PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

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PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Edward Powers » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:41 pm

Could someone with access to the Tournament packets duplicate Toss-Up number 5 in Round 5 of the Prelims? It is the toss-up with "Hell or sending someone to Hell" in the answer line. I ask because it deals with subject matter with which I have no expertise, so I would like others who do know the subject matter very well to provide an informed analysis, since the answer to this TU led to a protest in the SJHS match against Loyola, a match that SJHS apparently won, 390-360. Loyola had buzzed in within the Power area of the question with the answer "burning" which was deemed unacceptable by the reader, while my student's answer about sending someone to Hell was considered correct for 10 points. So, Loyola lodged a protest and the reader stated that if it made a difference the protest would be looked at. Since our win was only by 30 points, the protest was officially lodged and we and everyone else in Seigle Hall had to wait 15-20 minutes for a resolution, which ended up in a denial of Loyola's protest. SJHS had apparently won, 390-360. We then went and played our 6th round match and were prepared to leave the building for lunch when we ( myself and Matt Laird, the Coach of Loyola) were asked to go to the Control Center to revisit the protest. We were asked to give more info about it. Coach Laird was puzzled; he simply stated something like the following: "Saint Joe's won, and if it makes a difference, we concede." I in turn was puzzled and naturally frustrated, not understanding WHO was pursuing this effort to revisit an official decision when clearly Loyola was NOT. Rather than go any further into detail, after lunch SJHS found out that the first ruling had somehow been considered unofficial, by whom I do not know, and now it was stated that Loyola's answer was accepted, with no substantive explanation why it was, simply that it was. And, when all of the math was done, with this new ruling the teams were now tied at 370-370, but Loyola controlled the bonus. So, my kids had to take their seats while 3 bonus questions were read to Loyola, which they swept, so, the new final score was 400-370, Loyola. Since our 5-1 record now dropped to 4-2, and Loyola's record of 5-1 now became 6-0, while IMSA's record remained at 5-1, a circle of death betwen us no longer existed and we lost the chance to play the appropriate tie-breakers in this circle of death and thus lost the chance to play in the Upper Championship bracket of 16. Whether we could have played well enough in such a play-off and thus enter the Top 16 is anyone's guess, and that is not my concern here. Rather, I have two concerns important for all involved in the competitive nature of the game we all love: First, the substantive issue of whether hor not "burning" would be an acceptable answer within the Power range of the TU, and, 2nd, of course, would be the procedural issue of revisiting the substance of a protest after an official decision causing a 15-20 minute delay had already been made in SJHS's favor, and Loyola never appealed that decision in any way and in fact conceded SJHS' victory. So, my 2nd concern is procedural, dealing with a process which I found very perplexing, especially given its decisive impact on our chances to have a tie-breaking playoff with two great teams, IMSA & Loyola, a process i think most, if not all in this community would find preplexing had they been on the receiiving end of a similar decision. But ulitmately, at least in my judgment, the substantive issue is most important, for if the right decision was ultimately made, then that is what is and should be most important and decisive, especially at a year-end National Tournament where getting it right should be the primary concern for kids who have worked so hard to play for a National Championship. It does not mean that the procedural issues do not matter, for I think they do, but surely making the right decision is a great mitigating factor if proper procedures were violated, with the mitagation clearly being that the team that should have won did in fact win, a result I am sure we would all support.

So: Can someone print the TU at issue, and then could the community that truly knows and understands this particular branch of knowledge comment on wheher or not "burning" is an acceptable answer to this specific TU, especially where Loyola buzzed in, somewhere around or just before the word "Zoroastrianism'?

And please do not misunderstand the purpose of this request: From the POV of SJHS, we loved the tournament, we have no problem with where we ultimately finished, we played outstanding teams and matches in the First Consolation bracket we ultimately were placed in , and we respect all of our opponents from that bracket greatly---the level of excellence in play in our tier was tremendous and every match we were in, win or lose, was both hard-fought and yet amicable, and, finally, we greatly admire Loyola and their sportsmanship, not only that of the Coach Laird but the team as as a whole as well, for all of its players were gracious thorughout this event, and in the final analysis, our real concern is to learn whatever it is we can learn from this incident, with the ultimate goal of making an outstanding experience for our students even better, if that is possible, as it no doubt is.

But for this to happen, I think an analysis of of the TU in question by those who know and understand this branch of learning would be the best place to start, for such an analyis will address the key substantive issue, which, ultimately, should be primary.

Thanks in advance to all who are willing participate in this analysis for the constructve purposes mentioned.
Last edited by Edward Powers on Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by SnookerUSF » Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:56 pm

5. In one tradition, the most severe form of this action involves appearing in a cube known as Avici.
In Islam, it happens to people who fail the interrogation of Munkar and Nakir. It follows the
narrowing of the Chinvat bridge in Zoroastrianism. The Gospel of Matthew suggests that it is better
to cut off one's right hand than to face this circumstance, which is accompanied by (*) "weeping and
gnashing of teeth." Under certain conditions, one's accumulated karma can cause this to happen, sending
one to Naraka. Medieval artists originated the idea that it involves passing through the mouth of a monster.
Occurring after being denied access to the pearly gates, for 10 points, name this less favorable of two
post-death outcomes in many religions.
ANSWER: going to Hell [or synonyms indicating that someone is being cast into Hell; accept many
synonyms, including Gehenna, Valley of Hinnom, Naraka; or House of Lies for Hell; accept answers like being damned to hell as well; prompt on "judgment"; prompt on "demon attack" or similar]
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:02 pm

