2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
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2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Great Bustard » Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:43 pm

Discuss away here. As usual, I'll probably wait until late next week before giving my thoughts.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Cheynem » Sat Apr 25, 2015 3:46 pm

Wait, what exactly is clear or not clear here?
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Sat Apr 25, 2015 4:19 pm

Please do not discuss question content from the preliminary rounds of the Bowl and Bee, as well as the USGO, because those are being used in the Canadian NHBB set. Thanks!
Last edited by Masked Canadian History Bandit on Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:37 pm

Any possibility the playoff bracket could be posted?
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by jonpin » Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:26 pm

This is the 32-team knockout bracket for JV, and the "World Cup" 32-team stage (as one person called it) for Varsity. Last round of the night is going on now.

Will a private forum be set up for discussing the entirety of the question content?
Attachments
Varsity Round of 32.pdf
(233.94 KiB) Downloaded 363 times
JV Bracket.pdf
(230.1 KiB) Downloaded 194 times
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by CSQuizJags » Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:15 pm

I know this may fall under content but I'd *really* would like to know what the supposed protest was that caused a fortyish minute delay with our JV bracket. Being cramped in a warm hotel room wondering what was going on isn't an ideal situation.

Could JV adopt the World Cup approach for their playoffs as well. Sounds like a decent idea.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by jonpin » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:34 am

The teams that survived the round of 32 groups were: #1 Saratoga, #15 Lexington, #14 Richard Montgomery, #13 Centennial (on points after a 3-way tie), #5 LASA, #11 Farragut, #7 Bethlehem Central, #8 High Tech. They are reseeded based on Saturday night results to produce these quarterfinals:

#1 Saratoga vs #8 Centennial
#4 Richard Montgomery vs #5 Farragut
#2 LASA vs #7 Lexington
#3 Bethlehem vs #6 High Tech

JV Semifinals are
#1 Hunter vs #5 Thomas Jefferson (VA)
#2 High Tech vs #14 Saratoga-B

Minor-title champions as best as I can tell (these may be amended by Madden later):
Varsity Small School: AMSA was the only one to make the last 32
Varsity Solo: Team Tribeca finished third in their evening group
JV Small School: Hewlett was the only one to make the last 32
JV Solo: Eastern Washington Homeschool made the quarterfinals
Middle School Team: Middlesex MS (CT) made the last 16

The bee has started
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by johntait1 » Sun Apr 26, 2015 11:23 am

Would someone be willing to post the scores from the varsity round robin playoffs last night? JV playoff scores are posted on the live page but varsity scores are absent from the varsity page. thanks.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by tabstop » Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:37 pm

johntait1 wrote:Would someone be willing to post the scores from the varsity round robin playoffs last night? JV playoff scores are posted on the live page but varsity scores are absent from the varsity page. thanks.
Somehow the live pools didn't fill correctly; if I figure out why and can re-populate, then I'll get the results entered in.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Apr 26, 2015 9:34 pm

For those who didn't receive the results from some other medium:

Bruce Lou (Saratoga, CA) won the U.S. History Bee
Rohan Kodialam (High Tech, NJ) won the Geography Olympiad
Saratoga High School (Saratoga, CA) defeated LASA (Austin, TX) on the last tossup to win the Varsity Bowl
Hunter College High School (New York, NY) defeated Saratoga C (Saratoga, CA) to win the JV Bowl
Bruce Lou (Saratoga, CA) won the National History Bee Varsity division
Alex Schmidt (Lehigh Valley, PA) won the National History Bee JV division

More to come officially later, I'm sure. Congratulations to all the champions, and kudos to the many strong performances across the field over the long weekend.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:12 am

Anyone with comments on the set should send them to em.historybowl@gmail.com
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by jonpin » Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:23 pm

Much like last year, I think that this year was mostly a successful tournament. I take some responsibility for the mix-up of several Varsity afternoon groups: a spreadsheet I put together Friday night and Saturday morning to try to speed up the difficult first re-bracketing had the second and third groups switched in each of the supergroups (the fact that two groups were mostly instead of completely flipped was because of a separate confusion between Cerulean and Aqua as actual physical colors). I'm putting my thoughts together on what worked and what didn't, but there were a few things which troubled me.

Below are extensive quotes from a May 2014 post by Dave Madden in response to some comments I had re: NHBB IV. The link back is in case anyone wants to look at context or parts that have been excised for brevity.
Great Bustard wrote:
jonpin wrote:From my perspective as a high-level staffer and as a coach, this was by far the best NHBB from a logistical standpoint. The biggest things I can recommend for next year are:
(1) For the love of god, don't add anything more to the weekend. Enough said.
We won't, other than to likely add 1 more quizbowl round to USGO. But with moving this up on Friday afternoon, and not doing a mirror of the College History Bowl set (those questions will get read elsewhere) at high school Nationals, this will end up making for an easier Friday. The big thing is that the 100 minute gap or so from 6:00-7:40 on Friday can now get used to hammer out the USGO playoff brackets.
OK, the Friday events got spread out. But an entire new thing was added on Thursday. Given how busy everyone always is to get things together (and admittedly not knowing who was directly involved in the Thursday event), I feel like it could have distracted from preparing for the big show. Also, while spreading out the Friday events means they end earlier and are less cramped, it now means students who wish to compete in them need to depart for DC on Thursday so some coming from further away might miss two days of school.
I'll also repeat my suggestion from last year that--for the purpose of better recognition of winners in front of an audience--the champions for the USGO and USHB could be announced during the playoff bracket announcement on Saturday
jonpin wrote:(2) [...] There really isn't any reason it should take 40 minutes to turn over one round of single-elimination.
The reason that 40 minutes are built into the schedule is because the playoff games are slightly longer, we want to have time built in in case protests arise, and we want to give teams 10 minutes or so between games to catch their breath.
Saturday play ended sometime close to 10:00pm because of a massive delay due to a protest. Admittedly, a protest that takes a while to decide (and thus must inevitably delay a single-elimination tournament) is one thing, but it's my understanding that isn't what happened, but rather that the protest was decided and then came arguments and attempts to re-litigate the protest. I came back from scorekeeping a Round 12 Varsity game only to find out that JV moderators for Round 12 were still being held in the control room. There was then a lack of clear communication so I think a number of teams didn't know why they were just sitting around.
I'll wait for more team feedback on the "8 groups of 4" system in Varsity, but I think 32 JV teams is too much, as it meant the second cut was too generous (we went from 90 to 48 at the first cut, and then only to 32 in the second cut). I'm also somewhat opposed to the 8/10/12 split in game length. I thing a consistent 10/10/8/10 format for the entire tournament would be perfectly fine, and have the advantage of making statistical performances comparable between stages and years.
jonpin wrote: (5) I don't understand why things seemed to drag during the Sunday finals. My feeling is that David has gotten better as a moderator, but he loves to stand on ceremony, and that outside of games he has a tendency to just keep talking at times. Reading a varsity semifinal at the same time as the JV final, I futzed around unsuccessfully with the scoring program for a few minutes, felt like I had a late start, and had the game go to overtime. I rushed back to the Grand Ballroom and they were in the second quarter. A brief pause between quarters is fine, and score checks during the fourth quarter are fine, but if people start talking between every question, a 20-minute game lasts for 35.
This was a problem again. Andrew Ibendahl is admittedly a very fast reader, but he read a Varsity semifinal, came back into the control room, we worked to finish up the Bee posters, and then I brought the poster to Arlington 3/4, only to find the JV final was barely in the third quarter. The crowd immediately outside the ballroom waiting for playoff announcements was getting larger towards the end of the match. Last year, a faulty power adapter and corporate sponsorship was to blame; what resulted in the hold up this year?
Also, I think it needs to be clearly stated in advance: anyone not present by 2:15 for the Bee tiebreakers forfeits said tiebreaker. Was there a reason provided for why the missing player was so far away at the time for the tiebreaker?
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:01 pm

I moderated all day on Saturday (and was one of the JV playoff readers who was delayed for an hour due to the protest) and wasn't involved with anything on Thursday, Friday, or Sunday. I also was part of the team that wrote questions for the Bee, Bowl, US History Bee, and Geo Olympiad.

Based on my Saturday-only view into the tournament, I thought it was pretty well run, with the biggest screw-up (the JV protest that, as I understand, was over something non protestable) affecting only a relatively small portion of the field. Some really good people were in positions of great importance re: logistics and the tournament seems to have greatly benefited from this. The tournament also seemed to make innovative use of smartphones and internet technology. Not keeping individual stats made a lot of things easier compared to other non-NHBB tournaments I've moderated.

I think at least a few of the staffers I worked with on Saturday had ideas for how to make things even better (e.g., stapling scoresheets to each packet) and hopefully those ideas will be transmitted to the correct authorities.

Finally, I want to put in a plug for how impressed I was by many of these teams. I didn't encounter any teams, not even JV ones, that seemed totally lost in the questions, and I saw a lot of teams during rounds 1-10 that made me say "wow! these kids are really good!" and then didn't even end up making the last few rounds of the playoffs! The kids these days, they really know their history.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Maury Island incident » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:34 pm

For the most part, the logistics were fairly smooth for a tournament of that size with so many events. I liked the 8 groups of 4 as the best possible solution to single elimination while still keeping the various Bees, and since the 1 and 2 pre-tournament seeds ended up in the finals, it seemed to work well enough in determining the champion. Most, if not all, of the readers I had Friday through Sunday were excellent and got through rounds quickly, keeping the tournament on schedule. Finally, the online standings thing worked very well especially for the Bowl.

Regarding the 8/10/12 split, I think it did help ensure that the better team won in the playoffs, where that matters most and the teams are likely most closely matched. For example, when we played IMSA in Saturday night playoffs, we led through the first three quarters because tossups were only worth 10 points, regardless of where a team buzzed in. In the fourth quarter, however, IMSA was able to come back because they were getting more points for earlier buzzes, and ended up tying us by the end of the round. The same thing happened against LASA in quarterfinals on Sunday, where we kept the round close (I think we were down by 40?) going into the fourth quarter, after which LASA blew us away with 30s. This might be more of a debate over superpowers, but I think having more questions in each quarter (especially) in the playoffs gives the best team the best chance of winning.

