NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Edward Lansdale » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:49 pm

Cheynem wrote: Secondly, the person in this case is buzzing on a clue that corresponds to the right answer and says the right answer (in a slightly expanded form). This is completely, unabashedly not a problem.
This particular clue corresponds to the "right" answer (as ruled by the protest committee), but the rest of the clues don't. A person who was trying to figure out what the commodities were would have been hosed by someone who simply named the Community that dealt with it (and that too on a clue that had nothing to do with commodities).
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:51 pm

I do not see how this is a hose. The person who named the Community is also naming the commodities. You are acting like there is a person who knows the name of the Community but doesn't know the names of the commodities (and vice versa).
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Edward Lansdale » Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:54 pm

Cheynem wrote:I do not see how this is a hose. The person who named the Community is also naming the commodities. You are acting like there is a person who knows the name of the Community but doesn't know the names of the commodities (and vice versa).
I fail to see how an answer about a community on a tossup about commodities is not a hose, even if the name of the community has those commodities in it.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:00 pm

1971 Hamilton Tiger-Cats season wrote:
Cheynem wrote:I do not see how this is a hose. The person who named the Community is also naming the commodities. You are acting like there is a person who knows the name of the Community but doesn't know the names of the commodities (and vice versa).
I fail to see how an answer about a community on a tossup about commodities is not a hose, even if the name of the community has those commodities in it.
Look, nobody has any idea what you're arguing anymore, but the rules say you're allowed to give additional correct, non-contradictory information in your answer as long as you say the right answer in it. Saying "European Coal and Steel Community" on that tossup is just like saying "That European community was designed to administrate _coal and steel_" and clearly shows the player knew what was going on. A hose is when you give a clue that applies to multiple correct answers but only accept one of those answers, not when you write a clue with only one correct answer and accept that same answer.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:12 pm

1971 Hamilton Tiger-Cats season wrote:
Cheynem wrote: Secondly, the person in this case is buzzing on a clue that corresponds to the right answer and says the right answer (in a slightly expanded form). This is completely, unabashedly not a problem.
This particular clue corresponds to the "right" answer (as ruled by the protest committee), but the rest of the clues don't. A person who was trying to figure out what the commodities were would have been hosed by someone who simply named the Community that dealt with it (and that too on a clue that had nothing to do with commodities).
First of all, it's not one particular clue that corresponds to the right answer. As I noted above, every single mention of a "group overseeing these commodities" in the question refers to the ECSC. I don't know that to tell you if the protest committee told you otherwise, but sorry, they're wrong.

if we (incorrectly) define your "hosed" as "unfairly lost points to the other team", it would be understandable if the ECSC was instead called say "Schuman Council for European Industry." Then, if a team buzzed in and said SCEI, it doesn't include the correct answer, and is not a blitz, and they should lose points for not paying attention.

But in this case, since coal and steel are included in the name of the ECSC, it could be interpreted as a blitz of "[that group mentioned in the tossup is the] European Community that oversees... _coal and steel_". This answer demonstrates knowledge and should get points.
Last edited by Masked Canadian History Bandit on Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Edward Lansdale » Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:45 pm

Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote: if we (incorrectly) define your "hosed" as "unfairly lost points to the other team", it would be understandable if the ECSC was instead called say "Schuman Council for European Industry." Then, if a team buzzed in and said SCEI, it doesn't include the correct answer, and is to a blitz, and they should lose points for not paying attention.

But in this case, since coal and steel are included in the name of the ECSC, it could be interpreted as a blitz of "[that group mentioned in the tossup is the] European Community that oversees... _coal and steel_". This answer demonstrates knowledge and should get points.
We are arguing at cross-purposes. This is what happened:

1) Team A buzzed in with ECSC after mention of the "precursor to the EU" and I accepted their answer, actually because it had coal and steel in it, and because at the point of the buzz the question seemed to be asking for the community.

2) The other team protested, and the protest committee resolved in favor of the team saying ECSC.

