Aggressive Buzzing

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Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Beevor Feevor »

So going over tournament stats, I've noticed that most of the best teams at tournaments that I've seen have pretty high neg values compared to what I'm used to seeing. My school and coach have always favored the ultra-conservative wait until you're completely sure kind of deals, so we have very few negs compared to other teams, but I'm starting to wonder if that's a viable strategy at higher levels of play. Do top teams that neg more frequently just narrow it down to a couple of answers and buzz earlier?
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by UlyssesInvictus »

I won't speak for others, but for me it's always been that as I've gotten better (i.e. better knowledge of subjects, more time spent studying) I've been more confident and more willing to buzz earlier; not the other way around. That is, because I've felt like I knew what the question was talking about, I was able to buzz earlier instead of being confused into oblivion until the end of the tossup. This has led to a lot more gets, but of course, led to a bunch more negs as well..
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by ryanrosenberg »

It's worth noting that only three teams that finished in the top 70 at last year's HSNCT had one neg or less per game (Northmont, Kealing, and Maggie Walker). Good teams will make aggressive buzzes. However, if negs are getting out of hand (3+/game), it may be a time to re-examine your buzzing strategy.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

In my time as a player, I've found that aggressive buzzing (which I take to mean "buzzing in to answer a question without knowing the clue being read to you") is a really dangerous thing to do unless:

-you are playing low-difficulty questions and have a very clear idea what the entire possible answer space is for the question you're hearing, or
-you are in a match where your team is the clear underdog on a given question (i.e. if waiting one more clue to buzz is extremely likely to result in the other team getting points, so you have to buzz immediately, even when you don't yet have clear knowledge of the answer, for a shot at any points).

In high school, the best teams have the first of these scenarios totally nailed down, and have enough facts nailed down to get high power rates anyway, which means it's rarely a risky to make educated guess buzzes here and there if their knowledge isn't as solid on a given question. It then becomes sort of a game of probability and optimization (the second scenario) when two such teams are facing each other - how much risk yields how much reward, and how likely are you to get the question if you did just wait for a clue you know, compared to the other guy/girl across from you? Even among the best teams, this totally varies - looking at last year's two champions, Hunter 2012 had a very steady, conservative approach with fewer powers and way fewer negs, while Bellarmine 2012 overwhelmed their opponents by buzzing early and often, resulting in way higher rates of both powering and negging. (I have found that as college difficulty goes up, it becomes MUCH more harmful to neg a question here or there, particularly if you're the only person in the room who could get that question before the end. But you won't need to worry about that for a while.)

As an aside, I find it interesting that many players, particularly in high school quizbowl, tend to go through a rather high-neg phase during the period when their rate of improvement is most sudden (i.e. once they begin studying to become top-tier players in earnest, but before they're confidently masters of the game). I think this may happen in part because it's easy to think you know more than you do once you're sure to know 18-20 tossup answers in any given packet by the end, and it's something to be very wary of as you improve.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Beevor Feevor »

Yeah, it's definitely interesting to hear recordings of NSC finals last year and hear Bellarmine madly slamming buzzers in the first couple sentences while Hunter just kind of relaxes, but it's definitely very situation-dependent. Is there some optimal power to neg ratio to aim for when considering aggressive buzzes or something?
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Oh No You Didn't »

Einhard wrote:Yeah, it's definitely interesting to hear recordings of NSC finals last year and hear Bellarmine madly slamming buzzers in the first couple sentences while Hunter just kind of relaxes, but it's definitely very situation-dependent. Is there some optimal power to neg ratio to aim for when considering aggressive buzzes or something?
Any amount of powers to 0 negs ...
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by ProfessorIanDuncan »

Optimally, the power/neg ratio is infinity.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by the return of AHAN »

In the decisive game of the Fall Gladiator Open (MS-03), Station A, which otherwise enjoyed a P/N ratio of 3.84 for the tourney, dipped to 0.75. Their opponent, Station B, recorded a 2.67 P/N ratio in that match. I'll give you one guess who won. :wink:
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by theMoMA »

In the immortal words of Herm Edwards, you play to win the game. You don't play to achieve some abstractly selected statistical measure. The right question to ask, in my mind, is what power-to-neg ratio is the optimal one (if any is optimal) to winning games. I don't know if there's a proper answer to that question.

