NHBB Discussion

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8411
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:32 am

I guess I said I wasn't going to jump into this thread because indirectly it's HSAPQ questions being criticized, but whatever: there's nothing wrong with four-quarter format and there's probably nothing wrong with having tossups in a certain quarter worth 20 points (which this tournament didn't even do, in any case). If you don't believe that lightning rounds can be made equal difficulty and are thus unfair because teams hear different questions, than I guess you don't believe that bonuses in standard format can be fair either, and that's just silly. HSAPQ would never have gotten involved in NHB if we didn't think the format was perfectly fair so long as the questions themselves were written well, and in fact we do think that the format is fair and that we wrote good questions for it.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
Kouign Amann
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 1133
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:44 am
Location: Morristown, NJ

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Sun Apr 24, 2011 1:46 am

The questions were, for the most part, excellent. Distinctly less excellent were staffers who spent nearly as much time minding their watches as actually reading questions, and then deciding not to care as much for the next team. We experienced both the good and the bad sides of this coin last weekend. The questions may be fair, but it's not fair to read 6 to one team and 8 to another if the teams are playing at the same pace. I know that Dave will be trying his best to get better staffers for next year, but why leave this possibility for major terribleness?
Aidan Mehigan
St. Anselm's Abbey School '12
Columbia University '16 | University of Oxford '17 | UPenn GSE '19

User avatar
Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite
Auron
Posts: 1122
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:46 pm
Location: Fairfax, VA
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:11 am

Matt Weiner wrote:I guess I said I wasn't going to jump into this thread because indirectly it's HSAPQ questions being criticized, but whatever: there's nothing wrong with four-quarter format and there's probably nothing wrong with having tossups in a certain quarter worth 20 points (which this tournament didn't even do, in any case). If you don't believe that lightning rounds can be made equal difficulty and are thus unfair because teams hear different questions, than I guess you don't believe that bonuses in standard format can be fair either, and that's just silly. HSAPQ would never have gotten involved in NHB if we didn't think the format was perfectly fair so long as the questions themselves were written well, and in fact we do think that the format is fair and that we wrote good questions for it.
I think the issue is more of the fact that the rounds were timed, not that directed rounds exist in the first place.
Harry White
TJHSST '09, Virginia Tech '13
Member, PACE
Tournament Database Search by Team
Will run stats for food

Great Bustard
Auron
Posts: 1457
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:23 pm
Location: DC, NJ, and everywhere else
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Apr 24, 2011 3:25 am

Okay, just a few random points from my end:
-The format for next year isn't set in stone, and I welcome the discussion as it helps us get a better sense as to balance various prerogatives (e.g. maximizing fairness/keeping the format interesting/keeping the format understandable, etc.). Phil Blessman just suggested to me a "3 quarter" format of 10 tossups (perhaps with one related bonus each) followed by a 60 second round followed by a superpower round (no bonuses) that could either be 30-20-10 or 20-15-10. What do people think of this idea?
-Re 60 second rounds next year: we're going to beta test these on at least 10 NHBB staff, see what the average scores are, and distribute the rounds accordingly. As for timing, we can also work to bring the length of the question down, so that timing really only comes into play if a team is dallying. Easy fixes. I also second Matt's comments about 60's being not inherently unfairer than bonus questions. Also, keep in mind that the NHBB format is "tossup heavy" in point allocation, which is in some ways fairer than having 2/3 of the possible points come through bonus questions.
-What is set in stone is that we'll be much, much clearer as to how it all works for both staffers and students alike. Two ways in which we'll do this: Have a mandatory meeting for all participants (students and staffers alike) on Thursday night where we go over the format ad nauseam if we have to. If we don't have space for everyone, then we do multiple meetings. Latecomers get a tutorial at check-in. Also, just as I kept a very updated list of teams coming to Nationals online this year, the designated NHBB Nationals Staff Director will keep an online list of confirmed, likely, and possible staffers. That way, everyone will know just how many staff we'll have and what their affiliations are/experience is. By the way, next year's staffing call is going out as soon as we get the date squared away (we're looking at April 27-29 as the most likely at this point)
-Three days is all but a given at this point. Trying to cram everything into two days with both a bee and bowl and remote sites is just too much. There's no way to please everyone here, but I refuse to go through the grind again of trying to do the entirety of the Bowl in a single day. For DC teams, the best I can do is have you all slotted in to the Friday afternoon block, which we could start around 1:30. You might have to miss two periods of class, but you can do that for a national tournament, especially when everyone else is being inconvenienced far more in terms of time, expense, and having to miss all day Friday at the minimum.
-Bee Prelims Friday evening and then Bee Finals from about 11:45-3:45 on Sunday is the way to go. As for the Bowl, we can start a 32 team double elim playoff (possibly with play in games for seeds 29-36?) at about 6:15 on Saturday, go until about 10:30, pick up again at 8:30 Sunday, and finish around 11:00. JV playoffs would probably be 16 team double elim and start a little later on Saturday evening (maybe around 8-8:30) once the Varsity draw has cleared out a bit.
-As for visual bonuses, etc, this is obviously a much, much lower priority than having everything run smoothly. But we are going to make sure the logistics are as watertight as possible well in advance. Doing visual bonuses is then not going to complicate matters - and we could always limit things like this to the playoffs where we'd have extra staff, etc.
-More generally, and beyond the obvious needed logistical fixes, what else do people want to see out of the NHBB next year, both at states and Nationals? One thing I'll be quick to add right away is the more staff we can call upon, again, both at states and Nationals, the more we can offer. A number of regions happened this year (e.g. Oklahoma, Washington State, California) largely because we found experienced tournament directors who could run a good tournament for us without the NHBB having to fly someone out. The more we can rely on this approach next year, the better. Anyway, our TDs make a minimum of $250 for doing something they love so let me know if you're able to help us out next year, especially if you're outside the Northeast (though we need people there too).
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

Edward Powers
Auron
Posts: 1107
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:52 pm

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Edward Powers » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:21 am

I know nothing is written in stone, and at this early stage I think that is wise, but I am not sure I understand your proposed Bee & Bowl schedule for next year as you stated it above. It appears you want teams arriving by Thursday in the early evening, leaving blocks of time on Friday, Friday evening, Saturday, Saturday evening, and all day Sunday for possible events. So, could you re-state more clearly your proposed use of these blocks of time, perhaps even subdividing days into morning, afternoon and evening blocks as you endeavor to clarify? And, is any leisure time at all contemplated in your proposed schedule so that teams can have at least one block of time to choose to do as they wish, perhaps sight-see or simply unwind a little between competitive blocks?
Ed Powers
Coach
SJHS Academic Team
Metuchen, NJ

