2012 HSNCT discussion

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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:21 pm

A lot of strong teams had Rounds 12 and 15 off, and the same thing was true to a lesser extent for Round 9. A lot of weak teams had Rounds 10 and 13 off. These differences seem to explain well the differing values in the afternoon.

While I did not do any analysis, I thought that team strength across rounds in the morning was fairly uniform, so it's a surprise to me that Ashvin found significant differences between those rounds.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by matt979 » Sun Jun 03, 2012 12:49 am

the return of AHAN wrote:
"lack of alternate answer "Little Albert" for the so-called Baby Albert experiment, "
Hmmm... I accepted "Little Albert" when I read this TU on Saturday, despite it not appearing on the answer line. It seemed like common sense to accept it. Should I not be doing that? Just stick to exactly what's on the page and let it get sorted out in protest?
I accepted Little Albert for similar common-sense reasons; no protesting ensued. A vast majority of the time your safest ruling is to stay consistent with the answer line, but the right times to deviate from that heuristic have a Potter Stewart "I know it when I see it" quality to them.

Several years ago NAQT's pre-HSNCT staff meeting placed a surprising amount of emphasis on "stick to exactly what's on the page," and several experienced readers were quite upset by this. (I wasn't at this meeting because I was setting up a control room, but there was considerable feedback/fallout.) In contrast my pragmatic, and admittedly tautological, take on this is that you should do the right thing. In rare cases where that deviates from the printed page, you'd better be sure you're doing the right thing. :-) (If you lack certitude then blindly adhering to the printed page is a lesser evil than dithering for several seconds.)

While I'm here, I screwed up the Friday scrimmage set-up in two particular ways:
1. I should have taken the super-handy spreadsheet that Nathan Murphy set up for me and converted it to Google Doc so that multiple people could work at once, i.e. someone processing staff and someone else processing teams.

2. As staff set up buzzers and then reported to me that their rooms were ready, I should have deployed them to exactly the room they had set up. Two things happened instead: First, a couple staffers apparently came to me without setting up a room, and asked to be assigned to read; second, relied on the buzzer crew's Google Doc to know where buzzers had been dispatched -- but this only told us that buzzers were sent to a room, not that the room was up. Long story short you can see where this created an N-off error.

Nathan was unable to come to Atlanta this year (EDIT: For family reasons that he told us about months in advance -- I realized on rereading this that one could easily mistakenly infer that he'd dropped out late), and so we didn't fill the scrimmage/consolation director roles until late in the game. (A vast majority of the Sunday consolation problems resulted either from our not emphasizing that the consolation packets were a round behind on purpose, or from R. getting pulled into protest resolution.) I am really, really looking forward to having Nathan back in 2013 -- and anyone else who would excel in either of those roles should definitely contact NAQT!
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by matt979 » Sun Jun 03, 2012 2:32 am

Edward Elric wrote:As long as were talking about logistics, I was really disappointed in NAQT's unwillingness to accomodate moderators who wanted to read for playoffs. I ran into Caleb Robbins on Saturday evening and found out that he was staffing the SS playoffs while I was stuck in consolation. Caleb informed me that he didn't feel like staffing SS and I did so I asked him if he wanted to switch. He went to talk with Joel and I was informed later on that Joel nixed it for some reason I don't understand.
In Joel's shoes I would have probably also nixed this, depending on how many things were going on at once when Caleb asked.

That said, as the person largely responsible for the initial playoff staff grid* for years on end, every year I have a major nagging doubt about both whether NAQT has successfully identified the best playoff staff and whether we've identified the people who most desire to read the playoffs. There are almost certainly specific counterexamples in both directions for the former, especially as I get older and less wired in to the circuit and probably don't recognize names that by all rights I should recognize . The moderator evaluation cards are a step in the right direction, and any good reader who's been blatantly under-assigned over the years (or conversely any bad reader who's been overused) should be brought to the attention of NAQT's HSNCT planners well in advance of the tournament.

*- Joel finalizes it, and the myriad cancelled flights and other last-minute contingencies are also his cross to bear.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by jonpin » Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:15 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:
HSNCT round 15 wrote:An 1830 attempt to arbitrate this geographic feature by the Dutch king was rejected as impractical. The 1859 Pig War was fought over its location, and its anomalies include the Northwest Angle at Lake of the Woods. The Aroostook War was almost fought over this (*) boundary, settled in the east by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. The 49th parallel forms much of--for 10 points--what border between two North American nations?

answer: _border_ between the _United States_ and _Canada_ (accept all parts in any order; accept _U.S._A. or _America_ for "United States"; accept equivalents such as _boundary_ for "border"; accept _Maine_-_New Brunswick_ boundary or border before "Pig"; do not accept answers involving "Minnesota")
I'd recommend future questions on this (should they exist) accept the official name, which is "the International Boundary"; if this is too vague to accept outright, it must still be prompted in my opinion.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:02 am

