2009 NAQT HSNCT

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:42 am

That sort of blew; one of the reasons NAQT's short timing rules are stupid is because they're never really enforced consistently; everyone subconsciously thinks it sucks that we're requiring such fast responses and tries to give the benefit of the doubt when high schoolers are trying to pull an answer because you don't want to neg someone with knowledge. (On the other end of the spectrum, the reader of the State College semifinal negged a SC player in the middle of clarifying a poorly articulated response; the player had taken fewer than two seconds to begin his response and hadn't paused meaningfully, either.)

Granted, the problem on the last question wouldn't have ever mattered if NAQT hadn't flubbed two straight protests.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by KevinL » Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:56 am

Shcool wrote:
AlphaQuizBowler wrote:Can someone explain how Dorman can come in second after beating Charter 3 times and then losing once?
Dorman beat Charter twice the first day, which didn't really matter, since both teams finished at least 7-3. On the second day, Charter's only loss was to Dorman, while Dorman lost to Charter and somebody else. It was double elimination the second day, so Charter is the legitimate champion. The same thing could have happened with the PACE NSC playoff system if they played more rounds and used power matching the first day.

The reason to use double elimination in the playoffs is that it efficiently gets you to the point at which every team except one has lost two matches. There are no good reasons not to use it.
etchdulac wrote:When Dorman looks back and sees a champion they beat three times out of four, and dominated in the advantaged final, with the lone loss clearly put in question, they have a right to feel slighted, and I hope they see it as entirely accidental. As a volunteer, I feel that whatever work everyone did all weekend to make everything fair may be lost in the minds of many.
Just to be clear, we beat Charter twice on Saturday, once by a lot, the other on the last question. We lost to them in the playoffs in the game where the 1 card played the 2 card, by a pretty big margin, beat them in the first game of the advantaged final by a lot, then lost the second game of the final by a very disappointing ten. Our one loss Saturday was to Georgetown Day School. So we went a very dissapointing 3-2 against Charter for the weekend.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by etchdulac » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:07 am

Kevin: I have corrected my earlier post in regards to the 3-2 vs. Charter, and would like your opinion on the last tossup, if you don't mind. If you'd rather not rehash it, it's cool.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by KevinL » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:30 am

I think Henry was probably given more time than the rules allow. However, while I know R. had a difficult decision whether or not to call time (as that call decided the outcome of the tournament), after he made his call he did the only thing he could, since protesting the moderator's timing is not allowed. And while it wasn't allowed, since the match was recorded it seems that NAQT could have reviewed the timing...

I just wish my high school quizbowl career had ended with the championship I and my teammates have worked for four years to attain, and to be honest it really sucked that it ended how it did. But congrats to Charter, they are a fantastic team.

Edit to note that my views, coming from a players perspective, may be inherently biased. Also edited to emphasize how bad it sucked.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Geringer » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:45 am

RyuAqua wrote: -First and foremost, the high proportion of non-academic (pop culture, sports, and general knowledge, which, put together, are colloquially referred to as "trash") questions and semi-academic (geography, current events, interesting general knowledge) questions needs to be significantly cut down. A national academic quiz tournament should primarily test academic content, and many rounds felt as though they went up to 40 or 50% non-academic material. This made important games very swingy with less tossups on the big categories that the best high school quizbowl players study most.
40% or 50%? I played all but the last two rounds, and I definitely don't agree with that assertion. If 40 or 50% of the later rounds were non-academic, I wouldn't have wound up in the 2400's because I am, admittedly, a trash player who writes trash and loves trash with all of my soul.

The following is possible offensive, please tread lightly.Trash and current events are most dangerous to teams who hit the books the hardest. If players from your school knew that there was going to be trash in this tournament, why didn't you study for it? I powered the Queen tossup after about 8 words because I read the Wikipedia articles about Lady Gaga and Freddie Mercury. Now, I will admit, the elite teams at this tournament and PACE destroyed me on academic material, but my team always managed to pick up the trash ones, accounting for our only points against Henry and the double-crowned Wilmington Charter at PACE. I will attribute those points to literally, for lack of a better term, studying for trash (like watching tasteless sitcoms). You're definitely smarter than me, and with a little effort, you or any of the top players could memorize a basic trash canon in the course of a year. If NAQt is going to maintain this distribution, your philosophy-studying minutes might be better spent on Kobe, Tiger, and Peyton than Hume, Nietzsche and...well...I can't name any more philosophers because I'm ignorant.
RyuAqua wrote: -Fourth, computational math questions (of the "Pencil and paper ready" variety) should be reduced significantly or eliminated altogether.
Well, I'm not going to argue computational math for the sake everyone's sanity. I don't know if this debate will ever get solved. That said, when math is written well, it's solid, pyramidal, and good for NAQT. When it's not written well, it favors teams like mine from Illinois and elsewhere who are familiar with the comp math. And also, the folks at NAQT didn't exactly yell "SURPRISE! WE ADDED COMP MATH THIS YEAR!" The quick fix to all of this is a 1/1 math distribution, and teams should spend time working on it.