Some players are extremely disciplined at buzzing when they stone-cold know the answer. This buzzing strategy often works for players with deep knowledge bases who can count on straight-up knowing the answer before anyone else in their categories.

Others are extremely good at buzzing early, before they're entirely sure of the answer. Having intuition and timing is definitely a skill, and these players would give up a major part of their skill if they only buzzed when they stone-cold knew the answer. But this strategy leads to more negs than buzzing only on stone-cold knowledge.

This may seem to suggest that -5s are a matter of specialist vs. generalist, but I don't think that's quite right. Many fantastic generalists, like Seth Teitler, have developed low-neg buzzing tactics. And many specialists incorrectly interrupt questions in their categories frequently.

The reason for this, in my opinion, is that buzzing aggressiveness relates directly to four factors: player preference, team dynamic, match strategy, and player/team mastery of the subject matter and difficulty level of the question.

First, and most obviously, some players simply prefer to be more aggressive than others, regardless of team makeup and situation. I don't know if there's an optimal level of baseline aggressive play; it seems to me that the greatest college-level players of recent vintage have run the gamut from extremely low to extremely high aggressiveness.

Second, team dynamic plays a major role. When I played with three great generalists, I was more hesitant to buzz aggressively, because I knew that (regardless of category) all of my teammates stood an excellent chance of answering the tossup on the next clue. In other words, it seems to me that the better chance your teammates have of getting a question on the next clue, the less aggressively you should be buzzing. I also think that some teams are particularly frantic in their playing style, which probably leads to more aggressive buzzes. (In other words, just like some players are more naturally aggressive on the buzzer, some teams adopt a more aggressive team mentality as well.) This partly explains why specialists aren't necessarily low-neg players; a specialist in a weak area for the rest of the team doesn't necessarily have an incentive to wait for for-sure knowledge, so certain strategic situations (playing against another specialist in the same area, for example) or a personal preference to be more aggressive could cause one specialist to neg more often than another.

Third, buzzer aggressiveness can vary depending on match strategy. I tend to think that underdog teams should be more aggressive in general, and that underdog teams in particular categories should be more aggressive in those categories specifically. Strategically speaking, if you're facing a great physics team that you're unlikely to beat on straight-up knowledge, you should be more willing to hazard a guess early in the physics tossup.

Last, mastery of subject matter and difficulty level plays a role in determining how aggressively a team buzzes. Teams that have mastered a particular subject matter (or an entire difficulty level, as sometimes happens when elite teams play easier questions) are more likely to get early buzzes based on stone-cold knowledge. In my experience, this leads to a certain comfort level in a subject matter of difficulty level, in which players are less likely to be seeking moments to buzz aggressively and are instead comfortable with the idea that they will know the question before the other team. Someone who has mastered large swaths of the canon at all difficulty levels (such as Seth Teitler) can lead a team through an entire masters-level tournament while posting absurdly low neg numbers. A team of generalists who are comfortable with the idea that anyone could answer the next tossup can get to this level collectively.

I feel like I should say a word about how the stats bear out buzzer aggressiveness, because I don't think it's as simple as looking at neg totals and powers (if available). Powers, especially, can come via both aggressive play and stone-cold knowledge. Teams with power numbers that greatly outstrip their neg numbers are probably exhibiting a greater mastery of the difficulty level than teams with roughly equal numbers of powers and negs (even if the latter teams have more raw powers). I'm not sure we've done the greatest job quantifying the value of quizbowl events, but it seems to me that the most valuable thing in quizbowl is the insanely early buzz on stone-cold knowledge, because that's a 100% chance of getting the question before any other team at the tournament. (As opposed to an aggressive-buzz power; even if you're converting two-thirds of those buzzes, that's a 66% chance of a great buzz and a 33% chance that the other team will get a good shot at unopposed points.) Teams that have a lot more powers than negs probably are getting more of these home-run buzzes than other teams, and they're probably the better teams. In short, I don't think that it's the high power totals or the low neg totals are valuable in the abstract, but coupled together they probably indicate lots of the most valuable buzzes in quizbowl.