I was watching the JV Bowl final, and it didn't seem to run that slowly once it got underway. It did, however, start a little late, since people had to assemble on stage and things. I think 60-second rounds take longer to do in an auditorium setting, as well. I'd also assume that the questions were being answered later in the JV game than in the varsity semifinal.

Though I don't know if there's time for this in the Friday schedule, I would like the JV US History Bee to have a two-person final, as opposed to a nine-person, 35 question semifinal where the top two get trophies at the end for being finalists. John Connor and I, the two "finalists", finished the round with six tossups each and played a tiebreaker for the title. I'd have liked to have had the chance to play him one-on-one with every tossup contested between only the two of us, as opposed to having 7 other people able to buzz on each one.

My biggest, though minor, issue with the set was the subject-specific (non-history) 60-second rounds. The ones in other academic categories weren't as big a problem, but there were two trash ones (though one was ostensibly written from a historical context and I really, really enjoyed 100ing the other one). I don't recall there being non-history categories during the Matt Weiner/HSAPQ era of NHBB question writing.

There was also one question in the Bee on a topic I know very, very well that I have a bone to pick about. Since we can't talk about specific questions on here, because Canada, could there be a private discussion forum set up?
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:51 pm

Two issues, from the perspective of someone who read all of the events except the Thursday thing and the late Friday night things:

First, Friday night had a number of issues. Despite the announcement for an 8:00 staff meeting, word on the street was it didn't happen - I'm not sure why there was a need for two staff meetings in the first place. I think the after-dinner event on Friday was the US History Bee playoffs; whatever it was, it didn't seem too organized from the staffer perspective, when some dozen people with it on their schedules showed up in a room and Dave basically randomly assigned readers. I don't know what the announced schedule was and thus don't know if we were on time or not, but it seemed pretty disorganized. (This also made me except the bowl playoffs Saturday night to be run this way - thanks for preassigning everything there!) While it obviously doesn't really matter at all, the sports and entertainment bee seemed extremely ad hoc - nobody really knew if they were supposed to be staffing it or where or when to go. If this is something that's important enough to run, it might as well be run right. Finally, the actual staff meeting was kind of sketchy, with Will standing in a corner and seeming to have trouble projecting his voice and being heard in the back of the room and a number of people confused about the rules. It'd be nice for this to be more clearly scripted in the future.

Second, on Saturday, literally the one time I messed up a bounceback all tournament was, of course, in the round that the team that was supposed to get it lost by ten points. Since nobody remembered to ask about this in the staff meeting, I had no idea what to do and ended up delaying our bracket by something like 20 minutes while trying to get ahold of Dave for the definitive answer on the proper replacement procedure. It'd be good for this to be added to the rules/the staff information sheet.

That being said, like Bruce, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the play I saw this weekend. Despite ostensibly having been a history specialist, high school level me would have been run out of the room by quite a number of the players I read for. The question set was also pretty solid; with the exception of one terrible and universally panned science history question that I'm tempted to spoil to spare the Canadians from, most of them seemed very grounded in knowable, yet interesting subjects. Finally, I at long last got to try the famed Kebab Palace down the street, and wasn't disappointed.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:57 pm

I'll second the call for a private forum in which NHBB participants and writers can discuss the questions.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:06 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Based on my [...] view into the tournament, I thought it was pretty well run, with the biggest screw-up (the JV protest that, as I understand, was over something non protestable) affecting only a relatively small portion of the field. Some really good people were in positions of great importance re: logistics and the tournament seems to have greatly benefited from this. The tournament also seemed to make innovative use of smartphones and internet technology. Not keeping individual stats made a lot of things easier compared to other non-NHBB tournaments I've moderated.

I think at least a few of the staffers I worked with on Saturday had ideas for how to make things even better (e.g., stapling scoresheets to each packet) and hopefully those ideas will be transmitted to the correct authorities.
I staffed one semifinal round of Geography Olympiad Friday night, then all of Saturday and Sunday. From my view, the logistics were distinctly suboptimal in many ways, but many fundamentals of the event planning make sense for an event of this size, and the task for the future is about ensuring that the fundamentals work well while streamlining procedures further wherever possible and cutting or reducing things down further where they're still cumbersome or unnecessary (e.g. run meetings for players and staff in parallel rather than serially, cut the Sports and Entertainment Bee outright or at least pull the institutional support from it). I took many notes on logistics as the tournament went on, and will be emailing a version of those notes in to Dave Madden and Will Mantell when I have a chance to polish them and make them legible to others. That should happen by mid-week.

Jon Pinyan, Andrew Feist, and other folks who aided the stat room (Andrew Ibendahl and Ben Zhang -- am I forgetting anyone?) are to be lauded for their number-crunching wizardry. I also want to single out Will Mantell, whose work on the staff side of this tournament was utterly tremendous in quantity and quality, for special recognition. Will was a key force in holding the tournament(s) together against a variety of forces, events, and contingencies, and did an exemplary job keeping his cool and being whatever was needed pretty much whenever it was needed. I really hope he gets all the praise he deserves, and look forward to working with him again soon.
Bruce wrote:Finally, I want to put in a plug for how impressed I was by many of these teams. I didn't encounter any teams, not even JV ones, that seemed totally lost in the questions, and I saw a lot of teams during rounds 1-10 that made me say "wow! these kids are really good!" and then didn't even end up making the last few rounds of the playoffs! The kids these days, they really know their history.
I share this sentiment to the letter. (I will also be able to read any comments on the set that come in to the em.historybowl address, and would be glad to hear from participants about what worked and what didn't work. Nonetheless, I third the request for a private forum, because I think many people are most able to share their comments that way when spurred on through prior comments that get them going.)
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by johntait1 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:21 pm

First of all, a huge thank you to Mr. Madden, all the NHBB staff, and every writer who worked on this set. This was truly an extremely enjoyable weekend of history/quizbowl competition. One of my favorite things about this weekend was that I got to to other students a bit more than in previous years: it seems like winning JV Bee/finishing in second in JV Bowl makes other competitors a lot more willing to talk to you. I'll post the general consensus I heard from others about the tournament and the question set. I'm trying to focus this on what people want in general, not my own personal thoughts, so that everyone will have a even more enjoyable Nationals next year.

Tournament thoughts: These are general things about the tournament as a whole and the events
US History Bee-I didn't compete in this personally(I didn't know about regionals qualification until after I booked my flight), but from what I heard, the split between JV and varsity was a good idea. That seemed like the biggest gripe last year, and I'm glad the problem was fixed.

History Bowl- Our prelim group had a problem where buzzers were not set up in the room. I have to say that Mr. Madden and NHBB did an excellent job of handling this because they had prepared a backup room for us to play in. From talking to some of the other people, there seemed to be some other issues in other prelims, but they seemed to have been resolved satisfactorily by NHBB. We had another delay after lunch as mentioned but I wasn't terribly surprised since something similar happened freshman year, and we still managed to have plenty of time for dinner, so that was good.
About playoffs: from talking to others, pretty much everyone didn't really like the playoff format. I'm not trying to criticize NHBB for this or start a huge controversy, but I do hope to share a general consensus from the players so that History Bowl players will enjoy the tournament more in the future. The main problem with the round robin that people had was that it was still essentially single elimination, because you pretty much had to go 3-0 to advanced. The only exception was Centennial, but there GDS and Northmont each lost one game and were eliminated. The fundamental problem that all the players I talked to had was that one bad playoff game or packet and their team would be eliminated. The prelims and the afternoon contention rounds simply weren't important enough. Northmont, IMSA, DCC, Team Pseudonymous Institute, Arcadia, Ransom Everglades A all went 10-0 in prelims but didn't make it out of the playoff round robin. I'm not sure if they all went 2-1 in the playoffs, but I know that some were knocked out because of one loss on the day. On the other hand, Lexington and Centennial A had one loss in the contention rounds, but still made it out of the round robin stage. The prelims and contention rounds don't matter a lot because there are too many good teams in the playoffs, and a much lower seed can easily beat a really high seed on a good packet or if the higher seeded team has a bad game in the playoffs. However, it doesn't really matter if you have a bad game in the prelims or afternoon rounds because as long as you advance its ok:you can upset a higher ranked team on a good packet for you. Also, it's still single elimination after the round robin: LASA, High Tech A, Bethlehem Central, and Farragut all were eliminated on the first game they lost in the entire tournament. Now, I do have to say that I'm not arguing that we should have placed higher if it were not for this format, because our entire team agreed that we got a really fortunate playoff bracket and finished higher than other teams way better than us. Of course this isn't unique to History Bowl, the same thing happened to our team at PACE last year. So its not like the format is the worst thing ever:what I'm saying is that most of the players I talked to would prefer for the morning and afternoon rounds to matter a lot more and not the have everything be staked on the playoffs. They said that basically all the top teams that have a chance to place really high advance anyways in the prelims and afternoon rounds. The top teams also pretty much advanced in the first one or two playoff rounds because the lower seeded teams are usually a tier lower, and the top seeded teams advance rather comfortably. Its in the later playoff rounds where the competition is just too close and the the whole tournament comes down to one or two questions for many of the top teams. Since it seems like many of the players are hoping for some perestroika for next year's playoffs format, here are a few suggestions I thought of(these are mostly for varsity but may affect JV)
1. Cut down the number of prelim and/or afternoon contention games. Maybe do a four game round robin for prelims/contention rounds with the top half advancing or something. Make the playoffs start earlier and a lot more playoff rounds. That way the top teams are facing the top teams a lot more. The main argument I see is that the bottom teams won't play as many rounds, but why not read them playoff rounds as well? At PACE, the lower tier teams still play a ton of games against other lower tier teams, which are competitive for the lower tier teams as well.
2. Move the round robin to later in the playoffs-This is more of a band aid solution but I think it would be a bit better. Basically do round robins for the top eight teams(two groups of four) or for the top four teams. This would mean more of the top teams facing each other. Right now the top teams are basically playing an extra game against the other lower seeded team that their top seeded opponent likely would have defeated in the first round, and the top teams are easily winning those games against the bottom playoff teams, meaning it sort of just adds an extra game without too much meaning.
3. Advantage for the top or undefeated teams. This would bring a lot more meaning to the prelim or afternoon rounds. Not sure exactly when this would come or how the packets would work(if the advantaged team won, maybe they just scrimmage on the extra packet?), but these are just quick suggestions I had after I realized that many people seemed to hope for a different format.
Also, 32 teams for JV seemed a bit too much considering the field size, but I didn't talk to as many people about this.
From talking to others, they seemed to like the 12 question playoffs though. Adding a few questions did slightly reduce the question dependence, although I'm not sure about this part since there were still so many close games. Maybe add more questions next year? An observation about with this is that it does reduce the impact of the lightning rounds. I'm not sure how people feel about that. A possible option is to add more questions for lightning as well and give bonuses depending on how many questions are answered, meaning a possible small bonus even without a sweep, which would be harder if more lightning questions were added.
History Bee- In general people seemed more satisfied with the History Bee format. The 6 prelim games did seem a bit much, since the top players pretty much scored high in all of the rounds. Possible suggestions are:
1. Major change-Reduce the number of prelim rounds/rebracket, and add more playoff rounds for top players to face one another. Lower ranked players would play other lower ranked players for placing.
2. Minor change- Add to the number of questions in the playoffs so that the playoffs are less question dependent. Since the rounds go quickly, adding some questions shouldn't be a huge issue.
Of course, I don't know anything about logistics, so some of my suggestions may be utterly unfeasible. I'm just trying to communicate what I heard from other players and add some suggestions to give the people who do know logistics some ideas to improve things.


