State of the board discussion thread

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State of the board discussion thread

Post by theMoMA » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:32 am

From the global announcement:
Hey everyone,

Since I'm serving as the chief admin for the board in the coming year, I'd like to discuss the state of the board. I think we're doing as well as we ever have at promoting our stated purpose: "discussion of quizbowl with an eye towards expanding and improving quizbowl on all levels." We try to strike a balance between this board as "tool to facilitate online quizbowl discussion" and "discussion space that corresponds to real-life interactions," and I think we're mostly succeeding. The outgoing chief admin, Jeff Hoppes, has a lot to do with that, and we all owe him a big thanks. I hope to follow the excellent example that Jeff has set.

Please use the subforum I have created (it should be visible near the top of the board index under the "Rules and important information" heading) to give general feedback about the state of the board: rules, policies, the moderating crew, or anything else board related. Unless our talk is still going strong, I will lock it two weeks from now. I will lock this forum a month from now at the latest. This is a global announcement across the board, which I have locked because it doesn't appear in the subforum. Use the thread/s in the subforum to discuss.

I'll remind everyone of this rule: "A staff decision or lack thereof may be discussed by private e-mail to any staff member, but may not be discussed on the board itself." So if you're upset or curious about a specific moderator decision, feel free to email me, but this thread is not the place for that discussion. I'll allow the use of specific moderator decisions to discuss general trends about the board, but I will cut off any discussion that spills over from "discussing general board policies" to "complaining about specific moderator decisions."

If you'd like to discuss something that you don't feel is appropriate for a public forum, please email me. My contact information is in my hsqb profile.
This is the general thread for the state of the board discussion.

I'll reiterate this rule from the above: "A staff decision or lack thereof may be discussed by private e-mail to any staff member, but may not be discussed on the board itself." So if you're upset or curious about a specific moderator decision, feel free to email me, but this thread is not the place for that discussion. I'll allow the use of specific moderator decisions to discuss general trends about the board, but I will cut off any discussion that spills over from "discussing general board policies" to "complaining about specific moderator decisions."

If you'd like to discuss something that you don't feel is appropriate for a public forum, please email me. My contact information is in my hsqb profile.

Discuss away.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:15 pm

This board is currently in very good shape. I have warned new quizbowlers about this place in the past, but I no longer do so. There were a couple of crazy posts made when the Watkins scandal hit, but I chalk that up to the fact that it was a crazy scandal, and even then the small number of crazy posts were not supported by anybody.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Ringil » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:25 pm

Here's a question I have: How come the Andy Watkins thing wasn't dealt with the same way that the board dealt with the Andrew Chrzanowski thing? That is announced and then just shut down. Except perhaps for a discussion how NAQT could improve their question security etc.

I ask this because I don't see how anyone thought the Andy Watkins thread could turn out to be anything but a rage fest in a way that's hardly productive to discussing quizbowl except by telling the world that everyone here pretty much hates Andy Watkins. And it ended up turning out much worse than that. I know the offenses the two people committed were different, however, I still feel like the discussion of either of those two could have only degenerate into the toxic venting of rage and throwing of insults that reflect badly upon us no matter how they have deserved it.

Also, the anime rule is dumb (if rarely applicable).
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:25 pm

A trend that has continued to this day is that posts are, in general, less mocking or negative. I think expecting people to never make angry posts is a bad goal; I think expecting them to only be made in situations where they're deserved is fair.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Cheynem » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:29 pm

I think that's a reasonable question, Libo, but I guess two things:

1. Chrz's situation was less specifically connected to quizbowl, while Watkins' was very much connected as it involved the finishes of at least four national tournaments.

2. Chrz's situation had actual legal ramifications and involved a real, anonymous person. Watkins' situation had no legal ramifications and was carried out by him alone.

Edit: Your overall point that perhaps not allowing full threads just to express rage at Watkins is noted, although to be fair, that was the biggest cheating scandal in quizbowl history.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:31 pm

Ringil wrote:Here's a question I have: How come the Andy Watkins thing wasn't dealt with the same way that the board dealt with the Andrew Chrzanowski thing? That is announced and then just shut down. Except perhaps for a discussion how NAQT could improve their question security etc.

