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buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:03 pm
by vcpavao
(discussion split from this thread --mgmt.)

This could have already been addressed (I haven't looked at every single post on this thread), and I'm not exactly sure this is the appropriate place to post this complaint, but I will post it anyway...

I am glad teams volunteer buzzer systems to nationals, but unfortunately there are cases where certain buzzer systems should not be used.

There was one kind of buzzer system that destroyed me in two bee rounds. Basically in this kind of buzzer system, if one player buzzed and answered incorrectly, and then another player tried to "spam" the buzzer to get in right after the buzzer cleared, that second person would be locked out for the rest of the question and couldn't answer at all. Considering how all other bee and bowl rooms had buzzers that allowed spamming, I thought it was kind of unfair.

I know spamming is a really common tactic in quiz bowl/history bowl, so I didn't think that specific kind of buzzer system should have been used. However, I didn't think buzzers could be protested so I didn't bring it to attention. Unfortunately, it cost me a few points in the bee but I hope that each buzzer system is tested next year.

My only complaint- otherwise a really stellar event that was well-planned. All thanks to Dave Madden and those who helped him!

Re: NHBB Nationals thread

Posted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:30 pm
by jonpin
So, a couple things here:
1) Personally, I don't see "spamming" (which I assume to mean holding your buzzer down as the mod clears) as a behavior which needs to get special protection. As it is, if 2+ people are both doing that, the system is going to have to randomly determine the winner anyway.
2) I kinda doubt that the mechanism you've described exists in any currently-used buzzer system. I've certainly never heard of it until just now.
3) Were it to exist, I'm not at all sure how one would reasonably "test" for this in a buzzer check. Every buzzer system should be and to my knowledge is tested when it's set up and at the start of every game. If you think your buzzer is malfunctioning, it is and has always been the player's responsibility to say something and request a buzzer check immediately.
4) Lastly... you've suggested that certain buzzers be banned from use at NHBB without actually describing them in any meaningful way. You might want to clarify that. Even if it's not a brand name, a physical/visual description might help others to identify it.

Re: NHBB Nationals thread

Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:33 am
by Urech hydantoin synthesis
I agree with Jon in that it's not really worth doing anything about, but Victor's claims aren't entirely baseless - at the Bee, I experienced something similar with these buzzersystems.com buzzers. Basically, when one player continually presses the button before the buzzers are clear, the system recognizes neither that player nor any other player who buzzes in even when the light from the previous buzz has been cleared. The moderator had everyone stop buzzing for a short while, and then it became a game of chicken regarding when the appropriate time to buzz in again was.

Re: NHBB Nationals thread

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:10 am
by Great Bustard
This whole topic of buzzer systems and how they react to attempts to get an edge by a student holding it down while someone else has rung in is a topic worthy of discussion, but in a different thread. Can a moderator move the prior 3 posts to its own thread under the Misc. forum?

Re: NHBB Nationals thread

Posted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 7:21 am
by Auks Ran Ova
Great Bustard wrote:This whole topic of buzzer systems and how they react to attempts to get an edge by a student holding it down while someone else has rung in is a topic worthy of discussion, but in a different thread. Can a moderator move the prior 3 posts to its own thread under the Misc. forum?
Yes!

Re: NHBB Nationals thread

Posted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:00 pm
by vcpavao
christino wrote:I agree with Jon in that it's not really worth doing anything about, but Victor's claims aren't entirely baseless - at the Bee, I experienced something similar with these buzzersystems.com buzzers. Basically, when one player continually presses the button before the buzzers are clear, the system recognizes neither that player nor any other player who buzzes in even when the light from the previous buzz has been cleared. The moderator had everyone stop buzzing for a short while, and then it became a game of chicken regarding when the appropriate time to buzz in again was.
That link shows the kind of buzzer I was talking about. I also would like to clarify - I am not trying to get special protection for spamming, I just don't believe that spamming should be punished due to its widespread use. Even when the question was completed and was going to be dead, I couldn't buzz in with my answer because the system still had me locked out. If we don't do anything about it, could we at least allow kids in this situation to direct an answer to the moderator, even if their buzzer was cancelled?