I know for a fact all of this is going to ignite a total storm in my direction, and most of you are probably [edit: definitely] wiser and smarter and better at quiz bowl than me and will rightly cut my argument down. It just seems to be a common theme that elite teams always try to eliminate parts of the canon they're not good at instead of just adapting to the rules at hand. I'm not trying to be a bastard about it, but there's probably 100 of the less vocal "mediocre" teams that might feel differently about this. To use a brief allusion, just because you can hit NBA-range shots doesn't mean we should move the line back. There are a ton of us who can't play the game you play and need some of the "less academic" topics to put up points. If you get rid of the topics you feel you can't study for, you will limit the competitive field to the very few teams who are willing to study a lot and prevent many up-and-coming teams from ever becoming competitive.

I don't mean this to be an affront to you, bud, I really don't. You just touched on the stuff I wanted to talk about.

Be gentle, please.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:56 am

i think you're missing Matt's point: he's not saying that NAQT pulled computational math as a big surprise to everyone and teams were correspondingly unprepared; nor is he saying "oh no! how do you study for trash? this is impossible." Rather, he's saying that these are not appropriate topics for a national championship to rely on to such a ridiculous degree.

Okay, and to be fair, I missed yours. You're saying that elite players want to eliminate these subjects because they're not good enough at them, right? That's silly. The only reason I was a useful player in high school was because computational math gave me a guaranteed 15-25 points per game baseline. i was bad at things like fine arts. Since then, I've started learning arts and I have recognized that computational math just isn't quizbowl (even though I'd be better at quizbowl if the college game featured it). If you were observing that British literature is being vocally pushed out of the canon because the best teams would rather learn American, well, that's weird and deserves this kind of objection. But there IS a difference between the things the best teams seem to want to retain: it's the stuff that makes the A in NAQT.
Last edited by Mechanical Beasts on Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by aestheteboy » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:13 am

Hey. Congrats to Charter for winning and everyone else who did well at this tournament. Both the finals for NSC and HSNCT this year were very exciting, and being able to witness something so intense and breathtaking has been, for me, the best thing about being a quizbowl player. It was also quite gratifying to be outscored by one of my teammates for the first time in more than two years, on the last game of my high school career; that was the one nice thing about the tournament.

Otherwise, like many other posters here, I felt underwhelmed by HSNCT 2009. It's hard to succinctly describe the problem that I see with the questions, but I don't feel that the writers of this tournament are in touch with the current state of high school quizbowl. The fluctuations in bonus difficulty were outrageous and terribly unfortunate, since many important games were pretty close. It gave me the impression that the editors simply mixed together bonuses written by a minority of writers with no respect/understanding for the concept of high school canon whatsoever, some decent academic bonuses by the better writers, and a bunch of trashy bonuses which are bound to be odd because there isn't much of a trash canon to speak of in the first place. I'll leave detailed criticisms about the distribution to other people since I don't have much new to say. I don't think that people actually think geography is unimportant or unacademic; it's just its abundance, especially with additional geography clues in history and CE tossups, that I object to. I'm optimistic that NAQT will soon make the necessary adjustments with the distribution both because NAQT has recently been more responsive to consumer criticisms and because more people (at least, a greater proportion of people) seem to support a more academic ditribution than ever before.

And yeah, Dorman should have won. I was rooting for Charter, of course, because they are my homeboys, but it was also disappointing to see a team that clearly played the game better lose because of a silly mistake.

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Huang » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:15 am