Putting it all together, there isn't an optimal aggressiveness level for all players. As usual, we'd all like to be Seth Teitler. (In other words, we'd all love to have such huge knowledge bases that we could go through an entire tournament buzzing only when we were supremely confident that we knew the right answer.) But in this cruel world, we can't all be Seth Teitler. An underdog team should buzz more aggressively. A player shouldering the team's burden in a particular category should buzz more aggressively in that category. A player without confidence of mastery in a particular subject or level should buzz more aggressively than a player who has mastered that subject or level. In short, optimal aggressiveness depends on the match specifics, team dynamic, mastery level, and personal preference.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Emil Nolde »

So, since no one has breached the subject, I thought I would ask: what about powervulches? I've done it, but once at ATROPHY last year, I made a fool of myself by misidentifying a clue as being from The Scarlet Letter. I got chewed out for a long time for that, and sometimes still do. And at least one of the times I've successfully powervulched, one of my teammates informed me that they knew it before I did, and were just being safe. I guess really powervulching should be the only kind that ever happens, intentional or not, especially since I'm pretty sure at least two-thirds of negs happen within power

I guess it's really a matter of how you see yourself as a player. One of my teammates hardly ever negs, but this contributes to me often outscoring him on things he has just as much or more knowledge about. In the rare instance that he DOES neg, however, the bonus strangely always turns out to be something he would've thirty'd single-handedly, while most likely no one else would've gotten more than ten. I guess what your aggressiveness factor really determines how 'volatile' you are, how much your mileage may vary. The real thing about it is that when you review your team stats, you can see what heralds you winning or losing. Last month, I had a painfully close match, and I'm still beating myself up some for it. My negs single-handedly lost us the game. The difference ended up being five points, I negged twice. But the problem is that you can't really take away negs without shaving your power stat. You can't make yourself be more aggressive when you have the right answer, and less when you don't, that's obviously not really possible. I guess negging a lot really just means you have a pretty big ego, because to play aggressively you pretty much have to believe somewhere in your mind that you're smarter than everyone else in the room.

So, my next question is: is there any arithmetic definition for the word 'negstorm'? I hear people use it frequently, but sometimes I feel like people only call it a negstorm if it causes them to lose. I mean, I suppose in retrospect it's okay to neg like a troll up until all the sudden your opponent has more points. Or, what if, say, you're playing a really, really pathetic team, and end up donuting them. If there is no penalty, you could hypothetically neg nineteen out of twenty questions, zero the only heard bonus of the match, and unless your PPG/PPB matters to your advancement, there would be not much of an effective difference compared to playing smart, waiting till the end because you know you will inevitably get it before the other team, and grailing with no powers at all. You could play like an idiot, and do things that would under non-quizbowl-thought-experiment conditions practically ensure your defeat, or you could be the most ridiculously cautious person ever, that in real life would probably also make you lose, and there wouldn't really be a difference.

Sometimes, situations like this, with all of the variables that constantly change a player's performance, make me think it might be interesting to include a required win margin into a format. Obviously, that wouldn't happen, due to time constraints and the difficulty predicting how many tie-breakers would need to be written per packet. Still, at the very least it would eventually become clear who was consistently doing better than who. Perhaps reading precisely twenty questions produces a sort of quizbowl equivalent of the bottleneck effect. You know, run your tournament a bit more like a scientist. A larger sample size (of questions read) produces more certain results. Of course, most quizbowl formats recognize this by eliminating particularly luck-based events such as single-elim games, etc, but perhaps it could go farther.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Beevor Feevor »

thyringe_supine wrote:So, since no one has breached the subject, I thought I would ask: what about powervulches? I've done it, but once at ATROPHY last year, I made a fool of myself by misidentifying a clue as being from The Scarlet Letter. I got chewed out for a long time for that, and sometimes still do. And at least one of the times I've successfully powervulched, one of my teammates informed me that they knew it before I did, and were just being safe. I guess really powervulching should be the only kind that ever happens, intentional or not, especially since I'm pretty sure at least two-thirds of negs happen within power
I would think that 2/3 stat might be a little questionable when we're not discussing top 50 or top 100 teams, but I get the gist of it. I personally always wait, because I figure the extra 5 or 10 points you get most likely won't make a big difference in the long run, considering the several hundred put up on average, and negging is something that you want to avoid at all costs if there's no benefit from it (say, getting a question faster than a team who will most likely beat you to it if you play conservatively). It's hard for me to think of a time, barring a team being down by exactly 45 points and the opponent having negged, when powervulching would yield a positive return, but that's just going on gut instinct.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Adventure Temple Trail »

