Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:05 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:But on the flip side, I heard many of the best teams in the field complain about gimme 30s in important games, which creates an almost impossible situation where we need to satisfy both the worst teams in the country and the best with the same question set.
Well, if you're trying to appeal to new teams and grow the game, I would have to advise against designing your tournament to appeal exclusively to the top 20-30 teams.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Auroni » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:06 pm

The set may be too hard; I'm not one to be able to determine that from stats. After our mirror next week I'm sure I'll have a clearer view.
You can get the clearest view by looking at the questions from any of the past incarnations of this set, which has been too hard for 95% of teams in every single instance. I'm highly doubtful that you'll be happy with how it plays out for your tournament next weekend.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:23 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Another thought. $60 bucks is way too little for this tournament.
So, uh, how exactly are higher entry fees going to encourage teams - especially new ones with no funds to rely on! -to attend?
Or, charge $125 (it's not going to scare teams away that are paying $200+ per kid for a flight!)
There's approximately 10 teams that do this with any regularity whatsoever!

I agree with your points on team recruitment - quiz bowl is very flawed in this regard, and needs to do a lot better work at it. But Harvard Fall Tournament as it is has recently been produced, and as early statistics indicate, was produced this year, is not the way to go about it, unless you were just joking in your threads about wanting easier sets for new teams and actually want them to play the hardest sets first.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by magin » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:23 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:
Fred wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I wonder if this is because potential hosts are rebelling against the perceived inappropriate difficulty of the tournament...
Dallas just posted stats for 15 of the 34 teams. 2 of those teams have a ppb better than 12.

Last year, HFT had the 3rd worst average and 4th worst median ppb of all the sets I tracked. I think this perception is pretty close to reality.
But on the flip side, I heard many of the best teams in the field complain about gimme 30s in important games, which creates an almost impossible situation where we need to satisfy both the worst teams in the country and the best with the same question set. In my experience reading for HFT there is a huge swath of teams that will zero almost any literature or arts bonus in a way that decimates their bonus conversion--not to discount the work HSAPQ and others do to keep high bonus conversions--we don't want to lower the bonus difficulty in those areas to the point it loses legitimacy as a pre-national tournament for the teams paying thousands of dollars to play the tournament.
It doesn't appear as though this set was announced as a pre-nationals tournament; if it was written to challenge the top teams, that should have been clearly communicated.

Also, it shouldn't be that difficult to write literature or arts bonuses with easy parts that a huge swath of teams will not zero. If you find yourself consistently doing that, perhaps it's time to alter your bonus answers to try and make sure it doesn't happen.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:29 pm

Mechanical Beasts wrote:
Fred wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I wonder if this is because potential hosts are rebelling against the perceived inappropriate difficulty of the tournament...
Dallas just posted stats for 15 of the 34 teams. 2 of those teams have a ppb better than 12.

Last year, HFT had the 3rd worst average and 4th worst median ppb of all the sets I tracked. I think this perception is pretty close to reality.
I think the teams in question that you are looking at are literally the bottom half of the field, like, those were the three lower brackets. Looking at the morning stats, you have 1 PPB above 25, 5 PPB above 20, 7 PPB above 15, and the median team is at 14.09.
Yeah, the fact that I was looking at the bottom half of the field was exactly why I posted that - the 3rd quartile ppb for HFT, which has one of the strongest fields in the nation, looks to be just under 10 ppb. It featured one of its undefeated teams winning games with scores like 115-10 and 145-50.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Mewto55555 » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:31 pm

Stats from the Michigan mirror are even lower.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by salmon of wisdom » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:38 pm

whitesoxfan wrote:Morning and afternoon results seem to be flipped.
What is currently labeled "afternoon" is from the prelims in The Barker Center. The current "morning" stats are from the consolation rounds in the afternoon at the Barker Center.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:50 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:But on the flip side, I heard many of the best teams in the field complain about gimme 30s in important games, which creates an almost impossible situation where we need to satisfy both the worst teams in the country and the best with the same question set...
What I'm taking away from this post is that you're happy being a hard set. And I'm fine with that too, really. I think there's a place for harder quiz bowl sets for high school teams, and that there is some demand for it. I've even suggested to NAQT that they produce a set harder than an IS set.

But such a set can't be the key point of recruiting new teams to quizbowl. I think it's actually harmful to the game if a quiz bowl team's first exposure to the game is a set that is quite a bit harder than what is being produced as "introductory" or "regular" difficulty. HFT is one of the hardest sets produced each of the past few years; it definitely was for 2010-2011. Given those two views, I cannot support any idea that tries to build the growth of the game around the Harvard Fall Tournament as it is currently produced.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Charles Martel » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:54 pm

magin wrote: Also, it shouldn't be that difficult to write literature or arts bonuses with easy parts that a huge swath of teams will not zero.
The experience of IMSANITY 1 has taught me this isn't quite true. I've seen bonus parts like "Name this painter of Las Meninas" and "Name this author of The Waste Land" go unanswered.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Auroni » Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:56 pm

whitesoxfan wrote:
magin wrote: Also, it shouldn't be that difficult to write literature or arts bonuses with easy parts that a huge swath of teams will not zero.
The experience of IMSANITY 1 has taught me this isn't quite true. I've seen bonus parts like "Name this painter of Las Meninas" and "Name this author of The Waste Land" go unanswered.
A few instances of you observing something going dead doesn't disprove that the "huge swath of teams" will still not zero those bonuses.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Kyle » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:02 pm

Part of the problem -- and I recognize that this is partly my fault -- is that Harvard has never made any effort to run a small tournament on something like an NAQT A set to appeal solely to local teams. We did try at HFT 3 in 2008 to give out information to attending teams about upcoming tournaments elsewhere in New England, an enterprise that failed in part because there weren't many other tournaments that were planned. I think it would be good for Harvard and its neighbors (particularly MIT, but also Brown and Yale) to have a more explicit discussion over the summer about who will host what when in an effort to make sure that there is more consistency and more collaboration in the region.

(I also happen to think that these four universities should have this same discussion every summer about who will have to host the SCT, but that may be asking too much.)
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:22 pm

The Hub (Gainesville, Florida) wrote:The set may be too hard; I'm not one to be able to determine that from stats. After our mirror next week I'm sure I'll have a clearer view. However I want to address what David Madden said in his post earlier, because I think it represents an attitude that is not good for quizbowl. This isn't a knock on David himself, he's doing a lot of good for the quizbowl community, but I believe increasing the price of HFT works against goals he shares with most of us.

Charging $125 for quizbowl tournaments isn't going to be a "catalyst for the growth of New England quizbowl," nor is it going to increase the amount of apparently well funded teams who jet around the country for tournaments in what is becoming quizbowl's version of the Premier League. It's ridiculous to sit here, while the economy is recovering from the biggest economic disaster since the Great Depression, and demand more and more money for quizbowl from high school kids and their grandparents. Quizbowl now has a top tier who spends a lot of money travelling around the country to play top competition on the best questions. I'm sure that has its benefits, but we need to be careful to make sure that quizbowl does not become a game where only those with the most money can be successful.

Let's look at the type of schools that David suggests should be coming to Harvard Fall Tournament. I would love to see Phillips Exeter and similar schools show up to quizbowl tournaments. And I'm sure their teams would be plenty able to supply an extra $10 or $50 or however much you ask. But what about the hundreds of public schools in Massachusetts? Maybe raising the price wouldn't hurt LASA or Dorman or anyone who has the money to fly to Harvard for a quizbowl tournament, but they have many good tournaments they can go to throughout the year. However, raising the price COULD keep a busload of poor kids from inner-city Boston from coming to HFT. I don't think it is more important for everyone to try and host expensive super-tournaments that draw national fields than it is to host good tournaments that draw people in your area into good quizbowl. 50 affordable tournaments of 20 teams apiece is better for quizbowl than 20 expensive tournaments of 50 teams apiece.

We're ignoring economic reality if we sit around say "Any student willing to spend a whole Saturday at an academic tournament can find a way to get an extra $10." That's simply not true, there are plenty of students who can't find an extra $10, and comparing this to babysitting is ridiculous considering plenty of people skip hiring babysitters because they can't afford the "not much" amount of $10 an hour. In fact, there are many kids losing money for being at academic tournaments, because they might have to ask off work. The opportunity cost of coming to a quizbowl tournament is already $50 or $100 for plenty of students, so raising the price of a tournament is just rubbing salt in the wound. Even if kids aren't paying themselves, their schools are already stretched thin trying to afford everything, and most quizbowl teams have to work on a tight budget. Raising the price of a tournament will just make it harder for schools with less money.

Quizbowl is in a squeeze right now. We are competing with jobs, entertainment, and other extracurricular activities for the participation of 14-18 year old kids. Some places are seeing increasing quizbowl participation, but in some places I've seen the amount of participation completely evaporate. Some teams that once had 20-30 students every year now struggle to find 4. We need good quizbowl tournaments that are accessible for all teams in every area, and while HFT is a premier event, Harvard still has a duty to the people who live in New England. Raising the cost of their tournament may increase their prestige in the eyes of people on this board, it may not affect LASA or Ridgewood or Phillips Exeter, but it would come at the cost of those who aren't as fortunate. And that's the last thing quizbowl needs right now.
I was going to reply to Dave Madden's post myself, but I strongly agree with this and disagree with him. Is outreach to local schools important? Yes, certainly. But that outreach should be for tournaments that aren't this one, and should never come at the cost of raising prices. The number of schools like Philips Exeter or LASA who have seemingly infinite pockets is vanishingly small compared to the ones who are paying out of their kids pockets, or their middle-class parents' pockets, or even their high school teacher coach's pockets. If $10 didn't mean anything to teams, why would teams bother bringing buzzer systems? And even if $10 wouldn't stop very many schools from coming, I can guarantee you $50 or 75 would. I paid for tournament fees out of my pocket for the stuff I went to solo last year, and I was very lucky that TDs were willing to work with me, being not school affiliated and such, and that I had friends near tournaments who I could stay with in most cases. If entry fees had been $50 higher, I can tell you with certainty that I would have gone to far fewer tournaments last year, and I am better off than probably a majority of Americans. Maybe the school you coach happens to be well-funded, in which case I congratulate and envy you, but nationwide parents and teenagers are losing jobs and school districts are cutting extracurricular budgets (my own high school just lost a levy and may very well cut funding next year), and we cannot afford quizbowl becoming something like yachting that is off-limits to the vast majority of Americans.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by gyre and gimble » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:37 pm

I just have a few things to note.

