Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

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Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Cheynem » Thu May 05, 2016 11:32 pm

Remember last year when we all tried to kill each other about this? Don't do that again.

Vote for your top 25 of active players (active being defined as eligible for a national title, although they do not necessarily have to have played at either ICT or ACF Nationals). I am making the perhaps obvious caveat that they must have played at least one, non-open tournament this year though.

Ballots should be in by May 16, let's say.

For reference, last year's Top 25 and their lines from ICT/Nats (prelims):

1. Matt Bollinger--now managing the Clinton campaign
2. Eric M., Penn: 16/37/8 (3rd, ICT)
3. Jordan Brownstein, Maryland: 25/29/13 (2nd, ICT) and 93/10 (1st, Nats)
4. John Lawrence, Chicago: 16/15/3 (13th, ICT) and 52/3 (16th, Nats)
5. Will Nediger, Michigan: 11/18/5 (19th, ICT) and 57/7 (12th, Nats)
6. Auroni Gupta, Michigan: 14/28/3 (6th, ICT) and 57/9 (13th, Nats)
7. Tommy Casalaspi--works at a mini golf course
8. Chris Ray, Chicago: 15/21/4 (8th, ICT) and 52/5 (17th, Nats)
9. Saajid Moyen--dating Becky with the good hair
10. Stephen Liu, Stanford: 15/23/11 (10th, ICT) and 46/11 (24th, Nats)
11. Neil Gurram, MIT: 12/35/6 (5th, ICT) and 84/10 (3rd, Nats)
12. Adam Silverman, Georgia Tech: 68/18 (9th, Nats)
13. Max Schindler, Chicago: 16/13/10 (20th, ICT) and 34/6 (38th, Nats)
14. Andrew Wang, Illinois: 9/29/7 (9th, ICT) and 72/14 (6th, Nats)
15a. Shan Kothari, Minnesota: 4/22/6 (31st, ICT) and 49/3 (19th, Nats)
15b. Richard Yu, WUSTL: 2/19/2 (43rd, ICT) and 48/9 (21st, Nats)
17. Austin Brownlow, Stanford: 12/12/7 (30th, ICT) and 39/3 (26th, Nats)
18a. Trevor Davis--????
18b. Jacob Reed, Yale: 12/36/3 (4th, ICT) and 59/5 (10th, Nats)
20. Brian McPeak, Michigan: 5/11/4 (57th, ICT) and 15/2 (90th, Nats)
21. Dylan Minarik, Northwestern: 9/28/10 (12th, ICT) and 42/13 (28th, Nats)
22. Sinan Ulusoy--president of TNA Wrestling
23. Evan Adams--works at the AT&T store
24. Rafael Krichevsky, Columbia: 9/22/3 (14th, ICT) and 55/7 (15th, Nats)
25. Dan Puma--presumably doing something right now

Obviously, PPG isn't the be all and end all and players on good teams obviously have less counting numbers--use your discretion and research and memory.

Players who finished in top 25 at either nationals in prelim scoring
Kurtis Droge, Louisville (1st, ICT; 2nd, Nats)
Itamar Naveh-Benjamin, Missouri (7th, ICT)
Aseem Keyal, Berkeley (11th, ICT; 18th, Nats)
Sam Bailey, Minnesota (15th, ICT; 71st, Nats)
Benji Nguyen, Stanford (16th, ICT on Stanford B; 46th, Nats)
Derek So, McGill (17th, ICT; 14th, Nats)
Sean Smiley, William and Mary (18th, ICT; 37th, Nats)
Charles Hang, WUSTL (21st, ICT; 31st, Nats)
Arthur Lee, Texas (22nd, ICT)
Wilton Rao, Columbia (23rd, ICT on Columbia B; 30th, Nats on Columbia B)
Anderson Wang, MIT (24th, ICT; 77th, Nats)
Siddhant Dogra, Michigan (25th, ICT on Michigan B; 93rd, Nats)
Will Alston, Dartmouth (4th, Nats)
Kenji Golimlim, Michigan (44th, ICT; 5th, Nats on Michigan B)
Jason Golfinos, Princeton (7th, Nats)
Caleb Kendrick, Oklahoma (4th, DII ICT; 8th, Nats)
Eric Xu, Virginia (1st, DII ICT; 11th, Nats)
Jason Fern, Georgia (29th, ICT; 20th, Nats)
Adam S. Fine, Yale (6th, DII ICT; 22nd, Nats on Yale B)
Joey Goldman, Oxford (23rd, Nats)
Neil Vinjamuri, Pittsburgh (25th, Nats)
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri May 06, 2016 12:59 am

I think we could have a productive discussion not be arguing who "needs" to be on or who's definitely better than who, but rather offering regional insights into the skills of various players listed above, i.e. California people could discuss the strengths of Berkeley/Stanford/UCSD players, Midwestern players discuss other Midwesterners, etc.

I'll discuss the Northeast, tossing in around a couple names that aren't above for good measure but might be worth considering (I won't discuss myself or who I plan on voting for) for Top 25 material:

Neil Gurram - Neil's the definition of a really well-rounded generalist. What's most impressive about Neil, in my opinion, is his incredible recall and buzzer speed - he rarely seems to have difficulty placing clues he recognizes that often happen to other players and is able to buzz extremely quickly as a result; this is very dangerous coupled with his substantial knowledge in every category. I think Nationals results this year speak to Neil's ability to extend this to high-level questions quite well, and that his ability to be a very strong generalist goes beyond regular difficulty.

Jacob Reed - Beyond being an insanely good music player, Jacob's just really good in general; his united Yale team, which hadn't played together at many tournaments, performed extremely well. I'm not sure how often this gets mentioned, but he's also quite a good science player and gets a lot of science questions (including, possibly most impressively, organic chemistry) next to Stephen and Grace, who are both scientists by trade.

Rafael Krichevsky - As various threads have discussed before, Rafael's really good at music, Judaism, and physical sciences/math - this year, he's worked hard to expand his generalism to be able to take a good number of questions in history and literature as well.

Ben Zhang - Ben functions as both a generalist and a strong biology, history, and myth specialist on Columbia. His background as a high school generalist makes him dangerously (and frustratingly, to opponents!) liable to snag questions in almost every category.

Will Holub-Moorman - Will's something of a specialist - it seems to me he's got a smattering of knowledge in all humanities, but he really shines on difficult "thought", arts, and literature topics, particularly those pertaining to the 20th century. He unfortunately doesn't play a lot of tournaments, but he consistently nails his content when he does, and he scales up very well.

Grace Liu - Grace brings breadth and plenty of pockets of extreme depth in literature, classics, and arts to the table. She's also a really good biology and chemistry player, and has continuously improved at these subjects. Like Will, she unfortunately hasn't been able to play a ton, but when she's still with it and nails her stuff.

Stephen Eltinge - Stephen's worth mentioning because he's probably the best physical sciences/math player in the region and can also definitely get questions in other categories - he gets a number of good history buzzes next to both Jacob and Isaac and is a pretty well-rounded trash player.

Isaac Kirk-Davidoff - Isaac would be a shoe-in if we only considered NAQT tournaments because, as people probably know by now, he's insanely good at current events and quite good at geography/trash. Even if you weight ACF sets more heavily, Isaac scales up well and has pockets of extremely random deep knowledge on modern literature, history, and social science.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Fri May 06, 2016 11:47 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Muriel Axon » Fri May 06, 2016 8:28 am

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:I'll start with the Northeast, tossing in around a couple names that aren't above for good measure but might be worth considering (I won't discuss myself or who I plan on voting for) for Top 25 material:


I'm a bit confused here, since at least three of the listed players were on the top 25 last year and are listed as such.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri May 06, 2016 10:55 am

Muriel Axon wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:I'll start with the Northeast, tossing in around a couple names that aren't above for good measure but might be worth considering (I won't discuss myself or who I plan on voting for) for Top 25 material:


I'm a bit confused here, since at least three of the listed players were on the top 25 last year and are listed as such.


