ACF and Powers (POLL)

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Should ACF begin powermarking its sets?

ACF should not use powers (status quo)
70
35%
ACF Fall should be poweremarked, but not others
24
12%
ACF Fall and Regs should be powermarked, but not Nats
17
9%
All ACF tournaments should be powermarked
81
41%
Other (please explain)
6
3%
 
Total votes: 198

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ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by jmarvin_ » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:16 am

I realized a big flaw with my last post on this topic, namely that it had no poll, and the only way to voice one's opinion was verbally and publicly. So, now I'm taking this opportunity to ask: should ACF start using powers? I have left five options, based on the opinions raised in the last discussion: that ACF should have no powers, as is currently the case; that ACF should have powers only at Fall; that ACF should have powers at all tournaments but Nats; and that ACF should introduce powers to all tournaments INCLUDING Nats; and last that you don't feel, for whatever reason, that any of these are appropriate, which I invite you to explain in the thread. I want to see if the voices in the last thread represent the feelings of the community at large, even those who would prefer to remain silent.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by That DCC guy » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:43 am

Yes all ACF sets should have powers. Leave the Dark Ages guys it's time for change.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:57 am

I think powers are kind of like three pointers in basketball, they're okay but I could do with out them. Given that most ACF tournaments are poduced in pretty compressed timeframes, this proposal would also create extra stress/work for the editors. I think the status quo is just fine.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by That DCC guy » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:01 am

Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:I think powers are kind of like three pointers in basketball, they're okay but I could do with out them. Given that most ACF tournaments are poduced in pretty compressed timeframes, this proposal would also create extra stress/work for the editors. I think the status quo is just fine.
I really don't see how adding powers to ACF sets would put time constraints on ACF. Is powermarking hard? They could literally just write the quetsion without powermarks in mind and then just powermark it afterward. It's not like the questions aren't pyramidal already.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by heterodyne » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:14 am

Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:I think powers are kind of like three pointers in basketball, they're okay but I could do with out them. Given that most ACF tournaments are poduced in pretty compressed timeframes, this proposal would also create extra stress/work for the editors. I think the status quo is just fine.
This is more or less my position - I would rather have whatever time is used to powermark be used instead to tighten up the questions.
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote: Is powermarking hard?
Harder than you think.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:36 am

Powermarking is tricky because you really have to seriously consider what is the clue/word that separates "maybe a third of the people are buzzing" to "maybe half of the people are buzzing." You also, if you want to be as fair as possible, want all the people putting in powermarks to be on the same page as to what is worthy of power (should powers be rare? Reward any "good buzzes"?), otherwise you have things in which, say, history players basically need to buzz on the first clue to get power, while arts players are getting more generous rewards.

I voted "no" just because I like having diverse quizbowl experiences. Even though I don't like aspects of both NAQT and PACE's rules, for example, I think it's interesting that they employ different formats. Almost every other set, including sets like Fall geared for new players, has powers.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by That DCC guy » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:02 pm

Cheynem wrote:Powermarking is tricky because you really have to seriously consider what is the clue/word that separates "maybe a third of the people are buzzing" to "maybe half of the people are buzzing." You also, if you want to be as fair as possible, want all the people putting in powermarks to be on the same page as to what is worthy of power (should powers be rare? Reward any "good buzzes"?), otherwise you have things in which, say, history players basically need to buzz on the first clue to get power, while arts players are getting more generous rewards.

I voted "no" just because I like having diverse quizbowl experiences. Even though I don't like aspects of both NAQT and PACE's rules, for example, I think it's interesting that they employ different formats. Almost every other set, including sets like Fall geared for new players, has powers.
I don't think this is that hard. Literally you could just have the head editor be like "ok mates I want the power mark to end so that we intend to have 33% of people power it by the end of the tossup". Then he can send that logistics email to every other editor so they're all on the same page. Of course subjectivity comes into play when power marking, but at the end of the day more people are gonna be happy that there are powers at all then if someone doesn't get a power when they thought they should have. Like I didn't sit at CMST thinking, "Man I really wish CMST didn't have powers; otherwise, I wouldn't be feeling so inadequate about myself", I thought I'll do better next time and get better buzzes for me team through some studying. In other words, if someone feels like the power markings are not fair just remember that being imperfect with power marks is preferable to not having any power marks at all. And I would say this is true 100% of the time. If people make mistakes that's nothing that can't be fixed the next time around. Powermarking will always be a source of argument and concern but to believe that it's so hard to pinpoint the idea of what should and shouldn't be a power seems, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Also it's hard for me to have this much sympathy for ACF when most of what you're doing is taking questions that teams wrote and repurposing them. So when people tell me that they don't want to increase the work load on them all I think is why don't they just have us powermark them ourselves. And that way when the editors repurpose them they already have a benchmark to see what the players themselves believe is an appropriate powermarking.

Like I really don't see a reason that ACF shouldn't powermark all of its questions.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:05 pm

I have no dog in this fight, but I support ACF remaining power free. As others have begun to explain, power placement does require a good chunk of an editor's time, and we've all seen post-tournament arguments about power placement, so it clearly requires some thought.

But mostly I just like that ACF remains different from NAQT. I understand those differences go beyond the inclusion of powers, but it's perhaps the major distinction.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by jonah » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:07 pm

That DCC guy wrote:I don't think this is that hard. Literally you could just have the head editor be like "ok mates I want the power mark to end so that we intend to have 33% of people power it by the end of the tossup". Then he can send that logistics email to every other editor so they're all on the same page. Of course subjectivity comes into play when power marking, but at the end of the day more people are gonna be happy that there are powers at all then if someone doesn't get a power when they thought they should have. Like I didn't sit at CMST thinking, "Man I really wish CMST didn't have powers; otherwise, I wouldn't be feeling so inadequate about myself", I thought I'll do better next time and get better buzzes for me team through some studying. In other words, if someone feels like the power markings are not fair just remember that being imperfect with power marks is preferable to not having any power marks at all. And I would say this is true 100% of the time. If people make mistakes that's nothing that can't be fixed the next time around. Powermarking will always be a source of argument and concern but to believe that it's so hard to pinpoint the idea of what should and shouldn't be a power seems, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Also it's hard for me to have this much sympathy for ACF when most of what you're doing is taking questions that teams wrote and repurposing them. So when people tell me that they don't want to increase the work load on them all I think is why don't they just have us powermark them ourselves. And that way when the editors repurpose them they already have a benchmark to see what the players themselves believe is an appropriate powermarking.

