On talking about high schoolers

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On talking about high schoolers

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:46 pm

Do you know what is always absurdly inappropriate and will help make quizbowl a worse place? Being an adult in college or beyond who gets online and makes fun of the talents and/or appearance of high schoolers, especially ones who you actually do know in person.

The nature of quizbowl's online community has clearly blurred the lines between people in different age groups. It is so easy for middle and high schoolers to interact with college students, grad students, employees at major quizbowl organizations, teachers, without needing to go through parental or coach intermediaries. Many of these high schoolers are obviously smart enough to hold their own in an interesting conversation, and are made to feel welcome to insert themselves into board discussions, chatrooms, and social media. This might be fine and dandy, except that quizbowl is not an online community like reddit where you can anonymously flame and bully people who annoy you just because you think it's funny. We are real people, whose identities are publicly known, and who routinely run into each other in person, especially at events like the HSNCT. Not only are we real people, we are adults, often in positions of authority over these high schoolers we end up chatting with. To fail to recognize how inappropriate it is to treat high schoolers you actually know like you are an anonymous, cruel internet troll is to destroy the boundaries that are desperately needed in order to recognize that we are dealing with children who it is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for. When you stoop to the level of mocking the appearance or playing ability of a girl who is in the middle of attaining one of the rarest marks of excellence in the game, you've done irreparable harm to the future of the game and deserve to have your feet held to the flames.

NAQT also, as best as I can tell, made what I feel to be an understandable but not truly serious effort to respond to these incidences. I'm glad they will no longer use Periscope, but surely we deserve a fuller response than Jonah's brief apology. I believe if the most powerful organization in a game with a disgusting gender imbalance fails to prevent underaged girls in their event from being publicly degraded by observants, it is their responsibility to give a fuller accounting of who, what, how, and why, and possible consequences, to make it clear to other adults who blurred the line with high schoolers on the internet that that is not acceptable going forward. (In this case, I think the people involved should not be invited to staff NAQT events in the future until they produce apologies). There is nothing more vital to the future of quizbowl than to make it clear to high schoolers that they are safe around the adults in the game, which failed to happen.

The moment you leave high school, high schoolers are no longer your peer group, full stop. It is going to be incredibly difficult for some people to navigate the boundary between a healthy, productive encouragement of brilliant youths, and the slippery slope of thinking that because it's the internet, and they're smart, you can get away with treating them the way you treat your adult friends, or that you can treat them horribly with no consequences. There are years and years of this boundary being blurred, a culture which I am very much a product of and participated in. In many ways there were benefits to this culture, but we can now look back, reckon during moments like this with how we failed, see that there are ways to become more enlightened, and vow to do a better job in the future.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby Father Comstock » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:12 pm

A lot of very good points are made in this post. I think it unfair to say that high schoolers are no longer in your peer group the minute you are in college. A lot of my very close friends from quiz bowl are high schoolers and I don't think there is a problem with that. But I guess I also have the decency to not make vulgar comments on a livestream.
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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:24 am

Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:NAQT also, as best as I can tell, made what I feel to be an understandable but not truly serious effort to respond to these incidences. I'm glad they will no longer use Periscope, but surely we deserve a fuller response than Jonah's brief apology. I believe if the most powerful organization in a game with a disgusting gender imbalance fails to prevent underaged girls in their event from being publicly degraded by observants, it is their responsibility to give a fuller accounting of who, what, how, and why, and possible consequences, to make it clear to other adults who blurred the line with high schoolers on the internet that that is not acceptable going forward. (In this case, I think the people involved should not be invited to staff NAQT events in the future until they produce apologies). There is nothing more vital to the future of quizbowl than to make it clear to high schoolers that they are safe around the adults in the game, which failed to happen.

.


THIS. I told NAQT ABOUT THIS WHEN IT HAPPENED. It seems to me you people have been too busy thinking up more worthless national titles than acting like proper stewards of the game. 7 months and there were tons of reprehensible shit said. Where's any action?
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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby Important Bird Area » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:42 am

Shortly after the 2017 HSNCT, we became aware that some of the comments on the Periscope video of the finals were completely unacceptable. (This is why we have deleted the Periscope video, and will be switching to a different live-streaming solution for future NAQT events.)

NAQT does not know who posted those reprehensible comments on our Periscope video. If we can find out who this is, the individuals responsible for those comments will be permanently banned from staffing NAQT's national championships. Members of the community with convincing evidence about this incident (of the form "this person was responsible for this particular comment") are encouraged to contact me by email.
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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:04 am

So basically you aren't and never have actively investigated but if someone wants to unburden their conscience you'll listen. Is that your position?
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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:42 am

Father Comstock wrote:A lot of very good points are made in this post. I think it unfair to say that high schoolers are no longer in your peer group the minute you are in college. A lot of my very close friends from quiz bowl are high schoolers and I don't think there is a problem with that. But I guess I also have the decency to not make vulgar comments on a livestream.


