2013 NAC

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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Matt Weiner » Sat Jun 01, 2013 5:09 pm

This is basic logic. The fact that tournaments on good questions everywhere but the Baltimore-DC are are exploding in size shows that the thing holding the Baltimore-DC area back cannot be good questions, and must be something endemic to the Baltimore-DC area.

What could this thing be? Could it be the gameshow that makes people worse at quizbowl and less interested in it and, magically, all of your students "set as their own goal" over two decades of your coaching?
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by ProfessorIanDuncan » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:16 pm

Ok. So i was gonna post the top five playoffs seeds for varsity in DC if anyone cares, because that is probably more fitting to go under 2013 NAC than yelling at John about the Baltimore-DC circuit and Its Academic.

1. Hastings
2. Ardsley
3. Irvington
4. Horace Greeley
5. Booker T. Washington

The top 4 seeds are from the same county. Yeah maybe that region needs some outreach.

in JV High Tech is playing the winner of Fossil Ridge A and B play in game for the title. and in the Junior NAC, the cacophonous Middlesex has 3 teams as one of the top 8 seeds.

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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:32 pm

I know in the case of Hawken, they have undergone a huge program change as their coach from last year is no longer there and they are essentially starting young and fresh. Such a shame, they were a pretty good team last year
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Panayot Hitov » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:34 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:This is basic logic. The fact that tournaments on good questions everywhere but the Baltimore-DC are are exploding in size shows that the thing holding the Baltimore-DC area back cannot be good questions, and must be something endemic to the Baltimore-DC area.

What could this thing be? Could it be the gameshow that makes people worse at quizbowl and less interested in it and, magically, all of your students "set as their own goal" over two decades of your coaching?
Okay, honestly, we all know It's Ac sucks, but is it the reason why attendance has been declining?

I think this whole thing is a supply and demand thing. Last year, there were at least 5 tournaments (2XUMD, 2XSt. Anselm's, one at GDS) that didn't happen this year, with, (by my count) one new tournament (Perry Hall). This points to what I think is the real issue here: Less Tournaments close = less teams coming. It's a stretch for me to justify driving to Richmond more than once or twice, and I have a license. Beginner, learner's permit-saddled teams will not want to drive 6-ish hours for their first tournament.

Besides, most tournaments basically filled up to their field cap: Centennial was bigger than ever, We had literally the exact number of staffers to run a tournament at a bare minimum, blah blah blah. Each tournament saw its share of new faces, such as Glenelg Country, Westlake, Hammond, blah blah blah. There is a demand for quizbowl in the DC area, it is just not met right now.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sat Jun 01, 2013 11:55 pm

Willmune Sof Burrghtenstein wrote:I think this whole thing is a supply and demand thing. Last year, there were at least 5 tournaments (2XUMD, 2XSt. Anselm's, one at GDS) that didn't happen this year, with, (by my count) one new tournament (Perry Hall). This points to what I think is the real issue here: Less Tournaments close = less teams coming. It's a stretch for me to justify driving to Richmond more than once or twice, and I have a license. Beginner, learner's permit-saddled teams will not want to drive 6-ish hours for their first tournament.

Besides, most tournaments basically filled up to their field cap: Centennial was bigger than ever, We had literally the exact number of staffers to run a tournament at a bare minimum, blah blah blah. Each tournament saw its share of new faces, such as Glenelg Country, Westlake, Hammond, blah blah blah. There is a demand for quizbowl in the DC area, it is just not met right now.
On the other hand, you had a tournament like JAMES at TJ that was cancelled due to lack of interest.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Off To See The Lizard » Sun Jun 02, 2013 12:23 am

To be fair that was on an SAT day, so low attendance was to be expected
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by High Dependency Unit » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:42 am

I will say that Middlesex does not plan on attending NAC next year after having a great experience at MSNCT. We no longer want to deal with :chip: and his questions.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Jun 02, 2013 9:41 am

Willmune Sof Burrghtenstein wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:This is basic logic. The fact that tournaments on good questions everywhere but the Baltimore-DC are are exploding in size shows that the thing holding the Baltimore-DC area back cannot be good questions, and must be something endemic to the Baltimore-DC area.

What could this thing be? Could it be the gameshow that makes people worse at quizbowl and less interested in it and, magically, all of your students "set as their own goal" over two decades of your coaching?
Okay, honestly, we all know It's Ac sucks, but is it the reason why attendance has been declining?

I think this whole thing is a supply and demand thing. Last year, there were at least 5 tournaments (2XUMD, 2XSt. Anselm's, one at GDS) that didn't happen this year, with, (by my count) one new tournament (Perry Hall). This points to what I think is the real issue here: Less Tournaments close = less teams coming. It's a stretch for me to justify driving to Richmond more than once or twice, and I have a license. Beginner, learner's permit-saddled teams will not want to drive 6-ish hours for their first tournament.

Besides, most tournaments basically filled up to their field cap: Centennial was bigger than ever, We had literally the exact number of staffers to run a tournament at a bare minimum, blah blah blah. Each tournament saw its share of new faces, such as Glenelg Country, Westlake, Hammond, blah blah blah. There is a demand for quizbowl in the DC area, it is just not met right now.
The Centennial tournament had just had 66 teams. In December 2012. It's clear that hosts in the DC-MD-NoVa area (excluding Richmond from this analysis) can haul in a much larger number of teams than they do now, if they just try. Is it possibly true that many formerly-active teams dropped off as quizbowl evolved to look less like It's Academic? It's very likely, and several old coaches will admit to it if asked. Does that mean they were right to do so? Not really. Does it mean we ought to throw up our hands since we didn't do the right thing from 2004ish to the present, rather than start doing a good job now of bringing more teams back into well-run quizbowl tournaments with good questions? Of course not. Is it manifestly possible to do that good job? As Centennial suggests, it's absolutely possible.

Here are some suggestions I have, as a survivor of the area:

- Cut out the silly, unprofessional acronyms in tournament names. They are very confusing to coaches and make your team look immature in the wider world, where adult coaches are much more likely to respond to a definite description like "Oakland Mills Spring Tournament" or "RM Fall Tournament" than "FUNKADELIC" or "ANCHORMAN".

-Invite every team every time. By email necessarily and by physical mail wherever possible (if you mail 200 teams at 45 cents a stamp, you turn a profit if just two teams register who otherwise wouldn't, since the effort of 90 dollars spent brings in over 90 dollars of revenue). I guarantee you that a lot of coaches on the outskirts won't know about your tournament if you just put up a forums post and only email the small slice of teams that you know well. Develop a large, up-to-date contact list of every team that has attended anything in the past year, and make sure the communications go out to every person on it. (Isaac: weren't you making one of these a year ago? Was it put to good use?) Take note of the It's Academic participants and VHSL-only teams - you may have to physical-mail "Academic Team Coach" at several of these places, but some will respond.

- Strike up a real, convivial, and non-frustrated conversation with a new coach if you haven't met them before and they swing by the registration desk - start with a handshake and "Hi, I'm [your name here], nice to meet you". You have to get people in the building before you can talk to them (calmly and rationally) about the benefits of good quizbowl and encourage them to attend more good tournaments, but once you do, you should probably make a bit more human effort to make them feel welcome. At that point, as Matt Weiner says, most people are rational and will see the good of our activity. But the conversation has to happen first. (Talk to people in MOQBA about how to make these conversations work well - I know they dealt with a lot of teams whose only experience was speed checks and MSHSAA state Questions Galore fare, and have changed the minds of dozens of coaches.) You can send messages with a personal touch to coaches who haven't registered yet to show you care about them: "Mr. [Name], It was nice meeting you at our last tournament. Our tournament is three weeks away and we're sad to see that [School] High School hasn't registered yet. We'd be glad to see you there..."

- I do agree that it's a problem that there are fewer tournaments in the immediate area than there were before, which means the most well-connected teams can simply drive to Richmond or Delaware and leave the less-connected teams with fewer events to go to in or around the Beltway. What happened to Maryland Fall and Maryland Spring, for example? Will they return? The flagship university of the state has a pretty large cachet if put to good use. Perry Hall's event seems like a good thing - will it come back again? A lot of the tournaments in the area have been pretty mobile in the calendar or ad-hoc from year to year, which isn't the best. It's easier to build a strong reputation for regularly-held yearly events, building up good word for yourself (and therefore larger field sizes) in the short term.

- It's also possible, while you're a student, to reach out to the other students you're playing if there's a moment of downtime. Ask them about their interests, talk to them about what their practices look like, bring up quizbowlpackets.com and HSQuizbowl if they are having a good time, be generally friendly. It's pretty easy, as a well-connected team member, to keep your conversations within your own team, or just talk to the people you know on other well-connected or good teams (I admit I have been pretty guilty of this at various times in my playing career). It's better for quizbowl, though, if you can connect with some of the people on less-active teams on a personal level. Then you can not only talk to them about all the fun you're having in quizbowl (and all the ways to get better) on Facebook or Snapchat or whatever the kids use these days - you can also give them another motive to attend more events, which is to see their new friends whom they know and like on other teams.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by High Dependency Unit » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:14 am

Middlesex has both of the teams in the Middle School final.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:28 am

Matt Jackson is correct. The reason we don't have teams at tournaments in Maryland is because tournaments are scheduled at the last minute, for bad dates, and not promoted properly. People keep thinking that posting here and sending things to e-mail lists is enough. It isn't. Send a physical letter. Build face-to-face relationships.

