Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

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Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by First Chairman »

I'm going to focus in on this particular sentence from the National Tournaments section...
everyday847 wrote:...I think there's a simple principle that we have to operate on here: quiz bowl is not a spectator sport. ...
We should be writing these questions for the teams playing, not the teams watching. Really, it's little wonder that the entire audience, watching as a fantastic TJ team was threatened by a very good but not similarly talented Charter team, couldn't help but laugh at the set. There is an increasing amount of showmanship at the HSNCT, and I hope that it's not becoming :chip: . I worry that it will.
Wow... I haven't even gone through the rest of the post on the Open Letter to NAQT thread, but this one section really hits a theory topic that I am not sure how I feel about it.

I actually think you HAVE to have quiz bowl be a spectator sport. If you want to grow the game and encourage other teams and parents to support your game, there is a point where you need to keep the connection with the audience in mind.

This is one of the concerns I have that says that quiz bowl is flawed by the fact we cannot get ESPN to broadcast the national tournaments. Quite frankly if you did, you'd find us writing more questions to the people watching than for the teams playing. Yes, I accept the fact that you can go WAY too far with writing questions for the audience (or rather to the nuances of certain staff members).

You do want to have questions written in a way that the audience can "play along" with the teams you witness. Good questions and sets will do that, and I think this is not something that the original poster is objecting to. But I also understand that the deliberate injection of humor (while well-intentioned)... depends on the humor. I don't mind occasional humor, especially in timed matches, but the "roll-your-eyes, I can't believe they're asking this"... I suppose I need to be there.

The extreme absurd argument: if this weren't a spectator sport why not just have everyone take essay exams? Why should we have buzzers in the first place? Most people who are part of quiz bowl do it for the game-showy aspects of the format.

But I am with you in thinking that the game-showy aspects while integral to the game need not dominate the nature of the games played. We no longer have spelling tossups for a reason. So while I understand why the OP means to say that quiz bowl is not a spectator sport, we recognize how it has to be... or else why have over 170 teams stay to watch the final in the first place?
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by AKKOLADE »

I think the point of the original post was that question writers should not write questions to the audience. In this manner, quiz bowl should not be a spectator sport.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by evilmonkey »

The difference between quizbowl and other academic competitions is the testing of how DEEP your knowledge is, not necessarily how much you know. Of course, there is a breadth component, but that can be found elsewhere. I don't think the gameshow aspects have anything to do with the popularity of quizbowl among its participants.

I do believe we had a thread at one point on ways to make quizbowl suitable for spectators without compromising the integrity of the game.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by First Chairman »

leftsaidfred wrote:I think the point of the original post was that question writers should not write questions to the audience. In this manner, quiz bowl should not be a spectator sport.
Okay... hopefully that's the clarification, though I think I'm still having a problem with the specific issue (which just might be a detail I'm hung up on somehow). I certainly agree that the writers should not be writing questions to specific people whether they are groupies for particular bands, fans of comic strips, or people who like 50's music. But then again, there is an element where some questions do cater to certain specialists anyway... there is an element to the game that does this. But questions should not be written specifically to elicit an emotional response from the audience... that I'll at least agree.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by AKKOLADE »

ILoveReeses wrote:But questions should not be written specifically to elicit an emotional response from the audience... that I'll at least agree.
Right, and unless I'm mistaken (Bryce, help me out here), I believe that was the main complaint. A big reason Chip is looked down upon is because of his love of asking questions for the benefit of his audience (imagine or real). For more on this, I point to Tom Egan's excellent report on the 05 NAC here
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by First Chairman »

Agrees... :chip: 's questions felt more like they were amusing HIM and his staff than amusing any of the players. But at that point, quiz bowl becomes NEITHER participant NOR spectator sport.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region »