thyringe_supine wrote:So, since no one has breached the subject, I thought I would ask: what about powervulches? I've done it, but once at ATROPHY last year, I made a fool of myself by misidentifying a clue as being from The Scarlet Letter. I got chewed out for a long time for that, and sometimes still do. And at least one of the times I've successfully powervulched, one of my teammates informed me that they knew it before I did, and were just being safe. I guess really powervulching should be the only kind that ever happens, intentional or not, especially since I'm pretty sure at least two-thirds of negs happen within power
Quizbowl etiquette frowns upon power-vulching, except in the rare situation where an attempted power-vulch is necessary to try and tie or win a game. The best way to avoid issues with teammates over who should buzz on a negged tossup is as follows: When an opponent negs and you are certain you have the answer, raise your buzzer (or point to it, if it's a The Judge or otherwise rooted in place) to show that you're "claiming" the tossup for yourself, even though you're waiting until the end.
thyringe-supine wrote:So, my next question is: is there any arithmetic definition for the word 'negstorm'? I hear people use it frequently, but sometimes I feel like people only call it a negstorm if it causes them to lose
Not really. In usual quizbowl-slang parlance, a negstorm usually means just that: a team negged a lot and lost a game because of it. It could be as few as 3 or 4 negs depending on who you talk to.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Cheynem »

Regarding powervulching:

-Obviously if you need to do it to win or tie, you gotta do it.

-Generally speaking, if you powervulch you better be sure you know, but hey, in some cases, you DO know! If it's the first clue, obviously wait a few beats to confirm, but if you are 100% sure of an answer, then collect your five extra points.

-I think there is something to be said about what to do when the other team negs as I have seen plenty of fine teams, including my own, tripped up at times. For instance, you can confidently raise your buzzer as you are sure you know it, only to suddenly realize you don't, and then that leads to some miscommunication. What I do is this:

1. If you have no idea what is going on, don't even hold the buzzer and just push it away from you. If it turns out nobody else knows either, you can try a guess at the giveaway. This is just to avoid ludicrous things where everybody buzzer races and the one person who gets in wasn't quite sure.

2. If you are absolutely 100% sure, buzz in to powervulch or confidently raise your buzzer, and then answer it just as it enters the giveaway. I say don't wait for the whole giveaway if you're sure because I think that can lead to problems as teammates might suddenly think you don't know and buzz in. Never raise your buzzer unless you're so sure you are definitely sure.

3. If nobody raised their buzzer and the whole giveaway went through, have an answer in mind and count a few seconds and if nobody else has buzzed, buzz in. There's a temptation sometimes for aggressive players or players used to scoring a lot to just buzz in right after the giveaway and try a guess but if your teammates may have better guesses or know it, let them. Similarly, if you're not the main scorer, no problem in waiting for your main scorer to go in right away, but if you have an intelligent guess, why not try that?

4. If you appear to be your team's best chance at picking up a vulch, remember to exploit the clock. You get five seconds after the question has been read and (in ACF) five seconds after you buzz in. If you're the science player but you're weighing your options, go ahead and buzz in anyway and give yourself some additional time to think.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

I've always defined "negstorm" to be a situation in which negs beget other negs: a team negs early in the game, falls behind, and therefore plays more aggressively and, lo and behold, negs some more.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Emil Nolde »

So, if you need to power to tie, should you just buzz in at a place that is definitely power, and guess something whether or not you have a clue? Or would you normally consider the chance of getting it right to be so small that it isn't worth the decrease to your ppg? Or, sometimes during practice my teammates and I pause at the power mark of the question or some other point to prompt for an answer to test knowledge depth. If a team loses unless the question is powered, might it be appropriate for the moderator to prompt them for an answer, or some similar measure that communicates to them that they have heard all the question that will allow them to not lose? What if the team that is winning is not aware of the situation with the score, and negs? Would powervulching be too risky to attempt, even if it avoids a tie-breaker, which they could lose?

