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

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

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:49 pm

Howard wrote: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.
Pyramidal quizbowl already incorporates those reasoning skills. Most posters on this forum object to non-pyramidal formats because they add an additional element of: which team rings in fastest? The buzzer-race element, which is effectively random in many cases, detracts from any skill-based evaluation of team strength.*

*(Yes, buzzer races happen sometimes on pyramidal formats; in almost all cases, the players have been given an opportunity to demonstrate superior knowledge by the previous clues. The leadin buzzer race is a rare event, one that sometimes indicates a poorly-constructed tossup.)
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:55 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
It's not illegitimate. Illegitimate implies that there's something improper about it. It's somewhat irrelevant in terms of pyramidal quizbowl.
Mewto55555 wrote:Perhaps I am mistaken in its purpose, but isn't this board designed for the discussion and advancement of pyramidal quizbowl?
This board has united the terms "quizbowl" and "pyramidal quizbowl." I didn't understand that when I came here, and I'm sure many newcomers won't initially understand that either. For someone who doesn't know this, the term "quizbowl" will represent any sort of competition where people must answer questions.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by cchiego » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:55 pm

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.
See, this is the problem here. Bad quizbowl tournaments don't just also measure the ability to "think and reason" (i.e. binary memorize) quickly, they measusure how much some dude likes your team (and is willing to rig things in your favor), "knowledge" of important information like what a goat bleat sounds like, and how well you can read the question-writer's mind (or memorize old questions verbatim) by buzzing in before anything substantive gets asked. They are inherently illegitimate forms of competition.

There's only a finite amount of resources out there available for academic competitions and any $$ that goes to line the pockets of Chip or Questions Galore or Academic Hallmarks is $$ that could've gone to good quizbowl competitions. It's a zero-sum game for most teams in choosing what nationals (or local competitions) to attend year after year and it's in the interest of everyone who values real knowledge and fairness to ensure that good quizbowl gets the goods. Plus the more teams that play a given format, the greater the "legitimacy" of that format on average across the country. Just take a look at what happened to College Bowl once the top schools withdrew. This is why good and bad quizbowl simply cannot, in the long term, co-exist.

That said, quizbowl doesn't have a glitzy PR operation like, say, Academic Decathlon--which is on the whole a good thing (Academic Decathlon has evolved into an illegitimate, overly bureaucratized, politically-correct money grab, but more on that in another thread)--but means a decent number of people who might be open to good quizbowl will use this forum as their primary source of information. Even though very few people who play bad quizbowl post here, I suspect a good number of them are aware of this site and have looked through the threads for the NAC or local competitions. Unfortunately, that also means that they'll tend to get a lot of scattershot information and their first impressions won't be necessarily the ones we'd like for them to see.

Rather than policing tone too much, the ideal solution is instead to have a good PR space that can point out the failings of bad quizbowl and show the clear advantages of good quizbowl from a friendlier perspective. Some state organizations like MOQBA have pages for this, but there aren't any nationally. This would be a nice balance to the forums and an easy place to direct people to if they do post in support of It's Ac or something like that. Perhaps the front page of hsquizbowl.org could be converted into that?

Also, if people are interested in being proactive, it might be useful to "grade" various local formats and circuits according to the guidelines of good quizbowl. People doing searches on the local formats might then see these grades and the explanation of the criteria used to get them and then they'll come into discussions better informed (even if they still try to argue back, at least people won't have to waste time putting together arguments).
Last edited by cchiego on Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Cheynem » Wed Aug 01, 2012 7:59 pm

Perhaps I am wrong about the DC-area (although your analysis seems to conflict with, like, Isaac Hirsch's example of having to not use his school name when he played pyramidal tournaments), but in the Minneapolis area and Michigan areas, there are a few "non quizbowl" academic competitions that definitely sap time and resources--there are schools who cannot attend our pyramidal tournaments because of Knowledge Bowl, there are schools who spend money to go to junk tournaments and then can't go to NSC, etc. I do not mean to demean the schools who attend such "non quizbowl" events, but the fact remains, this is a threat to pyramidal quizbowl and should be criticized for the flaws that make them inferior to actual quizbowl. Obviously all non quizbowl activities compete with quizbowl for time and resources, but these academic competitions are especially problematic because they frequently pose as quizbowl and make schools/teams ignore pyramidal quizbowl for it.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:04 pm

Do you REALLY want to talk about "ad hominem attacks" and morally questionable behavior after repeatedly aligning yourself with the bad quizbowl side? I don't think a sober accounting of such incidents is going to end up in your favor.

I would like people who are participating in this discussion in good faith (e.g. Mike Hundley and Noah Prince) to provide further answers to my queries. We can take John Gilbert's infinity words on the subject of how good quizbowl sucks and is nothing but an ad-hominem lie against the pure truth of gameshows, and his subsequent non-banning, as an example of how tolerant this board truly is towards wrong, destructive opinions presented in a disingenuous way (or I guess, since I didn't immediately agree with everything he said and mail him a cake, you can take that as an example of how dissent is suppressed by an arbitrarily selected elite of haters; up to you).
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:08 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:Pyramidal quizbowl already incorporates those reasoning skills. Most posters on this forum object to non-pyramidal formats because they add an additional element of: which team rings in fastest? The buzzer-race element, which is effectively random in many cases, detracts from any skill-based evaluation of team strength.*

*(Yes, buzzer races happen sometimes on pyramidal formats; in almost all cases, the players have been given an opportunity to demonstrate superior knowledge by the previous clues. The leadin buzzer race is a rare event, one that sometimes indicates a poorly-constructed tossup.)
Choosing when to buzz is an additional reasoning skill. Teams that do this well will rather consistently outbuzz teams that do not on buzzer race questions. And this is why I disagree that such races are random. If they were, we wouldn't see the same teams doing well at things like It's Academic year after year.

For the record, I've nothing against people who dislike this element nor anything against their theories on the game. Their preference is just as valid as anyone else's.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:13 pm

Howard wrote:If they were, we wouldn't see the same teams doing well at things like It's Academic year after year.
Teams do well at Chip because Chip unfairly favours them and is willing do numerous amounts of unethical workings to help out teams he likes.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Dominator » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:32 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:I would like people who are participating in this discussion in good faith (e.g. Mike Hundley and Noah Prince) to provide further answers to my queries.
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.
Honestly, nothing recent really comes to mind. I mean, I'm probably not the one to ask, considering I recently left the IHSSBCA Board for disregarding tone while calling a spade a spade. But then again, since I started posting, I've gotten to know a lot of posters here personally, including being cordial with Charlie Dees :aaa: . I'm worried about people like the Illinois coaches I've met who lurk but don't post specifically because they're afraid of how people will react to them. I don't know how many there are, but I've met several.