ILoveReeses wrote: The extreme absurd argument: if this weren't a spectator sport why not just have everyone take essay exams? Why should we have buzzers in the first place? Most people who are part of quiz bowl do it for the game-showy aspects of the format.
Speaking for me personally, I enjoy buzzing in on questions more than writing essays. I imagine that's the case for most of the community, so that's probably why we don't have essay exams. I definitely didn't get involved in quizbowl for its gameshow aspects. Basically, the similarities between quizbowl and some gameshows are the use of buzzers and scorekeeping. I like quizbowl for reasons beyond those two things.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by evilmonkey »

leftsaidfred wrote:
ILoveReeses wrote:But questions should not be written specifically to elicit an emotional response from the audience... that I'll at least agree.
Right, and unless I'm mistaken (Bryce, help me out here), I believe that was the main complaint.
That was indeed part of the problem. While at any finals match, there will be some audience reaction, it should be due to the awesome knowledge displayed, not "Harry Potter played on a championship house Quidditch team in Book X. For five points each, name his 6 teammates." It took most of Charter's 5 seconds just to get the crowd to shut up.

However, I don't think the intent of the question was to get a crowd reaction. I think it was an attempt to get a harder trash (or lit, as charlie informed us in the other thread) question.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

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evilmonkey wrote:However, I don't think the intent of the question was to get a crowd reaction. I think it was an attempt to get a harder trash (or lit, as charlie informed us in the other thread) question.
You might be absolutely right, and in that case they completely missed the point of quiz bowl. You know what would be a really hard Harry Potter question? Asking for the ingredients of Polyjuice Potion, or asking for any of the Half-Blood Prince's modifications to potion recipes and the qualitative differences in appearance that they produce. Those would be pretty hard! One shouldn't try just to create hard trash, but deep trash. The problem with trying to make a bonus hard is that it's frequently either zeroed or thirtied. Instead, you can take a reasonable bonus and make it deep, and then it's tenned and twentied too.

Sure, that might not be the intent of that question, specifically, in which case, whoops--both on my part and on NAQT's. But in that case, I just don't see why it was ever written at all.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by The Logic of Scientific Disco »

Honestly, I think quiz bowl already is a spectator sport, and a damn good one at that--in that players watching a game have a good time watching it. I find a game between two top teams every bit as riveting as the last few minutes of a football game (or insert your favorite sport here) because you can play along, you can follow the flow of the game. I really enjoyed the three matches I watched at the end of HSNCT, just like I enjoyed the finals of ACF Nats this year and the finals of the ICT the year before.

As for getting emotional reactions from the audience, I think that's a pretty silly goal--the biggest emotional reactions should be from impressive performances; a great early buzz or an impressive 30 is what should and does get the crowd excited. To make an ill-advised sports analogy, football is exciting when someone scores a touchdown, not when the goalposts turn into a set of Quidditch hoops.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by Stained Diviner »

Quiz Bowl should serve people who actually exist, which means that it should be for players rather than a TV audience. If a TV Producer wanted to work with me to alter the format to meet their needs, I'd be willing to have that conversation, but that conversation would only take place if there was a potential television audience.

The audience watching the NAQT Finals is very different than a TV audience because they are all people connected to the game. There is no reason to cater to them in the same way you would cater to a general audience, because they are people who like listening to good questions and watching good teams.

Based on what was said in other threads, this is more a case of a few of the weaker questions randomly happening to come out in the last round or two than any grand plan to excite the audience. Also, pop culture questions (or pop culture like questions) sound (and are) more out of place in a National Final than in some early match when the good teams are beating the bad teams by 400 points or when either team can afford to lose.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by Tegan »

ReinsteinD wrote:Quiz Bowl should serve people who actually exist, which means that it should be for players rather than a TV audience.
I agree. This is part of the reason why almost all game shows are game shows and quizbowl is quizbowl. Quizbowl is fun to watch .... to me, and I imagine almost all of us (though more fun to play).

Having actually seen an NAC, this is what I think Chip et. al. never understood: the first duty is to the players. Chip seems to think that his first duty is to his audience .... somewhat ironic given that they are not paying to see this .... and that there is no TV audience to impress which the sponsors need to see supported.

Is this a spectator event? Certainly it is! Should the interests of the audience be considered when writing questions and planning a format? Absolutely not!

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Tegan wrote:Is this a spectator event? Certainly it is! Should the interests of the audience be considered when writing questions and planning a format? Absolutely not!
Well, right. It's not written as a spectator event. The questions don't make it a spectator event. It's the players and their amazing talent that make me almost wet myself during the finals of ACF Nationals.

