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.