In retrospect, I think this should not have been the case. Merely naming a community whose name has certain key words, and even one which is referred to repeatedly in the tossup, should not be rewarded with points, when most of the tossup clearly asks for commodities. An acceptable answer of "North American Free Trade Area" on a tossup about free trade is inherently unfair, even if the tossup made multiple references to NAFTA. By your SCEI argument, a tossup on "free trade" that made multiple references to ASEAN or Southeast Asia would not have accepted an answer of ASEAN, simply because free trade was not in the name, whereas it is in the NAFTA case.

A teammate of the person who gave this answer himself expressed surprise earlier in the thread that the ECSC answer was accepted. No amount of defending your questions or waving the rules in my face will remove the fact that the moderator in that room (albeit three days later), and the captain of the team in whose favor the decision went both feel that it should not have stood.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:07 pm

In quizbowl, we resolve protests based on facts, not on feelings. The fact that you don't comprehend the difference between the answer line and what knowledge the question is testing, or think that the answer a team gives can be a "hose", shows that the aforementioned is not the only thing you do not understand. Most hilariously, you seem to think that "a question with the answer _coal and steel_ in which literally all of the clues were about The European Coal and Steel Community" and "the fact that the team said The European Coal and Steel Community" are two entirely unrelated facts, and the team somehow stumbled into an undeserved correct answer by the astounding fact that the random noises they produced matched both the answer line and the actual subject of the question. You also seem to think that applying an objective set of written rules, in which adding correct extraneous information to the required answer never renders the answer wrong, is not a fair and conflict-minimizing way to address protests, and instead we should reinvent the wheel based on what any given team or staffer thinks "rewards knowledge" of a question they likely do not understand either on the level of quizbowl or history. And this is only being discussed at all because of a protest that arose when you messed up as a moderator and read words that were not in the packet!

Please read the actual questions written in the packets and leave any protests that arise to the designated specialists in the future. The major problem that one encounters when staffing a tournament like NHBB with people who have little experience in high-level quizbowl is precisely the above thought process--moderators who think their job is to look for reasons to rule answers "technically wrong" rather than follow what's in the packet and let the protest committee handle any shortfalls in the answer line instructions. Please do not do this.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Edward Lansdale » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:11 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:the rules say you're allowed to give additional correct, non-contradictory information in your answer
My original decision at the game was made, somewhat unwittingly, in accordance with the rules, and the protest committee's verdict was also made in accordance with the rules. This does not mean the rule is not unfair, or that its application cannot be debated on the forums.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:11 pm

Then the problem is with the rule, not with the question (note: I don't think it's a problem). If you want to debate the rule, go ahead, but this is not a problem with HSAPQ, the question, or NHBB.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Edward Lansdale » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:21 pm

Matt Weiner wrote: Please read the actual questions written in the packets and leave any protests that arise to the designated specialists in the future. The major problem that one encounters when staffing a tournament like NHBB with people who have little experience in high-level quizbowl is precisely the above thought process--moderators who think their job is to look for reasons to rule answers "technically wrong" rather than follow what's in the packet and let the protest committee handle any shortfalls in the answer line instructions. Please do not do this.
This is in fact what I did. I originally accepted the answer (though ECSC was not mentioned as an acceptable answer) based on the sense that it might be acceptable given what was in the packet. Also, I followed protest procedures, and relayed the committee's decision to the teams. In short, I did what I was required to do as a moderator and no more.

Debating the acceptability of an answer on a forum three days after a tournament does not make me a bad moderator. I would be disappointed if I am barred from moderating in the future on the suspicion that I will "look for reasons to rule answers "technically wrong"" days after the tournament ended.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:25 pm

If, as you claim in your original post, you read a clue that stated
"For ten points, this predecessor to the European Union was a "Community",
then you did not read the question that was printed in the packets.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Cheynem » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:28 pm

Again, I do not have any problem with you discussing the rule applicability or the question. I objected to your initial framing of the question and the protest that emerged from it as somehow the fault of the writers/editors, regardless if that was your intent.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Edward Lansdale » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:28 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:If, as you claim in your original post, you read a clue that stated
"For ten points, this predecessor to the European Union was a "Community",
then you did not read the question that was printed in the packets.
I wrote that from memory before the packets were posted. I most definitely did read what the packet said.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:37 pm

