QU NAC in DC

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QU NAC in DC

Post by Ben Dillon »

After two days of prelims, only three teams have finished their six-game schedule:

Housatonic Valley (CT): 5-1, 1625
Chapel Hill (NC): 1-5
Rye Country Day (NY): 0-6

Of the teams with incomplete records, three have already qualified for the playoffs:

Brebeuf Jesuit (IN): 4-0
Harrison A (IN): 4-0
Shepton (TX): 4-0

Another ten teams with incomplete records have at least three losses and cannot advance to playoffs:

Alamosa (CO): 0-5
Antonito (CO): 0-5
Briarcliff (NJ): 1-4
Chautauqua Lake (NY): 1-4
Harrison B (IN): 1-3
Horace Greeley B (NY): 0-4
Ripley (WV): 0-4
Smithtown East (NY): 0-3

The remaining forty teams - including my own - have either not played enough games or have not won or lost enough times to be eliminated or guarantee advancement.
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Shepton

Post by etchdulac »

[quote]Of the teams with incomplete records, three have already qualified for the playoffs:

Brebeuf Jesuit (IN): 4-0
Harrison A (IN): 4-0
Shepton (TX): 4-0 [/quote]

Boy, congrats to Plano Shepton, the 9th-10th feeder for I think Plano West. We haven't seen them at TQBA JV events all year... or ever I think.

Go figure.
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Post by Ben Dillon »

The preliminaries are all finished... here are skeleton results:

#1. Brebeuf Jesuit (IN), 6-0
#2. Lafayette Harrison (IN), 6-0
#3. Chaska (MN), 6-0
#4. St. Joseph's (IN), 6-0
#5. Housatonic (CT), 5-1
#6. Klein (TX), 5-1
#7. Manheim Township (PA), 5-1
#8. Glens Falls (NY), 5-1
#9. Knoxville West (TN), 4-2
#10. Ithaca (NY), 4-2
#11. Shepton (TX), 4-2
#12. Penn Manor (PA), 4-2
#13. Madison Central (MS), 4-2
#14. Pingry (NJ), 4-2
#15. Morris Area (MN), 4-2
#16. Horace Greeley (NY), 4-2
#17. Delaware Valley (PA), 4-2
#18. Hershey (PA), 4-2
#19. Bennett (MD), 4-2

So far, the playoffs had Delaware Valley beating Horace Greeley, Morris Area over Hershey, and Bennett winning by forfeit over Pingry.

The playoffs continue tomorrow with Brebeuf vs. Delaware Valley, Glens Falls vs. Knoxville West, St. Joseph's vs. Madison Central, and Housatonic vs. Penn Manor in the top half. The bottom half is Harrison vs. Morris Area, Manheim Township vs. Ithaca, Chaska vs. Bennett, and Klein vs. Shepton.
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Post by SHP Pirate »

Could someone please explein the forfeit by Pingry?
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Post by Byko »

Thanks for the results, Ben. It wouldn't surprise me if any of the top 4 seeds or Klein (or probably Manheim Township as well) won it. From other tournament results I've seen this year, those are all good teams.
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Post by Ben Dillon »

Pingry didn't show up for their playoff match last night. It was announced right after dinner, and they likely didn't know that there was a possibility that the low-scoring 4-2 teams might have to play then.

Having not talked to anyone on the Pingry team, I don't know what the mixup was. They have come to nationals for a few years, so they should have known this was a possibility. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't know and are now furious that they missed their chance.
Last edited by Ben Dillon on Mon Jun 05, 2006 10:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Ben Dillon »

Playoff update:

Brebeuf Jesuit 430, Delaware Valley 185
Knoxville West 305, Glens Falls 260
St. Joseph's 330, Madison Central 250
Penn Manor over Housatonic (don't have score right now)
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NAC DC Regional results

Post by chaska »

Sorry to threadjack, but I just got back from the DC regional tonight. I can announce some preliminary results.

The final four was:

St Joseph's (IN, #4 seed) vs.
Knoxville West (TN, #10 seed, defeated #1 overall seed Brebeuf Jesuit to advance)

Manheim Township (PA, #7 seed, defeated #2 overall seed Harrison A to advance) vs.
Chaska (MN, #3 seed)

St. Joe's took out Knoxville in the upper bracket, I'm not sure of the score. We (Chaska) knocked out Manheim 340-235 to advance to the championship.

So in the championship match, it was us vs. St. Joe's. We led 60-40 after the warmup round, and I think by 40 after the bonus. The margin was definately a 40 point lead for us after the lightning round. In the experts round, St. Joe's put together an early run, taking a 5 point lead right around the halfway mark. Then we went on a run, answering five of the last six or seven tossups to win by 60 points.

Final score: Chaska 290, St. Joseph's 230

Low scoring match because the bonus round was really bad for both teams. Also, St. Joseph's is a really good team, and played us closer than any other team at the tournament. The two teams were competitive and good enough to limit each other's points fairly effectively.
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Post by Jcrmoon42 »

The Pingry forfeit was unfortunate. They were very gracious about the whole thing, and I'd like to thank Adam (their captain) for his attitude. They were supposed to play Bennett after dinner but were nowhere to be found. We all looked high and low for them, but it was not until much later that evening that they showed up. As such, we basically left it up to the Bennett coach as to whether or not they wanted to play a 7:30 game Monday morning. He felt that it wasn't in the best interests of his team, and I certainly couldn't argue with him. My guess is that there will be more specific instructions in next year's rules regarding such things next year.

I have been reading for NAC for about seven years. I take particular joy in being a bit of a fire extinguisher on things like this. It is always nice when people can deal reasonably through difficulties.

Oh, by the way, for those who question the staff at NAC, I was a college player at Lee University for six years and have read MANY times for Charlie Steinhice at UTC. I have never been asked by Chip to "put on a show" or any of the other things that his staff gets blamed for. There is another member of his D.C. staff who was a member of a national champion at the U. of Maryland MANY years ago as well. With few exceptions, I have found the staff to be as knowledgeable as any other tournament staff I've been around. Believe me, I'd rather not wear a tie to a tourney nor use a mike, but that's the way he wants it. I'd be okay with eight players in a room with a reader and a copy of the questions. However, teams seem to enjoy themselves there, and I am in this thing for them.

Oh, and congratulations to Chaska. :lol:
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Post by Matt Weiner »

Jcrmoon42 wrote:Oh, by the way, for those who question the staff at NAC, I was a college player at Lee University for six years and have read MANY times for Charlie Steinhice at UTC. I have never been asked by Chip to "put on a show" or any of the other things that his staff gets blamed for. There is another member of his D.C. staff who was a member of a national champion at the U. of Maryland MANY years ago as well. With few exceptions, I have found the staff to be as knowledgeable as any other tournament staff I've been around. Believe me, I'd rather not wear a tie to a tourney nor use a mike, but that's the way he wants it. I'd be okay with eight players in a room with a reader and a copy of the questions. However, teams seem to enjoy themselves there, and I am in this thing for them.
Yeah, that's great and all, but you're still reading audio tossups on "blenders."
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Post by Jcrmoon42 »

I'm not trying to defend the tournament. I have just as many problems with the whole thing as you do. Perhaps I'm defending myself and any of his other staff who have been disparaged here and elsewhere. I go to NAC for three reasons. One, I love quiz bowl and love being around it. Two, I think someone has to be around to run interference. Three, Chip pays me. I think those are pretty legitimate reasons.