It's fine to maintain existing friendships with high schoolers, but they are not your peers. The whole point of my post is to alert you to this fact. When you start to know high schoolers through more adult capacities, then you are going to need to start really understanding that you can't interact with them the same way you would your close friends. Even among friends who you have known from high school, you are going to have some boundaries that you will need to be thinking about and renegotiating, probably in subtle ways. You simply cannot be a fully open friend about everything with high schoolers when you are an adult in a mentor role, or a role as an event organizer (and if you're actively befriending high schoolers you meet outside of these kinds of roles, why?).
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White
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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby halle » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:01 pm

Important Bird Area wrote:Shortly after the 2017 HSNCT, we became aware that some of the comments on the Periscope video of the finals were completely unacceptable. (This is why we have deleted the Periscope video

This seems like an odd and potentially harmful line of reasoning to me. An organization's first response to wrongdoing probably shouldn't be deleting any evidence that it occurred, effectively ensuring that the perpetrators face no consequences. In this case, it would've been possible to remove the public version of the stream without deleting it entirely, as far as I am aware. Doing this might have allowed the wrongdoers to be identified by their usernames and prevented from continuing their harmful behavior. Has anything like this been attempted, or is the plan to rely entirely on observers who happen to have record that some of these comments even existed in the first place?
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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:25 am

Important Bird Area wrote:Shortly after the 2017 HSNCT, we became aware that some of the comments on the Periscope video of the finals were completely unacceptable. (This is why we have deleted the Periscope video, and will be switching to a different live-streaming solution for future NAQT events.)

NAQT does not know who posted those reprehensible comments on our Periscope video. If we can find out who this is, the individuals responsible for those comments will be permanently banned from staffing NAQT's national championships. Members of the community with convincing evidence about this incident (of the form "this person was responsible for this particular comment") are encouraged to contact me by email.


Sounds like this is a good place to start - viewtopic.php?p=338374#p338374
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White
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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby Important Bird Area » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:43 pm

Update on this situation: in reaction to the comments made on the Periscope video, NAQT has banned one individual from staffing our national championships, and prepared a second ban should we discover the identity of a commenter who is presently pseudonymous.

Our thanks go out to the community members who were able to provide us with detailed information about the comments in question. We have reason to believe that the present state of our knowledge is incomplete. If anyone reading this has additional information available about offensive commentary made during the 2017 HSNCT finals, please contact me with details. (For clarity: what we're looking for here is specific text convincingly linked to the real names of specific people who wrote it.)
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby Susan » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:25 pm

Important Bird Area wrote:Update on this situation: in reaction to the comments made on the Periscope video, NAQT has banned one individual from staffing our national championships, and prepared a second ban should we discover the identity of a commenter who is presently pseudonymous.

Our thanks go out to the community members who were able to provide us with detailed information about the comments in question. We have reason to believe that the present state of our knowledge is incomplete. If anyone reading this has additional information available about offensive commentary made during the 2017 HSNCT finals, please contact me with details. (For clarity: what we're looking for here is specific text convincingly linked to the real names of specific people who wrote it.)


Does NAQT plan on sharing this information with the quizbowl community (or, more conservatively, with other organizations that run competitions for high-schoolers)? If the people involved have committed offenses that merit their banning from NAQT events, it seems like they probably ought not to be interacting with high schoolers in other formats as well (or, at least, that the people who administer those formats should have the information they need to decide whether to allow those people to staff their events). Quizbowl has a pretty rotten history of allowing players to engage in gross sexist behavior that really damages female players' experiences*, and--at least, while I was a player--that behavior was perpetuated in part because people didn't share the information they needed to share to protect players.

*And may well have a history of gross behavior that's made the game an unwelcoming place for people who don't identify as female--but I can speak most confidently about my own experience here.
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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby notchole » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:41 pm

So as the person to whom the sexist comments in question were directed, I just wanted to say I really appreciate NAQT’s response to this most recent pushback. It’s true that after the comments were posted, I wondered why more wasn’t done right away to address the issue. I also wondered why DCC made no comment (of which I am aware) about the fact that many of the remarks came from members of their current or past school community. Lots of family members were watching that livestream, including my grandmother and my six-year-old cousin. Our policy as a community for this behavior should be a zero-tolerance one. Not adding anything particularly new to this discourse, I realize, but it’s weird to have a very heated thread about you without commenting.
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Re: On talking about high schoolers

Postby Important Bird Area » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:45 pm

That's a very reasonable set of questions, Susan.

We have not historically published our banlist, and I do not anticipate that we would ever make the complete list publicly available to the community. I'll talk to NAQT's other officers about more limited solutions, such as "share relevant parts of our information with the organizers of other major high school events."
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President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

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