Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

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Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:36 pm

The National History Bee and Bowl is getting ready for its third year of history quizbowl tournaments across the USA and beyond. All of our websites (http://www.historybowl.com, http://www.hs.historybee.com, http://www.historybee.com, http://www.nhbbasia.com, http://www.nhbbeurope.com) have now been updated for the 2012-2013 season, including links to practice questions, rules, and study resources.
Please check http://www.historybowl.com/bowlsites/ for a list of tournament sites; this will be updated continually as new tournament sites and dates are lined up. We hope to have the vast majority of tournament sites and dates confirmed by the end of September. If your school is potentially interested in bringing NHBB to your area for the first time, or hosting a tournament on a set that is not currently scheduled to be played in your area, please let me or Greg Bossick (greg at historybowl dot com) know as soon as possible.

Here are some of the things that we've been working on over the summer, and are looking forward to introducing this year:

1. New Tournament Sites

- Boston area (fall)
- New York City
- Rochester, NY area
- Ithaca, NY area
- Pittsburgh area
- Southwest Virginia (first tournament of the year on Oct. 20)
- Eastern Virginia
- Southern Georgia
- South Florida (A Set)
- Tampa area
- Arkansas
- Houston area
- Austin area (fall)
- New Mexico
- Northern California (fall)
- Oregon
- Nevada (Las Vegas)

Also, we plan on having tournaments in the Dallas area and Delaware once again this year, after having had tournaments there in 2010-11, but not last year. More tournaments may be added to this list, if schools are interested, and at least six teams register to compete at a site. Greg Bossick is responsible for handling logistics for Regional and State tournaments; please direct questions on that to him.

2. Expanded Elementary & Middle School History Bee
Eric Huff and Nick Clusserath have been working hard on a tremendous amount of outreach to middle schools, and starting this year, elementary schools and homeschool associations as well, to sign them up for The National History Bee - Elementary & Middle School Competition. As of today, we already have over 300 schools signed up, and are hoping to reach 1500-2000. Please spread the word to the elementary and middle schools in your district, and get them to sign up at http://www.historybee.com! This competition works on a different basis from our high school-level History Bees; schools, students (if a school chooses not to compete, there is still a way for students to do it on their own), and homeschool associations must sign up by the end of 2012 to compete. They then take the Online Regional Qualifying Exam, from which the top 120 students in any given region will then go on to compete at one of 35 Regional competitions. The National Championships will once again be held in Washington, DC - we are awaiting word from the History Channel if they will televise the National Championships again; certainly we are hoping they will.

3. New Middle School History Bowl Nationals
Last year, we had 12 teams compete in a Middle School National History Bowl National Championships on the same weekend as our high school nationals. This year, middle schools will be able to compete on a day all of their own. It will either be the first or second Saturday in May (this will be announced within the next two weeks), possibly with some playoff matches on Sunday as well. All the details will be posted here and at http://www.historybowl.com once we have finalized the arrangements.
Middle schools qualify for this by attending any one of our Regional or State level tournaments. If we have sufficient numbers of attending middle schools, they will compte in their own division; otherwise, they will play as Junior Varsity teams. If they compete against all high school teams, they can submit a wild card application for entry into our middle school History Bowl nationals; if they compete against other middle school teams, they must finish in the top 50% of middle school teams at a tournament (or defeat any high school team) in order to qualify. We'll have a more complete post on the middle school forum on how this all works soon. Also, middle schoolers still can compete in the Junior Varsity division of the High School History Bee at Regional and State level Bowl tournaments, but there will be no middle school division there, as the middle school Bee is officially the contest described above.

4. Nationals Improvements
We have posted many of the improvements we will be making for high school nationals elsewhere already, but to reiterate some of the most important here, teams and students attending next April can look forward to:
-Expanded Staff Training and Outreach I will be moving to DC within the next 6-8 weeks, and will be conducting extensive staff recruitment and training sessions long before the tournament from November through the beginning of April. We'll be building up a permanent staff corps in the DC area to assist with high school and middle school nationals from one year to the next; they will also assist with regional tournaments in the area too.
-History Bee Playoffs and History Bowl Finals at hotel on Sunday afternoon The JV Bowl finals, the Varsity Bowl Semifinals and finals, and the Bee playoffs, will all be held at the hotel in the afternoon on Sunday. This will allow other teams and students who aren't competing to watch, will ensure we do not end late on Saturday, and that we have more time to spend competing, as opposed to traveling to Mt Vernon and back. With this in mind, we will be able to take 32 Varsity and 20 JV students into the Bee final rounds this year. They will then first compete in two rounds of 30 questions each, before a first to 10 final among 4 Varsity and, separately, 2 JV students.
-Official Guides to Off-Site Matches A number of teams have reported difficulty at times in finding their off-site matches. Generally speaking, these will largely be limited to JV teams in the morning, and Varsity consolation teams in the afternoon. We'll be providing guides to escort all teams to and from the hotel to their sites this year, so that no one risks getting lost. Metro tickets to these sites and back will be included in the cost of registration this year, and will be purchased in advance. Guides will also have specially designated restaurants to bring groups to for lunch so as to avoid bottlenecks in the Crystal City passageway.
-Possibility to Order Meals in Advance Teams will in fact be able to order meals (and t-shirts) this year in advance, so that we can avoid meal lines when matches are upcoming.
-Scoring Posters & Googledocs to Report Stats Teams in the Bowl and students in the Bee will be required to sign official publicly posted scoring posters so that no confusion is possible. The scoring posters will automatically show where teams need to play their afternoon matches, based on their morning rank, for example. Meanwhile, we'll be compiling all the stats on googledocs, so that teams and students can check via smartphone and publicly-displayed monitors as to their stats.
-All Contention Bracket Teams Will Play at Hotel in Afternoon. This will ensure that any team that is a candidate for the playoff rounds on Saturday evening is already back at the hotel in the afternoon, and thus does not need to worry about spending time making it back to the hotel late on Saturday afternoon.

5. Expanded Outreach
Greg Bossick and I at the high school level, Eric and Nick at the middle school level, and Nolwenn at the International level are spending 5-10 hours every day reaching out to students, schools, district coordinators, parent, and homeschool associations, ensuring that we have a great turnout. We'll be working the phones and emails, volunteering at tournaments, attending numerous conferences, visiting schools in person, and working with our partner organizations to spread the word. Look for many tournaments to have a much higher turnout this year, as we do our best to spread the word about NHBB. And certainly, if you know of anyone else who might be interested in our tournaments, we'd be grateful if you passed the word along.

6. More stuff to come shortly...
We are working on a number of additional programs which we will be announcing as early as this weekend. None of these will be on the same scale of our preexisting competitions, but will seek to give students additional opportunities to compete within our capabilities to offer well-run tournaments. Now that we have a full-time staff of 5, and ten associates and Assistant Directors who assist on an ongoing basis in various capacities, we are better-positioned than ever to make this happen. Good luck this year, and as always, if you have any questions, let us know.
Last edited by Great Bustard on Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
David Madden
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Cheynem » Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:50 pm

Is there no other date for nationals other than ACF Nationals weekend? That seems sub optimal (for both tournaments).