Question set: I will email em.historybowl@gmail.com about these things, but I wanted to post them here first to see how many people share these observations. Since the people I talked to were certainly not an SRS(more of a convenience sample), I wanted to get another sample as well(of course, this is not an SRS either and the samples are not independent). Please understand that these are not meant as criticisms, but observations to help improve the set in the future.
History Bowl- Honestly, the prelims weren't amazing. They weren't terrible by any means, but something just seemed a bit off, and they seemed quite different from what I expected. Maybe I was expecting too much after how much I enjoyed A set, but these questions seemed a bit weird for our entire team and none of us enjoyed them. We didn't do bad on them since we finished 5-0(and points really don't matter in prelims).
The contention rounds were much better. We enjoyed them a lot more and they were pretty close to what we felt like last year's contention rounds were.
The playoffs were absolutely amazing. We felt the questions were incredibly well written and a ton of really interesting clues came up. The questions really tested interesting history knowledge rather than rewording old clues and I really enjoyed them. Even though in the round of 8 we were destroyed by Richard Montgomery A, I actually really liked the questions in that round. It wasn't like I played better in the playoffs than in the prelims or contention rounds(I played really poorly in several rounds and my team bailed me out), but I had a really good time playing on the questions.

History Bee-The prelims felt really similar to past years. This was interesting because the Bowl set felt really different from past years. Overall the prelims were well written and enjoyable to play on. The playoffs I wasn't really sure about because people buzzed in so quickly that I had no clue on most of the tossups. I'll have better judgement when the set is actually posted online after the international championships.

General comments about the set:
1. It was really bizarre that there weren't any questions on core Christian beliefs(that I can recall), but there were a lot on Christian heretics and tenets of other belief systems. This seemed really strange because when I read history books for enjoyment, it seems like Christianity and its core beliefs have been way more significant than the heresies and other minor religions. I understand that many times people like to write about abnormal or bizarre things and think that Christianity may be too easy to get, but from past experience players seem to be challenged by Christianity tossups a lot as well. This seemed to be my teams biggest gripe with the set as well(and our team isn't all Christian or anything, it just seemed weird to us who study a lot of history that this seemed so underrepresented).
2. Lot fewer stock clues and buzzer races than in the past. These two things go together and it was really nice to see this. There was a lot more of players actually knowing more about a certain subject instead of seeing who can react faster.
3. Lightning rounds were interesting. The topics in general seemed a lot more appealing than in the past. There were a few exceptions, but most of the time at least two of the categories were pretty good. However, there seemed to be way too many easy parts for a Nationals competition, with one or two super obscure parts thrown in so that sweeps were really rare. I was sort of hoping for a more gradual difficulty increase where top teams could score anywhere from around 30-100 points. It seemed that our team was consistently stuck in the 60-70 range because we got the easy parts and kept on missing the one really hard part. I do have to add that this was mostly in the prelims and contention rounds, and that the playoffs were much better: there seemed to be a more gradual progression in difficulty.
4. Some question seemed way to easy to fraud, but this was balanced out because most of them were harder to fraud than in the past, so there wasn't too much of a reward in frauding, especially as the questions got harder in the playoffs.
5. Varsity Bowl finals were really hard- From talking to the other top players, they said they had never even heard of many of the answerlines in the varsity Bowl finals. It seemed like the finals had shifted from high school to college level to them. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing, more of a general observation for others to decide on.

Overall though, the tournament set was quite enjoyable, and my comments are inherently focused on improving them for the future, so I hope that people will remember that I really enjoyed my experience. Once again, a huge thank you to Mr. Madden, all the NHBB staff, and the writers that made it happen.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Maury Island incident » Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:49 pm

johntait1 wrote: About playoffs: from talking to others, pretty much everyone didn't really like the playoff format. I'm not trying to criticize NHBB for this or start a huge controversy, but I do hope to share a general consensus from the players so that History Bowl players will enjoy the tournament more in the future. The main problem with the round robin that people had was that it was still essentially single elimination, because you pretty much had to go 3-0 to advanced. The only exception was Centennial, but there GDS and Northmont each lost one game and were eliminated. The fundamental problem that all the players I talked to had was that one bad playoff game or packet and their team would be eliminated. The prelims and the afternoon contention rounds simply weren't important enough. Northmont, IMSA, DCC, Team Pseudonymous Institute, Arcadia, Ransom Everglades A all went 10-0 in prelims but didn't make it out of the playoff round robin. I'm not sure if they all went 2-1 in the playoffs, but I know that some were knocked out because of one loss on the day. On the other hand, Lexington and Centennial A had one loss in the contention rounds, but still made it out of the round robin stage. The prelims and contention rounds don't matter a lot because there are too many good teams in the playoffs, and a much lower seed can easily beat a really high seed on a good packet or if the higher seeded team has a bad game in the playoffs. However, it doesn't really matter if you have a bad game in the prelims or afternoon rounds because as long as you advance its ok:you can upset a higher ranked team on a good packet for you. Also, it's still single elimination after the round robin: LASA, High Tech A, Bethlehem Central, and Farragut all were eliminated on the first game they lost in the entire tournament. Now, I do have to say that I'm not arguing that we should have placed higher if it were not for this format, because our entire team agreed that we got a really fortunate playoff bracket and finished higher than other teams way better than us. Of course this isn't unique to History Bowl, the same thing happened to our team at PACE last year. So its not like the format is the worst thing ever:what I'm saying is that most of the players I talked to would prefer for the morning and afternoon rounds to matter a lot more and not the have everything be staked on the playoffs. They said that basically all the top teams that have a chance to place really high advance anyways in the prelims and afternoon rounds. The top teams also pretty much advanced in the first one or two playoff rounds because the lower seeded teams are usually a tier lower, and the top seeded teams advance rather comfortably. Its in the later playoff rounds where the competition is just too close and the the whole tournament comes down to one or two questions for many of the top teams. Since it seems like many of the players are hoping for some perestroika for next year's playoffs format, here are a few suggestions I thought of(these are mostly for varsity but may affect JV)
1. Cut down the number of prelim and/or afternoon contention games. Maybe do a four game round robin for prelims/contention rounds with the top half advancing or something. Make the playoffs start earlier and a lot more playoff rounds. That way the top teams are facing the top teams a lot more. The main argument I see is that the bottom teams won't play as many rounds, but why not read them playoff rounds as well? At PACE, the lower tier teams still play a ton of games against other lower tier teams, which are competitive for the lower tier teams as well.
2. Move the round robin to later in the playoffs-This is more of a band aid solution but I think it would be a bit better. Basically do round robins for the top eight teams(two groups of four) or for the top four teams. This would mean more of the top teams facing each other. Right now the top teams are basically playing an extra game against the other lower seeded team that their top seeded opponent likely would have defeated in the first round, and the top teams are easily winning those games against the bottom playoff teams, meaning it sort of just adds an extra game without too much meaning.
3. Advantage for the top or undefeated teams. This would bring a lot more meaning to the prelim or afternoon rounds. Not sure exactly when this would come or how the packets would work(if the advantaged team won, maybe they just scrimmage on the extra packet?), but these are just quick suggestions I had after I realized that many people seemed to hope for a different format.
Also, 32 teams for JV seemed a bit too much considering the field size, but I didn't talk to as many people about this.
From talking to others, they seemed to like the 12 question playoffs though. Adding a few questions did slightly reduce the question dependence, although I'm not sure about this part since there were still so many close games. Maybe add more questions next year? An observation about with this is that it does reduce the impact of the lightning rounds. I'm not sure how people feel about that. A possible option is to add more questions for lightning as well and give bonuses depending on how many questions are answered, meaning a possible small bonus even without a sweep, which would be harder if more lightning questions were added.
History Bee- In general people seemed more satisfied with the History Bee format. The 6 prelim games did seem a bit much, since the top players pretty much scored high in all of the rounds. Possible suggestions are:
1. Major change-Reduce the number of prelim rounds/rebracket, and add more playoff rounds for top players to face one another. Lower ranked players would play other lower ranked players for placing.
2. Minor change- Add to the number of questions in the playoffs so that the playoffs are less question dependent. Since the rounds go quickly, adding some questions shouldn't be a huge issue.
Of course, I don't know anything about logistics, so some of my suggestions may be utterly unfeasible. I'm just trying to communicate what I heard from other players and add some suggestions to give the people who do know logistics some ideas to improve things.

