in the department of having easier sets that still consist of 4-6 line tossups, but just in general, I think pyramidal quizbowl would be more accessible if more true novice sets and tournaments were run. I've read many an NAQT A set match that ended with both teams still under 120 points or so, which isn't fun for anyone. Good novice sets shouldn't contain computational math, an excess of trash, or other methods sometimes used to attract new teams, but should hold answerline difficulty firmly in check, and should maybe be limited to 10 packets or so, so that obscure answers don't need to be resorted to as filler. It might not also hurt if a greater effort was made to produce comprehensive study guides (this is something I've been thinking of for NHBB). There's a lot of stuff (esp. in the arts and literature realm) that is easy enough if you know where to look, but can be daunting for new teams. If it were all in one spot, it would make the learning curve faced by new teams far easier to surmount.
I have some other ideas I'm working on regarding outreach, which I'll elaborate on later, but for now, I'll just note that we're going to be ramping up our high school (and middle school History Bowl) outreach efforts in the USA next year considerably, on top of the international expansion I've detailed elsewhere.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:39 am

The entire reason quizbowl is viewed as "shady" and stupid by non-quizbowl people is because they see garbage like It's Academic on TV think and think this is just a dumb trivia/reflex game with no academic relevance. Destroying It's Academic and other fake quizbowl is the best thing we can do to fix this problem.

I believe that the happy medium for this "legitimacy" issue at the regular level is by having something like VHSL (or the new state championships HSAPQ launched this year) where you do things that school administrators can understand but don't compromise on question quality. Obviously, the way that HSNCT and NSC have run the last few years also sends an impression of a professionally run activity taken seriously, but not every team has playing nationals as a goal and a bottom-up strategy is preferable to a top-down if we want to get more teams involved.

I again ask people to stop just making up facts -- the idea that you need a terrible TV show that competes with quizbowl in order to form teams is belied by the teams that exist in all the states and regions without such shows. Clearly it is more than possible to form circuits exclusively worried about good NAQT and HSAPQ questions from scratch; the fact that it has been done over and over again proves this. The problem is that for some people, who view quizbowl as merely practice for a horrible TV show they are obsessed with, they don't want to admit this fact and view their primary role on this board as throwing up smokescreens to deny it, and other people, named Zachary Yan, are incorrigible idiots who post made-up facts because they are fascinated with seeing their name at the end of threads.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:18 am

If I'm not mistaken, Texas, Illinois, California, Georgia, and Missouri all lack regular "It's Academic"-style shows on TV. They're doing fine. The New Jersey area lacks it, it's growing very well. Eastern Pennsylvania doesn't have It's Academic - they're growing fast in the past couple of years. Kentucky has shown growth in the past few years, it doesn't have It's Academic. Louisiana is a burgeoning circuit without any televised show. Alabama is growing without relying on a TV show.

The idea that It's Academic is essential to growing a circuit is false. What's proven to grow quiz bowl are good tournaments with good recruitment practices. The only area that relies upon It's Academic is are Maryland and DC Metro, and let me be honest: these areas have shown less quiz bowl growth than others, and have lost national importance over the past 10 years.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:49 am

I would urge people to look at what people who have experience building a circuit (Matt, Charlie, etc.) or people who have experience running many tournaments (Fred, Dave) are saying. I don't want to pick on Zach, but he seems to be a sucker for posting dumb stuff, so I will: he's a freshman at college who as far as I know has never actually "run" a major tournament, built a circuit, written a set, or done anything besides play a few tournaments and read things online. The annoying thing about the online marketplace of ideas is that everyone's ideas inherently seems equal, but this isn't true if you read between the lines and see who is saying what. Planning out how to promote quizbowl and start a team by listening to a few high school students and a college freshman OR by listening to people who have track records of successful tournaments and circuit building: who would you rather listen to?
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:53 am

Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:If I'm not mistaken, Texas, Illinois, California, Georgia, and Missouri all lack regular "It's Academic"-style shows on TV. They're doing fine. The New Jersey area lacks it, it's growing very well. Eastern Pennsylvania doesn't have It's Academic - they're growing fast in the past couple of years. Kentucky has shown growth in the past few years, it doesn't have It's Academic. Louisiana is a burgeoning circuit without any televised show. Alabama is growing without relying on a TV show.

The idea that It's Academic is essential to growing a circuit is false. What's proven to grow quiz bowl are good tournaments with good recruitment practices. The only area that relies upon It's Academic is are Maryland and DC Metro, and let me be honest: these areas have shown less quiz bowl growth than others, and have lost national importance over the past 10 years.
Just look at schools like B-CC and Whitman that have stopped going to tournaments, instead only appearing on the show. This happened after a period of relevance on the circuit. After people graduated, they basically stopped going to good tournaments. If the MD/DC area had a more stable circuit, one that isn't seen by people as less important than the TV show, this would not be a problem. Additionally, many schools just end their teams for a year after they lose on the show, meaning its impossible to get them to go to any tournaments after around January. It's Academic clearly has a corrosive influence on teams.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by cchiego » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:11 am

Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:Texas, Illinois, California, Georgia, and Missouri all lack regular "It's Academic"-style shows on TV.
NorCal has Quiz Kids and SoCal has Academic League. Georgia also has Hi-Q.

My experience is that many TV show teams tend to be "once-a-year," if even that, attendees at regular quiz bowl tournaments. Too many TV-only teams--both good and bad--try quiz bowl tournaments and decide that it takes too much work to prepare for quiz bowl compared to having "funnnn" on TV show questions. Why study and work hard when you can put down the show on your resume and have a random chance of doing well with little preparation (perhaps apart from memorizing the previous year's questions, which is a good strategy for AUK questions)?
Mr. Joyboy wrote:Just look at schools like B-CC and Whitman that have stopped going to tournaments, instead only appearing on the show. This happened after a period of relevance on the circuit. After people graduated, they basically stopped going to good tournaments. If the MD/DC area had a more stable circuit, one that isn't seen by people as less important than the TV show, this would not be a problem
This point is quite true and is one of the real dangers of these TV shows. It's very easy for the people who stay at a school the longest--teachers, administrators, etc.--to place more of an emphasis on these TV shows and to steer their schools back in that direction once pro-quizbowl students graduate. I've seen conflicts between students and sponsors get nasty over these differing directions. Having the constant temptation of a TV show that provides prestige and requires less real preparation will always be in opposition to establishing/maintaining a good quizbowl circuit.

