Listening to Quizbowl Questions

Packet databases and other quizbowl sites, apps, or software should be discussed here.
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dpeskov
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Listening to Quizbowl Questions

Post by dpeskov » Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:36 pm

Hello,

I’m putting together a tool for listening to questions. I think hearing the question would be more realistic than reading it on a screen. The idea is similar to Moxon floated by QuizDB https://www.quizdb.org/future or this: http://hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewtopic. ... 23&t=18308
I'm imagining something visually similar to Protobowl.

1) Would any players here be interested in using this? If so, what features would you deem important? (Just a “yes” would be very helpful for scoping demand)
2) What question pool would be best to use for this? AKA what don’t you have memorized?
3) Would you be willing to read ~5 questions to use such a tool?
4) Any moderators, do you practice reading questions? Is there anything that you'd value in terms of (automatic) feedback?

If curious about the research, the broad motivation is studying question answering in an audio context. Things go wrong when computers misinterpret words!

Thank you,

Denis
Denis Peskov. Quizbowl dilettante and University of Maryland researcher

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Cody
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Re: Listening to Quizbowl Questions

Post by Cody » Wed Mar 06, 2019 4:25 pm

dpeskov wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:36 pm
3) Would you be willing to read ~5 questions to use such a tool?
Yes.
dpeskov wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 3:36 pm
4) Any moderators, do you practice reading questions? Is there anything that you'd value in terms of (automatic) feedback?
I have not practiced reading questions, outside of reading a lot at team practices and tournaments. Reading at team practices (and similar activities -- reading a packet that others are playing) in order to prepare for moderating at tournaments is a fairly standard practice, so if that satisfies your criteria then every suitable moderator should answer "yes" to that question.

I think the most useful analysis for moderators is their flow, as that is the most important component of reading questions. To steal a page from Andrew Hart's book and gauchely quote myself: "flow mostly involves how natural a moderator's reading is, i.e. lacking stiltedness, pauses, and other hallmarks of poor moderators" -- and the cadence of the moderator should communicate to teams how the sentences and clues are structured. (For example, when a sentence is coming to an end, when a new clause occurs, when an appositive or similar construction appears, etc.)

I do not know that it is possible to have (automatic) feedback along those lines, but that is, imo, the most critical piece of feedback.
Cody Voight, VCU ‘14. I wrote lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
VCU Tournament Director ‘13-‘17. HSAPQ President ‘15-16.
Hero of Socialist Quizbowl Labor (NSC ‘14). “esteemed colleague” of Snap Wexley, ca. 2016. Stats Hero (Nats ‘16).
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Mike Bentley
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Re: Listening to Quizbowl Questions

Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Mar 06, 2019 5:04 pm

Although human readers are nice, I've found that today's text-to-speech technology is good enough for this purpose. I listened to a lot of this year's ACF Regionals in this fashion (here's an example packet: http://www.doc-ent.com/mike2/podcast/AC ... M_Full.mp3). I've found that a good text-to-speech engine is a better reader than the median human reader at a local tournament.

I haven't gotten around to turning this into an actual service, but it wouldn't be all that much work to create something that could generate an RSS link for each question set on quizbowlpackets.com that you could feed into your podcast app to get audio recordings of question sets.

Alternatively, you could use something like Moon+ Reader for Android. It already has the capability to do text-to-speech on PDFs. Just download some PDF files from the archive and have it read the packet to you. It'll be a bit rushed on bonus parts.
Mike Bentley
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Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008

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theMoMA
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Re: Listening to Quizbowl Questions

Post by theMoMA » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:07 pm

A text-to-speech service would be cool. Obviously, the most useful thing would be an app that could actually take a quizbowl packet and turn it into a somewhat faithful audio experience of playing. So it would be able to divide the packet into "tracks" for each question, respond to the audio input of "buzz" by skipping to the answer line for the tossup and reading it after 5 seconds' pause, and read bonus parts with 5-second pauses before saying the answer. I imagine all this is nontrivially difficult but also doable, and that the packet parsing would probably be the most difficult thing to get right. But a service that would just turn a packet into a continuous mp3 would be cool as well.
Andrew Hart
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dpeskov
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Re: Listening to Quizbowl Questions

Post by dpeskov » Tue Apr 09, 2019 10:31 pm

Thanks all for the insight. Sounds like good reader > automatically generated text > not good reader.
Denis Peskov. Quizbowl dilettante and University of Maryland researcher

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