SaveComputationalMath wrote: If players from your school knew that there was going to be trash in this tournament, why didn't you study for it? I powered the Queen tossup after about 8 words because I read the Wikipedia articles about Lady Gaga and Freddie Mercury. Now, I will admit, the elite teams at this tournament and PACE destroyed me on academic material, but my team always managed to pick up the trash ones, accounting for our only points against Henry and the double-crowned Wilmington Charter at PACE. I will attribute those points to literally, for lack of a better term, studying for trash (like watching tasteless sitcoms).
Good for you?
SaveComputationalMath wrote: Well, I'm not going to argue computational math for the sake everyone's sanity. I don't know if this debate will ever get solved. That said, when math is written well, it's solid, pyramidal, and good for NAQT. When it's not written well, it favors teams like mine from Illinois and elsewhere who are familiar with the comp math. And also, the folks at NAQT didn't exactly yell "SURPRISE! WE ADDED COMP MATH THIS YEAR!" The quick fix to all of this is a 1/1 math distribution, and teams should spend time working on it.
You sort of contradicted yourself on the first sentence by arguing for the inclusion of computational math on the basis that it's already there and people should prepare for it.
SaveComputationalMath wrote: It just seems to be a common theme that elite teams always try to eliminate parts of the canon they're not good at instead of just adapting to the rules at hand. I'm not trying to be a bastard about it, but there's probably 100 of the less vocal "mediocre" teams that might feel differently about this. To use a brief allusion, just because you can hit NBA-range shots doesn't mean we should move the line back. There are a ton of us who can't play the game you play and need some of the "less academic" topics to put up points. If you get rid of the topics you feel you can't study for, you will limit the competitive field to the very few teams who are willing to study a lot and prevent many up-and-coming teams from ever becoming competitive.
You're assuming alot of stuff that isn't true. Elite teams aren't trying to eliminate parts of the canon they're not good at it. Plenty of elite teams have players who are good at computational math and trash but like anyone else that cares about the direction of quizbowl, they want to see questions that judge which teams are more knowledgeable. Citing 100 possibly less vocal teams who feel trash should be included as a significant part of the distribution isn't a solid reason. The NBA analogy is awful. Possibly a better analogy would be if David Stern decided to use anything besides pure basketball skill, such as maybe how nice each team's players were dressed, to decide the number of points a team is awarded in a game. Also there are trash tournaments around if that's what you're into. I know it might be shocking that a nationally competitive field might be reduced to teams that are interested in mostly academic subjects. But quizbowl really isn't an esoteric activity especially given the large number of resources available.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:51 am

Well, I had fun at my first ever Academic event outside of Kentucky, and what will be my last event as a player. We went a very average 5-5 in the prelims, and could have gotten to the playoffs excepts St. Viator cleaned our clocks in the elimination game, they did a good job, and like most teams we met, were extremely friendly and fun to play against.

As for the complaints, I won't get too much into that, but I would like to see less (not a whole lot, but some less) Science. Not only are we absolutely horrendous at it (that doesn't really matter, but might explain a bias :wink: ), it seemed like every other question fell into it. Also, I love current events, please don't take it away!

Overall, I had more fun than I could ever have expected and would like to thank all the people who ran the event, and congratulate those teams that did so well, especially Dorman who played with more heart in an eventual losing effort than I have ever seen, and to Charter for winning the Championship. Our kids are already talking about trying to come back next year, and I hope to see that happen.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:38 am

SaveComputationalMath wrote:If players from your school knew that there was going to be trash in this tournament, why didn't you study for it?
The point is not that teams don't know that trash is part of the distribution. People are making an argument about what kinds of things a national tournament from a company that's called National Academic Quiz Tournaments should ask about. Queen is not on the list of those topics.
You're definitely smarter than me, and with a little effort, you or any of the top players could memorize a basic trash canon in the course of a year. If NAQt is going to maintain this distribution, your philosophy-studying minutes might be better spent on Kobe, Tiger, and Peyton than Hume, Nietzsche and...well...I can't name any more philosophers because I'm ignorant.
First of all, there is no "trash canon" in the same way that there's an academic canon. But more importantly, it's absurd to suggest that Kobe, Tiger, and Peyton have similar academic importance to Hume, Nietzsche, and, say, Kant. Academic tournaments should be about academic topics; if you want to hear lots of trash questions, go attend a trash tournament.
Well, I'm not going to argue computational math for the sake everyone's sanity. I don't know if this debate will ever get solved.
It's already been solved. Computational math is not quizbowl and anyone who suggests otherwise is wrong. The only people who remain unconvinced are, surprisingly, the people who stand to benefit from being able to multiply numbers really fast instead of learning something.
I know for a fact all of this is going to ignite a total storm in my direction, and most of you are probably [edit: definitely] wiser and smarter and better at quiz bowl than me and will rightly cut my argument down. It just seems to be a common theme that elite teams always try to eliminate parts of the canon they're not good at instead of just adapting to the rules at hand.
What hilarious hypocrisy. I love it when people who actually and demonstratively engage in the promotion of bad questions for their own selfish benefit (see above and every math comp. discussion ever) turn around and accuse actually good teams of doing the same thing. Perhaps you should stop and ask yourself why elite teams (you know, the teams that keep winning every year despite the presence of all sorts of atrocious trends like trash and math computation) think the things they think. Those teams don't need to eliminate anything to beat teams like yours, because they actually care about things like philosophy.