1971 Hamilton Tiger-Cats season wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:If, as you claim in your original post, you read a clue that stated
"For ten points, this predecessor to the European Union was a "Community",
then you did not read the question that was printed in the packets.
I wrote that from memory before the packets were posted. I most definitely did read what the packet said.
And you stand by your point?
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Edward Lansdale » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:42 pm

Masked Canadian History Bandit wrote: And you stand by your point?
Yes, because even an accurate reading of the questions does not convince me that the acceptability of certain answers were fair, and I still think that they would invariably lead to protests, which is the point I was making all along.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Cody » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:58 pm

Perhaps you could explain why exactly accepting such an answer would be unfair to the other team…
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Edward Lansdale » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:59 pm

Cheynem wrote:Again, I do not have any problem with you discussing the rule applicability or the question. I objected to your initial framing of the question and the protest that emerged from it as somehow the fault of the writers/editors, regardless if that was your intent.
As I mentioned before, the questions lent themselves to ambiguity and protests, which in turn resulted in the application of rules that I find (in retrospect) not entirely fair, so yes, in a way, the questions were indirectly responsible for outcomes that I considered unsatisfactory. I did not intend to lambaste HSAPQ or its writers, but merely stated that I found the questions not to my liking because of the ambiguity. It is not a case of blaming either the question or the rule, but pointing out that the questions caused the rule to have to be applied.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Bill McNeal » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:07 pm

OK, the thread seems to be getting hijacked by this coal and steel discussion. For what it's worth, when I read that tossup, someone buzzed with "coal and steel", so it wasn't an issue at all.

For the Battle of Britain tossup, my packet also had no answerline, making it look like "blitz" was the answer, but after a slight hesitation I was able to figure out that the student had answered correctly. Admittedly, I was lucky in this case that the missing answer line wasn't something much more obscure.

There wasn't perfect consistency as far as whether the pronunciation guide came before or after the name, which, to me, was a little jarring, as I would get used to seeing the guides one way and then one would appear in the "wrong" place (looking back through the bowl packets, some examples are Inouye, Czolgosz, Krzyzewski). Besides those minor issues and a few typos, I liked the set.

More importantly, congrats to all the students who competed, who (in my experience) were not only incredibly impressive, but very polite, friendly, and sportsmanlike. I had the privilege of moderating for some really great teams, particularly Dorman in varsity and Northmont in JV, but also Irvington, Wheaton North, Wilmington Charter, Saratoga, Richard Montgomery, Beachwood, Hoover, Miami Palmetto, North Babylon, Half Hollow Hills West, Madison Central, Ransom Everglades, Wyoming Area, University School of Nashville, India International School of Tokyo, and more whose names I can't recall at the moment. And of course, congrats to Sameer Rai for his ridiculous achievement in this tournament. He was awesome to watch.

And congrats to David, Nolwenn, Raynell, Jon, Eric, Nick, Andrew (x2), Will, Maggie, and the rest of the staff for putting on (what I hope was seen as) a great event!
Last edited by Bill McNeal on Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Edward Lansdale » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:09 pm

SirT wrote:Perhaps you could explain why exactly accepting such an answer would be unfair to the other team…
I have mentioned this several times. I do not agree with a rule that rewards teams for giving an answer which is qualitatively differently (community instead of commodity), simply because the name of the community had the words of the answer in it. According to Patrick Liao, an answer of European Coal and Steel Community is acceptable because the tossup refers to it and it has the words coal and steel (simply because the rule allows for additional correct information), but an answer of "Schuman Council for European Industry", if that was the name of the community referred to in the question, would not be acceptable, even if the tossup made multiple references to such an organization. The happenstance of having a name that includes the correct answers being accepted as a correct answer, but not a name that doesn't, seems a bizarre distortion of rules of acceptability.