To address this from what I saw:
Edward Powers wrote:Could someone with access to the Tournament packets duplicate Toss-Up number 5 in Round 5 of the Prelims? It is the toss-up with "Hell or sending someone to Hell" in the answer line.
In one tradition, the most severe form of this action involves appearing in a cube known as Avici. In Islam, it happens to people who fail the interrogation of Munkar and Nakir. It follows the narrowing of the Chinvat bridge in Zoroastrianism. The Gospel of Matthew suggests that it is better to cut off one's right hand than to face this circumstance, which is accompanied by (*) "weeping and gnashing of teeth." Under certain conditions, one's accumulated karma can cause this to happen, sending one to Naraka. Medieval artists originated the idea that it involves passing through the mouth of a monster. Occurring after being denied access to the pearly gates, for 10 points, name this less favorable of two post-death outcomes in many religions.
ANSWER: going to Hell [or synonyms indicating that someone is being cast into Hell; accept many synonyms, including Gehenna, Valley of Hinnom, Naraka; or House of Lies for Hell; accept answers like being damned to hell as well; prompt on "judgment"; prompt on "demon attack" or similar]
Edward Powers wrote: I ask because it deals with subject matter with which I have no expertise, so I would like others who do know the subject matter very well to provide an informed analysis, since the answer to this TU led to a protest in the SJHS match against Loyola, a match that SJHS apparently won, 390-360. Loyola had buzzed in within the Power area of the question with the answer "burning" which was deemed unacceptable by the reader, while my student's answer about sending someone to Hell was considered correct for 10 points.
The protest sheet which I got and which both teams were supposed to agree to concerning its accurate description of what the substance of the protest was stated that Loyola's answer was the phrase "getting burned."
So, Loyola lodeged a protest and the reader stated that if it made a difference the protest would be looked at. Since our win was only by 30 points, the protest was officially lodged and we and everyone else in Seigle Hall had to wait 15-20 minutes for a resolution, which ended up in a denial of Loyola's protest. SJHS had apparently won, 390-360. We then went and played our 6th round match and were prepared to leave the building for lunch when we ( myself and Matt Laird, the Coach of Loyola) were asked to go to the Control Center to revisit the protest.
This is the first I've heard of any of this. I was the TD and one of two members of the three-person protest committee on-site. Aaron Rosenberg was in the headquarters room with me and Eric Mukherjee was at home in Philadelphia and in contact via Internet. At no point did we ever communicate that the protest was denied. After last year we instituted several procedures, including the written protest form, to make sure that protests are ruled on exactly once, with accurate information as to what is being protested, and by people who are blind to what teams are involved in the protest. Upon receiving this protest we began doing research and found that it would take some time to accurately determine whether "getting burned" was acceptable, so we instructed your control room to send your teams to round 6 to avoid delaying the tournament and said we would let everyone involved know as soon as a resolution was reached. Either you are misremembering being told that the protest was denied, or someone with no authorization from the TD or protest committee to rule on protests told you it was denied; if the latter, I would certainly like to know who. We also do not "revisit" protests under any circumstances; I did, during the course of determining which rules apply, ask your control room to determine exactly where in the tossup the buzz had occurred, as that had some bearing on the correctness of the given answer. They may have done this by asking one or both of the teams, instead of asking the moderator as I had intended for them to do, and that may be what you are referring to.
We were asked to give more info about it. Coach Laird was puzzled; he simply stated something like the following: "Saint Joe's won, and if it makes a difference, we concede." I in turn was puzzled and naturally frustrated, not understanding WHO was pursuing this effort to revisit an official decision when clearly Loyola was NOT.
The rules state that if a protest is conceded, that ends it. Neither you nor Coach Laird mentioned that there had been a concession when I came to read the replacement question and spoke with you after the protest was resolved. And, again, there was no "revisiting" and no prior "decision" of any kind.
Rather than go any further into detail, after lunch SJHS found out that the first ruling had somehow been unofiical and that now Loyola's answer was accepted, with no substantive explanation why it was, simply that it was.
Again, there was no "first ruling." Also, when I spoke with you in the hallway before reading the replacement question, I explained exactly why the answer was accepted (because it was a specific answer that fit all three of the clues read before it was given, as determined by our specific research into them). At that time, I also apologized to you for the vagueness of the question and the time it took to resolve the protest.
And, when all of the math was done, with this new ruling the teams were now tied at 370-370, but Loyola controlled the bonus. So, my kids had to take thier seats while 3 bonus qurstions were read to Loyola, which they swept, so, the new final score was 400-370, Loyola. Since our 5-1 record now dropped to 4-2, and Loyola's record of 5-1 now become 6-0, while IMSA's record remained at 5-1, a circle of death betwen us no longer existed and we lost the chance to play the appropriate tie-breakers in this circle of death and thus lost the chance to play in the Upper Championship bracket of 16. Whether we could have played well enough in such a play-off and thus enter the Top 16 is anyone's guess, and that is not my concern here. Rather, I have two concerns important for all involved in the competitive nature of the game we all love: First, the substantive issue of whether hor not "burning" would be an acceptable answer within the Power range of the TU
We determined it was, and I can show you the sources we used to make this determination, while again apologizing for a question that did not list all potential answers on the page in the first place. The bottom line is that the protest was resolved correctly. Loyola got credit for the tossup for no reason greater or smaller than that they had buzzed in with the correct answer to the tossup before your team did, and thus the reason you lost the game and went 5-2 is because Loyola scored more points in the game according to the rules than your team did. I am again very regretful that a question requiring a protest appeared in the tournament at all, let alone affected the result of a playoff-determining game, but I am also confident that the decision we made on the protest was correct according to both the tournament rules and the factual information about the substance of the question.
, and, 2nd, of course, would be the procedural issue of revisiting the substance of a protest after an official decision causing a 15-20 minute delay, had already been made in SJHS's favor, and Loyola never appealed that decision in any way and in fact conceded SJHS' victory.
I will again repeat that the protest was resolved exactly one time, because we followed the procedures put into place to make sure it would be resolved only one time. Either you are not recalling what happened correctly, or some rogue person was falsely claiming to speak on behalf of the protest committee. I also am perplexed as to why neither you nor Loyola's coach mentioned this concession to me when I met with both of you to read the replacement question (or why a protest was filed at all if they conceded).
So, my 2nd concern procerura, dealing with a process which I found very perplexing, espcially given its decisive impact on our chances to have a tie-breaking playoff wuth two great teams, IMSA & Loyola. But ulitmately, at least in my judgment, the substantive issue is most important, for if the right decision was ultimately made, then that is what is most important and decisivie, especially at a National Tournament where getting it right should be the primary concern. It does not mean that the procedural issues do not matter, for I think they do, but surely making the right decision is a great mitigating factor if proper procedures were violated, with the mitagation clearly being that the team that should have won did in fact win.
As I have posted above, I agree with this.
And please do not misunderstand the purpose of this request: From the POV of SJHS, we loved the tournament, we have no problem with where we ultimately finished, we played outstanding teams and matches in the First Consolation bracket we ultimately were placed in , and and respect all of our opponents from that bracket greatly---the level of excellence in play in our tier was tremendous and every match we were in, win or lose, was both hard-fought and yet amicable, and, finally, we greatly admire Loyola and their sportsmanship, not only that of the Coach Laird but the team as as a whole well, for all of its players were gracious thorughout this event, and in the final analysis, our real concern is to learn whatever it is we can learn from this incident, with the ultimate goal of making an outstanding experience for our students even better, if that is possible, as it no doubt is.
I am sure that I, PACE, and writers in general will also learn from this about the wisdom of answer lines that require synthesizing multiple clues to narrow down the one answer.
But for this to happen, I think an analysis of of the TU in question by those who know and understand this branch of learning would be the best place to start, for such an analyis will address the key substantive issue, which, ultimately, should be primary.
I assume sundry people from both within and without PACE will feel free to post in more detail on this topic regardless of what I say, so I'll just recap that the three clues in question were all found to involve "getting burned": one does "get burned" in Avici in Buddhism, in Jahannam in Islam, and in the House of Lies in Zoroastrianism, as confirmed by legitimate sources for information on these religions (the Sutra which describes Avici and academically peer-reviewed works on religion by professors in the case of the latter two) and that's the short version of why we determined the answer was correct.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by tiwonge » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:29 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:To address this from what I saw:
Edward Powers wrote:So, Loyola lodeged a protest and the reader stated that if it made a difference the protest would be looked at. Since our win was only by 30 points, the protest was officially lodged and we and everyone else in Seigle Hall had to wait 15-20 minutes for a resolution, which ended up in a denial of Loyola's protest. SJHS had apparently won, 390-360. We then went and played our 6th round match and were prepared to leave the building for lunch when we ( myself and Matt Laird, the Coach of Loyola) were asked to go to the Control Center to revisit the protest.
This is the first I've heard of any of this. I was the TD and one of two members of the three-person protest committee on-site. Aaron Rosenberg was in the headquarters room with me and Eric Mukherjee was at home in Philadelphia and in contact via Internet. At no point did we ever communicate that the protest was denied. After last year we instituted several procedures, including the written protest form, to make sure that protests are ruled on exactly once, with accurate information as to what is being protested, and by people who are blind to what teams are involved in the protest. Upon receiving this protest we began doing research and found that it would take some time to accurately determine whether "getting burned" was acceptable, so we instructed your control room to send your teams to round 6 to avoid delaying the tournament and said we would let everyone involved know as soon as a resolution was reached. Either you are misremembering being told that the protest was denied, or someone with no authorization from the TD or protest committee to rule on protests told you it was denied; if the latter, I would certainly like to know who. We also do not "revisit" protests under any circumstances; I did, during the course of determining which rules apply, ask your control room to determine exactly where in the tossup the buzz had occurred, as that had some bearing on the correctness of the given answer. They may have done this by asking one or both of the teams, instead of asking the moderator as I had intended for them to do, and that may be what you are referring to.
I was the scorekeeper in this match. (And, as an aside, I want to say what a shame it was that such a great match was ruined by this issue--St. Joseph had completed a great comeback to apparently win by 30.) When the moderator brought the scoresheet to the control room, he informed them of the protest. I'm not sure what happened there, but I think he was lead to believe that they had ruled on the protest and denied it. It's possible there was a mis-communication between the control room and the moderator. It's possible that the control room had given an informal assessment of the protest, which was taken to be the resolution of it. I'm not sure what happened. The moderator came back to the room after a delay and told the teams that the protest was denied.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Jun 11, 2012 6:50 pm

I just received an e-mail from the moderator (due to the double-blind protest ruling procedure working as intended, I didn't even know who it was until now) confirming that this is, basically, what happened: in a playing-telephone sequence from me to the control room to the moderator to the teams, my original response of "I don't think that's right but we need to look into it" turned into "unofficially denied" and then into "denied," because I didn't make it clear that I just wanted the teams to go to round 6, and they didn't need to be told anything about the protest itself since the further research and official protest resolution were yet to take place. This is obviously not a good outcome, and PACE will be discussing how to avoid such communications errors in the future and welcomes any suggestions on same.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Edward Powers » Mon Jun 11, 2012 7:34 pm

The official who told us that the protest was denied was the reader from the room whose name was Marshall Steinbaum, I believe. Since the reader is officially in charge of the room, and since he had left the room to ostensibly get a determination about the protest from officals in the Control Room, I thought his statement that the protest was denied was official, as did the Coach of Loyola, and Marshall never told either of us that a determination could not be made at this time. Further, neither Loyola nor SJHS were asked by the reader to sign a protest sheet, and as far as I know, neither of us did. There was simply a trust that Marshall would report Loyola's answer of "burning", a not very complex protest to articulate.