Yeah, but within the trash category, questions are intended to be more "fun" and convertible for bad teams, which is not the standard for how much academic v. trash is asked in the first place. The fact that some people within NAQT absolutely love board games to the extent of including baffling questions in tournament sets that most people don't enjoy playing has been discussed for years.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon Jun 04, 2012 11:05 am

Just get rid of trash in Nationals, please.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:27 pm

jonpin wrote: I'd recommend future questions on this (should they exist) accept the official name, which is "the International Boundary"; if this is too vague to accept outright, it must still be prompted in my opinion.
Thanks for catching that; I added the prompt.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Kyle » Tue Jun 05, 2012 7:19 am

As long as we're correcting things, it isn't true that the Brahmaputra is "called the Jamuna where it merges in to the Ganges delta in Bangladesh." Rather, the Jamuna is only one (albeit the largest) of several distributaries of the Brahmaputra.

I'm also intrigued by the tossup beginning "Landforms in this autonomous community include." I like to think that I would have buzzed in correctly at that point, before the first clue, with Andalusia. What other autonomous community could get a tossup? Aragon and Navarre would come up historically rather than geographically, so it wouldn't be framed that way. Castille is split into two, so you could never ask it like that. There's no reason to write a tossup on Catalonia because all the clues would just be from Barcelona. The Balearics or the Canaries would be framed as "this island group" because you wouldn't want people to know right away that you're in Spain. Andalusia is genuinely the only plausible answer to this question before the first clue has been read.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:16 am

Just out of curiosity, has a Saturday preliminary round spreadsheet akin to this one from last year, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... _US#gid=16 been posted for the 2012 HSNCT yet, or is that forthcoming?

--Scott
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:27 am

Also, as a few of the moderators brought up earlier in the thread, I would also appreciate some sort of feedback summary regarding the moderator comment cards the teams filled out on me, when Jeff, Joel, Jonah, Matt et al get around to analyzing the data, so I know where to improve for next year. No big rush on that, though. I'm interested (and I'm sure that other moderators are, too) in how I came across to the teams in terms of things like professionalism, friendliness, and adding to the teams' enjoyment of the game and experience, as well as whether they think I hit a happy medium between reading speed and intelligibility. Just from the rough stats I was keeping, I averaged 21.88 tossups read per game, finishing the packet 3 times in 16 games and never going below 20 (and only one game at 20, at that). I'm of the philosophy, though, that it's better to average 20-22 tossups a game and remain understandable and unrushed, rather than hit 24 a majority of the time but have teams constantly ask me to slow down because they can't understand me.

--Scott
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by cchiego » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:14 pm

The data from those cards is going to be pretty bad though thanks to many teams not noticing the weird order of 1 = best and 5 = worst and exhaustion after 10 rounds of filling them out; by the end of the tournament, teams were circling a big oval rather than going through each area because they'd simply filled out too many of them.

Next year, perhaps these cards could be done after every 3rd game or so and the instructions for filling them out made clear by each moderator or at the pre-tournament meeting.

It might be helpful to post the stats of the moderators for how many TUs they averaged though as well as the average record of teams that passed through their rooms (to control for team quality). More information about moderator quality for other nationals is better than going by anecdote or favoritism.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Tue Jun 05, 2012 1:25 pm

Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:Just out of curiosity, has a Saturday preliminary round spreadsheet akin to this one from last year, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc ... _US#gid=16 been posted for the 2012 HSNCT yet, or is that forthcoming?

--Scott
I believe there was one made upthread; the purpose of that spreadsheet was to give scores and records during the day Saturday, so the final stats on NAQT should work just as well.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:08 pm

cchiego wrote:The data from those cards is going to be pretty bad though thanks to many teams not noticing the weird order of 1 = best and 5 = worst and exhaustion after 10 rounds of filling them out; by the end of the tournament, teams were circling a big oval rather than going through each area because they'd simply filled out too many of them.

Next year, perhaps these cards could be done after every 3rd game or so and the instructions for filling them out made clear by each moderator or at the pre-tournament meeting.
We will figure out how to compensate for respondents who reversed the order (and will make the direction of evaluation crystal clear in 2013).

I don't think every 3rd game is a good idea; I think it would lead to worse data to the effect of "who was that reader we had three games ago?", never mind the complexity of accounting for byes.

We certainly plan to include instructions for filling out the evaluation card on the 2013 round 1 cover sheet.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by cchiego » Tue Jun 05, 2012 2:17 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:I don't think every 3rd game is a good idea; I think it would lead to worse data to the effect of "who was that reader we had three games ago?", never mind the complexity of accounting for byes.
I was proposing that you don't do it after every match but rather every 3rd round (Rounds 3, 6, 9, 12, 15) or some other ordering system and just evaluate the last match. The advantage would be that teams would have to fill out the evaluations less often so they might focus more on each evaluation. It would also allow teams a chance to hear a couple of other moderators first before evaluating anyone. The downside is that if you tell mods what rounds they'll be evaluated on, they might make too much of an effort on just those rounds.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:05 pm

Loyola and Northmont combining to go 4-16-4 on 19 tossups in their Round 18 playoff match is probably not right.