Like I really don't see a reason that ACF shouldn't powermark all of its questions.
You have no idea what you're talking about. Powermarking is hard, and crappy powermarking is worse than no powermarking — it can distort game results, distract from the tournament experience (and discussion experience) in general, and simply conflict with high standards some people like to have for their work.

All question writers do is take books and websites and repurpose them, right?
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Here Comes Rusev Day » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:30 pm

I used to be of the line of thinking that ACF should have powers, mostly because it felt like a better reward of knowledge for knowing the so-called harder clues. The longer I played this game, the more I am sympathetic to the editors and the hard work they put in, and adding in powers really is a hassle contributing to the already heavy amount of stress they have to deal with editing a set. I certainly understand where Austin is coming from and I certainly don't think it's a crime against humanity if ACF decided to add in powers, but the status quo is also just as fine.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by That DCC guy » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:30 pm

jonah wrote:
That DCC guy wrote:I don't think this is that hard. Literally you could just have the head editor be like "ok mates I want the power mark to end so that we intend to have 33% of people power it by the end of the tossup". Then he can send that logistics email to every other editor so they're all on the same page. Of course subjectivity comes into play when power marking, but at the end of the day more people are gonna be happy that there are powers at all then if someone doesn't get a power when they thought they should have. Like I didn't sit at CMST thinking, "Man I really wish CMST didn't have powers; otherwise, I wouldn't be feeling so inadequate about myself", I thought I'll do better next time and get better buzzes for me team through some studying. In other words, if someone feels like the power markings are not fair just remember that being imperfect with power marks is preferable to not having any power marks at all. And I would say this is true 100% of the time. If people make mistakes that's nothing that can't be fixed the next time around. Powermarking will always be a source of argument and concern but to believe that it's so hard to pinpoint the idea of what should and shouldn't be a power seems, quite frankly, ridiculous.

Also it's hard for me to have this much sympathy for ACF when most of what you're doing is taking questions that teams wrote and repurposing them. So when people tell me that they don't want to increase the work load on them all I think is why don't they just have us powermark them ourselves. And that way when the editors repurpose them they already have a benchmark to see what the players themselves believe is an appropriate powermarking.

Like I really don't see a reason that ACF shouldn't powermark all of its questions.
You have no idea what you're talking about. Powermarking is hard, and crappy powermarking is worse than no powermarking — it can distort game results, distract from the tournament experience (and discussion experience) in general, and simply conflict with high standards some people like to have for their work.
First off I really disagree that the "crappy powermarking" that you're describing literally would even be possible for the various ACF tournaments. ACF packets almost always have great questions (IMO). Now by judging from the previous quality of these questions one could come to the natural conclusion that there wouldn't be "crappy powermarking standards" as you put it. Not only that but the sort of "crappy powermarking" you are describing sounds like something that may come up as a problem for a garbage housewrite like DCAAT or something along those lines. I would not be under the impression that such a colossal failure could happen under ACF or NAQT because both organizations are run very well. So in this endeavor of powermarking questions I think it's jusitified to belive that there wouldn't be problems with such things. Also I would still protest that honestly crappy powermarking still sounds more exciting than no powermarking at all.
Secondly, you talk of the "experience of ACF tournaments" well I'll tell you right now the idea of playing those same tournaments with powermarks would be a delightful upgrade. For when playing ACF Nationals all day one feels incredibly drained, but this could be partially averted if powers are in play because they make the game more exciting and fun for most people (me included). One can easily spot the differences between NAQT play and ACF play, and I think that you of all people would know that NAQT's strength is in its more fast pace playstyle and exhilarating games. I'm simply trying to plug a little big of that into ACF. I don't think ACF tournaments aren't fun, but think they could be even more exciting with powers.


"All question writers do is take books and websites and repurpose them, right?"
I mean yes? The difference is when one edits part of the work has already been done for them. This is opposed to when you begin writing a question the work has only begun. Therefore less work is involved. Unless of course the editors chose to discard questions and insert there own but that's on them.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by CPiGuy » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:38 pm

That DCC guy wrote:Secondly, you talk of the "experience of ACF tournaments" well I'll tell you right now the idea of playing those same tournaments with powermarks would be a delightful upgrade. For when playing ACF Nationals all day one feels incredibly drained, but this could be partially averted if powers are in play because they make the game more exciting and fun for most people, me included. One can easily spot the differences between NAQT play and ACF play and I think that you of all people would know that NAQT's strength is its more fast pace playstyle and exhilarating games. I'm simply trying to plug a little big of that into ACF. I don't think ACF tournaments aren't fun, but think they could be even more exciting with powers.
while Austin's wrong that powermarking is easy (although I don't think it's the hardest thing about writing questions, it's not trivial), this is a good point, and is why I voted for "powers at all tournaments". I think this argument is probably better at Fall, which is more focused at outreach and bringing new players into the game, so I'd be fine with having powers at Fall only as a start / trial period of sorts.

[edit, since I expressed this idea better in the other thread:]
CPiGuy wrote:As a new player and someone who's been involved with club leadership and retaining new players, powers are an important part of this. Asking people "what did you power?" is a great way to get people talking about what they enjoyed about a tournament. Getting power on a question is an obvious and tangible reward for more knowledge.

Powers might not change the gameplay of quizbowl that much (I don't think more than 1% of games, if that, would have their outcome changed if powers went away), but they make quizbowl more fun and enjoyable, especially for newer players. They do this without detracting from tournament quality or gameplay quality for experienced players.
Also, while the task of powermarking a set is certainly not trivial, it's something that the writers of almost every other set manage to do while still producing quality questions, so there's definitely some merit in the idea that "powermarking is too hard" is not a very strong argument.
Last edited by CPiGuy on Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Chromica » Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:44 pm

While I personally voted for ACF having powers at every level, that was with the unspoken assumption that they're done consistently, an issue that has been raised by more than one person already in this thread alone, not even mentioning the initial thread that started this. I don't feel particularly strongly about it one way or another.

While I think powers are a great way to boost self-esteem, especially for someone like me who only manages maybe 10-20 points a round, I wondered to myself about what else they do, and had one or two realizations. When I look at power stats (P/N, P%, etc.), that usually is able to tell a lot about how well a team does on tossups, at least compared to the simple G/N and Number of Gets metrics. But that obviously has problems, namely, inconsistent power marking, and its inherent vagueness of "buzzing early" vs. just buzzing somewhere later in the tossup. But you know what does that function, but 10x better? OphirStats. So with that (hopefully) becoming more and more ubiquitous in the coming seasons, I'm wondering how long we'll continue using power statistics to differentiate tossup performances.

