Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

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Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Great Bustard » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:21 am

First off, thanks again to the dozens of writers and editors who stepped in on a moment's notice to make the A Set happen last month, and to all those who contributed to our National Championships set as well. I'd like to particularly thank Matt Jackson and Eric Mukherjee for heading up the coordination and editing side of these efforts, which has been efficient, on-time, and very well-managed.

With dozens of NHBB/IHBB tournaments going on around the USA and across Europe and Asia as well over the past five weeks, I have not had time until now to write up my thoughts on exactly what led to the breakdown with Matt Weiner, and I don't wish to go over that in any greater detail than is necessary. On the other hand, people have raised the legitimate question of why this actually happened, or at least, why I acted in the way I did here. So a few words on those points:

To make two things clear from the start, the arrangement of Matt Weiner writing all of NHBB's questions this year was Matt's idea, which he approached me with last spring. Matt made the point that as a full-time writer, he could do well financially, and that the volume of questions which needed to be written confirmed that. At the same time, when parceled out over the course of a full year, the number of questions was not so high that it was not in any way overwhelming, particularly for a full-time writer of Matt's caliber and experience. The notion that this was a burdensome task or that it was unfair or irrational to ever expect one person alone to handle is simply not true. It would not have necessitated 80+ hour weeks or anywhere near that, and because it was meant to be a full-time job, it made no more sense to say this was overwhelming than to say that it's overwhelming to be a full-time writer in any other capacity (which is how thousands of people make their living).

Once Matt and I contractually agreed to this, along with significant penalties for late and non-completed sets, in light of the 2013 College History Bowl meltdown, I then reached out to add additional writers who would write questions for NHBB in reserve so that we would have a backup system in place. Roughly 15 people have been writing for NHBB in this capacity since last summer. We do in fact have hundreds of questions now in reserve, though these have by and large not been edited, are of various degrees of quality, include questions written by current high schoolers that are getting stockpiled, and contain repeats within the database. These are also maintained by Bob Borders, a part-time helper for NHBB who has a full time job and was not immediately available when Matt broke the news of his departure (hence the particular need to scramble).

The arrangement with Matt was difficult from the outset - there were many concerns regarding late sets, though the quality of the questions was very good, and it in some ways was helpful to only have to deal with one person. As the year went on with sets being delivered late, my concern increased, and on at least two occasions, I basically bailed Matt out with an amendment to our contract so that he'd be able to continue working while not being personally overwhelmed by late fees. At the same time, until the A Set broke down, while the relationship was problematic and was going to require a change in approach after the school year, the sets always did arrive in time for first usage, basically in good form. This fit a pattern going back five years with Matt, for which College History Bowl 2013 was the one exception where things didn't come through at all (and even there, there was at least a week or so of notice). The notion that Matt would up and leave not only NHBB but also quizbowl, with no more than 20% of a set completed less than 48 hours before it was to be used, seemed fanciful until it happened. This was not at all in keeping with Matt's track record and commitment to quizbowl over the past 15 years, and neither I nor anyone else to the best of my knowledge, saw this coming.

In hindsight, I of course should have pressed for more oversight of the sets as they were being written. At times, I tried to do this, which led largely to Matt either telling me to stop bugging him and that things would be done in time, or alternatively, Matt would send me sets as they were being written for a time, only to eventually stop. Given my busy schedule, and that I preferred an approach that was more delegated, I assumed that ultimately, Matt would come through. Even up until 2 days before he quit, Matt had guaranteed me "100%" that the A Set would be done by Wednesday morning. When it was not forthcoming, and I demanded then to see in what shape it existed, that was what then led to Matt submitting his resignation.

I still never got a full explanation as to, when given far more than enough time for any writer to complete the set, what Matt was doing with his time that prevented him from having enough time to write, and obviously at this stage, that's a moot point. Nor have I heard a word from Matt since the email when he said he was leaving. Despite the fact that his departure and lack of timely set production was incredibly harmful to our ability to run our operations this year, I have no personal animus towards Matt, and I hope that he is doing well and figuring out what path he wants to pursue in life. Aside from quitting NHBB, Matt also said he was quitting quizbowl in his resignation letter - I do not know if that will indefinitely be true, though certainly I have not heard of any quizbowl-related activities he has done since.