Of the 24 playoff rooms that read at least three rounds of the main playoffs:
-5 (Centennial I, Centennial III, Grand Hall East B, Grand Hall East D, Chicago A) finished the packet in every game they read.
-10 more averaged at least 22 tossups read per round.
-1 (Hanover B) averaged fewer than 20 tossups read per round.
-No more than 12 total games had 20 or fewer tossups read.

Overall in the playoffs, there was a full 1-tossup increase in average tossups heard between Round 16 and Round 17, and between Round 18 and Round 19. Within-room comparisons indicate that the second of those jumps, at least, is due to an increase in the quality of teams.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Jun 05, 2012 3:40 pm

Here is the Google Doc for HSNCT Saturday.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Jun 06, 2012 8:19 pm

Some overall statistics from the 2012 HSNCT:

Tossup conversion: 84.1%
Power rate: 25.9%
Overall ppb: 14.82
Median ppb: 13.44

Tossup heard numbers by room:

26: 1
25: 1
24: 208
23: 162
22: 205
21: 258
20: 210
19: 155
18: 84
17: 53
16: 13
15: 2
14: 1
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by the return of AHAN » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:08 am

Great scott! 14? 15? Even with 'slow teams', one wonders if the moderator(s) was just completely oblivious to the clock and the expectations of this tourney.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:21 pm

the return of AHAN wrote:Great scott! 14? 15? Even with 'slow teams', one wonders if the moderator(s) was just completely oblivious to the clock and the expectations of this tourney.
The 14-tossup game is perhaps the most disturbing, not just because 14 tossups were heard, but because from what I can tell, this was Round 13 in a trade-off room in which there was a 3.5-4 tossups read per game difference between the two moderators - in other words, a problem that could have been totally avoided by one moderator graciously allowing the other one to moderate once it became apparent that the other one was doing a much better job. The other disturbing thing is the room that averaged fewer than 18 tossups read per game and nevertheless ended up with its last two games being 5-3 vs. 5-3 and 5-4 vs. 5-4 (needless to say, neither game hit 20 TUH). I know it's near-impossible to put together 80 rooms of solid moderators, especially when several excellent moderators are off coaching their teams, but I'm assuming things like this will be taken into account in next year's staff grid.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:25 pm

cvdwightw wrote:I'm assuming things like this will be taken into account in next year's staff grid.
They will.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by tinioril » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:26 pm

How did any room hear upwards of 24 tossups?

Tiebreakers?
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by dtaylor4 » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:33 pm

tinioril wrote:How did any room hear upwards of 24 tossups?

Tiebreakers?
Probably. A game going to 22-24 tossups, then the 3-tossup tiebreaker.

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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by jagluski » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:13 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:
cvdwightw wrote:I'm assuming things like this will be taken into account in next year's staff grid.
They will.
I want to confirm this.
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Re: 2012 HSNCT discussion

Post by Sun Devil Student » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:48 pm

cvdwightw wrote:
the return of AHAN wrote:Great scott! 14? 15? Even with 'slow teams', one wonders if the moderator(s) was just completely oblivious to the clock and the expectations of this tourney.
The 14-tossup game is perhaps the most disturbing, not just because 14 tossups were heard, but because from what I can tell, this was Round 13 in a trade-off room in which there was a 3.5-4 tossups read per game difference between the two moderators - in other words, a problem that could have been totally avoided by one moderator graciously allowing the other one to moderate once it became apparent that the other one was doing a much better job....I know it's near-impossible to put together 80 rooms of solid moderators, especially when several excellent moderators are off coaching their teams
I'm quite impressed that NAQT managed to get over 3/4 of the games to have 20+ tossups in 18 minutes (and an astonishing 94.9% of games to meet the 18-tossup minimum) when they had over 80 rooms to fill without using many high school coaches. Though I am the fastest moderator in Arizona (and perhaps a little too proud of it) I see I still have some work to do before I can catch up to all those 24-tossup readers at Nationals. Since I do plan to make HSNCT an annual pilgrimmage, I guess I'll have enough years to work on that. Maybe one day I'll even be good enough to make the playoffs as a moderator which I never had the chance to do as a player. (Quizbowl didn't exist in my town when I was in high school, boo hoo)

Anyway, enough nostalgia: About the recent HSNCT. I didn't speak up at the time because I had (incorrectly) assumed that with so many matches going at once, it was inevitable that a significant fraction of games would fall below 18 tossups (e.g. 1 tossup/bonus per minute). I did not realize NAQT had this many good moderators (I'm glad they do!), in which context those 14-16 tossup games look a *lot* worse than I thought at the time. As the scorekeeper for two of the three slowest games in the entire tournament, I feel some responsibility to offer my insight into what happened, as well as to give the good news that the cause was an unexpected one-time situation that is very unlikely to be repeated in the future.

