2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon May 07, 2012 7:15 am

Let me make this really clear for any other Jeopardy! people (and i say this as a former contestant as well, but so much more importantly as a quizbowl coach for the last 6 years, and player since 1995) that feel like posting here, defending their right to come to this tournament and volunteer because it was a giant get-together and reunion for all of you.

THIS TOURNAMENT WAS NOT ABOUT YOU.

This tournament was about the kids that traveled across the country to compete on good questions against good teams with good staff moderating their games and ensuring fairness, equity, and professionalism.

If you seriously think any kid came to DC and said, "Wow! I can meet Jerome Vered! OMGZ i'm going to text my friends," you are certifiably insane, and also incredibly vain to think that 15-year-olds give a :capybara: about however many episodes any of you won. Nobody cares.

If you did not come to this tournament with the best interest of hundreds of kids in mind, then don't ever come back. This tournament should be staffed by people who are there not for the money, not for the entertainment, not for the company, and not for any other reason than to contribute to a national event that has all sorts of potential to be great. If you came for any other reason than make this event the best you could for the kids that attended, we don't need to hear anything else you have to say. This thread is about improving NHBB, so let's talk about how we can make it better next year. It starts by not having volunteers that came because they thought it would be fun to play a side-event of Jeopardy! questions with people online.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

Bronn Lord Southworth
Lulu
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 7:33 am
Location: Frederick, Maryland

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Bronn Lord Southworth » Mon May 07, 2012 8:51 am

Dear Mr. Chrzanowski:
THIS TOURNAMENT WAS NOT ABOUT YOU.
Speaking as someone who could be considered an experienced volunteer, I agree that the tournament should first and foremost be about the players. I'm glad that many players were able to enjoy the tournament despite the euphemistic "logistical headaches," and I'm very angry that some teams were denied a full chance to compete because of the scheduling issues. I was very happy that many teams went out of their way to thank me after I read a match for them, and some of the players even shook my hand, which I had never had happen before and I very much appreciated the courtesy. I think teams like Manheim Township, who were forced to forfeit matches due to the scheduling failures of the organizers, should have their registration fees and travel expenses fully refunded by the NHBB.

I also agree that the tournament suffered from a dearth of experienced volunteers. However, I have a question for you: why on earth would any experienced volunteer want to participate in events where we are constantly and viciously blamed for everything that went wrong? NHBB ran late because the schedule was ludicrously optimistic. Fifteen rounds in a day + traveling between sites was simply not possible. NHBB suffered from disasters like teams showing up at the wrong site because the organizers did not properly set up a system for making sure teams went to the right site. Most of the volunteers I saw did everything we :capybara:ing could to turn this Chernobyl into a mere Three Mile Island.

I was asked to volunteer less than two weeks before the tournament and was promised the following:
  • A polo shirt
  • An unidentified "staff gift"
  • $15 for meals on Saturday
  • Reimbursement for unspecified "travel expenses" up to $150
The only one of these four items I have so far received is the $15. The organizers did not have to promise any of these things, but, having made these promises, I expect them to be kept. I'm not going to waste my time volunteering for people who don't keep their promises. I'm also not going to waste my time volunteering for events where the players and coaches blame me for what went wrong when I did what I could to keep things from getting worse. You wrote:
If you came for any other reason than make this event the best you could for the kids that attended, we don't need to hear anything else you have to say.
Technically speaking, you need to consider my opinion irrelevant because I also went to spend time with old friends who were also volunteering. I spent that time with my friends at times when the tournament did not require me. Perhaps you should revise your statement to "If you did not do the best you could for the kids that attended, we don't need to hear anything else you have to say." Every experienced volunteer is going to want to do things like see friends, see the city if they travel to the event, and so forth. It is perfectly reasonable for you to demand that the volunteers' other motives for participating do not interfere with their role in running the tournament, but it is not reasonable for you to demand that volunteers have no other motives.

I took a five year break between volunteering for 2006 HSNCT and 2011 HSNCT. When I came back I was amazed at how much NAQT's volunteer experience had improved. NAQT still expects a lot from volunteers, but they are quick to provide thanks, quick with reimbursement, quite generous with what they will reimburse, run their tournament competently, and do a good job fulfilling the promises they make to us. This is why they are able to get a huge number of experienced volunteers. At NHBB, we was treated rudely by the organizers when we asked simple questions like "What time should we be at our site Saturday morning?" We were asked to keep up with an impossible/non-existent schedule. (Thanks go to Matt and Aaron for keeping the Dept. of the Interior moving quickly in the afternoon so we only finished 30 minutes late. Extra special thanks go to the guards at the Interior who stayed late, quite possibly without pay, so that we could finish.) The organizers made promises to me in order to secure my participation that have not yet been kept. They still have time to make good on their promises, so I will not condemn them for this - yet.

If players and coaches are going to come on this message board and blame the volunteers for the shortcomings of quizbowl events, many experienced volunteers are going to decide that volunteering for quizbowl is not worth the aggravation. While I'm sure some volunteers did their jobs poorly, they are not going to become better volunteers by being told they suck and that their opinions are irrelevant. They are going to find something else to do with their time.

Before reading your post, the only way I was going to volunteer to participate in NHBB this year is if I received, at the very minimum, profuse apologies from Mr. Madden and Mr. Clusserath for their roles in this disaster. After reading your post, there is no way I am going to participate. Even if David and Nick make things better, I'm not interested in volunteering in an event where my motives are called into question because I want to have a couple of dinners with my friends.

Sincerely,
David
Saunders S.S., London, ON, 1992-1996
Part-time Pub Quiz Host, The Old Pequliar, 1722 NW Market St., Seattle, WA, 2007-2010

User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon May 07, 2012 9:03 am

That's perfectly fine. I, however, will drive 2 hours next year and volunteer all over again, for no compensation, because i know it's the right thing to do.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

Bronn Lord Southworth
Lulu
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 7:33 am
Location: Frederick, Maryland

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Bronn Lord Southworth » Mon May 07, 2012 9:09 am

It's a right thing to do, not the right thing to do. I can do other things to help out people that don't involve be being treated like crap.
David
Saunders S.S., London, ON, 1992-1996
Part-time Pub Quiz Host, The Old Pequliar, 1722 NW Market St., Seattle, WA, 2007-2010

thejeopardyfan
Lulu
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:18 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by thejeopardyfan » Mon May 07, 2012 9:56 am

Scoff if you will, but I'd take the volunteer with a positive attitude and a heart in the right place over one with a chip on his shoulder. It's no contest. Edit: I'd suggest he be the one to think about not coming back, but I know my place.
Last edited by thejeopardyfan on Mon May 07, 2012 10:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon May 07, 2012 10:05 am

thejeopardyfan wrote:Scoff if you will, but I'd take the volunteer with a positive attitude and a heart in the right place over one with a chip on his shoulder. It's no contest.
You're seriously accusing me of not having my heart in the right place in this tournament? You came because you're obsessed with Jeopardy and wanted to hang out with people from a forum! I came because i wanted to read rounds to quizbowl teams of teenagers from around the country. I drove 2 hours, uncompensated, and spent an entire day at a tournament with almost no structure that i attempted to fix all day long, because i care about quizbowl and the experience of the kids, not any individual people who volunteered at this thing or ran it at all.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

Bronn Lord Southworth
Lulu
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 7:33 am
Location: Frederick, Maryland

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Bronn Lord Southworth » Mon May 07, 2012 10:15 am

Scoff if you will, but I'd take the volunteer with a positive attitude and a heart in the right place over one with a chip on his shoulder. It's no contest.
The first point I made in my post is that my heart was in the right place. I came to this tournament with the goal of helping the players have a good time. I think I did so to the best of my abilities - any players I moderated for are free to chip in if they disagree. I am angry that some players did not have a good time due to circumstances that were easily avoidable.

NHBB volunteers were treated poorly. I do not have a problem with NAQT, because last year they treated me well. I will be volunteering at the JROTC event at George Mason next month, because I volunteered last year and I was treated well. I have a problem with NHBB because I was treated poorly. If the quizbowl community thinks that treating volunteers with respect and fulfilling they promises they make is too much effort, the quizbowl community will never have enough experienced volunteers. Quizbowl is not the only way to give back to the community - given a choice between volunteering at an event where I am treated poorly and volunteering at an event where I am treated well, I will choose the second one, every time. There is an obvious connection between "treating volunteers well" and "having lots of experienced volunteers." Do you think I am unreasonable for saying this?