General comments about the set:
1. It was really bizarre that there weren't any questions on core Christian beliefs(that I can recall), but there were a lot on Christian heretics and tenets of other belief systems. This seemed really strange because when I read history books for enjoyment, it seems like Christianity and its core beliefs have been way more significant than the heresies and other minor religions. I understand that many times people like to write about abnormal or bizarre things and think that Christianity may be too easy to get, but from past experience players seem to be challenged by Christianity tossups a lot as well. This seemed to be my teams biggest gripe with the set as well(and our team isn't all Christian or anything, it just seemed weird to us who study a lot of history that this seemed so underrepresented).
2. Lot fewer stock clues and buzzer races than in the past. These two things go together and it was really nice to see this. There was a lot more of players actually knowing more about a certain subject instead of seeing who can react faster.
3. Lightning rounds were interesting. The topics in general seemed a lot more appealing than in the past. There were a few exceptions, but most of the time at least two of the categories were pretty good. However, there seemed to be way too many easy parts for a Nationals competition, with one or two super obscure parts thrown in so that sweeps were really rare. I was sort of hoping for a more gradual difficulty increase where top teams could score anywhere from around 30-100 points. It seemed that our team was consistently stuck in the 60-70 range because we got the easy parts and kept on missing the one really hard part. I do have to add that this was mostly in the prelims and contention rounds, and that the playoffs were much better: there seemed to be a more gradual progression in difficulty.
4. Some question seemed way to easy to fraud, but this was balanced out because most of them were harder to fraud than in the past, so there wasn't too much of a reward in frauding, especially as the questions got harder in the playoffs.
5. Varsity Bowl finals were really hard- From talking to the other top players, they said they had never even heard of many of the answerlines in the varsity Bowl finals. It seemed like the finals had shifted from high school to college level to them. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing, more of a general observation for others to decide on.

Overall though, the tournament set was quite enjoyable, and my comments are inherently focused on improving them for the future, so I hope that people will remember that I really enjoyed my experience. Once again, a huge thank you to Mr. Madden, all the NHBB staff, and the writers that made it happen.
The four teams of 32 was essentially single-elimination, definitely costing some teams like DCC and IMSA who probably belonged in the quarterfinals and letting a team like us in. I didn't think having fewer than 10 pre-playoff rounds was up for discussion, but if it is, I would enjoy playing more rounds against elite teams in the afternoon. The morning rounds separate the top teams pretty quickly. Maybe having 4 rounds in both the morning and afternoon brackets, with only the top two teams advancing to upper brackets in the afternoon before another rebracket into superplayoff groups would be more effective in absolutely removing single elimination.

I didn't notice that there was no mainstream Christianity aside from questions on breakaway sects and things, but now that you mention it, there wasn't any with the exception of some questions in one lightning round. The set did do a really good job of rewarding real knowledge and minimizing frauding, especially in the later rounds of the playoffs. I also agree with these comments on lightning rounds. Most of the parts were pretty standard, but the hard ones were really hard. For example, Saratoga's lightning round in the final. The first 7 parts were gettable, but the 8th part left both teams flustered and seemed thrown in to prevent a 10.

I do think the Varsity Bowl final was a little too hard, though this was my first time at NHBB Nationals, a lot of the answerlines this year seemed harder than those in last year's packets, and there were probably more dead tossups than necessary. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think there was a significant difficulty gradient in the packets by round. The prelims were about regular difficulty+/HS nationals, the afternoon rounds were about HS nationals, the playoffs were college regular difficulty, and the finals were college regular+/Nationals. This kind of manifested itself in the Bee, as well. My JV quarterfinal/semifinal were rather messy, with a lot of buzzer races and late buzzes. It probably worked out for Varsity, though I didn't see any of that before the finals.

The set as a whole was really fun to play, especially the early playoff packets, and thank you to anyone who worked on it!
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill » Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:49 pm

jonpin wrote:OK, the Friday events got spread out. But an entire new thing was added on Thursday. Given how busy everyone always is to get things together (and admittedly not knowing who was directly involved in the Thursday event), I feel like it could have distracted from preparing for the big show.
As one of the staffers for the Lorenz Cup, I'm not entirely sure how helpful the event was. There were three teams there that were totally new to NHBB, but I think the other teams would've benefited just as well if not more from scrimmages. Not to take away from the causes the fees went to, certainly.
Steeve Ho You Fat wrote:I think the after-dinner event on Friday was the US History Bee playoffs; whatever it was, it didn't seem too organized from the staffer perspective, when some dozen people with it on their schedules showed up in a room and Dave basically randomly assigned readers. I don't know what the announced schedule was and thus don't know if we were on time or not, but it seemed pretty disorganized. (This also made me except the bowl playoffs Saturday night to be run this way - thanks for preassigning everything there!)
My USGO bracket had at least 3 staffers scheduled to moderate US History Bee playoffs, but we ran about half an hour late. That probably contributed to it, and while I wasn't the slowest moderator in that group by any means, I'd like to apologize for any part I had in it. Also, I commandeered the Varsity semifinals and held them in the wrong room, so I should apologize for that too.
Steeve Ho You Fat wrote:Second, on Saturday, literally the one time I messed up a bounceback all tournament was, of course, in the round that the team that was supposed to get it lost by ten points. Since nobody remembered to ask about this in the staff meeting, I had no idea what to do and ended up delaying our bracket by something like 20 minutes while trying to get ahold of Dave for the definitive answer on the proper replacement procedure. It'd be good for this to be added to the rules/the staff information sheet.
During a playoff game I kept score for, this exact thing happened (although the point difference was thankfully much larger). A team claimed that the rule was to use the lightning round part with the same number from the unused lightning round, but that certainly doesn't seem viable in all situations. On a related note, replacement bonuses were also missing from the Bowl packets even though they had been in the B and C sets. Perhaps those could've been used in that case, given their length and similar function.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by djones » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:05 pm

My biggest complaint of the entire weekend was the 8 by 4 playoff system. I know it was designed as an alternative to the single elimination playoff, but it essentially served as much to be one, as it eliminated IMSA (2 seed), DCC (3 seed) and Northmont (4 seed) with one loss. While IMSA and DCC were eliminated by teams who had only lost once before Sunday, I was peeved by our situation for a couple of reasons:

1) Northmont entered playoffs 10-0, Centennial 9-1, Georgetown Day 9-1 and West Egg 8-2 on the day. Now, I was told later that nothing before the playoffs matter in the playoffs (which is frankly stupid, and I told Dave as much BEFORE we played our match against Centennial). When the round robin began, NM beat WE, and GD beat Centennial. Then NM beat GD and Centennial beat WE. In round 13, Centennial beat Northmont and GD beat WE. That left a three way tie at 2-1 within the pod.

If you consider any metric besides the one they considered, Northmont should have advanced. We had the best overall record (12-1 versus a pair of 11-2 teams) and we had the best point differential in the circle of death (NM +60, Centennial -30, GD -30). The difference was we didn't score as many points against the team not in the circle of death as Centennial did.

I am not peeved as much over the fact that we didn't move on as I am that there was no ACTUAL TIEBREAKER to play between the teams. If either of those teams beat us, great, they deserve to move on. But the point of removing the single elimination (at least in my opinion after reading last years threads) was to prevent situations where teams get eliminated with one loss at the wrong time, as opposed to it being OK to drop a game or two in the morning and afternoon, but get hot for three games.

2) The thing that ticks me off more than that situation was a problem we learned about the next day. We heard that total points would be used as the tiebreaker before we played Centennial, so we looked at the scoreboard posted on the wall. It showed that we had 790 points through 2 rounds of the evening pods, while Centennial had 830. Therefore, we knew we had to win outright to win the match if we wanted to advance since they led in point differential for the entirety of the evening.

We were within 30 points of Centennial with 4 questions to go, and knowing that we had to win, Sam played very aggressive, first line buzzing two of the final four tossups knowing we needed points. He negged both, they picked them up, nabbed a 30 point power of their own, and won by 100. What was especially interesting (I didn't realize it at the time) is that they asked for score check before the last tossup, which I thought was odd. It wasn't until the next day that I realized that someone had marked the scoreboard wrong outside and that we were actually ahead of them 790-730 through 2 rounds (100 points were added to their 1st match score), and they needed to win by at least 60 (making the last 2 tossups important, when they weren't to us, since we thought we were done).

Would they have still gotten the last four questions and won by 100? Maybe, sure. But did it change the way Sam played the last four tossups, absolutely. He is an incredibly smart player who knows how to play in situations. They knew how many points they needed because they knew their scores (and ours were marked correctly on the board), but we didn't know what we needed due to someone not being able to write a number on a score sheet. (I don't know who made that error since I don't believe there were "sight captains" for the playoffs, but maybe I'm wrong). It wouldn't have mattered in the end, because Saratoga was absolutely dominant all weekend, and was clearly the class of every field they entered (though LASA gave them a fantastic game in the final).

With that being said, every other aspect of the tournament I thought was incredibly done. The bee and geo events Friday ran smoothly, and the bee on Sunday was fantastic. My kids were very happy with the quality of readers, we didn't have any of the delay issues others have mentioned, and the questions were fantastic in my opinion, especially given the urgency with which they were written. Eric and Matt are to be commended for a fantastic job of writing the questions. My only suggestion for next year would be to clean up the playoffs for the bowl. To eliminate 3 of your top 4 seeds with one loss in round 13 to teams with 1 or 2 losses already is not a fitting end to an otherwise well run event.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by kievanrustic » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:23 pm

First off, I want to say that this set was (and since it will still be used, is) fantastic. Matt Jackson and Eric Mukherjee edited a set that has such good questions that I almost forgot that it was written in one month. If you see anyone who was on the writing team for this tournament on the street, I urge you to thank them for doing such a good job. Writers already don't get enough credit for the work that they do, so they should at least be thanked for stellar contributions to the community.