Also, I do not wish to debate this matter further in this thread. If you are interested, start a new thread and I will contribute to it at my leisure.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Auroni » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:22 pm

1971 Hamilton Tiger-Cats season wrote:
SirT wrote:Perhaps you could explain why exactly accepting such an answer would be unfair to the other team…
The happenstance of having a name that includes the correct answers being accepted as a correct answer, but not a name that doesn't, seems a bizarre distortion of rules of acceptability.
It is not happenstance! The question is about the European Coal and Steel Community! The answerline is "coal and steel" because that is easier to remember and to answer with than European Coal and Steel Community!

Come on, this is like literally just like if I were to write a tossup on "Kilimanjaro" using only clues from "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." The question is ABOUT the story, but has an answer that is easier to come up with. This is not rocket science.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Cody » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:28 pm

Why would that be unfair to the other team though? The rules are known in advance–and no one has ever claimed the blitzing rule is unfair before. Are you saying we should eliminate or restrict the blitzing rule, for instance? Is demonstrating correct knowledge no longer enough to answer a question?
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:29 pm

1971 Hamilton Tiger-Cats season wrote: The happenstance of having a name that includes the correct answers being accepted as a correct answer, but not a name that doesn't, seems a bizarre distortion of rules of acceptability.
Sometimes I wish the board had a button marked "go in the corner and think about what you just said."

The reason correct answers are acceptable and incorrect answers are not is not "happenstance." It's how quizbowl works on the most fundamental level imaginable. I have truly never before imagined that I would have to explain this to somebody.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Corry » Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:54 pm

I want to comment on a previous point made in this thread: I personally enjoyed the first buzz at the opening ceremony. It was gimmicky, but I thought it was an entertaining way to end the presentation.

I also didn't mind watching the coach awards; while I had no vested interest in these awards, you could just as easily say that I had no vested interest in any non-Arcadia awards whatsoever at History Bowl Nationals. I've been to lots of opening ceremonies before, and these coach awards just felt like standard affair.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! » Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:36 pm

1971 Hamilton Tiger-Cats season wrote: By your SCEI argument, a tossup on "free trade" that made multiple references to ASEAN or Southeast Asia would not have accepted an answer of ASEAN, simply because free trade was not in the name, whereas it is in the NAFTA case.
I would hope if the required answerline was "free trade" and the question contained multiple clues about ASEAN then the question would actually name ASEAN.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Wed May 01, 2013 12:25 am

Corry wrote:I want to comment on a previous point made in this thread: I personally enjoyed the first buzz at the opening ceremony. It was gimmicky, but I thought it was an entertaining way to end the presentation.
Can someone give a longer explanation of what this "opening buzz" actually is and how it works, so those of us who weren't there have some understanding of what the issue is?
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by kcommo » Wed May 01, 2013 1:49 am

RyuAqua wrote:
Can someone give a longer explanation of what this "opening buzz" actually is and how it works, so those of us who weren't there have some understanding of what the issue is?
At the end of the opening ceremony Friday night, David called up the defending bowl champion -- Hunter -- and it's first-round opponent (Airline, LA), and they played the first tossup of Round 1 in front of the audience. The announcement was that the tossup counted, and the game was finished Saturday morning.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Wed May 01, 2013 8:51 pm

kcommo wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:
Can someone give a longer explanation of what this "opening buzz" actually is and how it works, so those of us who weren't there have some understanding of what the issue is?
At the end of the opening ceremony Friday night, David called up the defending bowl champion -- Hunter -- and it's first-round opponent (Airline, LA), and they played the first tossup of Round 1 in front of the audience. The announcement was that the tossup counted, and the game was finished Saturday morning.
Man, that's dumb.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Wed May 01, 2013 8:58 pm

Inkana7 wrote:
kcommo wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:
Can someone give a longer explanation of what this "opening buzz" actually is and how it works, so those of us who weren't there have some understanding of what the issue is?
At the end of the opening ceremony Friday night, David called up the defending bowl champion -- Hunter -- and it's first-round opponent (Airline, LA), and they played the first tossup of Round 1 in front of the audience. The announcement was that the tossup counted, and the game was finished Saturday morning.
Man, that's dumb.
How does this work for the rest of the round 1 games? Now that everybody's heard the first tossup, is there an extra one?
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Hannibal » Wed May 01, 2013 9:58 pm