On another smaller note, I wonder how many "important" games (e.g. late playoffs at nationals, finals of a regular-season tournament) would have their results changed if the extra points from powers were removed or if powers had been in play (the latter is obviously impossible to tell, more of a point of interest). Especially at nationals, where games tend to naturally skew lower, and thus the extra points from powers make an increasingly large difference. Are we willing to trust that inconsistent powers wouldn't skew the results, knocking a team out of playoffs, or worse yet, changing the outcome of a final? I personally trust the editors to ensure a fair standard of powermarking, but again its a point of interest.

I guess my point is that I'd support having powermarks, but would equally support ditching them again if it, one way or another, proved too troublesome.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by vinteuil » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:09 pm

That DCC guy wrote: First off I really disagree that the "crappy powermarking" that you're describing literally would even be possible for the various ACF tournaments. ACF packets almost always have great questions (IMO). Now by judging from the previous quality of these questions one could come to the natural conclusion that there wouldn't be "crappy powermarking standards" as you put it. Not only that but the sort of "crappy powermarking" you are describing sounds like something that may come up as a problem for a garbage housewrite like DCAAT or something along those lines. I would not be under the impression that such a colossal failure could happen under ACF or NAQT because both organizations are run very well. So in this endeavor of powermarking questions I think it's jusitified to belive that there wouldn't be problems with such things. Also I would still protest that honestly crappy powermarking still sounds more exciting than no powermarking at all.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:14 pm

That DCC guy wrote: Also it's hard for me to have this much sympathy for ACF when most of what you're doing is taking questions that teams wrote and repurposing them.
If you don't understand that editors literally pore over questions for hours upon hours, often rewriting them from scratch, rather than merely "repurposing" them, then I don't think you understand how editing works or what "editing" means. (Incidentally, turning quizbowl questions into quizbowl questions is clearly retaining their purpose. So, it's not clear that you understand what "repurposing" means either.)
Like I really don't see a reason that ACF shouldn't powermark all of its questions.
Not seeing "a reason" at all is generally a sign that you failed to read or comprehend the arguments of the people you are purportedly engaging with.
First off I really disagree that the "crappy powermarking" that you're describing literally would even be possible for the various ACF tournaments. ACF packets almost always have great questions (IMO). Now by judging from the previous quality of these questions one could come to the natural conclusion that there wouldn't be "crappy powermarking standards" as you put it. Not only that but the sort of "crappy powermarking" you are describing sounds like something that may come up as a problem for a garbage housewrite like DCAAT or something along those lines. I would not be under the impression that such a colossal failure could happen under ACF or NAQT because both organizations are run very well. So in this endeavor of powermarking questions I think it's jusitified to belive that there wouldn't be problems with such things. Also I would still protest that honestly crappy powermarking still sounds more exciting than no powermarking at all.
Secondly, you talk of the "experience of ACF tournaments" well I'll tell you right now the idea of playing those same tournaments with powermarks would be a delightful upgrade. For when playing ACF Nationals all day one feels incredibly drained, but this could be partially averted if powers are in play because they make the game more exciting and fun for most people (me included). One can easily spot the differences between NAQT play and ACF play, and I think that you of all people would know that NAQT's strength is in its more fast pace playstyle and exhilarating games. I'm simply trying to plug a little big of that into ACF. I don't think ACF tournaments aren't fun, but think they could be even more exciting with powers.
Is not even possible?! In what packet paradiso do you live?

You've really never encountered an ACF or NAQT set in which there were some bad questions, or in which one subject editor clearly had a different conception of depth of difficulty than the others? You've never noticed that every single year, people compare each annual iteration of Regionals, SCT, Nats, and ICT to previous iterations and conclude that some of these turned out better or differently than others?

Powermarking unarguably magnifies the ramifications of tossup construction errors. In a world in errors happen (i.e. reality), such magnification is guaranteed. Also, completing a set is always a triage situation. You can't do everything. Time spent powermarking is time that could be spent doing other things, such as proofreading, tweaking phrasing, pyramidality, depth of cluing etc.

Of course, none of these is a knockdown argument agains powers in ACF. (I personally remain agnostic on this issue.) The more sensible pro-powers posts in this thread defend the notion that the reward of more enjoyment outweighs the risk of magnified mistakes. Whether or not it does is subjective. But claiming that there is no risk whatsoever--because editors are infallible and powermarking is nigh instantaneous--is patently ridiculous.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:51 pm

Also it's hard for me to have this much sympathy for ACF when most of what you're doing is taking questions that teams wrote and repurposing them.
This is one of the most remarkably ignorant things ever posted on this forum.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:56 pm

That DCC Guy wrote: Also it's hard for me to have this much sympathy for ACF when most of what you're doing is taking questions that teams wrote and repurposing them.
Have you ever edited a packet-sub tournament my guy?
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:48 pm

I'd think if we started powermarking ACF Nats, it would be an almost entirely wasted effort. If the power mark appeared roughly at 25%-33% of the way through the tossup, frankly, I don't think we'd be seeing a lot of powers.

As for powers being a self-esteem boost, I kind of feel the opposite way; what happens when your novice team cobbles together a solid effort to go 0/6/2 and scores 200 points on a packet a better team goes 6/4/2 on? The score spread increases and we'd probably see bigger point separation between the best and worst teams, which I'm not convinced is helpful or desirable at ACF, where there's already the perception of increased difficulty.

As for personal stats, I always hated finding out that I could answer roughly as many questions as my teammates on possibly a wider array of subjects and be numerically regarded as being less useful to the team.

Maybe, just maybe, five or six years down the road when Ophirstats are the gospel truth and we have a better idea of how to correctly powermark, this could be revisited, but certainly not now.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:27 pm

I think there's value to having a diversity of question formats.

ACF format, with its longer questions and lack of powers, promotes a slower, more thoughtful game. Some people find it "dour," as someone mentioned in the other "ACF and Powers" thread. However, I like being able to think about a clue before buzzing in. It's also nice not feeling pressured to power things.

In contrast, NAQT, with its shorter questions, powers, and special timing rules, promotes a faster playing style. A lot of people--including former high school players used to playing NAQT sets--like that. However, I find it a little annoying to be constantly rushing to buzz in to try to get power and then racing on to the next question.

