Hey it's time to talk about tone! (LIVE CHAT AUGUST 13)

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Hey it's time to talk about tone! (LIVE CHAT AUGUST 13)

Post by Matt Weiner » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:59 pm

In service of what will become an annual summer tradition, this thread is open for people to have a better discussion than is possible on weird Facebook groups about:

-the rules of the board
-"tone" (and even "civility" if you really want to go there)
-other board meta-issues

Obviously, the usual rules against discussing such things on-board do not apply in this thread.

Jeff and other admins will answer your questions about the what and why of board rules.

Staffers will participate, perhaps vigorously, in discussion, but will not sanction you for talking about any of the above. However, other rules still apply (don't think this thread is Hamsterdam for posting uncleared answers or pictures of cats) and, while using examples to demonstrate your points is encouraged, this is definitely not the place for harping about some specific moderating decision beyond the point of getting an answer to a specific question about it.

So, go for it.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:53 pm

Like all red-blooded American males, I enjoy making a good gimmick account/post. They are funny and, when used sparingly, can be just the thing a thread needs [maybe some levity?]. Anyway, I'd just like to make my dissatisfaction with the "only staff can have gimmick accounts" rule, because I don't really see why that is. I guess the staff could be afraid that the board would be flooded by idiotic gimmick accounts, but it's generally more trouble than it's worth to make one just to post something stupid and, let's be honest, people are gonna post stupid stuff on their main accounts anyway.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by mhayes » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:59 pm

I'll rehash what I stated on the Facebook group. Some of the biggest "tone offenders" on this board have a proven track record of promoting good quiz bowl. So while it's certainly natural to take exception to one's abrasiveness, the *manner* in which one conveys a message is inconsequential, provided the message itself has substance.

That being said, I think that some leniency should be shown towards those who tell others how to post *only* if they are responding to someone being rude. In those instances, I don't think anyone is trying to stifle meaningful discussion.

Edit: grammar
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Susan » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:11 am

Courvoisier Winetavius Richardson wrote:Like all red-blooded American males, I enjoy making a good gimmick account/post. They are funny and, when used sparingly, can be just the thing a thread needs [maybe some levity?]. Anyway, I'd just like to make my dissatisfaction with the "only staff can have gimmick accounts" rule, because I don't really see why that is. I guess the staff could be afraid that the board would be flooded by idiotic gimmick accounts, but it's generally more trouble than it's worth to make one just to post something stupid and, let's be honest, people are gonna post stupid stuff on their main accounts anyway.
I'd actually prefer no one, including staff, to have any gimmick accounts, but that's not a hill I'm willing to die on.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Cheynem » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:01 am

There is absolutely no way I would endorse non-staff using gimmick accounts. That is a pandora's box of suck just waiting to happen. For every humorous gimmick account post, there are assuredly a billion bad ideas lurking. If you have a funny post, use your main account. Post on Facebook. HSQB has no responsibility to accommodate anyone's humor preferences. Like Susan, I would be okay with no gimmick accounts at all with a few grandfathered in old favorites like Dr. Zaius.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Deviant Insider » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:19 pm

Can we please get more Doctor Zaius?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by theMoMA » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:00 pm

I'll just remind people that the purpose of the no-tone-policing rule is to foster legitimate discussion. We don't, as a board staff, endorse the idea that quizbowl discussion must be abrasive. But we do think it's counterproductive to delve into irrelevant issues every time a contentious discussion comes up.

Tone policing is inherently counterproductive. It's an argument that reads, in its entirety, "I don't like the way you're saying what you're saying." Here, we think that the important thing is simply what you're saying. In other words, we think that quizbowl discussion shouldn't be about the form of the argument; it should be about the substance.

We consequently think that, in order to foster legitimate discussion on this board, responses must rise above simply saying "I don't like your tone!" To post something about quizbowl, you shouldn't have to answer critics who simply state that they don't like how you're talking to them. To allow such responses wastes everyone's time. That's why we have the rule.

That said, I'd prefer to see people discuss things more genially than we sometimes see. Lots of people on this board discuss in negative tones that range from "curt" to "barely tolerable," depending on the individual and the circumstances. Board administrators and staffers, including me, do it too.

Let's all try to remember two things. First, we're all real people who often interact in person with one another, and we should try to treat others like we'd treat them in real life. And second, when we're talking to people who are new to this game, let's remember that they don't know as much as us about quizbowl or how we talk about it, and try to have some empathy for their lack of experience. We've all been in their shoes at some point.

So that's my little screed on the tone-policing rule. It exists for a reason: to make sure that endless form-over-substance arguments don't shackle legitimate quizbowl discussion. But please try to be more charitable, especially to newer posters, even though the rule exists.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by fett0001 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:11 pm

I'd like to see a way to get moderators involved with particularly egregious examples. Kind of a "hey, cool it" message in topic, or an edit to the effect of "This user has been warned about his tone." It might make the board a little more welcoming, even if there's no real penalty.


EDIT:

I think what I'm trying to say is that it appears that the board condones the hostile tone used by some posters, which makes it hard to post ideas and thoughts. I'd consider myself to have a relatively thick skin, but I've not posted things for fear of saying something stupid and getting ripped a new one.


After having been here a while, I realized it's not really the case, but first impressions are important.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:43 pm

We consequently think that, in order to foster legitimate discussion on this board, responses must rise above simply saying "I don't like your tone!"
(my emphasis).

I was going to try to be smart enough not to get involved in this discussion, but I'm not really that smart and this comment seemed to provide an interesting opening.

If mods want to insist that responses "must rise above simply saying, 'I don't like your tone!' well, then how about a response to someone who's talking to you like you're a punk with a substantive response to the point he's making IN ADDITION to telling him you don't like his tone? That way one could tell a person that you don't like the way he's addressing you while also providing a HSQB-endorsed discussion of the actual critiques which may be embedded in the unnecessary hostility. Perhaps this would mean that one would be allowed to comment on tone if and only if s/he also provided "legitimate discussion" in the response.

FWIW, I'm not too worried about this anymore, as I've learned to either avoid certain discussions or go into them fully aware that there's a fair chance someone will speak to me in a way that might spark the potential for violence in person. But the good news is that eventually, as Andrew noted, we likely will all see each other, so petty disputes can be resolved then, outside the purview of board moderation.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:39 pm

theMoMA wrote:I'll just remind people that the purpose of the no-tone-policing rule is to foster legitimate discussion. We don't, as a board staff, endorse the idea that quizbowl discussion must be abrasive. But we do think it's counterproductive to delve into irrelevant issues every time a contentious discussion comes up.