So there are two possible explanations for why I have no recent examples for Matt. (1) Everyone here is as rude as ever, but I've just gotten to know people better and have gotten used to them, or (2) people have made some effort to change the tone lately. The first possibility leaves little to tell our lurkers ("Oh, you think they're bad people? Just spend thousands of your dollars and years of your life attending tournaments with them and they won't bother you so much."), but the second does, namely "I understand why you may have been hesitant to join our quizbowl conversations in the past, but efforts have been made to address those issues, so please come and give the boards another try".

Thoughts?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:41 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Do you REALLY want to talk about "ad hominem attacks" and morally questionable behavior after repeatedly aligning yourself with the bad quizbowl side? I don't think a sober accounting of such incidents is going to end up in your favor.

I would like people who are participating in this discussion in good faith (e.g. Mike Hundley and Noah Prince) to provide further answers to my queries. We can take John Gilbert's infinity words on the subject of how good quizbowl sucks and is nothing but an ad-hominem lie against the pure truth of gameshows, and his subsequent non-banning, as an example of how tolerant this board truly is towards wrong, destructive opinions presented in a disingenuous way (or I guess, since I didn't immediately agree with everything he said and mail him a cake, you can take that as an example of how dissent is suppressed by an arbitrarily selected elite of haters; up to you).
I recall no instance where I maligned pyramidal quizbowl. (If I really thought it sucked, why would I take my team to so many pyramidal tournaments a year. (Are you forgetting the fact that I attended events two and a half hours away from us organized and run by you?)

And I think the closest I ever got to an ad hominem attack was when I called Sorice an idiot after he threatened to judge a long-time and well-respected coach on her looks.

We may disagree with each other, but that doesn't make my opinions disingenuous.

As to failing to ban me, how many times have I violated forum rules that were in place at the time of my post? Unless I'm wrong, this board has a relatively strong position against censorship, meaning that opinions can be expressed freely as long as they fall within the other parameters of the board.

If you think pyramidal quizbowl is more important than not exhibiting morally questionable behavior, there's not really much I can say. You're entitled to that assessment of value. And I suppose we can turn this thread into a malignment thread where you and I go search each other's posts and point out the bad things we each think the other has done. I certainly can't stop you. But what would that do to expand pyramidal quizbowl? I don't REALLY want to say negative things about anyone. That's the whole point behind this tone discussion in the first place, and is the primary reason I've not tried such an undertaking. It pushes away potential new people. If we don't put some effort into "welcoming new posters," that'll limit the expansion of pyramidal quizbowl.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Mewto55555 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:59 pm

Dominator wrote:
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.
Sorry if that was unclear, I agree with you and have seen similar things in Missouri; I don't think we should be particularly hostile to new people who don't know better, though I'm pretty sure the vast majority of new posters don't get yelled at simply because they make posts following the board rules.

That said, my post was really just a confused reply to the post two above re: "bad" quizbowl formats being legitimate; I don't know Mr. Gilbert or much about him, but I see he has made 5 times as many posts as me and been a member of the forums for almost 10 years now. I'm baffled that someone with that much experience could attend bad quizbowl tournaments and not immediately see that actual quizbowl is far more rewarding of knowledge and skill as opposed to "luck" (or "knowing not to press your buzzer yet on terrible questions so you don't get hosed" and "having a fast finger", which are essentially equivalent to luck). I know that after I attended the QG-written MSHSAA districts, I immediately saw the contrast (and from what I've heard, IA and Chip are about as bad as QG), which is why I am confused that someone with that much aggregate quizbowl experience would advocate going to these tournaments for any reason other than "this is the series of tournaments which legitimizes us in the eyes of our administration, though the quizbowl team realizes they aren't actually quizbowl" -- if this is the actual reason, then just come out and say it (it is common knowledge that many other teams across the country, including mine, are in a similar situation), but it clearly can't be lack of knowledge of alternatives or the general naivete common to the new posters feared to be scared away.

Perhaps, but doubtful, I am misreading Mr. Gilbert's posts and there is more to his argument than "non-pyramidal quizbowl is legitimate because it is legitimate and also even if it's illegitimate it is only slightly detrimental to legitimate quizbowl," which is all that I'm getting out of it right now (the thinking/reasoning thing is total hogwash, I'm afraid -- I don't know the details of DC-area's bad-quizbowl-circuit, but I'd imagine the ability to think laterally during pyramidal tossups is far more of a utilization of thinking/reasoning than puzzling out the idiotic tropes of the bad quizbowl I've been exposed to). If there is, I'd be curious to hear it laid out plainly, and I think being able to crystallize part of discussion around this point (or split that to another thread) would greatly increase the utility of this thread.

Certainly I don't wish to malign Mr. Gilbert for taking his teams to the pyramidal tournaments he brings up; that is a very good thing to do and he should be commended for it! However, I don't think it's fair to use that as a screen to defend poor arguments -- the fact that you go to some good tournaments doesn't mean it is any less of a bad thing to knowingly go to bad tournaments (particularly the 3 or 4 times per year you're forced to choose!), nor should it give empirically wrong arguments more weight.


To the general idea of the thread, I can't think of any un-justified harsh posts during my time here of the top of my head, particularly against brand-new posters; if it was a problem in the past it doesn't seem to be anymore. Most of the "uncivil" (which really, are quite civil compared to other internet forums in existence!) posts regarding bad quizbowl have been directed at the same handful of people, who have been similarly accosted numerous times in their past posting career. I fail to see any issue there, other than that they can't take obvious cues to fix their behavior.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:47 pm

I spent some time today going through recent IHSSBCA newsletters. Let me share a quote I found from Donald Taylor from a year ago.
A major drawback of the forum is that there are numerous documented instances of members getting into heated arguments. I know of coaches who have nipped this in the bud by banning players from joining the site. There are documented instances of people refusing to participate in discussions on the site due to the tone of certain members. I also know of people within Illinois who are lurkers, but refuse to become registered users. While the tone of some members does come off as brash, many of the “elder statesmen” on the site have a great deal of experience when it comes to question writing/editing and tournament direction.
Wouldn't it be nice if somebody could recommend this board without simultaneously warning about it? The sentiment expressed in this quote is common. Wouldn't it be good for quizbowl if somebody could recommend this board without simultaneously warning about it?

Here in Illinois, it is common for some teams to go to some good and some bad tournaments entirely by choice year after year. Our two largest tournaments, and many other tournaments, combine good and bad elements. There are a number of teams that prefer bad questions year after year. The teams that split their time are helpful to good tournaments, and it's good the students on those teams at least get some exposure to things done right, and those teams are most definitely welcomed at good tournaments. The reason we have a decent circuit is that some teams and tournament hosts decided to just do things right and not spend all their time and energy worrying about what other people were doing. (A lot of credit goes to UIUC, whose tournaments were attended and then copied by active teams.) There are tournaments that have made significant improvements, and a lot of the teams attending those tournaments do not show any sign of noticing the difference.