First, we made a conscious effort to make easy bonus parts easy, and to a lesser degree to make tossup answer lines gettable by any team whose players simply paid attention in classes that are commonly taught in high schools everywhere. Obviously I can't post specific answers, but just looking through Round 1 I would say that 15 of the tossups are things I, at least, encountered in high school or consider culturally famous. And they're all things my teachers spent significant time on, "significant" meaning enough for me to understand that these things are important parts of our intellectual heritage. The other five were from the following categories: literature, social science, art, music, and literature. I will admit that one of the literature tossups was difficult. But I will expand on what Ted said about literature and art questions at the high school level. Literature exposure is extremely bottlenecked in high school because survey classes are rare. English teachers will assign around 10 books a year and kids will read them, and if they come up at a tournament, they will convert them. If they don't have an interest in literature and are not assigned the book in class, they will not convert those questions. Does this mean that tournaments should only toss up Animal Farm, The Great Gatsby, and Romeo and Juliet because those are the only ones we can rely bad literature teams to consistently get? It's not realistic to argue that questions were too hard because topics that are not normally encountered by people who aren't very experienced in quizbowl were not being converted. As for social science, we again have a situation where if people haven't taken AP Economics or AP Psychology or whatever, they're not going to be able to answer questions that aren't on "Sigmund Freud" or "supply and demand" or "vowels," and unless social science is removed from the distribution, people failing to convert questions is not a problem that can be fixed. Art and music are even worse, because people with no interest in art or classical music will literally not recognize any of the clues we present, since those things are not taught in most high schools.

Looking at the bonuses in Round 1, I would expect a team of kids who have payed attention in their classes to at least get ten points on all but questions. The exceptions are on literature, social science, science, music, and philosophy. I've talked about literature, social science, and music already. Philosophy suffers from the same problems as literature, except the conditions are even worse. The science bonus I will admit as being too hard, but only because the easy part was asked in a slightly oblique way.

I'll assure people that I didn't just dismiss something as "easy" because I personally had knowledge of it as a high school player. I consciously asked myself whether I would expect kids in high school to know it. And if the answer was yes, then it made it into the set. I'll also note that we did write this set to be more difficult than an HSAPQ set, but we also wanted it to be accessible. I don't have conversion stats, but I would imagine that NAQT, HSAPQ, TPOT, LIST, Prison Bowl, and other high school sets all suffer from the same conversion issues regarding subjects like literature and social science.

Given this, I'm rather shocked that teams in Michigan were getting below 5 points per bonus. I would be even more shocked if these were teams with juniors and seniors who have paid attention in their classes. But if they aren't, I honestly don't know what people expect us to do with our questions. "Make them easier so these kids can get some points" is the obvious answer, but think about how far we would have to go to reward people with very limited knowledge.

Second, it's important to note the growing divide between good or competent teams and teams that do not fall in that category. One reason is that quizbowl is growing and we have lots of new teams that don't know the canon. Another reason is that the availability of college questions on the internet and the ability for high school teams to play college tournaments mean that it is really easy for motivated high school players to get good at quiz bowl quickly. This issue has been noted before, but I think a lot of people recognize that the high school scene has really exploded. The larger issue this raises is that regular difficulty sets are incapable of differentiating top teams. I have no idea what the actual reason was, but my guess is that this is the reason why State College played one high school tournament last season: HFT. My personal goal editing and screening answer lines for this set was to ask about things I would expect most people to know, but use clues challenging enough to make it worth it for teams flying in from all over the country. I think that with the state that high school quizbowl is in right now, it's important to give the top teams this kind of opportunity, because playing local tournaments is rather meaningless if you're Dorman and no other team in South Carolina can compete with you, or if you're Seven Lakes and you're losing game after game off of buzzer races against LASA B (this is a completely made-up example, I'm not saying Seven Lakes is losing games like that).

I'll probably be editing this set again next year, so I'd like to hear suggestions for fixing the problems I've outlined.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:44 pm

Fred wrote:
Mechanical Beasts wrote:
Fred wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I wonder if this is because potential hosts are rebelling against the perceived inappropriate difficulty of the tournament...
Dallas just posted stats for 15 of the 34 teams. 2 of those teams have a ppb better than 12.

Last year, HFT had the 3rd worst average and 4th worst median ppb of all the sets I tracked. I think this perception is pretty close to reality.
I think the teams in question that you are looking at are literally the bottom half of the field, like, those were the three lower brackets. Looking at the morning stats, you have 1 PPB above 25, 5 PPB above 20, 7 PPB above 15, and the median team is at 14.09.
Yeah, the fact that I was looking at the bottom half of the field was exactly why I posted that - the 3rd quartile ppb for HFT, which has one of the strongest fields in the nation, looks to be just under 10 ppb. It featured one of its undefeated teams winning games with scores like 115-10 and 145-50.
It's important to note that while we have some of the top teams in the country, and that does mean that we have a very strong field, there's nothing "strong" about our third or fourth quartiles, and there never has been that I've seen. Two years ago I remember trying to compile data for all the below-median-ppb teams that went to HFT. It was hard; for most of them I couldn't find another tournament they had played. The few I found did as well at HFT as anywhere else.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Cassian » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:51 pm

LASA? Infinite pockets? If by that you mean that parents pay for their children to attend out-of-state quiz bowl tournaments two or three times a year because they believe in the educational value of quiz bowl and place value on what we do as a program, then I guess your statement bears some resemblance to reality. Otherwise, I'm incredibly insulted. Where exactly do you think LASA or any of the other programs that places an emphasis on going to quality tournaments gets their money? Our parents pay for their kids to attend tournaments and I spend hours upon hours finding the cheapest ways for us to make those trips happen. Why else would we have all been at Logan Airport this morning at 4am?

As for well-funded, quiz bowl at LASA gets exactly ZERO money from the district or the school - we are a public magnet school and Austin ISD laid off hundreds of teachers last year (including some of my friends). We're barely even allowed to fund-raise AT school. Mr. Nutter, I encourage you, if you would like to know more about LASA quiz bowl, our school district's budget priorities, or the state of the Texas education budget in general, please drop me a line. As for your other point, I'm guessing that schools that place value on attending good quiz bowl tournaments will find a way to do so, infinite pockets or not.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Nov 13, 2011 9:55 pm

gyre and gimble wrote: As for social science, we again have a situation where if people haven't taken AP Economics or AP Psychology or whatever, they're not going to be able to answer questions that aren't on "Sigmund Freud" or "supply and demand" or "vowels," and unless social science is removed from the distribution, people failing to convert questions is not a problem that can be fixed.
NAQT and HSAPQ both have around 1 social science question per packet, or less, as opposed to the 1/1 that is standard in ACF. So yeah, social science does have to be "removed from the distribution" to some extent.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:03 pm

Mechanical Beasts wrote:It's important to note that while we have some of the top teams in the country, and that does mean that we have a very strong field, there's nothing "strong" about our third or fourth quartiles, and there never has been that I've seen. Two years ago I remember trying to compile data for all the below-median-ppb teams that went to HFT. It was hard; for most of them I couldn't find another tournament they had played. The few I found did as well at HFT as anywhere else.
Regarding the strength of your field: this year's third quartile included three teams in my top 100.

Regarding the attendance at other tournaments of teams at the bottom of HFT's rankings: it appears that 10 teams from last year's 36 teams. If you knew this was a regular thing two years ago, did it affect your approach to HFT's difficulty? Do you think it's the best tactic to take with teams who will only play at this tournament and are not expected to do well?
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:08 pm

Cassian wrote:LASA? Infinite pockets? If by that you mean that parents pay for their children to attend out-of-state quiz bowl tournaments two or three times a year because they believe in the educational value of quiz bowl and place value on what we do as a program, then I guess your statement bears some resemblance to reality. Otherwise, I'm incredibly insulted. Where exactly do you think LASA or any of the other programs that places an emphasis on going to quality tournaments gets their money? Our parents pay for their kids to attend tournaments and I spend hours upon hours finding the cheapest ways for us to make those trips happen. Why else would we have all been at Logan Airport this morning at 4am?

As for well-funded, quiz bowl at LASA gets exactly ZERO money from the district or the school - we are a public magnet school and Austin ISD laid off hundreds of teachers last year (including some of my friends). We're barely even allowed to fund-raise AT school. Mr. Nutter, I encourage you, if you would like to know more about LASA quiz bowl, our school district's budget priorities, or the state of the Texas education budget in general, please drop me a line. As for your other point, I'm guessing that schools that place value on attending good quiz bowl tournaments will find a way to do so, infinite pockets or not.
I'm sorry if I offended you; I merely chose LASA as an example of a school that is able to fly to tournaments from time to time; there are a half-dozen others that I could have picked and I didn't intend to imply that this was only LASA or that LASA was particularly rich or anything like that. I know that at my high school, no matter how much value and supports parents placed on quizbowl, a majority simply could not pay for airplane tickets and hotel rooms; our team still travels relatively rarely and would even less if the school didn't allow us to keep and use a large portion of the money we win on an Ohio TV show.