User avatar
Kouign Amann
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 1133
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:44 am
Location: Morristown, NJ

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:37 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Also, keep in mind that the NHBB format is "tossup heavy" in point allocation, which is in some ways fairer than having 2/3 of the possible points come through bonus questions.
What's so unfair about bonus questions? They reward people who know stuff and don't reward people who don't know stuff.
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: -Three days is all but a given at this point. Trying to cram everything into two days with both a bee and bowl and remote sites is just too much. There's no way to please everyone here, but I refuse to go through the grind again of trying to do the entirety of the Bowl in a single day. For DC teams, the best I can do is have you all slotted in to the Friday afternoon block, which we could start around 1:30. You might have to miss two periods of class, but you can do that for a national tournament, especially when everyone else is being inconvenienced far more in terms of time, expense, and having to miss all day Friday at the minimum.
Ten rounds plus playoffs is not a grind in any way. You're not cramming anything. Hell, I've been to a tournament that finished eleven rounds before 3:00. Obviously, I don't expect that level of efficiency, but why is it so impossible to finish prelims around 4:30 or 5:00 and then have playoffs until 8:00 or so? In terms of "per guaranteed round," you require more time investment than any other tournament out there except NAC.
Aidan Mehigan
St. Anselm's Abbey School '12
Columbia University '16 | University of Oxford '17 | UPenn GSE '19

Black-throated Antshrike
Rikku
Posts: 379
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:47 am

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:47 am

OK I will preface this by saying that I wasn't at the tournament because I went to frivolous things like Prom.

The thing that jumped out at me the most was the time:
1. Three days for a tournament is absolutely unacceptable. It's very consuming and would cause teams to start missing classes which is very bad, especially at the end of the year when we have AP's to study for. Also by that the third day, people would normally start to get burned out from playing so much. which makes it less enjoyable. This seems like the largest problem here. You can't have people running over a city that has some of the WORST traffic in the US and not expect things to get delayed significantly. I like the idea of moving around because it was innovative, it just needs to be thought out better. It can be done as long as the logistics are worked out well in advance so that it can be reviewed by everyone and (hopefully) all problems can be ironed out ahead of time.
2. The tournament's last round should normally be concluded by around 7 at the latest on a given night considering teams still will need to eat dinner and sleep before the next day's events. I think the largest way this can be accomplished is with competent management and running of sights and rounds. Although in theory it is a good idea to wait for all packets to brought back before the next round is issued, this almost never works in practice. There needs to be a way of checking on what rounds need to be going faster. Having rooms check back in and then getting the packet would be good, and if they are one of the first back, why not just tell the moderators to say wait 5 minutes before starting if they are one of the earliest ones done.

I do think that this was a tremendous effort that Dave put forward and I believe that almost anyone else wouldn't have been able to pull it off. Though there were some problems, I believe that addressing them will be the best solution to the problems. I deeply enjoyed playing in the DE State Qualifier and would love to see another one.

Please feel free to let me know if something I have said here is in error or for some reason not feasible.
Joe
Delaware

Black-throated Antshrike
Rikku
Posts: 379
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:47 am

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:50 am

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Also, keep in mind that the NHBB format is "tossup heavy" in point allocation, which is in some ways fairer than having 2/3 of the possible points come through bonus questions.
What's so unfair about bonus questions? They reward people who know stuff and don't reward people who don't know stuff.
Umm if I am not mistaken any question that is asked rewards people that know stuff. As far as I can tell, as long as the lighting categories are of comparable difficulty, there isn't a problem with them being there.
Joe
Delaware

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:57 am

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:Umm if I am not mistaken any question that is asked rewards people that know stuff. As far as I can tell, as long as the lighting categories are of comparable difficulty, there isn't a problem with them being there.
Timed lightning rounds can be unfair:
1) Unless each first, second, third, etc. part takes equally long to read as the corresponding first, second, third (or at least from part 1 to part n, where n is around where 60s is usually called, but ideally each pair)
2) Unless the categories are in the same order in both parts, so (in an ordinary distribution) one team doesn't get two science parts and no history parts, because those were #8 and #10, and the other team two history and no science for the same reason
3) Unless the difficulty variation between parts goes in the exact same order (so one team isn't read more hard parts before the timer than the other)

Untimed lightning rounds, I think, are much fairer. I recall that HSAPQ's category rounds used to be written under the assumption that they were not to be timed, ideally, for much the same reasons. I'm disappointed that point has been compromised on, though I suppose these could have been read timed without HSAPQ's prior approval or something. (Or maybe they are now written assuming timing is likely--it's been a year and a half since I wrote for an HSAPQ 4q set.)
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Kouign Amann
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 1133
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:44 am
Location: Morristown, NJ

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:59 am

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Also, keep in mind that the NHBB format is "tossup heavy" in point allocation, which is in some ways fairer than having 2/3 of the possible points come through bonus questions.
What's so unfair about bonus questions? They reward people who know stuff and don't reward people who don't know stuff.
Umm if I am not mistaken any question that is asked rewards people that know stuff. As far as I can tell, as long as the lighting categories are of comparable difficulty, there isn't a problem with them being there.
You can't be rewarded for your knowledge about questions 7 and 8 if your mod doesn't get to questions 7 and 8. Conventional bonuses are untimed and thus don't have that issue.
Aidan Mehigan
St. Anselm's Abbey School '12
Columbia University '16 | University of Oxford '17 | UPenn GSE '19

Black-throated Antshrike
Rikku
Posts: 379
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:47 am

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:28 am

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Also, keep in mind that the NHBB format is "tossup heavy" in point allocation, which is in some ways fairer than having 2/3 of the possible points come through bonus questions.
What's so unfair about bonus questions? They reward people who know stuff and don't reward people who don't know stuff.
Umm if I am not mistaken any question that is asked rewards people that know stuff. As far as I can tell, as long as the lighting categories are of comparable difficulty, there isn't a problem with them being there.
You can't be rewarded for your knowledge about questions 7 and 8 if your mod doesn't get to questions 7 and 8. Conventional bonuses are untimed and thus don't have that issue.
By that same logic, you shouldn't compete at HSNCT because you moderator might not get to tossups 19 or 20. If the whole 60 seconds was the issue, why not just add say 5 or 10 more seconds to make it better?
Joe
Delaware