As for not mentioning to you that Loyola had conceded when we met in the hall after lunch, several things should be considered. First, when Coach Laird and I went to the Control Room, the officials there did ask for specifics about the question, whereupon Coach Laird did make the concession statement I mentioned, and I am sure he can verify this. Second, since we were now in the Control Room, we assumed, or at least I did, since i should no speak for Coach Laird, that we were speaking to officials in charge of Seigle, so your officials had to have heard this concession, and I am not misremembering this---I was there. Further, I asked who was pursuing this new protest, since clearly Loyola was not, and since the official in charge of our match, Marshall Steinbaum, proclaimed publicly for all to hear that the protest had been denied. Are teams to assume that the official in charge of the room, the reader, who personally went to other officials in the buiding, stayed with them for 15-20 minutes, holding up the next round---are teams supposed to be skeptical about the reader's OFFICAIL authoority to announce the result of a protest? I know that I accepted it and had the reverse ruling been made I would have accepted that as well, for I do not beleive in litigiousnees and despise its emergence whenevr i see it in other teams. Without respect for tournament officials who reveal by all their efforts they are trying to be fair, our competitions would be taken over by the litigous in spirit---hence my contempt for them. Be this as it may,it was quite clear that Loyola, especially its Coach, accepted the decision as final, otherwise his later concession speech makes no sense. However, I do not want to speak for Coach Laird; I am sure he can speak for himself, but I am also sure he will confirm the essence of what I have said here. So the notion that the burden of my mentioning the fact that Loyola had conceded was still on me when I met with you in the hall is surprising, since that concession was made in front of 4-6 Officials in your Control Room and it seems to me that they would have mentioned that to whomever was in charge of this 2nd protest. Say what you wish, when an official like Marchall Steinbaum officially declares that the protest has been denied, my bet is that all 59 teams and Coaches in attendance would have considered such an announcement as an official end to a protest.

Another consideration concerning why I did not mention the concession to you is that we were delayed for lunch---by the time we left the Control Room,, we had about 35 minutes to walk to the caf, order food, eat it and be back in time to avoid a forfeit for our Round 7 match. When we got to the caf, there were still long lines, so we gobbled down our food, but I had not finished eating, so I brought half of my lunch back to Seigle so my kids would be on time to play their final prelim match against Hunter C. You can ask Coach Young of Hunter about our rush to get back and my still having food in the room before the match. But before our match with Hunter C, Jon Pinyan came and announced the new decision about the earlier Loyola match. Now Jon is a colleague from New Jersey, and he can verify that I was by now naturally upset, because he could not tell me why the ruling was overturned, only that it was, and that the score with Loyola was now tied, 370-370 because the previous ruling was NOT official. Whereupon I asked my NJ colleague some tough questions, things like, the official nature of Marshall's role in the room, the official nature of the people Marshalll met with in the Control Center, and the official statement by Marshall upon entering the room to tell us Loyola's protest was denied. Further, since Coach Laird is an offical representing Loyola who seemed to be as puzzled by the 2nd protest as I was, his concession was also from an official---I asked Jon these questions, suggesting that there was nothing in this string of events that was unofficial---and Jon said, essentially, that he was just a messenger informing us of what we needed to do next, and I understood this as soon as he said it so I stopped questioning him, which I realized was unfair to him, and trid to calm down, which I did.

Meanwhile, my kids were now sitting at 3-2 instead of at 4-1 and playing Hunter C, a team which could defeat us if we did not play our best---we know this because we play Hunter teams all of the time and they are all dangerous, not just their great A team. So, my kids had to play this match against a team we respected and knew could beat us, but we had to do so with this new emotional stuff thrown at them before the match, not after the match, knowing that their year long dream to be in the Championship Bracket of 16 was essentaly gone forever, for Loyola was doubtelss too good a team to miss the number of bonuses they needed to win the match. Then in the middle of the match I was quietly informed by someone I do not know that the TD---you--- wanted to speak with me to correct the supposed misinformation I had been working with about the first protest resolution. Once the match was over, I went into the hallway and met with you---and you graciously told me what your decision was and showed me the spot on the TU where the student answered. You will recall i am sure that i suggest that if it took tow protests and an entire lunch time to reolve this issue, then perhaps the quetsion should simply have beeen trhown out as a very misleading question, to which you resopnded that yes, it wan not the best of questions but the rulles would not allow such a replacement TU--and I trusted that you werer correct about this, so I accepted your ruling, for many reasons, among which were the following: I had no knowledge about this subject matter with which to question you, and since I assumed you must have gotten all the facts from the control room about what Coach Laird and I had said; i also accepted your decision because I despise litigiousness, I respected your role as TD and knew you were in a tough spot, so for for me, that was that.

However, given the roller-coaster ride of the previous two hours, leading to a certainty that our National Championship aspirations were over due to a series of decisions we did not yet understand, for you to suggest that I repeat the concession of Loyola at that precise and brief moment is, I trust that you will agree, to place the burden inappropriately---we met with your officials earlier and told them all that I have said, and no doubt more. But if , in the final analysis you wish to hang your decision on the technicality that I did not mention a concession that had already been mentioned to officials of the NSC, fine. This ignores the fact that we were the injured party, and it should have been incumbent on those denying us our dramatic victory---we answered the last 6 TU's to overciome an enormous deficit against one of the best teams in the US and a potential spot in the Top 16----and places the burden of proof on those wh do not possess the packets, acess to the internet, and the time and the authority to decide, instead of on those who do.

But all of this really misses the point, for my post about TU 5 in Round 5 was about the substance of the TU first, and about procedure 2nd. And my statement was that if you ultimately got it correct, then I am perfectly fine with that, and it is printed above for all to see. But to suggest that the first decision was not a decision is not and cannot be convincing, for this undermines the needful authority that every reader must have in his room and which every Control Room must have in its building. To suggest that a rogue might have misinfomed us is not your best idea, as you will doubtless admit, for to suggest this is to suggest that Marshhall was thst rogue, for he informed us and never once while in his presence did I ever think of him as anything but professional, courteous, and emininenly fair . And as far as I can tell, neither I nor Coach Laird had any reason to beleive that Marshall Steinbaum's decision was unofficial. None. But if you now want to suggest that a reader who has left the room to consult for an extensive time with control room officials and then return telling teams in their rooms what the Control Room has decided, in a very public way--if you now want to say that that specific public announcement was not official, you will be opening up a can of worms that should never be opened--for now every such announcement can be dismissed as unofficial and appeals can constantly be made. In short, I do beleive, and I doubt that there is any argument that you can muster that will convince me otherwise, that the statement by Marshall that Loyola's protest was denied, was, IN FACT, a first OFFICIAL decision. To suggest otherwise is to undermine the offical status of Marshall and your Control Room, a step I cannot endorse. So I do beleive a serious procedural error was made, and my guess is that many, if not most, Coaches and players reading this would concur if the facts as I have related them are essentially correct, which I affirm they are.

But again, if in the final analysis this procedural error was redeemed by the right substantive decision, that is ultimately what should have occurred, hence my request from experts on the issues in Toss Up 5 to comment on the range of acceptable answers and the substantive and intrinisc merits of the decision made. If the right decison was made, it can redeem whatever procedural errors may have been made.

So, my real and ultimate concern is the substantive one. Thus, I hope those who do have the appropriate knowledge will offer their insights here. And I do absolutely repsect your role as TD and how tough some decisions can be, especially at a National Tourmment that teams have been targeting all year. And since we were one of those teams, I hope you understand that or disappointment in the immeidate moment was natural, but looking back we understand that mistakes can be made and that, ultimately, is OK---such is life and lessons like these are good for kids---and all we hope for is tha somethign positive comes from this.