Regarding the apparent lack of true Christianity, there was plenty of Christianity for a tournament with one religion question per packet, and there were multiple questions on both Catholicism and mainstream Protestantism. I wish that I could prove this by listing the answers that I remember (which certainly weren't all of them), but I will have to save that for a protected subforum.

Like all sets, NHBB Nationals was not perfect, but it was still of an incredibly high caliber. It found ways to write about hard things with answerlines appropriate to the field at the time and was just super fun to play. I'll save more substantial critique for now in order to protect question security.

The tournament format, however, proved atrocious. Why have so much rebracketing (which drags on the day and takes time for staff) and still produce an effectively single elimination tournament? We all know that teams sometimes have bad games, so it is unwise to give teams little margin for error. I'm assuming that like national-caliber quiz bowl tournaments, NHBB tires to produce standings that best reflect the relative skill levels of different teams. In that case, why have it so that teams don't play other teams of similar levels until ~8:00 PM on Saturday? What implement a format that seems designed to have statistical aberrations (e.g., upsets) have such a disproportionate impact on teams? The impact of NHBB's format has already been discussed, so I'll end this paragraph by noting that I agree with the sentiment that it is disappointing that three out of the top 4 seeds (after 10 rounds) were eliminated from the top 8 due to one bad game. None of them got a second chance to prove knowledge against similarly good teams!

Like most players, I like playing teams of a similar skill level to my own. It's exhilarating to triumph in tough matches and engaging to learn from one's opponents. Unlike both HSNCT and PACE NSC, NHBB seems designed to have good teams beat up on weaker teams until they abruptly switch gears to tough competition (that doesn't even last long; a top 8 team with have only up to 4 matches against top 16 teams). A double elimination format or standard bracketing (e.g., top 8 seeds play a round robin for standings 1-8) would be far superior to the current format in this regard. The first 10 rounds did a good job of seeding teams; why have three rounds that are late at night be the deciding factor?

To close, I don't even think that the current tournament format of 3 rebracketings is fun for anyone. Poorer teams in the top 32 Ii.e., seeds 20-32) keep getting placed into games that they will almost certainly lose rather than get the chance to demonstrate knowledge against teams of a similar caliber. The current format fails as both a test to accurately determine rankings and as a method to produce enjoyable, close matches (with the exception of upsets, which are immensely enjoyable to one team and perhaps depressing for the other).

Furthermore, NHBB and Dave Madden seem to have a flair for theatricality, which only increases the need for many matches between teams of similar skill levels. Typically, it is far more enjoyable to watch a game between equals than a trouncing. I know that I would have loved to see a LASA v. DCC match-up (or another game between very close teams), but that hardly happened outside of the final match between LASA and Saratoga.

Since NHBB is still in the process of adjusting its operations, I strongly suggest that it use a tournament format more like PACE NSC or HSNCT.

tl;dr Set good, format leaves something to be desired with its unforgiving nature and avoidance of teams playing other teams of a similar skill level until the end.

Edit: Changed wording to make statements regarding format technically correct.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Dominator » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:35 pm

I'll agree with everything that Coach Jones said about the format. I thought the format was bad last year since the bracket-rebracket-elimination format leads to very lopsided games, followed by somewhat lopsided games, followed by elimination games against opponents whose caliber you have not yet come close to. This year, the format was worse, in my mind, because it added a round where a round was not needed. I would like to see NHBB move to a format that more quickly finds teams playing others of their level and is more forgiving of losses to top teams. I would prefer something as simple as double-elimination for the contending teams after the morning bracket. This would achieve both of my goals AND use fewer rounds, which would be practical given how crowded this weekend has become.

I will also say that it was annoying that there were so many delays for seemingly no good reason, especially because it is exhausting playing quizbowl until 10pm night after night. I also did not appreciate that the staffers very often did not understand the format, nor did they know whom to ask for answers. I am a patient person generally, but I don't have much more left for this.

The moderators, though, were fantastic throughout and the questions were amazing.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:38 pm

Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill wrote:
Steeve Ho You Fat wrote:Second, on Saturday, literally the one time I messed up a bounceback all tournament was, of course, in the round that the team that was supposed to get it lost by ten points. Since nobody remembered to ask about this in the staff meeting, I had no idea what to do and ended up delaying our bracket by something like 20 minutes while trying to get ahold of Dave for the definitive answer on the proper replacement procedure. It'd be good for this to be added to the rules/the staff information sheet.
During a playoff game I kept score for, this exact thing happened (although the point difference was thankfully much larger). A team claimed that the rule was to use the lightning round part with the same number from the unused lightning round, but that certainly doesn't seem viable in all situations. On a related note, replacement bonuses were also missing from the Bowl packets even though they had been in the B and C sets. Perhaps those could've been used in that case, given their length and similar function.
For what it's worth, reading the same numbered question from the third round is the solution that Dave told me to implement.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Lo, Marathon Ham! » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:53 pm

Generating Steam Heat wrote: The four teams of 32 was essentially single-elimination, definitely costing some teams like DCC and IMSA who probably belonged in the quarterfinals and letting a team like us in. I didn't think having fewer than 10 pre-playoff rounds was up for discussion, but if it is, I would enjoy playing more rounds against elite teams in the afternoon.
As much as I love the History Bowl format, I don't like the way the schedule is set up at all. I think a lot can be learned from the NAQT system. A double-elimination bracket would definitely be more fair and a card system through the prelims would be more fun but would also make the tournament a lot longer. Perhaps 10 team brackets for prelims with a field cap at 160 followed by a double elimination of 32 or 48 teams. This would also allow the top teams more of a chance for error and would mean that teams that play the 1 seed in early playoff rounds are not sentenced to almost certain doom.
Generating Steam Heat wrote: The set did do a really good job of rewarding real knowledge and minimizing frauding
I enjoyed the later rounds of the set quite a bit where I was buzzing a lot more from things I had read or knew in-depth rather than non-relevant clues that came up from packet studying. If the same team is writing the sets next year, then I'm sure the set will once again be absolutely fantastic! My one wish is that more cultural bits or religion/mythology would show up since they are a part of the history of peoples and regions.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by zman147 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 10:49 pm

While this was my first NHBB, I have competed in regular Quiz Bowl for 5 years now and so will offer my insight into how well I felt the tournament was run.

First of all, I loved the questions. Had I known that History Bowl was this engaging and entertaining, I would definitely have participated in years past. There was too much baseball for my taste, but that is most likely a personal thing. I enjoyed the unique answer lines and I truly felt that many of the questions, especially in the later rounds, required deep knowledge to answer, which I enjoyed. However, I did feel that some of the answer lines in the very last rounds were a bit too out there, and that it was almost impossible to answer them before the giveaway, if at all, which I would like to see remedied for next year.

I would give the Varsity tournament organization (from Saturday and Sunday as I didn't play Friday) a 6/10. Our first few rounds ran smoothly for the most part, but there were too many instances where we would sit around for 15+ minutes waiting for moderators to return or when the rooms we had listed on our schedules would not match the rooms listed on the brackets posted on the walls. For rounds 6-10 we waited almost an hour I believe for the right bracket to be posted after someone put up a bracket for a different division, but the games themselves went much faster. In the playoffs we sat for over 30 minutes waiting for games to start on multiple occasions. That being said, almost every game I played had a GREAT moderator. This is not something I think I have ever experienced in Quiz Bowl, so kudos to the directors for selecting very competent and engaging staffers.

I think my biggest concern was with the organization of the playoffs for History Bowl and how teams were selected to compete in the quarterfinals. I feel, as many others have already stated, that morning record should play a larger factor in determining quarterfinal status. Having a bracket of 4 in which only 1 team can advance is essentially single elimination, so even if a team has been doing great all day and is 10-0, they can still be eliminated because of one bad game to a team that is 8-2 for example. This does not apply to our team (Pseudonymous Institute), as we went 1-2 in our bracket, but I feel that other teams were deprived of the chance to play in the quarters/semis and did deserve to do so. I would prefer to see a system similar to NAQT's next year, to ensure that deserving teams don't get knocked out because of any single circumstance.

I loved the Bee, and have almost no complaints about it. My only problem is that for the semifinals, I think the limit on the number of questions one can get correct should be lowered from 12 to 9 or 10, but if this was instituted for some mathematical reason that I am unaware of please excuse my ignorance. If not, I think that change would make for more exciting semifinals, but its not a huge deal.

As a side note, please have the microphone issue in Arlington Salon 3 (the echo) fixed for next year, as it truly was difficult to hear for some questions.

Overall, this was a great tournament, and I definitely look forward to staffing next year if I can. If anybody knows where I can see the final stats, please send me a link.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by jonpin » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:57 pm

zman147 wrote:I loved the Bee, and have almost no complaints about it. My only problem is that for the semifinals, I think the limit on the number of questions one can get correct should be lowered from 12 to 9 or 10, but if this was instituted for some mathematical reason that I am unaware of please excuse my ignorance. If not, I think that change would make for more exciting semifinals, but its not a huge deal.

As a side note, please have the microphone issue in Arlington Salon 3 (the echo) fixed for next year, as it truly was difficult to hear for some questions.
To the former: in the JV quarterfinal and both divisions' semifinals, the cutoff is 12 as it is impossible for 3 people to reach that cutoff. Yes, it's certainly possible that, say, after 30 questions, the score is 8-5-4-3-3-2-1 or something like that, and the person in first place is guaranteed to be top two, but we don't really want moderators to be running that calculation every question, so the number which guarantees a top two finish is used. Similarly, even if a player is mathematically unable to catch up to second place, they're not immediately dismissed, even if it means they can play spoiler. (For the varsity quarterfinal, from which 3 advance, the cutoff is 9 for the same reasons). I will propose that in future years, especially if the field sizes are as similar as they were this year, that both Bees use the same procedure. There are a couple other tweaks I would make, but one of the biggest things I've noticed* is MASSIVE aggression, which neither the Bowl nor the Bee punish. In the 35-question JV quarterfinal I scorekept for, there were probably a total of 30-40 incorrect buzzes, because there was no reason not to jump in with any old guess if they felt like they would be beaten to a legitimate buzz. This was an even more serious problem in the JV tiebreaker that I read, where there were several cases of players intentionally nuking a question that they didn't know so that no one else could get it.