The ideal solution is to get the TV shows/state formats to switch to better questions/rules/formats. Unfortunately, TV show producers as well as coaches of teams on these shows tend to be quite resistant to change. That doesn't mean change can't happen though--Nashville's Quizbusters recently switched to pyramidal NAQT questions and seems to be doing quite well. But it will require members of the local quizbowl circuits to stop apologizing for the bad practices of these shows and work as a group (perhaps through one of these vaunted alliances!) to change hearts and minds.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:14 am

cchiego wrote:
Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:Texas, Illinois, California, Georgia, and Missouri all lack regular "It's Academic"-style shows on TV.
NorCal has Quiz Kids and SoCal has Academic League. Georgia also has Hi-Q.
I've been corrected. I've also been informed that eastern PA does have a TV show.

I'll contend that even with those areas I've mentioned, they aren't talked about as the centerpiece of the circuit like it is in MD/DC/eastern VA.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Pancreatic Stork » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:21 am

Mr. Joyboy wrote: Just look at schools like B-CC and Whitman that have stopped going to tournaments, instead only appearing on the show. This happened after a period of relevance on the circuit. After people graduated, they basically stopped going to good tournaments. If the MD/DC area had a more stable circuit, one that isn't seen by people as less important than the TV show, this would not be a problem. Additionally, many schools just end their teams for a year after they lose on the show, meaning its impossible to get them to go to any tournaments after around January. It's Academic clearly has a corrosive influence on teams.
On a similar side note, even state sponsored tournaments such as VHSL have caused trouble to the Quizbowl circuit. While it has done good job replacing the particularly bad questions before its institution and offering a better alternative to Central Virginia's own version of It's Academic, Battle of the Brains, the tournament has led to many teams centering their whole Quizbowl programs around the tournament and once their participation in the tournament is over, so is their season. Now, this is a smaller and more easily fixed problem, but it goes to show that allying with State sponsored tournaments is not always as it is cracked up to be.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by RexSueciae » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:39 am

nomonkeybiz wrote:
Mr. Joyboy wrote: Just look at schools like B-CC and Whitman that have stopped going to tournaments, instead only appearing on the show. This happened after a period of relevance on the circuit. After people graduated, they basically stopped going to good tournaments. If the MD/DC area had a more stable circuit, one that isn't seen by people as less important than the TV show, this would not be a problem. Additionally, many schools just end their teams for a year after they lose on the show, meaning its impossible to get them to go to any tournaments after around January. It's Academic clearly has a corrosive influence on teams.
On a similar side note, even state sponsored tournaments such as VHSL have caused trouble to the Quizbowl circuit. While it has done good job replacing the particularly bad questions before its institution and offering a better alternative to Central Virginia's own version of It's Academic, Battle of the Brains, the tournament has led to many teams centering their whole Quizbowl programs around the tournament and once their participation in the tournament is over, so is their season. Now, this is a smaller and more easily fixed problem, but it goes to show that allying with State sponsored tournaments is not always as it is cracked up to be.
Teams participating exclusively in VHSL's state competition and not in any other mainstream quizbowl is indeed a problem, but it's not like VHSL's semi-revitalization caused teams to shy away from the circuit. I do not know of any Central VA team that has (in living memory) actually turned away from quizbowl in order to focus on VHSL or Battle of the Brains. I have also no idea what you mean by "smaller and more easily fixed problem."

Also, on a completely unrelated note to sentiments that were expressed further upthread: you can look up what the IHSA and MSHSAA did on qbwiki.com. It's kind of hard to argue against facts when the information in question is readily available online.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Pancreatic Stork » Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:58 am

I cannot speak for them, but George Mason had been active in the Quizbowl circuit even up to last year, but I have not seen them appear in any non-VHSL tournament this year, which is particularly unfortunate, considering that they would be able to compete fairly well in non-VHSL tournaments if they went.

On my statement that the problem of teams centering their whole programs on VHSL is easily fixed, I meant that now that these teams have been introduced to pyramidal questions, some group, maybe PACE, could point them towards the regular Quizbowl circuit by sending a representative to the VHSL tournaments that these team are participating in. So far, I haven't seen that happening, but I won't say that it isn't. However, the point to get out of this, is that while state-sponsored tournaments are an excellent way to introduce teams to pyramidal quizbowl, if nothing is done to further help these teams get involved in the regular quizbowl circuit, then these tournaments subvert the primacy of the regular quizbowl circuit.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:03 pm

For tournament directors attempting to recruit teams to play a good quizbowl tournament, outreach efforts are somewhat standardized but are made towards schools from vastly different backgrounds in regards to academic competition experience. The problems that prohibit schools from participating in good quizbowl are what I'll call "barriers to entry."

The barriers to entry for teams from schools with no pre-existing team are fairly basic: lack of coach, students don't know what the game is like, funding may not exist, etc. The barriers to entry for teams from schools with experience in bad quizbowl formats are different, and often consist of arguments against competing in good quizbowl tournaments from various people involved in the program. These arguments include things like administrators discouraging competing in the comparatively low profile quizbowl circuit, coaches worrying that playing good tournaments would harm their ability to compete in other competitions, players being unfamiliar with format differences and resistant to change what they already know, organizations who run bad quizbowl punishing people who get involved with good quizbowl, and similar anti-quizbowl arguments which have been refuted over and over again on this board.

The issue here is not that "It's Academic" or whatever bad format you'd like to defend is helping address some of the institutional barriers to entry faced by schools without teams, but rather that it presents new barriers to entry for schools who get involved in the bad format. These bad formats at best allow for an equal tradeoff of barriers to entry, and in many cases the bad formats make it harder for teams competing in them to compete in good quizbowl. For example the presence of MSHSAA has in the past few years created a climate of hostility towards schools who competed in good quizbowl, and led to the barrier of authoritarian intimidation which is certainly harder to overcome than a relatively simple issue like "finding a coach."