This also conflicts with the MSNCT.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:02 pm

No, unfortunately there's no way we can move it (see my post from 2 minutes ago on the Nationals forum for the problem with the original date). Beyond that, after that weekend, we start running into APs, and the other high school end-of-year national tournaments. The week before the original date is ICT (and our own college tournament), so that doesn't work. Before that, and it is much harder for schools to have fundraised and made plans, and constricts our own ability to plan for it. For anyone interested farther down the road, we have already booked the same hotel for April 25-27, 2014, so this will hopefully just be a one year issue.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Mewto55555 » Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:09 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:we have already booked the same hotel for April 25-27, 2014, so this will hopefully just be a one year issue.
Has the hotel made sure they put you down for this weekend too?
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:36 pm

Mewto55555 wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:we have already booked the same hotel for April 25-27, 2014, so this will hopefully just be a one year issue.
Has the hotel made sure they put you down for this weekend too?
Yes, we've been told that they're holding that weekend specifically for us. The issue there is that the weekend before is Easter weekend, as it really makes sense for us to run our Nationals on either of the two final weekends in April, we wanted to lock in to that as early as possible.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Cheynem » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:56 pm

Will there ever be the possibility of NHBB not being in Washington D.C.?
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:07 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:we have already booked the same hotel for April 25-27, 2014, so this will hopefully just be a one year issue.
Has the hotel made sure they put you down for this weekend too?
Yes, we've been told that they're holding that weekend specifically for us. The issue there is that the weekend before is Easter weekend, as it really makes sense for us to run our Nationals on either of the two final weekends in April, we wanted to lock in to that as early as possible.
Update here: We signed the contract with the hotel for NHBB Nationals for 2014 yesterday. Having read all the fine print ten times over, I can announce that it will in fact be from April 25-27, again, based at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:59 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:We'll be providing guides to escort all teams to and from the hotel to their sites this year, so that no one risks getting lost. Metro tickets to these sites and back will be included in the cost of registration this year, and will be purchased in advance. Guides will also have specially designated restaurants to bring groups to for lunch so as to avoid bottlenecks in the Crystal City passageway.
I feel as though this is a not-so-great solution to a not-so-great idea to begin with. Why does the off-site system have to stay in the first place? The terrible communication last year combined with the fact that the D.C. Metro, being in the large metropolitan area that it is and being heavily used as you could expect on a spring Saturday, simply led to a lot of people being stuck,stranded, confused, and frustrated. I understand you want to improve the organization, and kudos for that, but I think trying to herd together teams into a contingency and having someone trying to play shepherd by trying to keep any students or teams from straying from the flock while at the same time having to organize food and transit is going to be hard. I also do not see how if getting five people in a group (think four players + coach) to board the same, packed D.C. Metro train is hard enough, what will make getting a group of 25+ quiz bowlers all on the same train any much easier.

Speaking of the guides, may I ask how you plan to compensate them? In addition to that, is said compensation going to cause an increase in the fee?
-Possibility to Order Meals in Advance
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Teams will in fact be able to order meals (and t-shirts) this year in advance, so that we can avoid meal lines when matches are upcoming.
How is it possible for a team to determine their meal orders if they won't have an idea of what their (seemingly) pre-determined dining destination is?

Also, can you release a fee structure for NHBB Nats 2013?
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Sep 09, 2012 6:01 pm

Cheynem wrote:Will there ever be the possibility of NHBB not being in Washington D.C.?
Depends on how you look at it. In the long run, we face an obvious constraint with the number of teams that we can accommodate on one weekend in DC. Primarily, this is an issue of hotel rooms to host games in and just a recognition that trying to manage too many teams at once increases the possibility things can go awry. One way to handle this would be to have multiple National cities and weekends, and then fly the winning teams and students from each division in to DC (or, potentially somewhere else) for the final site. Questions Unlimited has done this for years.
We're probably at least 5 years from this being an issue, but this is likely where we will eventually end up, provided we're able to keep growing NHBB on a sustainable basis, and I see no reason why that shouldn't be possible. This also has the added advantage of giving most teams and students the choice of different weekends and sites, which could also bring travel costs way down for many teams and make it more possible for schools to avoid conflicts with senior proms, and the like. The obvious downside is that the winning teams and students would need to keep 2 weekends free, but unlike Questions Unlimited, NHBB has a little more time in the calendar to play around with, so there's no reason why this should be a major stumbling block, since both of those weekends would almost certainly be in April, and not conflict with HSNCT, NSC, NASAT, or APs.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:22 pm

Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:We'll be providing guides to escort all teams to and from the hotel to their sites this year, so that no one risks getting lost. Metro tickets to these sites and back will be included in the cost of registration this year, and will be purchased in advance. Guides will also have specially designated restaurants to bring groups to for lunch so as to avoid bottlenecks in the Crystal City passageway.
I feel as though this is a not-so-great solution to a not-so-great idea to begin with. Why does the off-site system have to stay in the first place?
Two primary reasons - first, and most importantly, we have a limited number of spaces we can host games in at the host hotel (and there aren't other hotels in the area that are any larger, have good transit connections, and are not in the $200 a night room range). The sites allow us to have a lot more teams at Nationals than we otherwise could. Secondly, many teams and students enjoy playing there. Not all the sites are created equal, but the nicer ones in particular add a great dimension to the tournament.
Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:The terrible communication last year combined with the fact that the D.C. Metro, being in the large metropolitan area that it is and being heavily used as you could expect on a spring Saturday, simply led to a lot of people being stuck,stranded, confused, and frustrated. I understand you want to improve the organization, and kudos for that, but I think trying to herd together teams into a contingency and having someone trying to play shepherd by trying to keep any students or teams from straying from the flock while at the same time having to organize food and transit is going to be hard. I also do not see how if getting five people in a group (think four players + coach) to board the same, packed D.C. Metro train is hard enough, what will make getting a group of 25+ quiz bowlers all on the same train any much easier.
Teams will still be given directions to the sites if they get separated. For the morning rounds, at around 8am on a Saturday, the Metro is not typically that crowded. For getting back to the hotel at lunch, everyone knows where they need to go at that point. For the afternoon, it will only be the consolation matches that are on site, and for those, it's just 4 teams per guide. I don't think that's asking for trouble. By and large, the vast majority of teams have been able to get themselves without issue to where they need to go over the past two years, so even if someone gets separated (and guides will have the cell phone numbers of each team), it shouldn't be a real stumbling block. As for organizing food, we'll know the route that everyone is taking at lunch, so that way, we can have the guides stop at different fast food places on the way to ensure that we don't have an hour long line at Sbarro or whatever.
Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:Speaking of the guides, may I ask how you plan to compensate them? In addition to that, is said compensation going to cause an increase in the fee?
Guides are just going to be the site captains; in other words, experienced staffers and/or DC area locals who know exactly where to go and when. That won't cause an increase in fees at all.
Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Possibility to Order Meals in Advance: Teams will in fact be able to order meals (and t-shirts) this year in advance, so that we can avoid meal lines when matches are upcoming.
How is it possible for a team to determine their meal orders if they won't have an idea of what their (seemingly) pre-determined dining destination is?

