A second is a defined length of time

Old college threads.
Locked
Adventure Temple Trail
Auron
Posts: 2613
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2008 9:52 pm

A second is a defined length of time

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Sep 22, 2013 2:03 pm

So last Saturday, I noticed, as seems to be usual, that many staffers at the tournament I visited were giving pretty divergent amounts of time to let players come up with an answer. One moderator once gave upwards of eight seconds before saying "answer please?", waited two seconds more, said "answer please?" again, and finally concluded that there was no answer for each bonus part. I talked to that moderator afterwards and helped them out a bit, which sped things up, but I wanted to make a general point of this issue, because it has real effects and is readily visible a lot of the time (including timed matches at HSNCT and ICT).

A second is a defined length of time. (And, by extension, so is five seconds.) It is possible to learn how long a second is and get a good internal sense of it. If you don't have that internal sense, you can look at a watch, or set a metronome to 60 beats per minute, to develop it. Being "lenient" with people (whether it's accidental, on purpose to soothe someone who seems visibly flustered, occasional, or frequent) can have the effect of skewing game results, so try to get a good idea of how long teams should actually have and be consistent about enforcing it
Matt J.
ex-Georgetown Day HS, ex-Yale
member emeritus, ACF

Sailing away on my copper boat

User avatar
Galadedrid Damodred
Wakka
Posts: 133
Joined: Sat May 25, 2013 4:58 pm

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Galadedrid Damodred » Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:16 pm

From moderating high school tournaments, I have found that counting the seconds off on the fingers of one hand in full view of both teams is an easy way to prevent disputes. While counting in this way, I also shake my hand first towards myself, then away from myself in a mini-fied version of what you see basketball referees doing with their whole arms. I am curious to know how many other people use similar gestures.
Austin Brownlow
Louisville '14, Stanford '16

User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
Posts: 3171
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:03 pm

It's probably more important for 5 seconds to be consistent between games at the same tournament than for 5 seconds to be identical across all games everywhere. Perhaps TDs could make this more likely by giving instructions to their moderators about how timing should be done. Perhaps people in this thread could share best practices.

Personally, I do the thing where I swing my arm back and forth (like a metronome) and raise one finger with each swing until I hit 5. I don't know how well this approximates a second, but it's consistent between games and it's completely transparent to both teams - I suppose unless somebody has a vision impaired player.
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source

User avatar
Excelsior (smack)
Rikku
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:20 am
Location: Madison, WI

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Sun Sep 22, 2013 11:57 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:It's probably more important for 5 seconds to be consistent between games at the same tournament than for 5 seconds to be identical across all games everywhere. Perhaps TDs could make this more likely by giving instructions to their moderators about how timing should be done.
How do you propose to ensure uniformity of timing across all the readers at a given tournament? The only way I can think of is to specify that each reader should, by some means or another, determine how long 5 seconds is, and then give players that much time every time an interval of 5 seconds is called for.

It's important to realize that allowing (e.g.) 6 seconds for every "5-second interval" differentially affects teams, and that's a bad thing. That is, some teams benefit from the extra 1 second more than others, and that is antithetical to fair quizbowl.
Perhaps people in this thread could share best practices.
There is an obvious best practice and it is the following: if you know how long 5 seconds is, great! Count it off on your fingers or something, and everything will be dandy. If you do not know how long 5 seconds is (and this is most people), either 1.) learn how long 5 seconds is, or 2.) have one of those fancy-schmancy timepieces with you while you moderate, and look at it while you're counting off time.

If you do not know whether or not you know how long 5 seconds is (and honestly, even if you think you do know how long 5 seconds is), we can use the power of Science™ to see what the case actually is. Simply set a timer for 60 seconds on a timekeeping device of your choice. Start the timer, and start counting seconds. When the timer goes off, see where your count was. Rinse and repeat a few times. If you consistently end up somewhere in the range of say 58-62 seconds, great! You know how long 5 seconds is to good enough precision for quizbowl purposes (assuming your seconds were of relatively uniform length). If you end up further off than that (whether or not you were consistent about it), you should be using a timepiece when you moderate.