Not only do these formats create additional argumentative barriers that make it difficult for teams to switch to good quizbowl, but they can amplify institutional barriers faced by all teams. Teams with limited funding often find it tied to their performance in the bad format, or when it comes down to choosing between spending money on the competition they already compete in or attending one of their first good quizbowl tournaments, these teams would rather spend money on the format they are used to. Good quizbowl efforts approach these barriers in a variety of ways, but most good tournaments offer discounts to new teams which treats schools who have yet to play good quizbowl similar regardless of whether or not they have experience with TV shows, bad formats, or similar competitions.

The good quizbowl circuit has ample opportunities for new teams to get involved in easier tournaments, and these efforts appear to be expanding and will likely draw in more and more teams over the next few years. There is no reason for teams to get involved in a bad format if they can absolutely avoid it, because they only create additional and more complex barriers to entry than they already face, and can serve to make it even more difficult to compete in good quizbowl tournaments. Some schools who make the switch from bad formats to good quizbowl have already overcome institutional barriers like acquiring funding, players, or coaches, but these cases are outnumbered by schools who never fully make the switch to good quizbowl. The continued participation in bad formats alongside good formats can lead teams to consistently fight the same battles against competing in good quizbowl, and in some cases these schools (a prime example would be my alma mater) will respond to some change in their program such as coach or player departures by slipping back into exclusively competing in bad formats.

For the purposes of outreach, it is not easier to encourage teams to make the switch from bad formats to good quizbowl than it is to encourage new teams to attend good quizbowl tournaments from the start. The pre-existence of bad formats is not an institutional factor that encourages the spread of good quizbowl, and is in fact primarily a hindrance to the spread of the game.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by zachary_yan » Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:12 pm

Cheynem wrote:Planning out how to promote quizbowl and start a team by listening to a few high school students and a college freshman OR by listening to people who have track records of successful tournaments and circuit building: who would you rather listen to?
This is expressly why good quizbowl needs a better mode of communication to new teams and circuits than just reading whatever the heck random people like me have to say on an internet forum. But in general, I'll admit I post for the sake of posting, suck at rhetoric, and don't know anything firsthand, but I do so with the intention that some legitimate discussion might come out of the ideas I put down. My sincere hope is that some more meaningful, substantive discourse is happening outside of the forum that will lead to real change in the world of quizbowl.

There was a point brought up earlier about how Comcast's quiz show helped the Delaware pyramidal circuit. As always caveat lector when it comes to statistics (I'm well aware the teams from across the mid Atlantic come to invitational, so the data might not be entirely applicable) (the first year that Comcast wasn't planned, 2010, is marked in bold)

Blue Hen attendance from 1999: 12, 14, 30, 31, 41, 24, 17, 24, 20, 26, 34, 24 , 20, 18, 18, 12
DE fall/C SWIFT from 2000 : 14, 11, 14, 19+11, 8+8, 26+16, 33+15, 23+15, 30+22, 30+15, 20+16|8+12(2 events this year), 17+19

Okay while this shows that tv might help expose teams to the idea of quiz competition, there needs to be a way to retain teams for the higher quality competition. Using tv shows and other bad qb a crutch to establish good quizbowl is something that needs to stop happening soon. Someone should just send an updated version of the stanford culture page or some other digestible compendium of the good qb canon to every team in the country for free. Within a six months, hundreds of quizbowl teams with just a little dedication will be able to get 18ppb on IS sets and make nationals guaranteed.

Edit: added some stuff
Edit 2: Sorry I meant Blue Hen instead of Rider Bowl
Last edited by zachary_yan on Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Panayot Hitov » Sun Apr 13, 2014 6:28 pm

zachary_yan wrote:
Cheynem wrote:Planning out how to promote quizbowl and start a team by listening to a few high school students and a college freshman OR by listening to people who have track records of successful tournaments and circuit building: who would you rather listen to?
This is expressly why good quizbowl needs a better mode of communication to new teams and circuits than just reading whatever the heck random people like me have to say on an internet forum. But in general, I'll admit I post for the sake of posting, suck at rhetoric, and don't know anything firsthand, but I do so with the intention that some legitimate discussion might come out of the ideas I put down. My sincere hope is that some more meaningful, substantive discourse is happening outside of the forum that will lead to real change in the world of quizbowl.

There was a point brought up earlier about how Comcast's quiz show helped the Delaware pyramidal circuit. As always caveat lector when it comes to statistics (I'm well aware the teams from across the mid Atlantic come to invitational, so the data might not be entirely applicable) (the first year that Comcast wasn't planned, 2010, is marked in bold)

Rider bowl attendance from 1999: 12, 14, 30, 31, 41, 24, 17, 24, 20, 26, 34, 24 , 20, 18, 18, 12
DE fall/C SWIFT from 2000 : 14, 11, 14, 19+11, 8+8, 26+16, 33+15, 23+15, 30+22, 30+15, 20+16|8+12(2 events this year), 17+19

Okay while this shows that tv might help expose teams to the idea of quiz competition, there needs to be a way to retain teams for the higher quality competition. Using tv shows and other bad qb a crutch to establish good quizbowl is something that needs to stop happening soon. Someone should just send an updated version of the stanford culture page or some other digestible compendium of the good qb canon to every team in the country for free. Within a six months, hundreds of quizbowl teams with just a little dedication will be able to get 18ppb on IS sets and make nationals guaranteed.