Tone policing is inherently counterproductive. It's an argument that reads, in its entirety, "I don't like the way you're saying what you're saying." Here, we think that the important thing is simply what you're saying. In other words, we think that quizbowl discussion shouldn't be about the form of the argument; it should be about the substance.
Comments on tone are inherently neutral to the argument being made. While you're correct that such comments do nothing to foster discussion of the real issue at hand, abrasive posts do little to encourage discussion, either. They do the opposite; they encourage people with legitimate ideas to stay out of the discussion for the sole reason that they'd rather not be a part of that atmosphere.
theMoMA wrote:We consequently think that, in order to foster legitimate discussion on this board, responses must rise above simply saying "I don't like your tone!" To post something about quizbowl, you shouldn't have to answer critics who simply state that they don't like how you're talking to them. To allow such responses wastes everyone's time. That's why we have the rule.
So why even allow rude posts in the first place? Why shouldn't they be held to the higher standard of making a legitimate point without hyperbole or ad hominem attacks?

I haven't taken the time to take some sort of scientifically based count, but it certainly seems like the admins/mods are leading the tally on such posts, leading me back to this:
Mechanical Beasts wrote:
Howard wrote:
Ondes Martenot wrote:
The rules about post content do not apply, and never have applied, to board staff.

What exactly does this mean? That staff can say whatever they want and get away with it or something more specific like "staff can tell users how to post, non-staff can't".

This is certainly an interesting question, and I'd like clarification on this as well. And I find no reference to this idea in the forum rules. Does this mean it's a-ok for board staff to initiate ad hominem attacks and stifle actual tournament discussion? If not, an explanation about what specifics do not apply to board staff or subsets of board staff would certainly help the understanding of the board populace.
In the staff forum we're currently discussing (well, so far "we" is me and Jeff Hoppes) to what extent what Matt said is what any of us wants (and to what extent what Matt said could possibly be what Matt meant).
Andrew W's response seemed to suggest some sort of clarification would be given. Yet none ever occurred, even after asking a second time.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:36 pm

Howard wrote:So why even allow rude posts in the first place? Why shouldn't they be held to the higher standard of making a legitimate point without hyperbole or ad hominem attacks?
Here's a couple quick arguments against policing tone, at least in posts that make meaningful points:

1) When is a post "too" rude? If someone thinks post X is ruder than post Y, but X is allowed and Y isn't, that guarantees drama about attempts to limit drama. Different people have vastly different standards of politeness, not just across the general userbase but amongst the admin staff, too. You go with the stricter people, and the people who are on the more liberal side get annoyed, and vice versa.

2) How would you implement this? If someone makes a post that raises a lot of good points but isn't nice, do you delete the entire post? Go through and play "North Korean Censor" with their posts?

3) To some extent, I think anger's a normal part of reacting to disappointing things, particularly when money and/or time is involved. I'm not saying "advise people to buy Sherwin Williams all day, every day," but I think any rule that limits how upset you can be would make negative feedback show up less than it already does. I wouldn't think that a good thing.

Speaking as someone who's volunteered a lot of time to try to make this forum work, treating everyone that uses this site - which is largely adults and highly intelligent teenagers - like five-year-olds and making sure that everything they say is Mayberry-friendly is not something that I'd find to be a particularly enjoyable (additional!) time sink.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by magin » Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:59 pm

The rules about post content do not apply, and never have applied, to board staff.
Is this the case? If so, I think this policy misguided. The rules should apply fairly to everyone, including the board staff; it's a pretty basic principle of good government.

Can one of the moderators clear this up?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:20 pm

I'll have a statement about posting rules and the board staff tomorrow.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:42 pm

magin wrote:
The rules about post content do not apply, and never have applied, to board staff.
Is this the case? If so, I think this policy misguided. The rules should apply fairly to everyone, including the board staff; it's a pretty basic principle of good government.

Can one of the moderators clear this up?
This is because the rules of the board evolved out of a process of Matt Weiner arguing with his enemies, and banning the rhetorical flourishes they used. Matt Weiner may no longer be the chief admin, and post hoc justifications (and even an overarching ideology) may have been developed to explain the rules, but at the core the list of things that are banned at HSQB are a list of things that advocates of bad quizbowl at one point did in a debate with Matt Weiner.

It's not that these tactics are inherently bad, it's that they were at one point used by bad people and now are damned by association, the same way some people oppose bounceback bonuses or the four quarters format simply because bad quizbowl has used those things at some point. This is why it's OK for good quizbowl advocates to break the rules, and they get away with it all the time when they break them in order to condemn bad quizbowl, even if they are not HSQB staff.

I'm not defending bad quizbowl or criticizing Matt; in fact I'm not passing judgment on anyone, positive or negative, in this post. I just think it's a very coherent explanation of why HSQB is the way it is today.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:02 am

I'm of two minds on this, simply because I've had firsthand experience with reasons why both sides of this argument have valid points. I've talked to many members of the quizbowl community, most of whom are registered board members who rarely or never post, who tend to avoid this board because of "the way people talk to each other on there" and therefore those people aren't as connected to the circuit as they need to be. This is obviously not good and there are a lot of people out there who have similar stories, but it's expecting a standard for internet discussion that isn't exactly attainable.

Let's face it, this is one of the most polite and well behaved message boards on the internet. Don't believe me? Go read other message boards! This board has productive discussions every day, is the center for the planning of basically every good thing that happens in the quizbowl community, and brings people from very different backgrounds together to coexist in a manner that is controlled about 95% of the time. We all wish it could be better, and we all have to work together to make it be so. But the idea that this place is some terrible wasteland full of angry meanies who never do anything productive is completely false.

A lot of people make angry posts when people do bad things, but that's what happens in life. The board staff doesn't exactly police tone, but they do enough to make sure the discussion doesn't descend into chaos and mud-slinging, which is best evidenced by the mountains of crap wasting in the Forbidden Zone. That doesn't always happen in real life, and definitely isn't as well-enforced on other areas of the internet. This is the only message board I post on regularly, but I read several others nearly every day, and every standard of discussion (and this includes tone) I encounter is lower than what we enjoy on HSQB.