Oh, my phrasing was poor - "tossing in a couple names" was supposed to mean "besides the more 'obvious' candidates, my list also contains people weren't on either of Mike's lists, but may be worth considering."
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby The Ununtiable Twine » Fri May 06, 2016 7:03 pm

Unlike Will, I will actually self-critique in my post as it's been awhile since anyone from other regions has seen me play.

Nick Collins - Nick is an exceptional art player and a noted classical mythology player. He doesn't quite have the all-around generalist game just yet but he has shown a bit of growth in that regard over the last year and a half or so. A dangerous specialist when paired with the right players.

Adam Silverman - although his generalist abilities seem to have plateaued over the last few years, he's still one of the best all-around players in the country. Outstanding science player. Great at visual arts.

Jason Fern - much improved from last year, and he shows the desire to continue in that direction. Definitely a force on history questions and probably the top arts player in the entire South. UGA's body of work on regular difficulty this year should not be taken for granted, and Jason's desire to continue improving was a major factor in their success. His improvements on harder difficulties is apparent as well, as he found a way to keep his team in lots of games at Nationals even when he wasn't getting as much support as he gets at regular difficulty.

Arthur Lee - Hey, he had a good ICT. Having not played against UT that much, I don't know much about his game, but he led the Texas team to a decent result at ICT (to go along with some relatively close games against excellent competition).

Carlo DeGuzman - I have no idea how well Carlo scales up outside of music, however he's still a good NAQT player at the very least.

Caleb Kendrick - vote for Caleb Kendrick. He is friendly and a decent player. He deserves your vote.

me - My main focus this year was to become a better history player and fill in some of my current team's knowledge gaps. I'm a fairly good generalist at regular difficulty and above, although very little about my game is or has ever been flashy. My knowledge of hard sciences is good enough for me to maintain being the South's second-best science player without much additional effort, although the pool of Southern science players is rather thin to begin with so take that with a grain of salt. Good middle clue knowledge at regular difficulty, great at buzzer fakes. Although I didn't play either Nationals, I showed at "stanford housewrite" that I can still be dangerous on harder difficulties when I surround myself with specialists who have a different focus than I do in their areas. As far as nationals-level and above is concerned, my game is currently a smattering of "have you heard of this thing" bowl and good buzzes on things that I know pretty well or used to know. Oh yeah, my NAQT game is kinda meh, at least at regular difficulty.

Jasper Lee - he's good too. His performance at Regionals alone should merit top 25 consideration.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Mewto55555 » Sat May 07, 2016 2:39 am

I can talk briefly about how great my teammates are -- I don't have any sort of hard stats on fractions of buzzes in each category from nationals like I did last year, though.

The shtick with John and Chris is the same as it is every year: John is an amazing specialist who is one of the top players in each of his categories, while Chris, though perhaps not a true #1 on any category, is a threat to buzz on literally every question. Chris does better on NAQT, John on (m)ACF.

Why you should vote John near the top: Have you seen those fucking power numbers??!?! This dude had the second most powers in the main field of Stanford Housewrite (behind only Jordan). In the prelims of ICT, he tied for Eric with the second-most powers in the field, with 16...while playing with teammates who had 16, 15, and 4 (that is, a 40% greater shadow effect than anyone playing next to Jordan, and 60% more than Will or Auroni, who you're possibly considering voting above him). John's best is not too different from his average -- he's liable to get his 3-4 tossups just about every game, with very few exceptions. Even when John has a bad game, it's not going to sink your team; it's a 0/0 or 1/0 where he gets beaten to questions instead of negging his whole team out of them.

Why you might not vote for John near the top: If you care a lot about those exceptions -- one of them was the finals of ACF Nats, which I guess is a somewhat important game. (I don't believe you should do this though -- look at his other games against Top. Teams. over the course of three hard tournaments this year, and try to convince yourself that nats final was anything other than a flukily bad packet). You could also forget that the shadow effect exists.

Why you should vote Chris near the top: He can single-handedly win a team a game against anyone. And that isn't an exaggeration either: in our first match against Michigan at nats, he rattled off five or six straight in the first half to put the game out of reach before it even got started. He led our team in scoring at ICT, and put up 4+ tossups in all but one playoff game. He was also no slouch at nats (he actually answered 1 more tossup than JL in the playoffs, but his higher neg numbers meant his PPG was lower). You'll all see his value when Chicago has great power numbers next year, but comes in like, 5th, at both nationals.

Why you might not vote Chris near the top: You probably care about his mediocre power numbers at stanford housewrite, or, more likely, are considered about the occasional implosions (1/0/4 in a game against Michigan at ICT that we improbably won, and a 1/4 performance against Stanford at ACF that we couldn't dig ourselves out of). You could also forget that the shadow effect exists -- please don't be the dummy that votes him #10 this year and then sticks him in your top 3 next year when his PPG miraculously triples.

For both of these guys, the question I think you're facing is how much to weigh their usual dominance, despite by far the largest shadow effects of any top 5 contenders, against the possibility of an occasional horrendous game (fun fact: only one person on Chicago A put up positive points in every single game at nationals :party: ).

As for Jason, I don't think it's a stretch to say that he dealt with the biggest shadow effect of anyone else in quizbowl this year. Nonetheless, he managed to put up pretty solid numbers (12 ppg in the playoffs of nats, commensurate with the 3rd/4th scorers on Michigan). It's not like he's getting a bunch of buzzes uncontested by us; his best category his history and he has to play every tossup against Chris. Dude's a stud fourth scorer, and you should probably be considering him as you reach the end of your top 25.

I don't think anyone on our B/C/D... teams should be contending to make your top 25, although you should maybe ask Minnesota for their opinion on the subject.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Auroni » Sat May 07, 2016 3:40 am

I won't be voting, but keep in mind that this is a player poll, not a poll about who is the best player at certain categories. Therefore when you're filling out the top 10, I would urge you to look at the total number of tossups candidate players are getting in the playoffs (or if you want, in key games against teams that finished similarly) instead of looking at powers. In those crucial matches, merely getting the tossup is significant -- it doesn't matter if you buzz on the second or the fifth line.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby 1.82 » Sat May 07, 2016 2:52 pm

Hey guys, you should consider voting for Jordan Brownstein. I know a lot of you haven't seen much of him since we stayed within the Mid-Atlantic region pretty much all year, but I've been sitting next to him at every tournament he's played this year (except MLK, which he decided to play solo in upstate New York), so I'll try to lay out my case.

1) Jordan gets a lot of buzzes. He was first in powers at ICT and first overall at ACF Nationals. This really speaks for itself, I think, but you can look at his other performances and they'll say the same thing. I feel like this perhaps should be enough, but I'm sure you're pointing out right now that he's only getting all those buzzes because his teammates are garbage and because he suffers no shadow effect. That's fair, so let me proceed to the second point:

2) Jordan gets his buzzes regardless of who else is playing. Not only does he get a ton of buzzes against every other team, but he does so even with different teammates; at CO last year, playing with noted good players John Lawrence, Seth Teitler, and Selene Koo, he not only led the field in scoring but had 47% more powers than the player with the second-most powers. This is because he is very good. That brings me to point number three:

3) Jordan is constantly getting better. If you've seen Jordan in the past and made up your mind based on that, then think again! Between last year and this year, Jordan transformed himself from someone who did not buzz particularly often on thought and social science questions to a dominant player in those categories. At ACF Nationals, he was even regularly getting 20s and 30s on computer science bonuses. Don't let your past impressions of Jordan color the way you feel about him now, if your concerns had to do with his not getting questions in areas where he now gets questions.