The point of my post was to point out this: some schools, whether due to school funding or generous and involved parents, are able to travel and stay in hotels for tournaments. The vast majority are not, and we need to make sure we're not focusing quizbowl on the ones who are fortunate enough to have those resources.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by reindeer » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:22 pm

The coach of a team in Barker in the afternoon asked me where he could find stats and I told him there would be a link in this thread; if he is still reading this and looking for them, they can be found at http://hsquizbowl.org/db/tournaments/158/.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Smuttynose Island » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:27 pm

gyre and gimble wrote:I'll probably be editing this set again next year, so I'd like to hear suggestions for fixing the problems I've outlined.
If you didn't this year you should playtest your categories with other experienced editors next year. From the look of things, and I may be wrong, your views on what people in HS know didn't match up very well with what they actually know. Other sets have very clearly shown that you can ask about Philosophy, Literature and other categories without having large number of teams get below 5ppb. Playtesting with other experienced editors and actually taking their suggestions into account can do wonders for increasing accessibility and should help alleviate your problems.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Magister Ludi » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:56 pm

Fred wrote:
Magister Ludi wrote:But on the flip side, I heard many of the best teams in the field complain about gimme 30s in important games, which creates an almost impossible situation where we need to satisfy both the worst teams in the country and the best with the same question set...
But such a set can't be the key point of recruiting new teams to quizbowl. I think it's actually harmful to the game if a quiz bowl team's first exposure to the game is a set that is quite a bit harder than what is being produced as "introductory" or "regular" difficulty. HFT is one of the hardest sets produced each of the past few years; it definitely was for 2010-2011. Given those two views, I cannot support any idea that tries to build the growth of the game around the Harvard Fall Tournament as it is currently produced.
When have we ever said that HFT should "be the key point of recruiting new teams to quizbowl"? I'm not really sure what you are disagreeing with in my post because you basically agree with my claim that it's impossible to write a set that caters both to a pre-nationals field and gives the worst teams in the country a bonus conversion acceptable deemed acceptable by Auroni Gupta. Do you want us to email the local teams and make sure they are aware the tournament will be harder than the average tournament? I basically think people on the board want us to write a tournament at HSAPQ difficulty, which would invalidate the experience for the nationally competitive teams that spend thousands of dollars specifically so they can play a legitimate pre-nationals event.

Rather than wasting hours responding to the typical chorus of complaints about difficulty, I would be interested in hearing what people think of potential ways to improve the situation for future. We are going to send out a survey to all the coaches who played at our site to get their feedback of what they would like the see in the future for HFT.

Heres a couple ideas:

1) Have separate Varsity and JV brackets with easier and shorter questions for JV.

2) Have one set of questions, but specifically have all the afternoon rounds in the upper bracket played on longer 7-8 line versions of those questions that better approximate PACE NSC length while keeping the lower brackets playing on normal 5 line questions.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:59 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:2) Have one set of questions, but specifically have all the afternoon rounds in the upper bracket played on longer 7-8 line versions of those questions that better approximate PACE NSC length while keeping the lower brackets playing on normal 5 line questions.
You already did this in 2008 and it was pretty stupid because the "hard bracket" played 7 line tossups that led to bonuses on the works of Roland Barthes while the "easy bracket" played 5 line tossups that led to bonuses on the works of Roland Barthes.

You and Stephen need to get together and decide whether this is a "hard pre nationals event" for top teams so suck it, everyone else (your line) or actually not hard at all even though most of the teams who played it couldn't answer the questions (his line). You are posting at cross but equally infuriating purposes thusfar.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Auroni » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:02 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:...a bonus conversion acceptable deemed acceptable by Auroni Gupta.
Auroni Gupta criteria for acceptable bonus conversion: middle of the road teams shouldn't be getting 5 goddamn ppb!
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:05 pm

So if I were writing a Simone Martini tossup for HFT...

EDIT so as to provide something a little constructive for this discussion: I'm not going to make a judgment on the set difficulty until I've actually seen the questions, but I'm not seeing all this evidence that tournaments on HSAPQ questions are "invalid."
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:14 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:When have we ever said that HFT should "be the key point of recruiting new teams to quizbowl"?
Dave Madden wants to make it a "catalyst for the growth of New England quizbowl."
I'm not really sure what you are disagreeing with in my post because you basically agree with my claim that it's impossible to write a set that caters both to a pre-nationals field and gives the worst teams in the country a bonus conversion acceptable deemed acceptable by Auroni Gupta.
I didn't "basically agree" with your claim. I at no point even commented on the ability to accomplish both goals with the same set. HSAPQ sets, Prison Bowl, etc. have done a good job of being accessible to weaker teams while actually letting the better teams win.

As charming as the random insult at Auroni for no reason other than to continue your pissing match that you picked for no apparent reason is, I feel pretty qualified to evaluate the difficulty of HFT, particularly last year's edition, in no small part because I have actually looked at the data for not just that tournament, but 29 others. 3,217 data points, actually.
Do you want us to email the local teams and make sure they are aware the tournament will be harder than the average tournament? I basically think people on the board want us to write a tournament at HSAPQ difficulty, which would invalidate the experience for the nationally competitive teams that spend thousands of dollars specifically so they can play a legitimate pre-nationals event.
So if this tournament is just for nationally competitive teams, why do you recruit teams that are not close to being nationally competitive for your event? Why do you allow your tournament to be mirrored at events where the fields will have only one or two nationally competitive teams?
Rather than wasting hours responding to the typical chorus of complaints about difficulty
Rather than waste hours responding to criticisms based in actual statistical evidence, I'm going to say things which are only based in "what I feel like saying right now!"
2) Have one set of questions, but specifically have all the afternoon rounds in the upper bracket played on longer 7-8 line versions of those questions that better approximate PACE NSC length while keeping the lower brackets playing on normal 5 line questions.
This didn't seem to work out too great in 2008.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:01 am

First, let me address the difficulty issue. I was actually just about to recommend something like what Ted just said in both his suggestions. I think the best distinction is not JV/Varsity, but rather "Novice" and "Expert" or something like that. Ridgewood had some juniors in the tournament, but they're for all intents and purposes novices. I do think it was very helpful that the tournament had 3 levels in the afternoon, not just 2. The more games against teams of roughly equal ability, the better. I also think that the same set could largely be used for the Novice (perhaps the experience in 2008 could be improved on?), but perhaps with 2-3 questions per round with obscure answer lines omitted, and other questions edited downwards. Honestly, though, the set used yesterday was more or less where I thought it would be, and while it was challenging, it didn't strike me as excessive.
Secondly, I agree that the primary point of HFT is not to be a novice tournament, but with so few tournaments in the area, and with many schools who would be coming to it anyway in a position to bring a novice team, it would be great if HFT could also have a novice division. One other option, perhaps, could be to see about the possibility of securing a vendor set for the novice division, while keeping the HFT set for the upper division. This might limit the number of teams from outside the area entering the novice division if they were apt to play such a set elsewhere, but again, it could help open qb up in the New England area.
Now, let me clarify my earlier point about tournament fees (this might call for a thread split...). First, Joe, I sympathize with you regarding tournament fees if you're playing solo. In NHBB, if a player plays the Bowl on their own, I always cut them a 50% or greater discount. That said, though, let me explain why higher fees can be a good thing. I think people largely overlooked the primary point why I suggested fees be higher - it was to use that money to hire extra staff so that more teams could play, or use it to pay someone to do outreach.
Personally, every single dollar that I've earned with NHBB has been turned around to hire staff, contact schools, build our websites, etc. If tournaments are going to do the same, then the net effect on quizbowl will be positive. Money is not the primary root of quizbowl's problems, and where it is, it's often because of much larger ticket items than tournament fees - namely, coach's salaries and travel. Ridgewood (which did not fly, took the cheapest bus we could find, and has a volunteer coach - me), still all told paid about over $1000 in travel costs - and $180 in entry fees. Doesn't this strike anyone else as slightly odd? Even at a "normal" Saturday tournament, paying for a bus and a coach - which are basically sunk costs once a team decides to go, almost always amount to more than the cost of the tournament entry fees, unless a district just has a flat contract with bus drivers, and each additional tournament doesn't add costs.
Also, keep in mind that when teams hold tournaments, typically they are doing this as fundraisers. Thus, if they go to the trouble of running the thing, then earning some extra $ will often then allow that school to go to more tournaments. The primary beneficiaries from this dynamic would be tournament hosts, but maybe that's only fair, too.
Additionally, in terms of costs, keep the following in mind. In upstate NY, a region of the country far from economically well off, numerous public high schools pay about $700 a year to play 12 Masterminds games. Another school I know of in a part of the country that is not exactly wealthy raises about $8000 a year basically by passing the hat among its local professionals. And don't even start comparing quizbowl team budgets to those of most sports teams (though we all know which of those actually reinforces the work students are doing in the classroom).
As for covering the difference in tournament fees, what about a bake sale? Asking grandparents? Setting up a community quiz tournament? In the grand scheme of things, given the amounts in question, I find it hard to believe that if an average team had to spend, say, $450 more on tournaments over the course of the year (which, let's say with 15 students on the team comes to a fundraising commitment of $30 per student) that this couldn't be done. I mean, sports teams do car washes and stuff like that all the time - couldn't quizbowl teams? I raised $400 for the Ridgewood Baseball Association selling cheesecakes when I was 11. $750 selling Christmas wreaths for my boy scout troop when I was 12. And I certainly was a lot more into quizbowl than I ever was into those activities.
Money raised, then, can be spent to help bring in more schools through greater outreach, more staff at tournaments, and basically make qb bigger and better and all will ultimately benefit.
I say this, of course, as someone who basically earns his living from tournament entry fees, so take this as you will. But- there's no way that NHBB could operate the way it does, and be so active in recruiting new teams (both for our tournaments and qb in general) if we charged less than we do. And in the meantime, I've been trying to do things like bring in corporate sponsors, initiate a grant program, run a free practice league, and take the first steps to setting up an online fundraising platform for teams, so again, I submit those as Exhibits A, B, C, and D for those who question my motives with all this. Any other thoughts on this general matter?
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:17 am

I've always envisioned HFT as a tournament that should appeal to two different groups:

(a) Elite teams, who play it to gauge each other with an eye towards Nationals; and
(b) non-Elite teams, who play it because (i) it is fun; (ii) they learn new things; and (iii) it is an excellent product.

I hope that the current members of the Harvard quizbowl team reject Fred's apparent position that a tournament can't do both of these things, but also do a better job of making (b) a reality.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by gyre and gimble » Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:38 am

Matt Weiner wrote:
Magister Ludi wrote:2) Have one set of questions, but specifically have all the afternoon rounds in the upper bracket played on longer 7-8 line versions of those questions that better approximate PACE NSC length while keeping the lower brackets playing on normal 5 line questions.
You already did this in 2008 and it was pretty stupid because the "hard bracket" played 7 line tossups that led to bonuses on the works of Roland Barthes while the "easy bracket" played 5 line tossups that led to bonuses on the works of Roland Barthes.