Powers are only a small part of this dichotomy between "fast" and "slow" formats. However, I think we should have tournaments--including championships--that represent both ends of this dichotomy. In doing so, we test players' ability to play in both of these styles.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:31 pm

Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:I'd think if we started powermarking ACF Nats, it would be an almost entirely wasted effort. If the power mark appeared roughly at 25%-33% of the way through the tossup, frankly, I don't think we'd be seeing a lot of powers.
Why would the powermark have to be 25-33% of the way through a tossup? Chicago Open had powermarks last year that were 50-60% of the way through the tossup. This year's Penn Bowl had powermarks that were 50 +/- 10% of the way through its tossups, and I think that's fairly common for most tournaments. It would actually be odd for ACF Nationals to have powermarks only a quarter of the way through its tossups.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by El Salvadoreno » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:05 pm

I voted for the "should have powers throughout" option. Though I understand that this will require an extra time investment I think more consistency across formats will be good for the game long-term as it creates less of a shock for newer players shifting formats and for helping to compare performance across tournaments.
Charbroil wrote:ACF format, with its longer questions and lack of powers, promotes a slower, more thoughtful game. Some people find it "dour," as someone mentioned in the other "ACF and Powers" thread. However, I like being able to think about a clue before buzzing in. It's also nice not feeling pressured to power things.
While I cannot argue for with personal preference, I do not think that this helps the game writ-large, as longer games may lower retention rates for beginner level players. I am not saying every format should adopt NAQT rules, but I do think shorter, quicker (maybe somewhat easier, though I think the appearance of ACF being higher difficulty is due to it being longer as well) will help the game expand long-term.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:19 pm

El Salvadoreno wrote:...more consistency across formats will be good for the game long-term as it creates less of a shock for newer players shifting formats...longer games may lower retention rates for beginner level players...shorter, quicker [games] will help the game expand long-term.
I don't want to speak for "newer players" as a whole, but I feel like I can speak about the experience of the new players on our team.

This year, we doubled our team's size by adding new players. Very few of those players played long questions in high school. Despite that, they enjoyed playing EFT, Penn Bowl, ACF Fall, WAO II, ACF Regionals, and SMT. They also enjoyed practicing with ACF style packets with long questions that often lacked powers. I have never heard any of them complain about question length or the presence or absence of powers.

This reflects my personal experience, which has been that new players don't care that much about question format. They don't care if questions are long or have powers, as long as they can answer them.

Now, obviously, that doesn't mean that they don't enjoy powers. For that matter--despite what I said above--I generally like powers. Similarly, I actually do think tossups should be shorter--6-7 lines, including powers, rather than 8 as is the norm.

Rather, I think it's important to realize that new players--at least, most of the new players I've met--are more resilient than many people think. The new players I've met have generally enjoyed quiz bowl even when they played long questions that were difficult for them. I think a major reason for this is because we frame the college quiz bowl experience positively. We tell new players why most college tossups are long, and we present that length as a good thing--you get to learn more interesting new things, you get more time to think before you buzz, etc. We also tell them upfront that college quiz bowl is challenging--in part due to question length--but we also present that challenge as a good thing (because it is!) In turn, our new players have risen to the challenge and have not been put off by the fact that college quiz bowl is different from what they experienced in high school.

In summary, I don't think it's necessary to change the format of questions to attract new players. If you think questions should be shorter because that makes them better, advocate for shorter questions. Similarly, if you think having powers makes questions better, support adding powers to tournaments. However, don't do so just to attract "newer players," because those "newer players"--in my experience--don't care. Rather, by saying that "newer players" don't enjoy long questions without powers, all you're doing is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by poisoning said players against a major part of the game. My suspicion is that this poison does more to drive away "newer players" than any number of questions without powers.

Note: Edited for clarity.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:55 pm

Charbroil wrote:
El Salvadoreno wrote:...more consistency across formats will be good for the game long-term as it creates less of a shock for newer players shifting formats...longer games may lower retention rates for beginner level players...shorter, quicker [games] will help the game expand long-term.
I don't want to speak for "newer players" as a whole, but I feel like I can speak about the experience of the new players on our team.

This year, we doubled our team's size by adding new players. Very few of those players played long questions in high school. Despite that, they enjoyed playing EFT, Penn Bowl, ACF Fall, WAO II, ACF Regionals, and SMT. They also enjoyed practicing with ACF style packets with long questions that often lacked powers. I have never heard any of them complain about question length or the presence or absence of powers.

This reflects my personal experience, which has been that new players don't care that much about question format. They don't care if questions are long or have powers, as long as they can answer them.

Now, obviously, that doesn't mean that they don't enjoy powers. For that matter--despite what I said above--I generally like powers. Similarly, I actually do think tossups should be shorter--6-7 lines, including powers, rather than 8 as is the norm.

Rather, I think it's important to realize that new players--at least, most of the new players I've met--are more resilient than many people think. The new players I've met have generally enjoyed quiz bowl even when they played long questions that were difficult for them. I think a major reason for this is because we frame the college quiz bowl experience positively. We tell new players why most college tossups are long, and we present that length as a good thing--you get to learn more interesting new things, you get more time to think before you buzz, etc. We also tell them upfront that college quiz bowl is challenging--in part due to question length--but we also present that challenge as a good thing (because it is!) In turn, our new players have risen to the challenge and have not been put off by the fact that college quiz bowl is different from what they experienced in high school.

In summary, I don't think it's necessary to change the format of questions to attract new players. If you think questions should be shorter because that makes them better, advocate for shorter questions. Similarly, if you think having powers makes questions better, support adding powers to tournaments. However, don't do so just to attract "newer players," because those "newer players"--in my experience--don't care. Rather, by saying that "newer players" don't enjoy long questions without powers, all you're doing is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by poisoning said players against a major part of the game. My suspicion is that this poison does more to drive away "newer players" than any number of questions without powers.

Note: Edited for clarity.
This is a very good post!
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:09 pm

Yeah, Charles has some good points here.

I wonder how much of this conversation simply relates to the way we frame "powers" as equivalent to "good buzzes" and the struggle in quantifying a "good buzz" in other terms. I remember my second ACF Fall how I was picking up a bunch of questions at the end on giveaways, but I was personally delighted I finally figured out what the War of the Triple Alliance and Diels-Alder were. Those are good buzzes.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:27 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
Also it's hard for me to have this much sympathy for ACF when most of what you're doing is taking questions that teams wrote and repurposing them.
This is one of the most remarkably ignorant things ever posted on this forum.
/awakens from slumber

It's not merely ignorant; it's downright disrespectful of the herculean efforts that editors put in, every year, to producing ACF tournaments. Nationals especially is a months-long marathon of question writing and editing, not to mention logistical planning and various other forms of coordination. The production of a tournament on the scale of Nats is a monumental endeavor, and I don't appreciate having that work snidely dismissed in the service of this quixotic agenda.

