Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

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Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:22 pm

Attendance at tournaments has been dropping somewhat over the last couple years (or at least hasn't been growing). However, a tournament like the Green Eggs and Hammond had a lot of teams that don't usually compete at pyramidal. Also, a lot of teams have been one and done, trying pyramidal once and never returning. I think a lot of the It's Academic teams still need to be reached and might attend tournaments in the future. Certainly, teams like BCC and QO have become regulars seemingly out of nowhere, but more are needed. I think many teams have been overwhelmed by the creeping difficulty which has been discussed earlier, so maybe easier tournaments like the novice should be spread more throughout the year, or maybe different divisions of teams might be effective in making tournaments more enjoyable to newer teams.The plan of attacking this problem is best discussed sooner than later, so this thread is just for brainstorming and discussing.

EDIT- by Hammond, I meant Centennial's which drew 33 teams, viewtopic.php?f=20&t=10494&start=0&hilit=centennial
Last edited by sir negsalot on Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:24 pm

I believe the #1 problem is communication. People rely on the message board or poorly maintained email lists to announce tournaments, and act surprised when the same small number of hardcore teams are the only ones who show up. Random It's Academic Sponsor X doesn't read this board, and even if you have his actual e-mail address, doesn't pay much attention to an email entitled "ARMPIT Invitational III."

If you want to hit the broadest possible number of teams with information, you need to send out physical letters, and they need to include an explanation of just what a Saturday tournament is, because much of your audience doesn't know things that you assume they do.

I think entry fees and difficulty explosion are important issues too, but being realistic about methods of announcement is by far the biggest hurdle right now.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Sun Jun 19, 2011 7:31 pm

Perhaps a Google Doc that had contact info for all possible participating schools could be made, so that info could be shared?
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Sun Jun 19, 2011 8:48 pm

I'm working on such a list right now. I intend on hopefully having UMD host a novice tournament of some kind for these teams [and newer players from established teams].
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sun Jun 19, 2011 9:27 pm

sir negsalot wrote:Perhaps a Google Doc that had contact info for all possible participating schools could be made, so that info could be shared?
Actually, a couple of us are working on such list right now. If people want to help, I would be more than willing to share the Google Doc.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by wilsonmathteacher » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:17 am

(*EDIT: WOW this is really long, sorry*)

I can speak to this a little bit from one of the teams that has fallen off this year. At my school (Wilson) a lot of our willingness to go to tourneys depends on the kids who are on the team. This year I have a bunch of juniors who would get a lot better if they went to tourneys, but they have other interests, have to work, etc.... I suspect we will be more active next year, but this year was pretty rough for a lot of reasons sort of unrelated to quiz bowl.

I know for my school, which has only a marginal Quiz Bowl tradition, having two or three kids who are ALWAYS willing to go to tournaments makes a huge difference, and part of my recruiting for next year is going to be finding those kids (preferably as 9th graders :grin: ).

That said, one of the things that I think people on this board underestimate is how rough an experience a tournament can be for a young team or (worse) a older group of kids with no experience. Traditionally Wilson has been sort of middle of the road at these tournaments, but our mornings can be pretty brutal:

For example, our one tourney this year (sad really) was at GDS. Since it was the NAQT state championship, they made an effort to make the prelim brackets bigger, which I understand. Our morning (7 games, including a crossover) was three games we had no chance in (Whitman, St. Anselm's and QO), two that were or should have been competitive (RM B and Blair B), one that we should have dominated (Landon B) and one that I have no idea on (Oakland Hills who stomped us but didn't do that great overall). Two out of 7 competitive games is slightly above average for mornings. I can't even imagine what it is like for a school who's A team comes in an loses 5 straight games in the morning. One of the things that has really helped in the past few years is the growth of consolation rounds to almost everyone who wants to play. It is much more fun to play in the afternoon with teams who are more or less on the same level as you.

I think there are a couple things that would help a lot, and they have been suggested already. The novice tournaments are great, and I know that my kids, even the ones struggling, had a blast at those (it helps that they were really well written). Also, my kids had a chance to do pretty well from the get-go and that helped their confidence a little. That said, it was a testament to the strength of the region that the qualifying criteria for the 2010 novice was having not played in a National championship tournament :smile: .

