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The Purpose of Bonuses

Posted: Fri May 29, 2020 12:02 pm
by Woody
Split from Paired Tossups and Bonuses - Mgmt
Mike Bentley wrote: Thu May 21, 2020 5:45 pm The hotter take is that bonuses end up making a difference in a very small number of games. A large portion of a quizbowl match is devoted to them. As I've argued elsewhere, I'd love to see new approaches to bonuses that preserve the teamwork element but make them more engaging, especially for a team that doesn't answer very many tossups.
I fully agree with this. I also think that the current way NAQT bonuses are structured are a significant detriment to quiz bowl's potential for mainstream appeal

Re: Paired Tossups and Bonuses

Posted: Fri May 29, 2020 1:09 pm
by Cheynem
Can you explain what you mean by this? How are NAQT's bonuses structured any differently than other quizbowl tournament's bonuses?

Re: Paired Tossups and Bonuses

Posted: Fri May 29, 2020 4:40 pm
by Woody
Cheynem wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 1:09 pm Can you explain what you mean by this? How are NAQT's bonuses structured any differently than other quizbowl tournament's bonuses?
Well, the NAQT format is pretty standardized across quiz bowl now, I think the only national outliers I'm aware of would be QUnlimited/NAC and the PACE NSC.

My issue with bonuses:

1) They take up too much of the runtime of an actual game, and it's essentially "dead air" -- there's no real motivation (outside of personal growth / improving their knowledge) for 50% of the participants to even be remotely engaged. While my team hasn't played NSC (we had planned to this year, but then 2020 happened), my understanding is that the bounceback bonus structure of that would be significantly better since it rewards all participants staying engaged through the reading of the question, and provides more dramatic tension to a match

2) As stated above, while PPB is a great metric for looking at how talented a school is, actual bonus points seldom make a difference in the outcome of a game. They arguably help smooth over the randomness of losing some buzzer races, but increasing the sample size of tossups would accomplish the same goal.

3) 0'ing a bonus is probably the most painful thing to watch in QB. It's like bricking free throws.

The things I like about bonuses:

1) They reward deep knowledge. 30'ing a bonus feels superhuman sometimes.

2) (similar to 1) they allow more obscure/difficult information to enter into the quiz bowl canon, and eventually become more common knowledge. It's a lot easier to canon-expand through bonus writing than TU writing.


Following up on discussion from the Discord, I am interested to look at Kurtis Droge's side events' bonus structure that was mentioned, where each question was apparently paired with two topic-related bonuses that rewarded deeper knowledge about the subject from the TU.

Re: Paired Tossups and Bonuses

Posted: Fri May 29, 2020 6:09 pm
by Cheynem
I think bouncebacks are another issue altogether, but in general (and I'll repeat what I said in the Discord):

I think bonuses are helpful because fundamentally quizbowl is a thinking, collaborative game--what may seem like "dead air" is (to me) a very important part of the game--not every second of the game must involve every team and player. I like bonuses as well because they are appealing to players who may not necessarily be aggressive, high PPG scorers, or alternatively, players who have deep pockets of knowledge but not necessarily the width to get a lot of buzzes. There's a great thrill and moment in seeing 4th scorers or what have you pull a hard part or some other part in a bonus that no one else on a team knows.

This is pretty far afield though from the general idea of pairing tossups and bonuses, which I am agnostic on.