User avatar
lasercats
Tidus
Posts: 591
Joined: Fri May 16, 2008 6:11 pm
Location: Tulsa/Norman OK.
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by lasercats » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:29 am

I am not totally convinced that moving to a 3-day schedule would benefit. Teachers and students and teachers should not have to miss more than one day of school for travel, especially close to AP and IB exams, graduation, finals, etc. The bowl can happen in one day with very careful planning. If all sites are run as individual tournaments with no movement between sites at lunch, then all of the playoffs take place in one location almost immediately after, it can happen. Perhaps if the winning team from each site was the only team to move on to the playoffs?
A lot of our time Saturday night was eaten up figuring out room assignments and setting up buzzers. I think most of this can be attributed to site-specific problems which will (hopefully) not occur next year. It may be less glitzy, but to have the finals at a school, where there are enough rooms to house everyone and an auditorium where the finals could take place would alleviate many of the issues we had with the Newseum.

As far as the lightning rounds, I wouldn't mind a move to un-timed rounds, but running out of time before reaching the 8th question only happened once in my room. I can't speak for other rooms, but based on what I saw in scrimmages, some of the other moderators didn't exactly understand that. Hopefully the inclusion of more quizbowl-based moderators will help with this.
Maggie Larkin
Booker T. Washington '07
University of Oklahoma '11

User avatar
Steeve Ho You Fat
Yuna
Posts: 997
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:48 pm

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:52 am

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Also, keep in mind that the NHBB format is "tossup heavy" in point allocation, which is in some ways fairer than having 2/3 of the possible points come through bonus questions.
What's so unfair about bonus questions? They reward people who know stuff and don't reward people who don't know stuff.
Umm if I am not mistaken any question that is asked rewards people that know stuff. As far as I can tell, as long as the lighting categories are of comparable difficulty, there isn't a problem with them being there.
You can't be rewarded for your knowledge about questions 7 and 8 if your mod doesn't get to questions 7 and 8. Conventional bonuses are untimed and thus don't have that issue.
By that same logic, you shouldn't compete at HSNCT because you moderator might not get to tossups 19 or 20. If the whole 60 seconds was the issue, why not just add say 5 or 10 more seconds to make it better?
And many people complain about using timed rounds at the HSNCT. Also, with its character limits NAQT can make sure that all the tossups, at least, are of virtually the exact same length.
Joe Nutter
PACE Treasurer
Michigan State University '14
Walnut Hills High School '11

User avatar
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp!
Lulu
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:24 am
Location: Ohio

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:12 am

Lightning round was 60 seconds for 8 questions. The longest ones were barely a line long. If all 8 questions were not read, there is no way it was because of the moderator being a slow reader. There is plenty of slack to give a team 3-5 seconds to answer each question.

I think it would be better though to do untimed lightning rounds, since this would be a fairer way to go. Keep it basically as is, except have 10 questions, and allow a team 3 seconds (after the moderator is done reading the question) to answer each question. Theoretically, it would still wind up done in roughly 60-seconds, but this way moderators don't have to keep checking the clock/watch for time (I was fortunate to have a zeecraft, where I could just hit the 60-seconds and go, but not all rooms had one of those buzzer systems). And 3 seconds to answer, teams won't be able to "dally around."

However, I just feel very strongly about getting rid of the 20 points bonus. I mean if a team gets 7 correct, they get 70 pts, but for 8 correct they get 100? That's more unfair then a timed lightning round, especially since the categories are hard to balance in difficulty.
Fountain of Youth? There's already enough youth. Why not the Fountain of Smart?

-John Timmer, Kent State '10, Jackson-Milton Quizbowl Coach ('08- )

User avatar
Kouign Amann
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 1133
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:44 am
Location: Morristown, NJ

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:17 am

Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:If all 8 questions were not read, there is no way it was because of the moderator being a slow reader.
Say what you want, but this is just not true.
Aidan Mehigan
St. Anselm's Abbey School '12
Columbia University '16 | University of Oxford '17 | UPenn GSE '19

User avatar
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp!
Lulu
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:24 am
Location: Ohio

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:49 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:If all 8 questions were not read, there is no way it was because of the moderator being a slow reader.
Say what you want, but this is just not true.
I didn't mean to come off as saying I thought you were lying. I just can't wrap my head around...what comes down to 7.5 seconds per question (when the longest ones were 1 line, and heck many were 5-6 words), how anyone would not be able to read all 8. I would first think it was a team's poor time managing, by wasting 5+ seconds not giving any answer. However, maybe I am greatly under-estimating how slow some readers were.
Fountain of Youth? There's already enough youth. Why not the Fountain of Smart?

-John Timmer, Kent State '10, Jackson-Milton Quizbowl Coach ('08- )

Great Bustard
Auron
Posts: 1457
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:23 pm
Location: DC, NJ, and everywhere else
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Apr 25, 2011 5:28 pm

As for the length of 60 second rounds, some were really short, others may have been slightly long for a slightly slower reader. But I don't think this was a huge issue - and certainly not in the playoffs. I understand the point re the bonus points on the 60 seconds. What may be best here, and with many other questions, is to put together a survey that all can take, and then try and base some of the decisions underlying next year off of that rather than an unsystematic, though certainly helpful, discussion on the forums.
One thing that's become apparent though, is the notion that a two day tournament would in fact work quite better for many teams. I can certainly understand how this would cost much less, and especially since the tournament will be a week or two before APs begin, trying to minimize lost class time would also be very helpful.
Here's my current thinking on keeping it at two days (bear in mind that this is all very fluid, considering how I was really looking at a 3 day model as recently as two days ago)
Proposed Friday schedule
All day Friday, 9am-8pm - various events for NHBB participants at partner sites (e.g. lectures from experts, roundtable discussions, behind the scenes tours, etc.)
Scheduled scrimmage matches (rather than the ad hoc jumble of this year) from 12pm-8:30pm
Open Bee for State Champs 6:00pm-7:15pm
Coaches Bee from 7:30pm-8:45pm
Opening Meeting (mandatory for all staffers and teams unless prior arrangements made!) 9pm-10pm