Given Matt's past contributions to the game, and given that he remains an excellent, if unreliable, writer, reader, and director, I in fact hope that Matt eventually will return to quizbowl. I find it hard to believe that an activity can be so much of a person's life for nearly 20 years, and then that person would go cold turkey and never come back. If and when Matt does return, certainly I would harbor no lingering ill-will towards him, nor, despite repeated contract violations, do I intend on pressing a lawsuit against Matt that would be costly in time and resources for both of us.

The only thing I am going to absolutely insist on here from Matt is the following. The financial harm and fallout from Matt's contract violations conservatively speaking exceeds $10,000 based on late fee payments, penalties for unwritten sets, and all the financial costs of hiring writers and editors on short notice to fill in the shortfall. If Matt never returns to quizbowl, then so be it. But if he does, he has a debt here that he owes NHBB that he needs to repay before I can consider him a member of the community in good standing. If Matt wants to become involved in quizbowl again, then he either needs to write 2000 tossups and/or pay off what he contractually owes NHBB before he should take on any other major project, and he needs to make a sizable dent in that (at least a quarter) before being involved at any tournament or with any other quizbowl activity. If he has any time or room for quizbowl in his life, then he has room to do this. This may sound like a lot, but as he has proven in the past, Matt could write 500 tossups within a week if it really mattered to him, and he could write enough tossups to pay off the debt in full within a few months even while holding down another job. Seen in the context of everything that Matt has done for quizbowl, and could do again for quizbowl if he were so inclined, this is not a monumental task. Moreover, knowing the thousands of hours that Matt put into quizbowl over the years as a volunteer, this is well within his capabilities if quizbowl still means anything to him.

If Matt does get back into quizbowl without doing this, though, I will have a major-league problem with Matt, will consult my attorneys and consider legal action, and will also have a huge problem with any person, team, or organization with whom Matt would be working and/or volunteering. As quizbowl becomes more inclined towards professionalism, a trend that has certainly been welcome over the past five years, the notion that someone of Matt's stature could blow off a major commitment, leave thousands of students in the lurch, require dozens of people to pick up the mess, and suffer no consequences for it while remaining active in the community is one that is both risible and damaging, if it is allowed to gain traction.

But my hope is that things never come to that, that Matt is doing well, and that he'll eventually come back. Despite my difficulties in dealing with him, I am grateful to his efforts, particularly with HSAPQ, to help improve our questions and our tournaments over the past four years. I know that Matt is capable of great things in life, and hope that he will at some point when it makes sense for him, come back and pay off his debt, and once again do great things for quizbowl.

*************************
In terms of how NHBB will deal with question writing going forward, this will largely remain an open question until after our National Championships in two weeks for obvious reasons. Most of the writing for our middle school National Championships is being overseen by Eric Huff and Nick Clusserath, while I will handle oversight of a portion of the rest in the four weeks between high school and middle school nationals. I will probably draw on our stockpile for a good amount of this, but if people are interested in contributing to this effort, they should contact me to let me know. Likewise, for the International History Olympiad, we already have one writer who is devoting a lot of time to this and within the past ten days completed the first of many sets that we need written. He will handle at least a few more, though if people are interested in writing for that, they should contact me too. With all the other National Championships coming up though, I realize that a good chunk of the Olympiad is likely to be written during the first 3 weeks of June - in any event, I am not worried at all about our ability to get it done and give the players who will be playing it a great experience.

As for our international championships sets, those will be crafted out of the US high school and middle school Nationals sets, along with our A Set, and various other regional/country specific contributions where needed to augment the distribution (e.g. commissioning extra Canadian history questions for our Canadian championships, etc.). As such, neither A Set nor our Nationals sets will be posted publicly, nor available for public comment this year - we regret the inconvenience. We will post our C Set by this coming Monday after our last IHBB Europe regional concludes in Barcelona - B Set will be posted after our Singapore Championships in May (the last tournament using a set based largely off that).

As for next year, it will be a few months before we finalize our plans since there is a lot that remains unresolved at this point, including who and how many people will be working for NHBB full-time and part-time next year, our exact question needs, and who is interested in writing/editing who is not working for NHBB in a continuous official capacity. The only things that I feel confident in saying at this point are that I myself wish to have as little to do with question production next year as possible (though I will continue to edit sets where needed) and that the writing will not rest on any one person's shoulders - a group of 5-15 writers and 2-4 editors is probably best.