The NHBB could have promised no compensation for volunteers. Had they done so, I may have chosen to volunteer anyway and I would not have been upset to receive nothing. Since they did promise compensation, I have a right to complain that I did not receive it. I get upset when people make promises to me and don't deliver. I get upset when people are rude to me. If you believe quizbowl tournaments should only be staffed by people who don't feel this way, you will never have enough experienced staff. Feel free to treat people who volunteer their time and effort to moderate quizbowl events like crap if you wish, but don't act all surprised when many of them decide they have better things to do with their time.
David
Saunders S.S., London, ON, 1992-1996
Part-time Pub Quiz Host, The Old Pequliar, 1722 NW Market St., Seattle, WA, 2007-2010

kristinsausville
Kimahri
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 26, 2006 1:37 am
Location: Newark, Delaware
Contact:

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by kristinsausville » Mon May 07, 2012 10:19 am

thejeopardyfan wrote:Scoff if you will, but I'd take the volunteer with a positive attitude and a heart in the right place over one with a chip on his shoulder. It's no contest.
That's not the point that anyone is trying to make. We were in the same block in the morning -- you had to have noticed how much more quickly we were finishing on our floor than the volunteers on yours were. I estimate that the teams on 7 could have played a full extra two rounds in the morning with how much time we spent sitting around waiting for inexperienced moderators to finish. I don't doubt that everyone's heart was in the right place, but I found myself wishing that there had been some way for teams to provide feedback on the morning's moderators so that everyone would know that they had to keep things moving, especially with the delays in the afternoon. If I can get a round done in well under half an hour despite not having done any quizbowl moderating in ten years (although I must admit I did it quite often when I was in college), there's no reason for anyone to take almost twice that.

I don't think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater; more than a few of the moderators who were Jeopardy! contestants had college quizbowl experience. Speaking for Justin and myself, I will admit that we were initially attracted to the event because of the chance to see Jeopardy! and other friends, but while we were moderating, the experience of the players was our #1 priority, and we were frustrated that our efforts were not matched by some of the other volunteers. That, and our bedroom being trashed.
Kristin Hamlin Sausville
Chantilly HS '98
Denison University 1998-2002

User avatar
Sniper, No Sniping!
Tidus
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:25 pm
Location: Pickerington, OH

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Mon May 07, 2012 10:54 am

thejeopardyfan wrote:Scoff if you will, but I'd take the volunteer with a positive attitude and a heart in the right place over one with a chip on his shoulder. It's no contest.
If you can't take the heat, get out the kitchen. As a player, I'd rather have the volunteer (a quiz bowl professional) who wants quiz bowl to be efficient and will do their best to make the tournament my teammates and I raised money to attend, drove 9+ hours to and missed school for, at the very least smooth as possible as opposed to a random Jeopardy crony of Madden's who was explicitly unqualified to read at a national tournament.

In case it's not all too clear; this tournament has pessed off a lot of people, especially the ones in attendance by virtue of playing or staffing. As much as I love history, and the concept of History Bowl and Bee, I would need a lot if assurance next year's tournament is restructured and all the stupid bs that got in the way gets cut out. I am not bitter towards anyone at NHBB, we're all human, but I personally felt this tournament didn't offer something I couldn't get at HSNCT/NAQT Nationals in Atlanta, except a ton of frustration and poor value. NHBB flew too close to the sun on this one.

I don't know if my team is going next year; I know the logistics situation really didn't enlighten my coach, so that ship has probably sailed. I am interested in the prospect of the Bee next year, however I will be livid if I pay ~$500 in transportation, fees and lodging my way if I get less guaranteed rounds than promised and the Bee runs far behind, as was the case this year.


So yes, I'd rather take the critical but hardworking volunteers (the ones you consider to have chips on their shoulders) as opposed to a random person who doesn't understand the Berlin Conference and the Congress of Berlin are two different things.

I also want to ask, what is your stake in this matter?


Edit 1: I greatly appreciate the volunteers whose motivation was to give the players the best experience possible. I hope NHBB does their best to keep the good ones, however possible.
Thomas Moore
Lancaster Fisher Catholic HS c/o 2014
Ohio Wesleyan University c/o 2018

User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
Posts: 15274
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon May 07, 2012 11:22 am

Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:as opposed to a random Jeopardy crony of Madden's who was explicitly unqualified to read at a national tournament.
Having trained a number of quiz bowl novices to be competent within the span of an email or two and half an hour the day of the tournament, it's not impossible to have people completely new to quiz bowl be good moderators. All it requires is willingness and ability on the volunteers' part and time and effort from the tournament direction staff.
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

User avatar
Deviant Insider
Auron
Posts: 4626
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:08 am
Location: Chicagoland
Contact:

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon May 07, 2012 11:24 am

When I direct a tournament that causes people to get angry at the volunteers/underpaid staffers, it saddens me greatly. Fortunately this is rare. I very much prefer it when people place the blame on me. When I TD, I am also a volunteer, but I am ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the tournament and grateful for the often large amount of help I get. It is my promises that are either kept or unkept.

As somebody who coached for 17 years, I always blamed bad moderating on the TD (the one exception being a moderator 12 years ago who I thought was favoring downstate teams over suburban ones). I've seen moderators who were in over their heads, and it was the job of the TD to replace them. There have been times when a small number of moderators at tournaments I directed were in over their heads, and I did the best I could to give them advice and apologize when I did not have the staff to replace them.

When you register for a tournament, your expectation should be that the TD will find good officials. You shouldn't care about the motivations of those officials or how they are spending the night before the tournament. Quiz Bowl does in fact need a lot of support from a lot of people.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
Posts: 15274
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon May 07, 2012 11:26 am

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:When you register for a tournament, your expectation should be that the TD will find good officials. You shouldn't care about the motivations of those officials or how they are spending the night before the tournament. Quiz Bowl does in fact need a lot of support from a lot of people.
I agree with and endorse this post.

(of course, doing something ridiculous the night before, like renacting The Hangover, is non-preferrable for volunteers)
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6615
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Cheynem » Mon May 07, 2012 11:30 am

Heh, I was unaware that the Congress of Berlin and Berlin Conference were two different things until now. That is not something moderators should be expected to know cold (that's what prompts are for).

My other point is that it's not like this is a choice between treating volunteers like crap or treating volunteers with respect. Good tournaments always treat volunteers with respect. If there was compensation promised, they should get it. Hotel rooms shouldn't be trashed. People should volunteers information and help. Tournaments like, as Dave pointed out, HSNCT and NSC, do a good job treating their volunteers with respect. In thinking of NHBB volunteering, motivations for volunteering are sort of moot. You could actually come just for the Jeopardy events and staff and still be a good staffer--I'm sure there were a few people who fit in this category. There were also people who probably didn't. I don't really care why people staff the tournaments I run as long as they are quality, responsible staffers. That said, Dave Madden should probably: 1. try to find larger sources of quizbowl experienced moderators than the Jeopardy circuit, 2. spend more time on the tournament, less on Jeopardy events. I have no problem with Jeopardy events, but until the tournament gets its logistic butt together, some of these side events should probably go on the backburner.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Bartleby
Rikku
Posts: 315
Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:45 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Bartleby » Mon May 07, 2012 11:32 am

I'll preface my comments by saying that I neither attended this tournament, nor have any stake in the matter, but it seems like everyone here is talking in circles and maybe getting away from some of the major points that were previously being made. If my interpretation of events in this post is incorrect, I'd welcome corrections.

While I obviously can't speak for anyone else posting in this thread, it doesn't seem to me like this:
Bronn Lord Southworth wrote:
If players and coaches are going to come on this message board and blame the volunteers for the shortcomings of quizbowl events, many experienced volunteers are going to decide that volunteering for quizbowl is not worth the aggravation. While I'm sure some volunteers did their jobs poorly, they are not going to become better volunteers by being told they suck and that their opinions are irrelevant. They are going to find something else to do with their time.
was the point being made.

In order to run any national quizbowl tournament, you need a considerable number of knowledgeable and experienced staff. Generally, at the high school level, many of these staff members are experienced university students, or former qb participants. It sounds as though there was no field cap set on this tournament, which happens smack-dab in the middle of term papers and finals for many university students, limiting the ability of these students to lend their generally-well-utilized services to this tournament. By not setting a field cap, and by not having the availability of the frequently-used staff base, it sounds like this tournament had to look a bit farther-afield to provide the necessary number of staff members to make it run as it did. Consequently, it sounds like Dave Madden used his connections in the Jeopardy! community to secure some number of staffers from that community to make the tournament run. It also sounds like Dave had to entice these Jeopardy!-based staffers with the prospect of some sort of reunion/quiz competition.

The points being advanced by those who attended the tournament seem, to me, to be the following:

1) This tournament had seriously logistical snafus.
2) Many of the staffers at this tournament seemed ill-prepared for the roles which they were assigned.
3) Anything that took up time from the organization of this tournament (ie: having some sort of Jeopardy! contestant reunion) was probably a bad idea.

I don't think that any of these points are meant to impugn those who graciously volunteered their time at this tournament. These complaints seem to stem more from perceived logistical issues within NHBB itself.

The sticky issues emerge when we begin to discuss the motivations of staffers for attending this tournament. I don't think anyone is saying that the only reason one might volunteer one's time is for the benefit of the students involved, particularly if one is not connected to the community. I do not think, however, that it is unfair or incorrect to state that the primary, or overriding reason one might volunteer at the NHBB or any nationals-level QB tournament would be to benefit the students involved. Thus, tensions are incited when people say things like "my major draw to this tournament was a Jeopardy! reunion" (paraphrasing).

Where do these tensions come from? Things like this reunion seemed to detract from the organization of the tournament, and it seems like the perception is that continuing them would continue to detract from the experience of the students involved, who are the most important parties.