Occasionally Matt Weiner or Charlie Dees gets mad at someone and makes a long, angry post about it, but so what? I got lectured by my boss at work today for not doing something right, but afterwards I didn't go slump and the corner and cry because she was angry. I fixed the problem and went about my business! That's how life works, and when people screw up they probably need to expect this. This is especially prevalent when you provide a service or good to a large number of customers, because people can and do complain (usually loudly and angrily) when you screw something up. That's life. If somebody keeps screwing tournaments up and doesn't listen to polite advice given in both public and private, then people are going to get rightfully angry and publicly point out that this is a huge problem that undermines all future endeavors by the person who keeps screwing up.

While it's reasonable to expect that a board full of intelligent people that interact in life will be nicer to each other than average people, people should realize that HSQB is already living up to some pretty high standards.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:12 am

Howard wrote:So why even allow rude posts in the first place? Why shouldn't they be held to the higher standard of making a legitimate point without hyperbole or ad hominem attacks?
You don't REALLY want the board staff to be zapping every post that isn't logical, you want to be able to denounce every post that YOU decide is "uncivil." That's one of the cruxes of the issue--if we banned "ad hominem attacks*" and other forms of bad logic, we'd certainly just run off bad quizbowl arguments at the get-go, since they are by definition irrational, as well as a great deal of things posted by the biggest fans of "civility."

The reason that we don't go down this path is thus highly related to the reason that the board has staff at all. It becomes very useless when 1 post about quizbowl is outnumbered by 200 self-appointed neighborhood watch captains who see a scary civility violation wearing a hoodie and open fire. That's the sort of environment that we strive above all to avoid, but it seems that some people are eager to replace the current quizbowl-focused board with it, for whatever reason.

*Note that this relates to another issue, which is fragile eggshell people taking everything personally. "You ran a bad tournament," "you are not a good question writer," "your ideas about quizbowl are incorrect," etc are not "ad hominem attacks." An ad hominem attack is "Poster Z says that NAQT is the best format, but Poster Z is a well-known counterfeiter of French currency, so obviously NAQT is not the best format." This is a formal logical definition--an "ad hominem attack" is bringing up irrelevant flaws about the person making an argument (whether true or not) in order to discredit the argument. When a person is, in fact, the subject of a discussion, criticizing that person is not an "ad hominem attack."
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:35 am

When do good quizbowlers break the rules all the time? What enemies has Matt Weiner purged? Who in the good quizbowl community hates bouncebacks and the four quarter format?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by jonpin » Tue Jul 17, 2012 1:03 am

Cheynem wrote:When do good quizbowlers break the rules all the time? What enemies has Matt Weiner purged? Who in the good quizbowl community hates bouncebacks and the four quarter format?
I just did a forum search for "bouncebacks" and in the first two pages (dating back to mid-June 2011), the only posts that were not tournament announcements that used the word were a handful of internal PACE discussions, where people had various reasons for and against them. Among the reasons for eliminating bouncebacks were: lessening the "bonus" provided by a bonus; the game-theory problem of TU 20 in a close game; and the difficulty in fixing errors. I don't think many credible people hate bouncebacks for the reason that bad formats have used bouncebacks.

However, an example from CBI would be variable-value bonuses. CBI used them, and CBI was bad, but that's not why variable-value bonuses are considered bad quizbowl; they're considered bad quizbowl because they are fundamentally unfair due to adding in the element of randomness (far outside the "distribution of topics/questions" randomness which IS obviously OK) which makes it less likely that a better team will win a game. On the other hand, CBI also used a clock, and while there is annual discussion wherein people tell NAQT to toss the clock, it goes beyond "CBI used it, so it's bad", there is (almost) always a point of the argument that goes "The clock makes it less likely that a better team will win the game because...". It's the latter argument that resulted in the recent rules change that eliminated the clock-killing neg.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:14 am

Yeah, what's really funny is that Matt Weiner edited like 7 PACEs using bouncebacks and a non-20/20 format, this year directed another PACE with bouncebacks, and insisted when he founded HSAPQ that they produce a 4-quarter set to compete in that market (almost nobody ended up buying it because it turned out people who were yelling about how much better 4 quarter sets are as a format were really just wanting speedcheck sets still), and still is in charge of a deal with History Bowl to produce their 4-quarter set.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:30 am

I don't think Bruce was saying Matt Weiner didn't like those, but that there are people who support good quiz bowl who didn't like them. Example.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:30 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:This is because the rules of the board evolved out of a process of Matt Weiner arguing with his enemies, and banning the rhetorical flourishes they used. Matt Weiner may no longer be the chief admin, and post hoc justifications (and even an overarching ideology) may have been developed to explain the rules, but at the core the list of things that are banned at HSQB are a list of things that advocates of bad quizbowl at one point did in a debate with Matt Weiner.
Do you have actual firsthand knowledge of this, or is this a suspicion based on how you saw things evolve?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by cvdwightw » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:53 pm

I'm really late to this discussion, but I'd like to talk about about a theory from social science that I think discusses some of the tone issues on the board. This theory is called "situated learning theory" and was largely developed by Jean Lave and Etienne Wenger in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

Situated learning theory is largely based on two other concepts: "communities of practice" and "legitimate peripheral participation."

Communities of practice are "groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly." Specifically, communities of practice share domains of interest, activities or discussion that foster communal learning within this domain of interest, and practices that allow community members to "learn how to do it better." A community of practice has certain beliefs and behaviors that are expected of its members, and these beliefs and behaviors change over time.

Legitimate peripheral participation refers to the process by which a newcomer to the community of practice acquires the beliefs and behaviors of the community and becomes, over time, an expert in the community. Usually, legitimate peripheral participation involves becoming actively engaged in the community and learning the community's "unwritten rules" unintentionally through participation and through the mentorship of others in the community.

The quizbowl community is a community of practice. We have a common interest. We use practices, tournaments, and this board to foster communal learning. We have practices that teach others "how to do it better" - for instance, one typically becomes a good editor by first writing questions for other editors, then serving as a "junior editor" under more experienced editors, then overseeing a writing project as a "head editor."

The quizbowl community also encourages legitimate peripheral participation. There are a number of people I can think of off the top of my head who entered this community with little knowledge of quizbowl and have become respected experts in how to write, edit, and play quizbowl. Most of these people have done so through active participation in the community, both through communicating on this board and through doing the work necessary to keep the community "alive."

Not only is the quizbowl community a community of practice, but this board community is a community of practice with a different domain of interest ("discussion of quizbowl") and different norms by which one goes about "legitimate peripheral participation." In any community of practice, there are certain beliefs and behaviors that are expected of the community and can only be acquired through observation of and participation in the community. For instance, "logical argumentation" is an implied, not explicit, behavior of the board that is often subordinated on issues where the dominant community belief is "no rational person could possibly believe the other side of this issue or argue it logically."