In any case, despite our difficulties with question writing, NHBB and IHBB have had a great year with lots of growth and thousands of teams and students competing around the USA and around the world. We will continue to grow, develop, and improve our offerings for decades to come and envision a much smoother question writing process to be in place for the 2015-16 season. Details on this will be posted in due course. Thanks again to all our writers, editors, and participating teams and players for your continued support.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Milhouse » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:38 pm

Great Bustard wrote: As for our international championships sets, those will be crafted out of the US high school and middle school Nationals sets, along with our A Set, and various other regional/country specific contributions where needed to augment the distribution (e.g. commissioning extra Canadian history questions for our Canadian championships, etc.). As such, neither A Set nor our Nationals sets will be posted publicly, nor available for public comment this year - we regret the inconvenience.
Will the A and Nationals sets be posted after the conclusion of the international championships?
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Howard » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:36 pm

Submission of packet sets at the last minute has been happening for years and continues to happen on a regular basis. There have been several tournaments where the questions were still being written while the tournament was being played. Matt is far from the only person (or organization) to have these issues repeatedly.

In the initial post, I see a lot of blaming Matt but little acceptance of blame on the part of NHBB's decision-making. While, based on the information, it's true that Matt failed to live up to his commitments and is responsible for the fiasco that occurred, it remains puzzling to me why we're acting like this wasn't a well-known problem (not just with Matt, but also with the community at large) and why we're not talking about the fact that it was a poor decision to allow one person (no matter who) to be responsible for the question-writing.

I think we all know Matt and I have large differences in philosophy a large degree of animosity toward each other. Personally, I wouldn't be a fan of his return (with the exception of question-writing-- his questions have always been excellent when properly completed) for reasons I've expressed in various arguments around the board. But to threaten legal action if Matt returns to quizbowl on anything other than Dave Madden's conditions is rather ridiculous. I don't personally have an opinion as to whether you should pursue legal action as I don't know the full terms of the contract, but I'm pretty sure the contract has nothing to do with Matt's participation elsewhere in quizbowl. A decision to take legal action should be based on pertinent matters, not on irrelevant matters, and certainly not bandied about as a threat to exert power.

As a coach of high school students, I need to consider the implications of my actions in the community. What does it say about me when I enter a tournament? Do I fully support the organization running the tournament? If the entry fee is under $100 or so, then we can have an argument about whether the benefits of participating outweigh supporting an organization or person with whom I have a major issue of contention. But when we're talking about a $400 to $600 tournament, it becomes much easier to decide that level of support isn't warranted for a questionable person or organization.

Coaches have refused to enter tournaments run by PACE because of the questionable or disrespectful practices of some of the officers. I was hoping NHBB would not repeat these mistakes.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Cheynem » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:01 pm

I agree that there are many people who write or freelance write or whatever for a living and produce far more "work"/words than what Matt was assigned. The factors at play though I see here are/were:

1. Matt has had some incidents over the years where he failed to produce tournaments on time, most notably the College History Bowl set for Dave Madden himself in 2013. It would be one thing (although still questionable for reasons I'll discuss below) to assign this project to someone without this spotty (and again, Matt was a great question writer/editor, I'm not trying to rag on him too much here) track record, but given Matt's checkered past (even for Dave Madden sponsored projects!), this seemed shaky.

2. Is there an analogous thing to what the NHBB writing situation was, in which a national or international event/series of events is placed in the hands of one writer with a particular set of skills? Like, if a freelancer producing articles or data analysis or even if a contracted writer producing what have you fails to do those things, it doesn't cause the enterprise to go into a tailspin--they can easily get someone else to write articles or produce data; in fact, since they probably have a team writing or producing these things, the loss is not as deeply felt. In Matt's case, he left around the beginning of March. Yes, that was a shocker that people didn't see coming. But it could still have happened. Matt could also have been in a car accident or had a serious illness or had major family emergencies or something that would have taken him out of the project. If, for example, I dunno, Rob suddenly quit ACF Nationals, it would be a shock and major scrambling would be needed, but there were people who were also working on the project who could take charge. I don't know where this NHBB set would have been if Matt Jackson hadn't volunteered to help spearhead it. With any project, relying entirely on one person is a bit risky.

3. Finally, and most importantly, even taking into account that a diligent, hard working person could produce these sets on his own (and I would offer up some debatable points that quizbowl writing has more of a mental strain than other such comparable projects), I am still flabbergasted at the lack of accountability that was present in this situation. I know Dave said he tried to set up checkpoints and to get on Matt if necessary and rework contracts...but in case people missed it, by the time Matt left, from what I understand:

0 questions for National History Bee, National History Bowl, U.S. History Bee, and Geography Olympiad were written
2 questions for College History Bowl (his end) were written
This doesn't count the A-set, of which I know little details of.