I've just read a number of posts here and elsewhere that made various comments regarding the NAC staff. While there may be or have been issues there, I'm not sure that questioning our legitimacy as moderators and judges is necessarily called for.
Matt Weiner wrote:
Jcrmoon42 wrote:Oh, by the way, for those who question the staff at NAC, I was a college player at Lee University for six years and have read MANY times for Charlie Steinhice at UTC. I have never been asked by Chip to "put on a show" or any of the other things that his staff gets blamed for. There is another member of his D.C. staff who was a member of a national champion at the U. of Maryland MANY years ago as well. With few exceptions, I have found the staff to be as knowledgeable as any other tournament staff I've been around. Believe me, I'd rather not wear a tie to a tourney nor use a mike, but that's the way he wants it. I'd be okay with eight players in a room with a reader and a copy of the questions. However, teams seem to enjoy themselves there, and I am in this thing for them.
Yeah, that's great and all, but you're still reading audio tossups on "blenders."
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Post by Byko »

Matt Weiner wrote:Yeah, that's great and all, but you're still reading audio tossups on "blenders."
Matt, have you even been to this tournament in at least the last 5 years? See, I have, so I can more accurately state some things. I may not be a Chip apologist (I do think that NAQT and PACE are better tournaments in terms of overall quality (having never been to ASCN and not considering Panasonic to be quiz bowl, I'm not including them here)), but I will say that you overemphasize the negatives a bit. I watched 2 full days of competition back in 2003 at Marymount, and there were no "audio appliance" questions at all (and I doubt he crammed them in the first two days as you may be apt to think). Sure, he had some bad questions (e.g., "What medium is currently posing a threat to radio?" Ans. - the Internet), but you will find bad questions at every tournament. And no, his questions are not all steaming piles of feces like you would tend to believe (for example, a very well-written lightning round on the Protestant Reformation stands out in my mind).

As I've only been to the NAC twice (once as a player in 1996 and once to observe in 2003), it's not the full-blown circus that some people online might advertise it to be. The moderators are very good. I can't comment on any of the perceived favoritisms as I have never been a part of anything like that, though it may be worth noting that such acts have appeared to have happened more directly with Chip than with the moderating pool at large. And with the tournament expanding to 6 prelim games in recent years instead of 4, it's probably at least a little better now than it was when I was last there.

Matt, we all know how you feel about this tournament. But frankly, enough's enough. Go show up for it sometime and document what's REALLY happening. I wouldn't be surprised if you find, like I do, that you favor NAQT and PACE over it, but I think even you might admit that some of your assumptions don't hold water. Yes, plagiarism is a very serious issue, one that, for his current questions, can neither be proven or disproven, which is quite disheartening. Yes, there have been questionable events in the past. But let's at least allow other facts to be heard and not be shot down with one-line assertions.
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Post by First Chairman »

For the record, Brick is very friendly with many of the DC-area folks and many who post on this board, and helped out a few years ago at the NSC. Even though our group does not pay its volunteers (aside from travel expenses and housing), if you have a similar disposition to Brick, I would certainly welcome meeting you at a future tournament if I have the ability to travel or your presence at any other high school competition event close to you. As a result, I don't think you need to defend the staff.

On the other hand, are you being paid to run interference? Do you go beyond your intended role as an official at the NAC? I know that for volunteers at any tournament I run (that is not the NSC), it's NOT their role to run interference for me unless they are part of my qb team (Duke, Case, whatever). There are certain things that a TD should know about the execution of his/her event, and the TD is responsible for knowing and solving those problems.

As many times as I have been an usher for many concerts, it was expressly told to me that I only refer disgruntled patrons to our managers. I am never to be involved in arguments or run interference (even though at times I did find ways to put out fires that I knew were small enough that did not require the manager's attention). As the front-line face of the organization, my role was clearly defined so that my presence supported the atmosphere that we wanted to convey to our patrons. I hope that I do the same with my competition staff.

As one of the PACE organizers, most of us have tournament-running experience so we all know how to cope with problems on site. But there should also be a protocol when dealing with problems. Now, NAC does not run (n/2) rooms at NAC so it is easier for a staff member to take a break and put out fires. But many people have previously described how protest protocols have not been followed to the letter; naming certain rules in tribute to certain teams also does not impress me.

I think we're all in it for the spreading the enjoyment of the game for the kids. The philosophical difference is providing a true "academic challenge".
Jcrmoon42 wrote:I'm not trying to defend the tournament. I have just as many problems with the whole thing as you do. Perhaps I'm defending myself and any of his other staff who have been disparaged here and elsewhere. I go to NAC for three reasons. One, I love quiz bowl and love being around it. Two, I think someone has to be around to run interference. Three, Chip pays me. I think those are pretty legitimate reasons.

I've just read a number of posts here and elsewhere that made various comments regarding the NAC staff. While there may be or have been issues there, I'm not sure that questioning our legitimacy as moderators and judges is necessarily called for.
Jcrmoon42 wrote:Oh, by the way, for those who question the staff at NAC, I was a college player at Lee University for six years and have read MANY times for Charlie Steinhice at UTC. I have never been asked by Chip to "put on a show" or any of the other things that his staff gets blamed for. There is another member of his D.C. staff who was a member of a national champion at the U. of Maryland MANY years ago as well. With few exceptions, I have found the staff to be as knowledgeable as any other tournament staff I've been around. Believe me, I'd rather not wear a tie to a tourney nor use a mike, but that's the way he wants it. I'd be okay with eight players in a room with a reader and a copy of the questions. However, teams seem to enjoy themselves there, and I am in this thing for them.
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Copyright violations

Post by pblessman »

Yes, plagiarism is a very serious issue, one that, for his current questions, can neither be proven or disproven, which is quite disheartening.
This is simply not true. Plagiarism CAN be proven for the current questions. Chip has used copied questions in the past AND in the present, as is shown by my previous post detailing questions which he used during the 2005-2006 season for my conference (and I have more examples from that season).

I don't want to restart a new discussion about whether the NAC is a reasonable tournament to go to... in the end, each team has to make their own decision. However, the facts are NOT in doubt in regard to plagiarism. Chip and QU have used copied questions many times in the past and continue to do so (If anybody is interested, I have documented dozens of cases involving NAC, Tournament, and Conference questions).

I am, really, not even that interested in the charges of "stupid questions" and favoritism. For me, it comes down to the question of paying a person and/or organization for providing me (for a fee) with questions they have copied from a copyrighted source.