Here's the 30-second briefing: good teams are good because they know a lot. They know a lot because they care about knowledge and things of academic significance, and not about doing stupid human tricks really fast.
I'm not trying to be a bastard about it, but there's probably 100 of the less vocal "mediocre" teams that might feel differently about this. To use a brief allusion, just because you can hit NBA-range shots doesn't mean we should move the line back. There are a ton of us who can't play the game you play and need some of the "less academic" topics to put up points. If you get rid of the topics you feel you can't study for, you will limit the competitive field to the very few teams who are willing to study a lot and prevent many up-and-coming teams from ever becoming competitive.
This is the worst argument ever! You're literally advocating handicapping good teams who know stuff so that you can score points. If there exists anything more anathema to the spirit of academic competition than the above paragraph, I don't know what it is. Pro-tip: if you suck at quizbowl, the correct response is to get better by learning things. Waah, you can't play the game on the same level as good teams? Do you know why that is? It's because you're reading about Lady Gaga and they're reading Herman Melville.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:01 am

Not to distract from the distribution imbroligo, but I'd like to reply to Jeff by noting that my post was a general summary of my feelings on geography in reply to Issac. I have no idea what the geography at HSNCT was like, since I was absent.
Douglas, I'll be interested to see your thoughts on the Geography Monstrosity set when it's posted.
I actually rather liked the Geography Monstrosity questions being discussed.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by pblessman » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:49 am

On a completely unrelated note, my team felt that the hotel was a better site than the last couple of years. Particular things lauded were:

1. Hallways were not as insanely narrow and there were more "lounging" areas available, so the creation of fire hazards due to the pile-up of people waiting for matches was reduced (with the exclusion of the Consolation matches on Sunday- as usual that was a crush of humanity).

2. The $9.50 buffet was excellent and VERY convenient. Not having to worry about where to go for food of whether the Chinese food would be delivered on time was great. (last year our food was 45 minutes late...)

3. The number of rooms which were ridiculously small was lower than in previous years (or so it seemed). Having all those suites helped.

4. Air conditioning seemed to be better, or maybe the outside temp was just lower. In past years it has seemed like the small rooms and narrow hallways got REALLY hot.

5. Having bus parking available in the hotel parking lot was a definite bonus, and the $10 rate was reasonable. Last year I recall paying an insane amount for parking in the hotel lot.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:02 am

As a reader/scorekeeper (I was with Trevor Davis the first day, then Katy Peters the second), I can attest the 3-2-5 rule is easy in the abstract, hard in practice. Well, the 5 and 3 parts are fairly easy, but the 2 is very hard. I think I was way too quick with my 2 hook in the first match I read (apologies whatever team was playing Charter at the time) and got better at it as the day went on. Regarding the 2 second neg Andy is describing, I thought the neg was called at the right time, but that just goes to show the arbitrary nature of two seconds and the difficulty of judging the time, when to begin counting, etc. I don't know how necessarily to resolve this beyond getting rid of the clock, which I endorse wholeheartedly.

Also as a reader I would like very much for NAQT to stop writing questions with no clear-cut pronouns in the immediate first few lines. "Pigeon" is one. The "replicants" question, although it features a vague "they," also could have benefited from a better pronoun (a responder said "androids" and then negged with a title).

Also, as someone who loves wonky American lit as my Gaddis teammates can attest, the lit in this tournament featured a preponderance of the sort of literature I feel NAQT focuses on too much: this nebulous, "real-world" stuff, which I think is even less advisable to ask high schoolers about. Individual Herman Wouk novels? Roger Zelasny? Ellis Peters? Dick Francis? If I had the set, I could probably list at least ten more. Again, I know I sound elitist, but to me, literature should predominantly ask about works that are studied in an academic setting. And lest you feel I'm a NAQT-hater, I thought this year's ICT did a much better job at doing this sort of thing (i.e., asking about academic lit).
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:11 am

This tournament wasn't so good. Let me count the ways:

1. Even if you ignore the wildly huge amounts of trash, CE, geography, and "general knowledge", the distribution still sucked hard. There just were no arts nor social sciences. Basically, you were tremendously lucky if you happened to get more than 1 question worth of those combined in a round, compared to the 6 or 7 or more of the aforementioned "NAQT Four". I suppose the amounts of literature, history, and science were all fine, but the preponderance of trash, CE, geography, and "general knowledge" and dearth of arts and social sciences created bizarre rounds and generally was a bad thing.

2. Beyond that, there were so many bonuses that were 2 parts academic, 1 part terrible trash. It was pretty hard to find a completely straight academic question. Otherwise fine tossups and bonuses were regularly marred by awful non-academic clues or answers. I'm okay with a history tossup having a geography give away (FTP, name this nation with capital at Ottawa), but, like, that stuff just isn't necessary. The bonuses seemed a bit more affected by this than the tossups. In short, it was really aggravating and often seemed to prevent the more knowledgeable team from getting the question, because they weren't quite as good at divining what the hell was going on.

3. Terrible ideas abounded at this tournament. Just terrible, terrible ideas. I don't think we can mention answers in this thread, but a few really, really stuck out as being abominations.

Those are all the systematic failures I can think of right now.