Madagascar Serpent Eagle wrote: How does this work for the rest of the round 1 games? Now that everybody's heard the first tossup, is there an extra one?
Yes. But it counted towards the game played by Hunter, so I presume they only had 7 tossups in their first quarter.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by marianna » Wed May 01, 2013 10:04 pm

Hannibal wrote:
Madagascar Serpent Eagle wrote: How does this work for the rest of the round 1 games? Now that everybody's heard the first tossup, is there an extra one?
Yes. But it counted towards the game played by Hunter, so I presume they only had 7 tossups in their first quarter.
I'm pretty sure we played 8 tossups in our first quarter of round 1, since I have Albania (tossup 1) and Roosevelt Corollary (tossup 8) in my notes. Maybe the opening buzz replaced one of them?
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by the return of AHAN » Wed May 01, 2013 11:14 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
1971 Hamilton Tiger-Cats season wrote: The happenstance of having a name that includes the correct answers being accepted as a correct answer, but not a name that doesn't, seems a bizarre distortion of rules of acceptability.
Sometimes I wish the board had a button marked "go in the corner and think about what you just said."

The reason correct answers are acceptable and incorrect answers are not is not "happenstance." It's how quizbowl works on the most fundamental level imaginable. I have truly never before imagined that I would have to explain this to somebody.
Matt, might you be available to lecture at an IESA Scholastic Bowl workshop next fall? I'll show you a room full of people for which the above would be a revelation.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by tabstop » Wed May 01, 2013 11:22 pm

The "opening buzz" question was from a spare packet, or was a separate question; it wasn't the "normal" Q1.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by evilmonkey » Thu May 02, 2013 2:54 am

Inkana7 wrote:
kcommo wrote:
RyuAqua wrote:
Can someone give a longer explanation of what this "opening buzz" actually is and how it works, so those of us who weren't there have some understanding of what the issue is?
At the end of the opening ceremony Friday night, David called up the defending bowl champion -- Hunter -- and it's first-round opponent (Airline, LA), and they played the first tossup of Round 1 in front of the audience. The announcement was that the tossup counted, and the game was finished Saturday morning.
Man, that's dumb.
I disagree. I think it sounds like a fine idea that entails, at worst, the writing of one additional question.. It would be a dumb idea at, say, ACF nationals, where people could care less about whether there are formal opening procedures. But for a high school national tournament - sure, whatever.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Eddie » Thu May 02, 2013 5:01 am

Man, I was expecting something like ringing a giant golden gong in front of everyone, but with a buzzer instead.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Great Bustard » Thu May 02, 2013 12:53 pm

Now that I've taken a few days to decompress since everything ended, I'd like to chime in with my thoughts on how last weekend went. First off, I'd like to start by thanking all the teams, students, and coaches who came this year. I was very gratified by your support and faith in our ability to implement the many needed improvements after last year's tournament. I am very happy that we both increased the number of teams in the high school draw from 184 to 198 from last year to this year, and that so far, every coach I've talked to had a good time and was glad they came.

Secondly, I'd like to thank all of our staffers - there were well over 100 people who helped out in some capacity to make sure this tournament was able to happen and run well. In particular, our stats crew of Jon Pinyan, Andrew Feist, and Andrew Ibendahl were outstanding and responsive all weekend, and Andrew F.'s online score reporting system did extremely well in its debut. Will Mantell, who is not well-known among those who frequent these forums outside of his involvement with NHBB, deserves a ton of credit for his help as Staff Director. He is one of the most consistently competent and reliable people I know and helped out greatly in making sure that the staff was scheduled properly and knew how to do their jobs. Eric Huff, Nick Clusserath, and Rick Barry did a great job running protests, with Eric, Nick, and their trio of staffers from our Matthew Myers, Justin Orgovan, and Jackson Wolek doing a great job handling buzzers. Raynell Cooper was of immense help in assisting throughout the weekend, and especially with regards to the inaugural US Geography Olympiad. He wrote the large bulk of the two exams (I wrote the rest, about 15%), and oversaw their grading. Nolwenn did a great job with the help desk - one of the single best improvements we made. Loads of readers and site/flight captains did a great job as well (I'll have more to say on the staff situation later).