Honestly, if at this point you're not convinced, I don't know what to say. Jordan Brownstein is good at quizbowl and deserves a spot in your top 25.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby vinteuil » Sat May 07, 2016 3:01 pm

Our Lady Peace wrote:Hey guys, you should consider voting for Jordan Brownstein.

post of the year
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Borel hierarchy » Sat May 07, 2016 3:10 pm

Our Lady Peace wrote:Honestly, if at this point you're not convinced, I don't know what to say. Jordan Brownstein is good at quizbowl and deserves a spot in your top 25.


I'll keep that in mind when I'm filling out my last few spots
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Adventure Temple Trail » Sat May 07, 2016 3:37 pm

Bubalus Period wrote:
Our Lady Peace wrote:Honestly, if at this point you're not convinced, I don't know what to say. Jordan Brownstein is good at quizbowl and deserves a spot in your top 25.


I'll keep that in mind when I'm filling out my last few spots


eh, only if he starts learning science
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby The Ununtiable Twine » Sat May 07, 2016 4:00 pm

Our Lady Peace wrote:Honestly, if at this point you're not convinced, I don't know what to say. Jordan Brownstein is good at quizbowl and deserves a spot in your top 25.

dude i just kinda skimmed your post and it just seemed like a bunch of gobbledygook to me, i was kinda looking for reasons to vote for him and all i read was some gibberish nonsense. unconvincing.

edit: oh yeah, and he doesn't know science, so i might leave him off my ballot regardless, way to go for trying to pander for votes tho
Last edited by The Ununtiable Twine on Sat May 07, 2016 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby DuPhos » Sat May 07, 2016 4:02 pm

Adventure Temple Trail wrote:
Bubalus Period wrote:
Our Lady Peace wrote:Honestly, if at this point you're not convinced, I don't know what to say. Jordan Brownstein is good at quizbowl and deserves a spot in your top 25.


I'll keep that in mind when I'm filling out my last few spots


eh, only if he starts learning science


How I wish he would...
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sat May 07, 2016 4:53 pm

Oh, I forgot to mention Jason Golfinos in my earlier post. Jason's something of a humanities generalist, with a bunch of random pockets of history, lit, and religion knowledge and a really strong command of social science. He doesn't put up amazing power numbers, but he gets a lot of really good middle buzzes across the board and seldom negs. I suggested on a whim to bring him on to play with Eric, Ike and I at "stanford housewrite" and wasn't expecting much, but he got 20 PPG, the plurality of which was in history (no small feat considering who he was playing with). If he can stitch together a consistent Princeton team, watch out - I'm sure Wilton Rao can warn you.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Urech hydantoin synthesis » Sat May 07, 2016 6:05 pm

Here's an evaluation of some players in the Northeast, separated by "people you probably should have in your top 25" and "people you might want to consider for the bottom of the top 25."

People who should probably be in your top 25, in no particular order:

Neil Gurram: Neil led his MIT team to the top bracket at both nationals. He's quick to buzz and knows a lot of stuff, but has suffered from some uneven performances this year (such as at SCT).

Jacob Reed: Jacob has insane depth in parts of music and thought, and is a pretty good player all around, and led his team to at least a 5th place finish at both nationals.

Will Alston: Will's teammates this year haven't been quite as good as Nick Jensen was, but he's become a good player, beating Neil Gurram's MIT team on multiple occasions. He's become formidable in categories including but not limited to history and fine arts.

Rafael Krichevsky: Rafael has expanded his incredibly deep physics/music knowledge base to include history, chemistry, visual art, and lots of other stuff. However, he's less good on NAQT, and occasionally lets his categories slip away in high-stakes games.

Eric M.: A decent science player who can probably get questions in other categories. Seems to be a little worse than that Jordan guy.

People who are worth considering for the top 25, in no particular order:

Isaac Kirk-Davidoff: If all tournaments followed the NAQT distribution, IKD would be in the top 15, probably. Unfortunately, they are not, but that doesn't stop him from contributing a ton of CE/SS/trash/religion/other stuff to a team that already has 3 other excellent players.

Ben Zhang: I seem to be able to get myth, bio, some American/Euro history, and probably some other categories in games. My performance is less correlated with opponent strength than Rafael's (my two best games at nationals were against Maryland at ICT and Stanford at ACF Nats, and outscored Rafael in the playoffs of both nationals), but my generalism at the college level and above is quite a bit weaker than Rafael's.

Grace Liu: A pretty deep bio and chem player who seems to remain dangerous on history, fine arts, and other categories, though not quite as much.

Wilton Rao: Wilton is a very underrated player who does a lot worse on NAQT due to his focus on visual art, and can probably give Stephen Liu a run for his money on a visual arts set. His generalism is not quite as good as some of the other players here, but his very deep knowledge of niche categories in history, myth, and fine arts enabled him to outpower the three best players on Columbia A at "stanford housewrite".

Jason Golfinos: Jason is also a very underrated player; if he had better teammates, more people would know just how good he is. His 20 ppg at "stanford housewrite", playing with Will Alston, Ike Jose, and Eric M., shows just how well he can defend his specialties in history, religion, and thought against the best players.

Stephen Eltinge: Stephen is a pretty good physical science player who frequently beats Rafael to those cateegories. He can also get history and contributes a lot to the excellent Yale team.

Charlie Dees: Now that Charlie actually has good teammates, he seems to be focusing on building a deep knowledge base in history, lit, and fine arts, and religion. He's not quite there yet, but his past generalism enables him to get a lot of questions in almost any non-science category.

Rohith Nagari: Like Wilton and Jason, Rohith would probably be better known if his teammates were better. He's a very good bio/chem/myth player, and if there were a hypothetical world in which he played on Yale A instead of Grace, his inclusion on this list would be far more noncontroversial.

Itamar Naveh-Benjamin: He's not in the Northeast, but I'd like to make a plug for Itamar in the top 25. Due to his location in central Missouri and lack of teammates, he's not that well known, but when he plays with established players like Richard Yu at "stanford housewrite," he shows that he can do just as well as them while defending lit, visual art, science, psych, and myth.
Last edited by Urech hydantoin synthesis on Sat May 07, 2016 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Brian McPeak » Sat May 07, 2016 6:30 pm

jordan brownstein will dunk on u
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby armitage » Sat May 07, 2016 6:36 pm

Urech hydantoin synthesis wrote:Itamar Naveh-Benjamin: He's not in the Northeast, but I'd like to make a plug for Itamar in the top 25. Due to his location in central Missouri and lack of teammates, he's not that well known, but when he plays with established players like Richard Yu at "stanford housewrite," he shows that he can do just as well as them while defending lit, science, psych, and myth.

This is true and Itamar is also a very good, I would even say ""top tier,"" visual fine arts player
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby The Stately Rhododendron » Sun May 08, 2016 10:48 am

There can be some real negativity going on in this world and, as a microcosm of that, in quizbowl. I am in a good mood, sitting in the Cradle of Forestry in the beautiful Pisgah National Forest and I'd thought I'd celebrate the nicest, friendliest people in quizbowl. Who says nice guys finish last?


Grace Liu: Grace Liu is a national treasure. Go with her to a restaurant. If she enjoyed the food (chances are, she will), you'll be hearing about it for a while. Couldn't ask for a nicer teammate. She lights up my life.

Originally I had more. Let's be honest, though, Grace is the greatest person in quizbowl. Great player, crucial to Yale's success as a team. Without her, we may be lost.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby vinteuil » Sun May 08, 2016 1:39 pm

It's that time of the year when I plug Grace Liu, who must be one of the (if not the) greatest opera players quizbowl has ever seen (and fantastic at lit, ballet, painting, and lab techniques). And, of course, if you want to weight NAQT and ACF formats equally, then you have to put Isaac in your top 25! Isaac got a crucial 65 points in our win over Chicago at ICT, and his 80 (!) points against Michigan were all that kept us remotely in that game.