When a member of the board violates these norms, these violations are usually due to the violator failing to adequately surmise the extent to which a "non-dominant belief" on an issue is tolerated within the community (this goes both ways - people who think that there is more debate about computational math than is allowed and people who think that there is less debate about bounceback bonuses than is allowed). We, however, make it extremely difficult for a new or prospective community member who violates these norms to engage in "legitimate peripheral presentation." First, we often label their beliefs or behaviors as "illegitimate" and attribute their motives for expressing their beliefs or engaging in their behaviors to malice - in essence, we reject the member from the community (sometimes explicilty, using a ban). Second, when we do this, the member is more likely to aggressively defend that belief or behavior, whether out of a misguided attempt to have their beliefs/behaviors become accepted or out of spite for the community. Only a few of us are willing to remain in the community when our beliefs are challenged, either by adapting our views as we become a more central member of the community (look at Andrew Hart's early posts) or by recognizing that we are able to contribute in other areas in which our beliefs do not conflict with the community's (e.g., computational math supporters among the Illinois coaching contingent).

Well-respected and dominant members of the community, including Matt, Jeff, Fred, and the "classical music mafia," impose a set of unwritten beliefs and behavioral norms that are expected by those who contribute on the board. Most of us core members either agree with these beliefs/behavioral norms or know enough to keep our disagreements to ourselves. New members often do not agree or know to keep quiet about disagreements, and it can be often frustrating to new members (or even other core members) when different standards are employed based on unwritten, internalized community rules. A "rude" argument by Matt Weiner or Charlie Dees that stretches the explicit rules is no less rude than a "rude" argument by Random Illinois Poster #524, but the former is tolerated based on our implicit community norms and the latter isn't.

I think it's important for all regularly-posting members, and especially the board staff, to think about the ways in which the board has developed the implicit norms of our "community of practice" and the ways in which we suppress "legitimate peripheral participation." As explicit as we want to make the rules, some rules cannot be explicitly written down and must be internalized through community participation; it is incumbent on all of us to provide an environment that is as conducive as possible to members learning to internalize those rules.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:25 pm

Dwight makes an overall good point, but I think in some areas he is reflecting some of the misinformation that plagues the off-board and on-board discussion of these issues. For example, Charlie has been banned six times and warned an additional nineteen, so that seems to give the lie to the notion that he is, for some reason, exempt from the rules.

I also think it's deeply problematic to, for lack of a better term, "assume good faith" on the part of everyone who posts here. The biggest crusaders for civility in the board's history have been John Gilbert, who will proclaim to anyone who asks that he doesn't believe there is such a thing as good or bad quizbowl and that It's Academic-style tournaments should be patronized (even when they are scheduled against previously announced real tournaments in the same metro area); and Trygve Meade, whose deep flaws of the soul need no elaboration. The VAST majority of cries for "civility" or moderation in "tone" come from people who do not, in fact, support good quizbowl and just wish to see, e.g., anyone who contradicts John Gilbert's wildly illogical defenses of speed check tossups banned. That's a fact. Certainly, people have made and will continue to make arguments for the efficacy of using a different tone to promote good quizbowl that do come from the right place, but this is not the norm and I think that some of the ridiculous assertions that get bandied about regarding "new people" being "attacked", the rules being applied unevenly, or, on an even more puzzling plateau, board administrators going after the "lifestyles" of certain posters (???), just don't have any empirical evidence behind them.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:54 pm

cvdwightw wrote:First, we often label their beliefs or behaviors as "illegitimate" and attribute their motives for expressing their beliefs or engaging in their behaviors to malice - in essence, we reject the member from the community (sometimes explicilty, using a ban). Second, when we do this, the member is more likely to aggressively defend that belief or behavior, whether out of a misguided attempt to have their beliefs/behaviors become accepted or out of spite for the community.
Dwight, could you provide some examples of threads that you think displayed these characteristics?

(Not speaking as chief admin, for the board staff, for NAQT, etc., but only for myself:)

I think we absolutely should welcome new posters to the forum, but we also need to make it very clear that one basic rule of this forum is: "welcome to the forum!" emphatically does not equal "the quizbowl you play right now is of good quality."

Most of the new-poster-ban sequences I have seen run like this:

1) New poster appears and expresses enthusiasm about some (bad) tournament in their local area

2) Forum regulars politely tell the new poster "hey, that speed-check tournament uses bad questions. Please consider attending Local University's Pyramidal Invitational on Octember 19th!"

3) New poster gets defensive and tells the regulars to stop criticizing the speed-check provider. Here's where the ban happens: because a new poster is telling people "stop criticizing X tournament", not just because "this new poster's team is still attending speed-check tournaments."
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:30 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:For example, Charlie has been banned six times and warned an additional nineteen, so that seems to give the lie to the notion that he is, for some reason, exempt from the rules.
So, here's the bigger question. Was Charlie warned for the post that started this discussion in the first place? And would a person taking an opposing point of view-- even call it an incorrect point of view-- have been warned or banned? What if Madden had shot back at Charlie with the same vitriol?

I don't think anyone's said that board staff has never been warned/banned. I think what's being said is that the side of an argument one takes seems to greatly affect the discipline they receive for certain violations.
Matt Weiner wrote:I also think it's deeply problematic to, for lack of a better term, "assume good faith" on the part of everyone who posts here. The biggest crusaders for civility in the board's history have been John Gilbert, who will proclaim to anyone who asks that he doesn't believe there is such a thing as good or bad quizbowl and that It's Academic-style tournaments should be patronized (even when they are scheduled against previously announced real tournaments in the same metro area); and Trygve Meade, whose deep flaws of the soul need no elaboration.
I understand that I do not share the viewpoint of the majority of the board when I say that it should be up to individual teams to choose the types of quizzing contests in which they participate, and they should be able to make these choices based on their own goals and desires. And if you're referring in particular to the patronization of a particular Hammond tournament up against a particular TJ tournament, you'll note that I mentioned in my post that the Hammond tournament had been on the same weekend for a large number of years, meaning that TJ not at least speaking to Hammond meant they weren't really paying attention when they chose to schedule their tournament on that weekend. So what's your issue with this? Is it really that I'm out of line for suggesting that someone support a tournament which had been on the same weekend for a large number of years, or is it simply that I happen to support types of tournaments that you (and most members of the board hierarchy) do not, but you choose for some reason to harp on the fact that TJ happened to post their tournament to the board first even though Hammond had been (predictably) planning to use that date the entire time.