In general, I was very happy with how the weekend turned out. To say we needed to show we were capable of running an efficient and enjoyable National Championships is the understatement of the year in the quizbowl community, and I believe that goal was accomplished. Structurally, the main improvements worked great, namely, having the final two Bowl playoff matches on Sunday, the removal of doing the Bee at Mount Vernon, doing only 3 consolation matches at DC sites, the Upper bracket matches all being at the hotel, the escorting of teams to sites, and having a more realistic timeframe for running on schedule. I think we've hit on the right way of doing off-site games in DC (skeptics should note that we're basically maxed out on competition spaces at the hotel, so we can handle a lot more teams this way), and though a few tweaks are needed (might buses be quicker and cheaper than buying metro cards for everyone?), I think that most teams who played at a DC site enjoyed it as part of their experience. Meanwhile, they didn't interfere with the Upper bracket teams' need to focus on their matches.

The "flight captain" system we devised for the Bee worked (with one or two minor exceptions) very well. It helped greatly that we only needed to go talk to 7 people, rather than 56 different rooms when we needed to get a message out (like holding up the round 2 start time, since some rooms had started late). That said, 45 minute intervals seems right where we should be, and I think having 6 rounds with 35 questions each is also right about perfect for the Bee prelims. I will make a note to perhaps schedule on average 7 to a room, rather than 6, to avoid having rooms with 3 or 4 students. Why 3 were ever in a room is a bit beyond me, but we did have a lot of switches that were needed, mostly from Varsity to JV. We can help avoid confusion here by pushing the deadline for Bee registrations up 7-10 days. That would help ensure a balanced draw, and avert the need for last minute switches. As for the Bee ending 41 minutes late, I'm not overly concerned, since the prelims ended on time, the playoff draw was announced only about 15 minutes late, and I didn't hear of anyone having trouble making travel connections. The bulk of the delay was due to handing out numerous awards - I think that next year, that's something I will want to delegate to another staff member, so that I can focus on making sure the Bee playoffs progress on schedule. I do think that we would be better off either setting 8:15 as the official start time, or, perhaps less popularly, but in the interests of staying on time, beginning the Bee staff meeting at 6:45. Or maybe 6:50 and 8:05 respectively.

I will make more of a note regarding my USGO thoughts in that thread, but I thought for a first time, it went fine. I am very glad we got it off the ground this year, and people seemed to enjoy the competition. There are certainly some changes to make there, but overall, having a high school level national geography competition is way overdue, and to be able to incorporate pyramidal quizbowl into it is a plus all around.

As far as the set goes, I thought the questions were great, and having a number of harder questions slotted towards the playoff rounds went over well with a number of less-experienced teams who told me they enjoyed this year's set more than previous years'. The length of questions in general seemed perfect for a national championship, and the few minor errors in printing can be fixed easily enough going forward. I think having 8 questions in the 1st quarter but then 10 in each of the 3 tossup quarters (1, 2, 4) in the playoffs went well. Some greater 60 second round / bonus question difficulty consistency could be striven for, but that seemed overall less of a concern here than it's been in the past.

Some things to work on for next year, as I see it, in no particular order:
1. Scoring Posters
This was a good idea which worked well where it was used, but that wasn't everywhere. I am at fault for having left the posters in my apartment; we did manage though to get them and get them distributed by about Round 3 in the morning, though that meant that a number of site captains didn't really know what to do with them or that they were supposed to have their teams sign them before leaving for lunch. Thankfully, having the schedule online, having escorts take teams to and from DC, having a help desk and a hotline, and not having any teams play matches at 2 separate DC sites meant that no one got too far from where they had to be, and that no major delays occurred. Likewise, the stats team double checking everything helped ensure that no major rebracketing issues occurred either. On that note, Jon, can you comment on how the JV 4th place rebracketing went? If faced with a similar situation next year, would you recommend doing it this way again, or having the groups with the top seeded #4 teams automatically be the ones who would qualify their 4th ranking teams into the Upper brackets?