I think that divisions might have some merit, but that brings up the issue that the way teams that are serious get better is by getting beaten by teams and working their tails off to beat them. We had a couple of teams that we played a lot and felt like we should have beaten, but didn't, and the goal of beating them got my kids working harder then I ever could(*cough* Perry Hall *cough*).

I have a couple of other comments that might cause a little more conversation. I KNOW that it messes with the teams at the top, and the quality of the competition, but my team really enjoyed the last couple of tourneys in 2010 at UMd where the early groups were small (4 teams) and the late morning/afternoon was a round robin of 7 games against the middle 8 teams. We got to play more teams at our skill level which made the tournament more interesting for us. Clearly that is not ideal for teams that are concerned about winning the tournament (I remember a couple of teams being very unhappy at being the middle bracket based on one bad game), but I do think that finding a way to get more games that are competitive is very important. I think a lot of it depends on the teams coming to the tournament. Quite honestly in DC you could probably have 2 divisions (made nationals, didn't make nationals) that would work.

The one thing I think you are somewhat mistaken on is that your problem is one of communication. I admit that communicating to coaches about tournaments WILL help, but I don't necessarily think that is the issue. Tournaments like Green Eggs and the Centennial tournament draw a lot of teams that don't do "real quiz bowl" because they are FUN. I know they aren't "good quiz bowl", but I think that teams that are competing a national level (or aspire to national level) forget that one of the factors determining whether teams want to go to tournaments is whether they are going to have fun. Oh, kids will be competitive and all that, but they want to have a good time and a lot of people at the top of the quiz bowl food chain have a different idea of fun then the rest of the competitors, and that difference makes it hard to please everyone.

Kids have fun at Centennial for the very reason that this board slams on the tournament. Buzzer races are more fun then getting beaten on a well written pyramidal question (if you are the less-skilled team), getting a "team round" allows you to answer questions even if you are completely outclassed, and the occasional (or not so occasional) trash question levels the playing field a bit and gives a feeling that you can compete on at least some of the questions. The big thing my team liked about the NAQT set we played on at GDS is that it had current events and a little trash, two things that "real quiz bowl" hates and that add a little fun to the proceedings. My kids and the teams they were playing smiled and laughed more on the trash questions and current events then any other part of the tournament, and that made getting our butts handed to us tolerable.

When push comes to shove, I sort of feel like DC is always going to struggle with this because you have a bunch of teams that are hyper-serious about quiz bowl (and some of those schools B/C teams as well), and a lot of schools that just aren't. The things that make tournaments more "fun" for less serious teams are the exact things that competitors complain about on these boards. I can't count the number of people who complain any time a set contains 1/1 trash or (god forbid) current events because that's not part of quiz bowl canon and thus not good quiz bowl. If you want to get more teams doing pyramidal quiz bowl, you need to get them to the tournaments, and the teams that aren't that good will go to tournaments that they have a good time playing. Some will never push to get better, but all it takes is two or three young kids on a team to catch the quiz bowl bug and want to get better and you will have another reasonably competitive team going to tournaments. You can argue all day long that all you want that it is a competition and trash questions detract from that, but I can tell you that my kids will remember singing the answer to some Lady Gaga bonus LONG after they forget that they went 4-6 at GDS.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Howard » Mon Jun 20, 2011 12:48 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:If you want to hit the broadest possible number of teams with information, you need to send out physical letters, and they need to include an explanation of just what a Saturday tournament is, because much of your audience doesn't know things that you assume they do.
Granted, this was a few years ago, but the last tournament I ran was quite well attended and advertised on the board and via e-mail. There's no question that sending snail mail in conjunction with e-mail will ultimately reach more teams, but at the same time, I wonder whether the time and expense invested make the return worth the investment. There's no reason all the things you're looking to include cannot be put in an e-mail with a subject line making it clear what the e-mail is regarding.
wilsonmathteacher wrote:I have a couple of other comments that might cause a little more conversation. I KNOW that it messes with the teams at the top, and the quality of the competition, but my team really enjoyed the last couple of tourneys in 2010 at UMd where the early groups were small (4 teams) and the late morning/afternoon was a round robin of 7 games against the middle 8 teams. We got to play more teams at our skill level which made the tournament more interesting for us. Clearly that is not ideal for teams that are concerned about winning the tournament (I remember a couple of teams being very unhappy at being the middle bracket based on one bad game), but I do think that finding a way to get more games that are competitive is very important. I think a lot of it depends on the teams coming to the tournament. Quite honestly in DC you could probably have 2 divisions (made nationals, didn't make nationals) that would work.
The small initial brackets made these tournaments much more enjoyable for my team as well. I discussed this very point with Chris Ray via e-mail, and I cannot remember whether I posted it here. As for the two-division idea, there don't even need to be rules for who should be in which division. Most teams will put themselves in the proper place. The top teams will want to play more games against the top teams, and the not-top teams will want to avoid being pounded by the top teams (which in turn, will hopefully lead to them hearing more of the questions, learning more, and having a better experience in general). Ultimately, I doubt Wilson is one of the teams to which the thread is aimed. I know you guys well enough to know you're not afraid of competition.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:56 pm