As an educator, I put high standards on my students, and this kind of behavior on a paper would result in the student getting an F on the submitted paper, if not the course... How can we justify this as education professionals?
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Post by First Chairman »

As one of the newly appointed members of academe (even if it's not tenure-track), I completely agree with Byko, but I will post one slight positional difference of my own for the record. Specifically...
Byko wrote:Matt, we all know how you feel about this tournament. But frankly, enough's enough. Go show up for it sometime and document what's REALLY happening. I wouldn't be surprised if you find, like I do, that you favor NAQT and PACE over it, but I think even you might admit that some of your assumptions don't hold water. Yes, plagiarism is a very serious issue, one that, for his current questions, can neither be proven or disproven, which is quite disheartening. Yes, there have been questionable events in the past. But let's at least allow other facts to be heard and not be shot down with one-line assertions.
Plagiarism is extremely serious, and is one of the few academic "crimes" that have consequences for members of the academy. Proving it can be a simple issue of black and white, and it's somewhat surprising how easy it is to evaluate. It's the intent that makes it harder to prosecute.

But.... since Chip is not a member, he is not really threatened by loss of tenure or a job. The situation with quiz bowl is more like the pre-copyright days of music composition (say Mozart's day) when composers freely and blatently stole motifs and compositional ideas from their competitors and colleagues. There was no real punishment for this type of IP stealing, and I doubt there would be any interest for a "code of ethics" for any of the instigators.

The problem I see is that more and more of the teams that compete at Chip's tournament(s) are less and less aware that the Stanford Archives (as well as similar repositories) exists. I grant there are a limited number of ways to write a question about a specific topic, but to really be engaged in documenting plagiarism would require some effort. Currently, there's no reason why any unscrupulous question-writer cannot just watch an archived game match and steal questions for his/her own purposes (one cannot yet Google an internet videocast or podcast so far as I know).

One disturbing experiment I performed years ago was for an Ohio format tournament in which I asked coaches to submit a round. Two of the submitted rounds I got included questions from past Case tournaments that I ran! It was probably a question of convenience or a lack of knowledge of what to look for (even when I said "original questions"), and maybe part of my instructions weren't clear... but it is interesting to note that even when we prompt coaches to submit questions, sometimes this copying is observed. (Of course, the flip side is that people saw my own questions as being SO GOOD ... :cool: )

That's why the NSC questions are not freely available on just any archive. It is limited to teams that register to compete for the NSC and any other well-intentioned organizations whom we trust will not exploit our efforts.
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Post by Matt Weiner »

I just can't agree, Dave. Even if Chip were to use better questions now (which, judging from what he himself chooses as his best examples to post in the tournament summaries, he does not) we're still talking about putting a lot of time, money, and credibility into the hands of the type of person who would write those blender tossups. I just don't trust that individual with a quizbowl tournament; he had fifteen years to figure it out and did not do so. All that before the plagiarism.
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Post by chaska »

Matt. You don't like Chip. We get it.

There's no need to take over every QU thread and turn it into a diatribe against Chip and his format. And there's no need to minimize the accomplishments of teams playing the NAC format. A lot of the big east coast teams may choose to skip Chip, but to say that there are no good teams at NAC is a vast overstatement. It might be nice to think that the top 20 teams are all Eastern seaboard powerhouses, but there are plenty of national caliber teams in the field at Chip's tourney.

I'm not going to say that the format is the best, because I enjoy NAQT more and I think the questions are more well-written. However, it is an interesting change from a straight tossups to bonuses format, which can be nice. Our team practices and enjoys both NAQT and NAC and will be competing in the Minnesota NAQT mirror tournament later this month. We were only able to attend one national tournament this year, and our coach chose NAC so we went to Chip.

Our team has played in a very hard region. In our only full-strength NAQT tournament we placed three team members in the top 20 scorers, led the field in points and powers, and defeated #10 national overall finisher Mounds Park Academy (with the extremely impressive #1 overall national scorer Brendan Byrne) and #16 national overall finisher St. Thomas Academy. I resent the implication that we are somehow not a national caliber team because we have not boycotted NAC.
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Post by Jcrmoon42 »

I am by no means a Chip apologist. I take great pride in not being a lackey, and that is actually one of the reasons Chip keeps bringing me back. He likes the fact that I stand up to him when he gets pissy about things or starts making unreasonable decisions. I would love to see wholesale changes to the format, but that is not going to happen any time soon.

My only point in posting originally was to defend the staff from any sort of piggybacking criticism. I have seen numerous posts here that do just that, and it strikes me as horribly unfair. Noone at NAC is told to have a bias toward any team and, while I have certainly seen things that I thought were unfair, I have never been given any instruction to do anything of the sort. In fact, I would say that Chip goes out of his way to make sure that all of the tournament officials are part of the decision-making process when conflict arises. While this may not have always been true, it is certainly true today.

By the way, Dr. Chuck, I have had to remove myself from doing as much moderating as I used to when I was in the South, mostly due to time constraints. However, prior to that, I always intended to contact you about PACE. Maybe some time in the future I'll be able to make it down there.

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Post by Matt Weiner »

chaska wrote:Matt. You don't like Chip. We get it.

There's no need to take over every QU thread and turn it into a diatribe against Chip and his format.
As long as Chip is Chip, there will be a need for that.
And there's no need to minimize the accomplishments of teams playing the NAC format.
Compared to what? Compared to not playing at all, maybe you have a point, I don't know. Compared to playing pyramidal academic questions against the true best teams, it's just the case that doing well at Chip does not mean a whole lot. If that makes you uncomfortable, feel free to go to NAQT and/or PACE NSC next year and prove yourself.
A lot of the big east coast teams may choose to skip Chip, but to say that there are no good teams at NAC is a vast overstatement. It might be nice to think that the top 20 teams are all Eastern seaboard powerhouses, but there are plenty of national caliber teams in the field at Chip's tourney.
Really? It looks like the only teams that went into the NAQT playoffs and also did Chip recently were Charter (an "Eastern seaboard powerhouse" nonetheless) and Shanghai. 2 contenders in a field of ~100 is a joke. I might be missing someone, I don't have a complete Chip list to cross-check, but certainly few or no of the top finishers at NAQT bother with Chip anymore, and the situation is the same with PACE NSC. A large regular-season tournament like Vanderbilt or Maggie Walker or Brookwood will get more national contenders than Chip does (and probably has better questions too) and therefore has more right to call itself a "national championship." As long as we're on this politeness kick: Calling whichever random team that finds itself holding a trophy in the Chip tournament a national champion is tremendously insulting to the teams that put in the large amount of work necessary to win NAQT or NSC.

Turning it into some regional crusade is just spin-doctoring. Chip has lost legitimacy as a national because almost none of the good teams go, because the questions are non-academic and non-pyramidal, and because of the ethical lapses. Any one of those factors would alone be enough to impugn the tournament, and he has all three.
Our team has played in a very hard region. In our only full-strength NAQT tournament we placed three team members in the top 20 scorers, led the field in points and powers, and defeated #10 national overall finisher Mounds Park Academy (with the extremely impressive #1 overall national scorer Brendan Byrne) and #16 national overall finisher St. Thomas Academy. I resent the implication that we are somehow not a national caliber team because we have not boycotted NAC.
Did anyone accuse your team of that? You obviously are a good team by virtue of the accomplishments you listed. But absent those, your standing at Chip would not prove anything.
Jcrmoon42 wrote:My only point in posting originally was to defend the staff from any sort of piggybacking criticism. I have seen numerous posts here that do just that, and it strikes me as horribly unfair.
You are working for someone who makes money by stealing and supporting a tournament which is directly opposed to the reasons high school quizbowl is worthwile. That's my criticism of you.