And thanks for your patience in reading this.
Last edited by Edward Powers on Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:17 pm

Ed, I'm sorry to hear about this protest situation. It sounds to me like the main problem was a communication failure. This is unfortunate, and on behalf of PACE I would like to publicly apologize for this. We will make sure to place a particular emphasis to both teams and staff on the proper protest procedure next year in order to avoid this type of problem in the future. Talking to Matt Weiner, it sounds like the protest was ruled in good faith (i.e. there was no re-protesting a resolved issue) and that actual facts in question in the protest (i.e. whether the answer was acceptable or not) were ruled on correctly. If you're interested, our editors can give a more precise breakdown of why the answer was ruled acceptable.

Edit: Re-reading your post, it seems you are in fact definitely interested in hearing why this was ruled acceptable, so someone on the protest committee will post about this shortly.
Last edited by Mike Bentley on Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:18 pm

Coach Powers, Matt explained very clearly what happened. It's not a good situation, but just because a moderator says something wrong to you for no reason that makes any earthly sense (Marshall, what on earth were you thinking?), doesn't mean that that's a tournament director's fault, or that you should deviate from the tournament director's plan. There was a single protest resolution, the protest committee made it, and a moderator told you wrong information before he should have. It doesn't mean you should deviate from the official tournament procedure, it just means you should be aggravated that the particular moderator involved did something so irresponsible.

Also, as somebody who has observed lots of nationals and was a PACE member, I would like to take this post as a chance to let the world know that, for whatever reason, even with the best direction, for some unfathomable reason there are always staffers at the most important events of the year who outright ignore the tournament director and do what they want to, which makes the tournament run a whole lot worse. Quizbowlers, if you staff nationals, don't be some damned fools and just do what the guys in charge tell you, it's their show, not yours. Teams at PACE, if something dumb happens to your team, please understand it could really be an individual staffer's fault, as it was here, and isn't something that the tournament director can control at that point.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Dominator » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:31 pm

Having played in the pool in which this Loyola vs. SJHS match took place, having watched this protest ruling closely (it being the difference between our making the playoffs outright and having to play on half-packets [on which IMSA A is terrible] to advance), and having Marshall as a moderator twice and with whom I spoke for about 10 minutes during the rebracketing break, I'll offer what little insight I can here.

Coach Laird is a standup guy. I was not surprised to read here that he conceded out of sportsmanship; that would not be out of his character. Coach Laird is also smart, and so I would hope for the sake of his team that he would have conceded to the ruling of the experts in so heavy a situation. He will have to tell us whether he indeed acted with his heart or his head in this instance.

Marshall was not a "rogue". He was a confused staffer not privy to all the details of the situation. I feel comfortable saying that because I asked him a question or two about details after a match and he did not seem to know all the procedures. He was a reader, and a good one, and seemingly not much more.

I would have felt awful being on the receiving end of the seemingly-reversed decision, and so I sympathize with Coach Powers. Ultimately, the right decision was made, and so given the high level of competition and sportsmanship in our pool, I think everyone will find the decision and outcome easy to accept, and the justifiable pain SJHS feels will soon fade.

Lesson learned: No one staffing NSC should say anything about a protest that could resemble a ruling, even an unofficial one, before the final ruling, which should then only be communicated by the TD. PACE set up its protest procedure for a reason; follow it exactly.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Cody » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:33 pm

Excoriating Marshall for this incident is extremely unfair and I'm appalled that you are trying to paint him as some kind of rogue staffer, Dees. Unless you were in the control room for this incident, or have actually talked to people there, you shouldn't claim to know anything about how the miscommunication occurred. While my memory is apparently slightly hazy about this incident, I'm sure someone like Jeffrey Hill or other staffers in the room can clear up exactly where things went wrong. Rushing to judgement can only lead to ruffled feathers.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Auroni » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:37 pm

SnookerUSF wrote:
5. In one tradition, the most severe form of this action involves appearing in a cube known as Avici.
In Islam, it happens to people who fail the interrogation of Munkar and Nakir. It follows the
narrowing of the Chinvat bridge in Zoroastrianism. The Gospel of Matthew suggests that it is better
to cut off one's right hand than to face this circumstance, which is accompanied by (*) "weeping and
gnashing of teeth." Under certain conditions, one's accumulated karma can cause this to happen, sending
one to Naraka. Medieval artists originated the idea that it involves passing through the mouth of a monster.
Occurring after being denied access to the pearly gates, for 10 points, name this less favorable of two
post-death outcomes in many religions.
ANSWER: going to Hell [or synonyms indicating that someone is being cast into Hell; accept many
synonyms, including Gehenna, Valley of Hinnom, Naraka; or House of Lies for Hell; accept answers like being damned to hell as well; prompt on "judgment"; prompt on "demon attack" or similar]
This tossup was terrible for the reasons ennumerated in the thread, from vagueness to outright factual inaccuracy -- I deeply regret letting it into the packet set instead of just writing on something else. I'm sorry for the protest situation it caused.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by tuscumbiaqb » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:40 pm

As someone who was alternately in central HQ and the control room during the protest resolution, I think Coach Prince's assessment of the situation is correct. I seriously doubt that Marshall went "rogue", but simply misunderstood the resolution procedures. I do know, though, that a decision on the protest was not made on the protest before lunch, and I'm not sure how a statement that the protest had been denied could have been gleaned from what was going on in the control room and central HQ.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Jun 11, 2012 8:56 pm

I was largely responsible for this year's rule revisions concerning protests. Here are the relevant sections:
NSC 2012 Rules J.4 wrote:4.2. The protesting team, and the counter-protesting team, if applicable, will fill out protest sheets explaining their arguments. A staff member will communicate these arguments to the individual(s) resolving the protest, with the exception that teams and players will not be identified by name. The presenting staff member will be the moderator or scorekeeper of the match under protest, unless one or both teams object, in which case a neutral party shall be found.
4.3. Following the communication of the protest, both teams shall proceed to their next match, unless one or both teams’ next match would change depending on the outcome of the protest. In conjunction with the TD or other appointed official, the presenting staff member shall reconvene both teams at an appropriate break in the schedule to communicate the decision and its rationale to both teams, and to play any necessary replacement questions. No other staff member shall communicate, regarding a live protest, with both the protesting team(s) and the individual(s) resolving the protest.
What should have happened, under these rules, is:
1. Protest sheet filled out and taken to moderator.
2. Moderator instructs teams to go to their next games.
3. Moderator or scorekeeper takes scoresheet of game to control room along with protest sheet.
4. Control room sends protest sheet to protest committee.
5. Protest committee rules on protest.
6. Protest committee sends ruling to control room, who sends ruling to moderator.
7. At an appropriate break in the schedule (i.e., after round 7), two officials (moderator and either TD or appointed official, likely control room staffer or protest committee member) communicate resolution to both teams.
8. Replacement questions are played.

The whole purpose of the protest sheet was to completely eliminate delays (since a staffer was having to go to the control room anyway) and lack of objectivity in resolution (by making the protest committee totally unaware of the teams involved or the effect a resolution would have on the game). I'm honestly most disturbed by the fact that this protest caused an entire bracket to fall behind by 20 minutes, since that is the kind of thing this rule change was intended to prevent.