(My ability to know how long a second is [or, I suppose, a half-second] mostly comes from having played the Stars and Stripes Forever at 120 bpm approximately infinity-plus-one times. I heartily recommend this method of learning how long a half-second is to anyone who really likes Sousa, and to no-one else.)
Ashvin Srivatsa
Corporate drone '?? | Yale University '14 | Sycamore High School (OH) '10

User avatar
Howard
Yuna
Posts: 967
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 5:42 pm
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Howard » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:53 pm

I have a set pace I count of the time. I'll give teams an example before the start of the match so they know what to expect. The most important things are that each team knows what to expect and that you're consistent.
Excelsior (smack) wrote:It's important to realize that allowing (e.g.) 6 seconds for every "5-second interval" differentially affects teams, and that's a bad thing. That is, some teams benefit from the extra 1 second more than others, and that is antithetical to fair quizbowl.
If this occurred uniformly across all games at a tournament, I have a great deal of difficulty with the idea that it's bad or less fair. The five second rule is rather arbitrary to begin with. I agree that an extra second will affect some teams more than others, but what reason do we believe that answering a question in 5 seconds is more important than answering one in 4 or 6 seconds? There's no reason it can't be 6 or 4 seconds, and we can have lengthy (and probably largely nonproductive) discussions about the good and bad points of what is the optimal amount of time to give and why.

The 5 second rule is largely customary, and I know of no compelling evidence suggesting it should be changed. As long as tournament organizers share this opinion, it's not likely to change.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred

User avatar
Sima Guang Hater
Auron
Posts: 1844
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:54 pm

RyuAqua wrote:A second is a defined length of time
Image
Eric Mukherjee, MD PhD
Washburn Rural High School, 2005
Brown University, 2009
Medical Scientist Training Program, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 2018
Intern in Internal Medicine, Yale-Waterbury, 2018-9
Dermatology Resident, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2019-

Member Emeritus, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer, NAQT, NHBB, IQBT

"The next generation will always surpass the previous one. It's one of the never-ending cycles in life."

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6497
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Cheynem » Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:58 pm

I would recommend even if you are good at counting to use some sort of visual cues (counting on fingers, raising hand up and down) just to let people know how much time they have. A few times when I read, someone will retort "That was NOT five seconds," so doing some sort of visual cue where your timing is obvious and consistent, is a helpful way to ward off such complaints.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is "be generous but firm." This is not bad league format. I played in a terrible league format where moderators took great zeal in calling "time" at arbitrary second points because presumably they got off on the power. You're not looking to do that, so avoid fast counts or counting that is specifically designed to screw over people. On the other hand, this is a competitive game with rules. If you allow someone to say an answer after you've called time or you routinely give more than five seconds, you are breaking the rules and doing everyone a disservice.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Excelsior (smack)
Rikku
Posts: 379
Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 12:20 am
Location: Madison, WI

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:50 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:A second is a defined length of time
Image
I eagerly await the announcement of ACF Nationals 2030: International Linear Collider edition.
There's no reason it can't be 6 or 4 seconds, and we can have lengthy (and probably largely nonproductive) discussions about the good and bad points of what is the optimal amount of time to give and why.
I agree that there's no compelling reason for it to be 5 seconds, but the fact of the matter is that it is 5 seconds as things currently stand, and so adhering to that is important. If the rule were 6 seconds instead, then we would have to adhere to that just as scrupulously.
Ashvin Srivatsa
Corporate drone '?? | Yale University '14 | Sycamore High School (OH) '10

User avatar
ValenciaQBowl
Auron
Posts: 2325
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:08 pm

Do only people over 40 still count with "one one-thousand, two one-thousand," etc.? Seems like a pretty good approximation of a second. Fortunately, the Quiz Pro buzzers used by almost all teams on the CC circuit in Florida has a clock for the second-awareness impaired.
Chris Borglum
Valencia College Grand Poobah

User avatar
Howard
Yuna
Posts: 967
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 5:42 pm
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Howard » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:43 pm

Probably the most important part of the timing is that the team have an idea when time will be called. "Answer please" or something similar should suffice. As long as the reader is consistent with the amount of time and actually does this, the actual amount of time (presuming it's in the vicinity of 5 seconds) is of less importance.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred

User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
Posts: 1222
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm
Contact:

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:02 pm

The only thing that irks me is when a moderator chooses not to say something like "got something?" or "answer please?" - he just says "time" and refuses to let me answer, or he just says the answer outright.