This has enabled other areas to grow without running tournaments in It's Academic style or viewing "sometimes people lose games" as an insurmountable problem. It will work in Maryland as it has elsewhere. Do it.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by samus149 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:09 pm

In the JV division, Fossil Ridge JV A beat High Tech 255-240. Congrats to them for what I heard was a well fought game.

That being said, I would like to point out our NAC story, which I hope will restore some people’s faith in humanity. Our school plays a modified jeopardy tournament every year (it’s a New Jersey specific thing, I believe), which we won this year. The grand prize was a free ride to NAC, but all of the A, B, and C team members either heard about the horrors of NAC from people who went last year, had SATs, or didn’t want to go to three national tournaments in three weeks. So, we resolved to send a team of freshman, who hadn’t gone to too many tournaments throughout the year and wanted some experience.

You might hate us for making this tournament the freshmen’s first nationals, but it turned out great! They came back with stories of bad moderators, bad moderators, bad everything. They were cut off before they could give an answer, and apparently lost the last game on some technicalities. So what we accomplished this weekend: sent a cadre of freshmen free to NAC (who still had fun and almost got a national title), and successfully indoctrinated our younglings against the horrors of :chip: with all the fibers of their being.

Are :chip: nationals awful? Yeah. But sometimes they serve a higher purpose. :party:
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:24 pm

So just don't send anyone at all next year...? It would be really bad to get trapped in a cycle of sending unwilling freshmen to this sham every year, given that (a) High Tech needs a clean record as it establishes its reputation as a good quizbowl powerhouse and (b) it's basically hazing. If people want "some experience" and don't qualify for Nationals (the nationals that NAQT and PACE work so much harder to put on with consistent question quality and ethical records), they ought to go to more of the many events that exist in your area during the year.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by samus149 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 1:34 pm

RyuAqua wrote:So just don't send anyone at all next year...?
I doubt we will; given that we might not be attending the mod. jeopardy tournament next year, we will definitely not be paying to go to NAC. Also, the only reason anyone went this year was because one intrepid sophomore felt like being the captain for once, and apparently there's an amazing Thai food place nearby he used to persuade some of them.

But, as always, we are at the beckon call (beck and call?) of our district.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Insolvency law of Canada » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:52 pm

So just don't send anyone at all next year...? It would be really bad to get trapped in a cycle of sending unwilling freshmen to this sham every year, given that (a) High Tech needs a clean record as it establishes its reputation as a good quizbowl powerhouse and (b) it's basically hazing. If people want "some experience" and don't qualify for Nationals (the nationals that NAQT and PACE work so much harder to put on with consistent question quality and ethical records), they ought to go to more of the many events that exist in your area during the year.
Just to clarify here, we didn't send anyone to NAC who didn't want to go. We lucked our way into some money that could only be used at NAC and, as no one else particularly liked the idea, the freshmen volunteered. There's definitely no hazing.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Iluvatar343 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 10:09 pm

Honestly, if you go into NAC knowing how awful it will be and are going for free and don't really have anything better to do with a weekend, it's quite fun. Not to play, to laugh at during and after.

And as Sean said, that Thai place is freaking amazing.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:08 pm

Iluvatar343 wrote:Honestly, if you go into NAC knowing how awful it will be and are going for free and don't really have anything better to do with a weekend, it's quite fun. Not to play, to laugh at during and after.

And as Sean said, that Thai place is freaking amazing.
At the end of the day, Chip is still making money from you, and his legitimacy is being bolstered by the fact that a good team is playing at his tournament. Given is ethical record, going to NAC is horrible, no matter what the situation is.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by theMoMA » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:47 pm

Everyone should read Matt Jackson's post above. His advice is spot on.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:21 am

Iluvatar343 wrote:Honestly, if you go into NAC knowing how awful it will be and are going for free and don't really have anything better to do with a weekend, it's quite fun. Not to play, to laugh at during and after.

And as Sean said, that Thai place is freaking amazing.
Couldn't you have the same fun without giving up your weekend and supporting awful people by ordering delicious Thai food into someone's house(or going beforehand) and reading 1993-era questions to each other?
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:22 am

RyuAqua wrote:
Willmune Sof Burrghtenstein wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:This is basic logic. The fact that tournaments on good questions everywhere but the Baltimore-DC are are exploding in size shows that the thing holding the Baltimore-DC area back cannot be good questions, and must be something endemic to the Baltimore-DC area.

What could this thing be? Could it be the gameshow that makes people worse at quizbowl and less interested in it and, magically, all of your students "set as their own goal" over two decades of your coaching?
Okay, honestly, we all know It's Ac sucks, but is it the reason why attendance has been declining?

I think this whole thing is a supply and demand thing. Last year, there were at least 5 tournaments (2XUMD, 2XSt. Anselm's, one at GDS) that didn't happen this year, with, (by my count) one new tournament (Perry Hall). This points to what I think is the real issue here: Less Tournaments close = less teams coming. It's a stretch for me to justify driving to Richmond more than once or twice, and I have a license. Beginner, learner's permit-saddled teams will not want to drive 6-ish hours for their first tournament.

Besides, most tournaments basically filled up to their field cap: Centennial was bigger than ever, We had literally the exact number of staffers to run a tournament at a bare minimum, blah blah blah. Each tournament saw its share of new faces, such as Glenelg Country, Westlake, Hammond, blah blah blah. There is a demand for quizbowl in the DC area, it is just not met right now.
The Centennial tournament had just had 66 teams. In December 2012. It's clear that hosts in the DC-MD-NoVa area (excluding Richmond from this analysis) can haul in a much larger number of teams than they do now, if they just try. Is it possibly true that many formerly-active teams dropped off as quizbowl evolved to look less like It's Academic? It's very likely, and several old coaches will admit to it if asked. Does that mean they were right to do so? Not really. Does it mean we ought to throw up our hands since we didn't do the right thing from 2004ish to the present, rather than start doing a good job now of bringing more teams back into well-run quizbowl tournaments with good questions? Of course not. Is it manifestly possible to do that good job? As Centennial suggests, it's absolutely possible.

Here are some suggestions I have, as a survivor of the area:

- Cut out the silly, unprofessional acronyms in tournament names. They are very confusing to coaches and make your team look immature in the wider world, where adult coaches are much more likely to respond to a definite description like "Oakland Mills Spring Tournament" or "RM Fall Tournament" than "FUNKADELIC" or "ANCHORMAN".

-Invite every team every time. By email necessarily and by physical mail wherever possible (if you mail 200 teams at 45 cents a stamp, you turn a profit if just two teams register who otherwise wouldn't, since the effort of 90 dollars spent brings in over 90 dollars of revenue). I guarantee you that a lot of coaches on the outskirts won't know about your tournament if you just put up a forums post and only email the small slice of teams that you know well. Develop a large, up-to-date contact list of every team that has attended anything in the past year, and make sure the communications go out to every person on it. (Isaac: weren't you making one of these a year ago? Was it put to good use?) Take note of the It's Academic participants and VHSL-only teams - you may have to physical-mail "Academic Team Coach" at several of these places, but some will respond.

- Strike up a real, convivial, and non-frustrated conversation with a new coach if you haven't met them before and they swing by the registration desk - start with a handshake and "Hi, I'm [your name here], nice to meet you". You have to get people in the building before you can talk to them (calmly and rationally) about the benefits of good quizbowl and encourage them to attend more good tournaments, but once you do, you should probably make a bit more human effort to make them feel welcome. At that point, as Matt Weiner says, most people are rational and will see the good of our activity. But the conversation has to happen first. (Talk to people in MOQBA about how to make these conversations work well - I know they dealt with a lot of teams whose only experience was speed checks and MSHSAA state Questions Galore fare, and have changed the minds of dozens of coaches.) You can send messages with a personal touch to coaches who haven't registered yet to show you care about them: "Mr. [Name], It was nice meeting you at our last tournament. Our tournament is three weeks away and we're sad to see that [School] High School hasn't registered yet. We'd be glad to see you there..."

- I do agree that it's a problem that there are fewer tournaments in the immediate area than there were before, which means the most well-connected teams can simply drive to Richmond or Delaware and leave the less-connected teams with fewer events to go to in or around the Beltway. What happened to Maryland Fall and Maryland Spring, for example? Will they return? The flagship university of the state has a pretty large cachet if put to good use. Perry Hall's event seems like a good thing - will it come back again? A lot of the tournaments in the area have been pretty mobile in the calendar or ad-hoc from year to year, which isn't the best. It's easier to build a strong reputation for regularly-held yearly events, building up good word for yourself (and therefore larger field sizes) in the short term.