For what it's worth, at the time of the 15-tossup game (Round 11, I think) and the 14-tossup game in Round 13, it was clear to everyone that neither game had playoff implications, nor did any of the teams or spectators involved express any dissatisfaction with not having gotten through more questions. This, at the time, contributed to my impression that such non-ideal moderating was not an absolute anomaly at HSNCT. Jeff's numbers show that it was indeed an anomaly, and if any of those teams were in fact unhappy with the moderating, then I apologize for making one miscalculation that contributed to letting it happen.

Here's what happened. My room, 1526, was definitely not a marquee room at HSNCT; looking at the card numbers most were in the 200s or high 100s. Since I and my fellow moderator were both first-time staffers, this made sense to me. These are not the kinds of teams that are likely to feel unfairly gypped when they don't get enough tossups. (I did contrive to make sure that I would moderate for the one "high-profile" match, 4 vs. 72, which turned out to be High Technology vs. Dorman B. I also made sure to moderate the one match with two closely matched cards, which was 151 vs. 158.) My judgment on this was also colored by the overwhelmingly positive response I saw at the Arizona NAQT State Championship on 4/14 when timed rounds resulted in several 14-tossup games. It still seems to me that only the reasonably good teams really care about having a fair and consistent distribution in rounds (bad teams are just here to have fun and know they aren't going to win much anyways). This seemed to be the case in my observation at HSNCT. This is the most important reason I did not go apopleptic on my fellow moderator for being 3.5-4 tossups slower than me and insist on taking over the whole day. As a moderator, I'm there to serve the teams, and if I thought the teams were placing high importance on getting 20+ tossups per round, then I would have insisted on moderating all the matches.

Furthermore, I assumed my fellow moderator (who was fairly inexperienced going into HSNCT) would improve with practice, and since he made it through 16 tossups in Round 1, I thought he would only get better from there. As I recall it, he did manage to hit 17 tossups and even (I think) one 18-tossup game, but in Round 11 he suddenly crashed with only 15 tossups. After the match he said sweat had dripped on his glasses and obscured his vision while reading (the room was poorly air-conditioned and warmed up through the afternoon). Since we figured out the cause of the problem, I was optimistic that he would bounce back, and I didn't want to embarrass him by insisting on taking his turn (we both know I'm faster and I didn't want to rub it in his face after just one bad round). This was my miscalculation, as he was even worse in Round 13 (much to my shock) finishing only 14 tossups. Later, after Round 15 finished, he told me his blood sugar had been low that afternoon and he hadn't realized that at the time, and this was why he didn't do well in the later rounds.

This was obviously a surprise, but I'm sure he learned from this experience (as did I) and so I can say that a recurrence is very unlikely. In addition, this was my first HSNCT and now that I know what's "normal" I will be less tolerant of any co-moderator starting at 16 or 17 tossups per game in the future. I do have to apologize personally for only getting through 16 tossups in my own first game (Round 2) - I was used to 10-minute halves and the 9 minute thing got me a little off guard, and the clock ran out in both halves milliseconds before I managed to start the 9th tossup in each half. I'm confident that will be my one and only ever 16-tossup game as an HSNCT moderator.

So that's what happened for two of the slowest games and that's why it won't happen again. I hope that was helpful to everyone wondering about this unusual occurrence. I'd like to say congratulations and thank you to NAQT for an otherwise excellent tournament (well, I guess consolation rounds could have been more organized, but the main event's more important). This was the highlight of my year and I look forward to attending again in the future.

And finally...
Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:Also, as a few of the moderators brought up earlier in the thread, I would also appreciate some sort of feedback summary regarding the moderator comment cards the teams filled out on me, when Jeff, Joel, Jonah, Matt et al get around to analyzing the data, so I know where to improve for next year. No big rush on that, though. I'm interested (and I'm sure that other moderators are, too) in how I came across to the teams in terms of things like professionalism, friendliness, and adding to the teams' enjoyment of the game and experience, as well as whether they think I hit a happy medium between reading speed and intelligibility.
I'd love to get this kind of feedback, too. Whenever you have it.
Kenneth Lan, ASU '11, '12, UIC '17
The University of Illinois at Chicago
-stranger in a strange land (2013-)
The Sonoran Desert quizbowl ecosystem
-activist/advocate (2010-2013)
The Arizona State University Quizbowl Club
-elder statesman (2011-2013)
-coach (2009-2011)
-club president (2008-2011)
-founder (2007-)

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