Because the meal orders in question would be for Friday and Saturday evening, Saturday and Sunday morning, and Sunday lunch. Once we know which teams are playing at the hotel on Saturday morning, we can give those teams this option too.
Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:Also, can you release a fee structure for NHBB Nats 2013?
Base fee - Bowl $525 (will include all metro tickets for up to 5 people)
Host school discount (for Bowl only - applies once per school) $50
Buzzer discount (for Bowl only - limit 3 per school) - $20
Experienced Reader discount for Friday night - $35
Experienced Reader discount for Bowl - $90
Experienced Reader discount for Bee - $50
Base fee - Bee $85
Consolation Bee $50
Sports & Entertainment Bees $20 for students, $30 for adults
Scrimmages $15
Rooms at host hotel $132
Parking - Free, after 5pm on Friday for duration of weekend - about .2 mile from hotel

The reader discount does not include a per diem or lodging/travel for coaches claiming the discount. Teams can claim more than one Reader discount per team, if they have additional readers and we still need them at the point when they register. Experienced readers will either be coaches who are known to read all the time, or others who go through an online one-on-one training session, in addition to having read at Regionals. Obviously, we reserve the right to deny discounts if we feel that readers are not able to read at a capable level, or, if we have secured enough readers in advance. Any team who claims a reader discount at a time when we are still looking for readers will qualify for it, no matter what, though.
David Madden
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Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Sep 09, 2012 7:38 pm

Uh, who charges extra for consolation and scrimmages? That strikes me as really unpleasant.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Susan » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:27 pm

One way to handle this would be to have multiple National cities and weekends, and then fly the winning teams and students from each division in to DC (or, potentially somewhere else) for the final site. ... This also has the added advantage of giving most teams and students the choice of different weekends and sites, which could also bring travel costs way down for many teams and make it more possible for schools to avoid conflicts with senior proms, and the like. ... The obvious downside is that the winning teams and students would need to keep 2 weekends free, but unlike Questions Unlimited, NHBB has a little more time in the calendar to play around with, so there's no reason why this should be a major stumbling block, since both of those weekends would almost certainly be in April, and not conflict with HSNCT, NSC, NASAT, or APs.
So...for a tournament that has had trouble attracting sufficient qualified staff, you may choose to host it over two or more weekends in April (conflicting with ICT, ACF Nats, and possibly Easter)? This seems perilous.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Sun Sep 09, 2012 9:36 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Two primary reasons - first, and most importantly, we have a limited number of spaces we can host games in at the host hotel (and there aren't other hotels in the area that are any larger, have good transit connections, and are not in the $200 a night room range). The sites allow us to have a lot more teams at Nationals than we otherwise could. Secondly, many teams and students enjoy playing there. Not all the sites are created equal, but the nicer ones in particular add a great dimension to the tournament.
NHBB Nats is going to have a field cap, right? If so, what is that going to be? With regards to "playing at a site is what many teams enjoy", I guess that's contingent on who you ask. While I don't doubt that the idiosyncrasy of playing at various historical sites is something that teams and players will enjoy, that likely doesn't represent the majority view. I think it's worth inquiring what people think of this, possibly a survey of the teams and staffers of NHBB Nats 2013 after the tournament is completed. To quote what one of your site captains said last year regarding this issue;
John Timmer wrote:I'm less sure the multiple sites around DC will work, since it bombed the 1st year and didn't seem to get any better this year. I mean the travel time on the directions for the metro were terribly wrong... one of the teams going to GMF Saturday morning... [t]old me they followed the directions for the GMF and it took them an hour when the printed directions said 30 minutes.
This is one inherent flaw in my opinion of site play that is contingent on public transit, and that is you simply can't make the world work on your watch. If something completely out of your control happens to the metro line and its flow of traffic, be it a power outage or someone won a Darwin award for stepping onto the third rail, then the whole tournament is jeopardized and you potentially have teams in parts of D.C. that they may not want to be stuck in for an extended period of time.
John Timmer wrote:If planned flawlessly, I think the multiple sites can work, but that's really the problem...it just adds another factor to plan in running a tournament, and when things go wrong (like a mistake in the afternoon schedule, or reporting scores back to the control room) it turns into a disaster.
See above.
John Timmer wrote:If part of the attraction will be to allow teams visit historic sites around DC, by playing all games at the hotel you cut down on wasted travel time, which should then allow teams to you know eat...and actually explore DC if they desire. The main focus has to be playing matches and getting the tournament done on schedule, and in a timely manner.
This is pretty reasonable, in fact I think this has to be an imperative focus. At HSNCT I got to do a lot more things than I did at NHBB Nats, in part due to the end times of the tournament. Time efficiency I don't think was too abundant at NHBB, because HSNCT ran 15 preliminary rounds all by around 5pm (IIRC), while NHBB Nats ran 10 preliminary rounds by around 7:00ish? And yes, more likely than not this is related to the fact that HSNCT is ran all in one building and thus there isn't a need for built in travel times and delays for teams that had to make multiple transfers on the D.C. metro.
John Timmer wrote:If NHBB still sticks with having games at historical/interesting sites next year, then I continue to stress, don't split brackets to different sites. Absolutely do not do it. If the Embassy of Slovenia says they can only give you 1 room, don't use them as a site.
For real, please don't make this mistake again.

Also, for next year in the program can you make a list of the sites and with them, have a list of rules about the site, i.e. what their dress code is, whether or not they'll allow food and drink or not, that sort of stuff, because I don't think this was conveyed too well as some places are inevitably going to be stricter on that stuff than others (instance, I didn't realize I couldn't bring in a 32oz bottle of Gatorade I had just bought on our way to the morning site into the Anderson House until I was told I'd have to pitch it).

NHBB Nationals 2012 fee structure wrote: Confirmed Prices
Base Fee for Bowl Team: $450
NHBB Nationals 2013 fee structure wrote: Base fee - Bowl $525 (will include all metro tickets for up to 5 people)
I don't claim to fully understand how the D.C. metro works, but Is it possible to opt out of getting the metro tickets in the registration and let teams buy the fare cards on their own if they want to? Does the $75 increase between this year and next year reflect the addition of the metro ticket fares (I'm assuming for 5 people, that's going to be $15/fare card). If that's the case, can a team pay $450 and just simply get the fare cards on their own? I think this could work better for some teams.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:16 pm

RyuAqua wrote:Uh, who charges extra for consolation and scrimmages? That strikes me as really unpleasant.
For the Consolation Bee (this is solely for students at Nationals for the Bowl who didn't qualify in the Bee), students get an entire morning's worth of competition, and we still need to have it staffed. Last year, I think about 20 students competed in it, and we also offered a cash prize to the winner. As for scrimmages, they too require staff, rooms, and coordination. Not all National tournaments offer them, because of the extra work involved. We've made the decision to give teams the option of paying a bit to cover that; if they choose not to do that, that's completely up to them. That all said, we offer other events on Friday evening, and it may be that offering coordinated scrimmages is more effort than it's worth on top of the other events for 2013. As mentioned, this is under consideration, and I'll make a final call on the matter in early 2013, once I know how all the other preparations are coming along.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Sep 09, 2012 10:24 pm

Susan wrote:
One way to handle this would be to have multiple National cities and weekends, and then fly the winning teams and students from each division in to DC (or, potentially somewhere else) for the final site. ... This also has the added advantage of giving most teams and students the choice of different weekends and sites, which could also bring travel costs way down for many teams and make it more possible for schools to avoid conflicts with senior proms, and the like. ... The obvious downside is that the winning teams and students would need to keep 2 weekends free, but unlike Questions Unlimited, NHBB has a little more time in the calendar to play around with, so there's no reason why this should be a major stumbling block, since both of those weekends would almost certainly be in April, and not conflict with HSNCT, NSC, NASAT, or APs.
So...for a tournament that has had trouble attracting sufficient qualified staff, you may choose to host it over two or more weekends in April (conflicting with ICT, ACF Nats, and possibly Easter)? This seems perilous.
We're talking about five years from now, minimum. Note: with NHBB Nationals being permanently in DC (at least one site will always be there), for both middle and high school, we have a real incentive to build up a permanent local staffing corps. Not only does this give us the staff we need, but we then avoid paying travel costs (though we will still welcome qualified staffers from elsewhere) and can invest the savings elsewhere. I've mentioned before that this is the top reason of many reasons for my move to the area in October. Beyond all that, I have a lot more time in my own personal schedule to devote to the staff search this year. Even with the conflict with ACF Nationals, we're way ahead of where we were at this point last year regarding lining up Nationals staff.
As to the three conflicts you mentioned, we would likely have one of the weekends where we run Nationals be earlier in the month (say, from March 30-April 10). ICT and ACF seem to be more in mid-April. In any case, this is a loooooong way away from being an issue for anyone.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Mike Wong » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:39 pm

I have no vested interest in any of the national tournaments, but I think having this tournament and MSNCT on the same date spreads the number of qualified staffers really thin (to say nothing of ACF Nats, though that needs way fewer staffers). This cannot be good for any of the tournaments nor quizbowl as a whole.