Here are, I think, the take-away points:

1) If the NHBB in the future wants to continue to hold tournaments with the field that this one did, it needs to find a way to properly staff those tournaments. Either, it needs to bring in more experienced staffers, OR, it needs to significantly improve the training which it provides to its staffers. Moderating quiz bowl well is truly not something one can learn to do overnight, as all have admitted.

2) If you want to staff at a QB tournament, your primary reason for doing so should be because you want to staff that tournament for the betterment of the experience of the students involved.

3) If billing some aspect of this tournament as a "Jeopardy! contestant reunion" was the way in which it became fully-staffed, that billing needs to be re-evaluated.

Again, and to close, I don't think anyone is saying that the volunteers are being blamed for the shortcomings of this event. I think that many of the volunteers were unfortunate collateral damage to the greater logistical issues which arose (lack of training, lack of schedule organization etc). However, those volunteers who associate their desire to attend with parts of the tournament which were seen to detract from the overall experience for the students (ie: the most important people there), are going to get lambasted, rightly or not.

ETA: I should also clarify that I personally don't give a :capybara: why you staff a tournament as long as you do it well. It sounds like the conditions for this to occur for new volunteers were not in place.
Brian McNamara
Western University '13
University of Waterloo '14
Temple University '20

Susan
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 1817
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:43 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Susan » Mon May 07, 2012 11:42 am

In order to run any national quizbowl tournament, you need a considerable number of knowledgeable and experienced staff. Generally, at the high school level, many of these staff members are experienced university students, or former qb participants. It sounds as though there was no field cap set on this tournament, which happens smack-dab in the middle of term papers and finals for many university students, limiting the ability of these students to lend their generally-well-utilized services to this tournament.
Something this tournament could be a lot better about next year is really beating the bushes for local college-quizbowl-associated staff. It seems like there were some college players in the general Midatlantic area who had no idea how badly this tournament needed experienced staff until after the fact. Did the organizers contact UMD, UVA, George Mason, etc. etc. etc. about trying to get as many of their players to help out as possible, or were the forums the primary means for recruiting collegiate staffers?

That's leaving aside that NHBB would probably be better off if it upped its reimbursement cap and started pursuing non-local experienced staff the same way that NSC and HSNCT do.
Susan
UChicago alum (AB 2003, PhD 2009)
Member emerita, ACF

User avatar
Galstaff, Sorceror of Light
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 2249
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2007 5:40 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Mon May 07, 2012 11:52 am

Susan wrote:
In order to run any national quizbowl tournament, you need a considerable number of knowledgeable and experienced staff. Generally, at the high school level, many of these staff members are experienced university students, or former qb participants. It sounds as though there was no field cap set on this tournament, which happens smack-dab in the middle of term papers and finals for many university students, limiting the ability of these students to lend their generally-well-utilized services to this tournament.
Something this tournament could be a lot better about next year is really beating the bushes for local college-quizbowl-associated staff. It seems like there were some college players in the general Midatlantic area who had no idea how badly this tournament needed experienced staff until after the fact. Did the organizers contact UMD, UVA, George Mason, etc. etc. etc. about trying to get as many of their players to help out as possible, or were the forums the primary means for recruiting collegiate staffers?

That's leaving aside that NHBB would probably be better off if it upped its reimbursement cap and started pursuing non-local experienced staff the same way that NSC and HSNCT do.
I know that UVA was contacted; I'm not sure about UMD and Mason. My teammates didn't want to go for a variety of reasons, among them the date of this tournament being the weekend before the last two days of the semester and the beginning of finals when all of us were busy, as well as the seeming inevitability that this tournament would be a disaster that could not be improved much by a few of us risking our grades to come moderate. If NHBB were to seriously overhaul its logistics (a field cap would be a really, really wise place to start, as would at least considering ditching the multi-site idea), I imagine more college players would be willing to attend.
Sam (Sarah Angelo) Luongo,
Maggie L. Walker Governor's School 2010 / UVA 2014 / VCU School of Education 2016
President, PACE
Member, ACF

Susan
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 1817
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:43 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Susan » Mon May 07, 2012 11:59 am

The Laughing Cavalier wrote:
Susan wrote:
In order to run any national quizbowl tournament, you need a considerable number of knowledgeable and experienced staff. Generally, at the high school level, many of these staff members are experienced university students, or former qb participants. It sounds as though there was no field cap set on this tournament, which happens smack-dab in the middle of term papers and finals for many university students, limiting the ability of these students to lend their generally-well-utilized services to this tournament.
Something this tournament could be a lot better about next year is really beating the bushes for local college-quizbowl-associated staff. It seems like there were some college players in the general Midatlantic area who had no idea how badly this tournament needed experienced staff until after the fact. Did the organizers contact UMD, UVA, George Mason, etc. etc. etc. about trying to get as many of their players to help out as possible, or were the forums the primary means for recruiting collegiate staffers?

That's leaving aside that NHBB would probably be better off if it upped its reimbursement cap and started pursuing non-local experienced staff the same way that NSC and HSNCT do.
I know that UVA was contacted; I'm not sure about UMD and Mason. My teammates didn't want to go for a variety of reasons, among them the date of this tournament being the weekend before the last two days of the semester and the beginning of finals when all of us were busy, as well as the seeming inevitability that this tournament would be a disaster that could not be improved much by a few of us risking our grades to come moderate. If NHBB were to seriously overhaul its logistics (a field cap would be a really, really wise place to start, as would at least considering ditching the multi-site idea), I imagine more college players would be willing to attend.
Okay, I was probably mistaken about the amount of effort put into getting local staff. My point about upping the reimbursement cap stands, though, and Sarah makes a very good point that it's going to be easier to get college students to come out at a busy time of the semester if they can feel more confident that they aren't going to get mired in a stressful chaotic mess.
Susan
UChicago alum (AB 2003, PhD 2009)
Member emerita, ACF

User avatar
I'm a goff (in case you couldn't tell)
Quizbowl Detective Extraordinaire
Posts: 1647
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2004 10:25 pm
Location: Wichita, KS

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by I'm a goff (in case you couldn't tell) » Mon May 07, 2012 12:28 pm

I got a Facebook message from Dave asking if I was interested in helping staff only 2 weeks prior to the tournament. I turned it down at the time, as the weekend of the tournament was the last weekend prior to the start of our exams. I didn't hear from anyone else at VT that they had been contacted, and I didn't pass along the invitation since it appeared to be extended to me alone.
Dan Goff
HSQB sysadmin

Virginia Tech '13
South Carolina '15
and a couple other places
Not Thomas Dale HS

STAAATS

nich0103
Lulu
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 1:40 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by nich0103 » Mon May 07, 2012 12:37 pm

For what it's worth, David or Raynell really didn't do much of anything for the Jeopardy! panel. Nick didn't do anything with it, either. They set up the panel, and then left to go prep other things. Roger Craig led the Jeopardy! panel.

They didn't do anything with the Jeopardy! bee either. Some volunteer (no idea who, but I could barely understand his moderating although he purported himself to be a seasoned quiz bowl person fwiw) read the questions. Again, during this process, David, Raynell and Nick were nowhere to be seen. If they weren't planning the logistics of the tournament during this time, I don't know what they weren't doing. But they're weren't as actively involved with the Jeopardy! events as some may think.

User was reminded to add a signature.
Preston
Past Moderator for NAQT events and National History Bowl/Bee

User avatar
Skepticism and Animal Feed
Auron
Posts: 3182
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 11:47 pm
Location: Arlington, VA

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon May 07, 2012 12:42 pm

The Motley Eye wrote:I got a Facebook message from Dave asking if I was interested in helping staff only 2 weeks prior to the tournament. I turned it down at the time, as the weekend of the tournament was the last weekend prior to the start of our exams. I didn't hear from anyone else at VT that they had been contacted, and I didn't pass along the invitation since it appeared to be extended to me alone.
This happened to me too. I volunteered, then had to withdraw because of the same laryngitis that prevented me from moderating the second day of ACF Nationals. I live a block away from the main hotel, so I actually showed up to NHBB unannounced out of boredom and scorekept for Matt Weiner.

So Dave *did* make a last minute push for experience college moderators, it just didn't work out well due to factors beyond his control.
Bruce
Harvard '10 / UChicago '07 / Roycemore School '04
ACF Member emeritus
My guide to using Wikipedia as a question source

Susan
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 1817
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:43 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Susan » Mon May 07, 2012 12:45 pm

Well, last-minute pushes for volunteers are a terrible idea. You have to have months-ahead pushes, especially for an event at that time of the year!
Susan
UChicago alum (AB 2003, PhD 2009)
Member emerita, ACF

User avatar
Kouign Amann
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 1134
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2008 12:44 am
Location: Morristown, NJ

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Kouign Amann » Mon May 07, 2012 12:52 pm

I think the points made by Messrs. Reinstein and Morlan are good ones. It seems that much of the invective directed against staffers in this thread is the product of the pent-up frustration of many people. The proper targets of this criticism are, of course, David Madden and any other upper-echelon NHBB people authorized to speak for the organization. Unfortunately, apart from a euphemistic non-apology for "logistical headaches," those people have been conspicuously absent from this thread for more than a week. We've been left only with a statement of intent to explain on Wednesday. I'm not saying it's right (I don't think it really is), but it seems pretty natural that when staffers appeared in this thread, people exploded at them because they needed somebody to explode at.