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:40 pm
by jonpin
There is always the ability to say "BUZZ" if one's buzzer is malfunctioning. Admittedly this is a not perfect solution in the Bee (in a team competition, it either results in an uncontested answer or a question being thrown out), and people new to quiz bowl may not realize this is an option, but moderators tend to be understanding of buzzer issues and if no one is buzzing and you're frantically trying to buzz and it's not working, say something and they'll recognize you.

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:36 pm
by Mnemosyne
I actually thought it was common sense/universal knowledge to spaz out while frantically waving your hands saying "buzz, buzz, I'm trying to buzz!!" when a buzzer doesn't work. That's how it's always been in my games since probably the first tournament I ever went to.

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:04 pm
by etchdulac
jonpin wrote:moderators tend to be understanding of buzzer issues and if no one is buzzing and you're frantically trying to buzz and it's not working, say something and they'll recognize you.
Mnemosyne wrote:I actually thought it was common sense/universal knowledge to spaz out while frantically waving your hands saying "buzz, buzz, I'm trying to buzz!!" when a buzzer doesn't work.
You'd like to think that, but one of my local teams got ignored completely while doing that in an HSNCT playoff game they lost by 45.

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:00 pm
by jagluski
etchdulac wrote:
jonpin wrote:moderators tend to be understanding of buzzer issues and if no one is buzzing and you're frantically trying to buzz and it's not working, say something and they'll recognize you.
Mnemosyne wrote:I actually thought it was common sense/universal knowledge to spaz out while frantically waving your hands saying "buzz, buzz, I'm trying to buzz!!" when a buzzer doesn't work.
You'd like to think that, but one of my local teams got ignored completely while doing that in an HSNCT playoff game they lost by 45.
This is not true. The team in question never audibly said buzz or waved their hands or anything. In addition, the staffers in the room never heard them try to buzz.

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:18 pm
by etchdulac
jagluski wrote:
etchdulac wrote:
jonpin wrote:moderators tend to be understanding of buzzer issues and if no one is buzzing and you're frantically trying to buzz and it's not working, say something and they'll recognize you.
Mnemosyne wrote:I actually thought it was common sense/universal knowledge to spaz out while frantically waving your hands saying "buzz, buzz, I'm trying to buzz!!" when a buzzer doesn't work.
You'd like to think that, but one of my local teams got ignored completely while doing that in an HSNCT playoff game they lost by 45.
This is not true. The team in question never audibly said buzz or waved their hands or anything. In addition, the staffers in the room never heard them try to buzz.
That was not at all their story by the time they got to me. If those were the facts I was given, I would never have initiated our earlier conversation, after which I thought we were working with the same information. I will ask them to clarify the situation.

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:34 pm
by etchdulac
etchdulac wrote:That was not at all their story by the time they got to me. If those were the facts I was given, I would never have initiated our earlier conversation, after which I thought we were working with the same information. I will ask them to clarify the situation.
So their story is that their guy audibly buzzed first, the buzzer failed, and he was yelling buzz when the other team buzzed in. Still a situation where it should've been tossed once the buzzer malfunction was confirmed. The staffers acknowledged the issue after giving the other team the bonus cycle, said they'd return to the issue if it mattered (which shouldn't apply to that kind of issue anyway), then declined to do anything about it even though the game was close.

So my initial point stands: There's apparently not a consensus about what to do when this happens.

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:44 pm
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
Somebody in the other thread said that different systems have different ways of breaking a tie between simultaneous buzzes, and that in some cases there's always one color that wins, etc. This seems like incredibly relevant information that should be shared with the community.