You and Stephen need to get together and decide whether this is a "hard pre nationals event" for top teams so suck it, everyone else (your line) or actually not hard at all even though most of the teams who played it couldn't answer the questions (his line). You are posting at cross but equally infuriating purposes thusfar.
All right, I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that I don't think this tournament was hard at all. It's not like I was denying that there were games where only half the tossups were being converted. What I was questioning was whether it's an editor's or a question writer's duty to accomodate people who have never heard of Naipaul or Queen Anne, which are two things tossed up in HSAPQ15-Packet11, and topics that I would have been hesitant to include in this year's HFT. (You're obviously going to find things you think are harder than those answers in the set, but that's probably more an issue with my sense of what is more difficult, and in some cases I could have been in the wrong.) I promise you that there were no bonuses on works of Roland Barthes or tossups on Haldor Laxness or whatever screwed up HFT in 2008. I'll also say that I compared this year's answer selection to last year's to make this year's set easier, given the complaints about difficulty we had last year.

If you really want me to boil my stance down to a few sentences, it would be that this was indeed designed to be harder than HSAPQ questions but was not meant to screw over teams who weren't elite. The clues were supposed to be top-heavy but the answers were supposed to be accessible.

Also, can you elaborate on what it is I'm saying that is "infuriating"? It usually helps to explain things like that instead of just stating them.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by centralhs » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:26 am

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I've always envisioned HFT as a tournament that should appeal to two different groups:

(a) Elite teams, who play it to gauge each other with an eye towards Nationals; and
(b) non-Elite teams, who play it because (i) it is fun; (ii) they learn new things; and (iii) it is an excellent product.
I can only speak for the teams attending the Georgia HFT Mirror but I do think that our field consisted of teams choosing to participate for exactly these two reasons. Out of the 18 teams in this year's field, all had participated in a prior HFT Mirror except for Bainbridge and Centennial and all of the others except for Paideia participated in the tournament just last year. These teams returned to play in the 2011 HFT Mirror because they had had a positive experience with past HFT Mirrors; presumably they had fun, learned new things, and were pleased with the quality of the product or they would not have come back.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:49 am

Money raised, then, can be spent to help bring in more schools through greater outreach, more staff at tournaments, and basically make qb bigger and better and all will ultimately benefit.
I say this, of course, as someone who basically earns his living from tournament entry fees, so take this as you will. But- there's no way that NHBB could operate the way it does, and be so active in recruiting new teams (both for our tournaments and qb in general) if we charged less than we do. And in the meantime, I've been trying to do things like bring in corporate sponsors, initiate a grant program, run a free practice league, and take the first steps to setting up an online fundraising platform for teams, so again, I submit those as Exhibits A, B, C, and D for those who question my motives with all this. Any other thoughts on this general matter?
I'm extraordinarily opposed to the "charge teams more for tournaments" idea, and I'll try to outline why. While the basic principle outlined above certainly appears to be the case for an organization like NHBB, I'd appeal to Dave to consider that it just doesn't really apply to 99% of tournaments (that is, events hosted by high school or college quizbowl teams).

Money raised will be spent on sending more of your teams to quizbowl tournaments. That's what money from these events is always spent on, and while it does go back into the circuit, it doesn't "expand" quizbowl in any real sense. A team that's hosting a tournament competently doesn't need to be target with outreach, and in a case like this we're talking about a well-funded college team that already goes to every tournament during which the football team isn't playing Yale. Harvard squeezing these high school teams for some more money doesn't do anything at all for the college circuit, and of course contributes nothing to the high school circuit.

What it does do, however, is take AWAY from the high school circuit. Even if we accept the premise that an extra $10/25/etc. isn't all that much (and I don't at all), it's still taking money form the pockets of teams that are not already maxed out on what they attend and funneling it into the pockets of teams that are. Seriously, what's the logic behind this idea? Dave cites "better outreach, more staff, and making quizbowl bigger," and I understand where he's coming from (as he uses entry fees to do these very things), but this is not how it's going to work for quizbowl clubs.

More staff doesn't really cost that much money - I've never had a situation where I had so many teams I had to start bribing people, but if I was lucky enough to face that dilemma, I'm sure the combined $120-$150 fees the nth two teams in the field were already paying before any price hikes would be enough several times over.

Similarly, there's not really a conduit through which you can place "more money" into "established college/high school quizbowl team" and return out "better outreach to marginal/new quizbowl teams." The only thing I could even come up with here is paper mailings about subsequent iterations of your tournament, which again isn't some huge cost we'd have to raise entry fees in order to offset. What's much more likely by raising those fees is that you take a new team (which is probably struggling to find funding) and charge them an extra 25 bucks or whatever to come to your event. That accomplishes no outreach goals at best, and at worst is a net negative.

So, basically, there's no way in which quizbowl gets made bigger/better by raising prices on tournaments like this one, and there may in fact be a way in which doing so helps push it just a bit smaller. I see no logical basis for this idea besides trying to make tournaments like HFT some kind of Veblen good, which I would viscerally oppose. I of course don't think this is the intention of Dave or anyone else with this kind of idea, but hopefully I've outlined why the positives just aren't there.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by DrCongo » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:55 am

First I want to thank the Harvard quiz bowl team for making the best of a bad situation with the Occupy protests screwing up logistics. We only had trouble finding the right building because we didn't get the email telling people about the changes. The top-tier competition we got to face and the question quality made the 14 hour drive to Cambridge worth it. Congrats to Dorman A on the win; they're a fantastic team again.

As for the whole discussion of the question set, the only real problems I noticed were typos, which compared to this whole difficulty discussion going on now is a very minor if not unimportant problem. I don't think these questions were too hard at all. I paid attention mostly to the history and geography clues, and none of the history or geography answer lines really jumped out at me as being "impossible." And the teams I talked to thought mostly the same thing: this set was great at distinguishing teams in the top bracket and, according to teams I know who played in upper and lower brackets alike, the set was fun and not challenging, but not too hard.
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I've always envisioned HFT as a tournament that should appeal to two different groups:

(a) Elite teams, who play it to gauge each other with an eye towards Nationals; and
(b) non-Elite teams, who play it because (i) it is fun; (ii) they learn new things; and (iii) it is an excellent product.
Coming from someone who just played the tournament, I think you summed it up pretty well. Thanks again to Harvard for hosting this.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:21 am

DrCongo wrote:I don't think these questions were too hard at all. I paid attention mostly to the history and geography clues, and none of the history or geography answer lines really jumped out at me as being "impossible." And the teams I talked to thought mostly the same thing: this set was great at distinguishing teams in the top bracket and, according to teams I know who played in upper and lower brackets alike, the set was fun and not challenging, but not too hard.
I'm hosting an HFT mirror next week, and several teams coming to our tournament were at DAFT last week. How do the two sets compare when it comes to difficulty?
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:06 am

DumbJaques wrote:
Money raised, then, can be spent to help bring in more schools through greater outreach, more staff at tournaments, and basically make qb bigger and better and all will ultimately benefit.
I say this, of course, as someone who basically earns his living from tournament entry fees, so take this as you will. But- there's no way that NHBB could operate the way it does, and be so active in recruiting new teams (both for our tournaments and qb in general) if we charged less than we do. And in the meantime, I've been trying to do things like bring in corporate sponsors, initiate a grant program, run a free practice league, and take the first steps to setting up an online fundraising platform for teams, so again, I submit those as Exhibits A, B, C, and D for those who question my motives with all this. Any other thoughts on this general matter?
I'm extraordinarily opposed to the "charge teams more for tournaments" idea, and I'll try to outline why. While the basic principle outlined above certainly appears to be the case for an organization like NHBB, I'd appeal to Dave to consider that it just doesn't really apply to 99% of tournaments (that is, events hosted by high school or college quizbowl teams). Money raised will be spent on sending more of your teams to quizbowl tournaments. That's what money from these events is always spent on, and while it does go back into the circuit, it doesn't "expand" quizbowl in any real sense.
I continue to disagree here. Again, I think with a little bit of more fundraising, teams can easily cover an extra $10-$25 per tournament. This money could primarily come from outside the quizbowl universe. Maybe it's extra money from the school. Maybe it was given by grandma. Maybe it was raised through a job. Maybe it was raised through a fundraiser. The bottom line, though, is that then, once it's in the quizbowl world, it will tend to slosh around the quizbowl world for the benefit of all concerned. The increase of such money and its velocity through quizbowl then will allow more teams to build their programs and attend more tournaments. Granted, some of this will be offset by higher fees at other tournaments, but by increasing the amount of money, even slightly, it will allow teams to do more, especially since so much of tournament costs are travel. At least tournament fees effectively stay in the quizbowl world.
A team that's hosting a tournament competently doesn't need to be target with outreach, and in a case like this we're talking about a well-funded college team that already goes to every tournament during which the football team isn't playing Yale. Harvard squeezing these high school teams for some more money doesn't do anything at all for the college circuit, and of course contributes nothing to the high school circuit.