I ask this because I don't see how anyone thought the Andy Watkins thread could turn out to be anything but a rage fest in a way that's hardly productive to discussing quizbowl except by telling the world that everyone here pretty much hates Andy Watkins. And it ended up turning out much worse than that. I know the offenses the two people committed were different, however, I still feel like the discussion of either of those two could have only degenerate into the toxic venting of rage and throwing of insults that reflect badly upon us no matter how they have deserved it.
Because one guy was accused of sex with a minor, which is not something that should be discussed on a quiz bowl message board, and another was accused of cheating at quiz bowl, which is very much related to discussing quiz bowl? Because a bunch of people were personally harmed by this event in the realm of quiz bowl?

You can not like some of the posts that were made in the aftermath, and there were a couple I wasn't a fan of, but I think outright saying that it shouldn't be discussed is even worse and would have set an awful precedent.
Also, the anime rule is dumb (if rarely applicable).
Except that everything related to people post about anime on here has been awful.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Oct 07, 2013 1:47 pm

Grams's Go-Go Boots wrote:Because one guy was accused of sex with a minor, which is not something that should be discussed on a quiz bowl message board, and another was accused of cheating at quiz bowl, which is very much related to discussing quiz bowl? Because a bunch of people were personally harmed by this event in the realm of quiz bowl?

You can not like some of the posts that were made in the aftermath, and there were a couple I wasn't a fan of, but I think outright saying that it shouldn't be discussed is even worse and would have set an awful precedent.
Speaking as chief admin emeritus: Fred is exactly right about why the two situations were treated differently by the forum staff.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:06 pm

I think we could do a bit more to make Collegiate Discussion more engaging - we don't have many interesting threads about preparation, gameplay, or question-writing, and I think that's a bit of a shame. Although people have gone ballistic in those threads in the past, I think there are useful and interest topics to discuss, as we saw in Mike's thread about being a fourth player. I do have to admit that I'm unsure how to encourage such good posting beyond asking people in a thread like this one.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:10 pm

If we can't even have a "state of the board" thread without it immediately turning into a back-and-forth about Marshall and his "teammates" (full-time troll Kay Li, yes?) bringing up half-remembered incidents from six months ago, I think it's pretty clear what the major problem on the board is.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:12 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:If we can't even have a "state of the board" thread without it immediately turning into a back-and-forth about Marshall and his "teammates" (full-time troll Kay Li, yes?) bringing up half-remembered incidents from six months ago, I think it's pretty clear what the major problem on the board is.
Meaning me? It's nice when one's initial point is made for one.

CLARIFICATION: the fact that you don't think this is a big problem IS ITSELF A BIG PROBLEM.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by kayli » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:15 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:...full-time troll Kay Li, yes?...
I hadn't even commented on this thread (and I could have some choice words for you) but I'll take the moral and intellectual high ground and say that the name-calling on this forum should probably stop. At best, it generates an unfriendly atmosphere, but more realistically it's a tactic to halt productive discussion in favor of personal attacks.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by vinteuil » Mon Oct 07, 2013 3:20 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:I think we could do a bit more to make Collegiate Discussion more engaging - we don't have many interesting threads about preparation, gameplay, or question-writing, and I think that's a bit of a shame. Although people have gone ballistic in those threads in the past, I think there are useful and interest topics to discuss, as we saw in Mike's thread about being a fourth player. I do have to admit that I'm unsure how to encourage such good posting beyond asking people in a thread like this one.
As a new-ish player, I absolutely rely on these threads to gain better understanding of how to actually play this game, and I would love to see these encouraged—maybe a once-monthly staffer post about some element of strategy?
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Cheynem » Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:03 pm

I might be interested in perhaps collaborating with some prominent players or writers in doing some productive roundtable threads (either a thread or like posting an on-task discussion) about various aspects of playing or writing or whatever.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by MorganV » Mon Oct 07, 2013 4:39 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Also, I ask people to be aware that traffic near DC and construction near Richmond are as constant and predictable on fall Saturdays as bad high school tournaments run by Princeton
Nothing huge, but I feel that potshots like this are unprofessional and nonconstructive and I think that senior members of the board should try to avoid them, especially in tournament announcements. I don't want to start a huge argument by calling out Matt but I could imagine that coaches and administrators signing up for this tournament might be turned off by such comments.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Oct 07, 2013 7:00 pm