The worst part of all this, though, is that we're even discussing these issues in this thread. What difference does it make who is making the call? What significance do any of their opinions or actions have beyond making the call for civil tone in the first place? You're saying my opinion as to which school had more "dibs" on a date is somehow related to the relevance of an argument on tone? The answer is that there is no such significance or relevance. Because I happen to hold some unpopular views, that means I'm malicious to pyramidal quizbowl, and that automatically makes any of my suggestions or opinions bad? Surely you can see the flaws in logic here. Even if we suppose that my unpopular views are incorrect, I have yet to see a logical and convincing argument that calls to make the board a nicer place with the intent of attracting and retaining more people in quizbowl will somehow be detrimental to quizbowl.
Matt Weiner wrote:The VAST majority of cries for "civility" or moderation in "tone" come from people who do not, in fact, support good quizbowl and just wish to see, e.g., anyone who contradicts John Gilbert's wildly illogical defenses of speed check tossups banned. That's a fact.
Fact? Really? I don't recall ever wishing to see anyone banned for differing from my opinion. And I challenge anyone to find evidence to the contrary. Nor do I remember any such posts from anyone else which might happen to share my opinions. So I say, unless you have powers of ESP to know what people are thinking, this is a lie.
Matt Weiner wrote:Certainly, people have made and will continue to make arguments for the efficacy of using a different tone to promote good quizbowl that do come from the right place, but this is not the norm and I think that some of the ridiculous assertions that get bandied about regarding "new people" being "attacked", the rules being applied unevenly, or, on an even more puzzling plateau, board administrators going after the "lifestyles" of certain posters (???), just don't have any empirical evidence behind them.
Again, the sources of identical arguments are the barometer by which their correctness is measured? We should be able to use better logic than that here. As for "lifestyles," I'm not sure what that's all about. There seems to be a concrete and evenly-enforced policy with which I agree. Ultimately, you're right regarding empirical evidence. I'd like some, and if I had the time, I could go back and perhaps create some. But I currently see this as a project that, if I undertook, it would wind up never getting finished. If someone were actually willing to go and take some sort of random sampling or otherwise, I'd certainly be interested in actual empirical data regarding rules that were violated and actions that were taken.
Matt Weiner wrote:You don't REALLY want the board staff to be zapping every post that isn't logical, you want to be able to denounce every post that YOU decide is "uncivil." That's one of the cruxes of the issue--if we banned "ad hominem attacks*" and other forms of bad logic, we'd certainly just run off bad quizbowl arguments at the get-go, since they are by definition irrational, as well as a great deal of things posted by the biggest fans of "civility."
Disagreeing with an argument doesn't make it illogical. So, no, it doesn't rule out arguments for what you like to call "bad quizbowl." I'm completely behind banning ad hominem attacks-- and yes, I do know what that is-- and other sorts of fallacious logic could be banned as well. So here's the rub. There's no reason this should not be a friendly place that supports pyramidal quizbowl. And it's my contention that when it becomes an unfriendly place, pyramidal quizbowl gets hurt solely because it discourages people from coming here. Even if we suppose for a moment that the argument that "most people don't look at these threads" is correct, the argument itself has already conceded its incorrectness when it says "it won't discourage very many people." The problem is that it discourages people at all.

I don't pretend to know all the details that led to the rage behind the post starting this mess in the first place. And again, nor do most of the people here. That's why it's important to put that rage to the side when posting here. The majority of board users will never understand those details but will forever get to see the outrageous allegations.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by fett0001 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 8:36 pm

Why do we feel the need to tell him that those questions are bad? Not that they aren't. But why are we turning "I had fun at this speed check tournament" into "Speed checks are awful. Go here instead." when we could say something to the effect of "I'm glad you had fun, why don't you come to this: Local University's Pyramidal Invitational on Octember 19th!" Is there really a need to tell this high schooler that the thing he enjoys is bad? Do we think that he will only attend good tournaments if we :capybara: on his experiences first?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:17 pm

Howard wrote:So, here's the bigger question. Was Charlie warned for the post that started this discussion in the first place? And would a person taking an opposing point of view-- even call it an incorrect point of view-- have been warned or banned? What if Madden had shot back at Charlie with the same vitriol?
If you mean this post, then no, he was not; I judged that post as contentious but not in violation of board rules. Note that several related posts (this sequence) were indeed moved to the Forbidden Zone (they crossed a line from "discussion of quizbowl" to "purely unproductive personal attacks").

It's not obvious to me what the "opposing view" would look like in this case ("NHBB is an unalloyed good that advances the interest of the quizbowl community"?) In any event, a continued vitriolic exchange might very well have resulted in a locked thread; I would like to thank David for his considered response to Charlie's criticisms.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:21 pm

fett0001 wrote:Why do we feel the need to tell him that those questions are bad? Not that they aren't. But why are we turning "I had fun at this speed check tournament" into "Speed checks are awful. Go here instead." when we could say something to the effect of "I'm glad you had fun, why don't you come to this: Local University's Pyramidal Invitational on Octember 19th!" Is there really a need to tell this high schooler that the thing he enjoys is bad? Do we think that he will only attend good tournaments if we :capybara: on his experiences first?
I don't think we need to bring out the capybara in cases like this; we do need to make it clear that subsequent tournaments using better questions and/or fair formats provide a better experience for all teams, including new ones.*

*(assuming for the moment competent tournament direction and questions of field-appropriate difficulty, which we know are not always present; but we are in these cases, of course, choosing particular tournaments to recommend as models.)
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:34 pm

Howard wrote:I understand that I do not share the viewpoint of the majority of the board when I say that it should be up to individual teams to choose the types of quizzing contests in which they participate, and they should be able to make these choices based on their own goals and desires.
No one here is proposing some sort of centralized-planning in which posters on this forum order coaches and players around; what we are saying is that is possible for us to make informed judgements about the relative quality of various tournaments and question sets. In fact, the primary purposes of this forum are to make such judgements and to improve the quality of quizbowl nationwide in the future. People who post here don't criticize tournaments for the sake of expressing anger on the internet; we post here because we want to improve the quality of the game we all love for future generations of players. Sometimes we disagree about how to carry out that improvement, and that's ok (and encouraged; there are lots of disagreements within the community that we call "good quizbowl.")
Is it really that I'm out of line for suggesting that someone support a tournament which had been on the same weekend for a large number of years
Years of tradition cannot, alone, constitute sufficient reason to support a tournament (note that I am not, here, making any statement about the specific event you mentioned). In particular, quizbowl is not (and should not be) conservative in the Burkean sense; the game has expanded dramatically in both quality and quantity of play at all levels from middle school to Chicago Open over the last 20 years. That expansion would not be possible if players and tournament organizers were content to rest on their laurels instead of thinking "how can we make this better next year?"
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:58 pm

