As I've said other places:
I still believe this is a big problem that needs to be addressed (the first sentence in particular) if quizbowl is going to foster more new collegiate writers. Writing/editing for major tournaments seems to pose the same problem that many new college grads face: You can't get experience if you don't work on a tournament, but you can't work on a tournament if you don't have any experience. So, no wonder so many people are writing side events instead of working on all-subject tournaments. They allow you to play to your strengths, and they're generally smaller projects you can complete by yourself or with a small group of people–i.e., no one has to ask you (an inexperienced writer) to do it, you can just do it yourself.Aaron's Rod wrote:One of the problems that I see here is that the path from being a "completely inexperienced" to a "quasi-experienced" writer seems to be really hazy. Sure, you can write questions on your own, but if nobody's telling you whether or not they're good you're not getting better, and I haven't really seen any initiatives to get completely new writers going. Even PADAWAN's requirements stipulated that "You don't have to have previous experience writing collegiate questions, but you should have some experience writing questions at some level."
How do we combat this? Susan Ferrari offered a great suggestion in a quizbowl-related Facebook group:
I couldn't agree more–if your questions are good enough to be accepted for a packet-submission tournament, that should count as some sort of writing experience.People who get pulled into writing groups for housewrites, or who get chosen to edit tournaments, are picked based on their reputation in the community; this often leads to the same people editing lots of stuff, or people picking their friends/teammates. I suspect that we're not doing as good of a job as we could be at identifying women who have the potential to be good editors. If you and your fellow editors have time to note which packets have good questions in your areas and reach out to teams to figure out who wrote the good stuff, this could help you identify some under-the-radar players who should be tapped for greater writing/editing responsibilities.
Here's another suggestion I've been thinking about: Make writing/editing "positions" for tournaments either by application or by open interest (within reason). You could do it NAQT-style where someone submits [n] questions, although I'd imagine it wouldn't matter if they were "clean" or not. As an example of the latter, see the same done in the high school section. As I see it, this would address a lot of other issues the community is facing:
- People who have an interest in writing but not a lot of experience never get asked to write/edit for tournaments, because people don't know they're interested. Allowing for people to independently express interest is a natural way to find more talent.
- A very small group of people edit most tournaments. They get burned-out, and when they need to take a break, they leave a bigger void.
- People generally ask their friends or people they know well to write/edit for them. This is part of a bigger issue about the "insider"-y feel of college quizbowl as a whole, that deserves its own post on a different day. Anyways, when even "outsiders" potentially get a chance to write/edit, I can almost guarantee the pool will get more diverse over time.
- A deadline on expressing interest creates a natural deadline for announcing a tournament. I had to field questions from a couple of people (current college students from "outsider" schools, as well as people who know I'm often busy on weekends during the school year) about whether ACF Fall was happening this year. I myself was more than a little annoyed that it took so long to get a team/announcement together. Surely we can do better.