Ringil wrote:Alright that logic seem fine. Although I found them amusing to read, I don't think the pages and pages of rage against Andy reflects well on us as a whole.
Andy's actions are what caused any actual harm. People talking about how angry they were to discover he cheated would not be the problem.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:36 pm

MorganV wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:Also, I ask people to be aware that traffic near DC and construction near Richmond are as constant and predictable on fall Saturdays as bad high school tournaments run by Princeton
Nothing huge, but I feel that potshots like this are unprofessional and nonconstructive and I think that senior members of the board should try to avoid them, especially in tournament announcements. I don't want to start a huge argument by calling out Matt but I could imagine that coaches and administrators signing up for this tournament might be turned off by such comments.
Seconding this. I don't exactly see how making a jab at Princeton in a completely unrelated thread that members of Princeton had no reason to see is productive. It strikes me as going "Hey guys, let's make fun of Princeton" more than anything. Now, I do think that teams should realise what a logistical nightmare that tournament was before making a decision to attend again, but there are better ways of doing that if that is the goal.

EDIT: For some reason I thought this was posted in the high school section as opposed to the college section. I still feel like it's a cheap jab, but I'm retracting most of what I said in my post.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by cchiego » Mon Oct 07, 2013 10:53 pm

MorganV wrote:Nothing huge, but I feel that potshots like this are unprofessional and nonconstructive and I think that senior members of the board should try to avoid them, especially in tournament announcements. I don't want to start a huge argument by calling out Matt but I could imagine that coaches and administrators signing up for this tournament might be turned off by such comments.
Teams and individuals that have a consistent track record of doing blatantly idiotic things should be called out. Trying to be objective with people who have demonstrated time and time again that they are not qualified to run a tournament is an exercise in futility and a disservice to potential hoodwinked customers.

That's one of the chief services of this board: providing information to fill in the gaps that tournament announcements and fliers and websites don't reveal. Chip Beall, the AUK guy, any random person can post a tournament announcement and send out information claiming to be offering "quiz bowl." There's a strong informational asymmetry for many teams who don't know about the relative quality of the questions or tournament directors. Posting on this board gives a tournament legitimacy because the tournament can be criticized and other people have the option to be "uncivil" and point out the flaws in it.

In fact, I'd want to push for more tournaments being posted here. At the very least, it's a place for disaffected people from even bad QB tournaments to learn they're not alone.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by pajaro bobo » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:01 pm

cchiego wrote: Teams and individuals that have a consistent track record of doing blatantly idiotic things should be called out. Trying to be objective with people who have demonstrated time and time again that they are not qualified to run a tournament is an exercise in futility and a disservice to potential hoodwinked customers.
I don't think anyone is saying that bad tournaments should not be called out for being bad, because they should, but why not just let issues be addressed in the relevant thread or in a new thread?
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Oct 07, 2013 11:09 pm

Because it was a throwaway joke?
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:08 am

Cheynem wrote:I might be interested in perhaps collaborating with some prominent players or writers in doing some productive roundtable threads (either a thread or like posting an on-task discussion) about various aspects of playing or writing or whatever.
Needless to say we're both busy right now, but I'd be happy to collaborate with you on this at a later time.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by fett0001 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:46 am

So, a team ran a bad tournament. So, they have in the past. That's pretty much irrelevant.

What is relevant:

Calling them out in your tournament announcement is extremely unprofessional, and reflects poorly upon all parties involved: the poster, their club, and their school. If I'm a coach, I'm going to be turned off by such things: "What if my tournament doesn't turn out well? Why would I want to risk submitting myself, my school, and my team to such ridicule?"

EDIT:

I know that there may be history involved, but as a new coach, are you going to necessarily realize that?
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Oct 08, 2013 3:00 am

fett0001 wrote:So, a team ran a bad tournament. So, they have in the past. That's pretty much irrelevant.
It's irrelevant?
Calling them out in your tournament announcement is extremely unprofessional, and reflects poorly upon all parties involved: the poster, their club, and their school. If I'm a coach, I'm going to be turned off by such things:
What coach? What are you talking about?
"What if my tournament doesn't turn out well? Why would I want to risk submitting myself, my school, and my team to such ridicule?"
Heaven forbid that anyone involved in running tournaments starts caring about doing it properly!
I know that there may be history involved, but as a new coach, are you going to necessarily realize that?
What "new coaches" are attending MFT at VCU? What are these comments?
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Cheynem » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:08 am

Princeton deserves to be castigated, critiqued, and talked with about their poorly run tournament. I completely agree on this.

