The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Reporters

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The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Reporters

Postby Adventure Temple Trail » Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:43 pm

This thread is part of the "The Big Vision" series. Click here to go back to index/introduction.

Regularizing Resources, Results, Recordings, and Reporters

Quizbowl’s [multi]media presence

We’ve already started discussing this topic here, so I presume I don’t need to lay out all the specifics again. Quizbowl could do a ton more to get accurate images of itself out there in the public eye. News articles and coverage is one component of this, but a simple expansion of the amount of quizbowl images, recordings, and the like will do just fine for the purposes of having more to show to parents, teachers, friends, administrators, etc. after the fact.

Baby steps have been made on the media front in the past three or four years; some teams and hosts are starting to get in touch with local newspapers to make sure that news about local tournament wins and championship contenders gets broken. Alan Siegel did a lot with his article two years ago. Perversely, the Andy Watkins cheating scandal brought a lot of media attention to the quizbowl community for a while (though, frankly, I don’t want that particular reason for media attention to ever, ever recur, and none of us should). More coordinated efforts to do press releases, make contact with student papers, local news networks, etc. can go a long way on this front.

Even if an HSNCT title run doesn’t make the news, it’s still just useful to have more content on hand to be able to point towards, both for potential reporters and for interested non-quizbowlers of various types (parents, significant others, etc.).
  • In today’s era of web design, most of high-traffic sites have lots of pictures available, often embedded into the pages; many quizbowl websites are about 15 years behind the curve on that front. (Example: NAQT takes lots of pictures at their nationals; where do they go besides the one on the front page?) For the past three years, PACE has maintained a Flickr page in part so participating teams have something to show of themselves in game-mode, or receiving awards; I believe TQBA has had something similar for even longer. It'd be good to see more of that material get used.
  • Part of the reason why there aren’t very many standalone articles about quizbowl, interestingly enough, is the very centralization of resources which I put forward as an ideal elsewhere -- on these forums. HSQuizbowl posts serve a similar purpose and get to a wider audience more quickly. For many people, it’s better to just make a long post and await replies from one’s peers than it is to blog or podcast something and hope for anonymous commentators to find it. Still, it’d be interesting to hear from more people in more essayistic/thesis-driven posts, or in quick-format dialogue as one might find in an audio setting. What’s more, a lot of these expostulations on quizbowl theory aren’t archived well. It’s a shame to see excellent points on how to do stuff from discontinued initiatives such as the 9 Minutes podcast go ignored, and therefore re-made every year or two to refresh institutional memory. Resources like the chronically under-occupied Best of the Best section of HSQuizbowl, and the Quizbowl 101 section of pace-nsc.org , could stand to store more of this information on a lasting basis (and I’ll be doing what I can to get the latter updated more during this academic year). A few of the Skype ‘roundtables’ which I did take part in or listen to (such as the January 2012 ‘debate’ over question writing principles between Ted Gioia and Matt Weiner) were never posted or redacted for public view; those folks who want to prepare audio discussions should be encouraged to save a recording, even if they need to use Audacity or another free sound editing software to take some stuff off-the-record before posting.
  • Most of the (already-paltry) set of videos which exist of quizbowl matches on good questions are of high-difficulty college questions. The fact that our go-to example of quizbowl-in-action for newcomers is a video from ACF Nationals 2012 to 2014 (sometimes with a warning that ‘these questions are really high difficulty!’) is not good. As YouTube gets better at hosting videos and video recording technology gets cheaper/more intuitive, it’d be good to see more TDs and staffers take on the challenge of filming matches on low-difficulty questions for posterity, presuming the teams consent to their being posted. Many of these videos could do more to focus attention on both teams, etc. The iHigh video stream at HSNCT was a great example of what these videos might look like for the two years in which it existed; I do wonder why it doesn’t come back. (Of course, Mike Bentley’s heroics in recording audio for hundreds of quizbowl matches deserve another round of praise here.) It seems like a reasonable goal, if we really want to grow the amount of available audio and video recordings out there, to see to it that one match per round, at one site, of each high school and college set each year, gets preserved for posterity.

It’s of course an important obstacle to keep in mind, if quizbowl journalism / recording does take off on a larger scale, that question content can’t be reported on in public places until sets are cleared. Since by default most sets aren’t clear from the date of their first site until the date of nationals, it’s important to ensure that reporters know what they’re not allowed to give away (sadly, the clinching question of the final match is usually the hook of most articles on various bees or question-based competitions). For similar reasons, it’d be unwise to release videos of quizbowl matches until it’s dead certain the set is no longer in use.

Keep resources up to date, phase out old resources as new ones become standard, and keep centralizing information

It’s important that the quizbowl world be brought fully up to date with the resources we have at our disposal. For example, some people still use the Stanford packet archive for some reason. And while many college teams’ old websites are an interesting treat of quizbowl history (the Berkeley lexicon being a particularly notable example), the era in which players reliably update a standalone website about their own teams seems to be fading in a lot of quarters. It does little for one’s team to leave a defunct or unused website up if social media or email lists are doing all the communication work. If you have a website, maintain it semesterly or move the key info to something like QBWiki, a Facebook group, etc. Similarly: Many statistics pages have gone dark over the past few years as school-provided or personal Web hosting services have transferred or shut down; it’s important that TDs archive all their old stats in the Quizbowl Resource Database or another central repository which is being actively maintained (such as the IHSBBCA page).