That being said, Max makes a lot of good points. There are some bad writers who are just horribly bad, and I can't imagine anybody choosing their questions, and people who choose their questions should be able to figure out the harm they are doing to the activity and their team. We can discuss sports analogies as long as we want to, and it won't change the fact that a so-called national tournament used the tossup solve for A where sine squared plus cosine squared equals A or the fact that one of our state tournaments a few years ago asked two questions about Sullenberger on the same day and had a round where two of the top teams in the country missed most of the tossups. If it's your first tournament ever, then I could understand not realizing that there is a choice, but if it's not, then you know there is a choice and you should choose better.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Auroni » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:41 pm

Why is a warning necessary just because people get into passionate arguments about quizbowl? The vast majority of new users to the forums use it to announce tournaments or say that they are attending. By making that argument, you're assuming a great deal about what new users can handle and how they choose to act.

Also, I've heard numerous times that people behind the scenes are afraid of the forums, but never any substantial evidence of that fact beyond personal testimony.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:19 am

Board discussions can definitely get heated enough to put people off, but I'll reiterate the point that behavior in person is about a thousand times more important than anything you could ever post here. Before we got serious, St. Anselm's was under the impression that every good team other than Dan Puma's Gonzaga was full of unbearable people. I realize that there were more exceptions to that rule, but the way 2008 Richard Montgomery, Whitman, and others behaved towards us really didn't make us want to go to more than a few tournaments a year. If you really care about expanding quizbowl, be friendly to your local circuit. It's easy to forget weaker teams exist when you're playing them, and I'm definitely guilty of that at times, but please recognize that getting blown out sucks and don't add insult to injury. Compliment them on good buzzes and bonus pulls, talk to them between rounds, and try to make them feel welcome. That'll do much more for outreach than regulating the tone of a board mostly read by the in-crowd.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Muriel Axon » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:27 am

Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:Also, I've heard numerous times that people behind the scenes are afraid of the forums, but never any substantial evidence of that fact beyond personal testimony.
I've heard several people, who (unless they give consent) shall remain unnamed, tell me that they found some people on these forums to be jerks. None of the aforementioned people are advocates for bad quiz bowl. From my perspective, some people on this forum do have a problem with tone in arenas that have nothing to do with good/bad quiz bowl. (Isn't that true everywhere?)

But when dealing with repeat offenders in bad quiz bowl apologetics, I don't think there's any need to worry about tone - these people clearly aren't paying attention, anyway, but besides that, there is no such thing as having a tone problem when contradicting people who oppose what's probably the most fundamental principle of this board, i.e. the promotion of good quiz bowl.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by fett0001 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:36 am

Tokyo Sex Whale wrote:
Also, I've heard numerous times that people behind the scenes are afraid of the forums, but never any substantial evidence of that fact beyond personal testimony.
Well, afraid may not be the right word.

My introduction to this forum and its participants came after having attended several of Charlie Steinhice's tournaments, which I felt were quite enjoyable. While following up with this community, I found that his tournaments were reviled by many, and it gave the impression of posters here as cliquish jerks, whose focus was on disparaging something I had enjoyed, rather than encouraging quizbowl in its many forms. A distaste for dealing with such an apparently hostile community lead to me being unwilling to post for a long time.

First impressions are everything. It took nearly a year of friendship with Dan Goff to turn around the poor impression posters here had made.

I'm very much trying to improve quizbowl in SWVA, but really, it's hard to do so with local formats firmly entrenched. If local formats had a place to be discussed in a relaxed manner and not just insulted by regular posters, it might help to bring people into the fold.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:04 am

Donald Taylor, who threatens to murder high school players and calls high school coaches "c :capybara: ts" and "bitches" on a regular basis, thinks the tone of discussion here isn't elevated enough? That's precious. More evidence for my point about how tone complaints are obviously not REALLY about tone.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:41 am

When one of the more reasonable coaches from Illinois comes on here and is told after a few posts that he is, "Incapable of being a quizbowl coach or an educator in any meaningful way," by the head of this site, and it is determined that there is no reason to back down from that statement because it is based on logic rather than an ad hominen attack, then the reasonable thing to do is to warn people about posting here.

We can complain about Donald all day. Heck, we could go on for at least a week, but I would prefer to focus on the moderators of this board in this particular thread, since they are the ones who police tone.

If it's still acceptable to talk to new posters like that, then people should be warned about joining this board. If that's the treatment people are going to get who attend good and bad tournaments when they have a choice, then people should be warned about joining this board.

It's up to the moderators. This board has functioned well without being welcoming to people who are on the fence, and if it wants to continue in the same manner, then just admit the obvious truth that this place is unwelcoming to people who are on the fence, and we don't have to go through this back-and-forth every year.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Thu Aug 02, 2012 8:53 am

Sigh. How these things spin off into side issues. Look, the value of erring on the side of being overly welcoming and, dare I say, nice, to newer folks should be obvious to all of us. In Florida it took a number of years to move the CC circuit from one-liners to pyramidal, and it was mostly done by focusing mockery and ire on the questions themselves (while simultaneously exposing coaches and players to good questions), not on the people who continued to advocate for them. That kept the arguments from getting personal, which usually just leads folks to dig in regarding whatever they're being attacked for. There have been a few references to the "real world" early in this thread, along the lines of "hey, you can't be protected from a hostile tone out there," which, while generally true I suppose, ignores the way that people in institutions who disagree have to work. When I'm in conflicts with faculty and deans over contentious issues at my college, I know I have to continue to be cordial and focus on the issues, not the hostility I might feel toward the people with whom I'm disagreeing. It's a skill adults need to have.

But even if that doesn't move anyone, what about the example of folks like Jeff Hoppes and Seth Teitler, who have been able to do a lot to foster good QB without having to be hostile? There's no reason that advocacy for good QB, and even efforts to eliminate bad QB, have to include some sort of moral shaming, though obviously some in this thread appear to disagree.

But to go back to one of the original foci of this thread, I'm still suggesting that it seems odd that one can be banned for telling someone they don't like the way they're being addressed in a thread. Personally, I wouldn't want anyone banned for ugly tone, either. I just would like the ability to be able to tell someone he's being a dick if he's indeed being a dick. I would prefer that over anyone being banned for anything, frankly.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Cheynem » Thu Aug 02, 2012 9:51 am

In my interpretation of the rules, you can tell a person he is behaving like a dick, but you can't do it in a way to suggest you're telling them stop being a dick if that means stop talking in a particular way.

I think the idea of "moral shaming" is an odd one. Look, I don't want to rip on people who don't know any better. I don't want to "shame" anyone. But we should be allowed to say that Chip-bowl is an ethical sewer and a complete waste of time and point this out.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:06 am

So, we have our example of a recent incident: the Mark Grant nonsense from two and a half years ago. (Links to original threads: 1, 2 --JTH) I don't think this really fits my request for an example of "a new person being attacked for enjoying the wrong things," but let's examine it anyway.