All of you guys can continue throwing up this smokescreen about politeness and regional bias and the four quarters format and all that other nonsense, but the fact is that Chip is a stain on this game and you need to stop supporting it by playing or staffing. I'm not going to moderate my conclusions. You know I speak only for myself and am basing this on many years of experience with the high school game.
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Post by Howard »

Byko wrote:Sure, he had some bad questions (e.g., "What medium is currently posing a threat to radio?" Ans. - the Internet)
That's worse than bad. Any form of mass communication is a threat to radio. Television, newspaper, etc. This question should never have made it into a tournament anywhere. No one should have to try to guess which legitimate answer the question is looking for.

But I do think that your basic premise of overcriticism of Chip may be valid.
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Post by First Chairman »

Jcrmoon42 wrote:I am by no means a Chip apologist. I take great pride in not being a lackey, and that is actually one of the reasons Chip keeps bringing me back. He likes the fact that I stand up to him when he gets pissy about things or starts making unreasonable decisions.
Well, you'd get along really well with us at PACE. :grin:
By the way, Dr. Chuck, I have had to remove myself from doing as much moderating as I used to when I was in the South, mostly due to time constraints. However, prior to that, I always intended to contact you about PACE. Maybe some time in the future I'll be able to make it down there.
I understand... we have lives :shock: . At least with me moving to the DC area, it would be a bit easier to do that now. Keep in touch.
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Post by Jcrmoon42 »

Matt Weiner wrote:
You are working for someone who makes money by stealing and supporting a tournament which is directly opposed to the reasons high school quizbowl is worthwile. That's my criticism of you.

All of you guys can continue throwing up this smokescreen about politeness and regional bias and the four quarters format and all that other nonsense, but the fact is that Chip is a stain on this game and you need to stop supporting it by playing or staffing. I'm not going to moderate my conclusions. You know I speak only for myself and am basing this on many years of experience with the high school game.
You certainly have a right to your opinion. However, there seem to be alot of voices on this very board who think that you overstate that opinion to the point of being offensive. There are hundreds of kids who go to NAC every year. Whether that is good, bad, or indifferent is hardly the point. The point, or at least my point, is that they are there and they deserve to get the best moderation/judging that they can get. They are going to go to NAC whether I go or not. To just simply toss these kids to the wolves would be immature and irresponsible. The alternative that I have chosen is to go to the tournament and be their advocate. If you feel the need to be critical of that, then I think perhaps you are missing the point of being an advocate for high school quiz bowlers.
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Post by Ben Dillon »

Some closing thoughts from DC, where my team finished second to an excellent and deserving Chaska team (congrats again, Andrew!)...

(1) We had an excellent run through the prelims, going 6-0 and beating three playoff-bound teams. (Chaska had to beat five playoff teams.) In the playoffs, we beat two teams in rematches, then caught a huge break as Knoxville West had knocked out (knoxxed out?) the #1 Brebeuf team, who was led by a phenomenal player named Matt who will make some college team proud. That paved the way to the final match for us, but our luck ran out against Chaska.

(2) This phase of the tournament was heavy with New York teams, but Indiana teams were the story for most of the tourney. Brebeuf, Harrison, and we were a combined 23-3.

(3) The overall quality of competition was down from some NACs I've attended in the past, probably because teams that go to both NAC and NAQT were all at NAQT. (Wish we had the money/time to attend multiple nationals.) However, this didn't make the tournament less enjoyable to watch, as there were many good matches between evenly-matched teams amidst some mismatches.

(4) Jason, you and the rest of the moderators did a fine job. There was only one incident in any of our matches, and it was resolved satisfactorily. I don't know how many other incidents occurred, but I never heard from any other coaches that things were going anything but smoothly.
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Post by adg1034 »

This was my third NAC, and though this was the first year I was actively looking for "coincidences", I have neither seen nor been involved with any in my entire NAC career. I would have preferred to attend NAQT nationals, but we only had an opportunity to attend one, and our school has a much longer history with NAC. Over the past few years, the questions have seemed to improve (though I have seen some bad ones), and the quality of the competition hasn't been bad, either.

Matt- in order to directly influence the entire tournament, Chip would have to be involved with every match, and he certainly is not. Strange news always finds a way to get around at these kinds of tournaments, but we heard nothing the entire weekend, and I believe every other attending team would agree that no funny business happened. There is certainly a large business side to Chip, and the way he thinks every match is being televised live is painful to watch, but he makes it fun. P.T. Barnum proved that people love a spectacle, and Chip has taken that to heart. We all had fun, and that has to count for something.

Mr. Dillon, your team is extremely impressive, and I wish all the best to whatever team members are returning next year.
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Post by Matt Weiner »

I do not know why you are focusing only on the allegations of influencing tournament outcomes; they were one small part of the case against Chip and weren't made by me. Please explain why one-line or plagiarized questions on inane topics are acceptable.
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Post by adg1034 »

The debate over "Trivia vs. Significa" has been going on too long to measure, and I can't speak directly to allegations of plagiarized questions, but the questions this year seemed to require a wide base of knowledge to answer (in a good way). I still prefer NAQT questions, but we never saw any "blender tossups".
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Post by swwFCqb »

Matt Weiner wrote:
[quote]Calling whichever random team that finds itself holding a trophy in the Chip tournament a national champion is tremendously insulting to the teams that put in the large amount of work necessary to win NAQT or NSC. [quote]

While I would agree with almost all of your points regarding NAC, I strongly disagree with you here. Although NAQT's prestige is at least 100x greater than NAC's, you have no idea what kind of work some of the teams who play NAC put into quizbowl, and you have no right to shoot down some of these teams who may work as hard or harder as some of the teams who go to the NAQT championship. Some teams who have attended or are attending NAC, like my own team, has/have put in hours of work to get where they are.

My team, Fisher Catholic H.S., will be playing in the NAC tournament in Chicago this weekend. We will also be representing Ohio in the PAC tournament as a result of winning our state championship. I know that myself, along with all my other teammates, have been dedicated to putting in hours of work for 3 years in order to get here. Believe me, NAC would have been my last choice of nationals, and we would loved to have been at NAQT (if not for our untimely graduation ceremony), but our coaches chose to attend NAC because we all love Chicago and we wanted a last hoorah for our seniors. I, myself, think that almost everything out there is better than Chip's, so I don't mind if you knock Chip, his questions, or his integrity, because I'd probably be behind you on all those points, but to say that some of the teams attending NAC have not worked hard is totally unwarranted and unfair.
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Post by jrbarry »

I agree with what the Fisher Catholic person wrote above.

One thing I still contend, if you have not been to the NAC recently (2002 on), you might not recognize some aspects of that event that Chip has changed. The NAC now is better than it has ever been, in my opinion.