Here is a list of basically all the teams in the DC area: http://www.itsacademicquizshow.com/schedule/
Probably 2/3 of these teams have never been seen at a tournament of any kind. I have to imagine that there are kids who would enjoy quizbowl out there. Maybe a useful idea would be to emphasize the extent to which we welcome them, and also allow individuals or doubles from those schools to combine into their own teams. If teams don't practice after they get eliminated from Its Ac in the first round (or at all), then contacting the coach is unlikely to work. It's hard to find those individuals then. Perhaps at novice tournaments, there could be a couple speed rounds in the morning, and then a transition to pyramidal, while explaining everything very thoroughly. My freshman year, I actually preferred speed questions, so I can understand that.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by The Herb » Mon Jun 20, 2011 4:38 pm

I think that running more novice tournaments would be a good idea. Last fall, when I had just started Quizbowling, I had a great time at the fall novice tournament hosted at TJ. It gave my team-mates and I a chance to have fun and get some questions--without getting decimated by the almighty titans of DC area Quizbowl. After it was over, I remember asking our Quizbowl sponsor if there were any more pyramidal novice tournaments coming up, to which she responded: "No." I was disappointed and I basically ended up playing a lot of Beltway League, which did little towards advancing me down the path of "Good Quizbowl."

I know that I'm speaking too much from personal experience, and I'm coming from a school that had (up until last year), a decent Quizbowl team, but I think that novice-focused publicized pyramidal tournaments could definitely help ease new players and schools into competitive Quizbowl in our area.

I'd say that Maryland Quizbowl has taken a pretty big hit this year, with Kuo-Kai, Chris Manners, Spence, Raynell, and Arun (our whole NASAT team) all going on to greater things (and leaving your team, Mr. Galitsky, as the only decent one in the state). We need to somehow rebuild, and I think that more outreach and more easy tournaments would be a first step in working to create a larger, competitive community. I'm not sure where said tournaments would come from, but I'm sure that if none were easily procurable (and you thought it to be a good idea to run such a tournament), you , Lord Galitsky, could gather your forces and ally yourself with some of the good teams in the area, and together write a good novice set.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:09 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:If you want to hit the broadest possible number of teams with information, you need to send out physical letters, and they need to include an explanation of just what a Saturday tournament is, because much of your audience doesn't know things that you assume they do.
While physical letters would be nice to have, there are about 400 schools in DC/MD/VA/DE with Quizbowl teams, and it seems quite the undertaking to send letters to every single one of them.

On the other hand, I am curious about how organisations like MOQBA do outreach, as there's probably a lot to be learned from other growing circuits.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:21 pm

Actually we're on that, writing a set that is not quite novice, but on the accessible side of regular difficulty. Between Fall Novice, NAQT A-sets, and what OACQ (Olympia) offers, and probably others that I don't know about, there is a lot to work with as far as easier pyramidal is concerned.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Charbroil » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:22 pm

sir negsalot wrote:Actually we're on that, writing a set that is not quite novice, but on the accessible side of regular difficulty. Between Fall Novice, NAQT A-sets, and what OACQ (Olympia) offers, and probably others that I don't know about, there is a lot to work with as far as easier pyramidal is concerned.
Olympia's new novice set will also probably fall into this group, given our tossup difficulty (harder leadins, easy answers).
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:32 pm

lol i mentioned that :grin:
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:35 pm