What happened here was: a coach announced a terrible tournament. Nobody responded to or challenged his announcement or tournament in any way. Unprompted, the coach launched a torrent of invective against people who think tournaments should be good, as well as "liberals" whose politics are, in the coach's view, tied up in the pernicious good quizbowl movement in some bizarre way that he declined to specify.

I strongly objected to his attempt to tell people not to criticize him and questioned how a math teacher could be so poor at logical reasoning.

It was and, apparently, remains Reinstein's position that the problem with "tone" here was not the unprovoked and weirdly politicized attack on 99% of the board by Grant, but rather the response telling him that this was not appropriate.

Rather than completely rehash the underlying incident, my question for Reinstein is, what change in board policy would you like to see in order to make this situation develop differently in the future? Should we:

*not engage new posters announcing terrible tournaments in discussions of the merits of their events at all, and just leave them be? Note that this was, in fact, what was originally done in this case.

*just ban people outright for launching attacks on the concepts of discussion or good quizbowl, or accusing their presumed quizbowl foes of being traitors to America, without any warning or explanation of what rule was broken

*allow people who can post the dumbest to dominate the board. Someone wants to call anyone who doesn't like Questions Galore/Avery tournaments a communist? Let them do so. Don't discipline them from board staff and don't let any ordinary users say anything that would make such an opinion feel unwelcome.

*look up how many IHSA titles a poster has won and select a different rule set to apply based on the result (solution advocated by other Illinois people at the time).

*something else? I'm all ears.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:06 am

Matt, you're smarter than that.

Here is his original offending post, which was the third post he made on this board and the second in that thread:
As I stated I was relunctant to use QG, but I wanted the morning rounds to reflect as close as possible the Masonic style and format. since do not have experience with QG outside of Jr. High and that experience is a negative one, I chose Avery for the IHSA format rounds in the afternoon. All teams entered are aware of this, and were made aware of the dual suppliers before the entered. With the exception of Jay at Greenville, I have not recieved any concerns or resistance from anyone who was invited or who entered.

I am aware that I will catch grief from the purists among you, but I am not a person that has time for the opinions of those who look down from on high at we Central Illinois mortals and pass judgement, and demand our repentance and allegiance.

I am a conservative to the right of Limbaugh, if you don't like the Masonic format, find another organization to host a tournament and provide money for school programs, if you don't like QG use someone else. If you don't like losing, learn to win.

My reason for the format change is all about the Moderators, who truly determine the quality of the meet. I want to run a quality Masonic Sectional, and to do that I felt running 3 rounds with the new format and similar questions was a good way to do so. No one else would provide questions to the form being used at Masonics, so QG was the choice.

Next year I will most likely go back to an IHSA format again.
Here is your response:
Wow. You sound like an exceptionally unpleasant human being and a poor role model for students.

In addition to defending your poor choices in the manner of a petulant five-year-old, you are a bald-faced liar, cf:

"I am only trying to provide as high a quality meet as possible."

You obviously are not trying to do any such thing, since you are using literally the worst questions in the world. Please do not say things that are demonstrably untrue if you expect to have your devotion to fake quizbowl and bad educational experiences legitimized by this forum.
He then, and this is the least amazing fact in the world, got defensive, probably less defensive than an average person would have been in the same situation. I can see why you don't want to rehash the incident now.

If you still think your reply was appropriate, then let's just admit that this place is unwelcoming to new posters who haven't figured out the difference between good quizbowl and bad quizbowl. If, on the other hand, you now, looking back, think that you should have worded your response differently, or if the board thinks that we as a group would have handled the situation differently had it happened this year, then that is worth knowing.

As far as what we should do, Chris pretty much just said it. Tell people they are using horrible questions or making bad decisions when they do so. If they are profiting from that crap either financially or by getting pretty trophies, then state the facts.

Also, stop worrying about who is going to dominate this board. You are going to dominate it forever.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:10 pm

Okay, here's how I see this recent and topical exchange going:
Mark Grant makes an exceptionally unpleasant post, referring to people who support pyramidal quizbowl as people who "look down on Illinois from high." He also makes some nonsense reference to politics. Anyway, this post shows that, honestly, dude doesn't really want to engage or hear why the questions he's using are bad, because he views it as condenscension.
Matt Weiner responds with "hey uh you sound terrible here," which, while true, can be seen as too blunt. He also includes personal attacks on the guy's skills as an educator for standard Weinerian rhetorical flourish, and I'd rather he didn't, but whatever.

Look, I'm all about being friendly and welcoming to newcomers, but this is not your posterboy.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:33 pm

I am aware that my posterboy is welcome here. I'm just trying to find out whether or not anything has changed in the past two years. If it hasn't, then I'll continue to warn people to be very careful when coming on here and just not bring it up to people who I suspect would be told that they are horrible human beings. If it has, then I'd like to know how, because maybe I shouldn't warn people, and maybe I should encourage more people to use this site.

It's not the end of the world either way. This site doesn't have to run the way I would run it were I in charge. I feel comfortable here, as do many others, and some great discussions happen here.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Howard » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:03 pm

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:
A major drawback of the forum is that there are numerous documented instances of members getting into heated arguments. I know of coaches who have nipped this in the bud by banning players from joining the site. There are documented instances of people refusing to participate in discussions on the site due to the tone of certain members. I also know of people within Illinois who are lurkers, but refuse to become registered users. While the tone of some members does come off as brash, many of the “elder statesmen” on the site have a great deal of experience when it comes to question writing/editing and tournament direction.
Wouldn't it be nice if somebody could recommend this board without simultaneously warning about it? The sentiment expressed in this quote is common. Wouldn't it be good for quizbowl if somebody could recommend this board without simultaneously warning about it?
This. For at least the last five years and I'm not sure how many more, I've recommended all my students come to this site. Why? Because it has a wealth of great information. At the same time, I've always encouraged them to not post on the site because of a genuine fear that stupid arguments will break out.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:12 pm

Reinstein, we are aware that you are willing to hold the board hostage to the extent of your power to do so, as you have done it before. What I again ask you is what your demands are. That's an important part of threatening to do something. Do you want just your friends exempted from criticism, just people who have won IHSA titles, everyone except mean old me? Be clear.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:33 pm

Cheynem wrote: I think the idea of "moral shaming" is an odd one. Look, I don't want to rip on people who don't know any better. I don't want to "shame" anyone. But we should be allowed to say that Chip-bowl is an ethical sewer and a complete waste of time and point this out.
While this is true, this is one of the cases where tone does matter, if you actually say "Chip-bowl is an ethical sewer and a complete waste of time," then all the person being told this knows is that whoever told them that on this forum (which is possible a large number of people) think it is awful. Trying to actually have a sane discussion with someone even though you disagree with their views will almost always be more successful. If instead you say "the general consensus is that [Chip-bowl or whatever other format] is worse than pyramidal quizbowl as pyramidal is better at testing real knowledge of the players without testing irrelevant things like finger speed so much, what makes you think that Chip-bowl is superior?" then you may be able to sway them by allowing them to propose what they think to be important (maybe computational math and variety in game format with quarters is their big thing) and then discussing in what ways pyramidal quizbowl is superior.