Edit: added some stuff
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:16 pm

zachary_yan wrote:Rider bowl attendance from 1999: 12, 14, 30, 31, 41, 24, 17, 24, 20, 26, 34, 24 , 20, 18, 18, 12
Given that this post lists the 2012 edition of the Rider Bowl as the 3rd annual, where are you getting your pre-2010 figures from?
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:21 pm

That was also around the time Bill Tressler, noted coach who could bring seven teams to any tournament he wanted to and probably biggest factor in outreach in the state, stopped coaching at Wilmington Charter.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Cody » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:03 am

zachary_yan wrote:This is expressly why good quizbowl needs a better mode of communication to new teams and circuits than just reading whatever the heck random people like me have to say on an internet forum. But in general, I'll admit I post for the sake of posting, suck at rhetoric, and don't know anything firsthand, but I do so with the intention that some legitimate discussion might come out of the ideas I put down. My sincere hope is that some more meaningful, substantive discourse is happening outside of the forum that will lead to real change in the world of quizbowl.
It's called random idiots (such as yourself) not offering advice in areas where they are not qualified to do so. The only thing that results from your current posting spree is (a) a frantic scramble to debunk your "advice" before it causes real harm and (b) frustration that you won't stop offering advice in areas where you are not qualified to do so! There's plenty of substantive discourse happening off the boards - as anyone who has ever run a tournament can tell you - but you posting extremely bad advice or dumb things only harms the substantive discourse that does occur on the board.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by vinteuil » Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:07 am

Zachary, I think a large part of the confusion/miscommunication that's going on here is that you seem to have some conception of "Good Quizbowl" as an entity composed of its participants, as opposed to an activity etc. etc.—thus you say things like "Good Quizbowl needs to communicate better," whereas it's the responsibility of a coach who wants their team to get better to do that. It's not the responsibility of "quiz bowl" as an activity, and certainly not the other participants in it, to do this.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by zachary_yan » Mon Apr 14, 2014 2:57 am

vinteuil wrote:Zachary, I think a large part of the confusion/miscommunication that's going on here is that you seem to have some conception of "Good Quizbowl" as an entity composed of its participants, as opposed to an activity etc. etc.
It looks like I'm greatly overestimating the existence of good quizbowl as a a singular entity, but I mean isn't that kind of what the board and community are? When I speak of "good quizbowl" as an entity, I mean "quizbowl community" and things like "companies, associations, and individuals that promote quizbowl", so I guess that's not being communicated here.
—thus you say things like "Good Quizbowl needs to communicate better," whereas it's the responsibility of a coach who wants their team to get better to do that. It's not the responsibility of "quiz bowl" as an activity, and certainly not the other participants in it, to do this.
I used the term "communicate" very vaguely in the previous post, so I don't know if we're talking about the same thing. But anyways, if I'm not mistaken isn't this what outreach tries to solve? It's certainly not any one else's business to manage the affairs of individual teams, but if coaches don't know what to do, it might be a good idea for a third party to lend an helping hand.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by jonpin » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:54 pm

zachary_yan wrote:
Cheynem wrote:Planning out how to promote quizbowl and start a team by listening to a few high school students and a college freshman OR by listening to people who have track records of successful tournaments and circuit building: who would you rather listen to?
This is expressly why good quizbowl needs a better mode of communication to new teams and circuits than just reading whatever the heck random people like me have to say on an internet forum. But in general, I'll admit I post for the sake of posting, suck at rhetoric, and don't know anything firsthand, but I do so with the intention that some legitimate discussion might come out of the ideas I put down. My sincere hope is that some more meaningful, substantive discourse is happening outside of the forum that will lead to real change in the world of quizbowl.
So, a good solution here is for you to (a) stop posting for the sake of posting; (b) read the posts of those who do know what they're talking about; (c) not impede the meaningful, substantive discourse going on around you by shouting I LOVE LAMP. These forums are one but not the only source of communication within quiz bowl, and they're a great mode for linking new players and teams to the experience of those who have been around the game for 5, 10, or more years. But it becomes harder for the former to learn from the latter's wisdom when those in-between are talking nonsense.

I thought that the phenomenon of "people just saying things" was an uncharitable view of poor discussion, I never thought someone would outright admit to it.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Howard » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Horned Screamer wrote:As somebody who co-founded the Missouri Quizbowl Alliance and spent a subsequent 5 years of my life fighting very vigorously to convince teams that the MSHSAA series was a horribly run boondoggle and had to work even harder to force good quizbowl to exist at all in the state in the face of a bunch of coaches and state officials clawing and screaming over how much they hated it....
I terminated the quote for the sake of brevity, not to tread lightly on the things you endured, Charlie. The entire community should appreciate all you've done to expand quizbowl. The only problem I have is that this isn't terribly relevant to It's Academic. Teams aren't running around trying to impede the spread of the circuit. Coaches aren't actively working against quizbowl. It's Academic's producers aren't doing things to subvert the circuit (and in fact work to help team find other competitions).
Matt Weiner wrote:The entire reason quizbowl is viewed as "shady" and stupid by non-quizbowl people is because they see garbage like It's Academic on TV think and think this is just a dumb trivia/reflex game with no academic relevance. Destroying It's Academic and other fake quizbowl is the best thing we can do to fix this problem.
Really? I don't know anyone outside pyramidal quizbowl who thinks It's Academic is a trivia/reflex game. In fact, I hear nothing but positive reviews from people outside pyramidal quizbowl. So how could it be possible that this show could make people outside the pyramidal quizbowl community think quizbowl is shady? I'll tell you what will make people think quizbowl is shady: actively professing the destruction of and working to destroy certain types of academic competitions because some half-baked idea somewhere has made people believe that the reason the circuit isn't more successful is that a show with 162 schools participating takes twelve on about each of two Saturdays a month to participate in their show. If you have the superior product you claim to have, it won't be necessary to destroy anything; teams will come to your events if they know about them and have experienced their superiority.+
Mr. Joyboy wrote:Just look at schools like B-CC and Whitman that have stopped going to tournaments, instead only appearing on the show. This happened after a period of relevance on the circuit. After people graduated, they basically stopped going to good tournaments. If the MD/DC area had a more stable circuit, one that isn't seen by people as less important than the TV show, this would not be a problem.
The only thing of relevance you can deduce from their lack of attendance is that they didn't want to attend. It's Academic didn't make them stop attending. They had their own minds to make up regarding what they wanted to do. Take a step back and think about what this means. These teams were exposed to both and for whatever reasons chose to stop attending pyramidal tournaments. In fact, there's no evidence to suggest that if It's Academic didn't exist they'd be playing in any tournament anywhere. If you want to know why they stopped, ask them. Asserting that the show made them do it is completely fallacious.

And if the MD/DC area had a more stable circuit, it wouldn't be seen as less important than the TV show. I checked to see how many teams in the Baltimore/DC/Northern Virginia area attended a pyramidal event this year. 44 teams. Of those 44, only 19 attended more than one event, and only nine attended five or more events. If your premise is that It's Academic is keeping teams from entering tournaments, you are mistaken. The thing that keeps teams from entering tournaments is failure to pay attention to the wants, desires, and needs of the teams.