FWIW, the National History Bee and Bowl is going to address this general issue by having two DC area tournaments this year. One will be on our A set (i.e. our most challenging one) and appeal primarily to the top teams. The other will be at School Without Walls in downtown DC, a school that welcomed the History Bee National Finals back in April with open arms and I imagine would be very open to invitations to novice tournaments. This tournament will be on our C set, our most accessible set. I imagine that teams will go where they will fit in best, though everyone is welcome at both. And for those who qualify, at our Nationals, of course, back in DC next 4/28-29. Dates of tournaments will be posted by the end of September at the latest at http://www.historybowl.com.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by The Herb » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:06 pm

sir negsalot wrote:Actually we're on that, writing a set that is not quite novice, but on the accessible side of regular difficulty. Between Fall Novice, NAQT A-sets, and what OACQ (Olympia) offers, and probably others that I don't know about, there is a lot to work with as far as easier pyramidal is concerned.
By "we" do you mean RM or some multi-school (or alum) global conspiracy? And how far along are you guys/how many people do you have working on it? (I'm only wondering because we were considering doing something like this--emphasis on the "considering".)
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Panayot Hitov » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:18 pm

Our morning (7 games, including a crossover) was three games we had no chance in (Whitman, St. Anselm's and QO), two that were or should have been competitive (RM B and Blair B), one that we should have dominated (Landon B) and one that I have no idea on (Oakland Hills who stomped us but didn't do that great overall).
As we are an all-freshmen team at Oakland Mills, we vary round to round depending on the amount of calc and physics questions. For all of us, that was our first "good quizbowl" tournament after going to Centennial and Green Eggs and Hammond. Those served as a "gateway" for me to the circuit, and the GDS tournament really opened me up to the whole world.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:31 pm

Just RM kids, (including Ray and Arun). We're about 1/3 done with the tossups so far, in just over a week though. We have a total of 8-9 people working on it, I think it will be successful. You guys should do it too, its not hard if you organize the work well.

EDIT- but get started sooner than later!
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:52 pm

TJ tournaments have attracted almost 80 teams before. I don't think a lack of easy tournaments is the problem.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:56 pm

In regards to trash and current events, trash appears in many, many high school tournaments on a 1/1 basis, and current events do as well. I don't really know what legitimate complaints can be directed against current events--even the PACE NSC had many current events questions.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Jun 20, 2011 6:58 pm

wilsonmathteacher wrote: Kids have fun at Centennial for the very reason that this board slams on the tournament. Buzzer races are more fun then getting beaten on a well written pyramidal question (if you are the less-skilled team), getting a "team round" allows you to answer questions even if you are completely outclassed, and the occasional (or not so occasional) trash question levels the playing field a bit and gives a feeling that you can compete on at least some of the questions.
There's certainly more we can be doing to make quizbowl enjoyable for those teams, but this is a game about rewarding knowledge, and if kids have more fun at Centennial because it doesn't do that, we can't and shouldn't make this game cater to their needs.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by The Herb » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:12 pm

Paul from OM wrote:As we are an all-freshmen team at Oakland Mills, we vary round to round depending on the amount of calc and physics questions. For all of us, that was our first "good quizbowl" tournament after going to Centennial and Green Eggs and Hammond. Those served as a "gateway" for me to the circuit, and the GDS tournament really opened me up to the whole world.
You guys have done very well for yourselves at these last few tournaments--especially considering that you're just freshmen. Our circuit needs to attract more teams like you--teams that know a lot but maybe don't come from schools with pyramidal backgrounds (or maybe you guys do, I'm not sure), teams that will undoubtably become even better in the future.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Howard » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:31 pm