- It's also possible, while you're a student, to reach out to the other students you're playing if there's a moment of downtime. Ask them about their interests, talk to them about what their practices look like, bring up quizbowlpackets.com and HSQuizbowl if they are having a good time, be generally friendly. It's pretty easy, as a well-connected team member, to keep your conversations within your own team, or just talk to the people you know on other well-connected or good teams (I admit I have been pretty guilty of this at various times in my playing career). It's better for quizbowl, though, if you can connect with some of the people on less-active teams on a personal level. Then you can not only talk to them about all the fun you're having in quizbowl (and all the ways to get better) on Facebook or Snapchat or whatever the kids use these days - you can also give them another motive to attend more events, which is to see their new friends whom they know and like on other teams.
This is a really good post that everyone should read.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:50 am

Kuandian Manchu Autonomous County wrote: Couldn't you have the same fun without giving up your weekend and supporting awful people by ordering delicious Thai food into someone's house(or going beforehand) and reading 1993-era questions to each other?
There's a good argument for changing the phrase "awful people" in that sentence to "awful person". Having worked with them and gotten to know them over the last couple years (and Brooks for longer than that), there is nothing whatsoever bad to be said, as people or as moderators and staffers, about Brick Barrientos, Jason Russell, Brooks Sanders, Mike Mastandrea or Ariel Schieler. I (now) know that people have had problems in the past with things that Ernie Anderson has said, but I have never had a problem with the guy and quite like him personally, admittedly mostly because I am a 41-year-old male whom it is practically impossible to offend. I read at this phase of this tournament for two years, and while I'm not trying to toot my own horn here I didn't hear about people thinking they'd been hard done by by me, screwed out of a win that they deserved by me, or that I was trying to quote 2 Live Crew lyrics to their 15-year-old daughter, either. Unlike :chip: , I have this trait called “being able to admit when I'm wrong, or that I might have been mistaken.” Almost every single problem with this tournament is directly attributable to the behavior, attitude and psychoses of one man - :chip: . As Sam Donow said last year in the 2012 NAC thread (I'm paraphrasing from memory), I think that the net effect of the staffers at the NAC not named Beall (although his wife Yvon does seem to be a pleasant person) is to neutralize his odiousness and make the tournament experience more pleasant for the teams than it would otherwise be. I'll say this...even the die-hard :chip: supporters at the NAC do not want to play matches in his room, to the point where one coach that had just finished a game with me openly blurted out, after checking the schedule, “Oh s***, we're in :chip: 's room next.”

I will say that the Thai restaurant one block down the street from the Westin was quite outstanding, as well as reasonably priced, especially for the DC area. :grin:

All that having been said, the 2013 NAC phase in Washington may turn out to be a positive boon for PYRAMIDAL quizbowl in the upstate New York / northern Pennsylvania regions, since two of the locally-influential schools represented from that area, Cooperstown (NY) and Montrose Area (PA) - the latter of whom were among the contenders to win the phase, and were considered by many teams as the best or second-best team there despite their early playoff exit - will most assuredly never be attending the NAC again. I know that both coaches (Tim Iversen of Cooperstown and John Koloski of Montrose) lurk on this board, as well as some of their players, so I'll leave it to, and openly invite, them to give the board the details of what happened, as anything coming from me would be hearsay since none of the things they had problems with happened in my room, and therefore anything coming from me regarding this topic would be hearsay and therefore not admissible in a court of quizbowl. Suffice it to say that Tim, in particular, was so apoplectic after Friday's play that around 11 that evening, I walked over to their hotel, dragged him out of his room, bought him a beer or five at the hotel bar, and (I think) finally managed to calm him down. He was so upset that I was literally concerned for his well-being, and any of you who might know Tim knows that he makes the typical Deadhead in mid Garcia-solo mode seem like a War Hawk by comparison. Nothing fazes the guy, but :chip: did.

This was my second year reading at the DC NAC, and this time it will certainly be my last. I saw and heard things this year, as a regularly-scheduled staffer, that I did not see or hear last time around when I was a begged-at-the-last-minute-to-please-come-and-read-so- :chip: -was-on-his-best-behavior-around-me staffer. My son and I have a noon tee time today so I won't go into details at the moment, but, frankly, I cannot be associated with this tournament anymore as long as :chip: is involved with it. My son (who's 4) likes the fact that Daddy's NAC checks pay his greens fees and cart rentals for the entire golf season, but he also doesn't like the fact that Daddy is gone for days at a time for weeks in a row. I travel to work for tournaments like the local and metro-NYC circuit tournaments, MSNCT, HSNCT, PACE NSC, the new New York State Pyramidal championship tournament starting next year (bit of a preview there, that one) and (next year, assuming the schedule works out better) NHBB and NASAT out of love. I do them happily without being paid. Honestly, I'd read for those tournaments if I had to -pay- to do it. I worked NAC for two reasons: loyalty and support for local teams who were attending them, and the money. The first of those reasons is disappearing. Ithaca is now completely a pyramidal quizbowl program. Cooperstown and Montrose will be next year. Even the three semi-local teams attending NAC in DC this year (Fillmore, Genesee Valley and Delaware Valley) who didn't get actively robbed of their tournament chances by :chip: expressed interest in competing in the new local pyramidal tournaments next year, and in fact Fillmore and Delaware Valley already do (the latter were at NHBB Nationals). And I really don't need the money badly enough to put what I think (correct me if I'm wrong) is a pretty good reputation in the quizbowl community at large at risk by continuing to be associated with a person and tournament that has this sort of ethical record, or lack thereof, even if I think that my function at that tournament is mostly to counteract the effects of that person. My time and my efforts, I think, are best directed elsewhere in the future, especially with having BrainBusters Fall expansion from a local to a large regional NAQT qualifier, the NYS Championship, the Cooperstown joint high school-middle school tournament at the Hall of Fame, the first-ever local middle school tournament (and MSNCT qualifier) in the early spring, helping out with Bull Bowl, NHBB, and metro-NYC tournaments, the usual 3 local tournaments I do with Brooks Sanders, and reading at MSNCT, HSNCT, PACE NSC, NHBB Nationals and NASAT, my plate is going to be slightly on the full side from here on in.

A postscript, and one that I'd be interested in hearing people's opinions regarding: I am actually one of the people on this board who thinks that a post- :chip: NAC -does- have a legitimate place in the high school quizbowl world. Although he would always be working against the ethical lapses of the :chip: years, Jason Russell, if allowed to work free of :chip: interference (which he isn't now...my take on that situation is that he is “Head Editor” in name only since :chip: has final call on everything question-wise), might be able to make this tournament worth attending again for teams that prefer, or at the very least don't mind occasionally playing on, shorter, non-pyramidal questions and the four-quarter format....and those teams actually do exist. At HSNCT this year, I spoke to the coaches from a team that is a recent convert from :chip: to pyramidal quizbowl, and they did tell me that, if Jason were ever to take over NAC (or, more bluntly, if :chip: were to leave) that they -would- be willing to give NAC another try, and I'm sure that there are teams out there who feel the same way. There are also many more out there who were so scarred by their previous NAC experiences that they'll never come back no matter who's in charge, and that's okay, too. I envision a future in which there are 4 major national multiple-category quizbowl championships: NAQT HSNCT (short-pyramidal, traditional distribution), PACE NSC (long-pyramidal academic), NASAT (state all-star long-pyramidal) and NAC (non-pyramidal four-quarter), and that all 4 tournaments can co-exist peacefully in the way that the first 3 do now. Maybe it's a pipe dream, but I think it's possible. But it's not possible until :chip: is no longer associated with the sport of quizbowl, because the man carries too much baggage, and does not have the best interests of the sport at heart.

--Scott
Scott M. Blish
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Cornell 1990-92, 1997
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Couch's Kingbird » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:14 pm

geolawyerman wrote:I will say that Middlesex does not plan on attending NAC next year after having a great experience at MSNCT. We no longer want to deal with :chip: and his questions.
Well said.
Julia Tong
Middlesex MS 2011-2014
Darien 2014-2018; Co-Captain 2015-2018
Barnard 2018-2022
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by High Dependency Unit » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:01 pm

Mr. Blish, if nobody from those teams tells us what happens, will you say what you heard instead? Anyway, we had a few issues of our own with this tournament, but nothing that really affected the outcome. However, they almost did. For now I'm only going to talk about the playoff question issues and issues not relating to questions.

In our quarterfinal game (remember this is JNAC), we had a To Kill a Mockingbird bonus. The 20-point part asked who attacked Scout and Jem on their way home from the pageant. We said Bob Ewell and were ruled incorrect. The other team said Ewell and got it right, and the moderator said it was Tom Ewell. We protested that they mixed up Tom Robinson and Bob Ewell-who did attack Scout and Jem, and the other team agreed that our answer was correct. In our semifinal game, we had to be in :chip: 's room, and there were issues with three questions in that round (2 in our game and one in our B team's game). The first issue was an incorrect answer line, which :chip: fixed before we heard the question (they had Sinclair Lewis for F Scott Fitzgerald), but the other room threw out the question. The second issue, which was in our game, was pretty annoying. We selected the lightning round "where", and we "ran" the category. However, :chip: reviewed our answer to #7, which asked something along the lines of, "What 29-mile bridge connects New Orleans with (insert some Louisiana city)?" We answered, "Lake Ponchetrain," for the Lake Ponchetrain causeway, but :chip: had it at just Ponchetrain or Ponchetrain causeway. I asked Scott this, and he said he would've given it to us. At the end of the quarter, we trailed by 55, and we officially filed a protest as to make a supreme court appeal later, if it was necessary ( :chip: wasn't going to change his ruling). We somehow managed to win by 45, so the protest wasn't necessary, but I am curious about what would've happened if we made the appeal.

In our B team's semifinal game, there was a bonus on "Places". The 5-point part asked what country the Cliffs of Dover were in (Interestingly, we gave the "correct" answer of England, which is not a country but a political subdivision of the UK), and they answered the U.K. and were ruled incorrect. They protested, and went on to lose by 10, pending the protest. After a few minutes of discussion (remember I wasn't there-this is a secondhand account), they were finally ruled correct on something that should've been acceptable in the first place. They got the 10 and 15-pointers but missed the 20, which the other team also couldn't get, so they won the game. However, even though both of us won, these situations shouldn't have happened in the first place.