I'll report once again that the largest single item coaches indicate to me as to why they leave tournaments early or do not compete at all is that the games are too lopsided with their team losing badly too many times. Yet, when I report this, the general attitude is that I should ridicule these teams for leaving tournaments early after being disheartened rather than advocate for change which would get them more competitive games. Pyramidal quizbowl and its organizers need to immediately dispense with the mindset that any team should be ridiculed, let alone publicly, and start working on changes that prevent the situations causing teams to be unsatisfied with tournaments.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:12 pm

Mr. Joyboy wrote:
Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote: Just look at schools like B-CC and Whitman that have stopped going to tournaments, instead only appearing on the show. This happened after a period of relevance on the circuit. After people graduated, they basically stopped going to good tournaments. If the MD/DC area had a more stable circuit, one that isn't seen by people as less important than the TV show, this would not be a problem. Additionally, many schools just end their teams for a year after they lose on the show, meaning its impossible to get them to go to any tournaments after around January. It's Academic clearly has a corrosive influence on teams.
This is accurate, and largely tallies with my HS memories(with the caveat that Whitman also had issues with Science Bowl siphoning off a lot of people as well).
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:21 pm

Howard wrote:I terminated the quote for the sake of brevity, not to tread lightly on the things you endured, Charlie. The entire community should appreciate all you've done to expand quizbowl. The only problem I have is that this isn't terribly relevant to It's Academic. Teams aren't running around trying to impede the spread of the circuit. Coaches aren't actively working against quizbowl. It's Academic's producers aren't doing things to subvert the circuit (and in fact work to help team find other competitions).
MOST coaches aren't doing those things -- certainly there are a few coaches obsessed with IA who bash quizbowl tournaments in front of audiences or host IA events in conflict with quizbowl events, though. (Or who post on the forums advocating that teams play It's Academic instead of studying for quizbowl).
Really? I don't know anyone outside pyramidal quizbowl who thinks It's Academic is a trivia/reflex game. In fact, I hear nothing but positive reviews from people outside pyramidal quizbowl.
This is a great example of the category error that John Gilbert consistently makes in order to try to cover up his lack of argument for his position -- when we say "participating in It's Academic is not the best use of your time as a new quizbowl team asking how to get better at quizbowl," he responds with a list of 10 reasons why, according to him, playing It's Academic is not inherently evil and is better than sitting at home twiddling your thumbs, then acts like he has disproven the actual thesis being put forth. Here, we see it again: no one is saying that people cannot like It's Academic for what it is -- there's nothing WRONG or EVIL about being a trivia/reflex game show, and certainly IA, Jeopardy, and the hundreds of other such shows one could name are fine for what they are. It's not surprising that any given person who watches It's Academic when they are awake and looking at the TV at 11 AM on a Saturday morning believes it positively fulfills their expectations for what a trivia/reflex game show for high school students should be, and it's even less surprising that John Gilbert, who probably knows more huge fans of It's Academic than the average person, hears positive comments about It's Academic from non-quizbowl people. But, none of those things are what anyone is disputing! So, bringing them up, while we have no reason to doubt that they are true, is still a smokescreen to the real point here.
So how could it be possible that this show could make people outside the pyramidal quizbowl community think quizbowl is shady? I'll tell you what will make people think quizbowl is shady: actively professing the destruction of and working to destroy certain types of academic competitions
Well, we're not talking about academic competitions here, we're talking about It's Academic, a show whose title is a lie. With that said, the only "work" I or anyone else has done to "destroy" It's Academic is to make one post in this thread saying that, were it to be destroyed, that would be a good thing for quizbowl. I certainly have not scheduled IA tapings and IA-style tournaments against real quizbowl tournaments, announced as a near-retirement-age high school teacher that I would like to register my team in a tournament run by a good quizbowl proponent just so I could punch the tournament director, or promoted the idea that quizbowl is impossible and for uncool nerds to a captive audience of high school coaches and teams, just to name a few things IA proponents have done towards quizbowl that I know about. I also haven't told my team members that they may not participate in quizbowl and threatened to kick them off the team or institute school disciplinary action against them if they attend quizbowl tournaments that don't conflict with IA on their own time with their own money, as at least two IA coaches have done -- magically, without a peep from you about "letting people choose their own tournaments" or whatever.
because some half-baked idea somewhere
Good quizbowl and the use of actual facts to support arguments about good quizbowl is a "half-baked idea" according to John Gilbert. Good to know.
has made people believe that the reason the circuit isn't more successful is that a show with 162 schools participating
This reads like nothing so much as a musician on trial for murder asking the judge how many records he sold last week. Popularity does not determine correctness -- and if it did, I would point you to the 3000 high school quizbowl teams in the country who DON'T participate in It's Academic, or the 272 that are registered for HSNCT this year, or the 300 who played VHSL Scholastic Bowl on good questions this past season, but I'm sure you'll find reasons that this fallacy only applies when it supports your favorite TV show.
takes twelve on about each of two Saturdays a month to participate in their show
In other words, for ANY tournament held, there is a 50/50 shot that a substantial fraction of the potential audience is committed to a dumb non-quizbowl game show.
If you have the superior product you claim to have, it won't be necessary to destroy anything; teams will come to your events if they know about them and have experienced their superiority.
Team can't come to our events if they are at IA tapings! Furthermore, you know very well that there are more factors involved than "in a vacuum, choose to also participate in quizbowl on top of IA, or don't." Some of them are things the quizbowl circuit needs to do better at (like communication and professionalism), some of them are things IA and the IA culture, including yourself, are major causes of (conflicts, focus on the wrong skills, denouncing real quizbowl to IA teams), some of them are institutional factors beyond the control of either group (school principals who don't understand quizbowl and like seeing their school's name on TV, funding). Acting like this is some sort of perfectly free market where everyone has made a rational choice with no constraints is simply false.
The only thing of relevance you can deduce from their lack of attendance is that they didn't want to attend. It's Academic didn't make them stop attending. They had their own minds to make up regarding what they wanted to do. Take a step back and think about what this means. These teams were exposed to both and for whatever reasons chose to stop attending pyramidal tournaments. In fact, there's no evidence to suggest that if It's Academic didn't exist they'd be playing in any tournament anywhere. If you want to know why they stopped, ask them. Asserting that the show made them do it is completely fallacious.
See above -- the idea that there are no standards and everything is just "vote with your feet" based on some kind of inborn preference that is neither possible nor desirable to change through argument is ridiculous, outdated thinking.
And if the MD/DC area had a more stable circuit, it wouldn't be seen as less important than the TV show. I checked to see how many teams in the Baltimore/DC/Northern Virginia area attended a pyramidal event this year. 44 teams. Of those 44, only 19 attended more than one event, and only nine attended five or more events. If your premise is that It's Academic is keeping teams from entering tournaments, you are mistaken. The thing that keeps teams from entering tournaments is failure to pay attention to the wants, desires, and needs of the teams.
Teams who form to play It's Academic want and desire short, terrible questions that test reflexes, trivia, and memorization of past questions, thus their wants and desires will not be met by quizbowl. This is because their wants and desires are incorrect, and that is because It's Academic made them so. That is the connection you are obstinately refusing to acknowledge. IA teams cannot be recruited to quizbowl by a "just try what you like" approach because the type of person who likes IA and the type of person who likes quizbowl are not the same person, and have not been the same person since quizbowl started to rationalize around 2004. That is why I say IA, or at least the idea that IA should be played by the same club at each school that does or would play quizbowl, should be destroyed -- the focus on the radically different skills rewarded by IA means that, with very few exceptions, the only people in an IA club will be people who are never going to be interested in quizbowl.