Howard wrote:Because I happen to hold some unpopular views, that means I'm malicious to pyramidal quizbowl, and that automatically makes any of my suggestions or opinions bad? Surely you can see the flaws in logic here. Even if we suppose that my unpopular views are incorrect, I have yet to see a logical and convincing argument that calls to make the board a nicer place with the intent of attracting and retaining more people in quizbowl will somehow be detrimental to quizbowl.
1. Holding some unpopular views doesn't make any poster's entire body of work ipso facto bad. Everyone on this forum (including the board staff) holds an unpopular opinion about something. (Here, I'll start: I think it was a good idea for 2001 NAQT to have 3/3 geography per packet. I'm sure I couldn't get 10% for that in a plebiscite of hsqb posters.)

2. I hope everyone here supports "attracting and retaining more people in quizbowl."

3. "Calls to make the board a nicer place" are against the board rules exactly as far as they equate "civility" with "suppressing legitimate criticism and discussion of quizbowl." The latter is of course detrimental to quizbowl because it results in the flaws of existing tournaments remaining unchecked and uncorrected in the future (this is true for a great variety of flaws across all question types/formats; the same principle holds for events that use pyramidal questions but have poor logistics, events that use pyramidal questions that are too hard or too easy for the local field, etc.)

Again: we criticize because we care about improving the game.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by fett0001 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:24 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote: 3. "Calls to make the board a nicer place" are against the board rules exactly as far as they equate "civility" with "suppressing legitimate criticism and discussion of quizbowl." The latter is of course detrimental to quizbowl because it results in the flaws of existing tournaments remaining unchecked and uncorrected in the future (this is true for a great variety of flaws across all question types/formats; the same principle holds for events that use pyramidal questions but have poor logistics, events that use pyramidal questions that are too hard or too easy for the local field, etc.)

Again: we criticize because we care about improving the game.
Calls to make the board a nicer place are more about picking appropriate times for criticism vs inclusion and outreach.
bt_green_warbler wrote: Most of the new-poster-ban sequences I have seen run like this:

1) New poster appears and expresses enthusiasm about some (bad) tournament in their local area

2) Forum regulars politely tell the new poster "hey, that speed-check tournament uses bad questions. Please consider attending Local University's Pyramidal Invitational on Octember 19th!"

3) New poster gets defensive and tells the regulars to stop criticizing the speed-check provider. Here's where the ban happens: because a new poster is telling people "stop criticizing X tournament", not just because "this new poster's team is still attending speed-check tournaments."
If it is a common occurrence that new people react in the way stated above, then it is upon us to adjust that second step. Why are we criticizing new members and their experiences, when we could simply welcome them and encourage them to be involved in good quizbowl? Aggressive criticism of people you've just met doesn't make you many friends.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:39 pm

I challenge people to produce meaningful, recent examples of new people being attacked for "having fun at the wrong things" as opposed to people with long track records of should-have-known-better disingenuously defending the quality of those things.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by fett0001 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:48 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:I challenge people to produce meaningful, recent examples of new people being attacked for "having fun at the wrong things" as opposed to people with long track records of should-have-known-better disingenuously defending the quality of those things.
2 things:
I am not suggesting that people are being attacked for enjoying bad quizbowl. I'm stating that if new people view criticisms of things they enjoy as an affront, then we should reconsider the merit of aggressively doing so.

Why do recent events have any bearing on wanting to encourage a welcoming atmosphere?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Wackford Squeers » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:53 am

A lot of the worst threads seem to be caused by inexperienced players starting or jumping into discussions and expecting to be taken as seriously as people who actually know what they're talking about. This understandably causes backlash when they air their stupid views, and they understandably get defensive against the perceived persecution of them for holding said views. However, these same neophytes do, in fact, represent the future of the quiz bowl community, so the more of them that have negative first encounters with this board, the weaker the community will be in the future. The "civility" argument is largely a response to this real problem, but it certainly is not a good solution to it. Disregarding any ulterior motives the proponents of "civility" may have, it simply isn't feasible to implement. It would be an unreasonable burden on the board staff to have them review the tone of every board post, and this would inevitably lead to unproductive arguments about the impartiality of moderators, which would likely be even worse than the present ones about the "don't tell others how to post" rule. Rather than try to change the behavior of the majority of board users, as a "civility" policy would entail, perhaps there is some structural way to mitigate the clumsy first encounters of new members and the HSQB community. Maybe a period after joining where you can read the whole board, but only post in a "new members" section. This could allow rising quizbowlers to observe how discussion on this board is conducted, while also allowing the existing community to not be confronted with incongruously bad posts in areas of real discussion. A board member browsing the "new members" section would be prepared to see poor arguments and dumb opinions and would perhaps voluntarily take a more civil tone when trying to address those.

edit: words
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:05 am

a joke about the use/mention distinction wrote:Maybe a period after joining where you can read the whole board, but only post in a "new members" section. This could allow rising quizbowlers to observe how discussion on this board is conducted, while also allowing the existing community to not be confronted with incongruously bad posts in areas of real discussion. A board member browsing the "new members" section would be prepared to see poor arguments and dumb opinions and would perhaps voluntarily take a more civil tone when trying to address those.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the vast majority of new members are going to be involved in discussing theory or good/bad quizbowl, so I guess a "new members" section like the one you proposed would only make it harder for people to start becoming active on the board, such as by posting in the tournament announcements forum (where users have a varied amount of posting experience).
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:19 am

Looking at the three step process that Jeff gave above, I think the part that should be examined is the reaction to step 3, since the first 3 steps are pretty much inevitable. One thing for Moderators to keep in mind is that when a new poster gets defensive, it doesn't have any serious impact on experienced posters. The experienced posters read the defensiveness, chuckle a little bit, and then say whatever we want to say. We don't translate a newbie telling us what to say into an actual threat of any kind. That being said, I don't have any simple solutions here.

Some recent examples are here and here. When you look at actual examples, the situations are of course more complex than some of the ideal types described above.