I will say that Scott was a great moderator, as he was lenient with the answer lines on alot of vague questions during the prelims. He also allowed us to use fake names because they weren't taking individual stats, meaning our team could be the fab four plus Pete Best. Ernie Anderson was also a nice, funny moderator. The other moderators, with the exception of :chip: , were very professional and did an acceptable job. We had a pretty good experience at this tournament, but we will not be going back.
Michael Borecki
Middlesex Middle '13,
Darien (co-captain) '17,
Bowdoin College (club president) '21
NHBB Regional Coordinator
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by cchiego » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:43 pm

Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:There's a good argument for changing the phrase "awful people" in that sentence to "awful person". Having worked with them and gotten to know them over the last couple years (and Brooks for longer than that), there is nothing whatsoever bad to be said, as people or as moderators and staffers, about Brick Barrientos, Jason Russell, Brooks Sanders, Mike Mastandrea or Ariel Schieler
If these are all such great people, why are they willingly remaining on the ChipTrain? If they really want to help further quiz bowl around the country, they'd break away from Chip and start helping with pyramidal tournaments. Their failure to do this makes them just as guilty as the guy they "work for" every year and perhaps moreso because it appears they know how much of a joke the NAC is now.
Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:Jason Russell, if allowed to work free of :chip: interference (which he isn't now...my take on that situation is that he is “Head Editor” in name only since :chip: has final call on everything question-wise), might be able to make this tournament worth attending again for teams that prefer, or at the very least don't mind occasionally playing on, shorter, non-pyramidal questions and the four-quarter format
There is no way you can have a national championship on non-pyramidal questions. Not only are non-pyramidal questions an easy gateway for lazy question writing, but pyramidal questions are perhaps most effective at national tournaments where you have some of the best teams in the country who are best differentiated by the pyramidality of the difficult early clues plus a number of teams who are decent enough to qualify but not in contention for the championship all competing on the same question set. There is basically no place for anything like the NAC in the future.
Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:Suffice it to say that Tim, in particular, was so apoplectic after Friday's play that around 11 that evening, I walked over to their hotel, dragged him out of his room, bought him a beer or five at the hotel bar, and (I think) finally managed to calm him down. He was so upset that I was literally concerned for his well-being, and any of you who might know Tim knows that he makes the typical Deadhead in mid Garcia-solo mode seem like a War Hawk by comparison.
The solution is simple! Stop going to these jokes of tournaments! It's so blindingly obvious (especially if people know about this board already) that you have to doubt the sanity of these people who keep going back to NAC thinking something will change.

I'm sure pretty much anyone from the world of good quizbowl stands ready to help any of these teams make the transition to real quizbowl if they need guidance. Matt Jackson's approach to personal contact is right-on and Scott, I commend you for talking to some of these teams in person. But really, how many of these remaining teams are simply ill-informed? There are going to be some people so cravenly fixated on the shiny trophies (that they would have 0 shot of getting at a real national championship) that they'll pay their $700 lottery ticket each year and see if they end up on the lucky side of the Wheel of Beall.
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
Greater Pennsylvania QuizBowl
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:34 pm

Hi Scott,

I'm going to take some time to respond to, and sometimes critique, some of the thoughts and sentiments that you shared. I'm glad you shared all your thoughts, but there are many claims in your post that I feel a need to unwind and perhaps respond to with some suggestions.
Ithaca Cricket Ump wrote:Having worked with them and gotten to know them over the last couple years (and Brooks for longer than that), there is nothing whatsoever bad to be said, as people or as moderators and staffers, about Brick Barrientos, Jason Russell, Brooks Sanders, Mike Mastandrea or Ariel Schieler.
Any/all of these people may be polite and kind to a fault, or good at doing the tasks Chip Beall assigns them, or family friends outside of quizbowl, or all sorts of other nice things. Maybe they smile a lot; maybe they give to charity - it doesn't matter. What matters is that materially supporting Chip Beall's enterprise in any way is a bad thing to do, and all people who volunteer their time or effort to his enterprise should stop right now. (One need not go so far as to call them "awful people" to admit the obvious here: it's easy for people to be nice and still do bad things which they need to stop doing, lest they be judged in their capacity as moral agents for doing them.)

Have you tried talking to these folks about why they continue with Chip? If there is truly nothing bad to be said about these people, some amount of conversation explaining what's wrong with Chip, and some demonstration of the alternatives to his event, should show them all the things that good quizbowl circuits offer and that Chip Beall actively corrupts. (Love of learning, inspiring passions for new disciplines, reinforcing and expanding the academic material in schools, fairness, the correlation between effort and results, sportsmanship, vibrant community spaces nationwide both online and in person, etc. etc.) Maybe Brick, Jason, and Brooks are too far gone at this point. Offer to meet up with one of the others at an NAQT or HSAPQ tournament. See if they listen. If not, I'd start asking whether there is some irrationality or bad circumstance holding them back. Loyalty to this insane man, perhaps? They feel trapped, figuratively or literally?
I (now) know that people have had problems in the past with things that Ernie Anderson has said, but I have never had a problem with the guy and quite like him personally, admittedly mostly because I am a 41-year-old male whom it is practically impossible to offend.
Related to the above: Your lack of problems with Ernie Anderson does not in any way invalidate or deny the huge raft of complaints he has gotten over the years. This is a non-starter.
I read at this phase of this tournament for two years, and while I'm not trying to toot my own horn here I didn't hear about people thinking they'd been hard done by by me, screwed out of a win that they deserved by me, or that I was trying to quote 2 Live Crew lyrics to their 15-year-old daughter, either.
...This was my second year reading at the DC NAC, and this time it will certainly be my last.


I'm glad you made the discovery that this only seemed honorable, and the more honorable thing to do is just walk away. It isn't worth it to get your hands dirty or incur mistrust from other people by going anywhere near Questions Unlimited. ( In fact, you may already have trouble getting people to trust you just from going for these past two years - I don't really know.) The most honorable thing to do, given that I know you love good quizbowl and want to promote it for good reason, is to actively thwart Chip Beall's efforts, either by working hard to create better alternatives or by attempting to peel teams off of his regime.
Almost every single problem with this tournament is directly attributable to the behavior, attitude and psychoses of one man - :chip: . As Sam Donow said last year in the 2012 NAC thread (I'm paraphrasing from memory), I think that the net effect of the staffers at the NAC not named Beall (although his wife Yvon does seem to be a pleasant person) is to neutralize his odiousness and make the tournament experience more pleasant for the teams than it would otherwise be. I'll say this...even the die-hard :chip: supporters at the NAC do not want to play matches in his room, to the point where one coach that had just finished a game with me openly blurted out, after checking the schedule, “Oh s***, we're in :chip: 's room next.”
Is the argumentative claim here that "Chip Beall can be severed from the rest of the organization and things will be fine", or that "the people in Chip's organization will be fine after being severed from him? If your claim is the former - don't be naive. Chip Beall is the leader and driving force of everything the organization does. There is no point in imagining QU or the NAC without Chip Beall, because he is obviously delusional and will continue running the enterprise the exact same way he's been running it, until the day he keels over at the podium. Saying anything positive about Questions Unlimited-sans-Chip, or the ways in which those people make his sham tournament better (!!!), emboldens Chip Beall and validates his backward way of making 1983 proto-quizbowl [not] work. If you're making the latter claim - you think we can get the rest of the staffers out and isolate Chip - again, you're probably in a better place than any of us to try and bring them around. I wish you luck. (Though Brick Barrientos has staffed and played modern collegiate opens and still doesn't seem to get it.)
I will say that the Thai restaurant one block down the street from the Westin was quite outstanding, as well as reasonably priced, especially for the DC area. :grin:
Come on, man. Teams don't pay 600 dollars, plus hundreds more in travel and lodging, for Thai food.
All that having been said, the 2013 NAC phase in Washington may turn out to be a positive boon for PYRAMIDAL quizbowl in the upstate New York / northern Pennsylvania regions, since two of the locally-influential schools represented from that area, Cooperstown (NY) and Montrose Area (PA) - the latter of whom were among the contenders to win the phase, and were considered by many teams as the best or second-best team there despite their early playoff exit - will most assuredly never be attending the NAC again. I know that both coaches (Tim Iversen of Cooperstown and John Koloski of Montrose) lurk on this board, as well as some of their players... Ithaca is now completely a pyramidal quizbowl program. Cooperstown and Montrose will be next year. Even the three semi-local teams attending NAC in DC this year (Fillmore, Genesee Valley and Delaware Valley) who didn't get actively robbed of their tournament chances by :chip: expressed interest in competing in the new local pyramidal tournaments next year, and in fact Fillmore and Delaware Valley already do (the latter were at NHBB Nationals).
It is a good thing that more teams want to do good questions. I'll take a second to put my VP of Outreach hat on, and say to those people: Hi, folks! If you're reading this and want to get involved in more non-Chip tournaments, but don't know where to start, feel free to send me a message and I'll see what I can do to help. More generally, to Scott: If you'd like to help connect those teams up with tournament hosts in their areas, that would be awesome. Let NYC or Upstate hosts know about the New York teams - when you see UBuffalo or Columbia put up an announcement, shoot an email to the TDs saying "Do you have Cooperstown on your email list? Their email is ______" - and you'll do a world of good for getting people linked into the mainstream quizbowl world.