But you know all that; I'm posting here to echo Will and Ben's comments about Stephen. The stats might not reflect this, but he was one of the major factors in our performances at both nationals, and not just because of his deep physical sciences knowledge.

I can illustrate this by comparing our ACF performances in 2015 and 2016. Obviously, we knew more stuff this year, but that was only part of the improvement. Last year, we imploded badly in 3 or 4 games more or less the moment we started losing. This year, we came back to win several times, often against better/unexpected opponents. A huge part of that was Stephen's calm demeanor and consistently great buzzer play (clutch buzzes in all sorts of categories); he'd also managed to transmit some of that to the rest of us over the course of the year. (And of course Stephen gets #1 in the "physics writing" and "pictures of Spider-Man" player polls!)
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Sun May 08, 2016 4:03 pm

Want to add to the praise for Jason Golfinos, whose random deep pockets of knowledge across several different categories, especially history, is exactly what you want to see in an up-and-coming player.

Also, RE: Penn

1. Jaimie Carlson as an up-and-comer who cannot as of yet make a big splash on hard questions, but does very well on regular difficulty stuff (see Regionals and games against Jordan Brownstein at SCT).

2. I'm not dead.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Banana Stand » Sun May 08, 2016 4:50 pm

He hasn't been mentioned yet, but Eric Xu deserves some love. Coming off of being the best HS player in the country, Eric received the usual "can this kid even play on regular difficulty?" before leading UVA to 3rd at Penn Bowl(where we lost by one tossup to Columbia) and a respectable finish at Nats, where he placed 11th in scoring.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Mewto55555 » Mon May 09, 2016 5:52 pm

Auroni wrote:I won't be voting, but keep in mind that this is a player poll, not a poll about who is the best player at certain categories. Therefore when you're filling out the top 10, I would urge you to look at the total number of tossups candidate players are getting in the playoffs (or if you want, in key games against teams that finished similarly) instead of looking at powers. In those crucial matches, merely getting the tossup is significant -- it doesn't matter if you buzz on the second or the fifth line.


It's not apparent to me that this is anywhere near the best metric to look at. For starters, it's completely inconsistent with your insistence (in the roundtable last night, which admittedly I tuned out of early because the discussion took a sharp turn for the asinine) that you're the #2 player in the country -- even based on ACF Nationals, where you had a much better tournament, you answered 66 tossups in the playoff rounds, behind Jordan (94), Kurtis (70), and on par with Neil (63 in one fewer game). At ICT, in the playoff games, you got 35 correct. I didn't count Jordan's numbers because I'm sure he owned you, but you're also behind Chris Ray (43), near Stephen Liu (32), and waaaaaaay behind Eric M. (39 in two fewer games)!

It should be obvious that tossup numbers aren't the be-all end-all; otherwise we'd just do this poll on the basis of individual PPG. There are the obvious things, like the shadow effect, which hugely affects Chicago and Michigan, and significantly less on Maryland and Penn. But there are also more subtle things: not all tossups/buzzes are created equal. For example, Will Nediger won a multi-way buzzer race on I, the Supreme at the name "Francia." Obviously, hugely important buzz at that point (before we knew the game wouldn't be close), but that tells you almost nothing about how good Will is at literature (all it tells you is he has enough knowledge to be involved in that buzzer race). Whoever picked up Maxim at the end didn't really contribute much marginally (unless they were the only person on the team who knew it). In contrast, the fact that you got two uncontested music buzzes against John Lawrence is a far more compelling case for you to be a good player than the raw number of tossups you got in that game. Additionally, power numbers at ICT serve as a good proxy to compare the players in games where they both played weaker teams (which like, triples the amount of data at your disposal). To completely ignore them because they don't paint you in as favorable a light is silly.

As a brief aside (but one that I think informs the rest of my post), I personally prefer to construct my ballot as almost a predictive exercise: if I could surround someone with a competent team built around their strengths, and they got to play a ton of questions (sufficiently many that we get rid of the randomness that comes with having only 1 question per category per game), how would they do? How would they contribute to the team? A good way, in my opinion, to approach this problem, is to break down this hypothetical situation by category, where it hopefully becomes more obvious how to rank people. For example, someone who gets 36% of their 10/10 of a distribution and someone who gets 90% of their 4/4 are both going to contribute about as many points on average, but the latter is much more useful to slot onto just about any team, with time to prepare (and, getting to 90% is proportionally way harder than getting to 36% on a larger set of answers). Power numbers help tell you this too, as do observations about where someone is buzzing, and how often that is a buzzer race. I'm not going to make a dozen posts this year dissecting my ballot (I don't think anyone really cares), but that's the attitude I'm ranking people with. I'm sure some will disagree with it.

But let's say one does believe your claim about only tossups in top games mattering at face value, though. Then, one thing we could do to compare Chicago and Michigan's players is to look at what we did against each other in the 5 games we played at high difficulties. Here are everyone's stats in our game at stanford housewrite, playoffs of ICT, finals of ICT, playoffs of Nats, finals of Nats, respectively, followed by the total:

Auroni: 1/3/1, 0/4/2, 1/1/2, 4/1, 6/0 -- 2/18/6
Will: 0/1/0, 1/2/0, 3/2/0, 1/1, 5/0 -- 4/11/1
Brian: 1/1/0, 1/1/0, 0/0/0, 0/0, 1/0 -- 2/3/0
Kenji/Sid: 1/0/2, 0/1/1, 0/1/0, 3/0, 0/0 --1/5/3

John: 1/2/0, 3/2/0, 2/2/0, 3/1, 0/0 -- 6/9/1
Chris: 0/4/1, 1/0/4,1/3/0, 7/1, 4/3 -- 2/18/9
Max: 2/2/0, 1/3/1, 1/3/1, 2/1, 3/1 -- 4/13/4
Jason: 0/0/0 1/0/0,1/0/0, 0/1, 0/0 -- 2/0/1

So this could imply a lot of things, depending on if one thinks about these numbers critically. One thing is that the 10s probably don't mean too much -- look how many vulches each side had! (we had 10 opportunities, you had 15, and I think one or two went dead on each side). I'll note that Chris often gets most of our vulches -- if half of those switch from him to John, his statline is 6/14/1 and he's making the rest of us look like chumps. I don't think I vulched any: this almost certainly implies that I got the most live tossups of anyone in these games, but no one is insisting I'm the best player of us (for good reason -- I know myself to be the 3rd best on my own team!). What's significantly more likely is that my good performance came at the anomalous expense of other people -- in this case, a noticeable effect on you guys on science/myth, and a noticeable effect on John, because any time I buzz on lit is a time the packet asked about literature I was responsible for instead of him. Et cetera. You and I could easily pick apart these numbers for hours, which suggests that there might be a wee bit more nuance to them than suggested above. Additionally, this is just one of several reasonable collections of games we could analyze; each set would lead us to a different conclusion, likely, which is why we shouldn't just pick one and take its implications at face value.

The point of the Player Poll is to vote on who the best players are. Different voters have different beliefs as to what makes a player good, but I don't think a well-thought ballot should be based on one sole stat, or a small sample size of games. Rather, voters should think about the context in which players put up the numbers that they did. I'm not saying Auroni and Will should be behind John or Chris on every ballot -- what I'm saying is that if one ranks these people by just saying "hurr durr look at their numbers in three games, and throw out everything else" (or, perhaps, "look at this particular arrangement of numbers at this particular tournament that just so happens to show X is better than everyone") he's being quite foolish. There probably is a reasonable case you could make to be voted above John and Chris, but this isn't it.