While I do believe that best teams in the US were at NAQT, I think it is perfectly valid for whoever wins the NAC to call themselves a national champion. They would have won a national tournament with teams from all over the place.
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Post by Matt Weiner »

I'm sure some teams do study for NAC (perhaps by listening to everything in your kitchen and taking notes?) but the point is that there is no correlation between doing that and winning at Chip. Your team seems to have advanced beyond what Chip can offer you if you are studying important academic material. Your real knowledge of literature, history, art, and science is not going to help you win buzzer races on questions like "what is this a picture of" against that New York team which Chip has pre-emptively crowned. Maybe you or someone else who prepares will win, but just as likely it will be a team whose previous exposure to quizbowl consists of occasional practices on Patrick's Press questions. It's a roll of the dice.
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Post by etchdulac »

If I am correctly interpreting Chip's summary of the DC phase, Plano Shepton reached the quarterfinals. Quite an achievement for a school without juniors or seniors.

Or, as Mr. Weiner has posited, maybe they had the widest assortment of kitchen appliances to study from. Who knows.
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Post by adg1034 »

Matt, while audio questions about blenders obviously have no place in your QB aesthetic, could it possibly be that Chip is trying to find the teams that have life experience beyond memorizing lists and attending QB practice? 98% of the tournament is questions on "core knowledge" (non-blenders), so perhaps Chip wants to give a small extra edge to teams who are better rounded. And while I can't speak about any year prior to 2004, the fact that you are completely unwilling to consider NAC as anything but complete garbage without having attended any recent tournament reflects more poorly on you than it does on Chip. Why not contact him, even invite him to this forum? I'm not trying to defend him, but what harm could come from his being able to speak in his own defense?
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Post by grapesmoker »

adg1034 wrote:Matt, while audio questions about blenders obviously have no place in your QB aesthetic, could it possibly be that Chip is trying to find the teams that have life experience beyond memorizing lists and attending QB practice?
Sorry, but what the hell are you talking about? When will people stop using this retarded logic? Are you really serious about knowing the answer to a tossup on blenders somehow constitutes life experience, not to mention something that should be anywhere near an academic competition?

Also, will you (collective you) please stop making the implicit connection that "people who do well in quizbowl = no life"? It's a stupid argument with no truth to it whatsoever. The advocacy of questions on blenders is on a par with advocating more trash and sports because who cares what those dead white guys did way back when, as demonstrated one thread over.
98% of the tournament is questions on "core knowledge" (non-blenders), so perhaps Chip wants to give a small extra edge to teams who are better rounded.
Yeah, that's real well rounded. Stay tuned for my "electrical safety" packet full of tossups on soldering irons, octopus plugs, and insulation tape.
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Post by davinci »

adg1034 wrote:Matt, while audio questions about blenders obviously have no place in your QB aesthetic, could it possibly be that Chip is trying to find the teams that have life experience beyond memorizing lists and attending QB practice? 98% of the tournament is questions on "core knowledge" (non-blenders), so perhaps Chip wants to give a small extra edge to teams who are better rounded. And while I can't speak about any year prior to 2004, the fact that you are completely unwilling to consider NAC as anything but complete garbage without having attended any recent tournament reflects more poorly on you than it does on Chip. Why not contact him, even invite him to this forum? I'm not trying to defend him, but what harm could come from his being able to speak in his own defense?
In what way does knowing that a blender goes brrrrnnrnrnrnr define a student as more well rounded. Your defense of pour question quality as a means of rewarding more well rounded students is a complete and utter (laughable) washout. I would have to believe that I am a bit more "well rounded" than even your pretenses (I work out regularly, and swim competitively, I stay aware of the current world situation, I lifeguard, etc. -- not saying every qb player isn't like that, but just that quite a few are a bit "badly-rounded") and I still consider the few questions I've seen and the formatting of NAC to be complete garbage and from what I've heard about the plagiarism, any question that could be considered close to good to be not even of his makings. I vastly prefer NAQT/PACE/pyramidal/not crap questions over anything else because they actually reward people who know stuff, and isn't that the entire point of quizbowl. It just sounds like your definition of "well-rounded" is more of an euphemism for too lazy to actually work towards being knowledgable.

Saying that you want teams to have more knowledge than memorizing list is completely ridiculous. First of all, take Chris Ray for instance, he is on his school's football team. Football and Quizbowl? If that's not fairly well-rounded, than you need a head check. And as for memorizing lists, that kind of "studying" will only possibly help you at NAC, last time I checked, NAQT does not start a Nabokov question with: "This author wrote Lolita...."

And as for Chip being invited to defend himself, there are numerous accounts (documented on the board) of people e-mailing Chip to explain himself or ask about his copying questions. As far I heard, he answered none of them.

Last but not least, Matt Weiner owns this forum, literally, if you don't want to read about him dissing the pathetic format your team decides to attend, than make your own one.
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Post by First Chairman »

Please folks, trivia competitions are still games. Whether it's the weekly NTN/Pub Trivia stuff or the intensity of an ACF match, it's still an activity that is fun. Don't make me come out with an esoteric round dealing with heraldic shields.

That said, I also warn the populace not to ever assume they know what someone else is thinking. I don't recall Chip ever sending out a marketing brochure saying he rewards kids with "real life experience" over "book learning" to justify any appliance-based (or other nonsensical example) questions. If that is Chip's m.o., then he should be more than proud to say so. That said, I also don't know whether that comment is meant to be a backhanded compliment to teams that really have won NAQT or PACE nationals... but who cares?

Can we lower the temperature just a tad more towards normal ambient?

And please... we all do have lives outside of quiz bowl (or we should). I'm kinda proud of mine anyway. :cool:
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Post by adg1034 »

Evidently this debate is far more divisive than I'd thought. With my comments, I was not expressing my personal feelings on QB; rather, I was trying to peer inside the mind of Charles Beall to find out why he does what he does. We all (hopefully) have lives outside of Quiz Bowl- anyone who doesn't has a problem- but since Chip's mindset goes back to when he started the NAC, I don't think he's realized that yet. That's why he "rewards" the teams who do have outside lives. As for Matt, I'm sure he's a great guy and an awesome QB player, but how he can profess to be knowledgeable on all the recent workings of the NAC without having experienced them for himself is beyond me.
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Post by Jcrmoon42 »

Seriously, folks. I am under the assumption that the people in here are intelligent enough to come with a cogent argument that extends beyond "Nyah, nyah, you and your format suck!" I don't think anyone here is trying to say that there isn't room for improvement at NAC. What is being said is that there is room in quiz bowl for multiple formats and it isn't necessary for anyone to look down on the other formats just because they don't like them.

I can't honestly say that I have ever read a "blender" question at NAC. Perhaps I have and don't remember. There is certainly more TRASH at NAC than at NAQT. I'm not nuts about asking questions about Kelly Clarkson, but there is seldom more than one of those per round. That would be one out of 32 questions. I can live with that. However, anyone who assumes that there are no questions of any significance at NAC hasn't read a round lately. While the questions are quicker than NAQT or most submission tourneys, they are far from Trivial Pursuit in difficulty.