Proposed Saturday schedule
8:45 - Round 1
9:20 - Round 2
9:55 - Round 3
10:30 - Round 4
11:05 - Round 5
11:30 - End morning block
1:15 - Round 6
1:50 - Round 7
2:25 - Round 8
3:00 - Round 9
3:35 - Round 10
4:00 - End afternoon block
4:45 - Playoff seedings announced
5:15 - 10:45 Playoffs. Note that assuming rounds could be done every 30 minutes, this allows for 11 rounds. To do double elim with 32 teams, we need 11 rounds.
So... would this be to everyone's liking? The evening rounds would then be done entirely at a hotel; during the day, one of the blocks would be at a remote site; one would be at the hotel. Meaning that 50% of the teams would play their morning block at a site; the other 50% would play at the hotel, and in the afternoon it would be switched. While I like Maggie's idea in theory of having each site function as a mini-tournament, the problem there is that it becomes impossible to have enough teams at a site to do a full round robin over the morning and afternoon (and the only alternative, i.e. rebracketing, becomes a logistical mess if teams don't know where they'll be playing their afternoon games in advance). We could scrap the site approach altogether, but that would require double the rooms at the hotel, and I think the idea of playing one block on site has wide appeal (though probably less for the average team that has people posting on the forums). The only issue with doing the schedule as outlined here is that it would have to run like clockwork. But... it can be done. And we will look to have the staff (all of whom are capable of reading at a good pace and know the rules cold in advance), train the staff, post sensible caps on field size, and have better ways of communicating (e.g. text messages to teams advising them of playoff seedings and round 1 playoff rooms) to make this all work. I think this is ambitious but doable. Thoughts? As for the Bee...
Sunday Schedule
7:25-8:05 - Check in for the Bee at the hotel - which is where all Bee prelim matches will be
8:15 - Round 1
8:45 - Round 2
9:15 - Round 3
9:45 - Round 4
10:15 - Round 5
10:45 - Round 6
11:15 - End of Prelims
11:45 - Roughly 20 Varsity and 10 JV Finalists announced
12:00-12:15 Depart for Mt. Vernon
1:00pm Arrive Mt. Vernon
1:20pm-3:45pm - Playoffs at Mt. Vernon
This is, on the whole, pretty similar to how we did it this year. I think trying for 7 or 8 prelim rounds is too ambitious if we do the playoffs at Mt Vernon. Do people want to keep that, or look to add a 7th and 8th rounds at the hotel? If we did that, there's no way we could do Mt Vernon, though we could look to do the finals at a DC venue, such as the Newseum on Sunday afternoon. Okay, more later, but interested to hear thoughts on this approach. -D.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

User avatar
jonpin
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 2028
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 6:45 pm
Location: BCA NJ / WUSTL MO / Hackensack NJ

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by jonpin » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:04 pm

Before I respond based on my own experiences, I'm curious on the results of your pre-tournament survey. Specifically, about what proportion of the teams were staying at the Crowne? What proportion were within walking distance?

Also, if you're having separate JV and Varsity playoffs of 16 teams, you can do it in 8 rounds, which might be a better idea than a 32-team playoff for a 70-ish-team tournament.
Jon Pinyan
Coach, Bergen County Academies (NJ); former player for BCA (2000-03) and WUSTL (2003-07)
HSQB forum mod, PACE member
Stat director for: NSC '13-'15, '17; ACF '14, '17, '19; NHBB '13-'15; NASAT '11

"A [...] wizard who controls the weather" - Jerry Vinokurov

Angry Babies in Love
Yuna
Posts: 819
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:09 pm
Location: MD//DC

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:55 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:If all 8 questions were not read, there is no way it was because of the moderator being a slow reader.
Say what you want, but this is just not true.
The questions were short enough that a team that didn't blow 5 seconds on each question would be able to answer in time. In all nine games I played, I didn't see a single :chip: round go unfinished, and we played some rock bottom teams.
Raynell Cooper
Arcadia ES '04
Richard Montgomery HS '11
George Washington University '15
University of Maryland, College Park '17
Hella things, National History Bee and Bowl

User avatar
Kouign Amann
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 1133
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:44 am
Location: Morristown, NJ

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:01 pm

Wurzel-Flummery wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:If all 8 questions were not read, there is no way it was because of the moderator being a slow reader.
Say what you want, but this is just not true.
The questions were short enough that a team that didn't blow 5 seconds on each question would be able to answer in time. In all nine games I played, I didn't see a single :chip: round go unfinished, and we played some rock bottom teams.
It's much harder to get through a round when the mod's way of handling thing is approximately:

1. Read question at moderate-to-slow pace.
2. Forget to acknowledge that a team has answered because you're too busy checking if time has run out (even though it's the first question).
3. Take a while to find your place on the page again and check whether or not the answer is right.
4. Check clock again.
5. Re-find place on page and commence next question.
6. If team attempts to interrupt questions to save time, become flustered and slow down even more.
Aidan Mehigan
St. Anselm's Abbey School '12
Columbia University '16 | University of Oxford '17 | UPenn GSE '19

Angry Babies in Love
Yuna
Posts: 819
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:09 pm
Location: MD//DC

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:05 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Wurzel-Flummery wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:If all 8 questions were not read, there is no way it was because of the moderator being a slow reader.
Say what you want, but this is just not true.
The questions were short enough that a team that didn't blow 5 seconds on each question would be able to answer in time. In all nine games I played, I didn't see a single :chip: round go unfinished, and we played some rock bottom teams.
It's much harder to get through a round when the mod's way of handling thing is approximately:

1. Read question at moderate-to-slow pace.
2. Forget to acknowledge that a team has answered because you're too busy checking if time has run out (even though it's the first question).
3. Take a while to find your place on the page again and check whether or not the answer is right.
4. Check clock again.
5. Re-find place on page and commence next question.
6. If team attempts to interrupt questions to save time, become flustered and slow down even more.
Yeah, to be fair I had nothing but good moderators all day. This goes back to moderator training and its importance.
Raynell Cooper
Arcadia ES '04
Richard Montgomery HS '11
George Washington University '15
University of Maryland, College Park '17
Hella things, National History Bee and Bowl

mtimmons
Wakka
Posts: 114
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 8:25 pm