PS: I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss Eric, either. That dude put up 31 powers at Stanford Housewrite, while dealing with a shadow effect from his teammates that was way greater than you did, at least measured by power count, and at ICT he put up the 2nd most powers in the field. It may be the case that he's slipped a bit, but it may also be the case (and I would wager it more likely), that he's still really fucking good at his categories, and he just doesn't look as good without a strong supporting cast -- just because he didn't buff up his other categories to rise slightly above mediocre generalist to put up better numbers playing nearly solo doesn't mean he's gotten worse. Remember when he doubled the next closest person in powers at AVOGADRO's NUMBER? That's dominance no one has in any other category, and I think you need a much more compelling case to bump him from his presumptive #2 slot.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby women, fire and dangerous things » Mon May 09, 2016 6:11 pm

Mewto55555 wrote:It should be obvious that tossup numbers aren't the be-all end-all; otherwise we'd just do this poll on the basis of individual PPG. There are the obvious things, like the shadow effect, which hugely affects Chicago and Michigan, and significantly less on Maryland and Penn. But there are also more subtle things: not all tossups/buzzes are created equal. For example, Will Nediger won a multi-way buzzer race on I, the Supreme at the name "Francia." Obviously, hugely important buzz at that point (before we knew the game wouldn't be close), but that tells you almost nothing about how good Will is at literature (all it tells you is he has enough knowledge to be involved in that buzzer race).


I don't really care to wade into the larger argument here, because I think the case can be made either way (and I don't consider myself to be clearly better than John or Chris), but I was buzzing off the previous clue on that tossup (Son of Man), but I'm a slow player (perhaps others did the same thing). Indeed I practically never win a buzzer race if I'm not priming, so I think it is meaningful, though of course it depends on one's playing style. (This supports your broader point that raw tossup numbers require interpretation to be useful, of course.)
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Ike » Mon May 09, 2016 6:33 pm

women, fire and dangerous things wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:It should be obvious that tossup numbers aren't the be-all end-all; otherwise we'd just do this poll on the basis of individual PPG. There are the obvious things, like the shadow effect, which hugely affects Chicago and Michigan, and significantly less on Maryland and Penn. But there are also more subtle things: not all tossups/buzzes are created equal. For example, Will Nediger won a multi-way buzzer race on I, the Supreme at the name "Francia." Obviously, hugely important buzz at that point (before we knew the game wouldn't be close), but that tells you almost nothing about how good Will is at literature (all it tells you is he has enough knowledge to be involved in that buzzer race).


I don't really care to wade into the larger argument here, because I think the case can be made either way (and I don't consider myself to be clearly better than John or Chris), but I was buzzing off the previous clue on that tossup (Son of Man), but I'm a slow player (perhaps others did the same thing). Indeed I practically never win a buzzer race if I'm not priming, so I think it is meaningful, though of course it depends on one's playing style. (This supports your broader point that raw tossup numbers require interpretation to be useful, of course.)


If you watch the video, you can tell this is clearly not a buzzer race, at least in the Gioia-sense of the term.

Also, all this huffing and puffing is fun and all. But like, I'll say this to all people who are thinking about voting and are turned off by the self-aggrandizement and massive walls of text: one of the main reasons I vote in the player poll is that I want to recognize the lesser players who aren't on superstar teams - anyone from Joey Goldman, Will Alston, Jason Golfinos, Dylan Minarik, Caleb Kendrick. I'm much less interested in whether or not Schindler > JL or whatever. Auroni, I know you don't want to vote, but I encourage you to vote even if you want to run your top 10 through a randomizer, so that at the very least you can recognize pretty great-tier players who impressed you this year; I encourage everyone else to do the same.

Edit: Don't actually run your top 10 through a randomizer.

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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby gyre and gimble » Mon May 09, 2016 7:18 pm

Mewto55555 wrote:stanford housewrite
Stanford Housewrite


I'd like to gently remind everyone that the name of the set is " "stanford housewrite" ", quotation marks included. I cannot emphasize this enough.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby ThisIsMyUsername » Mon May 09, 2016 9:08 pm

First, I'd like to say some words about Max. As some of you seem to have noted in the roundtable discussion, Max has grown tremendously as a player over the course of this year. At the end of last year, we told Max that the only way we'd win a national tournament was if he became a player on the same tier as Chris and me, and that is exactly what he did. I first realized that he had attained this level when he put up an impressive 24 powers at Stanford Housewrite (more than Auroni or Will), even though he suffered greater shadow effect from playing next to me while I put up 32 powers and Chris while he put up 16.

I fully admit that I cannot judge the quality of Max's science buzzes, but based on how many he has gotten against each of our high-level opponents across matches throughout the year, I think he is probably the 2nd best all-around science player in the field. Unless I am misreading Ophir's wonderful scoresheets from Avogadro's Number, Max had the highest individual stats at that tournament in Physics, and the second-highest stats among college players in the categories of Chem and Math. He got 6 of the 8 science tossups in the two finals.

I hope it is uncontroversial at this point to suggest that Max is now one of the top seven players.

My mention of a top seven brings me to a second point: suggesting tiers, as I like to do. (I must admit, I have the opposite reaction from Ike: it is precisely the fear of underranking someone in the bottom eight or ten of the Top 25 that often stops me from voting. This is why I feel much more comfortable with tiers.)

I think most (though apparently not all) of us would agree that Jordan is the best player and that Eric (though he has declined since last year) is the second best. I think the next tier is composed of Michigan's two best, Chicago's three best, and Stephen Liu, in some order. I think the next tier after that is composed of: Will Alston, Kurtis Droge, Neil Gurram, Jacob Reed, Adam Silverman, and Andrew Wang. I have listed that last tier alphabetically.

I echo Max in finding the system that Auroni proposed (in the roundtable) to determine rankings of the second tier utterly ludicrous (counting only raw tens against an arbitrary set of top teams, with no negs, and with no accounting for shadow effect). But I also agree with Max that Auroni's proposed ordering of the four of us (him, Will, Chris, and me in that order) is not itself unreasonable, assuming one derives it by other means.

For fun, I played around with a bunch of stats. I must admit: they shook my intuitions somewhat. I ran individual PPGs for the following sets of games:
(1) Michigan vs. Chicago games at "stanford housewrite", ICT, and Nats
(2) Michigan and Chicago's games against "strong opponents" at "stanford housewrite", ICT, and Nats
(3) Michigan and Chicago's games against "strong opponents" at just ICT and Nats

For "strong opponents" I counted teams against which either Michigan or Chicago had games within the margin of two tossups. At "stanford housewrite", these were the matches between the top seven teams (not including finals); at ICT, these were the matches against the top six teams (including semi-finals and finals); at Nats, these were the matches against the top six teams (including finals).

The results surprised me: Coming into this, I was sure that Auroni would outscore Will; and I thought that I had outplayed Chris against good teams at "stanford housewrite". Both of these intuitions were wrong. Will consistently out-scored Auroni in all three of these situations. And while Chris fared worse than I did against "weak opponents" at "stanford housewrite", he actually outplayed me against "strong opponents".

But all this playing around with numbers confirmed what Max and Will both seem to be saying: the numbers do not make our rankings clear at all. In each case, the total margin between the highest scorer on Michigan (always Will) and the lower of Chris and me (depends on which set of matches) was always 10 points or fewer per game: it was 180 vs. 175 over 5 matches in Set #1, 805 vs. 710 over 15 games in Set #2, 590 vs. 500 over 9 games in Set #3.

If this general frame (individual performance against strong opponents) is what one values, I think one's ranking of us four may depend on how much stronger you think the shadow effect suffered by the three Chicagoans is compared to the shadow effect suffered by the two Michiganders. If you think it is one tossup per game or more, you are likely to rank the two Chicagoans above the Michiganders (as I will). If you think their shadow-effect advantage is smaller than that, you will rank the Michiganders above us. No matter what, it's very close.