I don't have strong feelings about powers in ACF; if it were easy to add them, it might make sense to do so. But every hour that's spent powermarking is an hour not spent making the tournament better by editing and writing questions, so from my perspective, until such time as that constraint is resolved, powermarking is not a good use of editor effort. I will say that the arguments in favor of powers presented so far have ranged in quality from "not very good" to "lol." Some people seem to think that powers are "modern" somehow; others seem to like them because getting five extra points makes you feel good; there's an argument somewhere in here about "consistency" as though the concept of powers vs. no powers is somehow too complex for people to grasp when playing different tournaments. While personal preferences are not subject to debate, making those personal preferences into normative arguments for what editors should be doing is deeply mistaken.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by El Salvadoreno » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:43 pm

Auks Ran Ova wrote:
Charbroil wrote:
El Salvadoreno wrote:...more consistency across formats will be good for the game long-term as it creates less of a shock for newer players shifting formats...longer games may lower retention rates for beginner level players...shorter, quicker [games] will help the game expand long-term.
I don't want to speak for "newer players" as a whole, but I feel like I can speak about the experience of the new players on our team.

This year, we doubled our team's size by adding new players. Very few of those players played long questions in high school. Despite that, they enjoyed playing EFT, Penn Bowl, ACF Fall, WAO II, ACF Regionals, and SMT. They also enjoyed practicing with ACF style packets with long questions that often lacked powers. I have never heard any of them complain about question length or the presence or absence of powers.

This reflects my personal experience, which has been that new players don't care that much about question format. They don't care if questions are long or have powers, as long as they can answer them.

Now, obviously, that doesn't mean that they don't enjoy powers. For that matter--despite what I said above--I generally like powers. Similarly, I actually do think tossups should be shorter--6-7 lines, including powers, rather than 8 as is the norm.

Rather, I think it's important to realize that new players--at least, most of the new players I've met--are more resilient than many people think. The new players I've met have generally enjoyed quiz bowl even when they played long questions that were difficult for them. I think a major reason for this is because we frame the college quiz bowl experience positively. We tell new players why most college tossups are long, and we present that length as a good thing--you get to learn more interesting new things, you get more time to think before you buzz, etc. We also tell them upfront that college quiz bowl is challenging--in part due to question length--but we also present that challenge as a good thing (because it is!) In turn, our new players have risen to the challenge and have not been put off by the fact that college quiz bowl is different from what they experienced in high school.

In summary, I don't think it's necessary to change the format of questions to attract new players. If you think questions should be shorter because that makes them better, advocate for shorter questions. Similarly, if you think having powers makes questions better, support adding powers to tournaments. However, don't do so just to attract "newer players," because those "newer players"--in my experience--don't care. Rather, by saying that "newer players" don't enjoy long questions without powers, all you're doing is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by poisoning said players against a major part of the game. My suspicion is that this poison does more to drive away "newer players" than any number of questions without powers.

Note: Edited for clarity.
This is a very good post!
This is actually a very good argument, especially for the length part (I still think that moving to a more consistent format is better in general and not just for newer players). I am not a "new player" and have no experience in recruitment (at the college level), but the argument makes sense.

That being said, I still hold on to my belief that ACF should have powers in order to create more across-format consistency (and also because I enjoy them more) though if it is not feasible I certainly understand (and would rather ACF remain an excellent product than add powers). As for length, I can see the advantages of having longer questions, but still think questions can benefit from shortening so I suppose I will remain agnostic on the issue until something more decisive moves me one way or the other.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by vinteuil » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:50 pm

El Salvadoreno wrote: That being said, I still hold on to my belief that ACF should have powers in order to create more across-format consistency.
Why is this inherently good? Should NAQT dump its idiosyncratic distribution?
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by El Salvadoreno » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:32 pm

vinteuil wrote:
El Salvadoreno wrote: That being said, I still hold on to my belief that ACF should have powers in order to create more across-format consistency.
Why is this inherently good? Should NAQT dump its idiosyncratic distribution?
I do think consistency brings some advantages namely in that it would help comparisons between different tournaments. This advantage maybe be minor writ large, but I do think it holds some water (more so in NAQT's instance than ACF's since different distributions do make it more difficult to compare across tournaments than the addition subtraction of powers).
I grant, however, this should be neither company's top priority, given the already put out quality product now. My opinion is more akin to Caleb's above where I think having powers would be great and would bring some advantages to the community, but it is not a must have by any means.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:03 pm

El Salvadoreno wrote: That being said, I still hold on to my belief that ACF should have powers in order to create more across-format consistency
I'm curious why powers are the aspect of cross-format consistency you're most concerned about. The presence of powers doesn't really change people's playing habits, except maybe to pressure them to get powers (or to cause them to wonder why they didn't get powers for seemingly early buzzes). In contrast, subject distribution, difficulty, and question length all dramatically affect how people play. Presumably you're not also advocating making all questions the same length and difficulty and eliminating all variability in tournament distributions? If you are, as Jacob pointed out, why focus on ACF when NAQT is much more inconsistent with the rest of the circuit?

The way I see it, quiz bowl is like tennis. Tennis has 3 major surfaces--grass, clay, and hard courts. The two most prestigious tennis championships, Wimbledon and the French Open, are played on grass and clay courts, which respectively represent the two extremes of tennis playing styles. Grass is the "fastest" tennis surface, while clay is the "slowest." In contrast, most tennis matches are played on hard courts, which represent a middle ground between the two. Tennis fans enjoy seeing how players adjust to playing on different surfaces, because each surface requires a different style of play.

In the same way, NAQT and ACF represent two different styles of good quiz bowl. Even though most of the regular season is played in a format that is a middle ground between the two, I think it's valuable (and interesting!) to see how players handle both the "slow," "more academic" format of ACF as well as the "fast," "less academic"* format of NAQT. The fact that there are two national championships gives us the opportunity to test players' ability to compete in both of these divergent formats.

Changing either format to make it more like the other would, I think, make quiz bowl less interesting by taking away that opportunity for players to compete on a diversity of formats. Similarly, changing just ACF Fall (or ACF Fall and ACF Regionals) by adding powers would, I think, take away from new players the opportunity to experience the entire diversity of quiz bowl styles.