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by mtimmons » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:28 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: To do double elim with 32 teams, we need 11 rounds.
Unless I am mistaken it can be done in 9 rounds. Here is an example 9 round 32-team double elimination format, where teams are seeded from 1-32 and the winner takes the lower card.
Round 1: (no-loss bracket 32 teams) 1v31, 3v29, 5v27, 7v25, 9v23, 11v21, 13v19, 15 v17, 2v32, 4v30, 6v28, 8v26, 10v24, 12v22, 14v20, 16v18
Round 2: (no-loss bracket 16 teams) 1v15, 3v13, 5v11, 7v9, 2v16, 4v14, 6v12, 8v10
(1-loss bracket 16 teams) 17v31, 19v29, 21v27, 23v25, 18v32, 20v30, 22v28, 24v26
Round 3: (no-loss bracket 8 teams) 1v7, 3v5, 2v8, 4v6
(1-loss bracket 16 teams) 9v17, 11v19, 13v21, 15v23, 10v18, 12v20, 14v22, 16v24
Round 4: (no-loss bracket 4 teams) 1v3, 2v4
(1-loss bracket 12 teams) 5v15, 7v13, 9v11, 6v16, 8v14, 10v12
Round 5: (no-loss bracket 2 teams) 1v2
(1-loss bracket 8 teams) 3v9, 5v7, 4v10, 6v8
Round 6: Cards 1 and 2 get byes. 3v6, 4v5.
Round 7: 1v4, 2v3. If Card 1 wins then an advantaged final between cards 1 and 2. If Card 4 wins then cards 2 and 4 play for a chance to play Card 1 in a 1-game final.
If I did this right there should be no repeat matches until round 6. There might be better ways to set it up but you can certainly do it in 9 rounds.
Max Timmons
St. Paul Central High School 2012
MIT 2016

User avatar
Kouign Amann
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 1133
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:44 am
Location: Morristown, NJ

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:41 am

What's wrong with, say, running a schedule that doesn't involve elimination, considering how much time and money teams will be investing in this tournament?
Aidan Mehigan
St. Anselm's Abbey School '12
Columbia University '16 | University of Oxford '17 | UPenn GSE '19

Edward Powers
Auron
Posts: 1107
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:52 pm

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Edward Powers » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:27 am

Are you suggesting a round-robin playoff? If so, how many teams and with what format to determine final placements? I ask because I find a round robin intriguing for the top "n" number of teams after prelims. Depending upon the number you suggest, it could probably be done in the 9-11 rounds contemplated for the alternative double elimination playoffs and would give all playoff teams more games to gauge their overall skill levels against the best opponents.
Ed Powers
Coach
SJHS Academic Team
Metuchen, NJ

Great Bustard
Auron
Posts: 1457
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:23 pm
Location: DC, NJ, and everywhere else
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:43 am

Re Round-Robin playoffs:
Personally, I think round robin playoffs are anti-climactic- I may take some flak for saying this, but I think at some level, the whole notion of trying as hard as possible to ensure that the best team in the field wins any particular tournament has largely been taken too far of late. For comparison's sake, imagine the NCAA basketball tournament run on a round robin format. Snooze. To extend the comparison, that tournament has been precisely more fun for more schools because a school like Butler or George Mason or VCU can in fact come out of nowhere and make a good run.
In QB by contrast, the nature of the game is such that upsets (in game formats that are inherently fair, at least) are relatively rare to begin with. Now, of course I understand the desire to have more teams play more matches. But I do kind of wonder whether, say, teams beyond the top ten, would also prefer round robin to double elim. Take this year's NHBB Bowl for example. With 72 teams in the varsity, the top team by all accounts (Maggie Walker) ended up winning. Moreover, the top 7 prelim seeds won their octofinal match. Already the cream rises to the top - is the push for round robin more a matter of fairness, or a desire for more matches, or both? Keep in mind that time is at a premium, and I think we will need to have at least 32 teams in the playoffs next year (Jon, 16 teams out of 72, as it was this year, was already a rather low number - if we're over, say 80 teams next year, I think having less than 20% of teams make the playoffs is a little harsh). Obviously, lots of people with lots of experience will chime in on all these points before we finally come to a conclusion.
Only a few things can be said with any certainty at this point, namely, a) it will be a while before we come to a final conclusion on the format for next year's nationals' playoffs b) I'm eager to hear feedback from all teams on this point c) If the general consensus among teams likely to be playing in the playoffs is for some version of a round robin at some point, I am open to that - ultimately, my personal preferences do not matter half as much as those of the teams playing in it, except that... d) I draw the line at having the entire tournament decided in round robin format. Conceivably, one would not even know which of a number of simultaneous matches would decide things. There will be a clear final (advantaged or otherwise) between the top two teams to decide it all, for both Varsity and JV. This is really the only point that I'm not going to budge on.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

Great Bustard
Auron
Posts: 1457
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:23 pm
Location: DC, NJ, and everywhere else
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:00 am

Wurzel-Flummery wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:If all 8 questions were not read, there is no way it was because of the moderator being a slow reader.
Say what you want, but this is just not true.
The questions were short enough that a team that didn't blow 5 seconds on each question would be able to answer in time. In all nine games I played, I didn't see a single :chip: round go unfinished, and we played some rock bottom teams.
Equating 60 second rounds as written by HSAPQ for the NHBB with QU 60 second rounds = not a fair comparison. See 8 questions v. 10 questions, shorter questions v. longer questions, varying difficulty within each category to ensure that stronger teams can capitalize on the bouncebacks v. not usually on offer, and a clear attempt to keep difficulty consistent across the available choices v. often not the case. Next year, all 60 second (or category, if we go that route) rounds at both NHBB states and nationals are getting beta tested by NHBB staff to ensure consistent difficulty.
Also, on the question of whether a "tossup heavy" or "bonus heavy" format is fairer, a lot comes down to which bonus categories randomly pop up. Do NAQT/other providers edit to maintain consistency of bonus conversion? If so, is this done prior to the first time a set is used or afterwards? In NHBB format, our bonuses correspond to the subject of the question. So if you get a tossup on ancient Greece, your bonus is on ancient Greece, etc. Have any other question providers/tournaments considered this? The only downside is that you can't just separate the tossups and bonuses, and go down the list, but you could have the bonuses written in right after each tossup. From the myriad NAQT rounds I've read this year, the issue isn't having to write any more or fewer bonuses; in NAQT rounds, the number of tossups and bonuses is the same. But it does seem a little arbitrary to get a tossup on, say Aristotle, and then a bonus on the National League Central. Since 2/3 of the points in NAQT format are decided this way, it does seem like many points and games could be decided on how the luck of the bonuses fall. Has there ever been a debate on this point? If so, point me to it. If not, I guess I just started one. Split the thread, if need be.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