sir negsalot wrote:Probably 2/3 of these teams have never been seen at a tournament of any kind. I have to imagine that there are kids who would enjoy quizbowl out there.
My count is that I've seen 44 of them at tournaments. And this is just counting the ones I'm sure I've seen. By the same token, we're going back quite a ways. The bigger question is: why have a significant number of those 44 teams stopped attending tournaments? And I'm sure the answers range from coaches/students that don't care to coach/student turnover that leaves a program not ready to search for events a tad out of touch.
sir negsalot wrote:If teams don't practice after they get eliminated from Its Ac in the first round (or at all), then contacting the coach is unlikely to work.
To my dismay, this was the condition of my program when I started. There were a few things that got changed immediately. This was one of them.
A Barehanded Telethon Mirth Gun wrote:TJ tournaments have attracted almost 80 teams before. I don't think a lack of easy tournaments is the problem.
I don't particularly recall this, but even at half that number, it's worth analyzing what was present at those events and how they were advertised in comparison to the more recent tournaments.
Cernel Jason wrote:There's certainly more we can be doing to make quizbowl enjoyable for those teams, but this is a game about rewarding knowledge, and if kids have more fun at Centennial because it doesn't do that, we can't and shouldn't make this game cater to their needs.
I know this isn't in the majority opinion of the board, but I don't particularly see a problem with rewarding knowledge, reasoning, and quick thinking. While there's no question such tournaments do not exclusively reward knowlede, it's also the case that the questions cannot be answered without knowledge.

Furthermore, if quizbowl limits itself solely to pyramidal, knowledge-only rewarding tournaments, it's also my opinion that this is one of the things diluting the circuit to where it's threatening even the best teams. I disagree with the premise that these are two exclusive groups of students. In a couple cases, I've seen this, but both types of tournaments are largely advertising to the same audience.

We need to recognize that the best pyramidal quizbowl players are especially driven and talented individuals and that it's unlikely to have more than one or two at a school at any given time. Think about this: several of the schools in the area that were national contenders this year are not expected to be in that position next year. Given the current state of tournaments in the area where they primarily draw the top teams and then about half that number in others, it's as Jeremy has said. Matches will be so lopsided teams will be discouraged and will have difficulty hearing enough of the questions to be able to learn things while playing their matches.

Ultimately, something needs to be done to attract these teams to more tournaments. I understand that many here have well-founded principles regarding supporting pyramidal-only tournaments. Making the games involve other skills helps make the games closer and more interesting to the quizbowl masses who would be less involved in a pyramidal game against a top team. By the same token, creating divisions within the tournament could achieve a similar result without compromising the principles of pyramidality.

If we don't work at catering to their needs, do we eventually reach a point where high school quizbowl stops catering to nearly everyone's needs?
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:41 pm

Howard wrote:
Furthermore, if quizbowl limits itself solely to pyramidal, knowledge-only rewarding tournaments, it's also my opinion that this is one of the things diluting the circuit to where it's threatening even the best teams.
No!
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:47 pm

I know this isn't in the majority opinion of the board, but I don't particularly see a problem with rewarding knowledge, reasoning, and quick thinking. While there's no question such tournaments do not exclusively reward knowlede, it's also the case that the questions cannot be answered without knowledge.
Pyramidal quizbowl already incorporates everything you're saying you want to be featured in a quizbowl match here. I, and all other good players ever, routinely answer questions based on figuring out the context of the clues, even if we've never actually heard the things being read. Similarly, you still have to be quick to buzz in if you want to beat your opponents to buzzer races, because it's almost never been the case where there wasn't a buzzer race that happens in a game on some clue that both teams just happen to know equally. These things happen all the time, and good quizbowl still rewards your ability to do it while simultaneously giving an even greater reward to the players who become the most knowledgeable. It's win-win, and if you seriously don't understand that about pyramidal quizbowl then I suspect you haven't been paying attention to how games are really played.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Mon Jun 20, 2011 7:55 pm