*To be clear, these terms are not meant to be perjorative towards either format.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:06 pm

El Salvadoreno wrote:
I do think consistency brings some advantages namely in that it would help comparisons between different tournaments.
Why should all tournaments be comparable? I would find that to be much more boring than the present situation.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:19 pm

Charbroil wrote:
Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:I'd think if we started powermarking ACF Nats, it would be an almost entirely wasted effort. If the power mark appeared roughly at 25%-33% of the way through the tossup, frankly, I don't think we'd be seeing a lot of powers.
Why would the powermark have to be 25-33% of the way through a tossup? Chicago Open had powermarks last year that were 50-60% of the way through the tossup. This year's Penn Bowl had powermarks that were 50 +/- 10% of the way through its tossups, and I think that's fairly common for most tournaments. It would actually be odd for ACF Nationals to have powermarks only a quarter of the way through its tossups.

It certainly doesn't have to be 25-33 (numbers I pulled out of roughly nowhere other than powermarked questions I've seen before), but if 6 out of 8 lines are power, that doesn't give you a whole lot of space to write non-power clues. In that case, you're somewhat artificially trying to inflate power rate at the expense of 10s, which seems equally bad to me. Again, this all just underscores that appropriate powermarking is of the utmost importance and is certainly not another wrinkle that should be added to ACF anytime soon.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by jmarvin_ » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:56 pm

I think it's worth taking a moment to consider the response to Charles's post, which has been quite positive, but which I am willing to wager is received as it was because of a confirmation bias of sorts. Obviously, I believe Charles: he has worked hard to develop a team and speaks clearly and confidently about how his new teammates have grown to love the game for the game in general, and not for the particularities of any format, about how his recruits generally have no strong opinions about the question of powers. But, as he himself was clear to state at the outset, this is an anecdotal account based on a particular team and community, and can and should not be generalized to some monolithic form of "new players." Yet his story has been called "a very good argument," "some good points," and so forth.

Such a response has not been garnered by Conor's, my own, and others' completely contradictory anecdotal accounts, which in the other thread were rightfully received with reticence for reason of their nature as particular reports. I know for an objective fact that Charles's account cannot be made categorical, because that would logically exclude the reality of what I and others have encountered with new players, who indeed do, without prior inspiration or the influence of milieu—and indeed, in my case, with active argument to the contrary (I think there's much to be said for ACF, and make that clear to all new players)—think that the game is less fun without powers, prefer powered sets (not just NAQT, for which there could be other reasons, but powered mACF), and think that the lack of them is actively discouraging. This is not an assumption, and I do not claim that it is an inherent fact of being a new player; it is an observation of real people which is at least as worthy of consideration as the admirable rookies over in St. Louis.

If we think that narratives of what new players have expressed about their preferences and experiences are valuable, then so be it: we should consider them all and take them all seriously. But I think we should be careful not to read stories that we sympathize with, think "ah yes, this is it, very good post" and give no credence to contrary reports.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:11 pm

I think at least why I liked Charles' story is because he isn't saying new players don't like powers or even that they don't want powers, but rather that they most want to answer questions and that they will respond well to what they are normalized to/presented as good. At least for me, this matches my own experiences in talking to new people, but beyond that, he is trying to get us to look beyond powers--powers by themselves are not a placebo or a magic drug (I am not necessarily saying people here are saying this). If you think ACF Nationals can be less tough or uninteresting with powers, I think ACF Nationals is going to be equally tough and uninteresting to you with or without powers. If your new players put up the same buzzes and hear the same questions at ACF Fall and are turned off because they aren't getting powers, I'm not saying they don't really believe this or this is bad, but perhaps their expectations or how we talk about good buzzes might be the issue there.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:45 pm

Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:...if 6 out of 8 lines are power, that doesn't give you a whole lot of space to write non-power clues.
I never said anything about having "6 out of 8 lines" in power. Is this another number you "pulled out of roughly nowhere?" If there is a set where 6 out of 8 lines of each tossup are regularly in power, I would be curious to see it.

Your concerns don't reflect reality. Many tournaments comparable to ACF Nationals have powermarks that give players a meaningful number of powers without "artificially trying to inflate power rate at the expense of 10s." This includes some Chicago Opens and nearly every other hard open. To use the tournament most obviously comparable to ACF Nationals, ICT has powers! Surely you don't think that it's "an almost entirely wasted effort" to powermark ICT?
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:21 am

Cheynem wrote:new players...respond well to what they are normalized to/presented as good.
Precisely.
Cheynem wrote:If you think ACF Nationals can be less tough or uninteresting with powers, I think ACF Nationals is going to be equally tough and uninteresting to you with or without powers.
This touches on an important point. Many "newer players" may prefer powers, as John, Conor, and Ricky have mentioned. However, I don't think this preference is strong enough--based on my personal experience of new players--to cause them to give up on quiz bowl if they like the rest of the game. Conversely, the kind of "newer players" who do stop playing quiz bowl because some tournaments don't have powers are unlikely to stick with quiz bowl anyway. We shouldn't make major changes to the game to try to retain marginal players who don't really care about quiz bowl and who are likely to quit regardless of what we do.

To be clear, we should definitely do things that meaningfully improve new players' experiences of quiz bowl. I just don't think adding powers to every tournament will really affect retention.

Along those lines, it seems that there are 3 camps regarding the power issue:

1/ People who like powers and who think every tournament should have powers (John, Austin, Conor, etc.)
2/ People who like powers, but who don't think every tournament needs to have powers (me, Caleb, etc.)
3/ People who actively dislike powers in some situations (Andrew Hart, etc.)

John et al., why should everyone in groups 2 and 3 (over half of the people who've voted in the poll so far) submit to the demands of your group? Why is your preference--which is already catered to by over 70% of all tournaments--the only correct one? Are the ephemeral opinions of some nebulous group of "newer players"--which, as I've commented above, aren't likely to be that strong anyway--really more important than the opinions of everyone in groups 2 and 3?
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Wed Apr 11, 2018 12:48 am

I do agree that new players will generally acclimate to what's presented as good to them, and it would be worth examining the issue more of how they might respond if the "standard" tournament (ACF) were to introduce powers. (And inversely, have responded to the fact that ACF does not have powers currently.)
Charbroil wrote: Are the ephemeral opinions of some nebulous group of "newer players"--which, as I've commented above, aren't likely to be that strong anyway--really more important than the opinions of everyone in groups 2 and 3?
Could you clarify what you meant by "newer players," Charles? Do you mean first-time players, or first-time ACF players, or perhaps something else?