However, there were some positives:

The history and geography were both uniformly very good. I had a really great time. This was a logistical masterpiece of a tournament. I got to meet lots of cool people and stuff. So, it wasn't all bad.

More later, perhaps.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Important Bird Area » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:37 am

la2pgh wrote:The history and geography were both uniformly very good. I had a really great time. This was a logistical masterpiece of a tournament. I got to meet lots of cool people and stuff. So, it wasn't all bad.
Thanks, Charlie. I put a separate thread up for question discussion.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:58 am

I should have had time called on Zardari...
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by closesesame » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:37 am

Logistically, this was the best HSNCT that I have attended. Question-wise, this was the worst.

Let me state up front that I think geography and current events, when written well, are academic knowledge worth testing. I know this differs from the opinions of many others in the quizbowl community, but I don't see why a poorly-written geography tossup is any different from a poorly-written literature tossup. I'm not bashing NAQT for having geography and current events. It adds a little variety, diversity, and fun to the nationals to have the two tournaments focus on slightly different areas.

That said, that statement is only true when the tournament meets certain standards of question quality and distribution per round. What happens when a "top" team is playing a "bottom" team that may know everything there is to know about cereal or Batman, but nothing about science? You often find that the "bottom" team, with shallower knowledge in many fields and worse bonus conversion, wins. I'm not saying that any team is entitled to win or that upsets shouldn't happen. I'm just saying that said upsets are only really legitimate when played on academic questions with everything from philosophy to science and well written geography or current events -- and at most one trash question per round.

A per-round distribution would do much to improve tournament quality, as would an increase in the character limit to increase question quality, as others have suggested. Legitimate geography is good, but tossups on red-light districts are, for the most part, not geography.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by The Laughing Man » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:38 am

Yeah, so there were some good things about this tournament. Notably it was in a nice hotel, featured friendly staff and lots of time to hang out with other players coincided with Gaddis and featured a fair number of very well written questions. If you play it with the right mind frame it can be a lot of fun. That said, no top team thinks of it as a legitimate national championship. Some of the reasons include:

Question Quality:
NAQT obviously has some really good writers. Jeff Hoppes is one of the better history writers around and I hear that Andrew Yaphe knows a thing or two about question writing. That said, they didn't write enough questions to fill the tournament by themselves and some of the questions seemed to be written by people unfamiliar with current standards of question writing. Exacerbating this problem is the fact that the finals questions seemed to be chosen randomly; although the tournament had enough good questions to fill the latter rounds with them a couple of finals tossups notably blew. Did I hear a dollar diplomacy tossup with a Philander Knox lead in? The later playoff questions really should be hand selected for both appropriate difficulty and high quality. Also, NAQT should make the changes necessary to get young members of the quiz bowl community who know how to write to work for them.

Question Length:
Even well written questions of HSNCT length have a decent chance of producing a buzzer race due to their dearth of clues. These length restrictions notably lead to missing or worthless plot summaries before introducing titles. See “Lying Days” and every other Gordimer title in the final (it was lucky that there was no race on the first work.) Although I might be wrong, the “Theophilus North” plot summary seemed like one that was not very useful due to its abbreviated length.

Rules Designed to Generate Excitement Rather Than Ensuring that the Better Team Wins
Honestly its pretty damn exciting watching people trying to pull things within two seconds of being recognized. But whether or not a player can remember something that fast should not determine the game. It was probably this sentiment that led Hentzel to give Henry close to a PACE five seconds on the Zardari buzz. This is the kind of time I would like to see, but it sucks that it is inconsistent with the rules. If NAQT members don't feel like carrying out the two second rule in the finals then it is clearly flawed if it is carried out elsewhere. Also, there was a lot of confusion about this rule as I thought that R. had stated that the time to answer after being recognized had been increased to 3 seconds, but the readers in our 3rd place game said it was 2 seconds.
Also, the answer lines should have included more word forms. I don't know enough about Sanskrit to comment on the brahma/ brahman protest, but I guess I trust that it was resolved correctly. Honestly, though, I think that Dorman should also have won their Gauss protest, or at least been prompted, since it was clear that they knew what they were talking about. More importantly, since Freddy buzzed in on a clue about fluorine's anion, he should not have been negged. No one seriously thinks that Freddy thinks fluoride is an element; obviously, he just misheard the question. The combination of a short answering time with these kinds of answer lines leads a lot of games to be determined by speaking errors. Yeah, like everyone else I love Henry, but I agree that Dorman really should have won the final, for whatever winning the NAQT final is worth.