I don't think it's too much of a jump to conclude that, by delaying his response, David Madden left his staffers out to dry. I sure hope that the "over 100 hours" of thinking produced an item entitled "timely response to criticism" on the list of 52 fixes for NHBB. I also sure hope that NHBB sees the irony there.
Last edited by Kouign Amann on Mon May 07, 2012 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Aidan Mehigan
St. Anselm's Abbey School '12
Columbia University '16 | University of Oxford '17 | UPenn GSE '19

Bronn Lord Southworth
Lulu
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 7:33 am
Location: Frederick, Maryland

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Bronn Lord Southworth » Mon May 07, 2012 12:58 pm

Bartleby wrote:The sticky issues emerge when we begin to discuss the motivations of staffers for attending this tournament. I don't think anyone is saying that the only reason one might volunteer one's time is for the benefit of the students involved, particularly if one is not connected to the community. I do not think, however, that it is unfair or incorrect to state that the primary, or overriding reason one might volunteer at the NHBB or any nationals-level QB tournament would be to benefit the students involved. Thus, tensions are incited when people say things like "my major draw to this tournament was a Jeopardy! reunion" (paraphrasing).

...

ETA: I should also clarify that I personally don't give a :capybara: why you staff a tournament as long as you do it well. It sounds like the conditions for this to occur for new volunteers were not in place.
I appreciate that everyone has acknowledged the importance of experienced volunteers and the unimportance of our motivations. Thank you all kindly. However, there is one group of volunteers we should consider: the inexperienced volunteers whose hearts are in the right place and are doing the best they can, but just aren't very good yet. I can't read the minds of the non-QB Jeopardy-type staffers, so I'll assume that many of them were trying their best, even if they only chose to attend because of the reunion-type things. If Dave Madden could use his Jeopardy! connections to get more outside people to volunteer at local tournaments around the country, that would be a big positive for him and for everybody else.

Ideally, there wouldn't be inexperienced volunteers at national events. But since there were, there should have been better training - maybe simulated matches at the Friday orientations? The schedule should also have taken into account the inexperience and tacked on an extra 5-10 minutes per round. It's better to be pessimistic than optimistic when scheduling, and scheduled down time is infinitely preferable to unscheduled down time. Also, in large tournaments, sometimes :capybara: happens: our morning group was delayed 20 minutes to due a "bathroom emergency." I don't know the details, nor do I wish to.

I know I'm in the minority, but I like the idea of playing matches at sites around DC. However, I know most people would rather play more matches than take the metro to historical sites, and it's just not possible to play 15 matches with inexperienced staff and do all the traveling necessary for the site decentralization to work unless you add an extra day to the tournament.

Lastly, since everyone was an inexperienced staffer at one time, perhaps people could suggest ideas for expanding the pool of capable volunteers without diminishing the quality of play while they're being trained?
David
Saunders S.S., London, ON, 1992-1996
Part-time Pub Quiz Host, The Old Pequliar, 1722 NW Market St., Seattle, WA, 2007-2010

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 3002
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Auroni » Mon May 07, 2012 1:14 pm

Nationals events are not the place for training wheels to be taken off inexperienced staffers, the presence of whom last weekend compounded the logistical problems that Madden introduced.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

Bronn Lord Southworth
Lulu
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 7:33 am
Location: Frederick, Maryland

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Bronn Lord Southworth » Mon May 07, 2012 1:17 pm

Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:Nationals events are not the place for training wheels to be taken off inexperienced staffers, the presence of whom last weekend compounded the logistical problems that Madden introduced.
I concur, but even at local events inexperienced staffers can cause problems and delays. What's the best way to get a new staffer up to speed, at any level of competition?
David
Saunders S.S., London, ON, 1992-1996
Part-time Pub Quiz Host, The Old Pequliar, 1722 NW Market St., Seattle, WA, 2007-2010

User avatar
dtaylor4
Auron
Posts: 3733
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:43 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by dtaylor4 » Mon May 07, 2012 1:21 pm

Bronn Lord Southworth wrote:Lastly, since everyone was an inexperienced staffer at one time, perhaps people could suggest ideas for expanding the pool of capable volunteers without diminishing the quality of play while they're being trained?
At local tournaments, ask for feedback. Talk to coaches, players, and other staffers. There are circuits all over this country where tournaments are in need of experienced staff.

You gotta crawl before you can walk, and nationals is a marathon. Rarely are there readers who are nationals-quality from the outset.

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

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! » Mon May 07, 2012 1:25 pm

Crikey! How did this get turned into questioning the motivations and character of the people who showed up to volunteer? The issues with the Saturday Bowl had nothing to do with whether someone was a Jeopardy contestant and wanted to see friends again. Heck, one of the reasons I went, besides helping Dave Madden with several regional bowls the past 2 years and figuring the tournament could use my help, was to see old quiz bowl buds. To characterize Dave Madden as only caring about a Jeopardy reunion, and the motivations of volunteers as "they only showed up to be with Jeopardy friends" is false and off-base to the actual issues of the tournament.

Jon Pinyan's posts were more angry in tone than I would put it, but the situation was explained accurately. Also, I didn't have a team in the NHBB, so I certainly don't blame any coaches who were frustrated by a nightmarish weekend. Explanation about the cluster :capybara: at the hotel, in the afternoon. It was due to a mistake in the schedule of one of the supergroups. The schedule emailed to teams had the mistake for rebracketing in the afternoon, and the mistake wasn't caught until around 1am Saturday morning. Teams should have been emailed again telling them to get a new schedule downstairs in the control room. Not everyone got this email to pick up a new schedule in the morning (which is how at the German Marhsall Fund I had 7 teams show up in the afternoon, after being told all Friday and Saturday I would have 5). The mistake was made by the organizers of the tournament and I do not blame any coach who did not see this email, being more concerned to get up early, make sure the team had breakfast and then get to the morning site than thinking there was problem in the schedules emailed to them.
Northern Central Railway wrote:
jonpin wrote:Oh, and no more brackets split between sites. Seriously, that's the stupidest -ing thing that happened all tournament, and I know from the moment it was mentioned that there was no way our site was finishing by 12.
I wasn't affected by this, but the one thing that really gets me about this is that the suggestion to not have brackets split between multiple sites was also made after Nationals last year but apparently ignored. As someone in IRC put it, those who don't learn from history bowl...
I was the Site coordinator at GMF that Jon mentioned for the morning rounds. We started late, because before leaving I was informed buzzers needed to go to Anderson House. I believe we got finished around 12:30, but that day is a blur to me now. I was running the Taft and Baines brackets, at GMF 5 rooms were running matches, and at the Slovenia embassy 1 room. I have repeatedly told the organizers if they want to continue doing various DC sites, they can not split brackets to different sites. If Slovenia was only giving 1 room to run matches, do not use them as a site, it's that simple. The GMF people were great hosts, and even told me after they could have done 6 rooms (because I did also repeatedly rant to them how shuttling a team between sites was costing us time). Hopefully the message sank in, but I'm not entirely sure since I was repeatedly met with "well this doesn't seem like a major problem." The point is, when it takes close to 10 minutes each round because you've split a bracket you're needlessly wasting time. You can cut out that 40-50 minutes of wasted time, by simply NOT DOING IT. I've said all I care to about that, the organizers know I feel strongly about not splitting brackets between sites, and how much time it wasted (even with the late start at GMF we could have been done by 11:30-11:45).
Fountain of Youth? There's already enough youth. Why not the Fountain of Smart?

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

User avatar
jonpin
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 2037
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 6:45 pm
Location: BCA NJ / WUSTL MO / Hackensack NJ

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by jonpin » Mon May 07, 2012 3:10 pm