In terms of Matt's joke, in the vast scheme of things, pretty innocuous--I'm sure I've made worse. However, I found it somewhat unprofessional. Obviously you aren't going to be offending "new coaches," but you could confuse collegiate teams or players who think you are making a cheap shot at Princeton (without any context), you might upset Princetonians themselves making it difficult to work with them to improve their tournaments (Matt suggests this isn't true since they're attending MFT, but he didn't know that when he made the joke), and you might offend people who noticed the announcement and got mad, lowering your own social capital. If I were to announce a tournament with the note, "lunch--like College History Bowl 2013--will not be provided," it would be unprofessional and people would be less willing to listen to me, for example. Now these things may be minor, and I'm sure Matt would believe them to be, but I would argue that they serve as a distraction from the larger issues and impede Matt's very legitimate case among people who are on the fence or ignorant about the issues. I generally agree with Matt on a lot of issues but think his approach has the tendency to be self-defeating. You had a lot of people legitimately upset at Princeton about their HS tournament; the issue becomes unfortunately muddled (wrongly) thanks to an unneeded joke. (Of course, the people getting upset at Matt's joke would probably find something else to muddle the issue too, so c'est la vie)
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by fett0001 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:16 pm

You can't see why that post is unprofessional?

You can't see why a coach who happened see that post might be disinterested in participating in a board where the board staff post things like that?

I'm not saying they did. But I'm saying they could, and that we should look at how our actions reflect on ourselves.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:24 pm

No, I don't understand what "coaches" are going to see that post at all or care. Here is a summary of things that have happened since I made that post:

1) The coach of Liberty (the only faculty coach of any team attending this tournament, thus a great representative of "coaches reading the post" in general) contacted me and we had a pleasant conversation about where he can park on Saturday.
2) Princeton registered for the tournament.

This seems like EVIDENCE that neither "coaches" nor Princeton care about this non-issue.

As usual, what we have is a blown-up exchange of nonsense about the basic principle of "civility," which is that a team is allowed to run a terrible tournament which wastes the time and money of attendees and turns off their less experienced local attendees to pyramidal quizbowl, and you don't do anything whatsoever to try to fix this. But mentioning, ever, that something was done improperly or needs to change is forbidden. The unspoken necessary assumption of this "civility" approach is that quizbowl in 1993 was awesome and we should all still be playing College Bowl and Chip Beall on plagiarized or recycled one-line questions, because saying those things were bad in order to begin changing them is unacceptably offensive. I thought we had long moved past this and gotten people to understand what we're trying to accomplish here, but perhaps I was being overly optimistic.

I'm going to do what I usually do and speak to the Princeton team on Saturday in a reasonable and constructive way about improving their tournament. Other people are going to do what they usually do and caterwaul all the time about my efforts to make quizbowl better, do nothing themselves, then enjoy the improved game I have helped create while wishing I would go away and not being capable of seeing the disconnect. Oh well.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by fett0001 » Tue Oct 08, 2013 1:47 pm

That's irritating. Lost a post.


I'm not suggesting going back to CBI, nor am I against saying those things are bad. I'm saying that there is a time and a place for that, and your tournament announcement is not the place to poke fun at people who make mistakes. The Princeton thread would be a good place to tell them that there tournament was bad and make jokes.


If you were representing HSAPQ or PACE, would you have put that in there?
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Lagotto Romagnolo » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:14 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:It's irrelevant?
Matt, I think he means irrelevant to the announcement thread for the MFT mirror. I won't go into "don't use that tone" territory, but I agree that such a comment would be more relevant in another thread, i.e. one that actually discusses Princeton's high school tournaments.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by theMoMA » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:23 pm