Edward Powers
Auron
Posts: 1107
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:52 pm

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Edward Powers » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:36 am

Dave,

Perhaps you can do both. An example (among many possible ones): Take the Top 24 Teams, create 4 Brackets of 6 teams each based upon preliminary seedings. Let them play a 5 round round robin. Take the Top 2 teams from each of the 4 brackets ( after tie-breakers if necessary) and create a natural & seeded Quarterfinal single elimination, while perhaps the remaining 16 teams play their own quarters to determine their own final placement based upon the tier they are in after the round robin. This would take 8 rounds plus a possible tie-breaker, fewer rounds than your alternative idea of a double elimination. And these are simply suggestions. I know there is no hurry to decide anything immediately. But one thing I would insist on: Time for teams to eat! After getting caught in a torrential downpour my kids had a 15 minute lunch (due to the 40 minute earlier start time in the afternoon at Anderson House, and we were still late!) and a similar time for supper due to confusions about final seedings and possible make-up matches at the Crowne Plaza before having to rush back to matches at the Newseum. But these first-time glitches can doubtless be worked out, with time to eat being an essential consideration in any scheduling.

On the issue of going to Mount Vernon, I am all for that; I think it was one of the highlights of the tournament and should be a mainstay, especially given the remarks of the Director of Mt. Vernon when we were there, where he indicated his absolute support of your efforts to encourage a passion for the study of history in the young, which is, I think, the ultimate purpose of this competition in the first place. If I recall, he said he would do almost anything to support these efforts and help, and that kind of unqualified support from such an historic institution should be reciprocated in my estimation. Further, for all those teams traveling great distances, the opportunity to see Mt. Vernon itself, possibly for the first time, as well as the opportunities to see the beauties of Virginia in the Spring during the journey there are additional boons in my modest opinion.

And I would not abandon the idea of multiple venues for the Bowl just yet---I think that was part of the allure of your inaugural tournament and in theory is a wonderful idea. The key is execution. So why not survey all teams who came last week and find out what the general consensus is? If you are serious about moderator training, and if you can attract many collegians with moderating experience as you hope for next year, you can probably have your cake and eat it too---have great competitions, which is the first priority, and have them at multiple sites as well. Of course if one of these must be sacrificed, then the multiple sites should be, since the integrity of the competition must come first. But with competent moderators and sufficient pre-planning, my guess is that both worthy goals can be achieved.
Ed Powers
Coach
SJHS Academic Team
Metuchen, NJ

Great Bustard
Auron
Posts: 1457
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:23 pm
Location: DC, NJ, and everywhere else
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:16 am

Coach,
Thanks a lot for these suggestions. I think you may be on to something here. The idea of having five round robin rounds, plus three additional single elim (note: these can be extended length) games to decide things could be a great way to maximize both the amount of game play and still maintain an exciting finish. This then could also be a way to get additional teams additional games against other teams closer to them in ability. We'd need the run of the hotel to do this, but this could likely be worked out for Saturday evening, especially as we'd need those rooms during the day on Sunday too, so we wouldn't need to strike them on Saturday night.
Doing only 8 rounds in the evening too would also allow for a little more time to be built in during the day; both for meals(!) and also, to ensure a little more leeway, which could lead to being able to do both blocks on site on Saturday. One other thing we'd look to do here is to maximize the number of teams that wouldn't need to move from one part of DC to another. If we could ensure that 90%+ of teams would be playing both their morning and afternoon blocks, say within a mile of DuPont Circle, or a mile of the Mall, then having two hours+ for lunch (i.e. finishing morning games at 11:30 and starting afternoon games at 2:00) might even allow for teams to linger for 30-60 minutes at their first site and enjoy it a little bit. Or get to their second site early and do the same. Anyways, I'm thinking out loud here of course, but these are great points that I will strongly consider. In any case, I'll set up a survey by next week to get more feedback. And yes, Mount Vernon has been incredibly supportive, as has the Newseum and all of our sites. Glad to hear you enjoyed heading out there; that was my favorite part of the weekend too.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

User avatar
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp!
Lulu
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:24 am
Location: Ohio

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! » Tue Apr 26, 2011 2:08 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:From the myriad NAQT rounds I've read this year, the issue isn't having to write any more or fewer bonuses; in NAQT rounds, the number of tossups and bonuses is the same. But it does seem a little arbitrary to get a tossup on, say Aristotle, and then a bonus on the National League Central. Since 2/3 of the points in NAQT format are decided this way, it does seem like many points and games could be decided on how the luck of the bonuses fall. Has there ever been a debate on this point? If so, point me to it. If not, I guess I just started one. Split the thread, if need be.
I think that is a bit simplistic, but take it with a grain of salt, as I get tired of hearing teams gripe about not getting the easy pop culture or sports bonuses. The bottomline is you answer more toss-ups, powers reward a player for having deeper knowledge, and you hear more bonuses. The best teams don't win championships because they get lucky hearing an easy baseball bonus. They win because they 20-30 every set of bonuses (or very close to it). If the questions are good, the same rules apply to all teams, and the game format rewards teams that flat out know more, than that's about as fair as you can make it.

For the playoffs, I think no matter what you do (single or double elim, round robin, or I like Coach Powers' suggestion of possibly a combination) the best team will win no matter what playoff format you use. I say that because the distribution really doesn't come into effect. It's an entirely history-based tournament. If HSAPQ is writing the questions, then no matter how you do the playoffs, the team that has the deepest history knowledge will win the tournament. It's really that simple. So, it's really going to be about providing the most amount of games possible, but within the limitations of yourself and the available staff.

I agree with Coach Powers and the Director of Mount Vernon, I think having the Bee playoffs there made the most sense, and I think it would be wonderful if the NHBB is able to make that an annual tradition. I just meant I thought Mount Vernon was too far removed from the central area to have it as a site in the Prelim rounds.
Fountain of Youth? There's already enough youth. Why not the Fountain of Smart?