If you do prompt with some phrase, and the player doesn't respond within the normal time that someone would respond to a basic question (i.e. the normal conversational time it might take one to reply to a query such as "what's your name?") - then I don't think the player has any right to get ticked off...unless you're prompting two seconds after ending the bonus part.
Ryan Westbrook, no affiliation whatsoever.

I am pure energy...and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!

Left here since birth...forgotten in the river of time...I've had an eternity to...ponder the meaning of things...and now I have an answer!

User avatar
The King's Flight to the Scots
Auron
Posts: 1432
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:11 pm

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:40 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:The only thing that irks me is when a moderator chooses not to say something like "got something?" or "answer please?" - he just says "time" and refuses to let me answer, or he just says the answer outright.

If you do prompt with some phrase, and the player doesn't respond within the normal time that someone would respond to a basic question (i.e. the normal conversational time it might take one to reply to a query such as "what's your name?") - then I don't think the player has any right to get ticked off...unless you're prompting two seconds after ending the bonus part.
According to the ACF rules the moderator isn't supposed to prompt for an answer on a tossup. I think moderators should keep following that rule for now, but I do think we need to amend that particular rule since it's kind of silly.
Matt Bollinger
UVA '14, UVA '15
Communications Officer, ACF

User avatar
Cody
2008-09 Male Athlete of the Year
Posts: 2277
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:57 am
Location: Richmond

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Cody » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:59 pm

Why is not prompting for an answer on tossups silly?
Cody Voight, VCU ‘14. I wrote lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
VCU Tournament Director ‘13-‘17. HSAPQ President ‘15-16.
Hero of Socialist Quizbowl Labor (NSC ‘14). “esteemed colleague” of Snap Wexley, ca. 2016. Stats Hero (Nats ‘16).
Quizbowl at VCU

User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
Posts: 15226
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:05 pm

Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:Why is not prompting for an answer on tossups silly?
Are we talking about finishing reading a TU, or after someone buzzed in?
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8411
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:06 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:According to the ACF rules
Ryan "No Rules" Westbrook
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
Howard
Yuna
Posts: 967
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 5:42 pm
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Howard » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:09 pm

Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:Why is not prompting for an answer on tossups silly?
It goes back to the whole issue that we're not exact in our counting. Prompting is just another means of making sure the player understands the time limit is approaching.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8411
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:20 pm

Protip: The default cursor blink rate in Word in 53 beats per minute. If you use this to count off five seconds you will only be 8% off, which is within the margin of error for saying "time" and all that anyway. Do this when reading from a computer and you will get a sense of the time for other situations.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
Mike Bentley
Auron
Posts: 5713
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:03 pm
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Oct 02, 2013 9:52 pm

Yeah, I'd like someone to explain why we prompt for answers on bonus parts but not after someone has buzzed on a tossup (or prior to a tossup going dead, but that's less important). As a player, I'd prefer the prompt.
Mike Bentley
Treasurer, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence
Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008

User avatar
Howard
Yuna
Posts: 967
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 5:42 pm
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Howard » Thu Oct 03, 2013 12:52 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:Yeah, I'd like someone to explain why we prompt for answers on bonus parts but not after someone has buzzed on a tossup (or prior to a tossup going dead, but that's less important). As a player, I'd prefer the prompt.
I think it stems from the idea of "you buzzed; you should have the answer forthcoming," and is a hold-over from days-gone-by.

If we're going to allow five seconds, we're already outside of the immediately forthcoming area.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred

User avatar
DumbJaques
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 3071
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:59 pm

I don't really know if the rules really logically imply we should prompt for answers on tossups (as it seems some people are suggesting), but I certainly don't think there's a clear reason not to. Most of the arguments in favor of changing that rule seem to stem from a personal preference stanpoint, though - "I like it more as a player," etc. I happen to share this perspective, but it's not the most robust argument for rule change.

A much clear argument, however, is that prompting on tossups would reduce how often we end up in that really aggravating situation where the moderator's "Time!" and the player's answer overlap. It's one of the more problematic judgment calls in the game, even when the moderator knows the rule (which I believe is that a tie goes to the player, but honestly that might not even be codified). One of the central mandates for any set of rules is to reduce the impact of judgment calls, and this is a big one. It's tough to parse second-fraction differences in general, and it's tougher when your mind is focused on a different task (counting appropriately, saying the answer) and your own voice is obscuring the player's.