(Edited for grammar)
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:40 pm

Mike Wong wrote:I have no vested interest in any of the national tournament, but I think having this tournament and MSNCT on the same date spreads the number of qualified staffers really thin (to say nothing of ACF Nats, though that needs way fewer staffers). This cannot be good for any of the tournament nor quizbowl as a whole.
The issue with the ACF Nats conflict is that many of the best staffers will be playing ACF Nats.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:42 pm

Paula Pareto Optimality wrote: NHBB Nats is going to have a field cap, right? If so, what is that going to be?
144 Varsity, 48 JV is what it is set at. If we were limiting it to the hotel, we would need to cap it at 120 teams overall, and that is simply not feasible either from a financial perspective or accommodating anywhere near the number of teams who are likely to be interested in coming.
Paula Pareto Optimality wrote: With regards to "playing at a site is what many teams enjoy", I guess that's contingent on who you ask. While I don't doubt that the idiosyncrasy of playing at various historical sites is something that teams and players will enjoy, that likely doesn't represent the majority view. I think it's worth inquiring what people think of this, possibly a survey of the teams and staffers of NHBB Nats 2013 after the tournament is completed.
I'm not sure what the majority view is here, but your suggestion to survey the teams makes sense, and we can do that. Playing at the sites probably has more appeal to teams who are more coming to Nationals for the overall experience, and less for teams who look to be competitive in the tournament. That is why we've limited the on site matches to the consolation matches among Varsity teams. If a Varsity team comes to Nationals and makes the contention rounds (i.e. it finishes 1-3 in its morning group of 6), it won't play on site at all in 2013.
Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:To quote what one of your site captains said last year regarding this issue;
John Timmer wrote:I'm less sure the multiple sites around DC will work, since it bombed the 1st year and didn't seem to get any better this year. I mean the travel time on the directions for the metro were terribly wrong... one of the teams going to GMF Saturday morning... [t]old me they followed the directions for the GMF and it took them an hour when the printed directions said 30 minutes.
This is one inherent flaw in my opinion of site play that is contingent on public transit, and that is you simply can't make the world work on your watch. If something completely out of your control happens to the metro line and its flow of traffic, be it a power outage or someone won a Darwin award for stepping onto the third rail, then the whole tournament is jeopardized and you potentially have teams in parts of D.C. that they may not want to be stuck in for an extended period of time.
For the Varsity consolation matches in the afternoon, this shouldn't be a major issue, since all teams will travel to the sites together from the hotel with their site captain and readers. These teams then are only playing 3 games, not 5 this year, and of course, those matches don't impact the outcome of the tournament at all.
For the JV morning matches on site, it's more of a potential concern, but the current schedule allows for something like 2.5 hours of a lunch break. So even if they get up to an hour behind, it should not pose a problem this year. On the off chance the whole metro system gets fried, this would still allow teams enough time to call for cabs to get back to the hotel or to their sites with plenty of time to spare.
Also, keep in mind that this year's schedule is only planned to accommodate 3 rounds of play on Saturday evening, and each of those has about 50 minutes allocated, when we'll likely need about 35; even if we need to adjudicate protests. So, there's more time built into the schedule at all levels.
John Timmer wrote:If planned flawlessly, I think the multiple sites can work, but that's really the problem...it just adds another factor to plan in running a tournament, and when things go wrong (like a mistake in the afternoon schedule, or reporting scores back to the control room) it turns into a disaster.


This year's whole tournament is being designed so that no one needs to wait for the control room to tell anyone where to go. Teams will know their order of finish, and hence their afternoon site, before they leave their morning matches, and will need to sign the scoring poster, thus indicating they understand where they need to go and when they need to be there.
Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:
John Timmer wrote:If part of the attraction will be to allow teams visit historic sites around DC, by playing all games at the hotel you cut down on wasted travel time, which should then allow teams to you know eat...and actually explore DC if they desire. The main focus has to be playing matches and getting the tournament done on schedule, and in a timely manner.
This is pretty reasonable, in fact I think this has to be an imperative focus. At HSNCT I got to do a lot more things than I did at NHBB Nats, in part due to the end times of the tournament. Time efficiency I don't think was too abundant at NHBB, because HSNCT ran 15 preliminary rounds all by around 5pm (IIRC), while NHBB Nats ran 10 preliminary rounds by around 7:00ish? And yes, more likely than not this is related to the fact that HSNCT is ran all in one building and thus there isn't a need for built in travel times and delays for teams that had to make multiple transfers on the D.C. metro.


The current schedule lets consolation teams get to explore their site potentially for an hour this year, after the games end; that's more than in past years. I completely agree that the overwhelming focus needs to be running the tournament efficiently, but there are ways to do that that don't involve completely scrapping the site system.
Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:
John Timmer wrote:If NHBB still sticks with having games at historical/interesting sites next year, then I continue to stress, don't split brackets to different sites. Absolutely do not do it. If the Embassy of Slovenia says they can only give you 1 room, don't use them as a site.
For real, please don't make this mistake again.


There is no way on earth we will have this happen this year. If it absolutely came down to it, we could take 3 normal non-suite rooms at the hotel, move out all the furniture, pay $400 per room for it, and have games in those rooms. That should be as strong a signal on this as anyone would want.
Paula Pareto Optimality wrote: Also, for next year in the program can you make a list of the sites and with them, have a list of rules about the site, i.e. what their dress code is, whether or not they'll allow food and drink or not, that sort of stuff, because I don't think this was conveyed too well as some places are inevitably going to be stricter on that stuff than others (instance, I didn't realize I couldn't bring in a 32oz bottle of Gatorade I had just bought on our way to the morning site into the Anderson House until I was told I'd have to pitch it).


Sure, we can do this. I've added this idea to the list of ideas to improve NHBB Nationals that I am keeping.
NHBB Nationals 2012 fee structure wrote: Confirmed Prices
Base Fee for Bowl Team: $450
NHBB Nationals 2013 fee structure wrote: Base fee - Bowl $525 (will include all metro tickets for up to 5 people)
Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:I don't claim to fully understand how the D.C. metro works, but Is it possible to opt out of getting the metro tickets in the registration and let teams buy the fare cards on their own if they want to? Does the $75 increase between this year and next year reflect the addition of the metro ticket fares (I'm assuming for 5 people, that's going to be $15/fare card). If that's the case, can a team pay $450 and just simply get the fare cards on their own? I think this could work better for some teams.
The higher fee structure is primarily a function of the staffer reimbursement, which has been upped from $150 to $250. We've also increased the buzzer and reader discounts too, though (the reader discounts last year were $25/$75/$35 - this year they're $35/$90/$50). The metro card is part of the fee increase too, but having an opt in/opt out system for that defeats the whole purpose, since we won't know which teams will be playing on site in the afternoon for the Varsity until we run the tournament. And all JV teams will play on site anyway.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by jonah » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:43 pm

Communi-Bear Silo State wrote:
Mike Wong wrote:I have no vested interest in any of the national tournament, but I think having this tournament and MSNCT on the same date spreads the number of qualified staffers really thin (to say nothing of ACF Nats, though that needs way fewer staffers). This cannot be good for any of the tournament nor quizbowl as a whole.
The issue with the ACF Nats conflict is that many of the best staffers will be playing ACF Nats.
Very (painfully, for me and presumably for David) true.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:44 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl (emphasis added by me) wrote:Buzzer discount (for Bowl only - limit 3 per school) - $20
Why is this? I remember last year that we barely had enough buzzers (by like 5, at most) to field everything, and we even had to replace other ones that just weren't working? This sounds like a pretty bad idea. It would be much better to just let schools bring however many buzzers they can bring and give them the discount, so you don't run into problems the night before or anything.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:45 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Note: with NHBB Nationals being permanently in DC (at least one site will always be there), for both middle and high school, we have a real incentive to build up a permanent local staffing corps.
But no possibility of actually doing so this year, since the local staffers will all be playing ACF Nationals...?
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:53 pm

Mike Wong wrote:I have no vested interest in any of the national tournaments, but I think having this tournament and MSNCT on the same date spreads the number of qualified staffers really thin (to say nothing of ACF Nats, though that needs way fewer staffers). This cannot be good for any of the tournaments nor quizbowl as a whole.