Distribution

This is the big one. Yeah so obviously this has already been discussed to death, but any tournament that has 1/5 and 1/3 non academic questions depending on how you count geography and current events (I would say that they are academic, if ridiculously overrepresented) is not a legitimate academic tournament. At best this introduces a large amount of randomness to the results; at worst it systematically screws over teams like Stow Munroe Falls, Walter Johnson and State College that suck at non-Academic questions. Hopefully NAQT will listen to the community of serious teams about the distribution. Beyond that, however, I would really like to see NAQT not write any more fuck you pop culture bonuses. After someone on your team has a great buzz on a well written history tossups after a bunch of non-academic tossups there is nothing more aggravating then to get a bonus on actors from some TV show you have barely even heard of. Almost every time we got a pop culture bonus and were behind we quickly said Smith for all three parts to expedite the game because the bonuses were ridiculously hard. These bonuses need to have at least 10 easy points for people who don't like watch a show nightly. EDIT: Also don't write non academic questions on like presidents about what jobs they did or something like that.

EDIT because I forgot one of the biggest problems
Bonus Variability
This was ridiculous. Yeah, so some of the bonuses honestly had easy parts that were no easier than the hard parts of other bonuses. A bonus on 3 Herman Wouk works is notably not the same difficulty as any of the 15 gimme 30 literature bonuses I can't remember. NAQT really needs more communication among its writing staff about bonus difficulty.

Until NAQT changes all of these things and addresses a number of other complaints that others have, I don't think that the title of NAQT champion will mean much.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Dresden_The_BIG_JERK » Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:06 pm

Despite all the complaints floating around, I found this tournament to be a great experience. It's always uplifting to be reminded how awesome the quizbowl community is, and how 99% of the people are polite, engaging, and great to talk to.

That said, among all the complaints, the one I felt was the biggest issue (discounting finals timing shenanigans) was the per-match vs. tournament distribution. There were at least two or three rounds after which I turned to my comoderator and said "that round was really ______ heavy" (and twice that blank was trash, once on day 2, I think that round was arguably 3/4 or 3/5). I was never a fan of the ISHA state series' rigourous round distribution (so strict that coaches would often sub late in a match based on tossup categories that had to occur), but something stricter than this would be good.

Also, I haven't seen in elsewhere in the thread, though I may have missed it...double Ethiopia anyone?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Tegan » Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:20 pm

Not to open wounds here, but could someone explain the "timing issues" that came up? I'll admit it is difficult, and more so to develop consistency across rooms. I can attest this was hammered into the mods at the meeting by Frank Thomas: "make sure that you give the players the time they are entitled to under the rule. Was the problem mods cutting people off or giving too much time?"

I know that it sounds way too geeky, but I spent time on Saturday night in front of a clock trying to make sure I was counting off seconds consistently. If I moderate next year, I will likely do this on Friday.

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by SnookerUSF » Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:35 pm

everyday847 wrote:Between staff-side logistical flubs...
Indeed.

I hope this post does not come across as unduly moralizing; however, as a moderator and staffer for this event - I was somewhat disappointed in the behavior and performance of some of my fellow staffers. This is not a general condemnation, but I heard of and was witness to many instances of moderator laziness, incompetence, etc. I will not engage in any calling out of names, but I will say that those who ask NAQT to pay for a hotel room, flight, etc. have some obligation to do what is asked of them. But the issues of remuneration aside, many in the quizbowl community have often taken NAQT to task for failing to provide the quality of questions, or fairness of format that would adequately determine and differentiate a "national champion." While there may be some legitimacy to that; it behooves us as members of the community to do our part to insure that this event goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. Moderator decisions and performance can undeniably have an effect on the outcome of the tournament and tournament experience.

On a separate but related note, I felt that NAQT was really good about communicating information during the first day, and explaining to us what would happen during the preliminary rounds. However, Sunday I felt that I really did not know what was happening (regarding, playoff structure, end-of-tournament issues, etc.) and more crucially, there were instances where I received contradictory information. I don't know what exactly can be done about this, but I would ask NAQT to look into what can be done about improving the dissemination of consistent information on the second day of the tournament.

Though I see some issues with this suggestion, let me add that I think the consolation rounds ought to be more formalized in some manner. The term consolation implies to me that these matches "count" in some way (like for determining rank). Rather, as they currently stand, they seem to operate as glorified scrimmages. I understand that some teams make flight plans anticipating missing these rounds or become disheartened and leave anyway. But I think one can generate a culture that encourages people to want to stick around for these, especially if they have an actual formal structure to them.

Finally, let me express my heartfelt thanks to NAQT especially Frank Thomas and Erin Korber (sp?) for allowing us to borrow some buzzers and rooms for Gaddis II. With everything else that needs to be planned, it was very gracious of them to take time out of their day to help us with this.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:11 pm

Tegan wrote:Not to open wounds here, but could someone explain the "timing issues" that came up? I'll admit it is difficult, and more so to develop consistency across rooms. I can attest this was hammered into the mods at the meeting by Frank Thomas: "make sure that you give the players the time they are entitled to under the rule. Was the problem mods cutting people off or giving too much time?"