I'd like to take a second to quash a narrative that seems to be emerging from this thread - i.e. "it's okay that this team went to Chip Beall once, since it taught them the lesson that they should HATE it and never go back!" Or: "We went one time just to laugh at it!" NO. Certainly, if a team has started in on Questions Unlimited without knowing about better alternatives, we should steer them away from it without judging them for their lack of familiarity with the broader, better quizbowl world. But if you know about the problems of this enterprise, doing anything to help it is a ringing endorsement of all the problems it has and its continued existence well into the future. This post is absolutely right, and expresses the beliefs of the mainstream quizbowl community on this score.
I'll leave it to, and openly invite, them to give the board the details of what happened, as anything coming from me would be hearsay since none of the things they had problems with happened in my room, and therefore anything coming from me regarding this topic would be hearsay and therefore not admissible in a court of quizbowl.
I saw and heard things this year, as a regularly-scheduled staffer, that I did not see or hear last time around when I was a begged-at-the-last-minute-to-please-come-and-read-so- :chip: -was-on-his-best-behavior-around-me staffer.
First things first: Please share as much as you can about your experiences and the experiences of others. It helps pull rational coaches and well-meaning teams away from Chip Beall when people can lay out as much evidence of the NAC's problems as they can. This is thankfully not a court, but merely a discussion board. And since the tournament is so cloistered from the mainstream quizbowl world, we hear so little unless we get stories from the people who witnessed the problems firsthand. In fact, withholding demonstrably valid stories about Questions Unlimited and Chip Beall has the indirect effect of keeping teams trapped in his silent bubble, and nobody wants that. (Has anyone posted publicly on the Internet yet about his "sponsorship message" from a fictional brand of soap, delivered to an imaginary TV camera, before rounds?)
My time and my efforts, I think, are best directed elsewhere in the future, especially with having BrainBusters Fall expansion from a local to a large regional NAQT qualifier, the NYS Championship, the Cooperstown joint high school-middle school tournament at the Hall of Fame, the first-ever local middle school tournament (and MSNCT qualifier) in the early spring, helping out with Bull Bowl, NHBB, and metro-NYC tournaments, ... [see below] ...and reading at MSNCT, HSNCT, PACE NSC, NHBB Nationals and NASAT, my plate is going to be slightly on the full side from here on in.
Sounds good. Glad to have you on board.
...the usual 3 local tournaments I do with Brooks Sanders...
Can you talk a little more about these? They almost assuredly use terrible questions, and probably aren't a thing you want to support anymore. Wasn't Brooks supposed to be retiring soon? Is that not true anymore? Is this a defensible thing to do?
A postscript, and one that I'd be interested in hearing people's opinions regarding: I am actually one of the people on this board who thinks that a post- :chip: NAC -does- have a legitimate place in the high school quizbowl world. Although he would always be working against the ethical lapses of the :chip: years, Jason Russell, if allowed to work free of :chip: interference (which he isn't now...my take on that situation is that he is “Head Editor” in name only since :chip: has final call on everything question-wise), might be able to make this tournament worth attending again for teams that prefer, or at the very least don't mind occasionally playing on, shorter, non-pyramidal questions and the four-quarter format....and those teams actually do exist. At HSNCT this year, I spoke to the coaches from a team that is a recent convert from :chip: to pyramidal quizbowl, and they did tell me that, if Jason were ever to take over NAC (or, more bluntly, if :chip: were to leave) that they -would- be willing to give NAC another try, and I'm sure that there are teams out there who feel the same way. There are also many more out there who were so scarred by their previous NAC experiences that they'll never come back no matter who's in charge, and that's okay, too. I envision a future in which there are 4 major national multiple-category quizbowl championships: NAQT HSNCT (short-pyramidal, traditional distribution), PACE NSC (long-pyramidal academic), NASAT (state all-star long-pyramidal) and NAC (non-pyramidal four-quarter), and that all 4 tournaments can co-exist peacefully in the way that the first 3 do now. Maybe it's a pipe dream, but I think it's possible. But it's not possible until :chip: is no longer associated with the sport of quizbowl, because the man carries too much baggage, and does not have the best interests of the sport at heart.
I disagree. I certainly wouldn't want Jason Russell writing a non-pyramidal national even if it were ethically clean and Chip-free. I doubt many people here would want that. From all we can discern, he is very bad at writing questions that fairly tell us which of the competing teams knows more about a given subject. This would make such a national tournament inherently far less fair than the existing national offerings, since the number of questions that come down to split-second buzzer luck would drown out the signal of knowledge with the noise of who buzzed first. Hardly a good way to play a game based on knowing facts. In addition to their other failings (they're worse at giving people educational opportunities, etc.) , bad questions quite frankly reward mediocrity by setting the bar for effective competition so low and making it so hard to stand out among the crowd of teams that all buzz at the same point.

This is why, more broadly, "non-pyramidal" tossups are something that good quizbowl advocates can't support. It is necessary - it follows from the very nature of what it means to have more knowledge than another person - that tossups have multiple clues, arranged so the less-known clues come before the better-known clues. Without that feature the ability to reward teams for the effort of knowing things is sharply impoverished and often crippled outright.
(Note, though: I have no problem with four-quarter format, or packet formats that include single-team questions that aren't pyramidal, such as lightning rounds or bonuses. History Bowl uses four-quarter format with pyramidal tossups, and it does a very good job allowing kids to compete fairly and pit their history knowledge against one another nonetheless.)

Such a competition would also draw teams away from what they should be doing instead during that same time frame - namely, HSNCT and PACE. Even if they're teams that wouldn't qualify for the [rather big] fields of HSNCT or PACE right away, the low quality of the "Jason Russell Championship" questions and their speed-based nature would give those teams the wrong idea of what quizbowl success looks like, and divert them from the proper end goal of qualifying for HSNCT or PACE down the line through expansive familiarity the humanities, arts, and sciences. On the staffing level, any decently-run fourth national with appeal to the mainstream community would have a hard time pulling together a large enough staffer corps, given that NHBB, HSNCT, PACE, and NASAT all already take up a lot of near-consecutive weekends for lots of people. On the monetary level, few teams have the money and commitment for all that travel. Perhaps an explicitly JV or "non-competitive" national would draw a different enough field that this wouldn't matter, but again - the goal is to bring these teams into the mainstream quizbowl community, not shelter them from it, and propping up a national for bad teams is a good recipe for keeping them split off for ages.

Now: Fairness does mean that the better team wins. Some teams don't like the idea that there are better teams out there - they want to be on more equal footing with teams that seem unreachable. Maybe these teams are bad and scared, or maybe they're just unfamiliar with how astonishing a top-25 HSNCT or NSC team looks these days upon the first matchup with total newbies. Maybe they aren't used to questions being longer than a sentence and are just unsure if they'll be anything but bored by longer questions that all seem harder than they were before due to the stacking of harder clues at the beginning. These are all attitudes that we ought to work against, and a "Jason Russell Championship" would cater to each of them.

if people worry about how "LOOOONG" questions are, or they're worried that they'll never catch up to the best of the best, let's not reinforce wrong ideas with a wrongheaded question set. Let's stay firm in our commitments to fairness and knowledge, and show those teams that it's not impossible to have fun in an environment that is quite simply better at doing the things quizbowl is meant to do. Empirically: Plenty of All-Stars started out with very bad stats at the start of their careers. There are plenty of good practice questions available to get new-to-good-quizbowl players into the mindset. Questions seem way less long as you get used to typical NAQT/HSAPQ length through mere exposure, and get way more doable as players start to learn some of the clues at various points in past questions. This happens pretty quick - within weeks, usually.

If teams just want to compete at a national with lower stakes and a less-imposing field, I posit furthermore that they can do so at...the NAQT HSNCT! NAQT invites over a hundred teams that are below playoffs caliber each year, and the card system sorts less-experienced or less-good teams into less imposing competition pretty quickly. Plus, the questions are pretty short and the pacing of the games themselves is very fast.

Feel free to reply here and/or talk to me in person about any of this (I'll be at NSC) - I make all these comments in the spirit of constructive effort.
Last edited by Adventure Temple Trail on Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by cchiego » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:37 pm

So in case anyone wants to get involved in outreach towards these Chip Teams, here's a map I compiled using all the middle, jv, and varsity level teams from the Qunlimited website. There are of course some cases where I couldn't tell ("East" High for instance) and had to guess what school was what, but I think this should be reasonably accurate.

A few thoughts:
- I didn't realize Nebraska and Colorado teams already knew about Chip so much. The unholy AUK-CHIP alliance is still strong.
- El Paso is absurdly overrepresented here. What happened to the El Paso teams who used to use NAQT questions and come to HSNCT? Isn't there a Cooper award winner guy out there who's supposed to be a beacon for good quizbowl?
- Arkansas I expected to have a ton of Chip teams, but Oklahoma surprised me too. Both of them have Chip-tastic state formats, but at least Oklahoma has a good number of pyramidal tournaments.
- While the NY metro area is still full of Chip teams (for now), I didn't realize the few Philly area teams seemed to be Chippers as well.
- Ohio, surprisingly, also has a nice number of teams ripe for converting. There are plenty of established quizbowl powers in that corner of Ohio so I hope there can be some more outreach there.

All in all, there aren't that many schools; I counted just over 200 total separate teams at all the NACs (including MS, JV, and Varsity) and many of them appear to not play on the circuit at all or are in very rural locations. We're making progress as a whole, but there's still much work to be done.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by High Dependency Unit » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:54 pm

I'm actually surprised that there's another team from CT attending NAC. Yale should put Wilbur Cross on their mailing list.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:59 pm

cchiego wrote: Ohio....
I recognize one of the schools, Licking Heights, they play in our league. We'll make sure to show them the way.

Also some of these schools are repeat offenders and their coaches take them to legit competitions, but of recent haven't been in the top echelons of competitiveness in Ohio.

I know that there was a Chip tournament held this past spring at John Carroll University in Cleveland. Sadly there isn't any links to it online.