To the latter: If we insist on having a TV-style setup where the moderator is facing the audience/camera, I think the stage should be rearranged so that the mod is in the middle, but I would almost always much rather face the teams as a moderator. I apologize if I was difficult to understand while reading into the mic; again, the speakers are set up to project the sound to the audience, which is not the point.

*-Note: For the last 3 years, locked down in the stat room, I have not seen any prelim bee action, so I don't know how it compares to the playoff bee behavior described above.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by 1.82 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:49 am

Speaking as a staffer, I could have used clearer directions with regard to the lightning rounds, since they are obviously not a feature of 20/20 quizbowl and I hadn't ever dealt with them before. I only flubbed one question and it ended up not making a difference, but I didn't know what I would have had to do in that situation, nor was it clear to me how much time teams should get to answer or whether teams should be allowed to wait for the duration of the 60 seconds without answering questions so that they wouldn't bounce back. Clear directions for situations such as those would be useful.

Aside from that, the main issue on Saturday was delays. When I got my room on Saturday morning, I found that the buzzer system had not been set up, and so I had to enlist the teams in the room to help figure out and install the buzzers with me. I'm not sure if this was intentional or if the idea was that the buzzers would have already been set up. After lunch, there was a full half-hour delay between the time at which we were to report for duty and the time at which we received instructions. This was not exactly a harrowing experience for me, since I had a hotel room at my disposal, but I would imagine it was somewhat less pleasant for the teams that were waiting to compete and had no clear idea regarding the timetable. I am sure that there are logistical limitations, but in general it would be nice for teams to get more quizbowl, since ten rounds guaranteed between the morning and afternoon is not really a whole lot, particularly given the amount of down time that the schedule had. This would alleviate a lot of the concerns that people have brought up here.

The notion that preliminary results should be carried over into playoff rounds is, to put it politely, insane. NAQT's use of this policy for ICT is a bad idea as it is, and it is infinitely more defensible there than it would be here. The reason preliminary results don't carry over is because different preliminary groups have different strengths of schedule. There is no way to fix this, as it would be quite impossible for NHBB to seed all groups such that they had the exact same strength, and it is not necessary because those rounds are merely preliminary. Obviously it is better that a team advance by winning a head-to-head matchup in Round 13 than it is that a team advance because it went 10-0 in prelims while another team that happened to be drawn into significantly harder groups went 8-2. This is clear to anyone who sits and thinks about it for a moment.

I thought that the Bee on Sunday ran smoothly and that the flight system worked well. My job reading would have been significantly harder without a scorekeeper, and I hope that every reader next year will be provided with a scorekeeper, since it is not a simple matter to read and score the Bee as it is the Bowl. From a rules standpoint, I was not enamored of the policy that only the third incorrect answer resulted in a neg, since it encouraged two people to guess wildly whether they knew the answer or not (and, in many cases, they did not) but then caused people to sit and wait until a buzzer race took place as soon the question ended. Buzzer races were a common occurrence in general, since contestants would often begin mashing the buzzer as soon as someone buzzed, and if the first person's answer was incorrect (as it often was, since there was no penalty for guessing), the point would end up going to whoever had the good fortune to happen to make contact with the buzzer first after the system was cleared. This struck me as a poor way of determining knowledge. It seems to me that it would be better if every incorrect answer before the end of the question resulted in the loss of a point.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:16 am

Chiming in here very quickly to say that we are setting up a private forum for question discussion. Students and coaches who are not outside the USA can apply to join the usergroup under User Control Panel > Usergroups.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by scottkim » Tue Apr 28, 2015 10:02 am

As a team that was on the lower end of the Top 32 (#30 seed), the Playoff phase was nice for us. We knew that we had zero chance of making the Top 8 at that point but it was nice to play two more games after being crushed by DCC in the first playoff round. I know the weekend is packed already (and I can't tell you a good time to place this extra round) but I think it would be much fairer if the top two teams in each group to advance to the knockout rounds (just like the World Cup), for the reasons that Mr. Jones stated above (If NHBB decides to stick with this format).
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by luke1865 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:16 am

The thing I found most irritating about Bee was the lack of penalty for buzzing in early. In semi-finals, at least 5 questions were just killed by people.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by luke1865 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:51 am

First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Madden and all of the NHBB people for putting on such a great tournament. My team really enjoyed playing the set, and whatever minor points will be listed below.
I. My only major issue (and this really applies to NHBB rules in general) is the idea of moderator discretion being non-protestable. I understand that NHBB doesn't want to deal with hundreds of protests, but there are situations in which the decisions of a moderator can seem arbitrary and can have a huge impact. For example, I was eliminated in the Bee as a result of being cut off while just beginning an answer. The guy who beat me immediately picked it up (maybe because I had given the answer). He beat me by one, so this was the decisive question. I knew I was unable to protest because this was moderator discretion, and as a result I left feeling sort of upset.
II. Minor stuff
- Not reading the first line of a tossup for JV makes superpowers almost impossible. There was one case where the thirty wasn't even a full sentence. As a moderator once pointed out, even if you don't get the first line of a tossup it can still establish context. While I understand that NHBB doesn't want to make JV teams sit through highly boring, un-gettable clues, it seems that this could at least be waived for playoffs.
- There was a specific issue regarding a prompt on a question that I'll mention in the private group.
- I'm honestly curious about why we can't protest other people's answers. I'm not necessarily against the policy, I would just like to hear why NHBB implemented it.
I hope this hasn't come off as whiny. I really enjoyed the tournament, and I look forward to hopefully attending next year.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Pushkin's Beard » Tue Apr 28, 2015 11:57 am

djones wrote:My biggest complaint of the entire weekend was the 8 by 4 playoff system. I know it was designed as an alternative to the single elimination playoff, but it essentially served as much to be one, as it eliminated IMSA (2 seed), DCC (3 seed) and Northmont (4 seed) with one loss. While IMSA and DCC were eliminated by teams who had only lost once before Sunday, I was peeved by our situation for a couple of reasons:

1) Northmont entered playoffs 10-0, Centennial 9-1, Georgetown Day 9-1 and West Egg 8-2 on the day. Now, I was told later that nothing before the playoffs matter in the playoffs (which is frankly stupid, and I told Dave as much BEFORE we played our match against Centennial). When the round robin began, NM beat WE, and GD beat Centennial. Then NM beat GD and Centennial beat WE. In round 13, Centennial beat Northmont and GD beat WE. That left a three way tie at 2-1 within the pod.

If you consider any metric besides the one they considered, Northmont should have advanced. We had the best overall record (12-1 versus a pair of 11-2 teams) and we had the best point differential in the circle of death (NM +60, Centennial -30, GD -30). The difference was we didn't score as many points against the team not in the circle of death as Centennial did.

I am not peeved as much over the fact that we didn't move on as I am that there was no ACTUAL TIEBREAKER to play between the teams. If either of those teams beat us, great, they deserve to move on. But the point of removing the single elimination (at least in my opinion after reading last years threads) was to prevent situations where teams get eliminated with one loss at the wrong time, as opposed to it being OK to drop a game or two in the morning and afternoon, but get hot for three games.
I completely agree. While I think that total points is a reasonable way to break ties in the morning rounds, I think that actual tiebreakers should be used when it would be the difference between making the quarterfinals and having a chance at winning it all and getting T-17. I recognize that we may not have won those tiebreakers, but just giving us a chance to see how those matches would have turned out would have left me much more satisfied. I had a very nice History Bowl experience and I thank everyone for the time and effort they put in. I just wish we could have actually broken the three way tie.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by John Heslin » Tue Apr 28, 2015 1:11 pm

My biggest complaint of the entire weekend was the 8 by 4 playoff system. I know it was designed as an alternative to the single elimination playoff, but it essentially served as much to be one, as it eliminated IMSA (2 seed), DCC (3 seed) and Northmont (4 seed) with one loss. While IMSA and DCC were eliminated by teams who had only lost once before Sunday, I was peeved by our situation for a couple of reasons:

1) Northmont entered playoffs 10-0, Centennial 9-1, Georgetown Day 9-1 and West Egg 8-2 on the day. Now, I was told later that nothing before the playoffs matter in the playoffs (which is frankly stupid, and I told Dave as much BEFORE we played our match against Centennial). When the round robin began, NM beat WE, and GD beat Centennial. Then NM beat GD and Centennial beat WE. In round 13, Centennial beat Northmont and GD beat WE. That left a three way tie at 2-1 within the pod.

If you consider any metric besides the one they considered, Northmont should have advanced. We had the best overall record (12-1 versus a pair of 11-2 teams) and we had the best point differential in the circle of death (NM +60, Centennial -30, GD -30). The difference was we didn't score as many points against the team not in the circle of death as Centennial did.

I am not peeved as much over the fact that we didn't move on as I am that there was no ACTUAL TIEBREAKER to play between the teams. If either of those teams beat us, great, they deserve to move on. But the point of removing the single elimination (at least in my opinion after reading last years threads) was to prevent situations where teams get eliminated with one loss at the wrong time, as opposed to it being OK to drop a game or two in the morning and afternoon, but get hot for three games.
First of all, Centennial's point differential in the circle of death was certainly not negative and it may have been greater than Northmont's. I can't check score sheets for several hours but I recall a narrow loss to GDS and a roughly hundred point victory over Northmont.

As for our pedigree for an equal position in the final rounds, I would point out that we had the second highest point total in the morning rounds and the third highest in the afternoon rounds. We would have been seeded 3rd and possibly second in the evening round robins if not for a 10 point loss to a one man team, James Zhou, playing the game of his life. The last is suggested by the fact he beat us in a high scoring, 310-300 point, game and that Weijia Cheng, our one entry in the Bee and the second highest scorer on a balanced team, led him 60 to 56 in the Bee prelims.