OK, a couple points here. First of all, I personally hope no one casts aspersions upon anyone who declines to volunteer to staff a national tournament, for any reason. Whether it be because of conflicting activities, a disapproval of the tournament, or just a desire to have a spare weekend for life outside QB, any of those reasons are in my opinion justified.
Andrew C. wrote:If you seriously think any kid came to DC and said, "Wow! I can meet Jerome Vered! OMGZ i'm going to text my friends," you are certifiably insane, and also incredibly vain to think that 15-year-olds give a :capybara: about however many episodes any of you won. Nobody cares.
FWIW, as certifiably insane as this does sound, my team last year was quite excited to meet Brad Rutter. It was far from a compelling reason to attend, but they wanted to take a picture. Then again, that bunch is mostly a group of students who I can never tell if they're joking or not.
Tom Moore wrote:I don't know if my team is going next year; I know the logistics situation really didn't enlighten my coach, so that ship has probably sailed. I am interested in the prospect of the Bee next year, however I will be livid if I pay ~$500 in transportation, fees and lodging my way if I get less guaranteed rounds than promised and the Bee runs far behind, as was the case this year.
This right here. This is the crux of the matter. Teams paid $300-$400 to compete on Saturday, but for a great deal of them, that's the least of three large expenses, along with travel and hotel. It's vital that you deliver what you promised.
David, Bronn Lord Southworth wrote:Ideally, there wouldn't be inexperienced volunteers at national events. But since there were, there should have been better training - maybe simulated matches at the Friday orientations? The schedule should also have taken into account the inexperience and tacked on an extra 5-10 minutes per round. [...] I know I'm in the minority, but I like the idea of playing matches at sites around DC.
Sentence 1: Ideally. Sentence 2: That was specifically promised online: "You will also get a chance to see gameplay in action. Please note that if your reading is judged to be so slow as to endanger the tournament’s ability to stay on schedule, you may be given scorekeeping duties instead." Sentence 3: I'm fairly sure that was suggested to David, but 30 minute rounds were booked in his master plan last summer, because we'd have the best moderators in all the land. I like playing in and around DC as well, as long as it's actually feasible. Last year, we got to take in some of Chinatown between our morning and afternoon games and even saw a bona fide anti-coal protest march. This year, we had to start running immediately.
John Timmer wrote:Jon Pinyan's posts were more angry in tone than I would put it, but the situation was explained accurately. Also, I didn't have a team in the NHBB, so I certainly don't blame any coaches who were frustrated by a nightmarish weekend. Explanation about the cluster :capybara: at the hotel, in the afternoon...
I'm fairly sure that when we registered for Nationals, we had to provide a day-of contact phone number; if not, that's an absolute necessity for next year. It's madness to expect coaches to check their email after midnight the night before a competition, and doing so in their room would cost them more than ten bucks on top of that. This is another reason why spread out rounds are quite a pain. At a centralized tournament, if you discover this error, you print out revised afternoon schedules, and send runners to the various morning brackets to cut people off and give them replacement schedules. At a delocalized tournament... what in the world do you do? Send someone driving around DC for an hour and a half? Call the site captains, who are also moderating games and who might not have internet access or printers on site? By the way, 12:30-12:45 sounds about right for when we finally ended.

As to why my posts were angry, it's because I am angry. I'm angry that my team had to sprint to get breakfast and take the Metro, then sit around for an hour waiting to get started. Then I had to tell my kids, "No we can't eat lunch at a nice place in DC, because we have to get back to the hotel", and was told that the afternoon rounds had already started (I am still legitimately curious as to what in hell he was thinking), so I had my team sprint to get lunch... then sit around for an hour and a half. Then we were running behind, so I had my kids sprint to get dinner while I volunteered in the tab room... then they sat around for an hour. If my team had progressed through the knockouts, they would've been rewarded with as much time sitting in the ballroom waiting for a room assignment as they spent playing games. Then on Sunday, my two competing students got up early and packed up so they could sprint to get breakfast... then they sat around for an hour and a half!
Time after time, high-level staff told me that events were just about to start, so not to go anywhere, and the looming threat of forfeit kept us in place while the directors knew they weren't even close to ready. And Dave Madden was in full Pollyanna mode, expecting that at any second, everything would fall back into place and we'd be right on schedule forever. Again, at 9:20 on Saturday, with three rounds left to play, he said "We're gonna finish on time!", and it was more than two hours after that when the winners were crowned; and at 1:30 on Sunday, with Round 5 just having ended, he was typing up a handout that said they wouldn't leave for Mount Vernon before 1:50.

On the digression which has taken up a lot of posts: I have no philosophical problem with as many fun activities as you want on Friday night, with two stipulations: (1) Planning them doesn't get in the way of planning for The Big Show, and (2) They actually run competently. I have no firm clue on #1, but this was the second straight year that #2 was a swing and miss for the Friday night bees. If nothing else, keeping kids up until 11pm on Friday night and nearly midnight on Saturday, then expecting them to be up by 7 in the morning is legitimately bad for them, and I wouldn't be surprised if the top performers were mentally and physically exhausted by the end of Sunday's bee.
Jon Pinyan
Coach, Bergen County Academies (NJ); former player for BCA (2000-03) and WUSTL (2003-07)
HSQB forum mod, PACE member
Stat director for: NSC '13-'15, '17; ACF '14, '17, '19; NHBB '13-'15; NASAT '11

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

User avatar
jonpin
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 2037
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 6:45 pm
Location: BCA NJ / WUSTL MO / Hackensack NJ

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by jonpin » Mon May 07, 2012 3:23 pm

And in a new post, let me just briefly put my mod hat on to remind posters new and old:
New posters, remember to include a signature that allows us to reasonably identify you. By rule, "You must enable a signature which contains at least your first name and relevant affiliation. Your affiliation must be sufficiently obvious as to be identified by any person." If you are not a quiz bowl player, you must still include your first name, and some indication of who you are and how you are connected to quiz bowl would be appreciated.
All posters, remember the rules of discourse. Shouting "No you're wrong" without backup is not permitted. Telling someone how to post is not permitted. Criticizing someone IS permitted. Telling someone not to criticize you is not permitted. Being polite is good but not required.

If you feel someone is violating the rules linked above in any way, do not post in thread to tell them, but rather hit the [Report Post] button, which should be a downward-pointing triangle with an exclamation point. Board staff will then take care of it according to our rules.
Jon Pinyan
Coach, Bergen County Academies (NJ); former player for BCA (2000-03) and WUSTL (2003-07)
HSQB forum mod, PACE member
Stat director for: NSC '13-'15, '17; ACF '14, '17, '19; NHBB '13-'15; NASAT '11

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

User avatar
Sniper, No Sniping!
Tidus
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:25 pm
Location: Pickerington, OH

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Mon May 07, 2012 4:51 pm

jonpin wrote:As to why my posts were angry, it's because I am angry. I'm angry that my team had to sprint to get breakfast and take the Metro, then sit around for an hour waiting to get started. Then I had to tell my kids, "No we can't eat lunch at a nice place in DC, because we have to get back to the hotel", and was told that the afternoon rounds had already started (I am still legitimately curious as to what in hell he was thinking), so I had my team sprint to get lunch... then sit around for an hour and a half. Then we were running behind, so I had my kids sprint to get dinner while I volunteered in the tab room... then they sat around for an hour. If my team had progressed through the knockouts, they would've been rewarded with as much time sitting in the ballroom waiting for a room assignment as they spent playing games. Then on Sunday, my two competing students got up early and packed up so they could sprint to get breakfast... then they sat around for an hour and a half!
Time after time, high-level staff told me that events were just about to start, so not to go anywhere, and the looming threat of forfeit kept us in place while the directors knew they weren't even close to ready. And Dave Madden was in full Pollyanna mode, expecting that at any second, everything would fall back into place and we'd be right on schedule forever. Again, at 9:20 on Saturday, with three rounds left to play, he said "We're gonna finish on time!", and it was more than two hours after that when the winners were crowned; and at 1:30 on Sunday, with Round 5 just having ended, he was typing up a handout that said they wouldn't leave for Mount Vernon before 1:50.
This basically sounds like what our experience was. We stayed at a residence in Falls Church, VA throughout the weekend. I think we spent about 40-55 minutes one way getting from the residence to the Anderson House in the morning. We finished like 20 minutes before 12 (I remember this from my text message records), but I don't think we got back to the Crystal City Marriott before 1:15 as a result of the distance and the fact we had to let one train en route to the Metro Center go by because it was packed tighter than anchovies in a tin. We got to the hotel and I don't recall what happened, but I remember we had to eat lunch ASAP to get in a hotel room on the seventh(?) floor to start our playoff bracket games. We get to the room to find buzzers set up and low and behold there's a bracket on the desk. Our bracket coordinator was also our reader for that round, who happened to be I believe Jason Jones of Detroit Catholic Central. He was our best reader among all scheduled games we had that day, and he was a good coordinator. Since the room we went to was the bracket HQ, I don't think he was supposed to leave us in there alone, so my coach went downstairs and copied down all the bracket information and the schedule and then brought it up. It felt like I was in there for a while, but realistically speaking I want to say we were in there for about an hour before play started.

After the 10th game, we decided to get down to the lobby and go trod off to the food court (or whatever there was that you could call a food court). During the beginning of our "dinner", at 6:45 I got a cell phone call from Greg Bossick telling me there was an emergency regarding a game of ours and that I needed to get my team to Ballroom E pronto (paraphrase). When we got there, I was told that Iolani (a team from Hawaii) was supposed to be in our playoff bracket instead of Pope John Paul II, who we played in the first afternoon game (game six), and the error wasn't discovered until midway through the afternoon playoff brackets (before the knockout), so our game vs JP2 was expunged and we had to play Iolani (which I didn't have a problem with, and I'm glad NHBB found out and did their best to resolve it. Iolani was a good team that travelled all the way from Hawaii and it would be ludicrous to keep them from potential round of 16 contention). We beat Iolani, so the game didn't affect our record in a negative way.