Everything that went wrong with this protest resolution was caused by one or both of two things: a failure on my part to effectively communicate the steps and time period of protest resolution to the staff of the tournament and the teams attending, or a failure on the moderator's part to have read and understood the rules before staffing the tournament. If it's an issue with the former, I'm sure PACE would be happy to know how it can be better worded. If it's the problem with the latter, it's a problem that can (and often does) happen at any tournament, and the only thing PACE can do about it is entertain ideas for how to minimize the chances of this happening in the future (EDIT: most obviously, this can be minimized by giving a "Protest Resolution Procedures" sheet and a "Bonus Replacement" sheet to each staffer).
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Cody » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:04 pm

Staffers were told that teams should be kept in their room if the protest ruling could necessitate the reading of another question (ex: contradictory clue causes question to be thrown out and another read in its place). If it was just a points thing (ex: answer being ruled wrong on a bonus, team protests it is correct), they were to be sent to their next room.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:33 pm

I read this thread title as "PACE NSC 2012 goes to hell" and was intrigued and saddened that I was not there.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Boeing X-20, Please! » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:39 pm

I cannot speak to all of your experience, Coach Powers, as I was not there for 100% of the events you described, but as you know I was for a good 80%+. I will also provide my account so that where the ambiguity came into play can be better ascertained for both giving more information to Coach Powers and so that Matt can derive what of what he was told was correct and where

As others mentioned, that tossup was mostly just in my opinion a poorly-written one that required much too much "figuring it out" than simply requiring knowledge as well as being written in a confusing way, as if one pretty much just simply wanted to test knowledge of "Hell," it was very confusing to write it as an action tossup on "being sent to Hell" as opposed to a "this location" tossup on "Hell". I realized that the bottom level of Naraka was being talked about in the first clue and thought "Hmmm, what does one do in hell? - this could be like, being attacked by demons (which apparently was actually in the answerline but being burned was left out), being burned, what do they want?" I then decided to go with "burning? like, being burned" after realizing that they had pretty much just mentioned torturous angel things in the Islam description so it was unlikely they would be tossing getting attacked by demons up and what Marshall had proceeded to say about the Chinvat Bridge also fit, in addition to just being pissed at knowing these things and not knowing what to say. I protested since I knew that that part of Naraka is similar to Christian Hell in terms of being a fiery region, the angels had flaming tongues (I did not know what Jahannam actually looked like, which is why I was unsure as to whether or not it would be accepted), and that the House of Lies is as well. So, substantively, I knew what was going on and answered the tossup in the best way I could that both was correct and applied to every situation, as Matt has stated.

In my recollection, I am pretty sure we were told to go to our Round 6 matches before it was actually ruled on and moved on to our round 6 game under the assumption that it had either been denied or they were still researching it, with the ambiguity coming from Marshall's phrasing as to what was happening. (See the summary at the bottom for more on this)

Then, before lunch as you described, they called us into the conference room after round 6, which I thought was to give a ruling on it, as I assumed the tossup had been revisited and researched to what point "burning, like, being burned?" would have stopped being correct in the tossup and to validate where I had buzzed in the tossup to ascertain whether I was correct or not, or to see if the tossup should just be thrown out. I was called into the control room to confirm where I had buzzed, which was asked to me by some official from the control room ( I believe it may have been Cody Voight?), while both you and Mr. Laird were present, based off of the information that either Marshall or Colin must have gave them (as it had both a note of the location where I buzzed and what I said and was procured without the involvement of either coach - I also assume this is what Matt is referring to as the "protest sheet," not any sort of thing anybody had to sign like your envisioning of a protest sheet). I validated that info that I had indeed buzzed in somewhere after Marshall finishing saying Chinvat and before finishing saying Zoroastrianism, which neither coach repudiated (as that was what happened). Since we were anxious to go get lunch and had been stripped of about 20ish minutes of that time, which you felt even more heavily than us as you did not have the luxury of a bye after lunch, we were allowed to go get lunch and left a phone number and were under the assumption that they protest was either denied or not yet ruled upon, not actually knowing which was being said, due to the ambiguity of what was said by Marshall and the people in the control room of Siegle, and that they did not seem to be in sync very much. If a concession of the protest did occur (which I was unaware of until reading this and still do not quite believe happened although I am certainly not in a position to be absolutely sure), it must have happened in that short period where you and Mr. Laird were in the control room after round 6 before I was called in, and would have only occurred if Laird was under the impression that it had already been denied. Laird would have only did that resulting from a misinterpretation of what was said by the control room people and/or Marshall, or a misunderstanding on the part of the control room people and/or Marshall as to what they were supposed to communicate to us, which I do not believe is the case, although like I say, I was not there for a few minutes. Plus, if it did happen, it would have been us being screwed by being told the wrong information, which you feel is partially what happened in your case and I'm sure is also something that you would not have wanted to happen to us, as you/your team also displayed fine sportsmanship during this ordeal and our game-deciding protest back at NSC 2010.

After returning from lunch and going to see the last few questions of our B team's match, we went back upstairs to the room where the sheet told us to wait and very soon, someone came and retreived us telling us that they needed us due to the protest, meaning it had either been thrown out or accepted and we needed to play some more of that match. We were taken to the same room as you were and Matt announced that it had, in fact, been accepted and the proper procedure for the bonus replacement occurred, resulting in our victory.

So, in summary, I agree with a sweeping part of your account, Mr. Powers. However, there a few parts which I either do not entirely agree with, or do not have access to the information to agree/disagree with which changes whether there was a grave error made in their review of the protest or merely just an error, certainly of meaning but of much less so.

1) I disagree that Marshall definitely said that there had been an official decision made before we were dismissed to go to our round 6 game, rather that he made an ambiguously, poorly-worded statement that did not really reveal what either of us hoped it would reveal. I believe he said something to the effect of 'go to your round 6 rooms, so that we do not hold up the tournament any more, the protest is still under denial right now,' which is indeed ambiguous and poorly-worded, although I do not remember his exact words. I suppose I took that to mean that further information was being looked up and that it was still under review, but with a small possibility of the meaning being that it had been officially denied. Perhaps my view of how to interpret his statement was peppered by my optimism for the protest going in my team's favor and yours was peppered by optimism for it going in your team's favor, as it was ambiguous what was actually being said and I can see how one could derive either view from it, although as we both agree the most important thing was whether or not it was ruled correctly based on the substance of the question up until where I buzzed in.
2) I do not believe Laird made a concession of the protest, but I was not in the control room for the entirety of the period you two were, only coming in and remaining in after I was asked to come and validate where I had buzzed. I do know that if Laird did make this concession, it was because he believed the protest had been already denied, due to the fault of his interpretation of Marshall's poorly-worded/ambiguous statement, rather than thinking that the protest should not be reviewed to the fullest and properly.

I agree with what Cody is saying that too much fault has been placed on Marshall for this. He definitely made an error in the ambiguity of his announcement as to whether or not a resolution of the protest had been completely made, but it certainly was not in bad faith or him "going rouge." I've been to many tournaments at UChicago that Marshall has staffed and he's always been a great, knowledgeable moderator and is certainly a nice guy, but perhaps was just frazzled that day as he also messed up twice in our round 1 match, but followed the proper procedures of correcting it and apologized for his mistakes. I've already talked to Auroni and accepted his apology and I did, truly, enjoy pretty much all of the RM in the set and while this particular question was certainly very bad, it was the only question in the entire set that I encountered that was truly bad and came about only as a result of poor execution of trying to be creative and testing deeper knowledge of information that has often been tested only superficially in my experience. Being involved in this protest certainly does not seem as bad as being involved in some of the protests that occurred last year would have been and I think was resolved properly in thanks to the changes made to the rules due to those incidents, the procedure they laid out were done in that order, and the problem was merely a mistake of Marshall not knowing what exactly to say for his wording of step number 2.

EDIT: This should be moved to the other thread, which happened when I was replying to the previous posts, which is why it is posted here instead.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 Set Discussion

Post by Edward Powers » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:50 pm

A response to several people:

First, Mike Bentley, thank you for the official apology. It was both kind and gracious, and it is appreciated.

Next, to Matt Weiner, thanks for providing the three specific reasons which led to your ultimate decision on the substantive issues in question. Given these 3 factors, you decision not only makes sense to me, it clearly suggests that you made the only decision you should have made---the right decision. This of course means that Loyola deserved acceptance of its protest and earned its victory by answering the 3 bonus questions. I also appreciate your comments about your interchange with Marshall, which reveal that the procedural error that occurred was a result of a miscommunication, which eventually led to Marshall's understandable statement that the protest had been denied. I appreciate this information very much.

To Charlie Dees, I respect the fact that you want the formal rules to be followed so incidents like this do not occur, but I think Matt's revelatiion that maybe he did not make it clear enough to Marshall that an official decision had not been made largely exonerates Marshall here. As I said in my long post above about my understandings of how things evolved in this event, I never had the sense that Marshall was anything but professional and governed by a spirit of fairness. In other words, there is no reason to seek someone to blame; sometimes mistakes happen despite the best intentions of the people involved, and that is probably how things transpired here. I certainly wish things had occurred differently, but nowhere is there any evidence of anyone acting with anything other than the best of intentions, and that is all we can ask of anyone. Certainly I am not interested is finding a scapegoat or in blaming anyone. And as I suggested to Matt above, if the right decision was ultimately made,and the 3 reasons Matt gave indicate that it was, then however painful it was for SJHS to be on the receiving end when it happened, it is still true that Matt made the right decision in accepting Loyola's protest and ultimately should be applauded for this rather then seek to get upset at Marshall instead.