I think there are any number of ways to improve the overall fairness to the most competitive teams but not without lengthening the competition or making deeper early cuts and diminishing the experience for many of the teams. We were obviously happy to be the team getting out of the four team bracket but any team would have had a definite a price to pay for their loss in having to face Saratoga.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Ndg » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:12 pm

luke1865 wrote: I. My only major issue (and this really applies to NHBB rules in general) is the idea of moderator discretion being non-protestable. I understand that NHBB doesn't want to deal with hundreds of protests, but there are situations in which the decisions of a moderator can seem arbitrary and can have a huge impact. For example, I was eliminated in the Bee as a result of being cut off while just beginning an answer. The guy who beat me immediately picked it up (maybe because I had given the answer). He beat me by one, so this was the decisive question. I knew I was unable to protest because this was moderator discretion, and as a result I left feeling sort of upset.
This restriction is not unique to NHBB. The reason moderator decisions like calling time aren't protestable is because it's not possible to show that the moderator was in error. You can't go back and prove that the moderator didn't wait exactly three seconds before calling time. (Well, I suppose we could record every game, then have the protest committee watch the recording for any protested timing decision, but that's pretty obviously not feasible.)
luke1865 wrote: II. Minor stuff
- Not reading the first line of a tossup for JV makes superpowers almost impossible. There was one case where the thirty wasn't even a full sentence. As a moderator once pointed out, even if you don't get the first line of a tossup it can still establish context. While I understand that NHBB doesn't want to make JV teams sit through highly boring, un-gettable clues, it seems that this could at least be waived for playoffs.
I remember staff being told to read the entirety of the tossups in the JV playoffs. Did that not actually happen?
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by jonpin » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:47 pm

luke1865 wrote:First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Madden and all of the NHBB people for putting on such a great tournament. My team really enjoyed playing the set, and whatever minor points will be listed below.
I. My only major issue (and this really applies to NHBB rules in general) is the idea of moderator discretion being non-protestable. I understand that NHBB doesn't want to deal with hundreds of protests, but there are situations in which the decisions of a moderator can seem arbitrary and can have a huge impact. For example, I was eliminated in the Bee as a result of being cut off while just beginning an answer. The guy who beat me immediately picked it up (maybe because I had given the answer). He beat me by one, so this was the decisive question. I knew I was unable to protest because this was moderator discretion, and as a result I left feeling sort of upset.
II. Minor stuff
- Not reading the first line of a tossup for JV makes superpowers almost impossible. There was one case where the thirty wasn't even a full sentence. As a moderator once pointed out, even if you don't get the first line of a tossup it can still establish context. While I understand that NHBB doesn't want to make JV teams sit through highly boring, un-gettable clues, it seems that this could at least be waived for playoffs.
- There was a specific issue regarding a prompt on a question that I'll mention in the private group.
- I'm honestly curious about why we can't protest other people's answers. I'm not necessarily against the policy, I would just like to hear why NHBB implemented it.
I hope this hasn't come off as whiny. I really enjoyed the tournament, and I look forward to hopefully attending next year.
I. Moderator timing discretion is not protestable in any quiz bowl format. How could it possibly be adjudicated? "You called time after two seconds instead of three seconds." "No, I gave you three seconds." "I protest." "OK, let's ask the protest committee how long I gave you to answer." and then what? This is also the exact reason why "what the moderator heard" is never protestable, because it is unverifiable.
II. I was wondering as to whether removing the first sentence was going to run into issues with superpowers. Without seeing packets, I couldn't tell for sure.
III. I'm less certain of this as to I above, but here, too, the issue is how to fix the situation were the protest to be upheld. If I don't think his answer was correct, presumably a new question would have to be played, but gathering up the other 6-7 people from the room for every upheld protest is not a feasible result.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by luke1865 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:07 pm

luke1865 wrote: II. Minor stuff
- Not reading the first line of a tossup for JV makes superpowers almost impossible. There was one case where the thirty wasn't even a full sentence. As a moderator once pointed out, even if you don't get the first line of a tossup it can still establish context. While I understand that NHBB doesn't want to make JV teams sit through highly boring, un-gettable clues, it seems that this could at least be waived for playoffs.
Ndg wrote:I remember staff being told to read the entirety of the tossups in the JV playoffs. Did that not actually happen?
In the double octofinal the 30 line was not a complete sentence. I also remember watching a Varsity quarterfinal game and not recognizing the first clues.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by luke1865 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:10 pm

In regards the moderator thing, while maybe timing isn't the best example of something that is protestable, there are certain things (such as pronunciation) that are currently under mod discretion that could be protestable. I'm also thinking about situations in which a person corrects himself halfway through a word.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:12 pm

I was told to omit the first sentence for the JV playoffs. I found that I often ended up accidentally starting to read the first line, then stopping myself, saying "sorry", and jumping to the start of the second sentence.

Knowing that some teams wouldn't hear the first sentence also made writing a bit more complicated.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Halved Xenon Stinging » Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:32 pm

Why is there no penalty for a third incorrect buzz once a question is over, while there is one if the question has not been finished? Doesn't this encourage buzzer races at the end of the question after two negs?
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by johntait1 » Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:51 pm

Generating Steam Heat wrote: Though I don't know if there's time for this in the Friday schedule, I would like the JV US History Bee to have a two-person final, as opposed to a nine-person, 35 question semifinal where the top two get trophies at the end for being finalists. John Connor and I, the two "finalists", finished the round with six tossups each and played a tiebreaker for the title. I'd have liked to have had the chance to play him one-on-one with every tossup contested between only the two of us, as opposed to having 7 other people able to buzz on each one.

My biggest, though minor, issue with the set was the subject-specific (non-history) 60-second rounds. The ones in other academic categories weren't as big a problem, but there were two trash ones (though one was ostensibly written from a historical context and I really, really enjoyed 100ing the other one). I don't recall there being non-history categories during the Matt Weiner/HSAPQ era of NHBB question writing.
From personal experience in last year's JV History Bee semifinals and JV History Bee finals, I would definitely agree that there should be a separate final and semifinal, but I disagree that it should be a two person final. I personally think that a four person final is better, despite the fact that I won the two person JV Bee final last year. The reason I think that the semifinals and finals should be separate is that there is way too much guessing in the semifinals because of so many people guessing. However, I think that the two person final isn't as good as a four person one because once one of the players neg, the other one just waits until the end. I'd personally like to see all History Bee finals be four person like Varsity Bee, but that's just me.
1) Northmont entered playoffs 10-0, Centennial 9-1, Georgetown Day 9-1 and West Egg 8-2 on the day. Now, I was told later that nothing before the playoffs matter in the playoffs (which is frankly stupid, and I told Dave as much BEFORE we played our match against Centennial). When the round robin began, NM beat WE, and GD beat Centennial. Then NM beat GD and Centennial beat WE. In round 13, Centennial beat Northmont and GD beat WE. That left a three way tie at 2-1 within the pod.

If you consider any metric besides the one they considered, Northmont should have advanced. We had the best overall record (12-1 versus a pair of 11-2 teams) and we had the best point differential in the circle of death (NM +60, Centennial -30, GD -30). The difference was we didn't score as many points against the team not in the circle of death as Centennial did.

I am not peeved as much over the fact that we didn't move on as I am that there was no ACTUAL TIEBREAKER to play between the teams. If either of those teams beat us, great, they deserve to move on. But the point of removing the single elimination (at least in my opinion after reading last years threads) was to prevent situations where teams get eliminated with one loss at the wrong time, as opposed to it being OK to drop a game or two in the morning and afternoon, but get hot for three games.
I totally agree with Coach Jones here. I honestly felt like it was really unfortunate for teams like Northmont that they were eliminated on the first loss in the day while another team who lost twice and scored fewer points against the top teams in the bracket advanced. I think that having more of the top teams play each other throughout the day with a format like PACE would have really helped to differentiate in situations like this.
Regarding the apparent lack of true Christianity, there was plenty of Christianity for a tournament with one religion question per packet, and there were multiple questions on both Catholicism and mainstream Protestantism. I wish that I could prove this by listing the answers that I remember (which certainly weren't all of them), but I will have to save that for a protected subforum.
Maybe my team missed this part completely, or it was in the rounds after we lost or something. I've joined the usergroup thing to discuss this, but I haven't figured out how to use this since its my first time, so any help would be much appreciated.
As for our pedigree for an equal position in the final rounds, I would point out that we had the second highest point total in the morning rounds and the third highest in the afternoon rounds. We would have been seeded 3rd and possibly second in the evening round robins if not for a 10 point loss to a one man team, James Zhou, playing the game of his life. The last is suggested by the fact he beat us in a high scoring, 310-300 point, game and that Weijia Cheng, our one entry in the Bee and the second highest scorer on a balanced team, led him 60 to 56 in the Bee prelims.
I think the problem most people have is that Centennial's loss in the afternoon rounds didn't matter in terms of playoff advancement, because other teams who may have lost in a similar fashion(unlikely upset) in the playoffs were unable to advance while Centennial did, even though the other teams had less losses on the day overall. Personally, I'm not trying to question why Centennial made it into the top eight, because they were certainly a very strong team. What I am questioning is if there is a way to improve the tournament format so that other teams who lost only one game(less than the number of losses by Centennial) on the day could have a second chance, just like how Centennial had a third chance in the tournament.