This is going to be a long post.
The circuit has shrunk considerably since I started playing quizbowl 5 years ago. There are plenty of reasons for this, but I'll identify a few I think caused a good deal of teams dropping out.
Teams Didn't Adjust to Pyramidality Well and Went Back to It's Academic Only These are where you find your bad coaches and people who are firmly in the camp of speed quizbowl. However, all the players and even some of the coaches who did this have moved on, so there's no harm in reaching out to these teams with a well-maintained contact list [more on this later].
Quizbowl Got More Difficult This is true. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but as the canon expanded, top teams learned the new, more difficult stuff and fringe teams didn't. Then they got blown out by top teams, wondered "Who's this Tanizaki guy," and stopped going to tournaments.
Oversaturation of Sets and Tournaments There are more and more tournaments now. Even more importantly, though, there are more and more sets, especially housewrites written by high schoolers and newer teams that, for the most part, don't really have a grasp of what is appropriate difficulty-wise. There have been many good housewrites, but as far as I can tell, everyone and their grandmother is attempting to write a set for next year, and I can only see that ending poorly.
EDIT: I forgot one-- Rising Entry Fees Entry fees are going up. I can't exactly say why this has been happening, but I think this is partly because entry fees have been going up, and it's a big vicious cycle. For teams just starting out, it's tough to explain why one tournament of maybe 9 guaranteed games costs 80 bucks.

Anyway, these reasons aren't really very important compared to what's to be done to get the quizbowl circuit looking less anemic. The most obvious thing is that contact right now is abysmal. People seem to be assuming that posting on the forums and maybe emailing a few of the usual suspects is enough to draw a good field, and it really isn't. A good contact list, like the one Harry and I are working on, must be maintained. But when I say maintained, I don't mean firebombing the entire list for every single tournament in the region, whether it's a Fall Novice mirror or CTWAHPT IV [College Team Writes About Hard Pet Topics]. At the very least, a difficulty recommendation should come with each email.
I think more novice tournaments, including a few in the spring, might be the way to get more teams involved in the area. Going from It's Academic to pyramidal quizbowl can be a jarring transition, and teams who continually try to do that on, say, Maryland Spring every year will be disappointed. That said, there is no need to do a speed/pyramidal hybrid tournament. That's silly.
One last idea might be to work with NAQT. They're good at this stuff. There's been a tournament in Bel Air, a fairly barren area quizbowl-wise, run on an A set for the past few years now. There's no reason these teams can't go to other events.
Mostly, I'm posting here because a lot of what's being discussed here isn't really the correct way to go about this. We need to ease teams into this by hosting plenty of novice tournaments and events designed to welcome teams into quizbowl, instead of throwing them into the water and hoping they can swim.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:24 pm

Another thing that might be good is a better, less cluttered schedule of events for the year. Maybe a color-coding system with green for novice/easy difficulty, yellow for regular/IS difficulty, and red for anything above that, like Maryland Spring. Printouts of this may be handed out. Maybe a website just for Mid-Atlantic Quizbowl, similar to one I think Southern California has.

A fact we're gonna have to live with is that just statistically, there will always be a very limited number of people who are very competitive on pyramidal, so I agree with Mr Gilbert, but on the other hand, there were a lot of teams before and if not many people were curious for information and whatnot, there wouldn't be game shows on TV. My theory is that as people's brains develop, high-speed internet makes a difference. I didn't get high speed until like age 10 or 11 or something, so for people younger, it may affect the way they store facts. With information so easily available, quizbowl may eventually be an obsolete relic. However, that time has not yet come, so we just have to work on getting everyone who possibly wants to, to come to tournaments, and keep coming.

An example of a school that came once, and probably didn't have fun is Annapolis at one of the UMD tournaments. I can understand that they didn't have much fun, so we have to try to accommodate those teams to get them to stay and improve.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:29 pm

How do we "accommodate" these teams? Besides doing things that all quizbowl tournaments should do (accessible, fair, interesting questions, plus smooth, accessible logistics), I would argue that is all that can be done.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:36 pm

Mike, I think the people in this thread who are suggesting we intentionally hold fake tournaments in order to cater to people who don't want to play real quizbowl may be posting non-satirically...
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Mon Jun 20, 2011 8:36 pm

I don't think anyone told them the rules, and stuff like that. Maybe there should be a standard procedure with a well-made info packet about quizbowl with strategy and how to get better. Basically all the most important info about quizbowl already available online, but in a nice printed packed to give to teams, making sure they know how to get better and don't get discouraged.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:39 pm