To Auroni--thanks for admitting that this was probably not the best of TU's---but let me say in turn that we know how difficult it is to edit a packet and make sure that every TU is worthy of such an important tournament---sometimes bad questions wiil slip through, no matter how good an editor you are. So, there is no blame here and we are already over it.

Finally to Coach Prince---your analysis is probably spot on in so many ways, and I appreciate your generous suggestion that had you been compelled to play half packet matches your team might have been the odd team out---that is kind and gracious, considering how gifted your team is, for it flatters us by suggesting that we might have edged you out in such a contest. Of course on one 10 question half-packet set we all know anything can happen. However, we know that given your year long performance as a team, the odds are we would have had more trouble than you, for yours is truly a gifted, gifted team, as your ultimate 4th place finish demonstrated. But thanks for the generous spirit behind your remarks. And one final thing---I find both humor and a playful challenge in your comments about Coach Laird. I sense that you are both flattering him and teasing him simultaneously, suggesting that his great sportsmanship also involved tremendous prudence and a bit of, shall we say, shrewd acting, perhaps, on Coach Laird's part? Now I assume you certainly know Coach Laird better than I, but you must admit it seems like you are having a little fun, engaging in a little local Illinoisian gamesmanship, perhaps, by suggesting that Coach Laird's head & heart might not really have been in sync during this event, but that he was possibly shrewed enough to keep this hidden, especially from me, a stranger. But I suspect a smirk on your part throughout this analysis, and I also suspect that if Coach Laird reads your comments here he might smirk in return at your playful suggestion that he was perhaps not entirely sincere or candid in making the public statements he did, seeing in these remarks the local and friendly gamesmanship I commented on before. But all I can say about these remarks is this: It seemed to me that Coach Laird was in absolute harmony, head and heart, with no diffidence at all. And I consider myself a close observer of human behavior. But I wonder how Coach Laird might respond to what seems to be your jocose yet well-intended teasing of him. I hope he reads this and responds!

In the meantime, I consider this issue closed, at least from an SJHS perspective. From a general perspective, i think everyone involved with the 2012 NSC deserves a great collective thank you from all the teams & Coaches involved, for it was an excellent tournament with many wonderful matches, and the All Star game and the audience participation activities after that wonderful Championship match between Bellarmine & Hunter struck a wonderful closing chord, and Isaac Hirsxh was the perfect master of ceremonies for such a spirited and enjoyable way to end the tournament. It was evident that the community of hundreds in attendance enjoyed themselves immensely.

So thanks to all involved. It was terrific weekend

EDITED: For spelling and grammar.
Last edited by Edward Powers on Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:19 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Edward Powers » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:40 pm

Nolan,

I did not see your comment until just now, and I have three comments in return.

First, I appreciate your efforts to explain the thinking process you were going through as the TU was being asked and the difficulties it posed for you, as well as the reasons for your protest after your answer was rejected. And to extend this appreciation a little further, I too agree with about 80 you 90 % of your analysis of how these events transpired, and I do remember the mutual respect both teams had in 2010 on another game deciding protest.

We disagree where you suggest we disagree, which is what transpired when Marshall came back. As I recall, he made a definitive statement that your protest was denied and that yes, we now should proceed to our next match. But I do not recall him ever saying that we should move simply because we had to expedite the tournament and I certainly do not recall him ever saying that the decision was not yet official. This is the crux of our disagreement, plus I guess you did not hear that your Coach considered the issue sufficiently closed to concede the match when we went to the control room. So I suspect that Coach Laird also thought the original decision was final.

But finally, and most important, all of this is now moot, and honorable people can have different memories of same events, as anyone who has ever played the game "telephone" surely knows. The issue is moot because the comments made by everyone else so far reveal that ultimately the correct decision was made and so your protest was valid and your win was well-earned, and since this is so, I applaud that decision. And, before closing, thank your for your comprehensive effort to explain your understanding of what happened and, even more important, thank you and your teammates for the generous and amicable spirit you displayed while the protest was being adjudicated. And since this is the 2nd such time we have had such a friendly experience with Loyola under such trying circumstances, let me just say that in my opinion, however great your 2012 quizbowl team is, and it clearly is worthy of such a descriptor, this pales in significance when compared to the quality of spirit and character you have shown, both in 2010 and this year. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and your team, and you have our complete respect for being the classy group that you are.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:39 pm

I want to write about this, since against the allegation that I "went rogue" and delivered a consciously incorrect statement about the protest resolution, the defense seems to be that I was confused about the outcome of the protest. In fact, I wasn't confused and I certainly didn't go rogue. What I did was deliver to the teams the protest resolution that Jeffrey Hill, who was running the control room, told me had been reached: that the protest was denied.

More specifically, after waiting around for ~15 minutes, Jeffrey received a message, which he relayed as "the protest is unofficially denied." Since I thought that was inconclusive, I asked him for clarification, to which he said that the committee hadn't had a chance to vote on it, but when they did, "the protest would be denied." That is the message I took back to the room, as Ed Powers has said.

This afternoon, I emailed Matt Weiner as he recounted and he told me that his directions to Jeffrey Hill were not as they were relayed to me. I don't know why that's how they got to me. Furthermore, on the matter of whether it was appropriate to wait on the protest resolution, whatever is PACE's official policy about protests, at the staff meeting we were directed to retain teams in the event a protest resolution required further questions.

Finally, it's worth saying that a few hours ago, I told Charlie Dees what I'm saying now and that in light of the fact, he should withdraw his outrageous claims about my conduct. Thus far I have received no response from him. Suffice it to say that his account of events, especially those for which he was not present, cannot be attempted to be believed.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Tue Jun 12, 2012 12:53 am

For those curious, here is the text that led us to rule that "getting burned" did, in fact, apply to the first clue of that tossup:
Ksitigarbha Sutra Chapter 3, emphasis mine wrote: Ksitigarbha replied, "O Holy Mother, the hells of various worlds are situated inside the great Cakravada (ring of iron-enclosed mountains). There are eighteen major hells. Also, there are five hundred secondary ones with different designations, and there are, in addition, hundreds of thousands of lesser ones, each one having a different designation as well. One of these is the unique hell which is known as Avici. As for Avici Hell, its dreadful walls circumscribe more than eighty thousand miles, are ten thousand miles high and are made entirely of iron. Fiery flames shoot out of these walls, covering them entirely from top to bottom and, again, from bottom to top. Iron serpents and iron hounds spit out fiery flames and chase about, running along the hellish walls in an east-west direction.

"There are torture-racks in this hell. When just one person alone takes his punishment, he can see himself lying prone with his body stretched out over the entire rack. When thousands of myriads of people all take their punishment together, they, in like manner, can also see themselves, each one, lying prone there with their bodies stretched out, covering the entire rack. Such is the way of retribution for sins induced by various karmas. Moreover, these sinful people suffer all sorts of other tortures and afflictions. Hundreds of thousands of yaksas and other wicked demons have teeth-like swords and eyes like lightning flashes, and with hands that look like copper claws they drag these miserable sinners to their punishment. Other yaksas hold great iron spears, hurling them at these miserable people, some hitting their mouths and noses and others hitting their bellies and backs. They toss these miserable people into midair and catch them again, throwing them onto the racks. Also, there are iron hawks to peck out these miserable people's eyes. Furthermore, there are iron serpents to strangle these miserable people. Long nails are driven into their various limbs and joints. Their tongues are pulled out. Their intestines are ripped out and torn to pieces. Molten copper is poured into their mouths. White-hot iron is wound into their bodies. They die myriads of times and then are revived again myriads of times for further torture. Such is the retribution of karma.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by SunWukong » Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:47 am

Do the people in Avici actually get burned? The walls are enormous and the fire seems to cover only the walls, while the people are tortured in the interior of the space deep within them. Similarly, the fire-breathing monsters patrol the walls and would probably be pretty far away from the interior. Does it make a note elsewhere that the people here are actually burned, or is the fire, as I read it, a measure against any sort of escape, making the walls unapproachable? I suppose one could count having molten copper poured into one's mouth or white-hot iron wound into one's body as forms of burning. In any event, not a pleasant place (though seemingly one must do something really really bad, like killing one's parents or harming the Budha to end up in). Also, since the tossup said appearing in Avici is the most severe form of this action and none of the relevant text says that people in Avici are burned worse than in all other places, would that clue point uniquely towards going to hell rather than being burned (even if they are burned in Avici, there might not be multiple levels of burning of which it is the worst)?