2. Staff
Overall, I am very happy with how staffing went, though I will say we were spread a little bit too thin, particularly on Sunday. This didn't have a major impact overall, but we certainly could have used a few more runners / trained readers (my apologies to anyone in the consolation flights for having the least experienced readers, though as far as I know you did manage to finish on time). Next year, this should certainly become a lot easier with a lack of conflicts with ACF and hopefully MSNCT as well.
I did manage to hear a number of newer readers reading, and with very few exceptions, they did just fine. Raynell Cooper and I did a training session at GWU which helped a lot, as did Raynell's visit to Centennial HS - a big thank you to them - for providing a number of extra readers too. Will Mantell personally called every reader we were at all uncertain of, and this vetting process helped us tremendously in knowing how to best allocate readers. I heard only 1 minor reader complaint over the weekend, and that was from a parent who otherwise didn't know what they were talking about, so I'm not inclined to take that too seriously.
I would also like to add here that a lot of our readers were relatively new, but are becoming more familiar with our setup, more comfortable reading at a quicker tempo (something that matters less at NHBB than at HSNCT with timed rounds or NSC with more experienced teams on average who prefer faster readers), and are also thus potentially interested in helping out at other quiz tournaments. Everyone in quizbowl can benefit from a wider, experienced quality reader pool - and if some of these people come from outside the usual channels or - heaven forbid - have a connection to Jeopardy - that's not reason enough to dismiss them. Quizbowl on the whole needs to become more open and welcoming to outsiders if it is to grow, and I want to make sure that NHBB remains a tournament where all are welcome. That said, some who read this year may end up scorekeeping or reading consolation next year, as we hopefully are able to attract more experienced circuit readers.
I do want to apologize to anyone who didn't get to read a playoff game and was expecting to - the playoff staff was indeed done on my computer in advance, but then I hesitated in making assignments as I wasn't sure who would show up and had some second thoughts about assigning people to particular matches (e.g. the 3 vs. 30 match) without knowing which teams would be in those slots. I think it worked out well enough in the end, but next year, I think I'll probably just make the assignments, and then if changes need to be made once the teams are known, we can do that at that point. Not having this didn't really slow things down / compromise the tournament though.

3. Pre-tournament Communication
I think too many emails with too much information went out in too short a timeframe the week before the tournament. We would have done better to move this up about a week, but given the staffing situation at NHBB, this was probably about as good as it could have gone this year. Next year, that will get remedied, and ideally, we'll be able to call each school individually about 5-10 days in advance to make sure everyone understands the draw and where they need to be when. Same thing for staff for that matter. Still, the strategy of "give everyone as much information as possible, a help desk and a hotline, and people will figure it out" seemed to work well enough to avoid any major issues. In the few odd cases where the message didn't get through, it seemed that was more due to people not reading the instructions / asking us for help, and at a certain point, there's only so much we can do.