If you guys are looking for more novice sets to mirror, some Ohio people write a novice tournament every year. I'm not in charge, but I'd encourage anyone interested in mirroring it to get in touch with Lei Fan, who's the head editor. Mirrors in Ohio are free, and I assume Lei would let them be so for any of you who wanted to, but we'd always love help with editing and difficulty control. The announcement for it is here: http://www.createphpbb.com/oac/viewtopi ... mforum=oac
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by yellow7206 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:18 pm

I would like to add another approach to attracting the schools that have never done pyramidal quiz bowl. Simply contact them and offer to visit their It's Ac team on their practice day. Take a question set or two and demonstrate to them what it's all about. If their players are serious about academic knowledge, they will like it more than what they currently do. You can invite tons of teams to novice tournaments, but if they have never experienced it, the invitation itself will not make them come.

I tried the invitation strategy at the middle school level this year when mirroring CMST II, and very few schools bit. A coach in Delaware told me that all it took was a short visit to some middle schools, and 75% of the visits were successful.

To sell a product, a face to face encounter is better.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by wilsonmathteacher » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:24 pm

Paul from OM wrote:
Our morning (7 games, including a crossover) was three games we had no chance in (Whitman, St. Anselm's and QO), two that were or should have been competitive (RM B and Blair B), one that we should have dominated (Landon B) and one that I have no idea on (Oakland Hills who stomped us but didn't do that great overall).
As we are an all-freshmen team at Oakland Mills, we vary round to round depending on the amount of calc and physics questions. For all of us, that was our first "good quizbowl" tournament after going to Centennial and Green Eggs and Hammond. Those served as a "gateway" for me to the circuit, and the GDS tournament really opened me up to the whole world.
Paul,

Sorry, when I start ranting I get a little sloppy with my typing :smile: , but it actually does make my point that I had a really good idea of how we were going to do against everyone in that group except your team. For an all freshman team you were really good and if you stick with it you are going to be even better.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Auroni » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:26 pm

I can't believe someone honestly suggested making the game quick recall to baby teams that you think are too fragile to handle the real thing. Why don't we let everyone pick up the ball in soccer next?
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:47 pm

There's nothing wrong with playing some speed to liven things up. Pyramidal is counter-intuitive in every way. Biography bowl is intuitive, speed is intuitive, pyramidal is not. It is possible to have fun on speed and improve on pyramidal at the same time. Of course speed is not legitimate knowledge competition between two teams, but there's nothing wrong with using it to gradually introduce pyramidal, as many tend to give up too fast when they could improve if they don't get hit by "hard" questions right away

EDIT--I just mean speed for the first practice or two, or for the first round of a novice tournament
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:54 pm

If people actually take this thread seriously, then D.C. is doomed.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Kouign Amann » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:41 pm

sir negsalot wrote:counter-intuitive. . . intuitive. . . intuitive
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:47 pm

Just because something is intuitive, doesn't mean it's right.That why it has taken years to develop quizbowl to what it is. Without anyone really thinking about it, that is why :chip: and it's ac are that way.

Maybe by intuitive I mean instinctual, that makes more sense also
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:53 pm

How is "Who wrote Tom Sawyer?" more intuitive than a legit pyramidal question on Mark Twain that ends "For 10 points, name this author of Tom Sawyer?" Who knows, it might even contain some clues about, say, Huck Finn, or other of his works, that you might know even if you don't know that he wrote Tom Sawyer.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Kouign Amann » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:56 pm

sir negsalot wrote:Maybe by intuitive I mean instinctual, that makes more sense also
I don't think you're quite making sense yet. It's Ac doesn't seem either of those things to me. Perhaps try "simpler" or "more frustrating" or "less rewarding."

I'm just not even sure what you're claiming, so I don't know what to argue against.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:00 pm

So what I mean by that is in a vacuum, if somebody had never seen anything related to quizbowl before, and were told to write a question, that question that they write would not be pyramidal, it would be as your example, like a trivial pursuit question. The only significance of this is that newbies should be thoroughly introduced, rather than thrown into the river and expected to swim like Isaac said. I see how my point wasn't clear earlier.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:10 pm

New players should be introduced with well-written, accessible, appropriate difficulty questions at well-run tournaments. High quality novice sets have proven you can create pyramidal, well written questions that are enjoyable and accessible for teams of all skill levels.