I can't see a counter-argument that gives us a more compelling interest than that one, but I'm open to the possibility. I suspect that there would still be some uncertainty from reader to reader even if this rule change was made. For instance, you know some people will say "answer?" after 4 seconds, then call time a second later. Others will say "answer? _ Time!" right around the 5-second mark. Still others will say "answer?" at 5 seconds, then wait like 2 more seconds. We already see this kind of deviation on bonuses (though I actually think adding the "answer" prompt to tossups will decrease its severity for both). So, at worst this point is mixed, and doesn't come close to being more compelling than reducing judgment calls.
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE

User avatar
mtn335
Lulu
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: (north of) Seattle, WA

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by mtn335 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 6:45 pm

DumbJaques wrote:(which I believe is that a tie goes to the player, but honestly that might not even be codified).
I'm not deeply familiar with ACF rules, but NAQT's rules do codify this.
NAQT Rule G.4 wrote:An answer to a tossup must begin within 2 seconds after the player has been recognized. An answer begun after the moderator has said "Time" will be treated as no answer. Ties between the player and the moderator are decided in favor of the player.
Nathan Murphy
NAQT Member
HSNCT/ICT Logistics Director
Gonzaga University 2007

User avatar
mtn335
Lulu
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: (north of) Seattle, WA

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by mtn335 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:04 pm

Also: I'm sorry, but I find this amusing given the subject of the thread. My profile image is of me, counting seconds visibly. :p
Nathan Murphy
NAQT Member
HSNCT/ICT Logistics Director
Gonzaga University 2007

User avatar
Howard
Yuna
Posts: 967
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 5:42 pm
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Howard » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:42 pm

DumbJaques wrote:I don't really know if the rules really logically imply we should prompt for answers on tossups....
I don't believe any of the current rules imply this. Unless my reading is incorrect, current rules only indicate we should prompt on bonuses.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred

Susan
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 1813
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:43 am

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Susan » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:08 pm

mtn335 wrote:
DumbJaques wrote:(which I believe is that a tie goes to the player, but honestly that might not even be codified).
I'm not deeply familiar with ACF rules, but NAQT's rules do codify this.
NAQT Rule G.4 wrote:An answer to a tossup must begin within 2 seconds after the player has been recognized. An answer begun after the moderator has said "Time" will be treated as no answer. Ties between the player and the moderator are decided in favor of the player.
ACF Rule E wrote:2. A tossup remains alive for five seconds after it has been completed. Players who buzz as the moderator is calling time will be allowed to answer. If one team buzzes in incorrectly after the tossup has been completed, the five-second countdown begins again for the other team.

3. Upon buzzing, the competitor has five seconds to begin giving his/her answer. After five seconds, the moderator will call time. Any answer which is not begun before the moderator calls time will not be considered. There will not be a prompt for an answer given if the player remains silent on a tossup. Failing to answer before time is called will be treated as a wrong answer. To avoid giving the other team extra clues as to what the answer is, the moderator should not explain close timing calls until after the tossup has been completed for both teams.
Susan
UChicago alum (AB 2003, PhD 2009)
Member emerita, ACF

User avatar
mtn335
Lulu
Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:38 pm
Location: (north of) Seattle, WA

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by mtn335 » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:15 pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, Susan, but I think that's the wrong thing - I think we're talking about the five (ACF) / two (NAQT) seconds permitted to begin an answer after signalling. That rules citation is about a tie between the buzzer and moderator, not between the beginning of an answer and the moderator calling time.

Is the second situation addressed in ACF's code?
Nathan Murphy
NAQT Member
HSNCT/ICT Logistics Director
Gonzaga University 2007

Susan
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 1813
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:43 am

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by Susan » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:27 pm

Thanks, Nathan--it's been a long day. I've gone back and posted rules E.2 and E.3, as E.3 covers the situation in question.
Susan
UChicago alum (AB 2003, PhD 2009)
Member emerita, ACF

fett0001
Tidus
Posts: 665
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:50 am

Re: A second is a defined length of time

Post by fett0001 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:52 am

It's unclear from rule E3 what happens in case of a tie.

EDIT:
Or rather, it isn't explicit:
Any answer which is not begun before the moderator calls time will not be considered.
This means that an answer begun in the same instant as a call of time will not be considered.
Mike Hundley
PACE Secretary
Martinsville High School 2001-2005
Virginia Tech 2005-

Locked