Personally, while I find the debate about formats, questions types, and such interesting, sinking into insults and judgment is just below the intelligence level present in this room. Prejudice comes in many forms and is never pretty.
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Post by Chris Frankel »

Well, since Chip posts a good share of samples of his questions in his post-Nationals recaps, I thought I'd have some fun with archive.org to see what kind of questions we could come up with as examples of trivia, not significa.

The usual URL is http://www.qunlimited.com/national.htm ; I just went to archive.org and looked up older versions.

Version dated August 13, 2001 (2001 NAC):

"It was then pretty much a virtuoso performance by Jonathan Hess, answering difficult questions in a wide variety of subjects: higher math, government, classical music, current events, geography (his specialty), and even auto mechanics."

Auto mechanics is sure academically relevant! Furthermore, the questions with ostensibly academic subjects have a very roundabout and trashy/trivial way of asking about them. Examples:

"1. Lloyd Douglas, a Lutheran pastor, wrote a novel titled The Big Fisherman. Which apostle is the main character?"

Why not just ask a Bible question about St. Peter instead of a reference to a trashy novel that happened to be made into a movie shown 25 years before NAC competitors were born?

"2. Translate this opera titles into English: Die Gotterdammerung."

Surely there's more worth to the works of Wagner than just robotic "translate the title" questions. It doesn't even test foreign language skills, since it's more of a list memory question anyway. How about asking about the Ring Cycle or Wagner's career or something less superficial?

"4. As he was being taken to be beheaded on orders of Henry VIII, Sir Thomas More said, 'See me safe up onto the scaffold. For my coming down, let me shift for ...'"

Huh? I know a reasonable amount about Thomas More, but this is quote is ridiculously obscure and trivial even for a history major like myself, let alone a high school kid. Why is the last word of some minor quote attributed to Thomas More more important than asking about his writings (e.g. Utopia) or his interactions with Henry VIII?

"'Which Shakespearean play did Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton do a film version of in 1967?' (Ans. The Taming of the Shrew)."

Awesome! A Taming of the Shrew tossup where actually reading the play, studying it, or performing it offers zero help if you don't have your movie dates and titles memorized! This sure rewards academic knowledge!


August 4, 2002 (NAC 2002):

First off, there's mention of a lightning round category on "contradictory proverbs," as if predicting Chip's interpretation of cliches is actually academically significant. I also like the essay questions about draining the Everglades and obsidian cooling.

Also, this set of gems:

"1. Timber giant Weyerhaeuser uses this practice of removing all trees in one area, though admitting it's controversial. Name the practice. (Ans. Clear-cutting)
2. Pop artist Andy Warhol created many of his pictures by using which stencil process? (Ans. Silk screen)
3. He was the only artist to have two singles on Rolling Stone's list of the Top 20 singles of 1963-1988. Listen and name him. (Ans. Marvin Gaye)"

The only thing close to academic in that series of Trivial Pursuit clunkers is Andy Warhol, and it just asks about silk screening, rather than any of his studied work.


That's just from two recent years of NAC's, and while the current update doesn't have too many sample questions listed yet, I'm sure that sixty second rounds on New Orleans cuisine are surely representative of a well-rounded high school education. I guess if you want to compete for the title of best Trivial Pursuit-playing high school team, NAC might be appealing, but in terms of actual academic content, "significa, not trivia" still seems to be the exception to the rule.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."
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Post by Jcrmoon42 »

That is certainly a fine selection of questions that serve to prove what exactly? It seems a bit like using selected facts to prove a conclusion. Would it be impossible to also find perfectly reasonable questions among the archives? I just read two days ago and don't seem to recall feeling that the questions were overly simple or insignificant. Of course, I guess that depends on your definition of significant. There are some academics who would argue that a film clue is just as significant as a literary one. I suppose they are wrong.
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Post by Matt Weiner »

Jcrmoon42 wrote:That is certainly a fine selection of questions that serve to prove what exactly? It seems a bit like using selected facts to prove a conclusion. Would it be impossible to also find perfectly reasonable questions among the archives? I just read two days ago and don't seem to recall feeling that the questions were overly simple or insignificant. Of course, I guess that depends on your definition of significant. There are some academics who would argue that a film clue is just as significant as a literary one. I suppose they are wrong.
Ok, we get it, you aren't interested in actually discussing this and just want to accuse anyone who dislikes Chip Beall's massive fraud upon the high school quizbowl community of being spiteful or immature. You ask for specific, recent examples and even make vague allusions to being dissatisfied with the questions yourself, but when someone gives you those examples you requested and explains exactly why the questions are atrocious, you put up the pretense that you do not know where those questions came from or why they prove anything.

If you claim not to see why the above questions are objectively terrible and anyone who would put them forth is utterly incapable of producing a good tournament, then you are either deficient in some way or not coming to this conversation in good faith. I suspect it's the latter. Let me tell you, I'm not buying it. Your "I don't really like Chip Beall so that means I can tell you to never say anything bad about Chip Beall" routine was tiresome from the first time you posted it, and it just shows how absurd the entire enterprise of the NAC and the behavior of everyone associated with it is.

I hope whoever wins the tournament next week by knowing the dates that various unimportant films were made and the authors of Chip Beall's favorite lowbrow modern re-interpretations of the Bible feels really good about themselves. I hope you have enough self-respect to realize that this "achievement" is not even of the same category as that of the NAQT or NSC champions and do not put forth the pretense that it is.

If I sound angry, it's because I am. I bust my ass every year for weeks on end to provide the best possible set of questions for the NSC, and it's a personal insult to me and to everyone else who spends time and effort on this game when Chip Beall dashes off the lazy vomit above and when teams pay him for it.
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Post by The Time Keeper »

Jcrmoon42 wrote: Would it be impossible to also find perfectly reasonable questions among the archives?


The point is that perfectly reasonable questions are the only kind that should ever be found.

There are some academics who would argue that a film clue is just as significant as a literary one. I suppose they are wrong.
A terrible one-liner about when a movie based on Shakespeare was made is just as atrocious as a clue that simply asked "Who wrote (book)?"
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Post by Chris Frankel »

Jcrmoon42 wrote:That is certainly a fine selection of questions that serve to prove what exactly? It seems a bit like using selected facts to prove a conclusion. Would it be impossible to also find perfectly reasonable questions among the archives? I just read two days ago and don't seem to recall feeling that the questions were overly simple or insignificant. Of course, I guess that depends on your definition of significant. There are some academics who would argue that a film clue is just as significant as a literary one. I suppose they are wrong.
Well, given that the question sets are proprietary and that the questions that are posted on the NAC results page as highlights are the only publicly available examples to work with, I think it does say something about the quality of the questions if a significant number of them are either on non-academic topics (e.g. car mechanics, lumberjacking practices) or take academic topics and ask for inanely trivial information about them (e.g. Thomas More saying "myself" before dying or Peter as the subject of some random preacher's novel). Furthermore, as a past player, I can attest that these questions are not exceptional, having had to sit through such winners as tossups on horse pageant terminology, some folk song called "Popcorn," and a bonus on construction industry jargon when I was playing a national semifinal game.