I know that it sounds way too geeky, but I spent time on Saturday night in front of a clock trying to make sure I was counting off seconds consistently. If I moderate next year, I will likely do this on Friday.
Basically what happened was that on the last q, someone (I forget who) on Charter buzzes in and after what seems like an interminable amount of time gives the correct answer. Given that the match was decided by 10 points, this of course affected the result. I was watching the match and was mindful of the score, so the tension made it seem like the pause went on forever, but whether it was two seconds or not I honestly can't say. I also don't think I heard R call time on anyone to that point to establish what his 2 count was, so take from that what you will.

However, and I'm also thinking of this in light of the GDS-Charter fiasco, since these matches are being recorded, review should be written into the rules. Period. Also, at ICT, NAQT allows college teams their choice of mods for the finals (Yaphe read this year's final), yet at HSNCT, R always seems to read it. What's up with that?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Tegan » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:44 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Paradox wrote: Basically what happened was that on the last q, someone (I forget who) on Charter buzzes in and after what seems like an interminable amount of time gives the correct answer. Given that the match was decided by 10 points, this of course affected the result. I was watching the match and was mindful of the score, so the tension made it seem like the pause went on forever, but whether it was two seconds or not I honestly can't say. I also don't think I heard R call time on anyone to that point to establish what his 2 count was, so take from that what you will.

However, and I'm also thinking of this in light of the GDS-Charter fiasco, since these matches are being recorded, review should be written into the rules. Period. Also, at ICT, NAQT allows college teams their choice of mods for the finals (Yaphe read this year's final), yet at HSNCT, R always seems to read it. What's up with that?
Sean,

Thanks for the clarification. I can tell you as a coach that I would, at times, be climbing the wall over timing .... once lost an NAQT match at Northwestern to a team that was taking forever to answer, and when I asked the moderator if he knew how much time they should be getting, he answered "no" (and he was serious). One of the main problems with moderators is a lack of confidence to pull the trigger on the clock. Not having been there, I have no clue what happened, though I hope it was a matter of perception.

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Mon Jun 01, 2009 1:59 pm

Tegan wrote:
Jeremy Gibbs Paradox wrote: Basically what happened was that on the last q, someone (I forget who) on Charter buzzes in and after what seems like an interminable amount of time gives the correct answer. Given that the match was decided by 10 points, this of course affected the result. I was watching the match and was mindful of the score, so the tension made it seem like the pause went on forever, but whether it was two seconds or not I honestly can't say. I also don't think I heard R call time on anyone to that point to establish what his 2 count was, so take from that what you will.

However, and I'm also thinking of this in light of the GDS-Charter fiasco, since these matches are being recorded, review should be written into the rules. Period. Also, at ICT, NAQT allows college teams their choice of mods for the finals (Yaphe read this year's final), yet at HSNCT, R always seems to read it. What's up with that?
Sean,

Thanks for the clarification. I can tell you as a coach that I would, at times, be climbing the wall over timing .... once lost an NAQT match at Northwestern to a team that was taking forever to answer, and when I asked the moderator if he knew how much time they should be getting, he answered "no" (and he was serious). One of the main problems with moderators is a lack of confidence to pull the trigger on the clock. Not having been there, I have no clue what happened, though I hope it was a matter of perception.
I honestly couldn't tell you without reviewing the tape. But man, was that ever wrong place, wrong time for something like that to come up.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by jonah » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:12 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Paradox wrote:the GDS-Charter fiasco
What was this?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:20 pm

Charter beat GDS by less than a tossup-bonus cycle, and in that game, Gorman buzzed in with "Breughels the elder" and Hentzel asked him to repeat and it got changed to Breughel, so GDS should have won that game except that I'm not sure they heard it and also they can't protest what a moderator hears.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Auroni » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:23 pm

the three mentioned game-deciding errors (Breughels, Brahma/Brahman, waiting too long on a buzz) essentially screwed up the tournament once it was down to the final four.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Geringer » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:26 pm

everyday847 huang and grapesmoker wrote: see above
Okay, from now on, I will agree with everything you guys say on math and trash (I'm citing your experience and above logic). Trash and math are inherently different than other questions and should be eliminated. That said, I'll boil down my remaining argument to be as brief as I can state it.

A team of extremely experienced and knowledgeable people decided that this distribution was acceptable. Will it ever be possible to create a distribution that is acceptable to the elite teams, accessible to the up-and-coming and (I quote) "mediocre" teams, and fun to play (as in, teams that spent tons of money on fees and travel can still take a huge loss with a smile)?