If all we do is tell someone the format they are playing is wrong, then they probably will get defensive - they have a great reason to, as said before, if you tell the wiffleball world champion that his title is illegitimate and stupid and worse than a baseball title, he will take offense to that, in the same way as people coming to this forum from the "bad quizbowl" perspective will get defensive and not get too far if they are not allowed to express their opinions, even if we are assuming that those opinions are logically flawed, they should be allowed to present them and learn how they are flawed.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Cheynem » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:57 pm

I think you can politely and reasonably explain the problems of Chipbowl, but I fear that this is something that can't be sugarcoated: Chip Beall is a plagiarist who runs ethically terrible tournaments, quality of questions aside (which, as anyone can see, are awful as well). I personally would like to discover that the person I'm doing business with is an ethical nightmare and I hope others would.

As for Reinstein holding the board hostage, I'm not really seeing him holding the board hostage, just complaining about tone. My problem with the Mark Grant argument is that Grant was the one who waltzed in and fired the first shots, so if you do that, to me, you are basically saying "Oh boy, I love stirring up trouble and starting arguments!" In any social environment, you can expect a statement like Grant's to arouse anger, invective, and sarcasm, perhaps justifiably so. Did Matt need to be so strident in his response? Perhaps not, but I see nothing wrong in firing off a rejoinder to someone who came in guns-blazing.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:06 pm

Nobody should be exempted from criticism. I just want to know whether or not the next person who comes on here who runs a bad tournament or attends bad tournaments will be attacked on a personal level. Have the recent attacks not been as bad because nobody has come on here recently saying they use QG, or is it because the response has changed? If somebody just like Grant started posting here today, would anything be different? I'm asking these questions again, because I didn't get an answer yet.

If the criticism here is over the top, then I will warn people about coming to this site. I suppose you can take that as a demand if you want to, but it's the only reasonable option I've got. Given the reactions in this thread to Coach Gilbert, this issue probably has already been decided--most coaches shouldn't be here (unless people only get treated that way after a long time). When I tell enthusiastic coaches and players about this site while warning them, and I don't bring this place up with most coaches, I am doing what I have to do, because there is no other option. If the moderators of this site are OK with the fact that they run a site that most people should be warned about before participating in, or just not told about at all, then they should just say they are OK with that. To be clear, it would be very easy to justify, and the majority of coaches have no interest in discussing quizbowl on the internet anyways.

If I have a demand, it's that this site make clear whether or not anything has changed in the past year or two regarding the treatment of new posters, or whether it has any plans to do so. Even that's not much of a demand, because I'll still be here even if I continue to not get a direct response.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:08 pm

Mike, Matt was referring to the time I removed the link from the IHSSBCA homepage to this site for several months.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Cheynem » Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:11 pm

It's not that Grant ran a bad tournament or used bad questions; it's that he came in with a swagger about him in defending what he was doing and implicitly challenging others to take him on. There are countless examples of people running bad tournaments or using bad questions in which they have been gently offered advice or "chided" if you will. If someone like Grant appeared today (i.e., roaring in with the type of language he used), I'd imagine he'd be greeted the same way. If someone announced a Chip tournament, he would be greeted with some information on why Chip was bad and suggestions to use good questions--I assume politely, because to be honest, that's the majority of instances of which I've seen.

As a moderator, I don't care if you want to warn people about this site. It's probably good to get a heads-up about anything you embark on for the first time.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:04 pm

To John Gilbert, the whole thing is that, like, my post to Dave Madden didn't violate the rules, as best as I know, so there was no reason to warn me in the first place. You seem to have a lot of trouble comprehending that, among many other things. Also, you posted something really stupid and self righteous related to the same issue in that dumb "Quiz Bowl Misc." Facebook group, which solely exists for discussions so worthless that they can't even cut it in the already worthless regular Facebook Quizbowl Group so that people who are little spoiled [children --Mgmt.] trapped in quizbowlers' bodies can commiserate together when they are rightly called out for saying stupid crap everywhere else. I refuse to join it on principle, and thus couldn't attack you in it when you stooped to the level of worthless teenage drama and yelled about how all your magical civility is somehow what is saving the circuit, without noticing that the whole point you were responding to was that, like, you've NEVER done anything, as far as we know, to actually spread good quizbowl beyond simply patronizing local tournaments, so your ridiculous pronouncements had no backing. I on the other hand co-founded an organization that got something like 120 schools to play pyramidal tournaments in the last year alone who would never have without us because they were in Missouri or Kansas, two of the most hostile states for good quizbowl just a few years ago. Hearing people like you, with absolutely worthless track records in actual quizbowl work, pass judgement about my efficacy when I am one of the people most directly responsible for one of the fastest, most effective good quizbowl recruitment success stories in the game, is one of the most grating things imaginable. People like Coaches Reinstein, Romero, Prince, the people involved in the Ohio and Michigan circuits, and yes, Matt Weiner, are all examples of people who have put in all kinds of work on making quizbowl better in their own region that I will totally listen to them and be willing to accept that their opinions come from a place of experience, even if I may not always end up agreeing with them. You, what the hell have you ever done besides keep spreading this lie that everything is valid and good and nothing is ever bad. Heads up, just like I told some other guy recently, just because you exist and have an opinion DOES NOT make it as equally valid as everybody else's when other people have put in WAY more work than you, so shut up with that crap already. Jesus Christ.

Subsequent post FZed. User was warned for cursing in the high school section, backseat moderation, and bigoted language. --Mgmt.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:40 pm

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:If somebody just like Grant started posting here today, would anything be different? I'm asking these questions again, because I didn't get an answer yet.
Coach Grant's original post deserved a warning for breaking the rule against regionalist arguments (and likely would have resulted in a note asking to keep discussion of "conservatism to the right of Limbaugh" in the politics section of Off Topic.)

In general, I strongly support keeping this forum's quizbowl discussion focused on quizbowl. Posts that go beyond "criticizing people's quizbowl-related decisions" to "personal attacks on the character, upbringing, politics, or value as human beings of other posters" are likely to wind up in the Forbidden Zone.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:54 pm

I don't know if we're getting through, since Reinstein and others insist on pretending that Grant (who, by the way, still posts here and has handled the situation way better than his defenders in the long run) was chastened for announcing a bad tournament rather than for accusing people who don't like bad tournaments of being politically inferior. It's telling that they still can't find a real, honest example of this "attacking new people" that allegedly goes on...we're caught up in an il-fitting example from 2.5 years ago here. Am I right in concluding this is a straw man problem?