Edit: FWIW, the middle school called "Lake" from Ohio is from the Bowling Green area in NW Ohio
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:59 pm

RyuAqua wrote:
A postscript, and one that I'd be interested in hearing people's opinions regarding: I am actually one of the people on this board who thinks that a post- :chip: NAC -does- have a legitimate place in the high school quizbowl world. Although he would always be working against the ethical lapses of the :chip: years, Jason Russell, if allowed to work free of :chip: interference (which he isn't now...my take on that situation is that he is “Head Editor” in name only since :chip: has final call on everything question-wise), might be able to make this tournament worth attending again for teams that prefer, or at the very least don't mind occasionally playing on, shorter, non-pyramidal questions and the four-quarter format....and those teams actually do exist. At HSNCT this year, I spoke to the coaches from a team that is a recent convert from :chip: to pyramidal quizbowl, and they did tell me that, if Jason were ever to take over NAC (or, more bluntly, if :chip: were to leave) that they -would- be willing to give NAC another try, and I'm sure that there are teams out there who feel the same way. There are also many more out there who were so scarred by their previous NAC experiences that they'll never come back no matter who's in charge, and that's okay, too. I envision a future in which there are 4 major national multiple-category quizbowl championships: NAQT HSNCT (short-pyramidal, traditional distribution), PACE NSC (long-pyramidal academic), NASAT (state all-star long-pyramidal) and NAC (non-pyramidal four-quarter), and that all 4 tournaments can co-exist peacefully in the way that the first 3 do now. Maybe it's a pipe dream, but I think it's possible. But it's not possible until :chip: is no longer associated with the sport of quizbowl, because the man carries too much baggage, and does not have the best interests of the sport at heart.
I disagree. I certainly wouldn't want Jason Russell writing a non-pyramidal national even if it were ethically clean and Chip-free. I doubt many people here would want that. From all we can discern, he is very bad at writing questions that fairly tell us which of the competing teams knows more about a given subject. This would make such a national tournament inherently far less fair than the existing national offerings, since the number of questions that come down to split-second buzzer luck would drown out the signal of knowledge with the noise of who buzzed first. Hardly a good way to play a game based on knowing facts. In addition to their other failings (they're worse at giving people educational opportunities, etc.) , bad questions quite frankly reward mediocrity by setting the bar for effective competition so low and making it so hard to stand out among the crowd of teams that all buzz at the same point.

This is why, more broadly, "non-pyramidal" tossups are something that good quizbowl advocates can't support. It is necessary - it follows from the very nature of what it means to have more knowledge than another person - that tossups have multiple clues, arranged so the less-known clues come before the better-known clues. Without that feature the ability to reward teams for the effort of knowing things is sharply impoverished and often crippled outright.
(Note, though: I have no problem with four-quarter format, or packet formats that include single-team questions that aren't pyramidal, such as lightning rounds or bonuses. History Bowl uses four-quarter format with pyramidal tossups, and it does a very good job allowing kids to compete fairly and pit their history knowledge against one another nonetheless.)

Such a competition would also draw teams away from what they should be doing instead during that same time frame - namely, HSNCT and PACE. Even if they're teams that wouldn't qualify for the [rather big] fields of HSNCT or PACE right away, the low quality of the "Jason Russell Championship" questions and their speed-based nature would give those teams the wrong idea of what quizbowl success looks like, and divert them from the proper end goal of qualifying for HSNCT or PACE down the line through expansive familiarity the humanities, arts, and sciences. On the staffing level, any decently-run fourth national with appeal to the mainstream community would have a hard time pulling together a large enough staffer corps, given that NHBB, HSNCT, PACE, and NASAT all already take up a lot of near-consecutive weekends for lots of people. On the monetary level, few teams have the money and commitment for all that travel. Perhaps an explicitly JV or "non-competitive" national would draw a different enough field that this wouldn't matter, but again - the goal is to bring these teams into the mainstream quizbowl community, not shelter them from it, and propping up a national for bad teams is a good recipe for keeping them split off for ages.

Now: Fairness does mean that the better team wins. Some teams don't like the idea that there are better teams out there - they want to be on more equal footing with teams that seem unreachable. Maybe these teams are bad and scared, or maybe they're just unfamiliar with how astonishing a top-25 HSNCT or NSC team looks these days upon the first matchup with total newbies. Maybe they aren't used to questions being longer than a sentence and are just unsure if they'll be anything but bored by longer questions that all seem harder than they were before due to the stacking of harder clues at the beginning. These are all attitudes that we ought to work against, and a "Jason Russell Championship" would cater to each of them.

if people worry about how "LOOOONG" questions are, or they're worried that they'll never catch up to the best of the best, let's not reinforce wrong ideas with a wrongheaded question set. Let's stay firm in our commitments to fairness and knowledge, and show those teams that it's not impossible to have fun in an environment that is quite simply better at doing the things quizbowl is meant to do. Empirically: Plenty of All-Stars started out with very bad stats at the start of their careers. There are plenty of good practice questions available to get new-to-good-quizbowl players into the mindset. Questions seem way less long as you get used to typical NAQT/HSAPQ length through mere exposure, and get way more doable as players start to learn some of the clues at various points in past questions. This happens pretty quick - within weeks, usually.

If teams just want to compete at a national with lower stakes and a less-imposing field, I posit furthermore that they can do so at...the NAQT HSNCT! NAQT invites over a hundred teams that are below playoffs caliber each year, and the card system sorts less-experienced or less-good teams into less imposing competition pretty quickly. Plus, the questions are pretty short and the pacing of the games themselves is very fast.

Feel free to reply here and/or talk to me in person about any of this (I'll be at NSC) - I make all these comments in the spirit of constructive effort.
Matt, I agree with much of what you have said here, though I think I would like to add a couple points, using some of the knowledge I have from playing with many who defend :chip: -format questions.

First - I totally agree that there does not seem room for another nationals - even if it had questions everyone could agree were good, the additional nationals would still not really contribute as a true "nationals" - NSC and HSNCT are two tournaments that should be enough to determine a national champion - it is unreasonable to expect teams to go to a third nationals compete for a national title, so the post-chip-NAC nationals would still not really serve as a "nationals."

However, I can see how there can be some hope for a post-Chip Jason-Russell led questions contribute to legitimate events, even if they would not serve as a quizbowl nationals. Questions in the qunlimited format seemed doomed to not be adequate to determine a national champion - the questions are too short to truly determine who knows more about a subject, etc. However, there is a market for legitimate quizbowl tournaments where the questions are not truly long enough to distinguish top teams, and that would be the same market that is currently filled by NAQT A-sets.

A 4-quarter format with "refined-Chip" type questions (no hoses, well-written...tossups would essentially be short pyramidal, making them very much like A-set, plus lightning rounds and different bonus structure and stuff) would not be inherently unfair - it would be very much like the 4-quarter format HSAPQ has used for some of its sets, I think, or like the format used by NHBB - and they could appeal to teams that like the "fun and variety" offered by 4 quarters or who like the expansion of topics to non-academic ones used in NAC - both factors in quizbowl that do not really help quizbowl when distinguishing between top national teams, but if such tournaments were to exist and attract teams who would otherwise not play, they could be good things.

After writing the above, I realize that all this basically boils down to something along the lines of "if someone wrote good NHBB-esque-format all-subject tournaments, that wouldn't hurt anybody, and if that someone happened to be Jason Russell, who is used to four quarters, that would be fine" - even though I still think that there is no realistic place for NAC - at least not as a "national tournament" - if it (in this chip-less improved questions hypothetical) were to exist as a regional tournament (that therefore did not gouge teams in the manner of NAC) on 4-quarter questions though, that would probably be fine.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:23 am

geolawyerman wrote:Wilbur Cross
Seriously?

If this exists, then by all means more power to them and I truly hope nothing but the best for them. However, given what (admittedly little) I know about this place, I have no idea how a club in a New Haven Public Schools high school could exist, let alone succeed. Maybe some of the few people that know about QB in CT can enlighten here, but I cannot for the life of me think of what this team might have competed in. Five minutes with Google doesn't reveal anything and the school's website is an absolute mess. Sorry for the derail, but I simply cannot fathom this particular school being a national-level team even using whatever screwed and asinine metric :chip: uses.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by cchiego » Tue Jun 04, 2013 2:25 am

Thanks for all the corrections people have emailed or PMed me. I'll keep updating them as I get them.

I found a couple of other Cross schools, but none of them indicated that they had a quiz bowl team of any kind. It could just be a Holy Cross shorthand too.

There are actually a ton of other quiz teams out there; the Fillmore Central I found originally in Nebraska had a ton of updates about their quiz bowl team including their women's quiz bowl team. The Nebraska teams in general seem to have an outsized web presence, so anyone who wants to just send some informational emails could probably easily hit a bunch of them with a little googling.

It's hilarious to search for tweets about the NAC. There are so many people claiming they won a national championship by mysteriously beating a bunch of teams from their own state. Isn't that a clue that the tournament you're at isn't really a national championship?
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by njsbling » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:17 am

cchiego wrote:
There are actually a ton of other quiz teams out there; the Fillmore Central I found originally in Nebraska had a ton of updates about their quiz bowl team including their women's quiz bowl team. The Nebraska teams in general seem to have an outsized web presence, so anyone who wants to just send some informational emails could probably easily hit a bunch of them with a little googling.
I will work on outreach to Nebraska/Colorado/El Paso in the coming weeks.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by High Dependency Unit » Tue Jun 04, 2013 7:10 am

Wait-I just realized there was a Cross team in JNAC. Is that where you got Wilbur Cross from?
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:17 am

cchiego wrote:the Fillmore Central I found originally in Nebraska had a ton of updates about their quiz bowl team including their women's quiz bowl team.
Okay, I couldn't let this one go without finding out more, so it seems like this women's quiz bowl is run by the Nebraska Federation of Women's Clubs, which is like this volunteer organisation. So I guess it's like the Beta Club or JROTC quizbowl competitions, which makes a lot more sense than the ridiculous things I initially thought of.