And also, I find that at least two-thirds of my negs are within power, partly because about one-fourth of my negs are on science questions on something with limited possibilities, e.g. 'this phylum' or some such thing, because those usually erupt into huge buzzer races. I mean, if you neg after power, that is . . . not good. After power, you either get it right away, or you're unsure, and wait at least for the giveaway to start. Besides, by that time, I'd be wondering why my teammates haven't buzzed if I think I know it. I would think most teams with two or more good players conduct themselves this way.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Pushkin's Beard »

RyuAqua wrote:
thyringe-supine wrote:So, my next question is: is there any arithmetic definition for the word 'negstorm'? I hear people use it frequently, but sometimes I feel like people only call it a negstorm if it causes them to lose
Not really. In usual quizbowl-slang parlance, a negstorm usually means just that: a team negged a lot and lost a game because of it. It could be as few as 3 or 4 negs depending on who you talk to.
I don't think that the term negstorm requires that the team loses. Bellarmine had 9 negs in one game (against GDS A last year) and won and still negstormed. They also had 7 negs (against Seven Lakes) and still won with a negstorm.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

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thyringe_supine wrote:So, if you need to power to tie, should you just buzz in at a place that is definitely power, and guess something whether or not you have a clue? Or would you normally consider the chance of getting it right to be so small that it isn't worth the decrease to your ppg?
Your points per game average shouldn't be a consideration in this case (or in any case that requires it to be weighed against a favorable outcome in a match, really). From my experience, it's less depressing to try and answer the question early, and do so incorrectly, than it is to sit on it for a while, get it around the middle for ten (assuming you needed fifteen to tie), and wonder why you hadn't taken a chance earlier on in the question. Since you'll never know where the power mark is ahead of time, this necessitates a degree of risk-taking, but I suspect you'd agree that a chance at victory is worth any penalty of five points (which, even if you care about points per game, is close to nothing over the course of a tournament).
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Beevor Feevor »

Pushkin's Beard wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:
thyringe-supine wrote:So, my next question is: is there any arithmetic definition for the word 'negstorm'? I hear people use it frequently, but sometimes I feel like people only call it a negstorm if it causes them to lose
Not really. In usual quizbowl-slang parlance, a negstorm usually means just that: a team negged a lot and lost a game because of it. It could be as few as 3 or 4 negs depending on who you talk to.
I don't think that the term negstorm requires that the team loses. Bellarmine had 9 negs in one game (against GDS A last year) and won and still negstormed. They also had 7 negs (against Seven Lakes) and still won with a negstorm.
Wow, where's that game at? I want to see this. Bellarmine sounds terrifying to play against, just due to how often I hear about them first-lining things, right or not.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

thyringe_supine wrote:So, if you need to power to tie, should you just buzz in at a place that is definitely power, and guess something whether or not you have a clue? Or would you normally consider the chance of getting it right to be so small that it isn't worth the decrease to your ppg? Or, sometimes during practice my teammates and I pause at the power mark of the question or some other point to prompt for an answer to test knowledge depth. If a team loses unless the question is powered, might it be appropriate for the moderator to prompt them for an answer, or some similar measure that communicates to them that they have heard all the question that will allow them to not lose? What if the team that is winning is not aware of the situation with the score, and negs? Would powervulching be too risky to attempt, even if it avoids a tie-breaker, which they could lose?

And also, I find that at least two-thirds of my negs are within power, partly because about one-fourth of my negs are on science questions on something with limited possibilities, e.g. 'this phylum' or some such thing, because those usually erupt into huge buzzer races. I mean, if you neg after power, that is . . . not good. After power, you either get it right away, or you're unsure, and wait at least for the giveaway to start. Besides, by that time, I'd be wondering why my teammates haven't buzzed if I think I know it. I would think most teams with two or more good players conduct themselves this way.
I think you're worrying too much, for etiquette purposes at least. As long as you are power-vulching for a good, strategy-related reason, I don't think you will be villainized. The only truly villainous ways of power-vulching are: (1) power vulching for no reason except your own PPG; (2) power vulching when you are mistaken about the score; (3) power vulching where you buzz ahead of a teammate who has a much stronger command of the subject than you do.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

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Einhard wrote: Wow, where's that game at? I want to see this. Bellarmine sounds terrifying to play against, just due to how often I hear about them first-lining things, right or not.
http://www.texasquizbowl.org/d/12TI/Fin ... l.html#t13