(Despite that, I am still happy to listen to anyone who wishes to provide a concrete answer to the question "what would you like to see done differently in the future," rather than abstract condemnations of hypothetical meanness.)
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Dominator » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:26 pm

Alright, I think this is the last I'll post in here, as this thread really has degraded beyond its original purpose. Let me at least clearly summarize my points:

(1) I think poor tone inhibits quizbowl discussion as much as some things which are expressly forbidden by this site, and therefore I think that the idea of this thread was a good one.

(2) I do not have a suggestion for a rule change, and I'm not sure that a rule change is the right way to handle tone. Perhaps a message or informal warning from the moderators is in order if it is felt that the tone of a post is detrimental to the thread/discussion. That is not a change in written rules so much as a different interpretation of the current ones.

(3) I do not have recent examples of people being attacked to offer Matt, but I would like to remind people that there are certainly people in Illinois who are not using the boards as a direct or indirect result of Coach Grant feeling he was attacked those 2.5 years ago. I'm not going to touch the issue of whether Grant deserved what he got (I have made dumb defensive posts in my day, too, and at the very least I'd like to think we can understand and forgive), but if it's true that treatment of people has changed as part of some conscious effort, I would :capybara:ING LOVE to be able to go to fellow Illinois coaches and encourage them to come back to the boards, and if no such change has taken place, then I can't. And perhaps that's for the best, because those coaches apparently want something that this forum does not intend to or want to provide, and so as long as that's clear to everybody, we can all make our own decisions and move on with our lives.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:29 pm

Perhaps this would be better as a live chat, with decisions made in real-time as to who is participating in good faith. That way there would be less incentive for grandstanding.

I'm at a loss when the message is consistently "I don't like the way you do things but I have no examples of a thing I dislike or any suggestions for what I'd like to see done differently." But at least I give people who posted not-so-helpfully in this thread credit for actually showing up, as opposed to hiding out in anti-quizbowl tree forts or misogynist meme-exchange sites complaining about things that never happened.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:48 pm

I've avoided this morass of a thread, since I am busy doing NHBB things these days. Here's my big question for all concerned though: Many of the posts in this thread have degenerated back into a good quizbowl v. bad quizbowl (the respective arguments on both sides being known to virtually everyone who reads this) or tone v. content. I'm far more interested in knowing if people really think the strident to rude tone that characterizes so many posts actually has a benefit to quizbowl in its own right. I agree 100% with Jeff when he said that people criticize because they love quizbowl, and I think that process is overwhelmingly beneficial for the game. It certainly has helped me improve NHBB considerably over the past two years, and will continue to do so.
Where I think the problem arises is when the issue is framed in terms of tone and content being conceived of as opposites, or somehow mutually exclusive. No amount of politeness can compensate for a logically deficient argument, but on the other hand, using a tone that people (including posters) would never use to someone's face, IMHO, does not add strength to an argument that is already logically sound. In fact, I am absolutely certain that this sort of aggressive tone turns many people away, who could otherwise contribute to the community. So why are people who otherwise do so much to promote quizbowl and for the overall good of the game so quick to defend using a tone on the forums that is detrimental to that aim? I just don't understand this, and I know I'm not alone here.
Also, in a related vein, while it may not be against the rules of the forum, I'm also concerned about people publicly throwing around accusations that they have not adequately researched. I have no problem with Charlie criticizing me, even in a relatively harsh tone. I do have a problem when the rush to criticize is so quick that various things that get said are manifestly not true. Another example of this is Matt's reference to Raynell Cooper above:
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?
I do not want to wade into Matt's dispute with Raynell, as that is a history that I am not fully privy to (nor have any desire to be). But saying that Raynell is only sticking around in quizbowl for non-productive reasons is also decidedly untrue in that, he has devoted at least 8 days of his schedule over the last year to helping or directing NHBB tournaments, not to mention other time spent on NHBB work outside of tournaments. Personal feuds will probably sadly always be a part of quizbowl, but it would be beneficial for all if at least the facts were correct before accusations get made.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:50 pm

Leucippe and Clitophon wrote:Also, stop worrying about who is going to dominate this board. You are going to dominate it forever.
By the way, I would like to respond to this since it's sticking in my craw due to actual real-world context: While I do expect to play a large role in the website that I own, thath I paid for out of pocket for years, that I built up, and that is one part of my lengthy track record of actually achieving success at expanding good quizbowl, which gives me a large amount of credibility on that point, the fact is also that Jeff Hoppes (one of the people Chris Borglum puzzlingly cited as a "non-hostile" person who embodies values opposite from...the forum that he runs?*) is the chief admin of the board, and Fred was the chief for four cumulative years, and there are lots of other people who I defer to on a regular basis, BECAUSE THEY HAVE EARNED IT. If you really think that Jeff or Fred are, or are able to be, "dominated" my opinions then you clearly do not know them at all and I'm sure they would have something to say about your ignorant comment.

The tolerance that goes on here towards outright wrong beliefs is ENORMOUS compared to just about any other place on the Internet, the quizbowl Internet specifically. The Ohio forum bans people for disagreeing with the staffers. The Georgia forum doesn't even let you make an account if you're not part of the Barry/Richards cabal, and still refuses to show its content to people who live in, attend school in, and run high school quizbowl tournaments in Georgia if they aren't pledged to the resident political machine. The online discussion hell that is the quizbowl Facebook group spends less time on discussing even its terrifying vision of what quizbowl should be than it does in never-ending power struggles that involve factions of administrators banning and purging each other for mysterious reasons. The only reason we have the issue of what "tone" to use towards people who want to destroy quizbowl is because those people are, by rule, allowed to post here in perpetuity, which would NOT be the case if the roles were reversed or if this board was run like most discussion fora on the Internet.

There is also a certain former darling of Illinois who used the civility bludgeon to try to ensure that I would not "dominate" the board by stealing my own website from me and attempting to fire me from it, which directly caused a vast number of real-world disasters including the worst national tournament ever run and a lot of people who could have been working on making tournaments better having to spend time containing him. So, I'm particularly galled by anyone, from that region or not, bringing up the specter of returning to such unpleasantness. (Note that none of the big civility fans saw fit to speak up when this was going on--weird, huh?)

*along with Seth Teitler, who was recently offered a moderator position but declined
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:51 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:I don't know if we're getting through, since Reinstein and others insist on pretending that Grant (who, by the way, still posts here and has handled the situation way better than his defenders in the long run) was chastened for announcing a bad tournament rather than for accusing people who don't like bad tournaments of being politically inferior. It's telling that they still can't find a real, honest example of this "attacking new people" that allegedly goes on...we're caught up in an il-fitting example from 2.5 years ago here. Am I right in concluding this is a straw man problem?