What it does do, however, is take AWAY from the high school circuit. Even if we accept the premise that an extra $10/25/etc. isn't all that much (and I don't at all), it's still taking money form the pockets of teams that are not already maxed out on what they attend and funneling it into the pockets of teams that are. Seriously, what's the logic behind this idea? Dave cites "better outreach, more staff, and making quizbowl bigger," and I understand where he's coming from (as he uses entry fees to do these very things), but this is not how it's going to work for quizbowl clubs.
Here's the issue though. I talked to someone at Harvard (either Dallas or Ted) who said that lack of staff was one major concern regarding increasing the tournament size, and I thought that, well, maybe if the tournament paid its moderators, it wouldn't have this issue. TQBA does this in Texas - Masterminds does this in New York. It's not an unknown practice, and at least in those areas, moderator numbers don't hold back the number of teams. Same thing with outreach. Outreach, even if it's just sending emails, placing phone calls (direct mail, as I'm very notably learning, is not really the way to go - it's not cost effective for NHBB and we've certainly given it a shot), and maybe even visiting schools to talk up qb takes time to do it well. Granted, there are some amazing people out there doing this largely for the love of the game, but they are few and far between, and I know of no one in New England really filling this role on a systematic basis. Maybe if they were paid, even just $10 an hour, though, it would become easier. Imagine how many more schools could then be brought in. These schools could then hold their own tournaments and attend others in a very positive cycle. When I suggest that quizbowl teams raise their entry fees, it's solely to allow them as teams to attend more tournaments, and to perform outreach of this sort. If that's not going to happen, then I'm not for it.
More staff doesn't really cost that much money - I've never had a situation where I had so many teams I had to start bribing people, but if I was lucky enough to face that dilemma, I'm sure the combined $120-$150 fees the nth two teams in the field were already paying before any price hikes would be enough several times over.
Similarly, there's not really a conduit through which you can place "more money" into "established college/high school quizbowl team" and return out "better outreach to marginal/new quizbowl teams." The only thing I could even come up with here is paper mailings about subsequent iterations of your tournament, which again isn't some huge cost we'd have to raise entry fees in order to offset.
There's not a conduit because so few have really tried the approach I suggest above. That's not to say it can't work. In fact, look at the places where qb is big. Kentucky, Virginia, Upstate NY with Masterminds. Someone in all cases has I'm sure had part of their job description be outreach to new schools. If there's no financial incentive to do this - and yes it can be done, and no, mailers aren't really the way to go, then it's not going to happen, and we're all the worse off for it.
So, basically, there's no way in which quizbowl gets made bigger/better by raising prices on tournaments like this one, and there may in fact be a way in which doing so helps push it just a bit smaller. I see no logical basis for this idea besides trying to make tournaments like HFT some kind of Veblen good, which I would viscerally oppose. I of course don't think this is the intention of Dave or anyone else with this kind of idea, but hopefully I've outlined why the positives just aren't there.
To take the argument to its opposite extreme, what if all tournaments were free? Do you really think quizbowl would be better off for it? I'm not trying to make some real radical case here - it's more just that quizbowl tournaments have overall largely declined in price over the past 10-15 years and even though the economy was better then, very, very few consumer goods actually cost less now than in the late 1990's. The downward push on prices makes it harder for teams to attend Nationals, buy new buzzers, and conduct any sort of outreach. I don't think tournaments should cost a fortune, but I do think there's an optimal price for them at which quizbowl as a whole benefits, and I continue to submit that this price is slightly higher than what it currently is.

Moreover, though, if money's such an issue, then how come only 52 teams that weren't from Kentucky applied for $250 in free grant money? I know that well over double that number of schools has someone reading the boards on a regular basis (and a number of the 52 were non board schools too). And more broadly, what about fundraising more generally speaking? Are there other methods out there beyond hosting tournaments and passing the hat that teams do regularly? If so, I'm eager to hear about them, since I'd like to keep pumping $ into Ridgewood's resurgence as much as possible.

One last thing - how many teams have alumni associations? How many teams hit up their alumni associations for donations? Many qb people go on to very nice careers later on, and would certainly be in a position to look kindly on an activity they enjoyed and benefited from. Do you really think they wouldn't be in a position to give $20 a year or so? And over time, alumni grow and grow in number. Ten years out, if a qb team has six members graduate in any given year, well, that's 60 people. If half donate, and the average donation is $25, well, that's $750 - far more than the $450 that I suggested increased tournament fees might lead to. And then there's $300 left over from just one fundraising method! Maybe teams aren't able to do this yet, but they can start, and in the meantime, there are other options. Is this all starting to sort of kind of make sense? Anyone with their own $.02 care to jump in?
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Edward Powers » Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:29 am

I would prefer to leave the larger monetary and logistical issues aside for a moment and simply address the academic issues raised so far in this thread. To begin, I think it is fair to assume that experienced teams know that HFT will probably be on the more difficult side of most tournaments during the year, which in some ways constitutes part of its allure. Further, HFT has been recognized for annually attracting an unusually large number of elite teams compared to other regular season tournaments, a kind of mini-national field, if you will, and this too is part of its allure. Finally, of course, it is at Harvard, so students and coaches who love the intellectual challenges posed by quizbowl also have the chance to explore and experience the ambience of one of our great educational institutions, so this too is part of its attraction.

Given all of these fairly well known elements associated with HFT, why are the Harvard people who graciously host this event and provide this wonderful Fall opportunity for teams to measure themselves against some of the best teams in the country, suddenly asked to explain some lower than usual bonus conversions for teams in the lower half of the field? I ask not because bonus conversion stats for the bottom half of any tournament are unimportant, but for a simpler yet thus far unstated reason---when are coaches and programs held accountable for registering teams that are clearly out of their depth in a tournament like this? Why must the Harvard organizers defend themselves for writing a tournament that everyone knows is meant to be and historically has been somewhat more challenging? And this is not to suggest that the Harvard editors deliberately made topics less accessible, just to maintain a rep for difficulty, for I do not think they did this.

Whether or not stats will eventually support this ad hoc judgment, I do not know, but let's be fair here---question writing is not an exact science, and, further, since 8-10 of arguably the Top 10-25 teams in the country had registered, if my impression is slightly wrong, so what? What on this earth is the role of a coach in all of this? Shouldn't a coach be expected to judge whether his kids are ready for such a set or not? Further, must not a coach also assess the ancillary benefits of bringing his kids to such a tournament even if they might be overmatched at times, benefits like taking lunch in Harvard Square and simply appreciating the cultural enrichments this provides kids no matter what the specific outcomes in the matches themselves?

To illustrate some of these issues, I would like to start by using 3 programs who obviously judge HFT worth attending despite its known somewhat greater difficulty and I will use 2 programs my teams played this weekend, as well as my own, to do so. First, take LASA---it brought 3 teams, all of whom acquitted themselves well, even a "C" team composed largely of freshman. Surely the LASA coaching staff made a judgment and thought its kids, even its frosh, were ready for the challenges HFT offered, and the results suggest that their judgments were sound. Their freshman almost beat my Top 20 Team in the Morlan rankings in the opening round of the day, and had they defeated us, they would have played in the Upper Championship bracket in the afternoon instead of us. They also averaged 19PPB in the morning, more than my gifted team did. So the LASA coaches knew what they were doing. Now take another great program---State College. It brought 7 teams and it had to know that some of these teams would get hammered by some of the elite teams they would necessarily face---yet we must conclude that the State College staff judged that the overall experience for their busload of kids was worth some of the inevitable huge losses and poor stats some of their teams might put up. Is there anyone out there who wishes to argue with the quizbowl wisdom accumulated by the people at State College over the years? A third program is one with which I am intimately acquainted---my own, and I brought two teams to this event, expecting my A team to be quite competitive while also receiving its greatest challenge of the year, both in the nature of the questions and in the the known elite quality of the potential opposition, assuming we would be fortunate enough to make the upper bracket in the afternoon. Conversely, I brought a B team with some gifted yet inexperienced players who I suspected would be tremendously overmatched at times, both by the set itself and by the opposition. But since this B team was not my flagship team, I was not worried about scores or stats or records and I told them not to worry. I wanted them to have fun and to do well, of course, but whether they did or not was outweighed by all the intangible benefits the trip provided them. Had this same group been my A team, I would NOT have registered them at all, for then they might be discouraged by their overall performance and ashamed of how they represented the school and these would be outcomes I would not want for my kids.

And this is my real point here---should not coaches be held responsible for the situations they place their kids in and the expectations they have concerning results? Coaches know their kids best, so why blame the Harvard organizers if kids are placed in seriously overmatched situations? I personally appreciate all tournament organizers, and as long as I get the sense that they are trying their best to run a good tournament---and anyone who was at HFT knows they were---I find it inappropriate to suddenly try to place them on the defensive when the real culprits might be coaches who brought kids & teams that were clearly not yet ready for either a question set like HFT or a field of its calibre, especially the top half of the field. Of course, often a significant percentage of the bottom half of a field is composed of B & C teams that tag along with their excellent A teams, so bringing such teams is a judgement call that we surely allow, indeed, encourage, coaches to make. But when A teams come and are consistently losing by huge margins, is this the Harvard organizers fault or the fault of the coach of that A team? Surely the latter.

Having said all of this, I do have one recommendation for the future---knowing that many teams in the bottom half of the bracket will be B & C teams or some A teams that want a chance to visit Harvard in the Fall, why not offer all coaches the opportunity to register teams as either "Expert" or "Novice", and use these Divisions to bracket matches. Since this allows self-selection by the coach or coaches of each school, coaches with programs that are relatively new to quizbowl, or those in a rebuilding phase, or those with developing B & C teams can all select the Novice Division. Conversely, programs with strong B & C teams can self-select the Expert Division to face the excellent to outstanding A teams we know want to play in the Expert Division. For example, and just to illustrate,a team like this year's LASA C, though young, surely could play with many A teams, so if the Coaches of a similar C team in the future wanted to test their kids by registering for the Expert Division, who could blame them? Conversely, many an A Team yesterday was hammered by losses of 400-500 points. No one wins in such a situation. Why not give such teams the option from the outset to play in the Novice Division, under the assumption that a coach know his kids best? I know my relatively inexperienced B team gets very excited when it plays competitive matches, so I would have liked the opportunity to register it for a Novice Division from the outset, but that option was not available, so they played Seven Lakes, Whitman and LASA B ( a very different animal than most B squads, as everyone knows) in the Prelims with predictable results. My kids were fine with this, for they do respect and appreciate the excellences of their opponents, but they did enjoy the afternoon matches more, where for the most part they were playing teams of their own calibre in competitive matches. But, my bottom line is simple---let's place more responsibility on coaches and less on organizers before we get infuriated with hosts who deserve our thanks instead, at least as long it is evident that they are trying their best, and that, for the most part, seemed to me to be what the Harvard people were trying to do.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:03 am

First off, the reason KAAC has everyone in Kentucky involved in academic competition is because it's affiliated with the Kentucky Department of Education, it has always had a minor attachment to the Governor's office, and its Board of Directors includes members of the state Board of Education, the Kentucky Education Association, the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, and the Kentucky School Boards Association. All of those organizations have direct impact on every teacher, school, and administrator in the state, and they all encourage schools to have academic teams. Despite my minor quibbles with some of KAAC's format, the organization has done wonderful things for expanding academic competition in this state, and will hopefully continue to do so forever. Now onto my main point.