-John Timmer, Kent State '10, Jackson-Milton Quizbowl Coach ('08- )

Edward Powers
Auron
Posts: 1107
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:52 pm

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Edward Powers » Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:51 pm

That the best team will win if it is decisively better across the board is probably a reasonable assumption and, given the scores of Maggie Walker throughout the day this year, this was probably the case in 2011. Even so, what if the best teams next year are more bunched together the way seeds 2-9 were this year? Then question distribution in any one set---more or less early world/late US?--could change a match's outcome. And within that group from 2-9, at least 3 modest "upsets" occurred based upon preliminary seedings: Culver defeated Altamont, Parkersberg defeated St. Anselm's and Adair County defeated The University School of Nashville. Since the 3 losing schools were undefeated throughout the day, it could be argued that they deserved a better fate and, if most agree with this conclusion, then a format better than a mere single elimination is called for, at least as early in the playoffs as these teams were eliminated. What that format is, I do not know, but I hope it is one which allows for more matches between the top teams before deciding the Championship.
Ed Powers
Coach
SJHS Academic Team
Metuchen, NJ

User avatar
Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite
Auron
Posts: 1122
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2007 8:46 pm
Location: Fairfax, VA
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:50 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Personally, I think round robin playoffs are anti-climactic- I may take some flak for saying this, but I think at some level, the whole notion of trying as hard as possible to ensure that the best team in the field wins any particular tournament has largely been taken too far of late. For comparison's sake, imagine the NCAA basketball tournament run on a round robin format. Snooze. To extend the comparison, that tournament has been precisely more fun for more schools because a school like Butler or George Mason or VCU can in fact come out of nowhere and make a good run.
NCAA Basketball has to pander to a national audience. Quizbowl does not.
Harry White
TJHSST '09, Virginia Tech '13
Member, PACE
Tournament Database Search by Team
Will run stats for food

User avatar
Kouign Amann
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 1133
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:44 am
Location: Morristown, NJ

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Tue Apr 26, 2011 7:59 pm

A Barehanded Telethon Mirth Gun wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Personally, I think round robin playoffs are anti-climactic- I may take some flak for saying this, but I think at some level, the whole notion of trying as hard as possible to ensure that the best team in the field wins any particular tournament has largely been taken too far of late. For comparison's sake, imagine the NCAA basketball tournament run on a round robin format. Snooze. To extend the comparison, that tournament has been precisely more fun for more schools because a school like Butler or George Mason or VCU can in fact come out of nowhere and make a good run.
NCAA Basketball has to pander to a national audience. Quizbowl does not.
In addition, I'll speak from experience in saying that it is physically impossible to play more than four games of basketball in a day without getting totally wiped out. Luckily, one can play ten to twelve quizbowl games in a single day without terrible fatigue. Why not take advantage of the logistical opportunity?
Aidan Mehigan
St. Anselm's Abbey School '12
Columbia University '16 | University of Oxford '17 | UPenn GSE '19

User avatar
Duncan Idaho
Rikku
Posts: 266
Joined: Fri May 29, 2009 11:07 pm
Location: Fairfax, VA

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Duncan Idaho » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:08 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:In NHBB format, our bonuses correspond to the subject of the question. So if you get a tossup on ancient Greece, your bonus is on ancient Greece, etc. Have any other question providers/tournaments considered this? The only downside is that you can't just separate the tossups and bonuses, and go down the list, but you could have the bonuses written in right after each tossup. From the myriad NAQT rounds I've read this year, the issue isn't having to write any more or fewer bonuses; in NAQT rounds, the number of tossups and bonuses is the same. But it does seem a little arbitrary to get a tossup on, say Aristotle, and then a bonus on the National League Central. Since 2/3 of the points in NAQT format are decided this way, it does seem like many points and games could be decided on how the luck of the bonuses fall. Has there ever been a debate on this point? If so, point me to it. If not, I guess I just started one. Split the thread, if need be.
The primary problem I see with related tossups and bonuses is that they create a situation where bonuses don't reflect a team's breadth of knowledge very well and only reflect depth of knowledge. Tossups test both, and, since bonuses are already designed to test depth by their easy-medium-hard structure, it seems ideal that bonuses should breadth as well in order to best determine which of two team knows more, and therefore who should win games.

From a perspective of "quizbowl is about learning," related tossups and bonuses don't help test a team over its knowledge over more fields. They create a limiting effect on the kinds of questions teams hear and on the kinds of question they need to learn. Because the bonuses they get will mostly be in categories teams know best, they don't need to learn as many categories to be assured of a win.

They're also problematic from a perspective of game play- they cause problems with statistics. They inflate bonus conversion and overall points scored because, by nature, they cause teams to get bonuses in categories in which they're already better. (I suppose that at top levels of play, I assume this effect would be mitigated somewhat because top teams are likely to be better at all categories.) It can also make PPB a poorer tiebreaker statistic, because it will only test the depth of a team's knowledge rather than it's breadth.

In a hypothetical situation suggested by another player, say my team only knows lit really well. It may only get those 4 tossups, but if bonuses and tossups are related, it may 30 all the bonuses. Should my team as high a PPB as some team who answers 15 tossups but has a pretty decent knowledge of all of them, say 25 PPB? Clearly the other team is better than my team, but PPB fails to serve as an indicator for that. Aside from just a theory standpoint, this makes PPB a far poorer tiebreaker statistic for teams in different brackets. Now, obviously at a tournament that is all one subject, like the NHBB, the category factor may not be as important, but because of the subdistribution it can still be problematic. The outlined hypothetical situation will still work if one substitutes "American history" or "world history" for "lit," and the tiebreaker problem still holds.
Ben Cole, Southside '10, George Mason '14
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals/ the power of your intense fragility:

"I'll also note the humor in me defending high schoolers from Matt Bollinger." - Mike Cheyne

Great Bustard
Auron
Posts: 1457
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:23 pm
Location: DC, NJ, and everywhere else
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:19 am