I would thus like to clarify my point in two ways. First: What needs to be destroyed is not It's Academic itself, but rather the expectation that It's Academic and quizbowl should draw from the same institutional club or the same group of specific students at a school. Second: By "destroyed" I mean "argued against rationally," and I find the usage of any sort of strongarming or deceptive tactics, even those that IA and other fake quizbowl proponents have previously used towards quizbowl, to be completely unacceptable.
I'll report once again that the largest single item coaches indicate to me as to why they leave tournaments early or do not compete at all is that the games are too lopsided with their team losing badly too many times.
When you report this, we ask you what on Earth it's supposed to mean -- do IA and IA-format tournaments not have winners and losers? Often lopsided ones? What is it about quizbowl that makes it any more susceptible to this issue than IA? Doesn't quizbowl go out of its way to schedule afternoon brackets whose only purpose for non-championship-bracket teams is to give them more games against teams of equal skill? Haven't people started running novice divisions at tournaments that can support it? You never specify what "change" you want to see that would somehow eliminate the possibility of a team suffering a loss in a game where a score is kept and a winner and loser named, other than magically asserting that if we used worse questions, that would somehow accomplish this goal.
Yet, when I report this, the general attitude is that I should ridicule these teams for leaving tournaments early after being disheartened rather than advocate for change which would get them more competitive games. quizbowl and its organizers need to immediately dispense with the mindset that any team should be ridiculed, let alone publicly, and start working on changes that prevent the situations causing teams to be unsatisfied with tournaments.
No one has ever told you "John Gilbert, what you need to do is ridicule specific high school teams!" for leaving tournaments early, or for any other reason. This is an absolutely bizarre assertion that you are making.

You seem to have lost your way in this post -- remember the beginning when you praised Charlie for his work with MOQBA? What do you think that was besides getting people to take running tournaments seriously, using appropriate questions with a length and difficulty cap that made sense for the region, doing outreach, and otherwise working to get teams to come to tournaments and present tournaments absent "the situations causing teams to be unsatisfied?" You act like this isn't going on -- like he didn't do that, like HSAPQ hasn't worked hand in hand with VHSL to present a Scholastic Bowl program that over 90% of the public high schools in the Commonwealth choose to participate in despite exclusively using real questions and eschewing all IA-style gimmicks, like no one is doing anything. But obviously, based on the start of your post, you know it IS going on.

In general, I repeat my exhortation for you to explain how the Texas, Southern California, Alabama, Illinois, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Missouri high school quizbowl areas have grown significantly in both quantity and quality of teams in the last decade when there is no TV show in those places at all, and how essentially every place besides DC-Baltimore has done so with either no show or a show that the vast majority of teams do not participate in. I would like you to acknowledge the FACT that DC-Baltimore is the ONLY area of the United States where the TV show field is larger than the quizbowl circuit, and explain how that accords with your reasoning that TV participation is a prerequisite to quizbowl participation. Don't make up some other, irrelevant question like "is participating in It's Academic better than sleeping late on Saturday and doing nothing" and act like answering it proves anything -- please address the substance of the issue I have brought up.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Everything in the Whole Wide World » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:19 pm

Howard wrote:I'll report once again that the largest single item coaches indicate to me as to why they leave tournaments early or do not compete at all is that the games are too lopsided with their team losing badly too many times. Yet, when I report this, the general attitude is that I should ridicule these teams for leaving tournaments early after being disheartened rather than advocate for change which would get them more competitive games. Pyramidal quizbowl and its organizers need to immediately dispense with the mindset that any team should be ridiculed, let alone publicly, and start working on changes that prevent the situations causing teams to be unsatisfied with tournaments.
If I may interject, no matter what the format you're playing, you're going to have teams absolutely getting creamed. In the local "bad" format I played in High School, the same 7 or 8 teams were always at the top and the same 7 or 8 teams were always at the bottom. This never stopped them from playing. I don't ever recall anyone complaining about it either. With any kind of competition, you're going to have some big losers and they're going to either troop through it it drop out. If lopsided losses are something to be avoided, we're just going to end up in a Harrison Bergeron world where every team is either terrible or severely handicapped, and this is equally true of pyramidal and Its Ac.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by zachary_yan » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:31 pm