Speed questions are not good quizbowl. They do not introduce players to anything.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Kouign Amann » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:10 pm

sir negsalot wrote:So what I mean by that is in a vacuum, if somebody had never seen anything related to quizbowl before, and were told to write a question, that question that they write would not be pyramidal, it would be as your example, like a trivial pursuit question. The only significance of this is that newbies should be thoroughly introduced, rather than thrown into the river and expected to swim like Isaac said. I see how my point wasn't clear earlier.
Well, this is why we don't have people who've never played quizbowl try to write questions. As you point out, that wouldn't make a lot of sense. However, the rest of your reasoning seems wrong. The way to introduce someone to quizbowl is to have them play some quizbowl, not read them trivia questions. There's a big difference between difficulty-appopriate novice tournaments and Trivial Pursuit. One is quizbowl, and the other is not. You're basically claiming we should take people to putt-putt if we want to make them better golfers. I guess the activities are related, but they're really not the same thing.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:14 pm

ok so like you read them bad speed questions and then you say "didn't that suck" and explain why it sucks thoroughly to people who otherwise have nobody explaining that to them correctly. Then you begin the novice tournament.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:18 pm

sir negsalot wrote:ok so like you read them bad speed questions and then you say "didn't that suck" and explain why it sucks thoroughly to people who otherwise have nobody explaining that to them correctly. Then you begin the novice tournament.
Why do you hate new quizbowlers so much that you would make their first experience at a real quizbowl tournament be terrible questions? Isn't the goal to make these people want to stick around?
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by sir negsalot » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:24 pm

The same reason infomercials or whatever start with "Aren't you tired of _______ " , well now there's the new product! I guess contrast increases the effectiveness. It's important to focus on the ultimate goal. As a community, we supply pyramidal questions and tournaments. The goal is to increase the demand for said product.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Kouign Amann » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:29 pm

sir negsalot wrote:The same reason infomercials or whatever start with "Aren't you tired of _______ " , well now there's the new product! I guess contrast increases the effectiveness. It's important to focus on the ultimate goal. As a community, we supply pyramidal questions and tournaments. The goal is to increase the demand for said product.
Tournaments need to be more efficient. Running a crappy speed round before the actual tournament will make it less efficient. This idea, in addition to being of dubious effectiveness, makes little practical sense.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by nadph » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:32 pm

I feel like tournaments are never going to be the best place to introduce completely new programs/players to quizbowl; we need to try doing outreach at practices or (for established programs) recruiting and explaining the game to new players. Running an introductory speed tournament in particular is likely to fail.

EDIT: trying to express this better
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by The Herb » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:12 pm

sir negsalot wrote:The same reason infomercials or whatever start with "Aren't you tired of _______ " , well now there's the new product! I guess contrast increases the effectiveness. It's important to focus on the ultimate goal. As a community, we supply pyramidal questions and tournaments. The goal is to increase the demand for said product.
I don't think that's the kind of tone you'd want to take with new teams. "Those questions you've been playing up until now were garbage; here's something better"--that sounds belittling. You can tout the merits of pyramidal questions all you like, but if you start off a team's first pyramidal experience by extensively trashing the questions they've been playing up until now, they might take offense and be driven away.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:31 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:If people actually take this thread seriously, then D.C. is doomed.
For sure.

Protip: Suggestions from people who want more fake tournaments and think quizbowl is practice for It's Academic should be ignored and/or combated.
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Re: Attracting more teams to the DC circuit

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:52 pm

Okay, so, uh, I made a post in this thread a while back that was, at best, ignored, and, at worst, misinterpreted.

When I said that teams shouldn't be thrown in the water, this was not an advocacy of running speed. I want to make this clear: speed should absolutely have no place in outreach to DC teams. DC teams know what speed is, they already play it, that's fine, whatever. We do not need to introduce them to quizbowl using speed. That's both dishonest and counter to the goal we have.

Seriously, I get the vibe from this thread we're just throwing ideas at the wall as fast as possible and hoping desperately that they will stick. If we want to expand the Maryland circuit, then let's actively do something to do it. Eugene Huang had a good suggestion. But idly musing on random things that maybe we could do that may work or something isn't expanding the circuit, and it never will.
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