I’d like to see more resources, beyond quizbowl packets and tournament statistics, added to the stable of things we can give to (and expect of) tournament directors. For example, it would be good to maintain a set of printable templates for well-tested, good schedules given varying numbers of available packets and competing teams, which any coach or player can use with minimum hassle (i.e. NOT LaTeX -- no matter how much LaTeX users love LaTeX, that program is NOT general-audience-friendly and teams without someone on them who isn’t already familiar with it aren’t likely to learn it just to print their schedules). It might also be great to create a Coaches’ Database or a Staffer Database, which teams could use to mass-mail all the coaches or potential staffers (incl. retired players, college players, etc.) within a specified number of miles if their tournament is underattended or undermanned. I’d imagine the searching feature would have to be pretty limited to people who opt in, so as to avoid privacy concerns, but that’s no reason not to embark on such a project. In a similar vein, I'm excited by the initial forays into online scorekeeping via WUStL and Abacus, and I'm curious to see if a paperless platform for keeping digital score could one day outmode the need for scorekeepers at almost every tournament.

If more quizbowl teams are directed in toward the same sites and resources, it becomes easier for them to connect to other players across the country, make friends, and draw on our expertise to pull themselves up the ranks. In many salient ways, the success story of quizbowl from 2003 to the present has been the story of hsquizbowl.org, to which most of us (and anyone reading this post) are at least slightly indebted. What can we add to the existing stable of resources from 2013 to 2023?
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Re: The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Repor

Postby jonah » Sun Aug 31, 2014 3:36 pm

Matthew Jackson wrote:In today’s era of web design, most of high-traffic sites have lots of pictures available, often embedded into the pages; many quizbowl websites are about 15 years behind the curve on that front. (Example: NAQT takes lots of pictures at their nationals; where do they go besides the one on the front page?)
Basically just into our archives, because we haven't had the time or efficient ability to track down everyone who's in each photo, get their permission, caption the photo, etc. We will consider simply putting all the photos up on Flickr (accept equivalents) without any such accoutrements, though.

Matthew Jackson wrote:The iHigh video stream at HSNCT was a great example of what these videos might look like for the two years in which it existed; I do wonder why it doesn’t come back.
NAQT agrees that iHigh's collaboration with us was great and we would love to do some such thing again. However, iHigh has not been able to join us again, and it is outside our current abilities to do a similar thing internally.
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Re: The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Repor

Postby theMoMA » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:05 pm

Perhaps NAQT could have a media waiver in its registration material alongside whatever roster forms need to be turned in.
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Re: The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Repor

Postby Important Bird Area » Mon Sep 01, 2014 9:48 pm

We're working on waiver options for the 2015 national championships.
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Re: The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Repor

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:59 pm

Matthew Jackson wrote:It seems like a reasonable goal, if we really want to grow the amount of available audio and video recordings out there, to see to it that one match per round, at one site, of each high school and college set each year, gets preserved for posterity.


I think this is a very good idea that should be emphasized more. If you have a particularly exciting match in your room (Chicago vs Michigan, for example), it may be worth having someone record it on an iPhone or external webcam.
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Re: The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Repor

Postby Cheynem » Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:11 pm

Someone needs to not only film/record a match but annotate it--half the time I have no idea what is being said.
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Re: The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Repor

Postby cchiego » Wed Sep 03, 2014 3:43 pm

I'm not sure what the big deal about recording actual matches is. Yes, it is nice, especially from the perspective of current players who want to be immortalized in film or audio. I know I made my family listen to the 2006 ICT DII match that was recorded with my team more times than they ever wanted. Ideally, we will get to a point where there will be quality live broadcasts of important matches and recorded delayed broadcasts of others. This is good for interested parents/friends/teachers/etc. who are already fairly heavily invested in quizbowl (i.e. their school has a team at nationals).

But from an advancing the cause of quizbowl perspective, it makes far more sense to pool resources and commission a decent, well-edited 10-15 minute introduction to quizbowl video that we can put on Youtube. We have plenty of poorly edited, basic recordings that make sense only to current quizbowlers and would pretty much only be of interest to current quizbowlers. What we need is a thing that we can send to every potential sponsor, every potential player, every potential player's parents, every school board, etc. that says "This is quizbowl. This is why it's awesome. This is why you should support it."

What would this practically entail? You'd need two teams, a clear moderator, some kind of set (could be a basic classroom, but ideally would have good lighting, etc.), a good camera (or cameras) to get multiple angles, good microphones, a video editing software to edit it all together and put text on the screen when needed, and someone to do the sound mixing/voiceover. I asked someone I know in the industry how much this might cost and he thought $1,200 to $2,000 seemed like a solid estimate for a more-than-amateur crew for a day of filming and editing. Anyone else have any ideas of how much something like this would cost?
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Re: The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Repor

Postby Cold Stone Steve Austin » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:42 am

Also, when are the 2014 HSNCT podcasts getting released? Have all the waivers come in? I sure hope that my teammates turned in their waivers, along with everyone else who was recorded this year.

