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Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:14 pm
by Cheynem
Okay, hear me out on this.

I scorekept probably more than I have in a while during ACF Nationals weekend and I would argue that in many ways, it can be as challenging as a reader, particularly for those who don't do it a lot. Here are some things I noticed that were helpful and that scorekeepers should think about; more experienced people in this regard can chime in too.

1. Stay focused. This is the absolutely biggest task a scorekeeper has to have. Nobody wants the scorekeeper who has to keep asking "was that power?" or "who got that?" or "was that 10 or 20?" They also don't want (and don't laugh, I've seen this too) a scorekeeper who just zones out and doesn't write stuff down. Being a scorekeeper, particularly I think if you're an experienced player or reader, can be tricky because the temptation is to get caught up in the moment or thinking about the questions. Remember to think about the game. In relation to my earlier point, though...

2. If you seriously don't know something, ask. If you are legitimately not sure how many points a team got on a bonus or who got a question, ask. Good readers should probably repeat these things for scorekeepers (like "30 on the bonus, next tossup"), but sometimes you just didn't hear and you want to check. Horror story: At one tournament, a scorekeeper lost track of the score quickly and then decided to wait until the half to figure things out...and didn't mark anything down in the process either. Whoops. I guarantee you that a quick second to double check who got what or how much is way better than the delay that took. There's nothing wrong with double checking. If it's a timed tournament, you might want to stop the clock, though.

3. Don't be the show. Obviously true for moderators too, but scorekeepers should resist doing things like indicating that they know an answer, talking during bonuses, or otherwise being obnoxious on questions. Obviously you can exchange a quip here or there with teams you know, but be unobtrusive.

4. Let the moderator be the moderator. Nobody likes the know it all scorekeeper, who says "don't take that!" or "that's right!" all the time. Let the moderator consult the answerline first. Feel free if consulted or asked or if you have some knowledge to politely weigh in, but don't play backseat judge here.

5. Be efficient and organized. Write clearly. Check your math. Check with teams to make sure the scores are correct. Don't feel rushed but work promptly.

Readers, in relation to your scorekeeper, try and make their lives easier too. As I said above, verbally confirming how much a team gets on a bonus is a nice thing for everyone involved. If your scorekeeper has a question, let he or she ask it instead of talking over them. Be patient.

Any other thoughts here?

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:20 pm
by Megachile dupla
I fully agree with all of the above, one minor point I'd like to add is that scorekeepers should be careful to ask players for full names and check their spelling, especially in the first round so stats people can enter it into SQBS.

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:31 pm
by vcuEvan
More technical things:

If a player or coach reveals a difference in score at the half or at the end of the game, immediately start reading the cumulative scores starting at tossup 1 or tossup 10. This is almost always going to be the most efficient way to find out who was wrong and where, since it will identify addition errors as well as awards of incorrect number of points and other mistakes.

Start adding up player totals right after the last tossup is answered.

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 6:40 pm
by Cody
Evan is absolutely right: any scorekeeper worth their salt is totaling player stats as the last tossup is read. At a tournament where you need to add total the bonuses and player stats (national tournaments), you should be keeping a running tally of bonuses (unless you're Jon Pinyan). Basically, you've got a ton of time in game, so use that instead of adding time at the end of the game :)

And everything Mike said, plus: get some sleep if you're scorekeeping. Scorekeeping while tired is waaaay harder than moderating tired.

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 8:01 pm
by Muriel Axon
Fill out the entire sheet! This includes the round and moderator info up top and the score boxes down below. Whenever I've run stats, I nearly always run into one or two people who don't total up tossup and bonus points; not only is it annoying to have to check other peoples' math, but I've uncovered scoring errors this way!

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:24 pm
by Irreligion in Bangladesh
Know the "the score ends in 5 if and only if there's an odd number of negs+powers" logic. Makes it really easy to find many halftime scorecheck errors.

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:06 pm
by Lighthouse Expert Elinor DeWire
From my experience both locally and nationally, here are some stuff I noticed. A lot of these problems do with making sure the right player gets the right number of points.