As for the film/literature issue, I never said film itself was inherently illegitimate, as I, despite my own distaste for art films, can freely admit that questions on established artistic film-makers like Eisenstein or Fellini are perfectly legitimate. Now, taking an important and famous Shakespeare play and completely depriving anyone with literary study of it of a chance to get the question at all (Why not a single clue relevant to the content of the play?) in favor of asking on a 35 year old adaptation (we're not even talking about a film version of Shakespeare with an established record of academic study, like, say the Olivier Hamlet or Kurosawa's Ran) seems to be a clear statement on the tournament's value of random trivia versus that of academic literature.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."
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Post by First Chairman »

adg1034 wrote:Evidently this debate is far more divisive than I'd thought. With my comments, I was not expressing my personal feelings on QB; rather, I was trying to peer inside the mind of Charles Beall to find out why he does what he does. We all (hopefully) have lives outside of Quiz Bowl- anyone who doesn't has a problem- but since Chip's mindset goes back to when he started the NAC, I don't think he's realized that yet. That's why he "rewards" the teams who do have outside lives. As for Matt, I'm sure he's a great guy and an awesome QB player, but how he can profess to be knowledgeable on all the recent workings of the NAC without having experienced them for himself is beyond me.
Again, I warn against this particular exercise (and I'm not just restricting it to Chip). As much as I espouse being sympathetic to others' concerns, one should be able to see what his general mode of thinking is solely based on he posts on the website. Heck, this entire thread has been devoted to dissecting Matt's frame of mind based solely on what he's posted, so it is not a stretch to peer inside Chip's mind based on what he posts.

I do not know whether it is Chip's m.o. to reward teams that have outside lives, but if we accept that to be true, it would go against what a national championship should be about (as it would contradict posted justifications about the QU NAC winner being a legitimate national champion). If winning involves including a subjective measure of being "well grounded", then we should give everyone tiaras and give awards for congeniality (of which we know certain people on this website would not win :cry: :wink: ). This points directly back to Romero's remark about a team winning because it would make "good copy" (my words, not his). In other words, if this is true, you have given the detractors more ammunition for their positions against Chip.

EDIT: I also want to raise an additional question... what does Chip reward when it comes to putting students on his Hall of Fame roster? I do not recall whether "well-roundedness" was a significant factor in selection.

PS. While it's not the same level as the "blender" questions, one should be able to tell me how academically relevant this year's "New Orleans Cuisine" category round is. I'm a big fan of Louisiana cuisine (being from the area), but still...

and I'm sure both Rick and I would find that category easy to sweep up, right? :wink:
Last edited by First Chairman on Wed Jun 07, 2006 2:12 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Post by First Chairman »

Jcrmoon42 wrote:That is certainly a fine selection of questions that serve to prove what exactly? It seems a bit like using selected facts to prove a conclusion. Would it be impossible to also find perfectly reasonable questions among the archives? I just read two days ago and don't seem to recall feeling that the questions were overly simple or insignificant. Of course, I guess that depends on your definition of significant. There are some academics who would argue that a film clue is just as significant as a literary one. I suppose they are wrong.
A lot has already been addressed about the topics brought up in this post. Maybe you read the questions a couple of days ago, but you were not really primed to look for the overly simple or insignificant questions under the criteria that the people here who watch for these things are honed to discover. You point out "it depends on your definition of significant," as it also depends on your definition as well. As a reader and tournament director, it's hard to evaluate questions on the fly. Unless you are actively listening in the audience and can focus on judging questions, it's not easy to find these types of aberrations.
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whatever...

Post by First Chairman »

etchdulac wrote:If I am correctly interpreting Chip's summary of the DC phase, Plano Shepton reached the quarterfinals. Quite an achievement for a school without juniors or seniors.

Or, as Mr. Weiner has posited, maybe they had the widest assortment of kitchen appliances to study from. Who knows.
I'm still wondering why no MVP for DC was named. Yeah, we reward "teams" rather than outstanding individuals... but even mentioning the team roster would be a nice gesture. Maybe that's for the rewrite when the pics of the kids come out after the national championship has been completed.

On the topic that has been pointed out recently, I do want to ask on the question of the field's competitiveness whether any team has recently broken the 500-point mark? In the past there is usually a mention of teams that happen to score 500+ points in a match, and many of those teams happen to be very strong teams (in the past). Do we know whether the dearth of 500-point performances could be related to Chip's moves to make the tournament more academically accessible rather than it being a reflection of the field's competitiveness?
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Post by quiz4life »

Matt, you have valid reasons for disliking Chip and his tournament BUT as has been stated you have not seen his tournament and most likely his questions in a few years. The questions have been getting better. I have viewed the questions from 2001-2004. In 2005 I was at the tournament. The questions were much better. I have some of his questions from the mid and early 90's-they are horrible. Again as I have stated many times I think the NAQT questions are far superior. Jason you were a great moderator. I saw no favorites being played. And considering that we would have been one of the favorites that is just one example of the lack of support of some of the views about the NAC. If you wish to focus your disdain to just the stealing of questions, frankly I have no major problem with that. But you do not. You spit your venom in many different places.

Matt I guess my main concern is how you handle yourself on this list. Yes it is your list and you can do as you wish. But frankly you are not very kind. On an earlier post you slammed me when it was not called for and was not accurate (i.e. I never called Chip's questions good I called them fair. I do not know you but I will assume you are not a teacher of history.) You insulted the players on my former team. Truly I believe you can do better, I know that you should. I am allowed my own opinion and all people who list civil posts should have their civililty returned. Another concern that I have, is that many of the people who read and contribute to this list are young and though intelligent they are still very impressionable. The way you and a few others respond in such vile manner makes it seem OK for teens to do the same to fellow teens and even to adults. I was shocked at an earlier response from Mr. Barry. He is one of the finest people, a real gentleman and what he has done for quiz is immeasureable. Yet because of the postings that you, the owner of this site, make such postings more readily happen.
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Post by jbarnes112358 »

jrbarry wrote:
While I do believe that best teams in the US were at NAQT, I think it is perfectly valid for whoever wins the NAC to call themselves a national champion. They would have won a national tournament with teams from all over the place.
NAQT = NCAA

NAC = NIT

Both basketball tournaments are national in scope with teams from all over the place. Which tournament does anyone really care about? Like the NIT, the NAC is losing more and more prestige and relevance every year.
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Post by Chris Frankel »

While Matt's argumentative style has always been more aggressive than most people would care to endure, it seems to be artificially enhanced in threads like these by the propensity of Chip supporters to flippantly dismiss every attempt to back up NAC criticisms with first hand experience, statistical evidence, samples of questions, etc with what essentially amounts to a slightly more grown-up version of "Nuh uh! Nuh uh!"

The continued attempts to impose relativism ("every format is different, who's to say what's better?"), suggest that lack of evidence counts as evidence ("I won't attempt to explain or address the numerous examples of dubious occurrences at NAC, but since I haven't personally experienced what I consider to be one, I'll dismiss these claims off hand."), and change the scope of the debate every time new evidence is introduced ("That example is irrelevant since it's from 2000... oh, you have examples from 2001 and 2002? Then they're irrelevant because they're from before 2003-onward") are annoying and do little more to suggest an attempt to avoid serious discussion rather than participate in it. Besides, some of the more severe claims, such as plagiarism, are of the nature that ever commiting it is damning enough; you can easily see people in academia find their careers unravel over single incidents of plagiarism from decades ago (e.g. Ward Churchill), so dishonesty has no time constraint.