Thank you for phrasing my thoughts far better than I can.
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Post by NMBlumberjax »

My personal belief is that the questions should be as academically focused as possible but also putting in questions that appeal to the audience would not hurt either.. a la Sports/Celebrities/Pop Culture

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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

everyday847 wrote:
Tegan wrote:Is this a spectator event? Certainly it is! Should the interests of the audience be considered when writing questions and planning a format? Absolutely not!
Well, right. It's not written as a spectator event. The questions don't make it a spectator event. It's the players and their amazing talent that make me almost wet myself during the finals of ACF Nationals.

Thank you for phrasing my thoughts far better than I can.
Thank God no matches were that exciting in our room, Andy. I would not have wanted to explain that sort of incident. :lol:

Anyways, quizbowl is for the players, not the coaches, not the audience. Anything that indulges the latter two groups does not deserve to be included in the game.
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Post by Mechanical Beasts »

WeekendatBernadette wrote:
everyday847 wrote:
Tegan wrote:Is this a spectator event? Certainly it is! Should the interests of the audience be considered when writing questions and planning a format? Absolutely not!
Well, right. It's not written as a spectator event. The questions don't make it a spectator event. It's the players and their amazing talent that make me almost wet myself during the finals of ACF Nationals.

Thank you for phrasing my thoughts far better than I can.
Thank God no matches were that exciting in our room, Andy. I would not have wanted to explain that sort of incident. :lol:

Anyways, quizbowl is for the players, not the coaches, not the audience. Anything that indulges the latter two groups does not deserve to be included in the game.
It would explain why I mispronounced "tournaments" as "toilets" delightfully. For very limited values of delight. And I'm pretty sure that round wasn't terribly exciting, anyway.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by cvdwightw »

I would guess that a fair amount of the questions on Jeopardy could not be answered by the average watcher of Jeopardy, and thus Jeopardy writes its questions for the contestants, not its large television audience, although it does have gimmicks that you may or may not agree with. If Jeopardy is (ostensibly) not writing its questions for the benefit of an actual audience, I don't see why quizbowl should write its questions for the benefit of a theoretically possible audience.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by Tegan »

I will speak the obvious here: in addition to the distribution and level of question difficulty, there is also the issue of format. Jeopardy is obviously done in such a way so that the audience can see the whole question, give the audience a chance to answer themselves, and then, in a sense, check their answer with the contestant. Nearly every quiz show is like this. This is something we would not want in the quizbowl community.

However, I am convinced that there could be a happy medium. It should be possible in postproduction, for the entire question to be posted on the screen, perhaps a second or two before the moderator starts reading the question. Thus, an audience on TV could see the question, and get to the end before the team potentially rings in.

A live audience could see the question on a large screen, (which the teams could not see) a split second before the moderator begins reading the question. Such screens are employed in some opera productions to translate the lyrics to English.

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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by First Chairman »

It's Academic does this sort of... some of the questions are not shown on the monitors that are visible to the students, but the TV audience technically can see them. However, you probably cannot do a one-second pre-delay before the reader begins the question... it would be a bit too confusing. It is a thought... but I'm not sure it would work for longer pyramidal questions anyway.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas »

Quizbowl such as NAQT is not a spectator sport, if we're talking in terms of the average Joe. As the original post said, I think it's one of those things you need to possess knowledge about for it to be enjoyable. And even then, it depends on the teams you are watching. A 450-15 match is not always exciting to watch.
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Re: Quiz bowl: spectator or participant sport?

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot »

Quiz bowl is primarily a participant sport. This is basically because once you get to the HSNCT level most average people have no idea what any of the answers are. People don't like when they appear dumb. This is why the old-timey CBI questions would be absurd hoses. Basically, people like feeling superior and smarter than the participant.

Quiz bowl can appeal as a spectator sport, but only on the level of "wow, this is great competition". Unless you are a very well educated/knowledgeable adult, a lot of the stuff will go very far over your head. It does definitely appeal to quiz bowlers as a spectator sport, though.
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