Thanks for your input so far, everyone. I apologize for the length of this post, but I'd like to address various issues raised above.
ether a go-go wrote:This board is currently in very good shape. I have warned new quizbowlers about this place in the past, but I no longer do so. There were a couple of crazy posts made when the Watkins scandal hit, but I chalk that up to the fact that it was a crazy scandal, and even then the small number of crazy posts were not supported by anybody.
David nicely captures my general feeling on the board right now. Various persistent issues still come up whenever we have discussions like this, but I do think we've made a lot of progress toward making this a useful, friendly place for most board users.
Grams's Go-Go Boots wrote:A trend that has continued to this day is that posts are, in general, less mocking or negative. I think expecting people to never make angry posts is a bad goal; I think expecting them to only be made in situations where they're deserved is fair.
I generally agree with Fred, as well. This is a forum for discussing the good and the bad of quizbowl, and expecting people never to be angry or upset is unreasonable. I ask that people take a few minutes to consider whether their anger is justified, proportionate to the offense, and reasonably along the lines of what they would say in a face-to-face conversation, but I don't think we can mandate that kind of consideration as moderators.
Ringil wrote:Here's a question I have: How come the Andy Watkins thing wasn't dealt with the same way that the board dealt with the Andrew Chrzanowski thing? That is announced and then just shut down. Except perhaps for a discussion how NAQT could improve their question security etc.

I ask this because I don't see how anyone thought the Andy Watkins thread could turn out to be anything but a rage fest in a way that's hardly productive to discussing quizbowl except by telling the world that everyone here pretty much hates Andy Watkins. And it ended up turning out much worse than that. I know the offenses the two people committed were different, however, I still feel like the discussion of either of those two could have only degenerate into the toxic venting of rage and throwing of insults that reflect badly upon us no matter how they have deserved it.
Mike, Fred, and Jeff have adequately addressed this concern above, but just so we're clear, I'd like to state that the moderators will continue to exercise our judgment on potentially toxic discussions about issues that only tangentially involve quizbowl. I consider the discussion of this situation closed.
Ringil wrote:Also, the anime rule is dumb (if rarely applicable).
Cheynem wrote:I am okay with the anime thing in a way to prevent terrible posts (like that ghastly Raynell Revolution a few years ago that I discovered while waiting in a Holiday Inn Express lobby for my shuttle to pick me up). I do think it gets sort of overzealously implemented--like let the dude post his Dragon Ball Z side event thread in the trash forum, shut down any stupid posts that come from it, and move on.
bt_green_warbler wrote:Not speaking for anyone but myself: I too dislike the anime rule. However, the many terrible posts by anime supporters were deservedly FZed.
The relevant board rule states: Humor in posts that does not violate other rules is allowed/encouraged. Parody posts, threads that are only about non-quizbowl humor topics, and the like should be restricted to the Off Topic forum. Tired Internet memes of any kind, anything originating at 4 chan, and anything containing or originating from anime, are prohibited at all times. What constitutes anything in the previous sentence is at the sole discretion of the staff.

I understand the purpose of the rule as keeping this place from devolving into an insider-only internet community that does not advance the goal of promoting good quizbowl. People who want to skirt the rules tend to do things (like announce fake tournaments) that make it appear as though they're having a quizbowl-relevant conversation, when really they just want to turn a corner of the board into a place for irrelevant internet humor. That said, if there is discussion of anime that is not meme-like and somehow related to quizbowl (i.e. criticizing a trash question), I don't have a problem with it.

All that is to say I'm on board with Mike's interpretation of the rule. People are free to discuss anime (or anything else in the world) to the extent it's relevant to quizbowl, but we reserve the right to aggressively police any internet awfulness that comes from it.
Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:I think we could do a bit more to make Collegiate Discussion more engaging - we don't have many interesting threads about preparation, gameplay, or question-writing, and I think that's a bit of a shame. Although people have gone ballistic in those threads in the past, I think there are useful and interest topics to discuss, as we saw in Mike's thread about being a fourth player. I do have to admit that I'm unsure how to encourage such good posting beyond asking people in a thread like this one.
Cheynem wrote:I might be interested in perhaps collaborating with some prominent players or writers in doing some productive roundtable threads (either a thread or like posting an on-task discussion) about various aspects of playing or writing or whatever.
Matt makes a good point, and Mike's idea is an interesting one. The Collegiate Discussion section is my favorite part of the board, and anything that we can do to make it more lively and productive is good in my book.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by bmcke » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:22 pm