Re bracketing/# of games: If five rounds are held in the morning, five in the afternoon, and teams are guaranteed a block of five in the evening for placement (which, at the lower levels of the standings, many may choose to forego at that point), then that's 15 rounds - even before three single elim playoffs to determine the winners. I think the solution here is slightly shorter matches, especially during the morning and afternoon, so as to avoid burnout. 18 matches in one day, wow, I'd be up for it, but that would really be pushing things for some teams and students, I bet. Also, I think by the time that the final eight teams have been identified, single elim is ok provided that the matches themselves are a bit longer. The evening block can feature games of an intermediate length.
In any case, if we did blocks of four games, rather than five, the problem there is that it becomes impossible to do a full round robin without byes. With 6 teams, you can do a full RR in 5 games. With 5 teams, of course, one is constantly sitting out, and if you go down to 4 teams, then it becomes just 3 games per block and that's too few. So I think the easiest way to avoid ODing here is to have slightly shorter games; though I think on the whole, with good readers the games as per the format we used this year did in fact go pretty quickly.
Perhaps another way to resolve this would be in the evening to have 8 blocks of 4 teams, do a 3 game, rather than a 5 game RR, and just take the top team from each bracket for that? At least at that point, teams would have had 3 additional rounds (i.e. 13 total), and if they're not among the top 8 at that point, then so be it. That would still mean that whoever won would need to play 16 rounds over the course of Saturday - and then have their top players almost certainly in action by 8:30am on Sunday. That may in fact be the way to go.
Re bonuses Sure, having a lack of a relation between the tossup and bonus rewards breadth of knowledge. But if you don't have breadth of knowledge, then you're not obviously getting a bunch of the tossups in the first place. And sure, bonus conversion would go up, but then the obvious solution is harder bonuses. I do see how PPB would become a near meaningless stat, since a team could get very few tossups, but if they happened to know those particular subjects quite well, their PPB could then be deceptively good. I just think at some level having a related bonus takes a somewhat arbitrary component out of the game. In any case, we'll keep doing it next year for sure, as I think it makes some sense and nobody complained about it at all over the course of the year. Much more up for debate is the overall game format. But I think I'm at least going to take a breather on that until say mid-May. There's no rush and a lot more pressing loose ends elsewhere that need tying up from this year first.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

Great Bustard
Auron
Posts: 1457
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:23 pm
Location: DC, NJ, and everywhere else
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:27 am

A Barehanded Telethon Mirth Gun wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Personally, I think round robin playoffs are anti-climactic- I may take some flak for saying this, but I think at some level, the whole notion of trying as hard as possible to ensure that the best team in the field wins any particular tournament has largely been taken too far of late. For comparison's sake, imagine the NCAA basketball tournament run on a round robin format. Snooze. To extend the comparison, that tournament has been precisely more fun for more schools because a school like Butler or George Mason or VCU can in fact come out of nowhere and make a good run.
NCAA Basketball has to pander to a national audience. Quizbowl does not.
True, of course. At least not yet... But also, I wonder if more teams would be more excited about more tournaments if it were somewhat more open as to which teams could potentially win. On a completely personal note, what really got me into quiz bowl was completely unexpectedly winning a tournament at the end of my sophomore year that featured an 8 team, single elim playoff. We flukishly won our semi and final matches, and then I realized I could be on to something. I'm not saying this as a complete defense of single elim; I understand all the arguments against it. But I do kind of wonder if anyone has thought about the relationship of formats that favor the favorites and the interest of good or aspiring, but not great, teams in coming to tournaments.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6557
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Cheynem » Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:22 pm

I think the issue here is that the "favorite" team is the team that has put the work in throughout the year, has demonstrated that they have a consistent breadth of knowledge, and should not be punished by a wacky format which prevents them from winning a tournament if they have dropped a game. To continue to ride the sports analogy, the MLB, the NBA, and the NHL use a best of 5/best of 7 format in their series with home field advantage going to the "favorite"--this still results in upsets, of course, but the general idea is that the better team will win because that is fair as opposed to a one game format where anything can happen.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Kouign Amann
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 1133
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:44 am
Location: Morristown, NJ

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Kouign Amann » Fri Apr 29, 2011 2:51 pm

Since we're talking about an issue that is most relevant to the top teams in the field, how about we ask potential top teams whether they'd prefer the funn and excitementt of a bracket or if they'd rather play more games against the best competition?
Aidan Mehigan
St. Anselm's Abbey School '12
Columbia University '16 | University of Oxford '17 | UPenn GSE '19

Edward Powers
Auron
Posts: 1107
Joined: Thu Sep 25, 2008 2:52 pm

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Edward Powers » Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:51 pm

In any tournament, eliminations must ultimately occur. The issue is how & when. Single elimination might be "exciting", but is it either fair or wise if a National Champion is to be crowned? I think not. HSNCT is, minimally, a double elimination tournament, and past Champions have sometimes lost at least 3 matches, if not more. PACE's NSC involves a series of round robins with re-bracketing until it too is reduced to its final two teams, so in theory the ultimate Champion can also have more than 1 loss, though I believe ( I might be wrong about this) in the past couple of years its champion was undefeated or had at most one loss. But the point is that 1 loss does not necessarily eliminate a top team in either of these nationals, but of course both take two days to complete as well. Still, even if the Bowl is restricted to one day, I would oppose any purely single elimination format for the future. And Aidan makes a great point---part of the fun of these national competitions is the opportunity to play the best of the best as often as possible. Let's be frank---only one team can win, by definition, so even the best teams know that sooner or later all but one of them will be eliminated by other gifted teams. So the goal cannot simply be to win it all, but rather to try to win it all, and, if this is ultimately impossible, to play as many talented teams as possible while trying to win the championship. So, a format should be selected which allows as many top level playoff games as possible, not only to justify the expense involved in coming from long distances to a national, but to provide the excitement and fun of playing as many worthy opponents as possible. And my guess is there are enough intelligent people involved in the Bowl that an imaginative format for the playoffs can be devised that allows for as many matches as possible, avoids single elimination, and provides an exciting Championship match at the end. What that format is at this moment, I do not know, but my guess is that one can be figured out before next year's playoffs occur.
Ed Powers
Coach
SJHS Academic Team
Metuchen, NJ

Great Bustard
Auron
Posts: 1457
Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:23 pm
Location: DC, NJ, and everywhere else
Contact:

Re: NHBB Discussion

Post by Great Bustard » Sun May 01, 2011 1:10 pm

It will be, and we have plenty of time to do it. Right now, there are other far more pressing priorities, but I'll definitely poll from the collective wisdom of many before determining what it's going to be. Same thing for the Bee for that matter too, which was even more ad hoc this year. I've basically already stated my personal thinking on the playoff format question, so there's no need to repeat it here, but to reiterate my major point - I'm willing to consider just about any format as long as there is a championship game at the end, which could be part of an advantaged final too.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

Locked