(Edited for grammar)
Again, the pool of people who can competently staff any quiz bowl tournament, even at a National level is by no means limited to those people who have done so in the past, or even are active within quizbowl. You simply need 1) Reasonably competent, intelligent people who can read with some degree of speed and pronounce foreign names without too much trouble 2) Train them well, and make sure they know what they need to do for the good of the tournament (for example, do not allow teams to chat between questions, and call them for conferring if you start reading the next question and they haven't quieted down)
We have had numerous talented staffers whom no one has ever at all complained about help us out. It's simply a matter of putting in the time to find them and train them. Are they going to be as talented as someone who reads at 20+ tournaments a year? Probably not, though in some cases, it wouldn't shock me. Are they going to be perfectly capable of reading and keeping a room under control? Yes, as long as we vet them and train them.
NHBB, and I in particular, are going to make sure this gets taken care of long before our Nationals begins. The page of readers I keep updated on the Nationals forums is the place to check our progress. Also, once the grid gets filled, I will keep looking for staff, since I know that we will get last minute cancellations, and we need to have at least 15+ more qualified readers than the number of spaces currently on the grid.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Sep 09, 2012 11:57 pm

Black-throated Antshrike wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl (emphasis added by me) wrote:Buzzer discount (for Bowl only - limit 3 per school) - $20
Why is this? I remember last year that we barely had enough buzzers (by like 5, at most) to field everything, and we even had to replace other ones that just weren't working? This sounds like a pretty bad idea. It would be much better to just let schools bring however many buzzers they can bring and give them the discount, so you don't run into problems the night before or anything.
We can lift the limit if we need to once we know how many buzzers we can expect (obviously, bearing in mind that some systems won't work and some systems simply will not be brought, even though teams checked the box). Beyond that, we've already secured about 30 more systems than we had last year based on understanding with certain people and purchases. The discount is also $5 more this year per system, for whatever that's worth.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:03 am

Matt Weiner wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Note: with NHBB Nationals being permanently in DC (at least one site will always be there), for both middle and high school, we have a real incentive to build up a permanent local staffing corps.
But no possibility of actually doing so this year, since the local staffers will all be playing ACF Nationals...?
That's not what I meant when I said "build up". The point is, as you mention, there already are certainly a number of staffers in the greater DC area, and I'm sure you're right about them playing ACF instead. But see my post about building up a corps of staffers who are not currently a part of the wider quizbowl world. As long as they are vetted and trained, there's no reason they can't do a perfectly fine job. Literally dozens of staffers at NHBB acquitted themselves just fine last year; those who were problematic won't be invited back or will scorekeep or help out in some other capacity.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:35 am

That's pretty fair, but I don't know about this:
nationalhistorybowlandbee wrote:The metro card is part of the fee increase too, but having an opt in/opt out system for that defeats the whole purpose, since we won't know which teams will be playing on site in the afternoon for the Varsity until we run the tournament. And all JV teams will play on site anyway.
I don't think it defeats the whole purpose, I think if we went it likely serves our interests well if we bought a $20 fare card for each individual on our team because we'll need to use the metro to make several round trips to the hotel and back from where we'd be staying (Falls Church), in addition to onsite travel.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:28 am

Paula Pareto Optimality wrote:That's pretty fair, but I don't know about this:
nationalhistorybowlandbee wrote:The metro card is part of the fee increase too, but having an opt in/opt out system for that defeats the whole purpose, since we won't know which teams will be playing on site in the afternoon for the Varsity until we run the tournament. And all JV teams will play on site anyway.
I don't think it defeats the whole purpose, I think if we went it likely serves our interests well if we bought a $20 fare card for each individual on our team because we'll need to use the metro to make several round trips to the hotel and back from where we'd be staying (Falls Church), in addition to onsite travel.
Tom, to take your example (which makes sense, because Falls Church is probably one of the farther away places that a team would stay), I just checked and the fare is $2.75 one way from Falls Church to Crystal City (off peak, which it would be all weekend). That's $5.50 per person there and back. From Crystal City to Dupont Circle (where we have many sites) is $2.05 each way, $4.10 round trip.
A day card is $14, so you wouldn't be saving anything, even if you ended up did an additional trip into DC and back to the hotel that evening (for example, if you don't make the playoffs) before heading back to Falls Church.

One thing you mentioned, though, that I've thought over is that we can probably start the whole tournament a bit earlier to build even more time into the schedule. The tournament currently suggests leaving for the sites at 7:30, and starting the games there (and at the hotel, simultaneously) at 8:40. We can move that all up to leaving for the sites at 7:15 and starting the games at 8:30. Just gives ourselves that much more margin for error, especially with the morning, on-site matches, which do have an impact on the rest of the tournament, unlike the Varsity consolation matches on site.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by sir negsalot » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:37 pm

For planning purposes, it may be useful to note that metro now charges an extra dollar per trip for individual farecards in an effort to convert everyone to Smartrip
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:58 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:That's not what I meant when I said "build up". The point is, as you mention, there already are certainly a number of staffers in the greater DC area, and I'm sure you're right about them playing ACF instead. But see my post about building up a corps of staffers who are not currently a part of the wider quizbowl world. As long as they are vetted and trained, there's no reason they can't do a perfectly fine job. Literally dozens of staffers at NHBB acquitted themselves just fine last year; those who were problematic won't be invited back or will scorekeep or help out in some other capacity.
You're putting a lot of money down on that "trusting outside staffers while incorporating very few regular staffers the year after agitating a lot of people because your tournament didn't go well last year" horse.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:36 pm

Yeah, I think it's worth noting that the non-quizbowl people did not, in fact, do "a perfectly fine job" last year. There were lots of people about whom we don't have horror stories like "constantly pausing during their reading of tossups to mention where they would have buzzed" or "taking any remotely Japanese-sounding name because they were uncomfortable ruling a player who looked Asian wrong." The other people who did not do such outlandish things still took 45 minutes to read games that an actual quizbowl person could do in 20, so they aren't going to solve the big issue of running the tournament in a timely way. You're confusing "just did an ordinary slow, mediocre job without doing anything comically stupid" with "perfectly fine." I simply don't agree with the notion that people who are not involved in quizbowl, including those who haven't even read at anything for NHBB before nationals (!), are going to be turned into the sort of readers that a national tournament charging a national tournament's entry fee demands. I offered to help you recruit staff for this, but now I can't because the vast majority of people I would suggest need to be either playing or reading ACF Nationals, which I am directing, and you changed the date of the tournament without consulting me or anyone else who can connect you to the mainstream of quizbowl.

People want the tournament to succeed. I hope my own position on that is clear, and nearly everyone else posting here is a player of the tournament or someone who has directed regional sites for you. This isn't sniping for no reason, but it's people with more quizbowl experience than yourself telling you that your fanciful notions that have not worked in the past are going to continue to not work.