So as a result of the Iolani fiasco, we got kept out of dinner. We basically stuck around in the hotel and just waited to see what would happen next, as we knew we were going to play in the knockout stage, but we weren't sure when things would get going for that. Eventually we find out that our first opponent would be Bergen County. At that point, we were tired and hungry and not to jab at your kids Mr. Pinyan, but it seemed like they had enough energy to get through the whole night if they wanted. We then would narrowly drop our next game to Ezell-Harding. I saw a huge consolation seeing how it meant we'd finally be getting "home". After we scored some McDonald's in Falls Church, we finally got to bed after midnight. I woke up at 6am so I could be at the Bee "strictly" by 8am (got there at 7:30), and since I wanted to get some amount of sleep between competition, I didn't allot time for breakfast. Man, in hindsight that was a bad idea, since the Bee got delayed by an hour and from what I recall no places were serving breakfast in the Hotel/adjacent food court since there was supposedly a power outage in the food court. Looking to kill time and not get sick, my coach and I found the Starbucks way back there in the food court and we talked to John Timmer while we were going there and while in line, and it was good to talk to a staffer and somebody we knew, so I enjoyed that part of the morning. The Bee was a good competition, but as I've said before the delays and uncertainty really ran not only patience thin but many people's. I was glad I didn't make the Bee playoffs so I could get out of the hotel and take the train to the Smithsonian station and catch up with my buds on my team and just be done with the whole thing already.
Thomas Moore
Lancaster Fisher Catholic HS c/o 2014
Ohio Wesleyan University c/o 2018

Rex Kramer
Kimahri
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 5:19 pm

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Rex Kramer » Mon May 07, 2012 6:44 pm

I am lowly Jeopardy! contestant who volunteered to help out in the NHBB, and I wouldn't claim entitlement to some special place in the event. I think it's neat for there to be some form of overlap between the two quizzy worlds, but I wouldn't want to see the main event suffer on account of it. Certainly if I were a consumer I'd expect to get what I signed up for without interference by those pointy-headed nerds who probably still live with their parents . . . oh, wait . . . well, you know what I mean.

Still, from what I saw and read about and heard about, there's not a lot that can be laid at the feet of the J! crowd. A few less-than-ept moderators, to be sure, but otherwise there seems to be very little connection between the attention paid to Jeopardy! on Friday night and the snafus on Saturday.

I think David Madden welcomes any constructive criticism that can help to improve the NHBB each year, but as an admirer of what he's accomplished I'd like to offer some counterbalancing perspective. It's remarkable that he created the event where none existed before and has developed intercontinental competition in just two years. Maybe it's something quiz bowl people do all the time, I don't know; to read the complaints in this thread, you'd think everyone else here had already begotten two or three perfect international tournaments and can't believe it's taken David so long to get his act together. Two years! Take the training wheels off already!

Still, as an ordinary mortal, I am impressed. I don't begrudge David his creative melding of two spheres of brainy competition near and dear to his heart; last year it was an inspired source of vitality and volunteerism, and if this year it didn't seem quite as interesting to people, maybe that's just evolution. (To be clear, I didn't have time to participate in any J!-themed events this year; I just came in on Saturday, read my questions [brilliantly, I might add], and left. So I'm pretty sure my net contribution was a positive.) In any case, I think it would be a mistake to discourage David from encouraging Jeopardy! contestants' participation in the future; both Jeopardy! contestants and quiz bowl contestants are smart and entertaining. They deserve each other. Plus David is cannily aware of the benefits of publicity and public awareness for the competition's long-term success, and sure, maybe Jerome Vered isn't Justin Bieber, but every little bit helps. Let's give David some credit, gently point out possibilities for improvement, and think of ways to use the Jeopardy! connection as an asset rather than jettisoning it altogether.

Rex
Bill MacDonald
National History Bowl volunteer

User avatar
Francis the Talking France
Wakka
Posts: 164
Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 4:01 am
Location: Denver, CO
Contact:

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Francis the Talking France » Mon May 07, 2012 6:57 pm

In regards to the side events being taken out of the itinerary for next year's NHBB, I would prefer if they stayed because the Sports History Bee was what coaxed me into attending. I pretty much knew that I wasn't going to do well in the regular history bee, but I thought I at least had a decent chance at the Sports History Bee. I was slow on the buzzer and didn't do too well in that either. It seemed to me that most of the players played in the bee and the bowl, so they had a purpose of staying there for another day. I just spent my Saturday with my dad trying to navigate the weird metro weekend schedule and then we went to the Smithsonian American History museum (which I thought would help me with some of the questions which, lo and behold, never were actually asked because the 6th round was taken out completely). I thought we'd at least get a mix of questions for the 5th round instead of just taking out the most accessible packet.
Matt Duchan
Chapel Hill High School '12
University of Denver '16
Director of the 2013 Colorado State History Bowl

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

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! » Mon May 07, 2012 7:42 pm

Prof.Whoopie wrote:I think the points made by Messrs. Reinstein and Morlan are good ones. It seems that much of the invective directed against staffers in this thread is the product of the pent-up frustration of many people. The proper targets of this criticism are, of course, David Madden and any other upper-echelon NHBB people authorized to speak for the organization. Unfortunately, apart from a euphemistic non-apology for "logistical headaches," those people have been conspicuously absent from this thread for more than a week. We've been left only with a statement of intent to explain on Wednesday. I'm not saying it's right (I don't think it really is), but it seems pretty natural that when staffers appeared in this thread, people exploded at them because they needed somebody to explode at.

I don't think it's too much of a jump to conclude that, by delaying his response, David Madden left his staffers out to dry. I sure hope that the "over 100 hours" of thinking produced an item entitled "timely response to criticism" on the list of 52 fixes for NHBB. I also sure hope that NHBB sees the irony there.
I highly doubt Dave anticipated anyone directing their frustration towards some of the volunteers, and therefor saying he's left them out to dry is a jump. I can't speak for Dave Madden or the NHBB, because I don't work/am not paid by them. The last I knew, NHBB had 3 and now it might be 4 who actually are hired employees. However, I am well connected with them, and being involved in many of the planning and inner-circle meetings that took place, I can answer pretty much anything that happened Friday thru Sunday (excluding Bee stats and anything about the website, because, as I said I'm not an NHBB employee and don't have access to updating the website). Message me here, email, facebook, whatever method anyone prefers, but it's not going to be an official stance representating the NHBB. More like "this is what happened and here is what's been expressed to fix the problems going forward."

As far as what I've already expressed towards the NHBB directors:

1. Coaches and teams are peeved off...a lot of them, and being frank, they should be. They've lost several coaches who have said they might still participate in the regional tournaments but no way were they going to register for Nationals next year. And at next year's National tournament has to, absolutely has to run smoothly on schedule.

2. Field cap, which from what I'm understanding will be in place next year.

3. Disseminate duties, and this way team registrations see "this" person, staffing questions, see "this" person. I feel like this is what caused most of the delays and confusion, because still everything ran through David and possibly 1 or 2 others. A select few were trying to juggle and be responsible for so many different aspects of running a tournament it meant nothing got finished on time and no one knew when and where to be...for pretty much anything. I was probably the 7th or 8th staffer who told a parent, player, or coach "I don't know when the Bee is starting and I can't tell you who to see to give you an answer."

4. I'm less sure the multiple sites around DC will work, since it bombed the 1st year and didn't seem to get any better this year. I mean the travel time on the directions for the metro were terribly wrong. On friday, one of the teams going to GMF Saturday morning, and knew I would be there as well, told me they followed the directions for the GMF and it took them an hour when the printed directions said 30 minutes. I had yet to ever use the DC metro, so I told as many staffers and teams to add on more time if they were going off site.

If planned flawlessly, I think the multiple sites can work, but that's really the problem...it just adds another factor to plan in running a tournament, and when things go wrong (like a mistake in the afternoon schedule, or reporting scores back to the control room) it turns into a disaster. If part of the attraction will be to allow teams visit historic sites around DC, by playing all games at the hotel you cut down on wasted travel time, which should then allow teams to you know eat...and actually explore DC if they desire. The main focus has to be playing matches and getting the tournament done on schedule, and in a timely manner.

If NHBB still sticks with having games at historical/interesting sites next year, then I continue to stress, don't split brackets to different sites. Absolutely do not do it. If the Embassy of Slovenia says they can only give you 1 room, don't use them as a site.

I will restate though, I think the most apt description of Dave Madden and the NHBB directors is well-intentioned people trying to give a great experience to people. It was audacious and admirable, but still a failure.
jonpin wrote:On the digression which has taken up a lot of posts: I have no philosophical problem with as many fun activities as you want on Friday night, with two stipulations: (1) Planning them doesn't get in the way of planning for The Big Show, and (2) They actually run competently. I have no firm clue on #1, but this was the second straight year that #2 was a swing and miss for the Friday night bees. If nothing else, keeping kids up until 11pm on Friday night and nearly midnight on Saturday, then expecting them to be up by 7 in the morning is legitimately bad for them, and I wouldn't be surprised if the top performers were mentally and physically exhausted by the end of Sunday's bee.
As far as 1 goes, the side event planning did not get in the way of planning for Saturday and Sunday. I got to the hotel on Friday at 1pm. And quickly checking into room and to eat, around 1:40 I started helping. At first I was helping Nick with printouts and compensation for staff, and then I was needed for team registrations, then buzzers, then getting rooms set up for scrimmages, then reading several scrimmages. Around 5 I was back down in the control room and back helping get rooms set up with buzzers. At that time, the draw for the Bee side events still hadn't been determined. So, basically, when I got to the hotel until 5:50 when Dave handed me his laptop and told me to run the Jeopardy Bee everyone was working on setting up Saturday. After the Jeopardy Bee, there was the opening ceremony (eh, about 6:35ish). I wasn't at the opening ceremony, because I had gone back to help in the control room.
Fountain of Youth? There's already enough youth. Why not the Fountain of Smart?