I wanted to note that, right now, the poll seems to be dead split between "no ACF powers at all" and "powers at all levels of ACF." According to the thread right now, what I'm reading is that most people are of the opinion that the attempt to add powers is mainly a "proxy" campaign for newer players, who wouldn't feel comfortable / aren't aware of the avenues to voice their opinions themselves. Would that be an accurate reading? I'm only worried that if this is the pervasive opinion, then it seems like we're basically implying anyone who voted for "yes powers" is either a new player or only doing so on a (misguided?) attempt to represent newer players.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:04 am

UlyssesInvictus wrote:
Charbroil wrote: Are the ephemeral opinions of some nebulous group of "newer players"--which, as I've commented above, aren't likely to be that strong anyway--really more important than the opinions of everyone in groups 2 and 3?
Could you clarify what you meant by "newer players," Charles? Do you mean first-time players, or first-time ACF players, or perhaps something else?
I'm quoting Ricky, who I think was alluding to first-time players (or at least, players new to ACF Fall, since that's the major power-less tournament for new players).
UlyssesInvictus wrote: ...what I'm reading is that most people are of the opinion that the attempt to add powers is mainly a "proxy" campaign for newer players...
My personal opinion is that the people who are voting to add powers want powers because they themselves like powers. However, the people from that group who have posted in this thread have said that they are speaking for newer players in voting that way in addition to voting based on their own preferences. (I think this is an accurate paraphrase of what they've said; let me know if I'm wrong!)
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by jmarvin_ » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:05 am

UlyssesInvictus wrote:I wanted to note that, right now, the poll seems to be dead split between "no ACF powers at all" and "powers at all levels of ACF." According to the thread right now, what I'm reading is that most people are of the opinion that the attempt to add powers is mainly a "proxy" campaign for newer players, who wouldn't feel comfortable / aren't aware of the avenues to voice their opinions themselves. Would that be an accurate reading? I'm only worried that if this is the pervasive opinion, then it seems like we're basically implying anyone who voted for "yes powers" is either a new player or only doing so on a (misguided?) attempt to represent newer players.
I think that this impression is falsely given by the fact that this sub-argument—that powers could make for a more enjoyable experience for new players, or is something they generally want—has become so contentious. In truth it's only one of the branches of reasoning the pro-power camp is bringing to the table. I think for all involved, the primary reason to want powers in all tournaments is thinking that powers are a good game mechanic, whose benefits—enjoyability, greater risk/reward gameplay, etc; we know them well—outweigh the negatives of greater workload, and who also think that the 'purity' vision of power-less ACF rules is overrated in importance or fun-value.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:07 am

Charbroil wrote:
Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:...if 6 out of 8 lines are power, that doesn't give you a whole lot of space to write non-power clues.
I never said anything about having "6 out of 8 lines" in power. Is this another number you "pulled out of roughly nowhere?" If there is a set where 6 out of 8 lines of each tossup are regularly in power, I would be curious to see it.

Your concerns don't reflect reality. Many tournaments comparable to ACF Nationals have powermarks that give players a meaningful number of powers without "artificially trying to inflate power rate at the expense of 10s." This includes some Chicago Opens and nearly every other hard open. To use the tournament most obviously comparable to ACF Nationals, ICT has powers! Surely you don't think that it's "an almost entirely wasted effort" to powermark ICT?

Purely as an example, Math Monstrosity was a blast to read, but it had a ton of power marks extending to around 3/4s of the way through the question. So I didn't pull that out of thin air. I know that's not the most representative example, but it's the first one to come to my mind. Anyway, replace 6 out of 8 with 5 out of 8 and I think the idea I'm getting at still holds.


I'm really not trying to argue or be combative here. All I'm saying is that if you're going to have a question a certain number of lines long at a hard tournament and the power text takes up a too substantial portion of the question (for me this would probably be anything over roughly 40% of the text), well then you either:


A.) Have a situation where you have overzealously powermarked. In this situation, people are sometimes getting 15 when they should be getting 10. I would call that inflating powers at the expense of 10s.

OR

B.) Have a situation in which the powermarking is in and of itself fine, but hard clue placement takes up too much of the question. That's an easy route to a difficulty cliff now that you now have decidedly less space in which to write clues that will separate teams that don't power the question.

It's obviously not a waste of time to powermark ICT. NAQT has years and years of experience placing powers and presumably has established guidelines on how powers are placed. In essence, NAQT does a pretty reasonable job placing powers.

As for "nearly every other hard open," the stakes at these tournaments aren't nearly as high and they can get away with as much quirkiness as their audience will stand for. No national champ is being crowned here, so it's much less important.

As for Chicago Open, I'm gonna make the claim that CO is not a great example to use wrt the claim that it provides "a meaningful number of powers". At the 2016 CO, the last to use powers, only 7/77 players powered more than 10 questions, 58/77 powered three or fewer, and 21/77 powered exactly 0. I think the lesson there is that CO is really damn hard and actually reinforces my original point that a power-marked ACF Nats would not be worth the effort in terms of the number of powers it would produce.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by mozzarella » Wed Apr 11, 2018 7:16 am

Idea: powermarks but they're on completely arbitrary words, so buzzing in at the perfect time awards you extra points for no reason.

Example:

51. This is the new “yo momma” that spontaneously appeared. One Washington Post commenter said one day after this meme originated: “It will be forgotten in a question of hours and no one will remember it in one week.”--bet he’s feeling salty now. Examples of this are the Seth Rich murder conspiracy, the frogs turning gay, or, according to its originator, collusion with Russia. This meme sprung about after Trump accused Cable News Network of spreading disinformation in a pre-inauguration press conference. FTP, name this oft-repeated phrase that implies that some current event is preposterous.
ANSWER: “You are fake news”
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Cheynem » Wed Apr 11, 2018 9:44 am

The conundrum involving this poll, not that I expected John to develop a Gallup-level scientific poll, is that everyone's ideas may not neatly go into one category. I'm gathering that aside from a few people, almost no one would be adamantly opposed if ACF chose to put powers in tournaments, especially Fall (I think powers at Nats are superfluous and if Nats has no powers, Regionals should not, but that's another argument). That is, I doubt many people voting "no powers at ACF" are ideological anti-power diehards. Rather, I think a lot of people are objecting to the idea that ACF "SHOULD put powers in tournaments because ______," that is the idea that ACF must put powers in tournaments (especially Fall) because that's what the masses want/all other tournaments have them/they would help in retaining new people, or other arguments proposed by pro-power people. This is basically where I stand. I voted no powers, again, not because I hate powers (I like them) nor that I wouldn't necessarily mind ACF having powers, but because I think different formats are good for quizbowl and I fear powers becoming something of a quizbowl placebo.

On the other hand, I'm not going to be playing any more ACF tournaments, nor am I an ACF member. So how much should my opinion actually matter? Perhaps ACF should consider surveys directed only at teams, especially those that play Fall.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:06 am

Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:...the power text takes up a too substantial portion of the question (for me this would probably be anything over roughly 40% of the text)...