Of course, Will and Max are right about how much important data is missing from stats. I might add what I think is the most important missing bit of data: it doesn't tell you the real drawback of a neg. Some negs are costlier than others. Auroni taking a gutsy neg against me in music, when I'm statistically favored to get the question, is a perfectly sound strategic move. Auroni hypothetically negging himself out of an area of bio that he knows better than Max would be a very stupid strategic move. But stats will record these moves equally.

I'll close by pointing out the most deceptive part of all these rankings. Assuming you agree with me that Eric is currently the second best player in the field, Auroni and Will are either exactly where they were last year or only one or two spots higher in the rankings. But that really doesn't reflect how much better they've both gotten, Auroni in particular. (I particularly felt the burn of this in how damn hard I had to work to stay fully competitive with them!) I did not enjoy getting locked out of every literature and art question in the final. That has happened to me only once before in my playing career (at CO 2013), and I sincerely hope it never happens again. But I can't help but admire that they managed to do that. I did not want to lose that final, but if I had to lose it to someone, I'm glad it was them, as I think they deserved a title for all their work.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby gyre and gimble » Mon May 09, 2016 9:49 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:I think the next tier after that is composed of: Will Alston, Kurtis Droge, Neil Gurram, Jacob Reed, Adam Silverman, and Andrew Wang. I have listed that last tier alphabetically.


Just wondering, are you automatically promoting team-leader generalists over everyone else? Putting me in tier 2 without crediting Austin with a spot in tier 3 incorrectly interprets the balance of scoring power on Stanford. Austin had at least as many ICT powers than anyone on that list except Neil, while playing under a way larger shadow (everyone on Stanford A had at least 12 powers). I mean, I get that Chicago and Michigan were clearly the top two teams this year, but Austin was a major, irreplaceable factor in Stanford's two third-place finishes. To me, that counts for a lot more than Will or Adam leading teams to outside Top-18 finishes. Or take Andrew, who put up fewer powers at ICT despite playing in the second bracket. Or Jacob, who averaged less than one more tossup than Austin in the ACF playoffs without me, Benji, and Nikhil to take his questions every game.

I think Austin's value comes closest to Max's. Max is the third player on a team that went 1-2 against Austin's team, but finished higher than Austin's team at both nationals. Austin is the second player on a team that went 2-1 against Max's team. Obviously I'm not saying Stanford is better than Chicago. But I am saying that we're not that far behind. There's are plenty of reasons to rank Max higher, but these guys aren't 7+ spots apart.

I don't mean to call you (John) out personally for leaving Austin out. I just feel pretty strongly that Austin's proved himself to be deserving of a spot pretty high up on this poll.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby theMoMA » Mon May 09, 2016 10:58 pm

I really don't understand the logic that some buzzes are somehow more telling of the value of a player's performance than others. There was a tossup on Yo El Supremo, and Will got it. Thus, Michigan got those points, and the corresponding bonus points, and Chicago was prevented from getting them. We can argue until we're blue in the face about whether that was the kind of buzz that would consistently get points across a hypothetical spectrum of all games, but the opponent is the opponent, the scoreboard is the scoreboard, and it says that Will got Michigan some number of points between 10 and 40 for that buzz, and correspondingly, prevented Chicago from getting some number of points in that range.

If we were trying to predict who would be the most valuable players in a hypothetical next match between Chicago and Michigan, perhaps the quality of a particular buzz would matter. But when we're merely trying to interpret the results of what has already happened within the closed and completed universe of the 2015-16 quizbowl season to arrive at a subjective ranking of players, I can't imagine why such information would be relevant.

Quizbowl games aren't decided by lining up specialists across from each other and assessing how likely they are to get a particular question early. They're decided by players getting tossups, whether at the beginning or the end. As I suggested last year, I think the best way to sort this out is to ask which teams were the most successful and which players were most important to that success. Whether a player's value was mainly from killing tossups with one-line buzzes or picking up lots of gutty mid-clue buzzes seems utterly unimportant.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby p-vs-vp » Tue May 10, 2016 12:37 am

For some position in the rankings, I nominate Ming-Ho Yee, currently of Waterloo, soon-to-be of Northeastern. In addition to putting in a respectable performance at as many tournaments as he could make time to attend, he was also one of the most helpful senior members of the club. He constantly assisted with outreach, provided sage advice to newcomers on how to get better at the game, wrote for an astonishing number of packets, and was unmatched in dealing with Waterloo's club bureaucracy. Moreover, he was always able to take our ridiculousness in stride (except for that one time he got super mad at me in the SE Lab), despite not being a part of it himself.

Zoinks, you might say, why rank an average player just because he's nice or whatever? Well, the best quizbowl-related quality possessed by Ming-Ho Yee is that he is an absolute badass at directing tournaments. Seriously. Most tournaments run into some issue or the other, but every.single.tournament this guy ran was executed flawlessly. People would leave at reasonable hours! Monies would be collected and mirror fees would be paid on the day of instead of months later! He could take certain staffers who were dying of hangovers/still wasted from the night before and get exemplary moderating from them. From winter storms to random marathons shutting down cities, no challenge was too great for MHY to overcome.

My opinion is that there is no finer quizbowler out there.

Even if he is not considered for the ranking, I hope this post educates people on one of Canada's national treasures. The country will miss him.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby ThisIsMyUsername » Tue May 10, 2016 10:26 am

gyre and gimble wrote:Just wondering, are you automatically promoting team-leader generalists over everyone else? Putting me in tier 2 without crediting Austin with a spot in tier 3 incorrectly interprets the balance of scoring power on Stanford. Austin had at least as many ICT powers than anyone on that list except Neil, while playing under a way larger shadow (everyone on Stanford A had at least 12 powers). I mean, I get that Chicago and Michigan were clearly the top two teams this year, but Austin was a major, irreplaceable factor in Stanford's two third-place finishes. To me, that counts for a lot more than Will or Adam leading teams to outside Top-18 finishes. Or take Andrew, who put up fewer powers at ICT despite playing in the second bracket. Or Jacob, who averaged less than one more tossup than Austin in the ACF playoffs without me, Benji, and Nikhil to take his questions every game.

I think Austin's value comes closest to Max's. Max is the third player on a team that went 1-2 against Austin's team, but finished higher than Austin's team at both nationals. Austin is the second player on a team that went 2-1 against Max's team. Obviously I'm not saying Stanford is better than Chicago. But I am saying that we're not that far behind. There's are plenty of reasons to rank Max higher, but these guys aren't 7+ spots apart.

I don't mean to call you (John) out personally for leaving Austin out. I just feel pretty strongly that Austin's proved himself to be deserving of a spot pretty high up on this poll.


You make a good case here that I should have put Austin in what I called the third tier, and after reviewing the stats with your strictures in mind, I agree that I underranked him. (Luckily, I haven't voted yet!) That being said, I don't understand the way you use ICT stats to claim that Austin's value is closest to Max's (i.e. at the very top of the third tier). If Austin is the second scorer on your team and Max is the third scorer on my team, and your team has lower PPG than mine, and Austin still can't outscore or outpower Max, then it seems logical to conclude that Max is not merely slightly better than Austin but quite a bit better. (Austin's ACF stats, though, make your case that seven places is indeed too big of a margin, but Austin's margin over Max is less than one question per round.) The only way that this would not be the case is if for some reason, you three cast a bigger category-specific shadow on Austin than Chris, Jason, and I do on Max. Perhaps I simply don't know Austin's broader knowledge base well enough. I'm willing to be convinced that this is somehow the case. But on the face of things, this seems unlikely to me. By virtue of having been a very high-level high-school generalist, Max has a whole host of late buzzes he could make in nearly any category, were the three of us not there. And I'm fairly confident that if I weren't on the team, and it weren't for the fact that some of our strongest opponents (like Maryland and Michigan) are lit-heavy teams, Max would be regarded as a decent college-level literature player. In other words, my suspicion is that Austin is playing closer to his ideal role than Max is, and yet Max is still more valuable in his current role.

theMoMA wrote:I really don't understand the logic that some buzzes are somehow more telling of the value of a player's performance than others. There was a tossup on Yo El Supremo, and Will got it. Thus, Michigan got those points, and the corresponding bonus points, and Chicago was prevented from getting them. We can argue until we're blue in the face about whether that was the kind of buzz that would consistently get points across a hypothetical spectrum of all games, but the opponent is the opponent, the scoreboard is the scoreboard, and it says that Will got Michigan some number of points between 10 and 40 for that buzz, and correspondingly, prevented Chicago from getting some number of points in that range.