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

nich0103
Lulu
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 1:40 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by nich0103 » Mon May 07, 2012 7:51 pm

Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:At first I was helping Nick with printouts and compensation for staff...
Wait, whaa? Were we supposed to handle our reimbursements there? I was told that reimbursements would be taken care of after the weekend concluded. Did I miss something, or get told something wrong?
Preston
Past Moderator for NAQT events and National History Bowl/Bee

Bronn Lord Southworth
Lulu
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 7:33 am
Location: Frederick, Maryland

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Bronn Lord Southworth » Mon May 07, 2012 7:54 pm

Rex Kramer wrote:I think David Madden welcomes any constructive criticism that can help to improve the NHBB each year, but as an admirer of what he's accomplished I'd like to offer some counterbalancing perspective. It's remarkable that he created the event where none existed before and has developed intercontinental competition in just two years. Maybe it's something quiz bowl people do all the time, I don't know; to read the complaints in this thread, you'd think everyone else here had already begotten two or three perfect international tournaments and can't believe it's taken David so long to get his act together. Two years! Take the training wheels off already!
You need to have run two or three perfect international tournaments before you can criticize Dave Madden? OK, here are my credentials: UWO Mackenzie Bowl 1999, Michigan MLK 2002. Both had international fields, and both were, to my recollection, well-received in their time. I wouldn't call them perfect, because they were endeavours run by human beings and thus by definition imperfect.

Jon Pinyan has made clear in an earlier post that Dave Madden was offered constructive criticism after last year's NHBB, and that the criticism was not taken to heart.
jonpin wrote:
David, Bronn Lord Southworth wrote:Ideally, there wouldn't be inexperienced volunteers at national events. But since there were, there should have been better training - maybe simulated matches at the Friday orientations? The schedule should also have taken into account the inexperience and tacked on an extra 5-10 minutes per round. [...] I know I'm in the minority, but I like the idea of playing matches at sites around DC.
Sentence 1: Ideally. Sentence 2: That was specifically promised online: "You will also get a chance to see gameplay in action. Please note that if your reading is judged to be so slow as to endanger the tournament’s ability to stay on schedule, you may be given scorekeeping duties instead." Sentence 3: I'm fairly sure that was suggested to David, but 30 minute rounds were booked in his master plan last summer, because we'd have the best moderators in all the land. I like playing in and around DC as well, as long as it's actually feasible. Last year, we got to take in some of Chinatown between our morning and afternoon games and even saw a bona fide anti-coal protest march. This year, we had to start running immediately.
Dave Madden can have all the ambition in the world, but he demonstrated last weekend that he was not able to run National History Bowl competently. If his events in Europe are in any way similar to last weekend's event, he'll just be a laughingstock on two continents instead of one. The problem isn't that he needs to take off the training wheels; the problem is that he needs to put them back on. He's trying to fly a hoverbike before demonstrating that he can successfully drive a tricycle.

I have simple criticisms for Dave Madden: make sure your staff isn't rude to your volunteers, and keep the promises you make to entice volunteers. I'm sorry that this criticism may not be "constructive." It falls more into the category of " :capybara:in' obvious" to me.
David
Saunders S.S., London, ON, 1992-1996
Part-time Pub Quiz Host, The Old Pequliar, 1722 NW Market St., Seattle, WA, 2007-2010

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

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! » Mon May 07, 2012 8:04 pm

nich0103 wrote:
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:At first I was helping Nick with printouts and compensation for staff...
Wait, whaa? Were we supposed to handle our reimbursements there? I was told that reimbursements would be taken care of after the weekend concluded. Did I miss something, or get told something wrong?
Sorry not the travel reimbursement, I meant getting the $15 for reading the bowl and $10 for the bee. I have nothing to do with reimbursing for travel, that's still all David.
Fountain of Youth? There's already enough youth. Why not the Fountain of Smart?

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

nich0103
Lulu
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 1:40 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by nich0103 » Mon May 07, 2012 8:19 pm

Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:
nich0103 wrote:
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:At first I was helping Nick with printouts and compensation for staff...
Wait, whaa? Were we supposed to handle our reimbursements there? I was told that reimbursements would be taken care of after the weekend concluded. Did I miss something, or get told something wrong?
Sorry not the travel reimbursement, I meant getting the $15 for reading the bowl and $10 for the bee. I have nothing to do with reimbursing for travel, that's still all David.
Cool - thanks!
Preston
Past Moderator for NAQT events and National History Bowl/Bee

User avatar
AKKOLADE
Sin
Posts: 15274
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon May 07, 2012 8:25 pm

Okay, having read this whole thread:

1) No one was actually placing the blame for the failings of the tournament on volunteers. Some volunteers were probably awful at their jobs, given the fact there was however many of them; the fault for picking them is on Madden and his 2 Live Crew. Please stop debating this non-point so that I don't want to try to out-drink Tyrion Lannister.

2) Dragging people in blind out from behind their Jeopardy! podiums and out of the immediate snark range of Alex Trebek isn't going to mean they're going to be good moderators or scorers or doormen or whatever. Not training new people is foolish, and the anger for it should be directed at those responsible for the lack of training; the flaws of the individual can be fairly pointed at that person. If you were a volunteer and you've been criticized, analyze what was said honestly and try to improve. It's not an affront to your honor.

3) It's perfectly fine to criticize this tournament as a whole, because teams paid hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars and gave up a lot of time to get to the tournament, let alone actually player. It's perfectly fine to be angry about this tournament, because of the previous reasons.

Also, contact Madden to get reimbursed; hashing it out in the post-tournament discussion thread is not the place to handle it.
Fred Morlan
PACE President, 2018-19
International Quiz Bowl Tournaments, co-owner
University of Kentucky CoP, 2017
hsqbrank manager, NAQT writer (former subject editor), former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT TD

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

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Great Bustard » Mon May 07, 2012 9:50 pm

I had originally talked to Matt Weiner early last week and he suggested that I refrain from wading in here until after we meet tomorrow. That, in retrospect, hasn't really worked out having seen what this thread has degenerated into. First off, I'm very sorry for all the logistical mishaps that occurred at our Nationals. Obviously, that was never our intent, and certainly in the coming days, weeks, and months I'll be airing all sorts of ideas to fix things. A sensible field cap, depending on our moderator abilities and moving to DC to, among other things, help make that happen are just two of them. I'll list my top ten others so far in just a second, but first, just a few points:
1) We had a LOT of staffers bail on us in the week leading up to the tournament - this meant that people who were otherwise far better off scorekeeping were pressed into reading. Also, I had asked Nick Clusserath repeatedly if I should be making more pleas to bring in additional staffers, even from outside the quizbowl world. I was prepared to pay a premium for people who could competently read (and yes, they exist beyond the pool of experienced readers. Many, if not most, "Jeopardy" readers acquitted themselves just fine). That said, Nick didn't urge me to do this, so I took my cues from him there. Ultimately, though, this is my responsibility, and by moving to DC, instituting a field cap, raising the travel reimbursement for staffers, and directing other NHBB staffers to direct their energies in this direction, I am confident we will have not only the numbers of staff next year that we need, but that the readers will be excellent, and that everyone in a position of higher authority will precisely know their responsibilities.
2) The learning curve for us at Nationals is much more difficult than at regionals, as it is a far more complex operation, and we only get a chance to do it once a year. The first two regional tournaments we ran went way overtime (the first ended at 8:30, the second at 7:30), had all sorts of logistical problems, and even had a playoff bracketing problem that resulted in the draw being completely mixed up. That said, people saw that we were serious about fixing what needed to be fixed, and this past year, in just our second year, we ran 32 middle school tournaments, 63 high school tournaments in the USA, 7 high school tournaments overseas, and 1 college Nationals. Certainly there were a few issues here and there, but as for our second year, I submit that this isn't exactly a "laughingstock". Does our High School Nationals need to be improved? Absolutely, and in many, many ways. But as my livelihood depends on it, I will be doing everything I can to make that happen. If teams would prefer to wait a year to see if we get our act together next year, that's certainly their prerogative. That said, though, now that we know what we need to improve on, that will be the number one priority for me going forward with NHBB.
3) While I'm not telling anyone how to post, I personally think that animosity directed at staffers who all were trying to do their best serves no constructive purpose. I personally apologize to any staffer who felt left in the lurch or was the target of the frustration of teams. But at the same time, I want to make it clear that anyone and everyone who would like to help out with our Nationals next year is certainly welcome. That's not to say everyone who wants to read will read, of course. But I think that the vast majority of people are capable of scorekeeping, being runners, double or triple checking brackets, or helping out in all sorts of other ways. Right from the start I have tried to make NHBB as welcoming and open an organization as possible (hence our support of state organizations, local tournaments, OSPL, our grant program, the National Quizbowl Awards, and our bringing already hundreds of new schools into the world of quizbowl). Those who are arguing who is fit to help out abovethread do not speak for NHBB, and while they are entitled to their opinions, of course, I personally do not believe that many of the posts in this thread have served much of a constructive purpose.
4) I can handle all the criticism in the world, as long as people are genuinely interested in improving our Nationals for next year. I'm well aware of the frustrations at this point - the bigger question, though, is where we go from here. Obviously, with getting nearly 200 teams to come to Nationals in just our second year, there are literally thousands of people who want this to succeed. I welcome everyone's suggestions for how to go forward, so with that in mind, I'm going to start a new thread momentarily with my first suggestions as to how we can do this. The good news is that having already spoken with dozens of people and given lots of thought to things over the past week, I believe there is a clear way forward. My next post will sketch out the outlines of that.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

