A Case for Online Scoresheets

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Bhagwan Shammbhagwan
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A Case for Online Scoresheets

Post by Bhagwan Shammbhagwan »

Just a few hours ago, the "Give Thanks for Matt's Buzzers V" at MVS just finished running a tournament using online scoresheets. While most of the scoresheets were entered by hand, I believe that the success of this tournament shows the potential for online scoresheets to be used in future high school tournaments across the country. In this post, I would like to make a case for the increased usage of online scoresheets in future high school tournaments. By "online", I am not referring to something as complex as Ophir Lifshitz's advanced stats, but a much simpler database running off of Google Sheets.

WHY ONLINE SCORESHEETS?
  • Stats could be viewed immediately. With the spreadsheet we used today, we were able to get and prelims and full stats on the spreadsheet within ~5 minutes of the last round ending. The spreadsheet we used even calculated, PPB and individual PPGs. While this may not be as big as a concern in the high school world as in college, it still exists. Online scoresheets have the potential to solve such a problem.
  • Tournaments could run a lot smoother and quicker. Because the scoresheet is automated, it would save a lot of time with having to total everything. Obviously the system isn't foolproof, but computer errors tend to be less likely than human errors. Tournaments would also spend less time re-bracketing during lunch, since the prelim stats are instantly up.
  • Stats are live. This is a very minor concern, but I think it would be nice for outsiders who aren't at X tournaments to "watch" certain quiz bowl matches at those tournaments.
WHY NOT ONLINE SCORESHEETS?
  • Technological issues. The plethora of things that can go wrong with something utilizing the internet is big: WiFi, losing data, limitations of Google Sheets, etc. However, I believe we can slowly solve this issue with each new development in scoresheet technology.
  • Huge learning curve. At today's tournament, the readers utilizing the online scoresheets had a lot of trouble with the permissions, as well as figuring out how to mark substitutions/putting bonuses in the right/etc. In general, online scoresheets will naturally have a higher learning curve for inexperienced and experienced moderators, but with practice, I believe that it could be easily overcome.
  • Paper scoresheets work very well on its own already. Why should there be a need to complicate things?
I'm curious to know what the community's thoughts on this are. The scoresheet mentioned above can be viewed using this link: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

If you have any questions about the scoresheet or wish to use it at your tournament (that would be sweet :smile: ), feel free to DM me or email [email protected]. Huge thanks to Patrick Matthews who helped me out with it immensely.
Last edited by Bhagwan Shammbhagwan on Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Hari Parameswaran
Beavercreek High School '19
Georgia Tech '23
trbenedict
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Re: A Case for Online Scoresheets

Post by trbenedict »

As the TD for Give Thanks V, I just want to throw in that despite having a staff that was stretched pretty thin, we were able to compile stats for this tournament as fast as we ever have, with a control room staff of 2 people working as quickly and efficiently as our typical staff of 4. Granted, our tournament was small, but I believe the system can and should scale. Here are some other things we discovered today:

1. Google Sheets has a limit for how many cells you can have in one document. With our tiny tournament of 15 teams total, Hari hit the cell limit around round 9. The workaround is probably at minimum to have two documents, one for morning and one for afternoon, and (for very large events), maybe different documents for each prelim and playoff bracket. I actually think this scoresheet system is best suited for a big event, which might have SQBS staffers much more harried, but set up your docs accordingly.

2. Even if only 40% of your scorekeepers are using the online sheet, it is such a boon for control staff...the people using paper sheets today had their data entered by the control room as normal, but the time to get a round entered decreased by at least two-thirds. Encourage the bold folks to bring a laptop while reassuring the squeamish that they can still use paper and not hurt anything.

3. Especially with newer readers/more technophobic folks: having someone assigned as a scorekeeper is way more important than it is with paper. The sheet does the math for you, but having that separate person helps the reader for having to do too much hunt-and peck.

Obviously many folks around the country have already used a variety of online scoring solutions to make their tournaments run better. I endorse Hari’s spreadsheet above as a straightforward, accessible system suitable for any circuit, and I encourage you to try it even in just an intrasquad scrimmage. I plan to use it again at our next event.
Tyler Benedict
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UlyssesInvictus
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Re: A Case for Online Scoresheets

Post by UlyssesInvictus »

Jon and Ricky would have to give their own opinions, but Harvard successfully used Neg5 today, and from what I can tell, it shaved off nearly an hour because stats that would otherwise have to have been input during rebracketing, forcing teams to wait around to discover a tiebreaker, allowed multiple teams to quickly get sent off to lunch/home while easily manipulating the stats to set aside those tiebreaker games or otherwise get a clear view of the regular standings.
Raynor Kuang
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Re: A Case for Online Scoresheets

Post by jonpin »

I've been to a number of tournaments that used online scoresheets, and they certainly can be beneficial. Princeton generally has a separate file for each room's games, to make sure they don't run into the size limit.

I will reiterate that if you're going to use such a system, you need absolutely bullet-proof 100% guaranteed dependable wifi. I've been at tournaments where the guest wifi logs out after a while and you need a host to sign you in again, and that's a disaster.
If you're having one person read and scorekeep, especially if it's digital packets, it is going to lengthen games, because you're now tabbing between 3 different windows for tossups, bonuses, scoring.
I'm not aware that this has ever been an issue, but with online scoresheets, if a bad actor gets edit-access to the file, they could fiddle with the data to catastrophic effect. There's also the possibility of accidentally entering stuff in the wrong room/round and it might not be noticeable as quickly (compared to a moderator walking into the tab room and the TD saying "Dave, why does this scoresheet say round 6 when we're on round 5?")

There is also something to be said for moderators returning to HQ that helps out with: keeping track of who is running behind (and reassigning staff if needed), giving out important announcements in a way that you know everyone will get, and hearing about protests or question errors.
Jon Pinyan
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Bhagwan Shammbhagwan
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Re: A Case for Online Scoresheets

Post by Bhagwan Shammbhagwan »

jonpin wrote: Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:49 am I've been to a number of tournaments that used online scoresheets, and they certainly can be beneficial. Princeton generally has a separate file for each room's games, to make sure they don't run into the size limit.

I will reiterate that if you're going to use such a system, you need absolutely bullet-proof 100% guaranteed dependable wifi. I've been at tournaments where the guest wifi logs out after a while and you need a host to sign you in again, and that's a disaster.
If you're having one person read and scorekeep, especially if it's digital packets, it is going to lengthen games, because you're now tabbing between 3 different windows for tossups, bonuses, scoring.
I'm not aware that this has ever been an issue, but with online scoresheets, if a bad actor gets edit-access to the file, they could fiddle with the data to catastrophic effect. There's also the possibility of accidentally entering stuff in the wrong room/round and it might not be noticeable as quickly (compared to a moderator walking into the tab room and the TD saying "Dave, why does this scoresheet say round 6 when we're on round 5?")

There is also something to be said for moderators returning to HQ that helps out with: keeping track of who is running behind (and reassigning staff if needed), giving out important announcements in a way that you know everyone will get, and hearing about protests or question errors.
At MVS, we used paper packets with online scoresheets. This solved the issue of moderators returning back to HQ to return packets and listen up for important advice. I am still messing around with the permissions for a single spreadsheet, but the view-only version that was posted worked well to my knowledge.
Hari Parameswaran
Beavercreek High School '19
Georgia Tech '23
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