(Despite that, I am still happy to listen to anyone who wishes to provide a concrete answer to the question "what would you like to see done differently in the future," rather than abstract condemnations of hypothetical meanness.)
Matt, after reading Grant's posts, I agree that he should have been censured for breaking the board's rules and the like for attacking people and the strange political stuff. What I want to know, is if you met him for the first time at a tournament, and say, he announced this tournament in the same way, would you have said exactly the same thing? Would you have been more gentle in person or said something less provocational? I don't really have a problem with people's tone, but that's just me; I don't take what most people say personally, so it doesn't bother me, but I know others aren't like me.

Could people be more cordial here? Yeah, that would be nice. Does this lack of politeness or whatever people want detract from the site's importance? No not really.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:52 pm

Black-throated Antshrike wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:I don't know if we're getting through, since Reinstein and others insist on pretending that Grant (who, by the way, still posts here and has handled the situation way better than his defenders in the long run) was chastened for announcing a bad tournament rather than for accusing people who don't like bad tournaments of being politically inferior. It's telling that they still can't find a real, honest example of this "attacking new people" that allegedly goes on...we're caught up in an il-fitting example from 2.5 years ago here. Am I right in concluding this is a straw man problem?

(Despite that, I am still happy to listen to anyone who wishes to provide a concrete answer to the question "what would you like to see done differently in the future," rather than abstract condemnations of hypothetical meanness.)
Matt, after reading Grant's posts, I agree that he should have been censured for breaking the board's rules and the like for attacking people and the strange political stuff. What I want to know, is if you met him for the first time at a tournament, and say, he announced this tournament in the same way, would you have said exactly the same thing? Would you have been more gentle in person or said something less provocational? I don't really have a problem with people's tone, but that's just me; I don't take what most people say personally, so it doesn't bother me, but I know others aren't like me.

Could people be more cordial here? Yeah, that would be nice. Does this lack of politeness or whatever people want detract from the site's importance? No not really.
This was brought up in the original thread. Yes, if he started running around the room screaming about "liberals" for no apparent reason I would stridently tell him to knock it off. Wouldn't you?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Muriel Axon » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:52 pm

I really doubt that much of the "problem" (to the extent that there is one) comes from the moderating staff here. If new users are being scared away - and I think there's reason to believe that some people are, including people who are not apologists for bad quiz bowl - it probably has nothing to do with the actual board policies and everything to do with normal bickering between people who have been here a while and gotten used to it. That kind of stuff seems like nothing to them but could be kind of overwhelming for some new users.

More importantly, I think people have just reified the idea that this is a mean place full of mean people, since it's been parroted over and over. I've met people who have never been here, but are scared to come because they've been told it's a war zone. Speaking of which, if you've been telling people this, you're part of the problem.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Dominator » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:53 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:I'm at a loss when the message is consistently "I don't like the way you do things but I have no examples of a thing I dislike or any suggestions for what I'd like to see done differently."
Am I seriously being accused of acting in bad faith for my work here in this thread? To summarize:

(1) I came into this discussion saying that I felt that tone has inhibited quizbowl discussion in the past.

(2) You asked me for recent such examples.

(3) I admitted that my examples were not recent, all but conceding that tone has not been such a problem in the last, say, year. Realizing this myself, I asked if this was by design or by coincidence. I waited on a response, because if the answer is the former option, then perhaps nothing additional need be done at all. [No response has yet been given.]

Is that bad faith?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Aug 02, 2012 5:58 pm

Dominator wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:I'm at a loss when the message is consistently "I don't like the way you do things but I have no examples of a thing I dislike or any suggestions for what I'd like to see done differently."
Am I seriously being accused of acting in bad faith for my work here in this thread? To summarize:

(1) I came into this discussion saying that I felt that tone has inhibited quizbowl discussion in the past.

(2) You asked me for recent such examples.

(3) I admitted that my examples were not recent, all but conceding that tone has not been such a problem in the last, say, year. Realizing this myself, I asked if this was by design or by coincidence. I waited on a response, because if the answer is the former option, then perhaps nothing additional need be done at all. [No response has yet been given.]

Is that bad faith?
I'm saying that I have not seen the examples or proposed solutions I have asked for. I have not made any speculation as to why this is.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:07 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
Black-throated Antshrike wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:I don't know if we're getting through, since Reinstein and others insist on pretending that Grant (who, by the way, still posts here and has handled the situation way better than his defenders in the long run) was chastened for announcing a bad tournament rather than for accusing people who don't like bad tournaments of being politically inferior. It's telling that they still can't find a real, honest example of this "attacking new people" that allegedly goes on...we're caught up in an il-fitting example from 2.5 years ago here. Am I right in concluding this is a straw man problem?

(Despite that, I am still happy to listen to anyone who wishes to provide a concrete answer to the question "what would you like to see done differently in the future," rather than abstract condemnations of hypothetical meanness.)
Matt, after reading Grant's posts, I agree that he should have been censured for breaking the board's rules and the like for attacking people and the strange political stuff. What I want to know, is if you met him for the first time at a tournament, and say, he announced this tournament in the same way, would you have said exactly the same thing? Would you have been more gentle in person or said something less provocational? I don't really have a problem with people's tone, but that's just me; I don't take what most people say personally, so it doesn't bother me, but I know others aren't like me.

Could people be more cordial here? Yeah, that would be nice. Does this lack of politeness or whatever people want detract from the site's importance? No not really.
This was brought up in the original thread. Yes, if he started running around the room screaming about "liberals" for no apparent reason I would stridently tell him to knock it off. Wouldn't you?
Well yeah, that stuff was bat :capybara: crazy. I didn't even bother reading the stupid political stuff because it has little to do with what I meant. I was originally referring to this. What you said was what he deserved for his nonsense, I'm not disputing that. What I really meant, was not the content of what you said, but the form. I really wanted to know if you would use the same exact wording with the whole poor role model in everything, or would you have used something more diplomatic?
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:10 pm

The Eighth Viscount of Waaaah wrote:I really doubt that much of the "problem" (to the extent that there is one) comes from the moderating staff here. If new users are being scared away - and I think there's reason to believe that some people are, including people who are not apologists for bad quiz bowl - it probably has nothing to do with the actual board policies and everything to do with normal bickering between people who have been here a while and gotten used to it. That kind of stuff seems like nothing to them but could be kind of overwhelming for some new users.
Yes, I want to talk about this too, and perhaps connect it to why high school coaches seem to have the biggest problem with the board culture and the rules: this board is always intended to be a discussion. As I mention above, many opinions are tolerated, both including and well beyond the scope of reasonable disagreement as to how to define and achieve good quizbowl. People who are used to "administrators tell me what to do, I tell students what to do, it's not a two-way street" may be jarred by that and perceive enthusiastic dissent as acrimony.