Despite this tournament being held in Massachusetts, there were only two teams from that state at the main site of HFT. Even if the tournament had filled in it's last two spots with teams from the state it was held in, they would still only represent 1/9 of the field. What jumps out to me here is that this tournament is not at all a "catalyst for New England quizbowl" and will not be unless the field is either no longer filled with teams from all around the country OR drastically increases in size. While HFT could double to a 72 team field and hope to bring in 36 teams from other states and 36 teams from local schools, it's important to note that this would be a gigantic tournament that would need a lot of space and staffers, and may not be the size of tournament Harvard desires to run.

However, I still don't see why Harvard would need to increase the price of their tournament. I don't know what their average profit per team is for HFT, but let's assume for a second that it's $50 per team for a 36 team field. There are not a whole lot of fixed costs in hosting a tournament, things like copies and food for staffers are variable costs that increase and decrease with the size of a field. Even if you're paying for staffers that is still a variable cost because smaller tournaments need less staffers and larger tournaments would need more, so the only thing I could possibly think of that would cut into Harvard's profit is if they spent a lot of money advertising their tournament and doing outreach to increase the size of the field.

Paying a person to do outreach seems like an ill advised cost to me, tournament directors could and should do this themselves, after all they are benefitting from the money raised because it pays for them to go to quizbowl tournaments. I've used this board, email, snail mail, and phone calls to get teams to attend our tournaments, and like just about every other tournament director ever I don't pay myself to do it. Speaking with coaches in person is another option I've pursued, but it's not much more effective than other forms of recruitment (I've actually never got a team to attend a tournament by speaking to a coach in person) and the other methods of contact should work well enough that nobody should have to use that one on an extensive basis. The small amount of money spent on outreach would come in postage and envelopes (like 50 cents a team total) and maybe some money for transportation if you feel the need to do in-house visits.

The amount of money spent on outreach would be dwarfed by the amount of new teams recruited to the tournaments, but even if it dropped Harvard's profit to $45 per team (it probably wouldn't drop it that far if at all) in a field hypothetically double its original size, then their total intake would raise from $1800 to $3280. So increasing the size of the field would make Harvard more than $1400 that it otherwise wouldn't have made. To bring the profit per team up to original levels, or whatever higher level David feels appropriate, he suggests raising the entry fee. While this would theoretically increase the profit per team and total intake for Harvard, there's also the possibility that it could lower demand among the very local teams you directed outreach towards. It may not affect Ridgewood or similar teams much, but when applied to tournaments nationwide, it can be seen that price increases would serve to make quizbowl less accessible for schools with less money and kids from low-income families.

Most students probably could come up with $10-$25 more to attend a quizbowl tournament, but that can really add up over time especially considering that they already have to pay for food on a lot of trips and could even be asking off work (thus accruing an opportunity cost) to attend the tournament. Some students cannot afford this extra expense, because some families have to make every last dollar count. David suggests asking grandparents for more money, but in a lot of low-income families, people don't have rich relatives either. I think it's wonderful that the parents of LASA's players can afford to send their students on quizbowl trips like Coach Flowers mentioned upthread, but my parents and a whole lot of others would have never been able to afford to send their kids to multiple quizbowl tournaments every year. I think generally quizbowl should try to avoid making families have to fund their kids activity, because that really can have the effect of shutting the poor out of the activity, which is something I don't think anybody wants to see.

So the burden should fall to the teams as a whole. At Grayson County we have been very lucky to have a supportive administration that funds the team well. But that's not usually what happens unfortunately, and with schools going broke it's not likely to drastically increase anytime soon. In that case, the teams must raise at least a major portion of their budget on their own. In a low income area where parents and alumni aren't well-off enough to step up and support the team themselves, then teams have to turn to other methods like going to businesses and professionals or fundraising. While this is unfortunate, people don't open their pockets for quizbowl like they do for baseball and Boy Scouts. I'm an Eagle Scout (not that the BSA would want people to know that) so I know first hand that it's easier to raise money for scouting because everybody knows what it is, whereas with quizbowl there are a lot less people who understand it, and a smaller number of people who care. David's youthful fundraising in Ridgewood, NJ (median household income of $122,000) was impressive, but it's not likely to be quite as fruitful in Leitchfield, KY (median household income of $26,000) or some worse off rural areas and inner city neighborhoods where nearly everyone is below the poverty level. Teams in these areas really can't spare any extra expense.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Nov 14, 2011 7:36 am

A few other things about the field I found interesting:

1) There are 32 teams at the main site of HFT from the states of Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, South Carolina, Mississippi, Michigan, New Hampshire, Virginia, Connecticut, and Maryland. Only one of these states has had a mirror of HFT that I know of.

2) Three active quizbowl circuits not represented at this tournament are Illinois, Georgia, and Kentucky. Teams from those areas make up about 20% of Fred Morlan's Top 100. There were no teams from those states at the main site of HFT, but more than 60 teams (if the Illinois mirror draws a normal sized field) from those regions will play HFT at mirrors of the tournament.

3) Two more of the most active regions in quizbowl are the Mid-Atlantic (MD, VA, DC, DE) and Texas, teams from those areas comprise about 20% of Fred Morlan's Top 100. There were a total of 6 teams from those regions that were at the main site of HFT, and they will be the only teams from their regions to play this set.

4) As I said before, only two teams in this tournament were from Massachusetts.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:18 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:
Moreover, though, if money's such an issue, then how come only 52 teams that weren't from Kentucky applied for $250 in free grant money? I know that well over double that number of schools has someone reading the boards on a regular basis (and a number of the 52 were non board schools too). And more broadly, what about fundraising more generally speaking? Are there other methods out there beyond hosting tournaments and passing the hat that teams do regularly? If so, I'm eager to hear about them, since I'd like to keep pumping $ into Ridgewood's resurgence as much as possible.
In this case, I don't think too many people knew about the grants (i could be completely wrong about this), and still enough people knew that 52 schools actually applied. I know my high school would have applied for it had I realized it even existed and forwarded the post to them.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:54 am

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I've always envisioned HFT as a tournament that should appeal to two different groups:

(a) Elite teams, who play it to gauge each other with an eye towards Nationals; and
(b) non-Elite teams, who play it because (i) it is fun; (ii) they learn new things; and (iii) it is an excellent product.

I hope that the current members of the Harvard quizbowl team reject Fred's apparent position that a tournament can't do both of these things, but also do a better job of making (b) a reality.
This was two posts and one hour before yours.
Fred wrote:
Magister Ludi wrote:I'm not really sure what you are disagreeing with in my post because you basically agree with my claim that it's impossible to write a set that caters both to a pre-nationals field and gives the worst teams in the country a bonus conversion acceptable deemed acceptable by Auroni Gupta.
I didn't "basically agree" with your claim. I at no point even commented on the ability to accomplish both goals with the same set. HSAPQ sets, Prison Bowl, etc. have done a good job of being accessible to weaker teams while actually letting the better teams win.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:37 pm