As Abid points out in the NSC discussion thread, the clue about the interrogation of Munkar and Naki wouldn't point to burning, but rather being beaten. But, it also doesn't point to going to hell either, so the clue (and probably the entire tossup) shouldn't have happened. As far as I can tell (and I know nothing about this and may have been entirely misled by internet sources) those who fail the interrogation are beaten, smashed with a mountain, crushed, and/or bitten by snakes until they are resurrected on the Day of Judgement (I believe they remain in their graves and don't really "go" anywhere, though one could argue, I suppose, that being in such a place is a hell, even if it is separate from the post-judgement hell)

What is the interior of the House of Lies like? I can't seem to find any description of it more expansive than "that place where bad people go." Are people burned there?

Under section J 5.2 of the PACE NSC rules, in order for a protest like this one to be accepted, all the clues up the point of the buzz must apply to the given answer meaning that each of the clues mentioned above must apply to "being burned" in order for that to be acceptable. Is there another source on the Avici that says people are actually burned in it, or is that suggested by the presence of the fiery walls? Would the fact that people are scolded by molten copper and wrapped in white-hot iron sufficient to count as "being burned" for protest reasons, despite the fact that there are numerous other punishments in the Avici? If a clue is just plain wrong, as the Munkar and Nakir clue appears to be, pointing as it does to being punished, but not to going to Hell, shouldn't it be thrown out under Sections J 5.4 and J 7.3 of the PACE NSC rules and replaced? Note that I'm not asking these questioning to critique the decision that was made, but rather to gain an understand of a) some interesting religious stuff and b) the way in which protests are considered and resolved to allow me to better protest/concede protests as a player and rule better when/if I find myself ruling on a protest.

On another note, I like the idea behind this tossup; common link questions like this one are usually pretty cool, but can often run into difficulties when people give overly specific answers that pertain to a particular clue and demonstrate the knowledge the question was testing, but get negged because their answer doesn't apply to earlier clues. Is there a good way to resolve this issue like making a rule that overly specific answers will be accepted since they demonstrate knowledge (when I write common link questions I usually do this, putting all the specific answers as alternates acceptable answers) or should common link questions be restricted to things for which the only possible answer for each clue is the answerline?
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:58 am

SunWukong wrote:Do the people in Avici actually get burned? The walls are enormous and the fire seems to cover only the walls, while the people are tortured in the interior of the space deep within them. Similarly, the fire-breathing monsters patrol the walls and would probably be pretty far away from the interior. Does it make a note elsewhere that the people here are actually burned, or is the fire, as I read it, a measure against any sort of escape, making the walls unapproachable? I suppose one could count having molten copper poured into one's mouth or white-hot iron wound into one's body as forms of burning. In any event, not a pleasant place (though seemingly one must do something really really bad, like killing one's parents or harming the Budha to end up in). Also, since the tossup said appearing in Avici is the most severe form of this action and none of the relevant text says that people in Avici are burned worse than in all other places, would that clue point uniquely towards going to hell rather than being burned (even if they are burned in Avici, there might not be multiple levels of burning of which it is the worst)?

As Abid points out in the NSC discussion thread, the clue about the interrogation of Munkar and Naki wouldn't point to burning, but rather being beaten. But, it also doesn't point to going to hell either, so the clue (and probably the entire tossup) shouldn't have happened. As far as I can tell (and I know nothing about this and may have been entirely misled by internet sources) those who fail the interrogation are beaten, smashed with a mountain, crushed, and/or bitten by snakes until they are resurrected on the Day of Judgement (I believe they remain in their graves and don't really "go" anywhere, though one could argue, I suppose, that being in such a place is a hell, even if it is separate from the post-judgement hell)

What is the interior of the House of Lies like? I can't seem to find any description of it more expansive than "that place where bad people go." Are people burned there?

Under section J 5.2 of the PACE NSC rules, in order for a protest like this one to be accepted, all the clues up the point of the buzz must apply to the given answer meaning that each of the clues mentioned above must apply to "being burned" in order for that to be acceptable. Is there another source on the Avici that says people are actually burned in it, or is that suggested by the presence of the fiery walls? Would the fact that people are scolded by molten copper and wrapped in white-hot iron sufficient to count as "being burned" for protest reasons, despite the fact that there are numerous other punishments in the Avici? If a clue is just plain wrong, as the Munkar and Nakir clue appears to be, pointing as it does to being punished, but not to going to Hell, shouldn't it be thrown out under Sections J 5.4 and J 7.3 of the PACE NSC rules and replaced? Note that I'm not asking these questioning to critique the decision that was made, but rather to gain an understand of a) some interesting religious stuff and b) the way in which protests are considered and resolved to allow me to better protest/concede protests as a player and rule better when/if I find myself ruling on a protest.

On another note, I like the idea behind this tossup; common link questions like this one are usually pretty cool, but can often run into difficulties when people give overly specific answers that pertain to a particular clue and demonstrate the knowledge the question was testing, but get negged because their answer doesn't apply to earlier clues. Is there a good way to resolve this issue like making a rule that overly specific answers will be accepted since they demonstrate knowledge (when I write common link questions I usually do this, putting all the specific answers as alternates acceptable answers) or should common link questions be restricted to things for which the only possible answer for each clue is the answerline?
Well, it definitely seems like you can tell us all about the parts of Avici where hairs are split.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:32 am

SunWukong wrote:Do the people in Avici actually get burned? The walls are enormous and the fire seems to cover only the walls, while the people are tortured in the interior of the space deep within them. Similarly, the fire-breathing monsters patrol the walls and would probably be pretty far away from the interior. Does it make a note elsewhere that the people here are actually burned, or is the fire, as I read it, a measure against any sort of escape, making the walls unapproachable? I suppose one could count having molten copper poured into one's mouth or white-hot iron wound into one's body as forms of burning.
Also, if appearing in Avici--rather than spending some time in Avici, receiving specific torture in Avici, or coming into contact with the walls--is what's at hand, then clearly appearing in Avici is not equivalent to getting burned. Indeed, that would only really work if Avici were a continuous realm of fire where everything in it is burning upon appearance. While I appreciate Bruce's remark about splitting hairs, what can a protest resolution be but on the basis of split hairs? Moreover, splitting hairs in favor of the correct resolution is far better than splitting hairs (declaring that some text about flaming walls means that "getting burned" is correct) in favor of a much less defensible resolution. It's all split hairs.

But yeah, on the whole, the second clue's just wrong and "getting burned" can't be right after it was read, either.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Remember-the-Alamo-Remember-Goliad » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:22 am

Thankfully, this protest and the outpouring of electronic ink have not stained my enthusiasm for this year's PACE experience.

I have been told that I know a couple of things about Xian theology and the Bible, so, from that perspective, I would have to say that the question could have been more accurately written when looking once again at the Gospel of St. Mattthew, chapter 13, verses 40 and ff -- not the other parts of the question for which I have no special knowledge.

I sincerely hope that this dust up does not cause any falling out among staffers, teams, and the many other worker bees who made the tournament happen. Cistercian was just glad we made it to the Round of 16, so, I can understand the disappointment that is found among these posts.

Having been involved as a coach in academic competitions since 1989 (Gasp, I am old!), I have many palpable memories of questions and rulings that when haywire. From them, over time, I've learned the toughest lesson for any coach or faculty advisor: walk away sooner rather than later - life goes on and your team will be better for it. Cliched? No doubt. Yet, in my own experience, so very true.

PACE 2012? A great experience for my 4 students and me. thankX!
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:36 am

As has already been stated, this is a bad question and probably should have just been replaced. One of the big problems is that central religious texts pretty much always have very little to say about Hell, and secondary texts can be contradictory.