Also, as we have long emphasized when dealing with invasions from anime, Internet comedy zone, terrible websites that rhyme with "gore fan" and "medkit," etc, this is a place to advance quizbowl that happens to exist on the Internet, not an Internet forum that happens to talk about quizbowl a lot. People who are more used to the general Internet forum culture will understand how light handed the moderation here really is. THANKFULLY, we appeal to a lot of people who do not otherwise use Internet forums, which is a huge goal of the site and something that is overwhelmingly positive, but a side effect of that is that the context which shows how well things are run and minority opinions are treated here is absent for many of our users.
More importantly, I think people have just reified the idea that this is a mean place full of mean people, since it's been parroted over and over. I've met people who have never been here, but are scared to come because they've been told it's a war zone. Speaking of which, if you've been telling people this, you're part of the problem.
Yeah pretty much. The amount and severity of the negative things that get said in other places about this website, about me personally, and about good quizbowl organizations and people, by those who claim to be fans of "civility," is really astounding. John Gilbert literally tells people that if you post something here that the moderators don't like they will "call you ugly," Raynell Cooper claims that I attack people's "lifestyles" and treat them "like garbage for disagreeing," and that's not 1% as bad as the vicious personal attacks that the truly obsessed get into. Maybe if people didn't discourage others from coming here and posting, we would have a more diverse and necessarily more worldly and tolerant userbase!
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Susan » Thu Aug 02, 2012 6:11 pm

(3) I admitted that my examples were not recent, all but conceding that tone has not been such a problem in the last, say, year. Realizing this myself, I asked if this was by design or by coincidence. I waited on a response, because if the answer is the former option, then perhaps nothing additional need be done at all. [No response has yet been given.]
To answer your question, I don't believe there has been a specific effort to make discussions more cordial. Certainly there's been nothing formal, either on the board in general or amongst staffers. About a year and a half ago, we actually removed the rule that allowed people to post about other users' tones ("If you do not like someone's tone, it's permissible to tell them that you don't like it, but you cannot tell them not to post that way in the future.") because it was creating a lot of confusion with what constituted "telling someone how to post" and was generally encouraging discussion that was not productive (without making the tone of the discussion any more pleasant, really). Perhaps that rule change has helped? I suspect that a reasonably large part of the reason why the tone of the board has been better over the last year or however long has been luck, though it's also worth noting that the staff has been getting gradually more full of people who tend to stay pretty even-keeled in discussions on the boards and that this may influence things.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Cheynem » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:00 pm

I seriously hope no one is impugning the moderating staff here for being "mean" or promoting a culture of "meanness" (or if you are, I would really prefer more specific examples). As a moderator at HSQB, I have attempted to be a professional, and while I have no problem calling bad quizbowl "bad" or sparring with people who would defend such things, I do not think that I have been "mean," at least in how we think of the term. In fact, look at the moderating corps--some of the nicest folks in quizbowl! Jeff Hoppes! Fred Morlan! Dan Goff! Jon Pinyan! None of these folks can even remotely be called mean, so when people talk about moderators, I'm confused about what they mean unless 1. they are really referring to like Matt Weiner and old posts of Mike Sorice or 2. they mean that moderators are just letting meanness slide.

But in response to 2, look at the Dees example in this thread--I have immense respect for Charlie's opinions and work for good quizbowl and intellectually he is correct on almost all issues. However, Charlie goes too far and does say things I would classify as mean. Charlie is not a moderator. In fact, as seen in this thread, when he said something "mean," he got a ban! He has been banned a lot! Look at the Sean Phillips example in the Dave Madden thread. When people are "mean" (and I use "mean" to mean being the vicious meanness, not just a "you ran a bad tournament and said a dumb thing" meanness), they get chastised.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:07 pm

Cheynem wrote: Charlie is not a moderator. In fact, as seen in this thread, when he said something "mean," he got a ban! He has been banned a lot! Look at the Sean Phillips example in the Dave Madden thread. When people are "mean" (and I use "mean" to mean being the vicious meanness, not just a "you ran a bad tournament and said a dumb thing" meanness), they get chastised.
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by Important Bird Area » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:27 pm

in the Facebook group Collin Parks wrote:Removing and putting in the forbidden zone without punishment (it seems) are two different things
I just wanted to note that moving a thread to the Forbidden Zone (for content-related reasons; we're not talking about, eg, double-posts here) is a strong signal about what kind of discussion the forum moderators value. Seeing threads locked and banished is a visible and public statement about the tone of this forum in a way that actual warnings are not (the content of board warnings is not made public, beyond the one-line summaries attached to offending posts).
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Re: Hey it's time to talk about tone!

Post by mrgsmath » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:50 pm

Oddly enough I checked the boards and found that I am now a Poster Boy, I will add that to the title of petulent 5 year old and other colorful titles bestowed on me by Matt. As a point of clarification my posting was not out of the blue and actually was not an announcement for my tournament. It was actually a response to postings made about a week or so earlier in the Masonic posts between members of the board and Jay Winter concerning the illegitimate meet I was running and how Jay should not attend. I errored in not checking out the site more closely and failed to adapt accordingly the tone of my entry. I have subsequently apologized, though it appears I was the only one in error since others have not felt it necesssary.

As to this particular subject concerning tone, I have generally found the tone of many of those passionate about "good quizbowl" to be resistant to reasonable discussions and become more direct confrontation to anything that might challenge their position. They insist that others quantify their position, while they insist the quality of their own cases to be accepted without any such standard.

I personally do not post my tournaments on this board, even though they conform to the "good quizbowl" standard and have been well received by those unfamiliar with the form, simply because I see no reason put up with the unyielding criticism that results. While I don't mind explaining my reasoning, I see no benefit to when the goal is to force your meet to conform to an arbitrary model. IMSANITY being an exampl,e that I am sure has been discussed.

I also am reluctant to post for genral discussions for the same reasons. The goal on this board seems more on being right, than on resolving issues.

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

Post by mhayes » Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:57 pm

mrgsmath wrote:I personally do not post my tournaments on this board, even though they conform to the "good quizbowl" standard and have been well received by those unfamiliar with the form, simply because I see no reason put up with the unyielding criticism that results. While I don't mind explaining my reasoning, I see no benefit to when the goal is to force your meet to conform to an arbitrary model. IMSANITY being an exampl,e that I am sure has been discussed.

I also am reluctant to post for genral discussions for the same reasons. The goal on this board seems more on being right, than on resolving issues.
With all due respect, I think this is an inaccurate characterization of this forum. If your tournaments adhere to high standards of quality, then you certainly won't be chided for it. People here are a lot less pugnacious than you're implying.
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