The Hub (Gainesville, Florida) wrote:First off, the reason KAAC has everyone in Kentucky involved in academic competition is because it's affiliated with the Kentucky Department of Education, it has always had a minor attachment to the Governor's office, and its Board of Directors includes members of the state Board of Education, the Kentucky Education Association, the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, and the Kentucky School Boards Association. All of those organizations have direct impact on every teacher, school, and administrator in the state, and they all encourage schools to have academic teams. Despite my minor quibbles with some of KAAC's format, the organization has done wonderful things for expanding academic competition in this state, and will hopefully continue to do so forever. Now onto my main point.
I think you're missing my point here, which is that even if the ultimate cause of KY having so many teams is due to the fact that the Board of Education is behind it (and amen to that), the proximate cause is that John Bennett, Brenda Darnell, and a number of other dedicated people work and have worked at building up and promoting academic competition as their job. If they weren't doing that, I guarantee you, academic competition wouldn't be nearly half as widespread in Kentucky as it is. Just compare Kentucky with most neighboring states to see what I mean.
Despite this tournament being held in Massachusetts, there were only two teams from that state at the main site of HFT. Even if the tournament had filled in it's last two spots with teams from the state it was held in, they would still only represent 1/9 of the field. What jumps out to me here is that this tournament is not at all a "catalyst for New England quizbowl" and will not be unless the field is either no longer filled with teams from all around the country OR drastically increases in size.
But wait a minute, I know that it's not currently a catalyst for New England quizbowl, but why couldn't it be? Let's assume that Harvard goes the route that Coach Powers, I, and Ted from Harvard itself suggested in having two divisions next year. There are practically thousands of New England schools that could do the lower division, even if only a handful belong in the upper division. Or Harvard could run a separate tournament.
While HFT could double to a 72 team field and hope to bring in 36 teams from other states and 36 teams from local schools, it's important to note that this would be a gigantic tournament that would need a lot of space and staffers, and may not be the size of tournament Harvard desires to run.
Yes, 72 teams is large. No it's not gigantic. There are plenty of well-run tournaments that often get these numbers, and they're tons of fun to play in. It would need a lot of space and staffers, but my whole point is that this is where the money would go (especially on extra staff - I don't know about Harvard policies on rooms, but hopefully they're not too strict about it). And I don't want to put the onus on Harvard here. There are numerous other colleges that could hold high school tournaments in the area, and just a lot of room for growth in New England, period. I'm just using HFT as a possible catalyst because even if it's not a huge draw for New England, it's probably the best way to draw new schools in given its established status.
However, I still don't see why Harvard would need to increase the price of their tournament. I don't know what their average profit per team is for HFT, but let's assume for a second that it's $50 per team for a 36 team field. There are not a whole lot of fixed costs in hosting a tournament, things like copies and food for staffers are variable costs that increase and decrease with the size of a field. Even if you're paying for staffers that is still a variable cost because smaller tournaments need less staffers and larger tournaments would need more, so the only thing I could possibly think of that would cut into Harvard's profit is if they spent a lot of money advertising their tournament and doing outreach to increase the size of the field.
But I assume Harvard needs money to travel to Nationals and other tournaments, and when you start talking about flights and hotels as you know, things get expensive. Even if we're talking Harvard, the best-endowed institution of higher learning on the planet, funds aren't unlimited. Maybe that extra money allows Harvard to bring a second or third team to a tournament they might not otherwise have been able to. And that still leaves outreach, which has initial upfront costs, but ultimately quizbowl as a whole benefits.
Paying a person to do outreach seems like an ill advised cost to me, tournament directors could and should do this themselves, after all they are benefitting from the money raised because it pays for them to go to quizbowl tournaments. I've used this board, email, snail mail, and phone calls to get teams to attend our tournaments, and like just about every other tournament director ever I don't pay myself to do it. Speaking with coaches in person is another option I've pursued, but it's not much more effective than other forms of recruitment (I've actually never got a team to attend a tournament by speaking to a coach in person) and the other methods of contact should work well enough that nobody should have to use that one on an extensive basis. The small amount of money spent on outreach would come in postage and envelopes (like 50 cents a team total) and maybe some money for transportation if you feel the need to do in-house visits.
I at least have recruited numerous schools to NHBB by talking to coaches in person. The reason NHBB, and very soon thereafter, regular quizbowl will exist, in Alaska, Northern New Mexico, Europe, Hawaii - period, and why we've given it a boost in areas such as South Florida, Washington state, New Jersey, and many other places, is because we've invested time and money to go visit with coaches and schools in those areas. As I mentioned, mailers are not really cost effective. Email marketing, as we're learning, is almost certainly the way to go, but for that to be done well, it needs to be combined with follow up calls, statistical analysis of responses, and on-site visits. Trust me here, this is how quizbowl starts or gets a huge needed boost, but again, this is time intensive, and it's naive to expect this burden to fall on tournament directors. Moreover, how many schools actually have an active team around the country? My guess is that from about 36,000 US high schools, maybe 10,000 have a team of any sort, maybe 1000-3000 of those could be considered at least semi-active, and about 300-500 constitute roughly 80% of tournament registrations. We are the 1%. But unless time AND money is invested into building up other regions, quizbowl is going to be a shadow of its potential. Everyone knows that I'm working to fix this, and in due time, every part of the world, let alone the USA, will be hearing from me on it, but to think I can make this happen, or that anyone looking to build up a region can make this happen without money is naive. And again, I'm only suggesting that tournament fees be higher if this is where the money goes. If staffing needs aren't an issue, if nobody at a tournament has any interest in doing systematic outreach, and if the tournament host doesn't itself need the money to compete elsewhere, then I'm not in favor of higher fees. Also, I think that in many instances, if there were an email from coaches or students saying they'd really love to come and compete, but for whatever reason can't due to $10 or $20, then I think in many instances, directors would be willing to waive the added fees. I'd be sympathetic to an email like this regarding NHBB, but I'd also want to hear what the school's fundraising plan is.
The amount of money spent on outreach would be dwarfed by the amount of new teams recruited to the tournaments
Perhaps in the long run, but highly unlikely in the short run. Outreach is a slog, and I speak again from lots of experience here.
but even if it dropped Harvard's profit to $45 per team (it probably wouldn't drop it that far if at all in a field hypothetically double its original size, then their total intake would raise from $1800 to $3280. So increasing the size of the field would make Harvard more than $1400 that it otherwise wouldn't have made. To bring the profit per team up to original levels, or whatever higher level David feels appropriate, he suggests raising the entry fee.
I do not believe this for a nanosecond. These numbers are way, way, off. Outreach, takes a lot more effort and commitment of time and/or money to be done right. Unless you have volunteers, it's not happening, and even the usual volunteer is not going to devote more than 10 hours a week tops to this for a few weeks a year.
While this would theoretically increase the profit per team and total intake for Harvard, there's also the possibility that it could lower demand among the very local teams you directed outreach towards. It may not affect Ridgewood or similar teams much, but when applied to tournaments nationwide, it can be seen that price increases would serve to make quizbowl less accessible for schools with less money and kids from low-income families.

Most students probably could come up with $10-$25 more to attend a quizbowl tournament, but that can really add up over time especially considering that they already have to pay for food on a lot of trips and could even be asking off work (thus accruing an opportunity cost) to attend the tournament. Some students cannot afford this extra expense, because some families have to make every last dollar count. David suggests asking grandparents for more money, but in a lot of low-income families, people don't have rich relatives either. I think it's wonderful that the parents of LASA's players can afford to send their students on quizbowl trips like Coach Flowers mentioned upthread, but my parents and a whole lot of others would have never been able to afford to send their kids to multiple quizbowl tournaments every year. I think generally quizbowl should try to avoid making families have to fund their kids activity, because that really can have the effect of shutting the poor out of the activity, which is something I don't think anybody wants to see.


Obviously, I don't want this. But again, we're talking not all that much money. I sold cheesecakes and wreaths and made hundreds - fine. I was also one kid; a typical team has 10-20 students. What's so bad about doing fundraising? On an hourly basis, I probably would have earned more money working at McDonald's. Now, granted, in a perfect world, none of this would be an issue, but the amounts I'm talking about here, are not amounts that only rich people or people in Ridgewood or whatever, can afford. If you really want to do an activity, you can find an extra $100 for it - and if the whole point of that price increase is to continue to develop the activity, then ultimately, it is for the good of the game. And again, I think in nearly all parts of the country, fundraisers have the potential to bring in more. One other point - for tournaments in Kentucky, perhaps, this whole thread might not be nearly as applicable. But for HFT, where for teams coming from a distance, the tournament fees end up as a small portion of total expenses, and many of the teams in greater suburban Boston are financially well-off, then better to charge more, and negotiate discounts for schools from disadvantaged areas that want to come but can't afford it. Is this socialism? Progressive taxation? Justice? Is the alternative a flat tax approach?
So the burden should fall to the teams as a whole. At Grayson County we have been very lucky to have a supportive administration that funds the team well. But that's not usually what happens unfortunately, and with schools going broke it's not likely to drastically increase anytime soon. In that case, the teams must raise at least a major portion of their budget on their own. In a low income area where parents and alumni aren't well-off enough to step up and support the team themselves, then teams have to turn to other methods like going to businesses and professionals or fundraising. While this is unfortunate, people don't open their pockets for quizbowl like they do for baseball and Boy Scouts. I'm an Eagle Scout (not that the BSA would want people to know that) so I know first hand that it's easier to raise money for scouting because everybody knows what it is, whereas with quizbowl there are a lot less people who understand it, and a smaller number of people who care. David's youthful fundraising in Ridgewood, NJ (median household income of $122,000) was impressive, but it's not likely to be quite as fruitful in Leitchfield, KY (median household income of $26,000) or some worse off rural areas and inner city neighborhoods where nearly everyone is below the poverty level. Teams in these areas really can't spare any extra expense.
Perhaps they don't open their wallets for quizbowl because they don't know about quizbowl. I find it hard to believe that I would have sold fewer cheesecakes or wreaths if I said I was with the Ridgewood High School Academic Team. I went door to door selling both of those things, so could always explain what something was while doing it. And, yes, I concede that my fundraising yielded more returns in Ridgewood than it would have elsewhere, but I was also one kid in middle school, and a whole team of high schoolers with access to alumni can certainly raise more than the money in question. Witness the one school in a working class area that raised $8000 each of the last two years by passing the hat among its professionals. Witness my alumni donation example upthread. Witness holding a community quiz tournament. Etc.
Bottom line: quizbowl is not going to grow as it can and should if the size of the quizbowl economy does not improve. If it's just a small amount sloshing around the quizbowl world, then we're not going to have nearly the potential that we would if we had some extra funds coming in from outside IF those funds were to be used for increased staff at tournaments where needed and for outreach efforts. Again, if that's not where they'd go, then I'm not advocating it here. But combined with the fact that this could be limited to higher income areas, and could be waived on a case by case basis, this development would be for the good of the game.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:45 pm

I think the major benefit of Dave Madden suddenly showing up on this forum a year ago is that he is willing to both think outside the box and think from the perspective of somebody who is an outsider to the quizbowl establishment. A lot of what he is saying will initially seem outrageous because it won't be within the limits of what is considered "normal" in our little world, but that doesn't mean that it's wrong.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by cchiego » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:06 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: you really want to do an activity, you can find an extra $100 for it - and if the whole point of that price increase is to continue to develop the activity, then ultimately, it is for the good of the game.
The problem is that every hour spent working for quizbowl funding is less time preparing for and playing quizbowl. For a few dedicated programs, they can do all of this, but for marginal programs just starting out the twin hurdles of getting up to speed in the game and finding a solid funding source become much harder to surmount. It also becomes a numbers game--if you're a solo dedicated player, it's much harder to raise funds than if you have a full team on board. Not every talented quizbowl player is also capable of convincing 6-7 other people to join them in a time-consuming quest or getting an administration to fund 'em.
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:And that still leaves outreach, which has initial upfront costs, but ultimately quizbowl as a whole benefits.
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Outreach, takes a lot more effort and commitment of time and/or money to be done right. Unless you have volunteers, it's not happening, and even the usual volunteer is not going to devote more than 10 hours a week tops to this for a few weeks a year.
The same trade-off problem affects outreach. Every moment I spend on quizbowl outreach is a moment I'm not spending on working on my dissertation or getting better at quizbowl. There needs to be some way to integrate outreach into a more sustained kind of effort that lots of people can devote a small amount to time towards and still be effective. Plus, outreach is difficult to do if you're a college student who will be leaving in a few years for somewhere far away--it's hard to develop and sustain a new circuit in just a few short years. And it's easier to talk to coaches in person if you have lots of experience doing it, professional-looking outreach materials, a specific purpose and tournament in mind, etc. Quizbowl as a whole does not have that (which is why it's great that NHBB does, but lends me to believe that we're looking at a division of labor question here).
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Perhaps they don't open their wallets for quizbowl because they don't know about quizbowl. I
It's not just not knowing about it. It's knowing what quizbowl does and why it should be viewed as a prestigious competitive activity on the national (i.e. not just county) scale. We have to, as a whole, raise the prestige of quizbowl compared to other activities. This requires not just outreach, but publicity and marketing, which is definitely a place where quizbowl needs some work. On the other hand, sometimes it's good that quizbowl slips under the radar- there are so many regulations for extracurriculars these days that not being that well-known may allow more schools to compete more often than if they were being targeted by the onerous red tape of public education.