The descriptions of Avici people refer to seem to be coming from Chapter Three of The Sutra of Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha's Fundamental Vows. Different translations seem to differ as to whether the walls are covered with flames or the entire area is filled with flames. Even if there was agreement on the translation, Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha saying something does not make it universal Buddhist doctrine.

Surah 8:50 in the Koran states, "If thou couldst see, when the angels take the souls of the Unbelievers (at death), (How) they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): "Taste the penalty of the blazing Fire-" Munkar and Nakir are not mentioned in the Koran, and the general belief is in line with what Abid posted earlier, which would make both Hell and burning incorrect. I quote this Koran passage because it seems to be related to failing the test of Munkar and Nakir.

As has already been said, this is all pretty much splitting hairs, and I think any decision reached by the protest committee, including the one they actually reached, could have been defended as reasonable. As Matt Weiner said near the beginning of this discussion, their decision could be defended using respected texts. As some others are pointing out, it can also be refuted using respected texts. Since none of us have actually been to Avici or met Munkar and Nakir, that may be as far as this goes.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:42 am

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:As Matt Weiner said near the beginning of this discussion, their decision could be defended using respected texts. As some others are pointing out, it can also be refuted using respected texts. Since none of us have actually been to Avici or met Munkar and Nakir, that may be as far as this goes.
But... if team A says something that is both explicitly right and explicitly wrong, depending on which set of texts is taken as super-awesome, then the result ought not to be "whichever the protest committee decides is right goes." The result should be that the bad question is thrown out and a replacement is read. Were there no replacements left? Or were the sources that demonstrate pretty conclusively that arrival in Avici does not constitute "getting burned" and that the Munkar/Nakir clue is questionable only uncovered now?
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Jun 12, 2012 11:59 am

Andrew is right. Looking at it now with additional time and evidence, I'm pretty sure the right decision would be tossing out the question and playing a replacement tossup. I guess that my point is that with three people given a half hour or hour to research the topic, it's not unreasonable that the committee made the decision that it did.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by ScoBo » Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:44 pm

Tees-Exe Line wrote:What I did was deliver to the teams the protest resolution that Jeffrey Hill, who was running the control room, told me had been reached: that the protest was denied.

More specifically, after waiting around for ~15 minutes, Jeffrey received a message, which he relayed as "the protest is unofficially denied." Since I thought that was inconclusive, I asked him for clarification, to which he said that the committee hadn't had a chance to vote on it, but when they did, "the protest would be denied." That is the message I took back to the room, as Ed Powers has said.

This afternoon, I emailed Matt Weiner as he recounted and he told me that his directions to Jeffrey Hill were not as they were relayed to me. I don't know why that's how they got to me.
I certainly did not intend to communicate to teams that the protest was (officially) "denied" at that point, though I could see how what I said could have been interpreted that way.

I actually got 2 protests on the same question within about 30 seconds, so both were sent down at the same time. When Matt called me several minutes later, he said that both protests were looking like they were going to be denied (but made it abundantly clear that no official rulings had been made yet) and that we should send the teams onto round 6. As a result of the ensuing conversation, I thought I was instructed to communicate the fact that the protests were unofficially denied (it seems like I asked him for clarification, something along the lines of "so we should tell the teams that the protests are unofficially denied and they should go on to round 6?", but I could be misremembering). I definitely remember thinking it was probably not a good idea to communicate an unofficial decision, but maybe that was after I had already relayed the message to room staff.

Based on what I thought I was supposed to relay to teams, I did communicate to the room staff that the protests were "unofficially denied", but I'm not sure if I explicitly said to tell the teams that (though I believe that was my intention based on what I thought Matt had told me to do). While discussing this with the room staff I don't remember saying anything definitive like "the protest would be denied" - I thought I had said something more like "it sounds like it will be denied" or "it will probably be denied", which could have easily been misheard or misinterpreted - but in any case there was not really any reason to communicate that fact to the room staff (though they certainly could have heard what I was saying back to Matt on the phone). Since we had been waiting several minutes to hear back (and were already a bit behind schedule before the protests), I was also probably rushing to get the word back to teams so we could get round 6 going, so I wasn't as clear as I should have been in relaying the information to the room staff.

In any case, it is clearly a terrible idea to communicate any sort of tentative or unofficial resolution to teams, and I apologize for my role in how the status of this particular protest was communicated to Marshall, Loyola, and St. Joseph. I will be sure that if I am ever again involved in a capacity that involves communicating a protest resolution that I do not indicate any "unofficial" result one way or another, and if for some reason I do communicate such a fact to other tournament staffers (whether intentionally or unintentionally) that I make it abundantly clear that teams should not hear any indication of a decision until it is absolutely final.
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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by mlaird » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:06 pm

Sorry for not posting earlier; I had been deliberately giving myself a break from quizbowl for the past week. Here's what I remember happening:

1.) Question is asked, Nolan answers and is ruled incorrect, St. Joe's picks it up, gets the bonus, Nolan protests.
2.) St. Joe's mounts one of the most impressive comebacks I've ever seen.
3.) Game ends with St. Joe's up 30.
4.) Marshall leaves the room for 20 minutes or so, while both teams remain and wait.
5.) Marshall returns and makes it clear (at least to me) that the protest has been denied and that the win has been awarded to St. Joe's. I think the first words he said when he came in were "The protest is denied."
6.) We play another match.
7.) Coach Powers and I are called into the control room on the third floor to clarify what happened in the protest. At this point, I was curious as to why it was being revisited since it had seemingly already been officially ruled on. I did at that point say something along the lines of "St. Joe's won the match, and we are willing to concede that" in the spirit of sportsmanship and the fact that I thought the protest had been ruled on officially already. My statement was largely ignored by everyone except Coach Powers, and the officials continued to ask for information. I have them get Nolan, so he can tell us where he buzzed in. This is the first time Coach Powers and I see a "protest sheet" and I don't remember ever actually seeing it up close or signing it.
8.) We go to lunch.
9.) We are called into a game room and Matt comes in and tells us the situation in a very matter-of-fact manner. The protest has been ruled in Loyola's favor, we have earned a bonus, the score is tied. We play the bonus and win the match.

During #9, I never really had the opportunity to address the concession I made earlier, which seemed like it was being disallowed/ignored by the staff anyways. It seems to me like this was a correct decision on their part (though it would have been nice to have been a bit more in the loop), since I would not have made a concession if I knew the protest had not been officially denied, something I did not find out until well after the concession was made.

I would like to state that throughout this ordeal, St. Joe's and Coach Powers did show the best sportsmanship and I am extremely sorry that they had to go through all this. It was a pleasure to play and get to know you guys.

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Re: PACE NSC 2012 "going to hell" protest resolution

Post by jonpin » Sun Jun 17, 2012 1:02 am

mlaird wrote:Sorry for not posting earlier; I had been deliberately giving myself a break from quizbowl for the past week. Here's what I remember happening:

7.) Coach Powers and I are called into the control room on the third floor to clarify what happened in the protest. At this point, I was curious as to why it was being revisited since it had seemingly already been officially ruled on. I did at that point say something along the lines of "St. Joe's won the match, and we are willing to concede that" in the spirit of sportsmanship and the fact that I thought the protest had been ruled on officially already. My statement was largely ignored by everyone except Coach Powers, and the officials continued to ask for information. I have them get Nolan, so he can tell us where he buzzed in. This is the first time Coach Powers and I see a "protest sheet" and I don't remember ever actually seeing it up close or signing it.
Though I was not involved with the resolution of protests, I was in the control room, and I can comment on the bolded section. The fact that neither coach filled out or signed the protest sheet was intentional. The idea was to make certain that the committee was blind. The teams explain the protest to the moderator (who obviously knows the teams involved), who fills out the sheet and takes it to the tab room. The tab room (which sees the scoresheet with the protest marked, and sees which moderator walks in with said scoresheet) informs the control room of the fact of a protest, but not which teams or what room. The tab room then sends a runner with the protest form, which says only things like "Team A" or "the player that buzzed", to the control room, so the committee can discuss the details and rule on the protest.

Having teams write the protest themselves, and certainly having them sign it, would defeat the purpose of the layer of insulation.
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