As for intro videos, this was pretty awesome, it just needs to be remade, lengthened, and include all of Chris' ideas. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jbcJYk00cs
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Re: The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Repor

Postby Important Bird Area » Thu Sep 04, 2014 1:25 pm

Hidehiro Anto wrote:Also, when are the 2014 HSNCT podcasts getting released?


When we have time to process and format them (probably sometime this winter).
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Re: The Big Vision: [5]Resources, Results, Recordings, Repor

Postby cvdwightw » Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:03 pm

Matthew Jackson wrote:For example, it would be good to maintain a set of printable templates for well-tested, good schedules given varying numbers of available packets and competing teams, which any coach or player can use with minimum hassle (i.e. NOT LaTeX -- no matter how much LaTeX users love LaTeX, that program is NOT general-audience-friendly and teams without someone on them who isn’t already familiar with it aren’t likely to learn it just to print their schedules).
A couple of years ago I created a google doc with room-balanced round-robin schedules for 3-16 teams. I've updated it to include playoff schedules where you don't play other teams advancing from your bracket, as well as a "Look Here First!" page that outlines (not, I'm afraid, in a particularly user-friendly way) which of those schedules should be used given the number of teams and number of desired pre-finals rounds.

For small tournaments of 14 to 24 teams, there exists a single-rebracket schedule that guarantees all teams at least 8 games, plays between 9 and 11 non-finals rounds, and does not rely on wild-card qualification for playoff brackets. This means that every tournament within this range of field size can run an entire tournament on an IS set and reserve a backup packet and two finals packets. I think that tournaments like this can and should be standardized in terms of schedule (perhaps I'll try to figure out a simple way to put something like this on socalquizbowl.org, but it would be cool if someone could take the linked schedules as the input for a program that would just spit out the right schedule to TDs).

For medium tournaments of 25 to 40 teams, there exists a single-rebracket schedule that guarantees all teams at least 8 games and plays between 10 and 13 non-finals rounds for all field sizes except 33 and 37 (or at least, I haven't found those yet). However, in many cases, it's easier to make playoff brackets in slightly unintuitive ways (for instance, I came up with a 32 team schedule that guarantees each team 9 games in 11 rounds, but there was some funkiness with explaining how to divide the playoff brackets that an inexperienced TD wouldn't be able to grasp quickly).

Larger tournaments would have to get more creative, but it's not unheard of. Perhaps there could be some sort of "quizbowl summit" for people who are interested in this kind of scheduling stuff, to create recommended schedules for all different scenarios. Note that this mainly applies to high school tournaments; college tournaments often have more than 14 packets, can get more creative with how they run a schedule, and often have to take into account byes for teams that submitted packets.

Matthew Jackson wrote:It might also be great to create a Coaches’ Database or a Staffer Database, which teams could use to mass-mail all the coaches or potential staffers (incl. retired players, college players, etc.) within a specified number of miles if their tournament is underattended or undermanned. I’d imagine the searching feature would have to be pretty limited to people who opt in, so as to avoid privacy concerns, but that’s no reason not to embark on such a project.
To me, this sounds like a job for local quizbowl alliances. First, it would be easier for those alliances to get coaches/etc. to buy into it than it would for an organization like PACE; second, these alliances could better stratify by geographical/format preference to best serve the local community; third, these alliances would probably be more trustworthy gatekeepers as they would know in more detail what tournaments are happening and who is in charge of them. I'll try to see if I can get something like this set up on socalquizbowl.org.

Matthew Jackson wrote:If more quizbowl teams are directed in toward the same sites and resources, it becomes easier for them to connect to other players across the country, make friends, and draw on our expertise to pull themselves up the ranks. In many salient ways, the success story of quizbowl from 2003 to the present has been the story of hsquizbowl.org, to which most of us (and anyone reading this post) are at least slightly indebted. What can we add to the existing stable of resources from 2013 to 2023?
I think the most important thing would be to standardize and centralize these resources. There are probably tens of TD guides out there on the web (and perhaps more that aren't being shared publicly), who knows how many question-writing guides; a whole lot of "What is Quizbowl?" explanations, etc. While it's great that we have a bunch of dedicated people writing these things, to some extent, it's basically re-inventing the wheel.

It would be a lot easier if we could, for instance, turn all of those TD guides into a single comprehensive, structured guide on the QBWiki instead of relying on a bunch of bullet points (obviously, I'm pointing to the tournament guide that Chris and I and some other people wrote as a better example of a step-by-step guide, but there's no reason that this has to be the defining document). Then all the local alliances or whatever could just link to the QBWiki guide and make some notes about local customs that might differ from the QBWiki guide, instead of having to write their own.

To some extent this has worked with Jerry's "How to Write Questions" - it's prominent on the QBWiki and more-or-less accepted as the definitive guide by the circuit. What else can we put in the "How-to" section of the QBWiki, and what articles that are already there could be fleshed out into definitive guides?
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