Here's the tournament in which both of those games occured.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Beevor Feevor »

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
thyringe_supine wrote:So, if you need to power to tie, should you just buzz in at a place that is definitely power, and guess something whether or not you have a clue? Or would you normally consider the chance of getting it right to be so small that it isn't worth the decrease to your ppg? Or, sometimes during practice my teammates and I pause at the power mark of the question or some other point to prompt for an answer to test knowledge depth. If a team loses unless the question is powered, might it be appropriate for the moderator to prompt them for an answer, or some similar measure that communicates to them that they have heard all the question that will allow them to not lose? What if the team that is winning is not aware of the situation with the score, and negs? Would powervulching be too risky to attempt, even if it avoids a tie-breaker, which they could lose?

And also, I find that at least two-thirds of my negs are within power, partly because about one-fourth of my negs are on science questions on something with limited possibilities, e.g. 'this phylum' or some such thing, because those usually erupt into huge buzzer races. I mean, if you neg after power, that is . . . not good. After power, you either get it right away, or you're unsure, and wait at least for the giveaway to start. Besides, by that time, I'd be wondering why my teammates haven't buzzed if I think I know it. I would think most teams with two or more good players conduct themselves this way.
I think you're worrying too much, for etiquette purposes at least. As long as you are power-vulching for a good, strategy-related reason, I don't think you will be villainized. The only truly villainous ways of power-vulching are: (1) power vulching for no reason except your own PPG; (2) power vulching when you are mistaken about the score; (3) power vulching where you buzz ahead of a teammate who has a much stronger command of the subject than you do.
Very quick thread derail here, but do most teams keep score as they're playing, as in the individual team members keeping score rather than a bystander or coach? Having played precious few top teams, I'm not sure what the common procedure is here.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Oh No You Didn't »

Einhard wrote:Very quick thread derail here, but do most teams keep score as they're playing, as in the individual team members keeping score rather than a bystander or coach? Having played precious few top teams, I'm not sure what the common procedure is here.
Some players do it. It's pretty helpful if the moderator's messed up the score at some point, and if you're taking notes on the things you hear come up you might as well also keep track of score. It's also nice to be able to track your own stats if the tournament doesn't have people who are godlike at using SQBS
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

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Tanay wrote:
thyringe_supine wrote:So, if you need to power to tie, should you just buzz in at a place that is definitely power, and guess something whether or not you have a clue? Or would you normally consider the chance of getting it right to be so small that it isn't worth the decrease to your ppg?
Your points per game average shouldn't be a consideration in this case (or in any case that requires it to be weighed against a favorable outcome in a match, really). From my experience, it's less depressing to try and answer the question early, and do so incorrectly, than it is to sit on it for a while, get it around the middle for ten (assuming you needed fifteen to tie), and wonder why you hadn't taken a chance earlier on in the question. Since you'll never know where the power mark is ahead of time, this necessitates a degree of risk-taking, but I suspect you'd agree that a chance at victory is worth any penalty of five points (which, even if you care about points per game, is close to nothing over the course of a tournament).
This. To paraphrase Charlie Dees, of all the stats kept, wins and losses trump everything.

An addendum to the late-game strategy: when playing on the clock, vulching is also key when trying to get more points into play. If you're confident that the full packet will be finished regardless, then do not do this, but if not, do not let the clock work against you.

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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

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thyringe_supine wrote:I guess negging a lot really just means you have a pretty big ego, because to play aggressively you pretty much have to believe somewhere in your mind that you're smarter than everyone else in the room.
I play way more aggressively when I know for sure that I'm not the strongest player in the room, because there are significant benefits and low costs to adapting a high-risk/high-reward strategy when well overmatched. I don't think ego really plays a role. Just to echo what others have said, winning/losing is the only stat that should affect your strategy formulation--no one should reasonably have any qualms about adding a few negs to their individual tally if it's going to give their team a shot, however slim, at beating a stronger opponent.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Beevor Feevor »