A majority of the posts in the college discussion forum are by people I'd consider elite quizbowl players. This is a bit intimidating ("I'm not qualified to join this discussion"), but it also makes the threads cool to read ("These people know their stuff"). I'm not sure if I'd like to see this change or not.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Tue Oct 08, 2013 9:00 pm

bmcke wrote:A majority of the posts in the college discussion forum are by people I'd consider elite quizbowl players. This is a bit intimidating ("I'm not qualified to join this discussion"), but it also makes the threads cool to read ("These people know their stuff"). I'm not sure if I'd like to see this change or not.
This. Absolutely this. In general, if I think someone knows more than me or has a better idea of what they're talking about, I try and keep my mouth shut until I feel prepared to jump in. Personally, I think this is a good rule of thumb in most discussions. If you're some freshman high school player who shows up out of the blue and argues for computational math based on two tournaments worth of experience, you're going to get your argument eviscerated by people who definitely know what they're talking about. Chances are, you should keep your mouth shut until you're sure you can make a good case. That said, back in my early days I used to hesitate to post quite frequently because I was worried about saying something absurdly stupid, but at the same time I saw people who did know better than I explain things I didn't understand at the time.

Personally, I like that there is at least one place I frequent on the Internet in which people are more or less made to be coherent and logical. This can come across as "incivility" sometimes, especially to those unfamiliar with the general atmosphere of the boards. There's a difference between dismissing someone's poorly conceived opinion and being a jerk. The line does seem to blur too frequently on this board though. As for people being "driven away" by the boards, I think what happens is that people see the content of the boards and decide that they're just not into quiz bowl enough to sign up or post that much. I don't have any specific examples I can think of, so I can't really empirically back this up. I just have the sense that many of the arguments I see on here involve the same group of people who (at least I think) are on relatively good terms in real life. To an outsider, these might appear like personal vendettas, but I think for the most part the vitriol stays on the boards. Let's not lie, there's quite a bit of spite in quiz bowl, but outside of the forums, most people aren't as horrible as they end up sounding in internet arguments.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:31 pm

Everyone just can't stop asking me, "Isaac Hirsch, what do you think about this random joke in an unrelated tournament announcement?" I've had enough of being bothered about it, so I guess I have to offer my opinion.
I don't really think it's unpleasant or uncivil or whatever, as Princeton will probably take their licks from running a bad tournament for a while and, you know, that's how it should be, assuming those licks are reasonable. People have rightly pointed out that it seems like a mostly-unnecessary potshot in an unrelated thread, which is honestly more of a problem from the whole "the quizbowl forums are full of weird in-jokes" viewpoint than being mean. I didn't really know Princeton had run a bad tournament, as I don't really follow high school quizbowl in New Jersey, so I had to go look up recent Princeton tournaments. Anyway, I think the ultimate point I'm trying to make here is, yeah, it wasn't really necessary or relevant, but whatever. It's not a big deal, it's a college announcement, and a barely noticeable joke in it, too.

So, while people have probably made too much of a thrown-off joke, we also have this:
Matt Weiner wrote:As usual, what we have is a blown-up exchange of nonsense about the basic principle of "civility," which is that a team is allowed to run a terrible tournament which wastes the time and money of attendees and turns off their less experienced local attendees to pyramidal quizbowl, and you don't do anything whatsoever to try to fix this. But mentioning, ever, that something was done improperly or needs to change is forbidden. The unspoken necessary assumption of this "civility" approach is that quizbowl in 1993 was awesome and we should all still be playing College Bowl and Chip Beall on plagiarized or recycled one-line questions, because saying those things were bad in order to begin changing them is unacceptably offensive. I thought we had long moved past this and gotten people to understand what we're trying to accomplish here, but perhaps I was being overly optimistic.
What? People are basically saying, "Was it necessary to throw in a potshot at an admittedly bad Princeton tournament in an unrelated tournament announcement?" and this is a super duper melodramatic response. The issue with it isn't that you're criticizing a tournament at all, and it certainly isn't "WE WANT TO PLAY CHIPBOWL." Again, people can and should criticize the tournament for being an improperly run mess but throwing a joke about a random bad high school tournament into the announcement for a college tournament doesn't even seem like the most effective way of doing that. Characterizing that argument as "You can't criticize any tournament ever! We want to play quizbowl as it was in 1993!" is a bizarro strawman for what folks have been saying, and the fact that you're claiming that Mike Hundley's "civility approach" is implicitly endorsing these viewpoints is just sort of baffling.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Magister Ludi » Wed Oct 09, 2013 5:13 pm

Why is the anime ban in place? Because people like me (who come to the quizbowl forum to discuss, you know, quizbowl) open a thread like this one in the mood to engage in an intelligent conversation about the game and see ten straight posts about anime that immediately suffocates any possible interest I might have in contributing to the thread. But even worse it buries the few good posts (like the comments on setting up roundtables with experienced players and encouraging more interesting threads about gameplay) under a mountain of meaningless debate about meaningless issues.