- If 5-6 players play a round for a team, then draw a vertical line along the tossup boxes that the individual didn't play, and then write number of tossups heard. I think this is the clearest way to show substitutions.

- If >6 players play, please don't try to use slashes or whatnot on the "player name" field because that box is too small. There's a lot of space at the back. I don't know what NAQT officially wants at their National Tournaments, but I'm fine with explaining multiple substitutions involving many players on the back of the scoresheet. I don't mind having to read the back of a scoresheet that has a clear explanation than something undecipherable.

- I remember situations at MS/HSNCT last year where we had to ask each other in stats hq where the scribble in the player name field more resembled name A or name B. Write clearly!

- All statspeople need to enter player stats, apart from the first time a player plays a game, is something uniquely identifying. This is also something teams themselves can be more aware of. At a local tournament this past March, one team had a Jon Lin and a Jon Liu so the statsperson would be aware. All the scoresheets with that team had the N or the U difference between the two underlined or darker. Things like this can be really helpful and avoid error.

At small local tournaments, I'm not suuuuuper annoyed at unfilled boxes because I don't want anyone bad at adding delaying the tournament by taking minutes to do totals after each round.

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 12:45 pm
by Mike Bentley
Cheynem wrote:1. Stay focused. This is the absolutely biggest task a scorekeeper has to have. Nobody wants the scorekeeper who has to keep asking "was that power?" or "who got that?" or "was that 10 or 20?"
While staying focused is great, the moderator should always read out how many points a team got on a bonus. People are so likely to screw this up that it will always save time in the long run.

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 8:50 pm
by theMoMA
A few other tips. (Some of these also apply to becoming competent at reading and scorekeeping at the same time.)

* This might sound dumb, but pay attention to the math and try to come up with ways to do it quickly. You'll get in the habit of the common mathematical tasks--namely, adding 10, 20, 30, and 40 to various numbers (and 15, 25, 35, and 45 in formats with powers), or subtracting five--if you pay attention. Almost everyone can add really quickly when it doesn't involve fives and when it doesn't roll into another hundred, but remembering things like "85 + 30 = 115, because it's 15 on both side of the 100" out of habit, and not having to think it through each time, can be really helpful. (I realize this might sound dumb to people who are math whizzes and can do these operations very quickly in their heads with no mental shortcuts, but I definitely need them.)

* You can total up the other team's individual stats and bonuses while the last bonus is being read. If you're really quick, you can tally up the bonus-answering team's individual stats and all but the last bonus, too.

* You can interject with the score at important points late in a close game in an untimed format, as long as you're not stepping on the moderator's toes. "Penn is up 25" suffices if you're giving a courtesy scorecheck after the customary "scorecheck at the three-quarter mark." Again, don't interrupt the moderator to do this, but if you can pipe up quickly, it's helpful to the teams. When I'm moderating, I will often do this before tossups 18, 19, and 20 if it's a close game. (I usually keep a running tally in my head while moderating so I can announce these instead of the scorekeeper, assuming I have a scorekeeper.)

* If the moderator isn't saying the bonus points earned after every bonus, you should remind them. (But you might have to wait until the half in a timed format.) Another thing that can be annoying is when moderators don't say the tossup number. Even in a timed format, I think they should; you can just say "nineteen" or whatever if you think it takes too much time to say "tossup nineteen." If you're a scorekeeper, a friendly reminder at the half to the moderator, reminding him/her that saying the tossup number is helpful to both you and the teams, may be appropriate.

* When you're giving the score, it's helpful to remind teams if there are contested points because of a protest. A sample halftime scorecheck might be "Penn 200, Illinois 100, with 65 potential points on the Illinois protest." A sample "quick" scorecheck might be "Penn is up 55 with a potential 20 points in protest."

* It can be helpful to discuss with the moderator who will be clearing the buzzer before the match begins.