So out of five projects running in the next few months, Matt had written two tossups and no red flags were being set off on Dave's end. On some perverse level, Matt quitting was the best thing that could have happened to the NHBB because the set would never have been finished at that pace. The accountability/supervision system must be overhauled and put into play for future NHBB projects, especially if only a limited amount of writers are used. If quizbowl is professionalized, then its writers who accept professional contracts must face professional job requirements; if you were a freelance writer and were late with work or who had not met deadlines, you would face repercussions, but on the flip side, your superior would be diligent in checking in with you as well.

I hope Dave keeps these things in mind for next year. I would be horrified if a single writer was tasked with what Matt was tasked to do this year (minus the other types of changes mentioned here).
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Cheynem » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:02 pm

Also, Dave can threaten to sue Matt for breach of contract or his own quizbowl thing all he wishes, but just to be clear, these forums will NOT be a place where any lawsuits will be threatened or called out or discussed (so, for example, if Matt posts here, this is not the place for a lawsuit threatening post).
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:03 pm

Howard wrote:Coaches have refused to enter tournaments run by PACE because of the questionable or disrespectful practices of some of the officers. I was hoping NHBB would not repeat these mistakes.
Slight derail here, but are we talking about the current PACE leadership? I have no idea what "questionable or disreputable practices" people like Matt Jackson and Mike Bentley have engaged in, but I'm pretty sure this applies more to the PACE leadership of 2010-2011 than anyone currently in PACE.

EDIT: Also, the only tournament PACE actually runs is the NSC. Meant to add that earlier.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:11 pm

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:
Howard wrote:Coaches have refused to enter tournaments run by PACE because of the questionable or disrespectful practices of some of the officers. I was hoping NHBB would not repeat these mistakes.
Slight derail here, but are we talking about the current PACE leadership? I have no idea what "questionable or disreputable practices" people like Matt Jackson and Mike Bentley have engaged in, but I'm pretty sure this applies more to the PACE leadership of 2010-2011 than anyone currently in PACE.
Yeah, I'm not sure what this was supposed to mean, but as the forums administrator I'd like to see people avoid taking odd, veiled shots like this, and as a member of PACE I'd encourage Mr. Gilbert to contact the organization itself if there are lingering issues that could be resolved, rather than posting vague but condemnatory things like this.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Howard » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:19 pm

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:Slight derail here, but are we talking about the current PACE leadership? I have no idea what "questionable or disreputable practices" people like Matt Jackson and Mike Bentley have engaged in, but I'm pretty sure this applies more to the PACE leadership of 2010-2011 than anyone currently in PACE.
To be clear, I don't know personally know of anything negative (other than perhaps an insignificant slip-up) regarding either Matt J. or Mike, and this issue I believe goes back perhaps as much as ten years. I'll need to do some timeline checking to verify that. My largest personal beef with PACE leadership has been the people that believe it's their right (and responsibility) to tell individual programs the events in which they should and should not participate. My students are quite capable of making informed decisions regarding what sorts of events they'd like to enter. Matt W's departure from PACE removes some of this notion.

And to be clear on another point, I don't think this means PACE cannot certify and/or recommend events. That is PACE's job.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Howard » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:24 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote:Yeah, I'm not sure what this was supposed to mean, but as the forums administrator I'd like to see people avoid taking odd, veiled shots like this, and as a member of PACE I'd encourage Mr. Gilbert to contact the organization itself if there are lingering issues that could be resolved, rather than posting vague but condemnatory things like this.
I hope the post above clears up my own personal feelings. I didn't really intend to drag PACE into this too much, I've posted plenty on my feelings elsewhere. The real point I was trying to make was that this whole dictating to Matt the conditions upon which he can re-enter quizbowl and threatening legal action if he doesn't meet conditions sends NHBB leadership down a path of scrutiny.