So, if there are legitimate explainations and rebuttals for some of the examples of plagiarism and funny business observed at past nationals, or empirical evidence to show the strength of the field at NAC is on par with the legitimate nationals (NAQT and PACE), or if someone can post a list of examples of high quality academic questions from recent NAC's and prove that they are the rule and not the exception, then maybe we can have some of that civil, polite, perhaps even amiable dialogue that everyone seems to love. But until then, this "debate" has really been a matter of a dozen people shouting out examples and evidence at another dozen people, who only respond by sticking their fingers deeper and deeper in their ears to avoid the implications.
"They sometimes get fooled by the direction a question is going to take, and that's intentional," said Reid. "The players on these teams are so good that 90 percent of the time they could interrupt the question and give the correct answer if the questions didn't take those kinds of turns. That wouldn't be fun to watch, so every now and then as I design these suckers, I say to myself, 'Watch this!' and wait 'til we're on camera. I got a lot of dirty looks this last tournament."
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Post by Auks Ran Ova »

I'd like to step in and add my perspective as compared to my other team members' comments.

I recall running across the blender question in practice, and thinking it inane. Today, while practicing for the NAC finals, we had a 5-point audio question that roughly corresponded to "name this endangered bird from its call", a situation where knowing the point value of the question made the audio clue totally redundant. I also remember practicing a visual question that showed a chest of drawers and then asked for the three-word term describing it ("chest of drawers", shockingly). These questions, to put it frankly, suck, as do pretty much all single-clue questions. This year was my first time at NAC and, looking back, the overall quality of questions was rather disappointing.
Our team has played in a very hard region. In our only full-strength NAQT tournament we placed three team members in the top 20 scorers, led the field in points and powers, and defeated #10 national overall finisher Mounds Park Academy (with the extremely impressive #1 overall national scorer Brendan Byrne) and #16 national overall finisher St. Thomas Academy. I resent the implication that we are somehow not a national caliber team because we have not boycotted NAC.

The implication being made was less that we're not a national-caliber team but more that NAC is not a national-caliber tournament. I'm sure you would agree with me that many of the teams present (at least in DC) would've gotten absolutely steamrolled at NAQT. I will agree that the format change is interesting and enjoyable, but that doesn't make up for the overall poor (or "pour") question quality.

I personally regretted not being able to go to NAQT. When it came time to decide which national to attend, the San Antonio and Chicago phases of NAC were eliminated due to our coach's wife's pregnancy's due date and our graduation, respectively. Thus we were forced to choose between NAC DC and NAQT. Due primarily to our school's much longer history with NAC, we made the choice we made. I'm rather disappointed we didn't get to test ourselves against the NAQT field. When we attended NAQT last year, we went 5-5. Our team has greatly improved since that point and I think (not the most unbiased opinion, admittedly) that we would've done well.

And that's my rambling. However, I'm personally looking forward to that electrical safety packet.
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Mediation

Post by First Chairman »

Mediation...

I'll agree with Frankel too that this "debate" reminds me a lot of other debates I've observed between good friends of mine who took opposite sides of rather divisive issues (Israel-Palestinian conflict, abortion)...

If I can summarize the points to what everyone is saying (setting aside any "personal attacks"):

Many of us who do not like Chip's NAC are outraged that -- despite evidence of Chip's questionable handling of question-writing or tournament procedure -- teams attend his tournament. These behaviors are patterns that have persisted over the history of his competition and has effectively alienated the best teams from attending his events, thus diluting the importance and luster of his national tournament.

However, those teams that currently attend Chip's tournament do so by their own choice (history, schedule, sponsor's coverage, etc.). While teams tolerate some of the oddities of the questions asked, they are not doing so to affirm or condone any of Chip's past behavior. Some teams actually would have liked to go to NAC and NAQT, but other circumstances intervened. From their perspective, Chip has been much better than before.


Challenge: if you feel I have not completely summarized a position, go ahead and edit the statements above, but provide both your proponent and your opponent positions. I want to be sure that everyone on this discussion is not talking over each other.

Understanding the opposite party's position is not the same as accepting their positions, but it goes a long way to identifying what the core problems are. As I interpret it so far, it sounds like people who do not like Chip's NAC tournament are being accused of failing to accept that Chip has made positive changes; in contrast, those who do attend Chip's tournament are not willing to accept documented evidence of past questionable behavior.

What I would like to achieve in this discussion is to create a greater sense of observation among people who attend Chip's events. At this point, we differ in our opinions because each NAC participant who posts here have not really examined the current state of things at the NAC in the same critical way that the posters who had attended the NAC before have. I don't mind if Chip's events are better run; I celebrate whenever there is a change Chip institutes that gives the students more chances to show off their skills in quiz bowl (the four to six game prelim schedule).

So then my question: what do the people who have adamantly opposed the NAC as a "legitimate national championship" need to see in order for them to even step foot to observe? What do the people who go exclusively to the NAC want to allow them to compete at the NAQT or PACE tournaments? That's what this discussion should boil down to.
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Post by First Chairman »

I'm going to do a little followup on this observation...
quiz4life wrote:... Another concern that I have, is that many of the people who read and contribute to this list are young and though intelligent they are still very impressionable. The way you and a few others respond in such vile manner makes it seem OK for teens to do the same to fellow teens and even to adults. I was shocked at an earlier response from Mr. Barry. He is one of the finest people, a real gentleman and what he has done for quiz is immeasureable. Yet because of the postings that you, the owner of this site, make such postings more readily happen.
I am not a communications major or specialist, but sometimes I am a bit surprised reading other boards about the tone and language used there. I'm very surprised how much chat-speak and the tenor of the discussions here are relatively mild compared to other bulletin boards populated by mostly adults (...granted, the adults are generally jaded job-seekers).

I do not go to all the chat rooms that teens visit, and I don't know whether I want to. To say the least, one may have to accept that in the current internet era (which I hear will end next month :grin: ), teens do talk to other teens and other adults in this manner. Teens may want to talk to other adults like this when they feel they are not being heard or understood. (Heck, other adults do that too.) In fact, many teens already do in their online journals and blogs.

Would it be nice if we made it a "policy" to eliminate chat handles and chatroom syntax? I'm sure that there is merit to that concept (and one of my favorite bb's does do this as a matter of policy dictated by the financial sponsor and the moderator). What are the ramifications? Well, I do get a feeling that many other posters would feel that their concerns are dismissed more rudely under these policies, but the discussions on that forum are of much better quality (at least for the purposes of the site). Do I think enacting such a policy for this board would be effective? Not really.

But I agree we have to know how we sound to our audience. That's why I edit my posts so many times after I put the first draft up. :smile:

P.S. I realized I haven't done this yet: welcome Rob, and congratulations to Chaska, and I wish you all could attend PACE one day. Encourage your other teammates (current team and other opponents) to join the forums.
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