When somebody is tempbanned, it can drive them away from the community, but it probably lessens the criticism coming from all directions that would have the same type of impact, and it's difficult to judge which is worse. I'm tempted to lean towards a preference for tempbanning if the only alternative is 10 people telling the new poster why he is wrong and to stop being so defensive. As far as the impact on that discussion in that thread, judging from the examples above I would say that the tempban seems to end the discussion for that person, which may or may not be a good thing depending on whether that person was central to the discussion or a distraction from it. As far as the overall impact on the future of this board and quizbowl, that's fairly complex. One of the problems we run into here is that when a new high school student joins the board, it generally is somebody that few if anybody on this board has met, and internet arguments with people you've never met just generally don't go so well. (Of course, that's not a problem when the new person doesn't have an agenda that runs counter to this board's, which is why this board does gain posters.)

I do think we need to be patient with new posters, and I wish management would lead the way in doing that, but this is easier said than done. Ideally, a new poster would get an engagement with their ideas while being gently taught that certain defensive tactics are unacceptable, and it would happen without completely sidelining an existing discussion. Like I said, that's easier said than done.

EDIT: Just for the record I'm pretty ambivalent about computation at this point, and several Illinois coaches on this board are very strongly against it.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Jul 27, 2012 10:50 am

I've enjoyed episode 5,034 of the thrilling Quiz Bowl Network's new reality show "John Gilbert Has No Effing Clue What He's Talking About."
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:03 pm

Horned Screamer wrote:I've enjoyed episode 5,034 of the thrilling Quiz Bowl Network's new reality show "John Gilbert Has No Effing Clue What He's Talking About."
It's been on so long that it's now a tradition, therefore we shouldn't demand it be taken off the air or moved to a different date because we must always respect traditions even if they are terrible.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:01 pm

Horned Screamer wrote:I've enjoyed episode 5,034 of the thrilling Quiz Bowl Network's new reality show "John Gilbert Has No Effing Clue What He's Talking About."
Care to point out what I said in this thread that you think was incorrect, or are we just going to go around saying meaningless things?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Aug 01, 2012 5:13 pm

fett0001 wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:I challenge people to produce meaningful, recent examples of new people being attacked for "having fun at the wrong things" as opposed to people with long track records of should-have-known-better disingenuously defending the quality of those things.
2 things:
I am not suggesting that people are being attacked for enjoying bad quizbowl. I'm stating that if new people view criticisms of things they enjoy as an affront, then we should reconsider the merit of aggressively doing so.

Why do recent events have any bearing on wanting to encourage a welcoming atmosphere?
Why do we want to "welcome" people whose agenda is to harm good quizbowl? What is the benefit of the years and years of running around in circles with It's Academic fanboys, diehard Chip players, and people like Kay Li and Raynell Cooper who seem to hang on in quizbowl for no other purpose than to bash anyone who lifts a finger to contribute anything positive to the development of the activity? It's bad enough dealing with these people as it is and I simply don't see how any person at all is supposed to gain by adding a huge concern with their supposed feelings to the mix.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Dominator » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:33 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Why do we want to "welcome" people whose agenda is to harm good quizbowl? ... I simply don't see how any person at all is supposed to gain by adding a huge concern with their supposed feelings to the mix.
I think it's unfair to assume that people who could be offended by tone are out to harm good quizbowl.

Personally, when I started on these boards, I was in my first year of coaching and was enjoying some success in Illinois format tournaments. People on the board were calling me and my players illegitimate because we were playing "bad quizbowl" and not "good quizbowl". My players and I had never decided to play "bad quizbowl" per se (we had never heard the term before and didn't really know what it meant); rather, we were playing what we knew, and it took us a few more months to make it out to more quizbowl tournaments and decide that we liked quizbowl better. Since then, my team has never attended another Illinois format invitational, and I have been making efforts to expand quizbowl throughout the state.

Am I out to harm good quizbowl? I should say not. Could my feelings, after feeling attacked that first year, have caused me to not get involved in quizbowl? Absolutely, and they nearly did.

Just because someone does not agree with you *yet* does not mean that that person cannot become an ally later. Taking the time to make allies of them will probably prove more beneficial in the long run. And if not, then I'm fine when their feelings are no longer a "huge concern" for you.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:54 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Why do we want to "welcome" people whose agenda is to harm good quizbowl? What is the benefit of the years and years of running around in circles with It's Academic fanboys, diehard Chip players, and people like Kay Li and Raynell Cooper who seem to hang on in quizbowl for no other purpose than to bash anyone who lifts a finger to contribute anything positive to the development of the activity? It's bad enough dealing with these people as it is and I simply don't see how any person at all is supposed to gain by adding a huge concern with their supposed feelings to the mix.
This sure seems to be a skewed perspective. I can't recall a single instance of someone actually having an agenda of harming quizbowl, although I suppose I wouldn't be surprised if we could actually find a handful over the years the board has been in existence.

Liking It's Academic and Chip are not equivalent to harming pyramidal quizbowl, nor do these stances equate to an agenda for harming it.

I can't speak for Kay Li because I haven't paid any attention in particular. As for Raynell, he's done numerous things to support pyramidal quizbowl. If attending, encouraging others to attend, and running pyramidal events isn't good enough to show support, then I don't know what is.

But let's step back for a moment and suppose that you're right about this perspective-- a supposition with which I wholeheartedly disagree since it seems so blatantly incorrect. Based on previous board behaviors, you're basically saying ad hominem attacks and spurious accusations are wholly justified for the reason that these people are anti pyramidal quizbowl. So, anyone new coming to the board can readily see that pyramidal quizbowl supporters routinely spread lies and make malicious attacks. Personally, I don't particularly want to be associated with malicious people and I cannot (either due to my responsibility as coach or due to my own personal conscience) recommend any of my students be part of such a group of people. And I find it hard to believe that I'm the only person with such convictions.

So even in the case where we presume your perspective correct, such attacks still reflect poorly on those making the attacks and the board in general. This is especially true in the case of new members coming to the board and exploring, because they won't be armed with sufficient facts to even understand why such actions are taking place in the first place. So that's why it's important, even if you have no concern for the feelings of those whom you've assigned to the category "against quizbowl." Making repulsive actions against repulsive people does not lessen the repulsiveness of the action.

But to go back, I don't believe for a minute that the examples you give are indicative of people with agendas against quizbowl. To believe such a thing, one must also believe taking my team each year to numerous pyramidal events, some of which are two to three hours away, after I personally encourage them to attend said events, is somehow part of an agenda against quizbowl. I fail to see how this has even the faintest sense of being believable.