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:39 pm
by Steeve Ho You Fat
At Sectionals 2013, Jarret's scorekeeper literally fell asleep with his head on his hand around 3 tossups into the game and didn't wake up until halftime. Fortunately, I had been keeping score, but don't rely on this!
vcuEvan wrote:More technical things:

If a player or coach reveals a difference in score at the half or at the end of the game, immediately start reading the cumulative scores starting at tossup 1 or tossup 10. This is almost always going to be the most efficient way to find out who was wrong and where, since it will identify addition errors as well as awards of incorrect number of points and other mistakes.

Start adding up player totals right after the last tossup is answered.
Evan's second point is clearly correct, but there's no reason you have to start all the way back at Tossup 1 - if a coach disagrees with you at halftime, ask if you're in agreement after 5 to halve your area to look for a discrepancy (and similarly for 15 at the end of a game).

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:32 am
by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant
Steeve Ho You Fat wrote:At Sectionals 2013, Jarret's scorekeeper literally fell asleep with his head on his hand around 3 tossups into the game and didn't wake up until halftime. Fortunately, I had been keeping score, but don't rely on this!
Back when I was at Tech, some people seemed to hate being assigned to keep score, I guess because they thought it's boring or unimportant or something. This resulted in staffers filling the margins of the scoresheets with drawings. Like, entirely covering them. Don't do this.

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 12:53 am
by Amizda Calyx
Steeve Ho You Fat wrote:At Sectionals 2013, Jarret's scorekeeper literally fell asleep with his head on his hand around 3 tossups into the game and didn't wake up until halftime. Fortunately, I had been keeping score, but don't rely on this!
At CO history 2014, I also literally passed out while scorekeeping for Cody, and Tommy very generously offered to step in for me while I left to find an empty room to crash in.* I think the only reason I was able to stay pretty much awake for CO on Saturday was because Connie kindly let me read a bit more than half of the games.

*Unfortunately, I only got about half an hour of sleep in the room I chose since at some point a random Asian lady came in and quietly sat down at a table without turning the light on. She didn't notice me because I was curled up behind some desks. When I became aware of another presence in the room, I quickly stood up, made eye contact with her, and then dashed out of the room.

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:22 am
by The Ununtiable Twine
While somewhat tangentially related, I feel this point is relevant to improving overall scorekeeping throughout an event. If you are a tournament director, I think it's optimal to find out how many people are comfortable staffing a room solo. If your moderators are competent in both reading and keeping score in a manner that does not affect the pace of the tournament and does not lead to lower quality of moderation (especially in the case of timed rounds), I strongly encourage them to do so unless you have more than enough staffers. Even then, I feel as if experienced readers who are comfortable keeping accurate score and clearing as well should absolutely do so when given the chance in order to eliminate the need for communication between scorekeeper and moderator. When people volunteer to staff any tournament I'm directing, I always ask these questions which turn out to be the same question in disguise:

If necessary, are you comfortable staffing a room by yourself?
Do you need a scorekeeper?
Will having a scorekeeper make your matches run faster or slower? Be honest.

Asking these questions gives the tournament director the ability to cut time off the overall tournament. If you have a lot of staff, that's always great, but realize that continued suboptimal communication in one room can make the tournament run a little slower, so it's wise to determine your readers' needs.

Also, when scorekeeping, I always announce the halftime score within a second of the last question that is asked in the half so that any disputes can take place while teams are subbing or having their quick chat so as to move things along.

Re: Being a Good Scorekeeper

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:57 pm
by Steeve Ho You Fat
If you have some number of staff between the number of rooms r and 2r, you should always assign the slower moderators scorekeepers first. But if you have 2r staffers and the faster moderators are slowed down by having a scorekeeper, then either your moderators are terrible at communication (please everyone, always state the number of points on the bonus and the number of the next tossup) or your scorekeepers are incompetent. I'm more than comfortable staffing solo, but in the rare case that I get a scorekeeper who's familiar with quizbowl and can do basic arithmetic it's a nice luxury that lets me go faster, particularly in a timed event, since I don't have to pause for a second or two to write down points after each question.