Is it worth changing play-style if you're matched up against an opponent that's much better than you then? Say if a top 100 team faced off against Dorman A for example, should they play more aggressively knowing that they would be outmatched if they played their normal way? Do players who typically play aggressive do better results-wise than usually conservative players who play aggressively against a top opponent? I guess a kind of game sense would develop of when to buzz aggressively if you do it all the time.....
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

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Einhard wrote:I guess a kind of game sense would develop of when to buzz aggressively if you do it all the time.....
This is pretty much what Protobowl is.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by The Dance of Sorrow »

This is probably gonna be a little bit of stuff people have already talked about, so bear with me. For me, aggressive play is just another way to play the game. Some players are naturally aggressive and pile up both powers and negs, others manage to get high power totals while barely negging at all. I tend to be a more aggressive player myself, but I try to tone it down in games that are rather evenly matched because I know those few negs can possibly affect the game. When I feel more overmatched, I like to play more aggressively because I know that that's probably going to be the only way I'll come off with a win, especially on subjects that I'm weak in like science. Obviously if you have teammates that are specialized you probably shouldn't be buzzing in their areas of expertise. I also like to play more aggressive in games that I am very confident in my ability to win simply because buzzing early on something I'm a bit less certain of helps bring clues that might be a bit more hazy in my memory back into the front of it.

On vulching: I think vulching is ok, especially in formats with powers and timers. Just don't make an idiot out of yourself like I do occasionally.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Emil Nolde »

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote: I think you're worrying too much, for etiquette purposes at least. As long as you are power-vulching for a good, strategy-related reason, I don't think you will be villainized. The only truly villainous ways of power-vulching are: (1) power vulching for no reason except your own PPG; (2) power vulching when you are mistaken about the score; (3) power vulching where you buzz ahead of a teammate who has a much stronger command of the subject than you do.
I have most certainly done items one and three. But at least I was right.
Einhard wrote: Very quick thread derail here, but do most teams keep score as they're playing, as in the individual team members keeping score rather than a bystander or coach? Having played precious few top teams, I'm not sure what the common procedure is here.
That really just depends on your ability to multitask, and to develop a system that can quickly and concisely keep track of all of the wacky things that go on in quizbowl. Last year, I would only keep track of my personal stat (most of the time it was quite easy) but when you take on a leadership role in your team, especially if you must play without a coach for some reason, it's very helpful. But if you have to choose between taking notes and keeping score, do the former. The system I use now is mostly the one Ben used last year.
dtaylor4 wrote:
Tanay wrote:Your points per game average shouldn't be a consideration in this case (or in any case that requires it to be weighed against a favorable outcome in a match, really). From my experience, it's less depressing to try and answer the question early, and do so incorrectly, than it is to sit on it for a while, get it around the middle for ten (assuming you needed fifteen to tie), and wonder why you hadn't taken a chance earlier on in the question. Since you'll never know where the power mark is ahead of time, this necessitates a degree of risk-taking, but I suspect you'd agree that a chance at victory is worth any penalty of five points (which, even if you care about points per game, is close to nothing over the course of a tournament).
This. To paraphrase Charlie Dees, of all the stats kept, wins and losses trump everything.

An addendum to the late-game strategy: when playing on the clock, vulching is also key when trying to get more points into play. If you're confident that the full packet will be finished regardless, then do not do this, but if not, do not let the clock work against you.
I don't really have NAQT experience; I was under the impression that the clock usually wasn't a factor unless you have slow/not very good moderators or players.
echhsquizbowl wrote:I play way more aggressively when I know for sure that I'm not the strongest player in the room, because there are significant benefits and low costs to adapting a high-risk/high-reward strategy when well overmatched. I don't think ego really plays a role. Just to echo what others have said, winning/losing is the only stat that should affect your strategy formulation--no one should reasonably have any qualms about adding a few negs to their individual tally if it's going to give their team a shot, however slim, at beating a stronger opponent.
More of what I meant is that you sort of need an inflated opinion of yourself to overcome the timidity, the somewhat awkward silence that leads to people buzzing late or not at all on things they know. My coach always tries to get our female players to be more aggressive, but no matter who you are, it's easy to let yourself get stifled. I do agree about being more adventurous when you know somewhere that you're really just being totally outclassed, but to do that you have to convince yourself that those guys don't know it, and you do, even when they have more skill. It requires you to have a little bit of that 'I know everything' sauce poured on your head. You sort of have to get a little conceited. Which explains why I can do it pretty well.
Einhard wrote:Is it worth changing play-style if you're matched up against an opponent that's much better than you then? Say if a top 100 team faced off against Dorman A for example, should they play more aggressively knowing that they would be outmatched if they played their normal way? Do players who typically play aggressive do better results-wise than usually conservative players who play aggressively against a top opponent? I guess a kind of game sense would develop of when to buzz aggressively if you do it all the time.....
If you are actually that adaptable, my hunch is that you're already good enough so that you could legit win anyway. Perhaps not against that team, though.
dyyyyyyyllllaaaaaaannn wrote: Just don't make an idiot out of yourself like I do occasionally.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