More accurately, I think the perspective represents a way for you to label people as anti-quizbowl for little reason other than they happen to disagree with a tenet or few that you think should not be challenged or disagreed with. And this is an even more dangerous stance than making ad hominem attacks or spurious allegations. Why? Because it already starts pushing out people who would otherwise be perfectly willing to support pyramidal quizbowl along with whatever else they happen to enjoy.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Cheynem » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:04 pm

Supporting It's Academic and Chip ARE attacks on pyramidal quizbowl. If we lived in a perfect world in which schools has infinity budgets and schedules were infinity long, then it doesn't matter if schools play It's Academic or Chip. However, in this world, time and resources spent on those activities result in less time and resources for pyramidal quizbowl, which results in a weaker circuit/product.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:05 pm

Dominator wrote:People on the board were calling me and my players illegitimate because we were playing "bad quizbowl" and not "good quizbowl".
There's a real problem with the term "illegitimate." The problem is that it isn't accurate. Teams that do well at other formats do well at them because they work at it and/or have a talent for it. It's true that other formats, when compared to pyramidal quizbowl, tend to skew away from the measurement of knowledge and toward the measurement of other things such as the ability to think and reason quickly. How much this happens depends on the specific format of the questions and rules for play, but I contend that working hard at becoming good at something isn't illegitimate just because someone else decides your goal should be different than you think it should be.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Cheynem » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:10 pm

It's illegitimate in terms of actual quizbowl, which is what I think what most people mean by using the term. If I am good at playing I dunno, wiffleball, those wiffleball skills are illegitimate in talking about baseball. Obviously if I am very good at wiffleball, I probably have decent athleticism and hand eye coordination which can translate into being good at baseball too, but the point remains that the wiffleball aspects are illegitimate until I actually start playing baseball
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Mewto55555 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:13 pm

Perhaps I am mistaken in its purpose, but isn't this board designed for the discussion and advancement of pyramidal quizbowl?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:33 pm

Matt Weiner wrote: I. THE PURPOSE OF THE BOARD, META-POSTING, AND DISCUSSION-SUPPRESSION

The overarching principle of the rules is: This board is for discussion of quizbowl with an eye towards expanding and improving quizbowl on all levels. It is not for Internet memes, politeness lessons, or other topics. Off-topic discussions are permitted in the appropriate zone, within limits denoted below. It is crucial, when interpreting the rules or making a post, that everyone remember that “welcoming new posters,” “treating all tournaments equally,” and avoiding the “incivility” of criticizing bad practices are explicitly not goals of the board, and will always be sacrificed to the stated goals of “discussing quizbowl” and “expanding and improving quizbowl on all levels” if in conflict.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Dominator » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:39 pm

Cheynem wrote:It's illegitimate in terms of actual quizbowl, which is what I think what most people mean by using the term. If I am good at playing I dunno, wiffleball, those wiffleball skills are illegitimate in talking about baseball. Obviously if I am very good at wiffleball, I probably have decent athleticism and hand eye coordination which can translate into being good at baseball too, but the point remains that the wiffleball aspects are illegitimate until I actually start playing baseball
Right, but when an 8-year-old starts playing wiffleball well and baseball players meet him by telling him he's illegitimate, that wiffleball player might decide he's got better things to do with his time than hang around with baseball players. If those baseball players had instead said, "Hey, congratulations on winning wiffleball! We'd like you to try our game, which we feel is an even better version of the game you already seem to enjoy! Hopefully, you will become a regular in our games!", he'd almost certainly begin practicing hardball right away.
Mewto55555 wrote:Perhaps I am mistaken in its purpose, but isn't this board designed for the discussion and advancement of pyramidal quizbowl?
Just so that we're clear here, I am trying to support pyramidal quizbowl. I don't have sympathy for people who actively work against pyramidal quizbowl, but I do have sympathy for some people who are involved in quizbowl-like competitions because they haven't yet graduated up. I've met a number of coaches who attend non-pyramidal because they simply didn't know anything else. I think that as a community we can work much better with ignorant coaches by not treating them as if they are all belligerent.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Dominator » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:41 pm

merv1618 wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote: I. THE PURPOSE OF THE BOARD, META-POSTING, AND DISCUSSION-SUPPRESSION

The overarching principle of the rules is: This board is for discussion of quizbowl with an eye towards expanding and improving quizbowl on all levels. It is not for Internet memes, politeness lessons, or other topics. Off-topic discussions are permitted in the appropriate zone, within limits denoted below. It is crucial, when interpreting the rules or making a post, that everyone remember that “welcoming new posters,” “treating all tournaments equally,” and avoiding the “incivility” of criticizing bad practices are explicitly not goals of the board, and will always be sacrificed to the stated goals of “discussing quizbowl” and “expanding and improving quizbowl on all levels” if in conflict.
Yes, and I agree with this. I just do not feel that the two goals are not "in conflict" as much as some people seem to think, and so I propose both could be simultaneously achieved more often.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:42 pm

Cheynem wrote:Supporting It's Academic and Chip ARE attacks on pyramidal quizbowl. If we lived in a perfect world in which schools has infinity budgets and schedules were infinity long, then it doesn't matter if schools play It's Academic or Chip. However, in this world, time and resources spent on those activities result in less time and resources for pyramidal quizbowl, which results in a weaker circuit/product.
In the Baltimore-DC area, there are only about three or four weekends a year where I must choose between more than one event. And I'd say that the weekends are 50 to 75 percent populated with tournaments. So, even in this area, where we have numerous tournaments to attend, there is little conflict.

In addition, I think you're 100% incorrect that It's Academic has a net detrimental effect on pyramidal quizbowl. In Baltimore and DC where it has a large draw, the television show itself is the largest reason academic competition teams exist in the first place. To take that away will quickly take away your potential for even trying to expand pyramidal quizbowl.

In regard to Chip, I think I can recall no more than two scheduled regional events in the Baltimore-DC area. Realistically, how big a detriment can this be. Perhaps there are more regular Chip events in other areas with fewer pyramidal events, but even if that were as many as one a month, this would only become an issue in areas where pyramidal events were already scheduled a few times a month.

Ultimately, we need to realize that people choose to enter events for their own reasons. Certainly one of those reasons is ignorance. But if saying to people, "Hey, won't you come try this," doesn't get them to join up, yelling at them won't do it either. That'll only serve to look bad for other potential newcomers and send the message that you think you can make teams' decisions regarding finances and goals better than they can.
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Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

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