If there is truly no other option at this point, because you for some reason agreed to the contract on the changed date instead of finding a hotel that knows how to use a calendar, then you will have to do the best you can with who you have, which I'm fairly certain is going to be imperfect at best. Next year, you need to start incorporating people who know how quizbowl works into your staff, by avoiding scheduling conflicts and making inroads with the substantial number of local people who can help you. Even at its current unwieldy size, you could staff half the rooms of the tournament with current and alumni members of the Maryland. VCU, UVa, and George Mason teams if you don't schedule it on a day when they can't attend; that should be the goal, not the unachievable pipe dream of getting random Jeopardy forum posters to become national-caliber readers.

I think people should play this tournament because I think the idea of History Bowl is a good one and I know HSAPQ will once again be providing refreshingly excellent questions that give you a good break from the overhard, quasi-English dreck that is the average "housewrite." And I think that most of the staff will again be "just good enough to make sure the right team is able to win by playing the questions as presented," though they will still frustrate the hell out of the average quizbowl team with their glacial pace and occasional need to look up a rule. But it could be so much better, and replacing those staffers with competent quizbowl people is the first step to making that happen.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:54 am

Matt Weiner wrote:Yeah, I think it's worth noting that the non-quizbowl people did not, in fact, do "a perfectly fine job" last year. There were lots of people about whom we don't have horror stories like "constantly pausing during their reading of tossups to mention where they would have buzzed" or "taking any remotely Japanese-sounding name because they were uncomfortable ruling a player who looked Asian wrong." The other people who did not do such outlandish things still took 45 minutes to read games that an actual quizbowl person could do in 20, so they aren't going to solve the big issue of running the tournament in a timely way.
No, they did not all do this, and we have plenty of evidence that this is not true, having talked with site captains and teams. Yes, in certain cases, readers took maybe 35 minutes for games where in most cases it would have taken a quizbowl person 20-25. Contrary to what you may think, reading questions at a good pace, and following instructions coherently are not skills unique to quizbowlers. I completely admit that we need to do a much better job training and vetting staff, but there are plenty of ways to do this, particularly as we have much more time built into the schedule anyway this year. That's not an excuse for slow readers, but they can be checked for that on an individual basis long before Nationals, and if contingencies do come up somewhere, the whole tournament won't be slower.
Matt Weiner wrote:You're confusing "just did an ordinary slow, mediocre job without doing anything comically stupid" with "perfectly fine." I simply don't agree with the notion that people who are not involved in quizbowl, including those who haven't even read at anything for NHBB before nationals (!), are going to be turned into the sort of readers that a national tournament charging a national tournament's entry fee demands.
Not overnight, but as we have 3 DC area regionals for high school, a DC area middle school bee, and there are loads of Saturday tournaments in the area of all sorts who might be interested in staffing help, there are plenty of opportunities for readers to get experience in advance. And again, I am devising a whole training program for our staffers which talks them through the contingencies you mentioned.
Matt Weiner wrote:I offered to help you recruit staff for this, but now I can't because the vast majority of people I would suggest need to be either playing or reading ACF Nationals, which I am directing, and you changed the date of the tournament without consulting me or anyone else who can connect you to the mainstream of quizbowl.
As mentioned earlier, if there was another option that made sense, we would have gladly considered it, but a later date runs into APs and end of year Nationals, and an earlier date runs into ICT/Easter/a lot less time for teams to fundraise and us to coordinate all aspects of Nationals, including staffing.
Matt Weiner wrote:People want the tournament to succeed. I hope my own position on that is clear, and nearly everyone else posting here is a player of the tournament or someone who has directed regional sites for you. This isn't sniping for no reason, but it's people with more quizbowl experience than yourself telling you that your fanciful notions that have not worked in the past are going to continue to not work.
If there is truly no other option at this point, because you for some reason agreed to the contract on the changed date instead of finding a hotel that knows how to use a calendar, then you will have to do the best you can with who you have, which I'm fairly certain is going to be imperfect at best. Next year, you need to start incorporating people who know how quizbowl works into your staff, by avoiding scheduling conflicts and making inroads with the substantial number of local people who can help you. Even at its current unwieldy size, you could staff half the rooms of the tournament with current and alumni members of the Maryland. VCU, UVa, and George Mason teams if you don't schedule it on a day when they can't attend; that should be the goal, not the unachievable pipe dream of getting random Jeopardy forum posters to become national-caliber readers.
Look, I know at this point that we can't take chances with regards to the quality of readers. But, consider something else - there are far more college quizbowl teams up and down the east coast than will end up going to ACF. And perhaps many of the schools that do go to ACF will send just their A team. That still leaves hundreds of college quizbowl players within a 7 hour radius of DC that weekend; we'll be getting in touch with them too. Sure, this might make it more expensive for us, but if they can carpool, it's not that large a concern.
Matt Weiner wrote:I think people should play this tournament because I think the idea of History Bowl is a good one and I know HSAPQ will once again be providing refreshingly excellent questions that give you a good break from the overhard, quasi-English dreck that is the average "housewrite." And I think that most of the staff will again be "just good enough to make sure the right team is able to win by playing the questions as presented," though they will still frustrate the hell out of the average quizbowl team with their glacial pace and occasional need to look up a rule. But it could be so much better, and replacing those staffers with competent quizbowl people is the first step to making that happen.
We have a huge incentive for this all to work well this year - that goes without saying. If I really feel that come January or so, we are not in the position we need to be vis a vis having sufficient numbers of quality staffers, then I can always increase the travel stipend and reach out to quizbowlers farther afield. Even with MSNCT and ACF going on that weekend, there are lots of people out there with experience in quizbowl who will not be at either. NHBB itself had over 200 graduating seniors last year. At schools where we know the teams are active and these people played NHBB, we can approach their coaches. Most of the staff is still going to end up as being quizbowlers, coaches, experienced NHBB Staffers, and this will be true for all of the contention rounds and playoff rounds on top of that anyway.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Sep 11, 2012 4:25 pm

I think it's a huge exaggeration to say there are "hundreds of college quizbowl players" in the area who won't be at ACF Nationals. At any rate, most of those with a significant stake in the college game--i.e. those willing to drive up and staff a chaotic high school event--will in fact be at Nats.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:08 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:I think it's a huge exaggeration to say there are "hundreds of college quizbowl players" in the area who won't be at ACF Nationals. At any rate, most of those with a significant stake in the college game--i.e. those willing to drive up and staff a chaotic high school event--will in fact be at Nats.
I was going to make a post along these lines; many experienced quiz bowlers will historically be staffing either MSNCT or ACF Nats. Unless you plan on buying people out - and, in effect, undermining the efforts of other established tournaments who had previous claims on the date - you're going to have a lot of inexperienced staff attending.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:01 pm

How many college players are playing ACF? 28 x 4 = 112 last year = 128 this year (with some growth built in)
How many college players are staffing ACF? 130/4 = 32 readers + 6/8 admin = 38-40
How many college players are staffing MSNCT? Ans. Maybe 30-40 tops?

So, we're talking about 200 or so people here.

How many players played NAQT Sectionals on Feb 4 last year? Having gone through it and counted up the number of teams, multiplied by four and subtracted 30 to account for teams of less than four, that yields 638. And obviously, the population of college quizbowlers is more than just those who played NAQT Sectionals.

Of those 638, how many are within a seven hour drive of DC and won't be playing ACF or staffing MSNCT? Probably 50-100. Again, not everyone will be available or interested, and not all of these people would be ideal readers, and I'm not saying this is ideal. But characterizing this as cannibalization also goes too far.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Cheynem » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:19 pm

Those are numbers independent of reality. Look at who played NAQT Sectionals within driving distance of Washington D.C. Take out all the teams who won't be playing ACF or staffing MSNCT. Then take out or account for the fact that a number of teams who do play may feature people uninterested in reading or who actually have very little reading experience.