Beatlefan11 wrote: If I may interject, no matter what the format you're playing, you're going to have teams absolutely getting creamed. In the local "bad" format I played in High School, the same 7 or 8 teams were always at the top and the same 7 or 8 teams were always at the bottom. This never stopped them from playing. I don't ever recall anyone complaining about it either. With any kind of competition, you're going to have some big losers and they're going to either troop through it it drop out. If lopsided losses are something to be avoided, we're just going to end up in a Harrison Bergeron world where every team is either terrible or severely handicapped, and this is equally true of pyramidal and Its Ac.
Well one difference here is that at pyramidal tournaments teams pay over $50 or so and commit an nearly an entire day just to get creamed. At least on It's Academic (not sure about other shows) it's essentially free and takes a fraction of the time.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:38 pm

Using the horrible logic that "cheaper and shorter" is somehow better, I suppose this is true.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by zachary_yan » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:54 pm

It's the logic that teams use when planning activities and yet another reason why It's Ac is bad for the circuit.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:02 pm

zachary_yan wrote:
Beatlefan11 wrote: If I may interject, no matter what the format you're playing, you're going to have teams absolutely getting creamed. In the local "bad" format I played in High School, the same 7 or 8 teams were always at the top and the same 7 or 8 teams were always at the bottom. This never stopped them from playing. I don't ever recall anyone complaining about it either. With any kind of competition, you're going to have some big losers and they're going to either troop through it it drop out. If lopsided losses are something to be avoided, we're just going to end up in a Harrison Bergeron world where every team is either terrible or severely handicapped, and this is equally true of pyramidal and Its Ac.
Well one difference here is that at pyramidal tournaments teams pay over $50 or so and commit an nearly an entire day just to get creamed. At least on It's Academic (not sure about other shows) it's essentially free and takes a fraction of the time.
That's part of why shows like It's Academic could be a good segue into pyramidal quiz bowl. If only, you know, they were actually academic.

A big problem with shows like these is that they set false expectations of what quiz bowl is like. When you're advertising quiz bowl in a region, you need some sort of frame of reference to people who are completely unexposed to the activity, which is the vast majority of people. With other academic competitions, you can do stuff like describing debate as "making arguments about issues" and robotics as "building and programming robots." Pyramidal quiz bowl doesn't have a really defined good elevator pitch that draws from people's life experiences. Sure, high schoolers have taken tests, but that's not really how you'd want to describe quiz bowl and still have it come across as fun. So the end result is that you would say something like "it's like [It's Academic/Quiz Kids/Jeopardy/relevant quiz show] but with more academic material," and the message that will come across is still that it'll be like these shows. Thus, when people go and actually play it for the first time, apart from the sparse trash questions that appeal to their knowledge base, they are not prepared for what good quiz bowl is really like.

So yes, TV shows that promote bad quiz bowl are bad for good quiz bowl. Pyramidal quiz bowl could work alongside TV shows, but the onus is on the show to raise its standards, not for good quiz bowl organizers to lower their own (I conceived of the NCQBA specifically to ensure that Jeff Hoppes and our other officers have a monopoly over determining what quiz bowl competitions are worth playing). Then, TV could provide the publicity and tournaments could provide the actual competition (as an aside, I believe NAQT and PACE should be diligent about issuing press releases and high-quality recordings of at least the finals to news organizations near the top teams).
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:30 pm

zachary_yan wrote:Well one difference here is that at pyramidal tournaments teams pay over $50 or so and commit an nearly an entire day just to get creamed. At least on It's Academic (not sure about other shows) it's essentially free and takes a fraction of the time.
YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Everything in the Whole Wide World » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:48 pm

zachary_yan wrote:
Beatlefan11 wrote: Well one difference here is that at pyramidal tournaments teams pay over $50 or so and commit an nearly an entire day just to get creamed. At least on It's Academic (not sure about other shows) it's essentially free and takes a fraction of the time.
I suppose this is true, but at the same time, kids pay good money on registration/transit/hotels to attend debate, mock trial, and Model UN competitions, and the worst will lose big. Why would quizbowl be different? I guess the only catch is that to be a great team, you're going to have to play a good number of events, probably more often than the examples I mentioned.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:22 am

zachary_yan wrote:Well one difference here is that at pyramidal tournaments teams pay over $50 or so and commit an nearly an entire day just to get creamed. At least on It's Academic (not sure about other shows) it's essentially free and takes a fraction of the time.
Stop senselessly posting dumb things or you will be banned. You are not required to inject yourself into a discussion because you saw words that made you think something. You are not required to play inane devil's advocate on all things under the sun. You have been warned--knock it off.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:34 am

Howard wrote:
Horned Screamer wrote:As somebody who co-founded the Missouri Quizbowl Alliance and spent a subsequent 5 years of my life fighting very vigorously to convince teams that the MSHSAA series was a horribly run boondoggle and had to work even harder to force good quizbowl to exist at all in the state in the face of a bunch of coaches and state officials clawing and screaming over how much they hated it....
I terminated the quote for the sake of brevity, not to tread lightly on the things you endured, Charlie. The entire community should appreciate all you've done to expand quizbowl. The only problem I have is that this isn't terribly relevant to It's Academic. Teams aren't running around trying to impede the spread of the circuit. Coaches aren't actively working against quizbowl. It's Academic's producers aren't doing things to subvert the circuit (and in fact work to help team find other competitions).
Did you not pick up on the whole part where Zachary Yan brought up how Missouri has both good and bad quizbowl in an argument about why it isn't an issue for it's Academic to exist, prompting me to point out that he clearly knows nothing about Missouri? I was saying nothing about It's Academic or its coaches, and everything about how Zachary Yan should not say stupid things about the state that I've done so much work in to fix.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Howard » Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:04 pm

I did, Charlie. I thought you were also drawing a comparison with It's Academic. My apologies for misunderstanding your intent.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by at your pleasure » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:30 pm

List of Fighting Spirit characters wrote: " Pyramidal quiz bowl doesn't have a really defined good elevator pitch that draws from people's life experiences. Sure, high schoolers have taken tests, but that's not really how you'd want to describe quiz bowl and still have it come across as fun. So the end result is that you would say something like "it's like [It's Academic/Quiz Kids/Jeopardy/relevant quiz show] but with more academic material," and the message that will come across is still that it'll be like these shows. Thus, when people go and actually play it for the first time, apart from the sparse trash questions that appeal to their knowledge base, they are not prepared for what good quiz bowl is really like.
This is definitely true; and works the other way around; I knew quite a few people in high school who would have been excellent quizbowl players but who had very little interest in playing because their expectations about what quizbowl would be like were shaped very heavily by It's Academic.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:37 pm

There are a lot of things being in this said that are very off-base, in part because many people do not really have a background in this. I agree with many of the things Weiner et al. have said, but I think it should be noted: We cannot destroy It's Ac. As much as people would like, this is the longest-running game show in the history of game shows. This is not on a public access channel and doesn't have any sort of attendance issues at all. If all the quizbowl-active schools boycotted It's Ac, It's Ac would still exist. It's been on TV since 1960 and shows no sign of slowing down or stopping. The notion that It's Ac can be destroyed is fantastical, as is the notion that they give enough credence to the quizbowl way of doing things to care about changing. When you've been doing the same thing for 54 years and get good ratings, you're not going to change it.