In hindsight, I suppose the mention of PACE was poorly thought out. While I associate the two things in my mind in terms of how I think about whether I'd like to support an organization, they're really completely different scenarios.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by AKKOLADE » Fri Apr 10, 2015 7:31 pm

# of paragraphs devoted to talking about Weiner's screw up: nine

# of paragraphs devoted to detailing NHBB's plan to prevent this from happening again: ehhhhh
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:37 pm

Coach Gilbert,

While it is not within my power to change the past, I assure you that the public behavior of PACE's officers under my tenure is absolutely a matter of the utmost serious concern to me and to PACE as a whole. I welcome any private communication re: details you might be willing to provide, or any leads as to teams we ought to reach out to who might only know of PACE through a distant episode in our 19-year history and might be willing to return. You are welcome to reach out to me at any time at president@pace-nsc.org.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Cold Stone Steve Austin » Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:25 am

I would like to add that giving sole control of the stockpile to Bob Borders is a dumb idea.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Great Bustard » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:10 am

As I mentioned towards the end of my post, we’re not going to have a single writer producing all our sets – we’ve learned our lesson there. I do still think though that just because for whatever reason Matt Weiner couldn’t handle being a full-time writer, it still would be possible for someone to handle the job. Certainly there are millions of people who work every day at jobs more repetitive, less interesting, and less well-paid than writing questions full-time. But for next year, that won’t be the approach we’ll look to in terms of setting things up for NHBB/IHBB. Beyond that, I’m not sure what more I really can say other than that having Matt write everything was a poor decision on my part, and I should have been far more diligent in making sure progress was being made. Though in the end, thanks to a bunch of people stepping in on the one hand, and our compensating them at a high level for their help to ensure we’d have the questions we’d need, no team ended up playing a poorly written set, let alone having events be cancelled.

What we will certainly have in place for next year, is someone who is not myself, in charge of spearheading question production, making sure sets are written, and in continual communication with writers. This person – ideally someone who is working full time for NHBB - would also have responsibility for and constant access to the stockpile of reserve questions when needed. I will then act as a further level of oversight to make sure that things are progressing at the needed pace. Aside from that, for the reasons I mentioned, now is not the time to be going into further details on exactly how this will work since that will require a separate set of decisions that are best made over the summer. Between now and then, the HS Nationals set has been written, the MS Nationals set is being written, the IHBB sets I will personally compile, and the Olympiad sets are both three months away from first usage, and we now have multiple experienced writers on that level. In any case, there’s no grounds for concern here for any team. For the HS Nationals set in particular, not only are all the writers themselves talented, but the questions are going through at least three read-throughs by experienced editors.

One last point, which might be worthy of a thread-split. In terms of ensuring that questions do get written by writers who have agreed to take on commitments, what does the community think is the best way to go about this? Point being, that most transactional agreements function through having a contract for which the parties have legal recourse if one side fails to come through. But, especially if it’s a bunch of writers with smaller level commitments, how does any organization in quizbowl go about enforcing this? Most writers live at a distance removed from wherever whom they’re writing for is headquartered (making small claims court claims difficult to press), the amounts in question hardly justify a lawsuit, and many writers are students or young people with few assets to their names that could even be sued for. At the same time, if writers recognize this, and then fail to come through, then this is a recipe for flakiness and makes it much harder for any organization – be it NHBB, NAQT, HSAPQ, ACF, housewrite/open tournament compilers, whoever – to ensure questions are written.

So should quizbowl just shrug its collective shoulders here and accept that this is a part of the way things inevitably will operate, and that whoever is compiling sets needs to accept and plan for that contingency in advance? If that becomes the norm, then I think it will be much harder for sets to get written and edited – it’s asking a lot to have a backup plan in place where double the questions that are needed end up getting commissioned (especially for housewrites/independently generated sets). Ultimately, NHBB would like to do just that and have sets stockpiled several years in advance (minus a few recent history questions), but we’re a ways from being there. In any case, I don’t think this is that workable a system for lots of set compilers. And even where backup plans are in place, having to resort to them is still an inconvenience and unfair to those who see their commitments through, and anyone who flakes out from a commitment to write or edit should face some form of consequences.

That brings me back to my point about Matt in that I think it’s far more effective for there to be some degree of community pressure for this sort of situation than for the primary way contracts (such as they exist in quizbowl) are enforced to be through legal means. If someone ditched an NAQT or HSAPQ or ACF or any other sort of project and then wanted to work for NHBB instead (say, if we offered them a higher rate for the same questions), I at least, as long as I knew of the prior outstanding commitment, would tell the person who would approach us to fulfill their commitment to the other organization first. And I would totally understand if the other organization had a beef with me if I didn’t say this.