Still, probably worth it to see if any of them want to spin off into a circuit quizbowl club, if they don't have one already.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:44 am

Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:First - I totally agree that there does not seem room for another nationals - even if it had questions everyone could agree were good, the additional nationals would still not really contribute as a true "nationals" - NSC and HSNCT are two tournaments that should be enough to determine a national champion - it is unreasonable to expect teams to go to a third nationals compete for a national title, so the post-chip-NAC nationals would still not really serve as a "nationals."
So far, so good.
Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:However, I can see how there can be some hope for a post-Chip Jason-Russell led questions contribute to legitimate events, even if they would not serve as a quizbowl nationals. Questions in the qunlimited format seemed doomed to not be adequate to determine a national champion - the questions are too short to truly determine who knows more about a subject, etc.
Where is this myth coming from that Jason Russell has any interest in contributing to mainstream quizbowl, or has any ability to do so? Some post in 2009? You're not the first person to make the claim, with no evidence, that Jason Russell is somehow a person who we ought to like and trust as a question writer, or that he's just getting his questions ruined by Chip or something. Here's what you don't get. Jason Russell is a bad writer. His questions are, empirically and demonstrably, bad. They are bad at awarding points to the team that knows more. Jason Russell has never taken any steps to stop being bad at writing. We do not need bad writers edging out good tournaments. No future quizbowl world ought to include his questions in it unless he can show us that he has gone from writing bad questions - which his demonstrably are - to non-bad questions. And frankly, there's not much of a track record in quizbowl of bad writers suddenly becoming good unless they learn to do it properly early in their writing careers. Don't set any expectations here.
However, there is a market for legitimate quizbowl tournaments where the questions are not truly long enough to distinguish top teams, and that would be the same market that is currently filled by NAQT A-sets.
Yes, there is a market for A-sets and it is currently filled by...A-sets! Let's get teams to go play those, then! Seriously, the question set market has been saturated for years. There were 40 sets last year, including five A-sets and SCOP Novice. This product already exists! In huge quantities, every year! We don't need more of it, and don't need to displace a product that's doing a fine job of it!
A 4-quarter format with "refined-Chip" type questions (no hoses, well-written...tossups would essentially be short pyramidal, making them very much like A-set, plus lightning rounds and different bonus structure and stuff) would not be inherently unfair - it would be very much like the 4-quarter format HSAPQ has used for some of its sets, I think, or like the format used by NHBB - and they could appeal to teams that like the "fun and variety" offered by 4 quarters...
I have no theoretical problem with a 4-quarter tournament whose tossups are actually good. (Such as NHBB.) Nor do most people who care about good quizbowl, actually. In fact, when questions are good, it becomes sort of immaterial how they're arranged. It's a bit more annoying to write, sure, and probably a waste of effort when there are 5+ 20/20 sets already available whose questions will produce the same results, but a fair "4-quarter A-set" could exist, so long as teams aren't buzzing on the lightning rounds.

A-set tossup length, difficulty, and distribution is the bare minimum that good academic quizbowl can sustain while still being fair for a wide swath of teams. Teams that want tossups that are any shorter or any worse are asking for bad quizbowl, and it's bad to give it to them. Historically, teams that claim to want the "fun and variety" from "four-quarter" sets are just using that argument as a Trojan horse for their desire to play speed checks or trash-heavy rounds. The HSAPQ four-quarter set with pyramidal tossups didn't sell that well, and wasn't continued, in part for this reason.
...or who like the expansion of topics to non-academic ones used in NAC - both factors in quizbowl that do not really help quizbowl when distinguishing between top national teams, but if such tournaments were to exist and attract teams who would otherwise not play, they could be good things.
This observation confirms my historical claim. The teams who claim to want four-quarter format actually just want non-academic questions. You just admitted that "the expansion of topics to non-academic ones" is an independent claim from "this set is four-quarter." You were just trying to argue that four-quarter format sets could be good, and I was agreeing. If they're going to be good, the questions have to have a predominance of academic content. You inadvertently let slip that the Chip teams who claim to want "four-quarter format" in other events aren't actually talking about the fun of variety between quarters at all - they are interested in bad questions and the lack of academic content that Chip's four-quarter sets exemplify. You're the one trying to dissociate the notion of "four-quarter format" from "trash-heavy bad quizbowl," and it's impossible to argue for changes that would make quizbowl worse (such as swamping the set with trash and non-academic nonsense) and then claim literally at the same time that the resulting set would be good!
After writing the above, I realize that all this basically boils down to something along the lines of "if someone wrote good NHBB-esque-format all-subject tournaments, that wouldn't hurt anybody, and if that someone happened to be Jason Russell, who is used to four quarters, that would be fine" - even though I still think that there is no realistic place for NAC - at least not as a "national tournament" - if it (in this chip-less improved questions hypothetical) were to exist as a regional tournament (that therefore did not gouge teams in the manner of NAC) on 4-quarter questions though, that would probably be fine.
If someone wrote a good NHBB-esque-format all-subject tournament, that wouldn't hurt anybody. Correct. "Good" has to mean "good", and not "Jason Russell," whose questions are all unsalvageable. "Good" also has to mean "not speed checks" and "not swamped by trash." If all those conditions (plus the other things that make quizbowl good, such as "appropriate difficulty," "written in coherent English," etc.) are all met, I'd be fine with such a set existing.

I just don't know that there are any teams who care enough about the format of their packets to make the effort of writing such a set worthwhile. As I said before, there are at least five sets per year whose tossups look just like what you're describing -- NAQT A-sets. Teams largely play whatever is in front of them and get used to it pretty quickly, be it 20/20, four-quarter, or whatever. Can you name any actual teams that don't want to play Chip Beall anymore, are rigorously committed to avoiding bad questions henceforth, but care so much about the preservation of four-quarter format that they would refuse to play any of the 40 tossup-bonus sets of the year? I certainly can't, which suggests to me that we ought to just be directing Chip refugees towards regular NAQT and HSAPQ fare rather than writing a new set for them (and also reinforces my claim that most coaches arguing for a four-quarter format are actually arguing for the bad features of Chip's shams). There's an overwhelming surplus of events to host as is.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Ben Dillon » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:17 pm

cchiego wrote:So in case anyone wants to get involved in outreach towards these Chip Teams, here's a map I compiled using all the middle, jv, and varsity level teams from the Qunlimited website. There are of course some cases where I couldn't tell ("East" High for instance) and had to guess what school was what, but I think this should be reasonably accurate.
With such a comprehensive listing, why can't NAQT and PACE write these teams and offer them a discount to HSNCT and NSC next year? They could play up the advantages over NAC:

Format Advantages:
pyramidal tossups
more stable rules (not switching rules every round during a game)

Tournament Advantages:
more games for similar entry fee
no long layoffs between games
double- instead of single-elimination playoffs

Corporate Advantages:
ability to purchase packets
smoother transition to college quiz bowl

There's no need for any communication with these schools to at all be negative toward Questions Unlimited, because that might be counterproductive to luring them away from Chip. Simply show them how the tournaments are different, and let them see for themselves. A discount might be just the bait to get them in the door.

In 2006, we finished in 5th place at NAC, an ostensibly tremendous accomplishment, but it nagged at me that most of the best teams no longer attended. In subsequent years, that was confirmed when teams from Indiana won NAC but couldn't finish in the top half of local NAQT tournaments. I still wince when I pass that trophy in the case. It's still a good accomplishment, just not a tremendous one, and I'm much prouder of the accomplishments representing some other trophies.

Question quality was what finally caused me to give up Chip. It was going to both HSNCT and NAC in the same summer got this to sink in. My captain, who was terrific on pyramidal questions, got hosed one too many times at NAC. Let's make it possible for more of these teams to see what my team and I saw.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:40 am

RyuAqua wrote:
Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:First - I totally agree that there does not seem room for another nationals - even if it had questions everyone could agree were good, the additional nationals would still not really contribute as a true "nationals" - NSC and HSNCT are two tournaments that should be enough to determine a national champion - it is unreasonable to expect teams to go to a third nationals compete for a national title, so the post-chip-NAC nationals would still not really serve as a "nationals."
So far, so good.
Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:However, I can see how there can be some hope for a post-Chip Jason-Russell led questions contribute to legitimate events, even if they would not serve as a quizbowl nationals. Questions in the qunlimited format seemed doomed to not be adequate to determine a national champion - the questions are too short to truly determine who knows more about a subject, etc.
Where is this myth coming from that Jason Russell has any interest in contributing to mainstream quizbowl, or has any ability to do so? Some post in 2009? You're not the first person to make the claim, with no evidence, that Jason Russell is somehow a person who we ought to like and trust as a question writer, or that he's just getting his questions ruined by Chip or something. Here's what you don't get. Jason Russell is a bad writer. His questions are, empirically and demonstrably, bad. They are bad at awarding points to the team that knows more. Jason Russell has never taken any steps to stop being bad at writing. We do not need bad writers edging out good tournaments. No future quizbowl world ought to include his questions in it unless he can show us that he has gone from writing bad questions - which his demonstrably are - to non-bad questions. And frankly, there's not much of a track record in quizbowl of bad writers suddenly becoming good unless they learn to do it properly early in their writing careers. Don't set any expectations here.
However, there is a market for legitimate quizbowl tournaments where the questions are not truly long enough to distinguish top teams, and that would be the same market that is currently filled by NAQT A-sets.
Yes, there is a market for A-sets and it is currently filled by...A-sets! Let's get teams to go play those, then! Seriously, the question set market has been saturated for years. There were 40 sets last year, including five A-sets and SCOP Novice. This product already exists! In huge quantities, every year! We don't need more of it, and don't need to displace a product that's doing a fine job of it!
A 4-quarter format with "refined-Chip" type questions (no hoses, well-written...tossups would essentially be short pyramidal, making them very much like A-set, plus lightning rounds and different bonus structure and stuff) would not be inherently unfair - it would be very much like the 4-quarter format HSAPQ has used for some of its sets, I think, or like the format used by NHBB - and they could appeal to teams that like the "fun and variety" offered by 4 quarters...
I have no theoretical problem with a 4-quarter tournament whose tossups are actually good. (Such as NHBB.) Nor do most people who care about good quizbowl, actually. In fact, when questions are good, it becomes sort of immaterial how they're arranged. It's a bit more annoying to write, sure, and probably a waste of effort when there are 5+ 20/20 sets already available whose questions will produce the same results, but a fair "4-quarter A-set" could exist, so long as teams aren't buzzing on the lightning rounds.