User avatar
Kilroy Was Here
Rikku
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:29 pm
Location: Michigan

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon May 07, 2012 10:38 pm

This may have been brought up, but in the future, the buzzers need to actually be checked to see if they work. Multiple times throughout the 2 days I ended up playing slap bowl because nobody had bothered to see if the all the buzzers actually worked before they set them up. It's a small criticism, but a frustrating one.
Collin Parks
University of Michigan '18

"Aragorn was the famed king of Gondor, while the Iberian kingdom was Aragon. Both parties were aware of this coincidence: we have a journal entry from Aragorn that expresses his anger at receiving mail meant for King Peter IV of Aragon for the umpteenth time."~ CommodoreCoCo

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

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Great Bustard » Mon May 07, 2012 11:01 pm

something ambiguous wrote:This may have been brought up, but in the future, the buzzers need to actually be checked to see if they work. Multiple times throughout the 2 days I ended up playing slap bowl because nobody had bothered to see if the all the buzzers actually worked before they set them up. It's a small criticism, but a frustrating one.
Understood. I intend on buying 25 systems in the next year and putting this issue to bed for once and for all. In the meantime, the reimbursement for bringing a system will increase from $15 to $25.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

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

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Mon May 07, 2012 11:08 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:
something ambiguous wrote:This may have been brought up, but in the future, the buzzers need to actually be checked to see if they work. Multiple times throughout the 2 days I ended up playing slap bowl because nobody had bothered to see if the all the buzzers actually worked before they set them up. It's a small criticism, but a frustrating one.
Understood. I intend on buying 25 systems in the next year and putting this issue to bed for once and for all. In the meantime, the reimbursement for bringing a system will increase from $15 to $25.

I will take responsibility for any buzzer snafus that happened to have occurred. I originally had a well laid out, efficient system for organizing buzzers and it kind of just fell through. I know I told people to test the buzzers once they set them up and come back and tell me, but I know this didn't happen that often. I also should have made sure whoever replaced me as buzzer tsar was capable of logging in every buzzer and accurately following its flow. Clearly this didn't happen, and as such I would like to apologize to any and everyone that was inconvenienced in anyway by misplacement of a buzzer during the course of the tournament.
Joe
Delaware

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

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by lasercats » Tue May 08, 2012 1:53 am

something ambiguous wrote:This may have been brought up, but in the future, the buzzers need to actually be checked to see if they work. Multiple times throughout the 2 days I ended up playing slap bowl because nobody had bothered to see if the all the buzzers actually worked before they set them up. It's a small criticism, but a frustrating one.
Teams also need to make sure that they bring working buzzers. I set up two separate systems Friday evening, only to discover that not a single buzzer in the system worked.
Maggie Larkin
Booker T. Washington '07
University of Oklahoma '11

Bronn Lord Southworth
Lulu
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon May 07, 2012 7:33 am
Location: Frederick, Maryland

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Bronn Lord Southworth » Tue May 08, 2012 7:54 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:1) We had a LOT of staffers bail on us in the week leading up to the tournament - this meant that people who were otherwise far better off scorekeeping were pressed into reading. Also, I had asked Nick Clusserath repeatedly if I should be making more pleas to bring in additional staffers, even from outside the quizbowl world. I was prepared to pay a premium for people who could competently read (and yes, they exist beyond the pool of experienced readers. Many, if not most, "Jeopardy" readers acquitted themselves just fine). That said, Nick didn't urge me to do this, so I took my cues from him there. Ultimately, though, this is my responsibility, and by moving to DC, instituting a field cap, raising the travel reimbursement for staffers, and directing other NHBB staffers to direct their energies in this direction, I am confident we will have not only the numbers of staff next year that we need, but that the readers will be excellent, and that everyone in a position of higher authority will precisely know their responsibilities.
In my posts on this threads, I hope I have never outwardly questioned your intentions (I have done so in my own mind, as in my wont). I am angry because promises made to me had not been kept, and because teams had unpleasant experiences at the NHBB because of avoidable logistical errors. Since you have finally e-mailed me with directions for reimbursement of expenses (this should have been done before the tournament - since you now have the form letter, change the date to 2013 and it will be ready to send out early next year), I no longer have any particular issue with you. My experience at this event was so negative that I will not be participating again, but I hope these changes will help attract more competent staffers.

Unrelated question. Fairfax County, Virginia's board of supervisors presented you with an award for residents for running NHBB. According to your signature, you live in New Jersey and, according to your post, you intend to move to DC. I am curious at to how you received an award intended for Fairfax County residents when you don't seem to live there. Are you a part-time resident of Fairfax County? I am missing something here.
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:2) The learning curve for us at Nationals is much more difficult than at regionals, as it is a far more complex operation, and we only get a chance to do it once a year. The first two regional tournaments we ran went way overtime (the first ended at 8:30, the second at 7:30), had all sorts of logistical problems, and even had a playoff bracketing problem that resulted in the draw being completely mixed up. That said, people saw that we were serious about fixing what needed to be fixed, and this past year, in just our second year, we ran 32 middle school tournaments, 63 high school tournaments in the USA, 7 high school tournaments overseas, and 1 college Nationals. Certainly there were a few issues here and there, but as for our second year, I submit that this isn't exactly a "laughingstock". Does our High School Nationals need to be improved? Absolutely, and in many, many ways. But as my livelihood depends on it, I will be doing everything I can to make that happen. If teams would prefer to wait a year to see if we get our act together next year, that's certainly their prerogative. That said, though, now that we know what we need to improve on, that will be the number one priority for me going forward with NHBB.
I'm sorry, but running so many tournaments is not evidence you're not a laughingstock. College Bowl ran regional and national tournaments for 30 years and was considered a laughingstock. I don't know offhand how many tournaments :chip: runs in a year, but he is also considered a laughingstock. Poor Shawn Pickrell ran one horrible tournament 15 years ago and people are still making fun of it in the college section of this board. I hope that, first, NHBB survives for 15 years, and that 15 years from now, you and all the experienced staff can swap stories about everything that went wrong at NHBB 2. But you're going to have to live this one down for a loooong time.
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:4) I can handle all the criticism in the world, as long as people are genuinely interested in improving our Nationals for next year. I'm well aware of the frustrations at this point - the bigger question, though, is where we go from here. Obviously, with getting nearly 200 teams to come to Nationals in just our second year, there are literally thousands of people who want this to succeed. I welcome everyone's suggestions for how to go forward, so with that in mind, I'm going to start a new thread momentarily with my first suggestions as to how we can do this. The good news is that having already spoken with dozens of people and given lots of thought to things over the past week, I believe there is a clear way forward. My next post will sketch out the outlines of that.
I will offer criticism based on your earlier post in this thread, in which you said you are optimistic the problems that happened this year can be fixed. You are waaaaay too optimistic and, as such, I doubt your assertion that there is a clear way forward. Someone above called you a Pollyanna, and I can't disagree with that assessment. You will need to show some results to restore your credibility, but I think you know that. I also think it would be a more pleasant experience for everyone if NHBB were smaller, more manageable, and had fewer opportunities for Murphy's Law to go into effect. Ambition is only good if you pull off your ambition, and you did not pull it off this year.

Since people are taking about buzzers, another concrete suggestion: require teams bringing buzzers to bring an extension cord as well. My afternoon room had a cord that was barely long enough to reach from the outlet to the table and it hindered movement greatly.

Edited to correct a typo.
David
Saunders S.S., London, ON, 1992-1996
Part-time Pub Quiz Host, The Old Pequliar, 1722 NW Market St., Seattle, WA, 2007-2010

User avatar
Sniper, No Sniping!
Tidus
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Nov 26, 2010 12:25 pm
Location: Pickerington, OH

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Thu May 24, 2012 4:04 pm

Will the sets get posted anytime soon?
Thomas Moore
Lancaster Fisher Catholic HS c/o 2014
Ohio Wesleyan University c/o 2018

User avatar
ryanrosenberg
Auron
Posts: 1351
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 5:48 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois

Re: 2012 Natl. History Bee & Bowl Nationals - 4/28-29 in DC

Post by ryanrosenberg » Thu May 24, 2012 4:20 pm

Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:Will the sets get posted anytime soon?
I was told that they will be posted at the end of the year, along with the rest of the HSAPQ sets.
Ryan Rosenberg
North Carolina '16 | Ardsley '12
PACE | ACF

Locked