If we were trying to predict who would be the most valuable players in a hypothetical next match between Chicago and Michigan, perhaps the quality of a particular buzz would matter. But when we're merely trying to interpret the results of what has already happened within the closed and completed universe of the 2015-16 quizbowl season to arrive at a subjective ranking of players, I can't imagine why such information would be relevant.

Quizbowl games aren't decided by lining up specialists across from each other and assessing how likely they are to get a particular question early. They're decided by players getting tossups, whether at the beginning or the end. As I suggested last year, I think the best way to sort this out is to ask which teams were the most successful and which players were most important to that success. Whether a player's value was mainly from killing tossups with one-line buzzes or picking up lots of gutty mid-clue buzzes seems utterly unimportant.


I disagree quite a bit with this, but I find this to be a useful post nonetheless because it clearly articulates certain important distinctions between what one might try to do with the player poll.

The first important distinction comes when Andrew suggests that what we're trying to do is interpret what has already happened and not who would be the most valuable players in a longer series of hypothetical matches. I cannot argue that this is an illegitimate approach to what the player poll should do, but I would say that it is certainly not what most people have claimed to use it for over the years, and I'm very surprised that Andrew would state this approach as if it were the norm. I think it is fair to say that most people over the years have at least claimed to understand this poll as "Who are the best players this year?" and not simply "Who performed the best at the two national tournaments / three hard tournaments?". The second question provides useful information in answering the first, no doubt. But I see little evidence that we as a community have been treating the second question as the end-goal of this poll. And I think it's the less interesting question: we want to recognize how good people have gotten, even if it didn't necessarily pan out in particular performances. This is why we frequently discuss hypotheticals along the lines of "if we played X number of matches, what would happen?".

Second, is the issue of unequally evaluating the value of a buzz. Although I think my overall approach is very different from Auroni's or Andrew's, we do agree that discounting late buzzes because they're late is stupid. But I would defend the notion that not all late buzzes have equal predictive value. Will's late-ish buzz on I, the Supreme is in line with what know he can do: he is generally capable of getting middle-to-late buzzes on hard works that nobody knows all that much about, but which he knows more about than do other people. The fact that he make those kinds of buzzes pretty consistently (and to be clear, I'm not at all suggesting that all his literature buzzes are late!) is part of why he is rightly regarded as a valuable player at this level of difficulty.

But sticking with Will as our hypothetical example (sorry for the focus on you, Will), let's say Will also hypothetically got a "fluke" buzz in the final: he buzzed in a category he only gets once a tournament, and it happened to be in the final. (For argument's sake, let's even make it an early buzz and not a late one.) What do we do with that information? I think it's silly to say that we count that equally with the I, the Supreme buzz, when determining something like player rankings. The I, the Supreme buzz is predictive of something Will should be expected to do nearly every packet, and the "fluke" buzz is predictive of something Will can do once a tournament. But we'd also be foolish to discount it entirely, just because it's a "fluke". It still happens once a tournament. The odds are against it happening in a match where it makes any difference. But there's a slim chance it could happen, and that slim chance means something not nothing.

So when Max calls the fact that I had zero-tossup game in the final a "fluke", I suspect (or at least hope) that he means it in the sense that I mean it. Going into that final, I had the best PPG average in Michigan vs. Chicago games across the three hard tournaments; enough so that scoring zero in the final left me making only five points less across our games than Will did, who got the most points in Michigan vs. Chicago games. This doesn't mean that the fact that I had a zero-tossup game should be discounted outright. It definitely shouldn't. Nor should the fact that Auroni put up only 10 points in the ICT final be discounted ourtright, or that Will only put up 5 points in the ACF playoffs game be discounted outright. Instead, it would be smartest to conclude that one of the five top players in those match-ups will have a shitty match about one in five times; and that overall, the stats suggest that the top four of us will average about the same number of tossups per match against each other or even good teams in general.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Cheynem » Tue May 10, 2016 12:12 pm

I think the bit about fluke buzzes is interesting--a completely fluke buzz is of of course neither here nor there--for example, your 1 PPG teammate one-clues something in a big game because it's the one book he's read--super clutch buzz, sure, but not really indicative of anything. On the other hand, a player who can make a series of "fluke buzzes" over a tournament or season is demonstrating a key skill in quizbowl--the ability to answer questions. I am not trying to be sarcastic here--if quizbowl were all about who truly had the most knowledge, we'd take a series of written tests and see who got the most right. It's the ability to, as Celine Dion says, "go for it" on a category you don't know 100% well, maybe even take an educated, daring guess, or win a buzzer race on something you're trying to recall.

It's obviously impressive to see someone nail a question in his or her category, or on something they've studied. And certainly a buzzer race on a giveaway when everyone else is buzzing is a nice point for speed, but not much else. But I'm the most impressed on players who pull something truly out of their comfort zone or take a guess on something they don't know point blank. My favorite Chris Ray moment is him willing a complicated science answerline to come out of his mouth in 2011. Remarkable! The only time I've applauded during a non national title match.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Tibetan literature » Tue May 10, 2016 12:35 pm

Why you should vote for Caleb: He's pretty good at quizbowl I guess

Why you shouldn't vote for Caleb: He has objectively bad taste in musicals
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Rufous-capped Thornbill » Tue May 10, 2016 12:43 pm

p-vs-vp wrote:For some position in the rankings, I nominate Ming-Ho Yee, currently of Waterloo, soon-to-be of Northeastern. In addition to putting in a respectable performance at as many tournaments as he could make time to attend, he was also one of the most helpful senior members of the club. He constantly assisted with outreach, provided sage advice to newcomers on how to get better at the game, wrote for an astonishing number of packets, and was unmatched in dealing with Waterloo's club bureaucracy. Moreover, he was always able to take our ridiculousness in stride (except for that one time he got super mad at me in the SE Lab), despite not being a part of it himself.

Zoinks, you might say, why rank an average player just because he's nice or whatever? Well, the best quizbowl-related quality possessed by Ming-Ho Yee is that he is an absolute badass at directing tournaments. Seriously. Most tournaments run into some issue or the other, but every.single.tournament this guy ran was executed flawlessly. People would leave at reasonable hours! Monies would be collected and mirror fees would be paid on the day of instead of months later! He could take certain staffers who were dying of hangovers/still wasted from the night before and get exemplary moderating from them. From winter storms to random marathons shutting down cities, no challenge was too great for MHY to overcome.

My opinion is that there is no finer quizbowler out there.

Even if he is not considered for the ranking, I hope this post educates people on one of Canada's national treasures. The country will miss him.


I think this is a really good post, and I wanted to make note of that before the discussion inevitably drifts back to dissecting specific buzzes. Tournament direction is one of the most important tasks in all of quizbowl, and much like I support more official recognition of things like "most improved player" and "editor of the year," I would like to see more discussion about the good tournament directors so that they can get their due. I know that at Ohio State, TDing was the one quizbowl task that I put the most thought and worry into, and I'm sure it's similar for other people as well, so I think some end of year praise for the good TDs or other logistics people is something we should add to our end of year wrap ups.