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:52 pm
by etchdulac
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Somebody in the other thread said that different systems have different ways of breaking a tie between simultaneous buzzes, and that in some cases there's always one color that wins, etc. This seems like incredibly relevant information that should be shared with the community.
TQBA has at least one system that provides green, yellow and red for first, second, and third buzzes. Presumably, this is useful in some other competition; for us, it was particularly inconvenient for our red-green colorblind top reader.

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:24 pm
by Mike Bentley
I've been sitting on a buzzer design that uses some old PlayStation 2 USB buzzers that plug into a computer. It has the ability to do lockouts similar to IRC quizbowl where the first person is recognized and if he or she gets it incorrect, the next person who had buzzed in automatically lights up. That person can also withdrawal. This works all of the way down the nth person who buzzed in.

I could see this being useful in a Bee format, although it has some drawbacks. Mainly, if withdrawing is free then each player has the incentive to reaction buzz every time in the off chance that the answer does dawn on them. You could perhaps work around this with a system where someone has to write down the answer they were going to buzz on in order to be allowed to withdrawal, but this has its own problems.

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:31 pm
by AKKOLADE
etchdulac wrote:
etchdulac wrote:That was not at all their story by the time they got to me. If those were the facts I was given, I would never have initiated our earlier conversation, after which I thought we were working with the same information. I will ask them to clarify the situation.
So their story is that their guy audibly buzzed first, the buzzer failed, and he was yelling buzz when the other team buzzed in. Still a situation where it should've been tossed once the buzzer malfunction was confirmed. The staffers acknowledged the issue after giving the other team the bonus cycle, said they'd return to the issue if it mattered (which shouldn't apply to that kind of issue anyway), then declined to do anything about it even though the game was close.

So my initial point stands: There's apparently not a consensus about what to do when this happens.
Why do you keep doing this?

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:58 pm
by jagluski
etchdulac wrote:
etchdulac wrote:That was not at all their story by the time they got to me. If those were the facts I was given, I would never have initiated our earlier conversation, after which I thought we were working with the same information. I will ask them to clarify the situation.
So their story is that their guy audibly buzzed first, the buzzer failed, and he was yelling buzz when the other team buzzed in. Still a situation where it should've been tossed once the buzzer malfunction was confirmed. The staffers acknowledged the issue after giving the other team the bonus cycle, said they'd return to the issue if it mattered (which shouldn't apply to that kind of issue anyway), then declined to do anything about it even though the game was close.

So my initial point stands: There's apparently not a consensus about what to do when this happens.
This is not the story they told R. Hentzel at the tournament. They never said anything about yelling buzz and I find it nearly impossible that they would leave this information out when talking to the president of NAQT.

In addition, as has been stated many times previously, neither the moderator nor the scorekeeper heard this team trying to buzz and definitively stated no one yelled buzz.

Edited to fix a typo

Re: buzzer system lockout discussion

Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:16 pm
by etchdulac
Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon wrote:
etchdulac wrote:
etchdulac wrote:That was not at all their story by the time they got to me. If those were the facts I was given, I would never have initiated our earlier conversation, after which I thought we were working with the same information. I will ask them to clarify the situation.
So their story is that their guy audibly buzzed first, the buzzer failed, and he was yelling buzz when the other team buzzed in. Still a situation where it should've been tossed once the buzzer malfunction was confirmed. The staffers acknowledged the issue after giving the other team the bonus cycle, said they'd return to the issue if it mattered (which shouldn't apply to that kind of issue anyway), then declined to do anything about it even though the game was close.

So my initial point stands: There's apparently not a consensus about what to do when this happens.
Why do you keep doing this?
Because how to handle a buzzer malfunction is not in the traditional rules conversation for staff in the open of a tournament. Perhaps it should be.

Not sure how verifying a team's story qualifies as a "keep doing this" -- there is a reasonable objective to this: identifying a place where rules may not be getting applied the same way for future pre-emptive clarification in moderator meetings.