...NAQT does a pretty reasonable job placing powers.
These two statements are contradictory; looking at the sample packet from last year's ICT, almost every tossup has more (in some cases, dramatically more) than 50% of the text in power.

It also seems strange to arbitrarily accuse ACF's editors of being incapable of correctly powermarking Nationals when, as you mentioned, ICT is correctly powermarked every year. The two tournaments are comparably difficult and I don't think ACF's editors are less capable or experienced, broadly speaking, than ICT's.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Apr 11, 2018 10:49 am

I voted Other because I think the editors should make whatever decision they think is best. Can this poll be repurposed to include that option?
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by ryanrosenberg » Wed Apr 11, 2018 11:31 am

Deviant Insider wrote:I voted Other because I think the editors should make whatever decision they think is best. Can this poll be repurposed to include that option?
Not without deleting all votes already cast, unfortunately.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Wed Apr 11, 2018 1:59 pm

Charbroil wrote:
Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:...the power text takes up a too substantial portion of the question (for me this would probably be anything over roughly 40% of the text)...

...NAQT does a pretty reasonable job placing powers.
These two statements are contradictory; looking at the sample packet from last year's ICT, almost every tossup has more (in some cases, dramatically more) than 50% of the text in power.

It also seems strange to arbitrarily accuse ACF's editors of being incapable of correctly powermarking Nationals when, as you mentioned, ICT is correctly powermarked every year. The two tournaments are comparably difficult and I don't think ACF's editors are less capable or experienced, broadly speaking, than ICT's.
Ok, whatever. I'm not sure why you keep grinding this axe, especially because we seem to agree that powermarking ACF isn't that beneficial. I originally stated that powermarking ACF Nats wouldn't produce the powers to be worth the effort especially when, as literally nearly everyone with a sensible opinion in this thread has mentioned, there are more pressing concerns in producing a quality tournament. As for "arbitrarily accusing" ACF of being "incapable," I did nothing of the sort and I wish you'd try and give me the charitable reading I'm giving you. Sure, ICT and ACF Nats are comparably difficult, but as has also been pointed out repeatedly in this thread, NAQT and ACF have some pretty big differences. I also suspect that the use of bold text increases the perceived amount of text that's in power. My initial point was meant to be a pretty unimportant-within-the-larger-scope-of-the-discussion argument, but hey, don't let that stop you.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:32 pm

Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:I also suspect that the use of bold text increases the perceived amount of text that's in power.
Not to grind any axes, but I did want to mention that my "more than 50%" statistic was based on counting the percentage of words in power (excluding pronunciation guides) in the first ~10 tossups in that packet. It wasn't based on just visually inspecting the questions.
Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:As for "arbitrarily accusing" ACF of being "incapable," I did nothing of the sort...
I retract my use of the word "arbitrarily," which was unwarranted. I stand by the rest of my paraphrasing of your argument and would be happy to explain why.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:20 pm

Charbroil wrote:
Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:As for "arbitrarily accusing" ACF of being "incapable," I did nothing of the sort...
I retract my use of the word "arbitrarily," which was unwarranted. I stand by the rest of my paraphrasing of your argument and would be happy to explain why.

Lest anyone believe what Charles is saying, I do not think ACF is incapable. If ACF Nats editors were to make the regrettable decision to powermark the set, I'm sure they'd do a reasonably ok job at powermarking, although perhaps to the detriment of the set at large, which has already been discussed at length. There are several in depth posts above discussing how limited the time of editors is. Unless there's going to be a number of editors added to assist in powermarking, powermarking would likely come at the expense of tournament quality elsewhere. If you're getting the idea that I think ACF editors are incapable of powermarking because I said NAQT does a decent job; that's a misinterpretation of my post. I'm doing my best to explain my point here; I may not be the best at elucidating my arguments, but I don't see how you're drawing the conclusions you're drawing about what I said.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:08 am

Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:...I don't see how you're drawing the conclusions you're drawing about what I said.
You started by saying:
Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:I'd think if we started powermarking ACF Nats, it would be an almost entirely wasted effort. If the power mark appeared roughly at 25%-33% of the way through the tossup, frankly, I don't think we'd be seeing a lot of powers.
After I pointed out that tournaments don't actually do that because their powermarks are usually around 50% of the way through the tossup, you said:
Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote: ...you're somewhat artificially trying to inflate power rate at the expense of 10s, which seems equally bad to me.
You then followed up in this way:
Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:
if you're going to have a question a certain number of lines long at a hard tournament and the power text takes up a too substantial portion of the question (for me this would probably be anything over roughly 40% of the text), well then you either:


A.) Have a situation where you have overzealously powermarked. In this situation, people are sometimes getting 15 when they should be getting 10. I would call that inflating powers at the expense of 10s.

OR

B.) Have a situation in which the powermarking is in and of itself fine, but hard clue placement takes up too much of the question. That's an easy route to a difficulty cliff now that you now have decidedly less space in which to write clues that will separate teams that don't power the question.
There is no way to reconcile these arguments. If you only powermark 33% or less of every tossup at ACF Nationals, I agree that power counts will be too low. (It's worth noting that essentially every tournament powermarks 50+% of each tossup.) According to you, powermarking over 40% of each tossup artificially inflates the number of powers or reflects too many hard clues in the questions.

Because you've already eliminated "more than 40%" and "less than 33%" as options, unless you want ACF Nationals to have powermarks precisely 33% to 40% of the way through each tossup (which seems implausible), you've made it so that the ACF Nationals editors are "incapable of correctly powermarking Nationals," as I put it. I'm not saying this is because the ACF editors are "incapable." Rather, I'm saying that it is impossible to powermark ACF Nationals based on your parameters.

To reiterate, Nolan, did you notice that according to your parameters, essentially every tournament is mis-powermarked?
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:32 am

If anyone other than Charles is interested in having a conversation about this with me, please continue, but I'm pretty much done having my well-intentioned posts needlessly picked apart and misinterpreted to satisfy Charles's ego. I keep trying and trying to explain very minor points only to have it not be good enough for Charles. The precise percentage of where powers should be isn't that important; I personally prefer powers to be less than half the question. I said this was a personal preference and that in my mind having powers extend too far is not ideal. Charles ran with this to say I think ACF is incompetent and incapable. If this isn't an example of how people shouldn't be posting, I don't know what is.
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Re: ACF and Powers (POLL)

Post by Charbroil » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:39 am

To be clear:
Charbroil wrote:I'm not saying...the ACF editors are "incapable." Rather, I'm saying that it is impossible to powermark ACF Nationals based on [Nolan's] parameters.
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