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Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I think you're worrying too much, for etiquette purposes at least. As long as you are power-vulching for a good, strategy-related reason, I don't think you will be villainized. The only truly villainous ways of power-vulching are: (1) power vulching for no reason except your own PPG; (2) power vulching when you are mistaken about the score; (3) power vulching where you buzz ahead of a teammate who has a much stronger command of the subject than you do.
I don't think there's ever a problem, etiquette or otherwise, with buzzing in when you 100% know the answer. Even when the other team negs, I tend to buzz whenever I'm sure I know the answer (and encourage my teammates to do the same) just to avoid late-question flurries of confusion that often occur between teammates. I've been on the losing end of big games when late-question confusion has played a major role, so I tend to err on the side of making sure that my team converts the points. I don't think there's anything wrong with buzzing when you know definitely the answer, even if you do end up vulching a power as a result. If getting 15 incentivizes a decision to buzz on less than 100% certainty after the other team negs, then that seems like bad strategy (and possibly etiquette bad as well).
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Realdeo »

Aggressive buzzing once sent me to lose my match and win my match ( Apparantely , I,m the one who done it)
My guideline for aggressive buzzing is, once you hear a vague clue that give you the answer (Not giveaway, if I'm talking about giveaway clue, noway it can be called aggressive buzzing) I just buzz in. I done it twice and as I stated, one sent my team to epic lose and another sent my team to epic win. (btw, there are no powers in Indonesia)
Out of curiosity, how do you know when something still worth 15 or already become 10? By guts or length of question already read. Or Identify the question by the difficulty perhaps?
Last edited by Realdeo on Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Beevor Feevor »

There's no surefire way to tell whether a question is in power or not. You can estimate it by knowing how long every question in that tournament set is and the general location of power marks within that set, but they are pretty variable within 2 sentences, so the best way is probably to guess something relevant as soon as possible if it's a win or lose situation.
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Great Bustard »

Realdeo wrote:(btw, there are no powers in Indonesia)
(sorry for thread derail; feel free to put this in a new thread, someone) Kerenza, beyond the question of no powers in Indonesia, is there quizbowl at all in Indonesia? You seem very interested in the game, which is great, but I'm wondering what your point of reference is. Are there tournaments? If so, are they in English or Bahasa Indonesian? Are the questions in pyramidal format, like here in the USA? Are there websites that you can link to with more information? Do you want help in starting quiz bowl in Indonesia if it doesn't exist? Just curious where you're going with the questions you've been asking (which have all been good, relevant questions, so no worries).
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Re: Aggressive Buzzing

Post by Realdeo »

There are 2. In both Language. The Indonesian One tackles your academic knowledge. The Englsih One tackles your English Skill and Pop Culture Knowledge.

QB like NAQT? Nah... I'm perhaps the only guy in country know this. QB like that have'nt touch this country. Normally, QB here is like the TV Show It's Academic.

The English version is this one
http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... =3&t=13960

The Indonesia One. Is Almost Exactly Same with History Quiz bowl in your country. Only No Bonus

The English one use pyramid. Indonesian one use Quick Recall.

BTW, It would be great if I can be the promoter Of US-QB Style. But, Indonesia doesn't produce buzzer for U.S Style Buzzer. Talking about website, they don't have. The goverment held it as annual tournament. Do you want me to upload my next appearance? It will be around 13th January. But can't promise. So please, don't even try to cross your finger. Because the odds is.... 0.0000001% Do you mind If I only upload when my team on our turn. The first two rounds play in turns and on turn can goes around ... 15 minutes.
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