The two sites relatively close to D.C. (and it's a stretch in some cases) were Region 5 and Region 3.

Region 5
DI: UVA, Georgia Tech, VCU, North Carolina, Vanderbilt.
DII: (aside from DI repeats) Liberty, College of Charleston, Davidson, Virginia Tech, Radford, Roanoke, North Greenville, High Point

Region
DI: Maryland, Penn, Columbia, RPI, Cornell
DII: NYU, Delaware, SUNY-Stonybrook, Penn State

Of these schools:

UVA, VCU, Maryland, Penn, and Columbia will assuredly be playing ACF Nationals. I would strongly surmise Georgia Tech will be at Nationals as well (it's not really close to D.C. either).

Let's now list of the remaining schools who are within a seven hour drive. Note that it's hard to tell who will be at ACF Nats, and we'd ideally like all of these schools there:

ELIGIBLE
Delaware--2.5 hours
Liberty--3 hours
Roanoke--4 hours
Penn State--4 hours
Radford--4.5.-5 hours
Virginia Tech--4.5-5 hours
North Carolina--5 hours
SUNY-Stonybrook--5.5 hours
High Point--5-6 hours
NYU--5 hours
Cornell--6 hours
Davidson--about 7 hours
RPI--about 7 hours

That's 13 schools. If ACF Nationals happens in New York as it is rumored it might, I bet that would mean some of those New York schools would definitely be pointed more to ACF.

Anyway, of those 13 schools, it seems unlikely that you'd get all of them interested, particularly the schools that are more than 5 hours way (7 out of the 13). Furthermore, how many of them contain people that have experience reading quizbowl at a national level? (just eyeballing it, maybe like 3-4 of those schools, unsure how many of them would come) Furthermore again, a lot of these people were available for staffing last year and didn't show up--are you proposing a more aggressive recruitment method? would it be enough to get, say, Cornell to drive 6 hours to staff your tournament?

NOT ELIGIBLE: College of Charleston, Vanderbilt, North Greenville.

My point in all of this is that I feel like you're being really really optimistic with your stats and not necessarily looking at the reality of the situation.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:33 pm

The quizbowl community would probably do more to improve the experience of teams at 2013 NHBB by supporting Dave Madden in his efforts to train inexperienced and green moderators than by shaming NHBB officials. Public shaming today might arguably improve the experience of teams at 2014 NHBB, but there is plenty of time for that later.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Cheynem » Wed Sep 12, 2012 3:55 pm

I'm not trying to shame Dave Madden or NHBB officials. I'm trying to point out that the road "to train inexperienced and green moderators" is a tough one and that I fear Dave's optimism should be taken down a few notches if this tournament is going to be successful. Furthermore, I think what Matt and Fred and everyone are trying to do is stress that there are still problems in how the NHBB is organized that need to be corrected in the future. Nobody is trying to tear down the NHBB to get their jollies here.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:39 pm

Cheynem wrote:I'm not trying to shame Dave Madden or NHBB officials. I'm trying to point out that the road "to train inexperienced and green moderators" is a tough one and that I fear Dave's optimism should be taken down a few notches if this tournament is going to be successful. Furthermore, I think what Matt and Fred and everyone are trying to do is stress that there are still problems in how the NHBB is organized that need to be corrected in the future. Nobody is trying to tear down the NHBB to get their jollies here.
Well, maybe, but having to respond repeatedly here is not helping matters. When you combine:
1) Experienced preexisting NHBB Staff and staffers
2) The prospect of many experienced coaches reading
3) A certain number of college quizbowlers who will be available that weekend
4) A number of trained, competent moderators in the DC area who are capable of reading at pace and following instructions
5) A field cap

I'm really not losing sleep over this. We have plenty of time to work on this, especially from October - February. If the situation by February looks far more challenging then anticipated, hey, that's what the increase in covering staff travel is meant to cover, and if we need to, we can always go beyond the $250 reimbursement when we come to it. But just as NHBB has had lots of success in generating teams to turn out in areas where little to no previous circuits existed, we can succeed in finding and training competent staffers too; particularly with oodles more time built into my schedule this year to accomplish that very task.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Sep 12, 2012 8:22 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Well, maybe, but having to respond repeatedly here is not helping matters.
Terribly sorry to express concern that you might be on your way to having your third NHBB be your third disaster. I'll do my best to stay out of your hair in the future.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:10 pm

Fred wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Well, maybe, but having to respond repeatedly here is not helping matters.
Terribly sorry to express concern that you might be on your way to having your third NHBB be your third disaster. I'll do my best to stay out of your hair in the future.
Look, I appreciate advice, and I appreciate people's interest in seeing NHBB succeed. My only points here are that
-there is no way we can do a different date
-we have loads of competent people (like Eric Huff) advising us,
-that quite a number of competent people who have no present qb affiliation have staffed for us before and done not a mediocre job but a perfectly fine job (so, yes, this can be done with adequate training)
So I really don't think for all the reasons I've listed repeatedly that people need to fear "a disaster" due to the fact that certain staffers are going to be unavailable (which, by the way, is certainly not how hundreds of people who have attended - you not among them - would characterize it). Every contention bracket and playoffs reader will be an experienced reader, and quite a few of the consolation bracket readers too. If any team, player, coach, or anyone wants further clarification, or wants to offer there $.02 to help us succeed at this, I certainly welcome their help.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:48 pm

Dave, everyone realizes that it's possible for you to pull off a good tournament on that date, and if it's locked down now you'll have to. What's worrisome is that you're blowing off everyone's attempts to remind you that your path is going to be very difficult. Comments like this:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: So I really don't think for all the reasons I've listed repeatedly that people need to fear "a disaster" due to the fact that certain staffers are going to be unavailable (which, by the way, is certainly not how hundreds of people who have attended - you not among them - would characterize it).
make it seem like you're completely disregarding the severe logistical problems of the last 2 NHB's and preparing to go ahead with the same policies anyway. I hope this is not the case, and if you do the work to get staffers, work out the math rather than posting 5 sources "a number" of staffers will come from, and consult with people like Matt W. on the logistics end, you should be able to put on a good show. Please just accept the help.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by jonah » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:07 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:How many college players are staffing MSNCT? Ans. Maybe 30-40 tops?
I can't project how many will be college players, but MSNCT's total staffing needs are over twice that (and over three times the low end).
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:50 am

jonah wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:How many college players are staffing MSNCT? Ans. Maybe 30-40 tops?
I can't project how many will be college players, but MSNCT's total staffing needs are over twice that (and over three times the low end).
I know and understand that, though I would think that especially holding this in the Chicago area, that there are lots of high school coaches (and staffers from around the country who NAQT calls on on a regular basis) who are in a great position to help out. In any case, since NHBB is the newcomer here with respect to both NAQT and ACF, that is a major reason why I am fully cognizant of the fact that we are the ones who really need to do the heavy lifting to expand the potential staffing pool. In turn, though, we'd certainly encourage our own staffers to help out NAQT, ACF, and all other quizbowl tournaments on other dates.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:10 am