EDIT: this post also reminds me about something I've been meaning to bring up here: tournament hosts--follow Ming-Ho Yee's example and PAY YOUR MIRROR FEES PROMPTLY. This is one aspect of hosting that often finds itself on the backburner due to the more pressing needs of actually running a tournament, but it shouldn't be the case that any time I work on a tournament, I don't even consider whatever money it will make me to be real, since I often don't seen it for months (and there are plenty of stories of folks not getting paid for years) after tournaments are held.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Borel hierarchy » Tue May 10, 2016 1:02 pm

i guess ming-ho yee's on the top of my team mom ballot now
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Muriel Axon » Tue May 10, 2016 1:16 pm

Sam Bailey is #1 at witty repartee.

Jason Asher is probably okay at making bread.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby theMoMA » Tue May 10, 2016 4:50 pm

I agree with a lot of what John said; I didn't get too much in depth with valuing "fluky" buzzes (or things like picking up a buzz that the rest of the team would've gotten after the opponent negs), but I agree with John much in the way that Mike seems to agree in his subsequent post. That is, I think that the operative individual skill of quizbowl is getting tossup points, and that the best players have abilities--whether that's a deep knowledge base in particular categories that allows them to nail questions very early, or the knowledge/guts/feel to be able to "go for it" consistently in the middle/late clues, or (typically, for the best players) a combination of both--that get them points regularly. I don't see this as requiring a tiered approach, but there's nothing inherently wrong with the way that John chooses to organize his thoughts.

To the broader point of disagreement, whether the player poll is backward- or forward-looking is, I suppose, a matter up for discussion. I don't think it makes a ton of sense to pass forward-looking judgments when we could make an assessment of a season of measurable results. I'll gladly concede, as John did reciprocally, that there's nothing conceptually bankrupt about assessing which players might do the best in a hypothetical next tournament; I just don't see the point in conducting that exercise when we have an entire year's worth of games that actually occurred, and when it's not really clear what a subsequent hypothetical event would mean that the games that took place did not.

For that reason, I'm inclined to diminish the "predictive value" of a particular buzz or set of buzzes, as John put it, and focus instead on its actual value--i.e., how important the games that the player played were, and how important the player's buzzes were in winning those games. Even if this is just a different way to arrive at very similar results, which it probably is, I think it makes more sense.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby gyre and gimble » Tue May 10, 2016 4:57 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:You make a good case here that I should have put Austin in what I called the third tier, and after reviewing the stats with your strictures in mind, I agree that I underranked him. (Luckily, I haven't voted yet!) That being said, I don't understand the way you use ICT stats to claim that Austin's value is closest to Max's (i.e. at the very top of the third tier). If Austin is the second scorer on your team and Max is the third scorer on my team, and your team has lower PPG than mine, and Austin still can't outscore or outpower Max, then it seems logical to conclude that Max is not merely slightly better than Austin but quite a bit better. (Austin's ACF stats, though, make your case that seven places is indeed too big of a margin, but Austin's margin over Max is less than one question per round.) The only way that this would not be the case is if for some reason, you three cast a bigger category-specific shadow on Austin than Chris, Jason, and I do on Max. Perhaps I simply don't know Austin's broader knowledge base well enough. I'm willing to be convinced that this is somehow the case. But on the face of things, this seems unlikely to me. By virtue of having been a very high-level high-school generalist, Max has a whole host of late buzzes he could make in nearly any category, were the three of us not there. And I'm fairly confident that if I weren't on the team, and it weren't for the fact that some of our strongest opponents (like Maryland and Michigan) are lit-heavy teams, Max would be regarded as a decent college-level literature player. In other words, my suspicion is that Austin is playing closer to his ideal role than Max is, and yet Max is still more valuable in his current role.


I was using the statistics (relative to your tier 3) to demonstrate that Austin is clearly up there and at least as valuable as everyone in that group. I was trying to make an objective point there--anybody's calculus should have Austin somewhere in this vicinity. The second paragraph was where I was making a more subjective case, based on the implicit argument that Austin's role as the second seat on a really high-finishing team should give him more of a boost than raw stats would suggest. (This same reasoning would give Jacob a boost, too, which is why I advocated for him during the Round Table.) But if someone wanted to go by stats and shadow effect alone, I think that's a valid framework too.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Cheynem » Mon May 16, 2016 1:15 pm

Ballots should be in by 10 EST tonight. Results posted tomorrow.
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Cheynem » Tue May 17, 2016 10:54 am

RESULTS

Voters (12): Will Alston, Auroni Gupta, Ike Jose, John Lawrence, Stephen Liu, Brian McPeak, Jacob O'Rourke, Jacob Reed, Max Schindler, Joelle Smart, Jake Sundberg, and Richard Yu

1. Jordan Brownstein, Maryland (300, unanimous #1), +2
2. Eric M., Penn (276, highest #2, lowest #6), same
3. Auroni Gupta, Michigan (270, highest #2, lowest #6), +3
4. John Lawrence, Chicago (263. highest #2. lowest #8), same
5. Will Nediger, Michigan (257, highest #3, lowest #7), same
6. Chris Ray, Chicago (250, highest #4, lowest #7), +2
7. Stephen Liu, Stanford (222, highest #6, lowest #11), +3
8. Max Schindler, Chicago (213, highest #6, lowest #10), +5
9. Neil Gurram, MIT (197, highest #8, lowest #12), +2
10. Jacob Reed, Yale (194, highest #7, lowest #12), +8
11. Kurtis Droge, Louisville (177, highest #7, lowest #16), new to ballot
12. Austin Brownlow, Stanford (156, highest #9, lowest #21), +5
13. Andrew Wang, Illinois (154, highest #11, lowest #17), +1
14. Will Alston, Dartmouth (135, highest #12, lowest #19), new to ballot
15. Shan Kothari, Minnesota (123, highest #12), same
16. Adam Silverman, Georgia Tech (98, highest #13), -4
17. Richard Yu, WUSTL (93, highest #14), -2
18. Rafael Krichevsky, Columbia (76, highest #12), +6
19. Aseem Keyal, Berkeley (73, highest #12), new to ballot
20. Joey Goldman, Oxford (49, highest #13), new to ballot
21. Caleb Kendrick, Oklahoma (47, highest #18), new to ballot
22. Brian McPeak, Michigan (41, highest #19), -2
23. Dylan Minarik, Northwestern (39, highest #16), -2
24. Charles Hang, WUSTL (31, highest #18), new to ballot
25. Benji Nguyen, Stanford (25, highest #18), new to ballot

Also Receiving Votes
Sam Bailey (24), Ben Zhang (21), Itamar Naveh-Benjamin (21), Isaac Kirk-Davidoff (20), Jason Golfinos (11), Siddhant Dogra (10), Stephen Eltinge (9), Eric Xu (8), Nathan Weiser (6), Will Holub-Moorman (4), Grace Liu (4), Jake Sundberg (2), and Derek So (1)

Thanks for voting!
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby vinteuil » Tue May 17, 2016 11:11 am

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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Sam » Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:40 pm

Number of people who voted in this poll: 12
Number of people who voted in Canadian version of this poll: 14
Number of people who voted in UK version of this poll: 15
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Re: Player Poll 2016: Don't Vote for Jerry Kramer

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:48 pm

Sam wrote:Number of people who voted in this poll: 12
Number of people who voted in Canadian version of this poll: 14
Number of people who voted in UK version of this poll: 15

Yet another example of American timidity and humility being shown up by characteristic British and Canadian gregariousness and egotism.
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