A-set tossup length, difficulty, and distribution is the bare minimum that good academic quizbowl can sustain while still being fair for a wide swath of teams. Teams that want tossups that are any shorter or any worse are asking for bad quizbowl, and it's bad to give it to them. Historically, teams that claim to want the "fun and variety" from "four-quarter" sets are just using that argument as a Trojan horse for their desire to play speed checks or trash-heavy rounds. The HSAPQ four-quarter set with pyramidal tossups didn't sell that well, and wasn't continued, in part for this reason.
...or who like the expansion of topics to non-academic ones used in NAC - both factors in quizbowl that do not really help quizbowl when distinguishing between top national teams, but if such tournaments were to exist and attract teams who would otherwise not play, they could be good things.
This observation confirms my historical claim. The teams who claim to want four-quarter format actually just want non-academic questions. You just admitted that "the expansion of topics to non-academic ones" is an independent claim from "this set is four-quarter." You were just trying to argue that four-quarter format sets could be good, and I was agreeing. If they're going to be good, the questions have to have a predominance of academic content. You inadvertently let slip that the Chip teams who claim to want "four-quarter format" in other events aren't actually talking about the fun of variety between quarters at all - they are interested in bad questions and the lack of academic content that Chip's four-quarter sets exemplify. You're the one trying to dissociate the notion of "four-quarter format" from "trash-heavy bad quizbowl," and it's impossible to argue for changes that would make quizbowl worse (such as swamping the set with trash and non-academic nonsense) and then claim literally at the same time that the resulting set would be good!
After writing the above, I realize that all this basically boils down to something along the lines of "if someone wrote good NHBB-esque-format all-subject tournaments, that wouldn't hurt anybody, and if that someone happened to be Jason Russell, who is used to four quarters, that would be fine" - even though I still think that there is no realistic place for NAC - at least not as a "national tournament" - if it (in this chip-less improved questions hypothetical) were to exist as a regional tournament (that therefore did not gouge teams in the manner of NAC) on 4-quarter questions though, that would probably be fine.
If someone wrote a good NHBB-esque-format all-subject tournament, that wouldn't hurt anybody. Correct. "Good" has to mean "good", and not "Jason Russell," whose questions are all unsalvageable. "Good" also has to mean "not speed checks" and "not swamped by trash." If all those conditions (plus the other things that make quizbowl good, such as "appropriate difficulty," "written in coherent English," etc.) are all met, I'd be fine with such a set existing.
I realize that you are correct about Jason Russell - though there is some chance Jason Russell writes ok questions that are always made bad when passed through Chip ... that is highly unlikely, and even if he might be a competent writer, he is almost certainly not in a position to be head editor of a legitimate quizbowl tournament. Though from talking to Jason Russell at last year's NAC it is clear he wants to increase the legitimacy of the organization, there is no evidence to support that he could actually succeed in making it legitimate.

Also, the sets of the type I proposed would probably not have sufficiently wide-spread demand.

The only thing is:
Can you name any actual teams that don't want to play Chip Beall anymore, are rigorously committed to avoiding bad questions henceforth, but care so much about the preservation of four-quarter format that they would refuse to play any of the 40 tossup-bonus sets of the year? I certainly can't, which suggests to me that we ought to just be directing Chip refugees towards regular NAQT and HSAPQ fare rather than writing a new set for them (and also reinforces my claim that most coaches arguing for a four-quarter format are actually arguing for the bad features of Chip's shams).
I do not know how big this group is, but Irvington and possibly some of the other holding-on Westchester teams fall into this category. Though most of Irvington, from my communication with them, are convinced that Chip questions are hoses, non-academic, don't test real knowledge, unfair, etc, etc, they refuse (or at least are very unwilling, without being urged by me when I was on the team, or Alec this year) to play pyramidal quizbowl, considering it "boring" and "unfun" (citing both lack of variety and lack of steals) - all things they do not experience when playing a set from NHBB; I even remember many times during my senior year being asked if more 4-quarter pyramidal sets (that were not NHBB) existed, because if they did, they would be enjoyed. And no, this is not just an issue of difficulty, NHBB nationals questions were generally considered more "fun" than NAQT A-sets.

Now, I don't like this argument - I fought many people on this point, for there is no reason why 4-quarters is inherently more fun than 20/20, it is but an opinion, and one that is formed by being used to 4-quarters. However, there is at least one school whose members for the most part believe the argument, and likely a handful of schools in Westchester, though I don't totally know the opinions of schools like Hastings and Ardsley, also, schools in other Chip-saturated regions may hold on to Chip for the same entirely-format dependent reasons.

So, maybe the demand is really small, but I see there is probably at least some demand - perhaps it would be worth editing a normal set to have slightly shorter questions and the four quarter format, at least for Westchester (if other former-Westchesterians like Ryan Rosenberg and Alec Vulfson would like to work on something like that, this would probably be the most reasonable avenue to go), and perhaps such a set would appeal to some other Chip regions, if it could be marketed to them.

And
If someone wrote a good NHBB-esque-format all-subject tournament, that wouldn't hurt anybody. Correct. "Good" has to mean "good", and not "Jason Russell," whose questions are all unsalvageable. "Good" also has to mean "not speed checks" and "not swamped by trash." If all those conditions (plus the other things that make quizbowl good, such as "appropriate difficulty," "written in coherent English," etc.) are all met, I'd be fine with such a set existing.
Yes, I would hope that if such a set came into existence, it would be "good," at least as "good" as normal pyramidal novice sets.


Though I realize that the sets of which I spoke probably, in 99% of cases, would not be wanted, I still do think that making a set of "Chip-format" (A-set length, 4 quarters, slightly larger trash/General Knowledge distro (though hopefully not higher than an A-set's)) pyramidal questions might be a good transitional / persuassive product for those few regions that do cling to the "more fun" 4-quarter format, in spite of acknowledging Chip's other myriad faults. Even though anywhere else, such a product might be slightly backwards due to a need to cater at least slightly to higher-trash demands, it might actually be good for Westchester or Nebraska or wherever else Chip has a real hold to produce such a set.
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by Ithaca Cricket Ump » Wed Jun 05, 2013 12:17 pm

After my experience at the DC phase of the NAC this weekend, as well as some thoughtful contemplation of the sentiments and arguments that I have read on this board and other places, and conversations that I have had with people in this community whose opinions and input I greatly respect, I would like this board, and the good quizbowl community at large, to consider this as a complete and public disavowal of NAC and Chip Beall on my part. I will not staff this tournament in future years, and will continue my efforts to get teams in my region of upstate New York and Pennsylvania's Northern Tier to play as much pyramidal quizbowl as possible, and to attempt to qualify for the NAQT MSNCT and HSNCT and PACE NSC (as well as the single-subject and all-star tournaments NHBB and NASAT) rather than waste any more money, time and effort with this organization.

The reason that I staffed this tournament for the two years I did were 1) last year, Brooks Sanders, one of my closest friends, called me the night before play started and practically begged me to do it, so I did it as a favor to him, and 2) this year, quite frankly, I -did- need the money. My tax business was slower than it has been in previous years, and various personal and health issues that came up for me this year prevented me from going to NYC to play backgammon as much as I generally do, which was a big hit to my income stream. I believe that I have earned a good reputation in the quizbowl community over the last few years as a good and fair moderator and judge and advocate of good quizbowl who is willing to travel a long way to help out anyone who asks, and I cannot put that well-earned reputation at risk by continued association with Beall, even if that decision might cost me financially in the short run. In short, what all of you guys and ladies think of me matters far more to me than what people like Chip Beall think of me. It's not like I'm involved with quizbowl for the money, anyway...like I said in my previous post, I'd staff good quizbowl tournaments and work with or for quality organizations like NAQT and PACE and NHBB and HSAPQ if I had to PAY to do it. Like everyone else, I have to look in the mirror every morning and like the person I see.

--Scott
--
Scott M. Blish
Cheval, FL
Cornell 1990-92, 1997
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zachary_yan
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by zachary_yan » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:30 pm

Any one who's been to the NAC in recent years: What's the NAC "theme music" and is it any better than his questions?

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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by High Dependency Unit » Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:35 pm

The only sort of "theme music" I remember is Ernie playing "Imma Bee" between matches, so it was slightly better than the questions (although much worse than the ones he plagiarizes-it's always a bad sign when those are the best questions).
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Re: 2013 NAC

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:41 am

I don't know why this thread got necro-ed, but it is my sincerest hope that this post is the last.

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