Anyway, hopefully this will be a rare occurrence going forward, but I strongly believe that the more people know that they need to follow through with their commitments or otherwise there will be consequences – even if they are more of the social pressure variety / not being able to take on other commitments in the meantime - this will be a good thing for all concerned.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Great Bustard » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:19 am

Xochiquetzal wrote:
Great Bustard wrote: As for our international championships sets, those will be crafted out of the US high school and middle school Nationals sets, along with our A Set, and various other regional/country specific contributions where needed to augment the distribution (e.g. commissioning extra Canadian history questions for our Canadian championships, etc.). As such, neither A Set nor our Nationals sets will be posted publicly, nor available for public comment this year - we regret the inconvenience.
Will the A and Nationals sets be posted after the conclusion of the international championships?
Yes, for this year they will. For next year, at the high school level and the Olympiad, sets will be available for purchase in paper copy form only after the last use of the sets. We will post one round from each Olympiad event online (most likely the finals of each event, as we would like to post videos of these as well). For the Elementary & Middle School Regionals and Nationals, I will consult with my colleagues and we'll announce a policy there in due course.
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Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by jonpin » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:26 pm

Great Bustard wrote:
Xochiquetzal wrote:
Great Bustard wrote: For next year, at the high school level and the Olympiad, sets will be available for purchase in paper copy form only after the last use of the sets. We will post one round from each Olympiad event online (most likely the finals of each event, as we would like to post videos of these as well). For the Elementary & Middle School Regionals and Nationals, I will consult with my colleagues and we'll announce a policy there in due course.
This is a disappointing policy to not release questions following their use, in an era where almost every set produced by anyone other than NAQT is freely posted after its last use.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by RexSueciae » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:31 pm

Wait. If the international championship is to be "crafted out of the US high school and middle school Nationals sets" plus the A set, to the point where all of those question sets will be unavailable for viewing until international events are concluded, does that mean that any person who played one of the US high school or middle school nationals sets, or the A set, will not be able to play the international championship due to having already played at least some of the questions?
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by jonpin » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:36 pm

I think he means not the IHO but, e.g. the France championship or Europe championship.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by RexSueciae » Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:01 pm

jonpin wrote:I think he means not the IHO but, e.g. the France championship or Europe championship.
That would make more sense. (Although - how many potential competitors from Europe know of the question databases in the first place?)
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by AKKOLADE » Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:36 pm

RexSueciae wrote:
jonpin wrote:I think he means not the IHO but, e.g. the France championship or Europe championship.
That would make more sense. (Although - how many potential competitors from Europe know of the question databases in the first place?)
It's the world wide web.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Cody » Sun Apr 12, 2015 10:25 pm

Great Bustard wrote:If Matt does get back into quizbowl without doing this, though, I will have a major-league problem with Matt, will consult my attorneys and consider legal action, and will also have a huge problem with any person, team, or organization with whom Matt would be working and/or volunteering. As quizbowl becomes more inclined towards professionalism, a trend that has certainly been welcome over the past five years, the notion that someone of Matt's stature could blow off a major commitment, leave thousands of students in the lurch, require dozens of people to pick up the mess, and suffer no consequences for it while remaining active in the community is one that is both risible and damaging, if it is allowed to gain traction.
What gives you the right to have a "huge problem" with "any person, team, or organization with whom Matt would be working and/or volunteering", whatever that means? Do we so quickly forget the massive incompetence on your part that led to TWO unbelievably disastrous NHBBs before some people with actual common sense got involved? Only one party in this fracas has actually served up a horrible experience to hundreds and hundreds of high schoolers—multiple times.

I'll be damned if you can involve VCU in this stupidity if Matt comes back and is willing to moderate at our tournaments. Bugger off.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:01 am

You simply have no clue what you're talking about and I'm going to leave it at that for now.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by Ndg » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:00 am

I don't mean to speak for Cody, but, ad hominems aside, I think the idea is that this is an issue between Matt and NHBB, not Matt and the quiz bowl community as a whole, and if you want the money or questions that Matt owes, then go ahead and use the appropriate legal resources to obtain them, rather than convince the rest of the quiz bowl community to coerce Matt into producing the money/questions by shunning or shaming him.

I don't see this view as unreasonable. As I understand it, everyone involved in producing the sets Matt left unfinished is being, or has been, paid well for their efforts, so the conflict at this point seems to be only a financial one between him and NHBB. Everyone else has their own right to decide how much a problem they personally have with Matt and to associate with him accordingly in the future.
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Re: Thoughts on NHBB & IHBB Question Writing

Post by theMoMA » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:01 am

As Mike noted, the board is, by explicit rule, not a place for threatening legal action. Please stop talking about suing people in this thread. Thanks.
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