(Edit: Just read Matt's clarification on the destroying It's Ac point. I agree with his sentiments in that post.)

That all being said, It's Ac is not quizbowl. It's great for recruiting (it's what got me into quizbowl), it's kinda cool to get dressed up and be on TV, but it's not quizbowl and it gets in the way of quizbowl. As Matt's first words on this thread said, it's a net negative. From their semis coinciding with NHBB nats to teams not willing to go outside of the shell, it's not good and there's no argument that it is a positive force in 2014. It can be argued that its existence from 1960-2002ish is a big reason for the DC circuit being what it is, but since then it's been mostly a burden

But It's Ac is not the be-all end-all as to why DC quizbowl isn't where it should be. It is, however indicative of some of the larger problems. I think the argument of the lack of grandeur of quizbowl is fair. If you're a coach used to getting your kids all dressed up to go to the same room where they film Meet the Press to play for half an hour and then go home, then you're not going to prepared for spending eight hours at a tournament run by 16-year-olds.

This all I think really comes down to coaches. Through the highs and lows, Gonzaga has always gone to tournaments because Fr. Meehan is sending teams to tournaments. Blair has Schaeffer, Maggie Walker has (edit: had) Dr. Barnes, etc., but many schools don't have active, involved, passionate faculty coaches. It hasn't been a problem for a place like TJ, where the robot factory has been able to operate on its own, with good quizbowl passed down from generation to generation, but when the link is broken and there's no coach, like when Ms. Danis retired from Whitman, it's over. Once the class of '12 left, there were few people left who cared, and once '13 graduated, there was not a critical mass to pick up the mantle. There are many much smaller scale examples, like when Chuhern graduated from James Monroe.

The only way to fix this problem is to fix the coaches, and that is very difficult and I'm not sure how to do it. If coaches come to enough events and feel the camaraderie and have an impassioned critical mass of students, then a program can get going. While it can start with students, it's about coaches who care about the game of quizbowl for it to continue at all but a few schools where there will always be enough students to pass it down.

It may take quizbowl alums to go into teaching to make these programs. It also may take finding people in schools that may be more interested in it than the It's Ac coach. It's Ac coaches often just get stuck with being a sponsor because schools feel the NEED to have an It's Ac team because it's an institution. Many of these sponsors are probably not even coaches and don't have a passion for trivia.
Last edited by Angry Babies in Love on Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by RexSueciae » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:41 pm

Strange Fascination wrote:Maggie Walker has Dr. Barnes
Not anymore. He retired at the end of last year. Maggie Walker is now led by Ms. Hana Reed.

Quibbles aside, I completely agree with everything you said.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:55 pm

RexSueciae wrote:
Strange Fascination wrote:Maggie Walker has Dr. Barnes
Not anymore. He retired at the end of last year. Maggie Walker is now led by Ms. Hana Reed.

Quibbles aside, I completely agree with everything you said.
Thanks, definitely should have known this.

Some "data" to support the point about coaches: Forums posting is far from a perfect measure, but it should be noted that this thread is at almost 100 posts and exactly one DC-area coach has posted. A quick look at some of the other regions (the South, Illinois) shows that more coaches are involved in discussions like these. The region has lost some of its more active coaches to retirement and movement (and one to felony charges) and I think this plays a bigger role than people give it credit for. It's hard for public, non-magnet schools without an active coach to have enough interested people to keep a program going, even when you have a few great years.
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Re: It's Academic discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:58 pm

I believe the coaching issue is part and parcel of the same "IA and quizbowl are not offering the same thing beyond very shallow, easily dispelled general similarity of both being games involving buzzers and questions" issue. The person who coaches IA isn't getting into it for the same reasons as a quizbowl coach, and yes, the commitment can be different time-wise. For the teams who contend at IA year after year, generally the coaches put in a lot of time, though more often on things like drilling old IA questions than on anything to do with attending or getting better at quizbowl tournaments. For the vast majority of teams who are there just to see a few of their best students and their cheerleading squad on TV before getting crushed by Blake or Hammond once a year, asking someone to "coach" really means "asking a faculty sponsor to do the principal a favor by chaperoning people to the TV studio for four hours one time in a year." It's not realistic to expect that the same people will be the type who are interested in what it takes to coach an active quizbowl team. There are two things we can do about this. One is, again, making it clear that IA and quizbowl are different activities for different people, and not stopping in the search for the right quizbowl coach at a school just because we've found the IA sponsor (or, in short, "destroying" the impression that there needs to be a formal link between IA and quizbowl). The other is providing more resources to help people understand what a quizbowl coach does, including how to do it without it taking over all of your free time. Handling administrative functions and being the adult in the room to keep high school personalities from causing conflict is the most crucial function. The coach doesn't need to personally run every practice, or drive to every tournament, or be the adult sponsor at tournaments for schools who require one -- that is the kind of thing that can be rotated among other people, often including team member parents when schools/districts permit that (and many do). Thinking that it's an all-or-nothing buy-in may be what keeps a lot of people from becoming or remaining quizbowl coaches -- it's not at all hard to empathize with someone who has a full courseload of teaching, other educational duties at the school, and a family at home, who is being told he or she needs to step up from four hours a year to twenty hours a week in order to be considered a real coach. We need to make it clear that such a commitment is NOT what is necessary, especially for those whose goal is "attend five to ten local Saturday invitational tournaments as a quizbowl team" rather than "win NSC."
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