4. Some Optics, etc.
It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone that I approach running NHBB with a slightly different set of priorities than other organizational leaders in quizbowl bring to theirs. For instance, we have a far more open qualifying threshold for Nationals, which helps us fund and expand our regional operations, and attract a somewhat different set of teams than go to HSNCT/NSC. That's fine, and helps quizbowl grow in turn (otherwise, the only option many of these teams would have is NAC - keep that in mind).
Another thing I put more emphasis on are things that may come across as "game-showy" though I'm still not entirely sure what that means or why a priori that's a bad thing. Some of this (e.g. the Sports and Entertainment Bees - which I had two writers/overseers largely bail on me for) is best left out, at least for next year. Some of this may not appeal to everyone (note: the Opening meeting is optional - you can go get dinner during that time if you really can't stand 30 minutes of awards / announcements), but a lot of people appreciate it. I don't think I'm really saying anything earth-shattering when I say that the average person who posts on the forums cares less about this stuff than most of the people who were in the audience. But, there were probably about 600-700 people there on Friday night, they all basically knew what to expect (we posted the schedule down to the minute for the ceremonies and held to it), and chose to be there. If the "opening buzz" along with an issue with a tossup that smacks of Lewis Carroll logic but otherwise isn't that important are the two things that people are mostly harping on after NHBB this year, I'll take that as a victory of sorts.
Finally, on the matter of optics, next year, expect livestreaming of finals / playoff matches, a scoreboard in the ballroom rooms/lounges (had I literally had 30 more minutes of prep time, this would have gotten done), and a far bigger push to get media coverage. This year, I purposefully soft-pedalled that as I wanted to make sure everything ran well; my apologies to those who may have been affected by this. Also, I will continue to try and increase the prize $ on offer next year - hopefully we can approach $15,000 or so for high school NHBB.

That's most of what I can think of for now - of course, if people have questions/comments let me know and/or keep posting. Thanks again to all who came!
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: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by jonpin » Thu May 02, 2013 2:36 pm

1. Scoring Posters
This was a good idea which worked well where it was used, but that wasn't everywhere. I am at fault for having left the posters in my apartment; we did manage though to get them and get them distributed by about Round 3 in the morning, though that meant that a number of site captains didn't really know what to do with them or that they were supposed to have their teams sign them before leaving for lunch. Thankfully, having the schedule online, having escorts take teams to and from DC, having a help desk and a hotline, and not having any teams play matches at 2 separate DC sites meant that no one got too far from where they had to be, and that no major delays occurred. Likewise, the stats team double checking everything helped ensure that no major rebracketing issues occurred either. On that note, Jon, can you comment on how the JV 4th place rebracketing went? If faced with a similar situation next year, would you recommend doing it this way again, or having the groups with the top seeded #4 teams automatically be the ones who would qualify their 4th ranking teams into the Upper brackets?
Absolutely not. All teams should be given the same opportunity to advance in the tournament.
We had a pretty good sense of who the wild cards were at 1:00, but not much before then, because some site directors gave us no results (either online or by phone) until all 15 games had been played. Even once we had them, we insisted on doing the cross-check to make sure the point totals for the fourth-place teams was accurate.

I had a thing typed about how to further speed up the rebracketing procedure, but it was inside baseball enough that I am emailing it instead.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Jason Cheng » Thu May 02, 2013 8:33 pm

Just chiming in to say that flashy, ephemeral things like an opening buzz aren't necessarily bad things. This is a high school nationals, with teams and parents and coaches from all across the country who don't post on these forums attending. We might participate in quiz bowl purely for the sake of knowledge, but outsiders, especially parents and uninitiated coaches, need to be convinced that spending large amounts of time and money on building a team and attending nationals is a legitimate venture. If throwing in cash prizes and writing one extra question for a campy opening ceremony furthers that goal without harming the academic integrity of the competition itself, then let sleeping dogs lie. There's no need to call it dumb--if it seems dumb to you, think of the numerous parents an extra 20-30 minutes max of work has humored.

Besides, the halftime show of the Super Bowl has no salient connection to actual football, but I don't think anyone's seriously considered getting rid of it yet. It brings in the viewers and the dollars for the network, and ensures the Super Bowl's continual popularity to people who never watch a single sporting event otherwise.

Note: I have never actually attended any iteration of NHBB Nationals, so if the opening ceremony has actually ruined anyone's nationals experience, then you have permission ignore my post.
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by scottkim » Fri May 03, 2013 1:00 pm

Will Round 10 of the Regional Bowl rounds be posted?
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Re: NHBB Nationals Discussion Thread

Post by Great Bustard » Fri May 03, 2013 2:47 pm

Yes, Matt, these can now be posted for all 3 regionals sets.
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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