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:Dave, everyone realizes that it's possible for you to pull off a good tournament on that date, and if it's locked down now you'll have to. What's worrisome is that you're blowing off everyone's attempts to remind you that your path is going to be very difficult. Comments like this:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: So I really don't think for all the reasons I've listed repeatedly that people need to fear "a disaster" due to the fact that certain staffers are going to be unavailable (which, by the way, is certainly not how hundreds of people who have attended - you not among them - would characterize it).
make it seem like you're completely disregarding the severe logistical problems of the last 2 NHB's and preparing to go ahead with the same policies anyway. I hope this is not the case, and if you do the work to get staffers, work out the math rather than posting 5 sources "a number" of staffers will come from, and consult with people like Matt W. on the logistics end, you should be able to put on a good show. Please just accept the help.
This isn't the point I'm making. And I don't know if it's going to be very difficult, difficult, or simply another aspect of NHBB work. I know that a lot of work is involved here, and I know how much is riding on our ability to pull this off. I'm hardly dismissing the importance of this; my frustration here stemmed from the fact that people were in effect beating a dead horse, and making the same point over and over again even after I had outlined what my intentions were.
Here's another thought, though, to expand on said intentions. I consider myself qualified to teach someone (whom I already know, and trust, and have confidence in) the basics of moderating for NHBB. I would think a number of other people who are knowledgeable when it comes to quizbowl could also do the same. So perhaps, I might look to find other people (who themselves are competent and experienced and planning on staffing NHBB) to in turn train a few of their friends. I would then be happy to compensate them for their efforts in training.
Or let me put it another way, what do people see as the most challenging aspect of training new readers? Finding people who can read questions quickly? Know to keep the game moving and not chat between questions themselves or allow it among the teams? Who know what the tournament procedures are? I mean, people don't become great readers overnight, but are these qualities really limited to quizbowlers? I'm not saying that everyone is equipped to read at Nationals, and I fully admit that some people who have read at NHBB Nationals in the past should not have. Likewise, I'm fully admitting that we need to do a much better job vetting and training readers, and conveying what they need to know to them. But, if we do that, wouldn't people agree that there are a lot of intelligent (i.e. who would know to prompt on an answer of "Harrison" for a US president and can pronounce basic French, Spanish, and German words) and competent people out there who are able to follow instructions and read a question at a decent pace, especially, say, after a couple of one-on-one training sessions? Is this really going that super far out on a limb?
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! » Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:24 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: Or let me put it another way, what do people see as the most challenging aspect of training new readers? Finding people who can read questions quickly? Know to keep the game moving and not chat between questions themselves or allow it among the teams? Who know what the tournament procedures are? I mean, people don't become great readers overnight, but are these qualities really limited to quizbowlers? I'm not saying that everyone is equipped to read at Nationals, and I fully admit that some people who have read at NHBB Nationals in the past should not have. Likewise, I'm fully admitting that we need to do a much better job vetting and training readers, and conveying what they need to know to them. But, if we do that, wouldn't people agree that there are a lot of intelligent (i.e. who would know to prompt on an answer of "Harrison" for a US president and can pronounce basic French, Spanish, and German words) and competent people out there who are able to follow instructions and read a question at a decent pace, especially, say, after a couple of one-on-one training sessions? Is this really going that super far out on a limb?
I lean more towards knowing how to keep the game moving and knowing the procedures. How quickly someone reads really comes down to the individual reader and simply reading more.

I began helping staff at local and regional tournaments on a nearly weekly basis and then before the 1st year of the NHBB nationals, read the available sample packets to myself out loud and timed it. Letting new readers know you have sample packets and telling them to time themselves reading will improve speed. However it comes down the new readers doing it, because that's not something you, nor your staff trainers can make readers do. Also, I think the vast majority of people have a cap to how quickly they can read. If it's clear I really need to start cutting down time of games, I can go a few paces faster, but I always know when I'm reading too fast, because I start stumbling over simple words and blurring pronunciation. My lips are moving faster than my eyes can scan the page and I would rather make sure players are hearing me clearly than trying to read super fast. So, the more you read you can always progressively improve speed.

For "green moderators" the best thing is to make sure they're familiar with the rules and how to keep games moving. I still heard a lot from coaches and players at last year's NHBB that either the moderators kept talking between questions or the players.

With the new moderators you can't stress enough don't waste time with chatter between questions. I'm a history major, and anyone who's been around me for 10 minutes knows I love to talk history at anytime, but during tournaments I don't get why anyone needs to have an urge to discuss questions while a match is going on. The few times I want to, I just wait until after the match, when time isn't a factor or there's the 80% chance I forgot about it already.

And for new mods trying to reduce chatter from the teams. Usually you can put a stop to it right from the start, because the chatty teams will talk between questions from the start and if the mod doesn't put a stop to it then, it will be a problem throughout. Waiting for teams to quiet down absolutely doesn't work, and personally I don't like saying "quiet down" before every question...I just go right into the next question and if the chatter isn't dead after the first couple words I will warn/call conferring on the team. It might sound heavy-handed, but you're there to hear questions and run a tournament on time, and usually a quick warning at the beginning will cut out team chatter. You can cut off several minutes of a match if the moderators don't talk between questions and they know how to stop the teams from chatting.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:54 pm

Now that the year is well underway, how is the training of a set of new moderators in DC coming along? How many people are currently being trained in some way, and how many interested people have been found thus far?
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Nov 28, 2012 3:16 pm

RyuAqua wrote:Now that the year is well underway, how is the training of a set of new moderators in DC coming along? How many people are currently being trained in some way, and how many interested people have been found thus far?
I'm meeting with Raynell Cooper on Sunday to discuss this; this was always going to be more of an activity for early 2013 as opposed to fall 2012, since it makes more sense to train people once they have a better idea for their availability that weekend, and so that they have less time to forget what they've been trained. We're also still in the process of lining up sites for tournaments in February and March in the area, and can then give them experience at Regionals. Raynell is going to be working on a regular basis (roughly 8-10 hours a week) on almost solely this point. I will also be mentioning it at the Centennial tournament on Sunday for experienced coaches. We will be willing to pay local contacts a stipend for the weekend since we obviously don't need to pay them for travel/hotel. In the meantime, I've been starting to spread the word to other people who will likely be available, interested in coming, and competent readers that day. I've also made a few offers regarding the stats crew and staff communication roles to people who would be good candidates for those roles, and am awaiting their responses. Eric Huff is going to lead the protest committee and assist with the staff meeting. Nick Clusserath is going to handle buzzers (with others assisting). The staff grid is basically up to date with a few minor adjustments pending once I hear back. That's the quickest way to see who's lined up. Don't forget that last year about 40 coaches signed up to read in exchange for a discount, and we'll be offering the same (in fact, an increased discount) this year.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by TulaneKQB » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:11 pm

This seems like the best place to ask about this:

There are rumors that one or both of the Louisiana tournaments have been or might be cancelled. The colleges are trying to plan events for the coming semester, and it would be helpful to know if either of those dates (especially the one at Zachary HS) are available.
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Re: Welcome to a New Year of The National History Bee & Bowl!

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:25 pm

TulaneKQB wrote:This seems like the best place to ask about this:

There are rumors that one or both of the Louisiana tournaments have been or might be cancelled. The colleges are trying to plan events for the coming semester, and it would be helpful to know if either of those dates (especially the one at Zachary HS) are available.
No, both are certainly going to run. The Northern LA tournament (Airline is bringing 4 teams) will probably end up around 10, and we expect about 10-15 at the LA state tournament this year. Archbishop Shaw signed up 2 for that just a few days ago, and there will be others who will do so over the coming weeks. Also, 302 Louisiana high schools will be getting a mailer from us next week, so having invested in that, we definitely plan on sticking with both dates. I'm not sure who was counterproductively spreading these rumors, but it certainly wasn't anyone from NHBB, nor had anyone asked me up until now.
David Madden
Ridgewood (NJ) '99, Princeton '03
Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
Adviser and former head coach for Team USA at the International Geography Olympiad

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