More than anything to improve discussion, I think good posters need to learn self-discipline about when to respond to irritating or contrarian posters, because too many threads devolve into petty personal back-and-forth spats that become self-perpetuating loops which lose all connection with larger quizbowl issues. If people could occasionally take the high road, could occasionally say "I'm going to let Jonah Greenthal have his preposterous excuse so I can focus my energy on some aspect of the discussion that at least has a chance of producing something beneficial," than I think the quality of collegiate discussion threads would drastically improve.

[Edit: grammar].
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:04 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:Why is the anime ban in place? Because people like me (who come to the quizbowl forum to discuss, you know, quizbowl) open a thread like this one in the mood to engage in an intelligent conversation about the game and see ten straight posts about anime that immediately suffocates any possible interest I might have in contributing to the thread. But even worse it buries the few good posts (like the comments on setting up roundtables with experienced players and encouraging more interesting threads about gameplay) under a mountain of meaningless debate about meaningless issues.
I just split the metadiscussion of anime-posting into its own thread.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:07 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:More than anything to improve discussion, I think good posters need to learn self-discipline about when to respond to irritating or contrarian posters, because too many threads devolve into petty personal back-and-forth spats that become self-perpetuating loops which lose all connection with larger quizbowl issues. If people could occasionally take the high road, could occasionally say "I'm going to let Jonah Greenthal have his preposterous excuse so I can focus my energy on some aspect of the discussion that at least has a chance of producing something beneficial," than I think the quality of collegiate discussion threads would drastically improve.
Ted--the point you were making is a good one. You shouldn't have ruined it by engaging in precisely the behavior you're criticizing. Let's not be petty or name names while pretending to take the moral high ground.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:37 pm

I think it would be a good idea to have a subforum on the collegiate announcements for question set announcement akin to the one in the high school forum.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:01 am

Weighted Companion Cube wrote:I think it would be a good idea to have a subforum on the collegiate announcements for question set announcement akin to the one in the high school forum.
I like this idea.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Victor Prieto » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:48 pm

Grams's Go-Go Boots wrote:
Weighted Companion Cube wrote:I think it would be a good idea to have a subforum on the collegiate announcements for question set announcement akin to the one in the high school forum.
I like this idea.
Will this happen?
Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:
Cheynem wrote:I might be interested in perhaps collaborating with some prominent players or writers in doing some productive roundtable threads (either a thread or like posting an on-task discussion) about various aspects of playing or writing or whatever.
Needless to say we're both busy right now, but I'd be happy to collaborate with you on this at a later time.
Perhaps it might be a good idea for people to submit ideas for this somewhere, in a thread or through some sort of survey. I know I'd like to see some more experienced players discuss writing specific topics (say, paintings or common link mythology or something), or maybe something tangential to actual quizbowl, like how to attract and retain club members effectively. Actually, I really think a discussion of the latter would be really helpful for a lot of up and coming programs.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:52 pm

Wasabi wrote:maybe something tangential to actual quizbowl, like how to attract and retain club members effectively. Actually, I really think a discussion of the latter would be really helpful for a lot of up and coming programs.
This is very far from tangential and would be a great subject for discussion.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Cheynem » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:55 pm

I'll start a thread for the Roundtable talks to have people propose topics.
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Re: State of the board discussion thread

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:09 pm

Wasabi wrote:
Grams's Go-Go Boots wrote:
Weighted Companion Cube wrote:I think it would be a good idea to have a subforum on the collegiate announcements for question set announcement akin to the one in the high school forum.
I like this idea.
Will this happen?
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"Aragorn was the famed king of Gondor, while the Iberian kingdom was Aragon. Both parties were aware of this coincidence: we have a journal entry from Aragorn that expresses his anger at receiving mail meant for King Peter IV of Aragon for the umpteenth time."~ CommodoreCoCo

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