Basically, as a whole we need to convince the powers-that-be all across the country that quizbowl is an activity worth spending money and time on. While some talented, dedicated folks have made that happen at their schools and in small pockets around the country (I would be very interested in having them share their stories to the rest of us too--curious to see what's worked elsewher), as a whole quizbowl remains underdeveloped.
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:I'm just using HFT as a possible catalyst because even if it's not a huge draw for New England, it's probably the best way to draw new schools in given its established status.
HFT is well-positioned to do this. It has a good number of experienced readers (and could gather more from around the rest of the Northeast if need be). It has the name-brand draw that will get the average HS administrator on board with funding a team for it. It has the national field that can impress upon new teams the kind of seriousness and dedication that quizbowl inspires. And it has so much room for growth with all of the Mass/CT/VT/NH teams that have yet to come on board with quizbowl.

But I--and several others on this thread--don't really see how raising the entry fees to give more $$ to an already well-off college team could help the HS circuit unless Harvard made the explicit decision to invest back into outreach, recruitment, and expanding their tournament. It's their choice; if they want to do that, it would be nice but they're not under any obligation.

So is there a way to create a kind of social obligation towards outreach? Can quizbowl find a way to encourage and compensate people/teams who choose to direct their energies into outreach (and sustaining that outreach)? And do we even want to create this kind of expectation, given that there's already issues with writing, editing, and running tournaments?
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Nov 14, 2011 4:39 pm

Ultimately, I don't think that college quizbowl clubs are the correct vehicle for conducting outreach and circuit expansion. First of all, college quizbowl clubs are primarily in the business of attending college tournaments. If they write high school tournaments, it is typically as a means to the end of being able to attend more college tournaments, or secondarily getting better at playing/writing college questions. A tournament like HFT may be best described as a lamprey that attaches to an already healthy quizbowl circuit and drains it of money for the benefit of itself.

Second of all, college quizbowl teams are not really institutional actors. They have a tendency to disintegrate when active players leave, and though they may start up again it won't really be the same club. Harvard is a great example of this: Ted and Dallas may have a school name in common with Matt Bruce or Dan Suzman, but they're not really members of the same "quizbowl club" in any meaningful sense. No institutional DNA has survived from that previous era. It makes little sense to house such an important function in an organization that is quite likely to cease to exist without passing on its know-how, connections, and strategic plans.

Much better candidates for conducting outreach and circuit expansion are high school question companies: HSAPQ and NAQT. These are primarily in the business of writing high school questions and they are, at least in theory, corporations that will continue to exist no matter what and can retain and pass on institutional knowledge.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Magister Ludi » Mon Nov 14, 2011 8:56 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
Magister Ludi wrote:2) Have one set of questions, but specifically have all the afternoon rounds in the upper bracket played on longer 7-8 line versions of those questions that better approximate PACE NSC length while keeping the lower brackets playing on normal 5 line questions.
You already did this in 2008 and it was pretty stupid because the "hard bracket" played 7 line tossups that led to bonuses on the works of Roland Barthes while the "easy bracket" played 5 line tossups that led to bonuses on the works of Roland Barthes.

You and Stephen need to get together and decide whether this is a "hard pre nationals event" for top teams so suck it, everyone else (your line) or actually not hard at all even though most of the teams who played it couldn't answer the questions (his line). You are posting at cross but equally infuriating purposes thusfar.
The difference is that all my questions are 7-8 lines to begin with and then Dallas just cuts them down to six when I'm not looking. Most of the submitted questions were around 7 lines length anyway. It wouldn't be writing two separate sets of questions, but not editing down the original tossups.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by magin » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:04 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:
Magister Ludi wrote:2) Have one set of questions, but specifically have all the afternoon rounds in the upper bracket played on longer 7-8 line versions of those questions that better approximate PACE NSC length while keeping the lower brackets playing on normal 5 line questions.
You already did this in 2008 and it was pretty stupid because the "hard bracket" played 7 line tossups that led to bonuses on the works of Roland Barthes while the "easy bracket" played 5 line tossups that led to bonuses on the works of Roland Barthes.

You and Stephen need to get together and decide whether this is a "hard pre nationals event" for top teams so suck it, everyone else (your line) or actually not hard at all even though most of the teams who played it couldn't answer the questions (his line). You are posting at cross but equally infuriating purposes thusfar.
The difference is that all my questions are 7-8 lines to begin with and then Dallas just cuts them down to six when I'm not looking. Most of the submitted questions were around 7 lines length anyway. It wouldn't be writing two separate sets of questions, but not editing down the original tossups.
I think he's reacting to the bonus on Roland Barthes, not the tossup length.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:54 pm

magin wrote:I think he's reacting to the bonus on Roland Barthes, not the tossup length.
The death of 2008 Andy Watkins's idea of what to do to high school students, I think, is the key event here.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by dsimons » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:34 am

Just to update on the stats: everything should be up except for the preliminary rounds in the SOCH. Those will be added tomorrow morning. I am missing the stat sheet for the Round 9 game between LASA B and Ridgewood B.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:41 am

Thanks for your work on posting the stats, Dallas.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by The Herb » Tue Nov 15, 2011 8:19 am

The stats for our games against Hunter B and Dorman have us scoring 100 fewer points than we scored. We beat Hunter B (by 20) in a tiebreaker and were down 45 against Dorman.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by BroNi » Tue Nov 15, 2011 11:22 am

I would like to add my 2 cents here. I drove a van 450 miles for 8+ hours on Saturday with 8 students to attend this tournament. I informed them before we left about the level of the field and the difficultly of the question set. They could choose to go or not. They all chose to go. The A team did OK, not great. The B team had one of the lowest PPBs of the entire field. When we got back to Long Island, I asked them did they have fun and would they go again. To a person, they all said "absolutely!" They knew the questons would be hard and the field would be scary good. I knew it as well. They wanted to see what they could do, and I wanted them to see what they could potentially become if they worked hard enough.

I came away very happy with the questions, the organization and the execution of this tournament. I have been doing this for awhile and some college tourneys in the past have had some major problems. This one didn't. I liked both the TU's and Bonuses. I wouldn't change a thing. I liked the fact that we played a 5 game prelim...and my B team got killed. I really liked that they then got to play even more teams in the consolation rounds that were "similar" in abilty. They went into it with the attitude of maybe we can win one or two games here....and they did.

So, kudos to Dallas and the Harvard team. I wouldn't change a thing. (From a coach whose B team had a PPB way lower than 10 PPB.)

PS: Don't raise the registration fee, please.

Edits: Typos and an edit to correct something not allowed.
Last edited by BroNi on Tue Nov 15, 2011 1:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Harvard Fall Tournament VI (11/12/11)

Post by centralhs » Tue Nov 15, 2011 12:13 pm

I posted these Georgia Mirror results in the HFT Liveblog thread, but thought I would put them here also.

http://www.clarke.k12.ga.us/webpages/rr ... dings.html

Harvard Fall Tournament Team Standings

Gold
Rank Team W L T Pct PPG PAPG Mrg 10 TUH PPTH BHrd BPts P/B
1 Centennial 10 0 0 1.000 603.0 89.0 514.0 164 200 30.15 164 4390 26.77
2 Brookwood A 9 1 0 0.900 396.0 175.0 221.0 125 200 19.80 125 2710 21.68
3 Athens Academy 7 3 0 0.700 339.0 231.0 108.0 112 201 16.87 112 2270 20.27
4 Alpharetta 7 3 0 0.700 285.0 261.0 24.0 105 200 14.25 105 1800 17.14
5 Bainbridge 5 5 0 0.500 256.0 255.0 1.0 98 200 12.80 98 1580 16.12
6 Chattahoochee A 4 6 0 0.400 258.0 287.0 -29.0 85 201 12.84 85 1730 20.35

Silver
Rank Team W L T Pct PPG PAPG Mrg 10 TUH PPTH BHrd BPts P/B
1 Norcross 8 2 0 0.800 401.0 148.0 253.0 128 200 20.05 128 2730 21.33
2 Marist A 7 3 0 0.700 276.0 169.0 107.0 105 200 13.80 105 1710 16.29
3 Brookwood B 5 5 0 0.500 188.0 245.0 -57.0 83 200 9.40 83 1050 12.65
4 Marist B 4 6 0 0.400 131.0 268.0 -137.0 65 200 6.55 65 660 10.15
5 Chattahoochee B 3 7 0 0.300 174.0 237.0 -63.0 70 200 8.70 70 1040 14.86
6 Rabun Gap A 3 7 0 0.300 149.0 257.0 -108.0 68 200 7.45 68 810 11.91

Bronze
Rank Team W L T Pct PPG PAPG Mrg 10 TUH PPTH BHrd BPts P/B
1 Paideia 5 4 0 0.556 166.7 216.7 -50.0 61 181 8.29 60 890 14.83
2 Etowah A 4 5 0 0.444 107.8 260.0 -152.2 51 180 5.39 51 460 9.02
3 Rabun Gap B 2 7 0 0.222 72.2 260.0 -187.8 34 180 3.61 34 310 9.12
4 Etowah B 2 7 0 0.222 65.6 251.1 -185.6 35 180 3.28 35 240 6.86
5 Woodward Academy 0 5 0 0.000 118.0 322.0 -204.0 26 101 5.84 26 330 12.69
6 Jasper County 0 9 0 0.000 24.4 262.2 -237.8 16 180 1.22 16 60 3.75
Last edited by centralhs on Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:57 am, edited 2 times in total.
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