I completely agree. While I think that total points is a reasonable way to break ties in the morning rounds, I think that actual tiebreakers should be used when it would be the difference between making the quarterfinals and having a chance at winning it all and getting T-17. I recognize that we may not have won those tiebreakers, but just giving us a chance to see how those matches would have turned out would have left me much more satisfied. I had a very nice History Bowl experience and I thank everyone for the time and effort they put in. I just wish we could have actually broken the three way tie.
If I remember correctly, last year at PACE we were almost stuck in a circle of death, and the procedure would have been for the top PPG(or PPB, can't remember which one), to play the second team on a half packet. The winner would advance, and the loser would play the third team on another half packet and the other winner would advance. It would be pretty cool if History Bowl could do something similar. I remember there was something one year where two teams in fourth place that were tied in PPG to advance to the contention rounds had to play a tiebreaker or something. Given that this situation seemed a lot more important, I was somewhat surprised to find out that PPG was used to determine who would advance instead of using a tiebreaker.
- Not reading the first line of a tossup for JV makes superpowers almost impossible. There was one case where the thirty wasn't even a full sentence. As a moderator once pointed out, even if you don't get the first line of a tossup it can still establish context. While I understand that NHBB doesn't want to make JV teams sit through highly boring, un-gettable clues, it seems that this could at least be waived for playoffs.
I personally didn't play JV this year, but I would have to agree with this. I got plenty of questions in JV first line last year, and I would have been really disappointed if this had been implemented last year. Then again, this was probably due to logistics of JV taking too long to buzz on questions, but why not just do this for the lower brackets in the afternoon or something? If they could change to have more of the top teams playing each other, then they could just read the first lines in the matches between top teams.
As a team that was on the lower end of the Top 32 (#30 seed), the Playoff phase was nice for us. We knew that we had zero chance of making the Top 8 at that point but it was nice to play two more games after being crushed by DCC in the first playoff round. I know the weekend is packed already (and I can't tell you a good time to place this extra round) but I think it would be much fairer if the top two teams in each group to advance to the knockout rounds (just like the World Cup), for the reasons that Mr. Jones stated above (If NHBB decides to stick with this format).
I understand that playing more games is nice, but what about more playing teams of a similar caliber? Then there would be more close games and less of getting crushed by the top teams. I really think this is a good idea:
As much as I love the History Bowl format, I don't like the way the schedule is set up at all. I think a lot can be learned from the NAQT system. A double-elimination bracket would definitely be more fair and a card system through the prelims would be more fun but would also make the tournament a lot longer. Perhaps 10 team brackets for prelims with a field cap at 160 followed by a double elimination of 32 or 48 teams. This would also allow the top teams more of a chance for error and would mean that teams that play the 1 seed in early playoff rounds are not sentenced to almost certain doom.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Maury Island incident » Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:15 pm

johntait1 wrote:
Generating Steam Heat wrote: Though I don't know if there's time for this in the Friday schedule, I would like the JV US History Bee to have a two-person final, as opposed to a nine-person, 35 question semifinal where the top two get trophies at the end for being finalists. John Connor and I, the two "finalists", finished the round with six tossups each and played a tiebreaker for the title. I'd have liked to have had the chance to play him one-on-one with every tossup contested between only the two of us, as opposed to having 7 other people able to buzz on each one.
From personal experience in last year's JV History Bee semifinals and JV History Bee finals, I would definitely agree that there should be a separate final and semifinal, but I disagree that it should be a two person final. I personally think that a four person final is better, despite the fact that I won the two person JV Bee final last year. The reason I think that the semifinals and finals should be separate is that there is way too much guessing in the semifinals because of so many people guessing. However, I think that the two person final isn't as good as a four person one because once one of the players neg, the other one just waits until the end. I'd personally like to see all History Bee finals be four person like Varsity Bee, but that's just me.

I'd rather have had a 2 person final, mostly because it takes away the advantage of "going fishing" which seemed to be really pervasive in the later rounds of the JV Bee. Basically, two pretty wild guesses would be made really early on in the question since there was nothing to lose by guessing. With only two people playing as opposed to four, there would be a reason not to guess, making it about who actually knows more history instead of who can pull things out of thin air. Then again, I didn't really notice the round dynamics changing much in the JV Bee final, even with only two people up there competing. The Varsity final seemed to be entirely different from the JV, with a lot less guessing happening. At least the National History Bee had a 2-man final, though. I think a 2-man final between John Connor and I, playing to more than 7 points, would have been the best way to determine a national champion, if there was time for that.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by jonpin » Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:20 pm

I think one difficulty with a number of the alternative schedules being produced is just the length in terms of rounds and time. A 48-team double elimination bracket which rewarded preliminary excellence might give 16 group champions a spot in the winners' bracket while second and third-place teams start in the losers' bracket. Playing that bracket out NAQT-style (everyone plays every round) would take 7-8 rounds. (16/32 -> 8/24 -> 4/16 -> 2/10 -> 1/6 -> 1/3, NAQT-style final four takes 2-3 rounds). Playing a true 32 or 48-team DE takes longer. These would be entirely reasonable suggestions if there weren't an entirely separate competition taking up all of Sunday morning and late afternoon, but with the Bee there as well, it's very difficult to add any more rounds to the Bowl.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:22 pm

Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:Why is there no penalty for a third incorrect buzz once a question is over, while there is one if the question has not been finished? Doesn't this encourage buzzer races at the end of the question after two negs?
It's traditional in quizbowl to not penalize wild guesses at the end of tossups.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Halved Xenon Stinging » Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:28 pm

Kilroy Was Here wrote:
Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:Why is there no penalty for a third incorrect buzz once a question is over, while there is one if the question has not been finished? Doesn't this encourage buzzer races at the end of the question after two negs?
It's traditional in quizbowl to not penalize wild guesses at the end of tossups.
The bee, where 8 players face off instead of just two teams, is not "traditional" quiz bowl. There should be a penalty, in my opinion, for winning a buzzer race and wildly guessing at the expense of a player who may actually legitimately know the answer.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Sam » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:18 pm

Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:
Kilroy Was Here wrote:
Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:Why is there no penalty for a third incorrect buzz once a question is over, while there is one if the question has not been finished? Doesn't this encourage buzzer races at the end of the question after two negs?
It's traditional in quizbowl to not penalize wild guesses at the end of tossups.
The bee, where 8 players face off instead of just two teams, is not "traditional" quiz bowl. There should be a penalty, in my opinion, for winning a buzzer race and wildly guessing at the expense of a player who may actually legitimately know the answer.
The penalty is you aren't allowed to answer later in the question, when you may actually know the correct answer. It's the same way in the Bowl, and even non-NHBB competitions (like NSC). I can't speak for the people who actually decided on this particular rule, but it seems a not unreasonable way to compromise between games that stretch on forever because everyone buzzes in and people strategically killing questions they suspect another player will know before them.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by John Heslin » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:20 pm

djones wrote:
If you consider any metric besides the one they considered, Northmont should have advanced. We had the best overall record (12-1 versus a pair of 11-2 teams) and we had the best point differential in the circle of death (NM +60, Centennial -30, GD -30). The difference was we didn't score as many points against the team not in the circle of death as Centennial did.
I think this is flatly wrong since I have Centennial also with a +60 point differential (+110 against Northmont and -50 against GDS). I would agree that any likely metric short of packets would exclude GDS, but then Centennial has both total points and head to head over Northmont.

The 4 team brackets are more fair overall than a large single elimination bracket since three games instead of two decide two levels of elimination. The lack of a carryover disadvantage (other than seed) from the afternoon is consistent with past years, for example when the Northmont JV Team won the championship after an afternoon loss in 2012.

I think the only issue is the most intractable one: that there were many good teams with similar capabilities (Saratoga and possibly LASA excluded) and there is no way of fairly making those fine distinctions without a lot of games. Therefore luck will happen.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by Large Adult Song » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:29 pm

Halved Xenon Stinging wrote: The bee, where 8 players face off instead of just two teams, is not "traditional" quiz bowl. There should be a penalty, in my opinion, for winning a buzzer race and wildly guessing at the expense of a player who may actually legitimately know the answer.
Quizbowl is an exercise in knowledge, but it's also a game, and in a game there are strategies. Wildly guessing or nuking a tossup to prevent others from getting points is a valid strategy with both benefits and risks.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by RexSueciae » Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:30 pm

Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:
Kilroy Was Here wrote:
Halved Xenon Stinging wrote:Why is there no penalty for a third incorrect buzz once a question is over, while there is one if the question has not been finished? Doesn't this encourage buzzer races at the end of the question after two negs?
It's traditional in quizbowl to not penalize wild guesses at the end of tossups.
The bee, where 8 players face off instead of just two teams, is not "traditional" quiz bowl. There should be a penalty, in my opinion, for winning a buzzer race and wildly guessing at the expense of a player who may actually legitimately know the answer.
If a player actually legitimately knows the answer, they probably should have buzzed before the giveaway. The reason why people aren't penalized (in quizbowl and in NHBB) for guessing wildly after the end of the question is because by then guessing wildly is pretty much the only thing you can do.
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Re: 2015 NHBB/USGO Discussion Thread

Post by djones » Tue Apr 28, 2015 7:35 pm

John Heslin wrote:
djones wrote:
If you consider any metric besides the one they considered, Northmont should have advanced. We had the best overall record (12-1 versus a pair of 11-2 teams) and we had the best point differential in the circle of death (NM +60, Centennial -30, GD -30). The difference was we didn't score as many points against the team not in the circle of death as Centennial did.
I think this is flatly wrong since I have Centennial also with a +60 point differential (+110 against Northmont and -50 against GDS). I would agree that any likely metric short of packets would exclude GDS, but then Centennial has both total points and head to head over Northmont.
If those numbers are correct (which I definitely trust that they are), then I definitely stand corrected in that part of my statement, but its funnier in that your point differential in the GDS match does not match what either the scoreboard said OR what a different staffer told me was the score. One person said that you lost to GDS by 30, then another said that it was 130. The 30 point differential is what we were considering going into the match, while the 130 point differential was what I was commenting on (since it was the most recent thing I had been told).

So in an important match in the playoffs, no one staffing in the area really knew what the point situation was, so how were the teams to have any clue?

If my earlier comment in any way was seen as a statement that Centennial was undeserving to advance, i want to correct that immediately. Centennial was statistically one of the top 2 or 3 teams there all weekend, and I was less than thrilled with the draw when I saw it given what I know to be the quality of the team. The intense battles between the two schools in JV in 2012 and 2013 show that both are outstanding programs, so please accept my apology if that was the way my comments were read. My commentary was on the inherent unfairness of any system that eliminates a team with one loss. If Centennial or any team had beaten Northmont in rounds 1-10 for our only loss, it wouldnt have mattered as we would have still been in the field. The fact that it happened in round 13 to three of the four top seeds I believe screams to the unfairness of the system.
Last edited by djones on Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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