Please, be gentle.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by ClemsonQB » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:28 pm

SaveComputationalMath wrote:
everyday847 huang and grapesmoker wrote: see above
Okay, from now on, I will agree with everything you guys say on math and trash (I'm citing your experience and above logic). Trash and math are inherently different than other questions and should be eliminated. That said, I'll boil down my remaining argument to be as brief as I can state it.

A team of extremely experienced and knowledgeable people decided that this distribution was acceptable. Will it ever be possible to create a distribution that is acceptable to the elite teams, accessible to the up-and-coming and (I quote) "mediocre" teams, and fun to play (as in, teams that spent tons of money on fees and travel can still take a huge loss with a smile)?

Please, be gentle.
No. You can never please everybody. With that in mind, it makes sense to actually be able to declare a legitimate national champion on academic questions.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:32 pm

SaveComputationalMath wrote:
everyday847 huang and grapesmoker wrote: see above
Okay, from now on, I will agree with everything you guys say on math and trash (I'm citing your experience and above logic). Trash and math are inherently different than other questions and should be eliminated. That said, I'll boil down my remaining argument to be as brief as I can state it.

A team of extremely experienced and knowledgeable people decided that this distribution was acceptable. Will it ever be possible to create a distribution that is acceptable to the elite teams, accessible to the up-and-coming and (I quote) "mediocre" teams, and fun to play (as in, teams that spent tons of money on fees and travel can still take a huge loss with a smile)?

Please, be gentle.
Are trash and mathcomp inherently more accessible than other questions? I'll say no. Are they inherently more fun? No, I don't think so. But even the majority of 20/20 distributions have 1/1 trash. That's okay, I guess. 7/7 miscellany isn't.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by etchdulac » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:39 pm

SnookerUSF wrote:
everyday847 wrote:Between staff-side logistical flubs...
I hope this post does not come across as unduly moralizing; however, as a moderator and staffer for this event - I was somewhat disappointed in the behavior and performance of some of my fellow staffers. This is not a general condemnation, but I heard of and was witness to many instances of moderator laziness, incompetence, etc. I will not engage in any calling out of names, but I will say that those who ask NAQT to pay for a hotel room, flight, etc. have some obligation to do what is asked of them.
I'd like to hear more about this. Since I was off moderating in my own room, I have a very poor idea of what went on everywhere else on Saturday. All I get is a few coaches complimenting me on my reading without citing a counterexample. While it doesn't shock me that the volunteers vary in their degrees of taking this seriously, there really has to be a bottom acceptable threshold on that. But the NAQT staff, despite their feedback forms, comes away with so little information on how each person performs that it's impossible to expect improvement without relying on the dedication of the individuals.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Charley Pride » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:42 pm

A.B.C.D E.F. Godthaab wrote:I should have had time called on Zardari...

Classy move, Henry. Congratulations, though.

Someone else, I think Charlie wrote:arts
There was a decent amount of music, but I was sad to see little to no visual arts. Personal preference I guess, but isn't it a fair assumption that vis-arts and music come up equally in the fine arts distribution?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:47 pm

quantumfootball wrote:The biggest surprise of the day, in my opinion, was that Ransom Everglades went 8-2.
This is actually no surprise to me. Their coach is an old colleague of mine from WUSTL and he said they made a year long dedicated effort to get better at qb.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by MahoningQuizBowler » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:57 pm

Something that I learned the hard way in my work in Ohio is that tournament directors should direct, readers should read. I am not saying that R. is not a competent reader. I am saying that he should be available for any and all situations that occur that require his attention. From what I could gather reading the liveblog during the DCC-Charter match, the Dorman-State College match had to wait for the other match to finish (which R. was reading) to settle the protest.

If R. did give up the reading portion of his Sunday duties, I would like to see a system where the moderator evaluation forms play a larger role in deciding who gets the Sunday morning positions, and then call in the coaches of the remaining teams on Sunday, present them the slate of moderators, and ask them to help decide who gets the last three rounds and the small school semifinals/final. If every reader knew they could, through their performance over two days, have a chance to read the final, I think it would be a positive thing.

I'm not going to comment on the questions, distribution, legitimacy, any of that because I don't feel I have a right to say anything about them. I'm a reader and a league administrator, not a player or a coach.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by ieppler » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:59 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Charter beat GDS by less than a tossup-bonus cycle, and in that game, Gorman buzzed in with "Breughels the elder" and Hentzel asked him to repeat and it got changed to Breughel, so GDS should have won that game except that I'm not sure they heard it and also they can't protest what a moderator hears.
Wow, I was unaware of this.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:00 pm

I wasn't planning on bringing it up but you would have heard it on the podcast sooner or later.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by SnookerUSF » Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:39 pm

etchdulac wrote:I'd like to hear more about this. Since I was off moderating in my own room, I have a very poor idea of what went on everywhere else on Saturday. All I get is a few coaches complimenting me on my reading without citing a counterexample. While it doesn't shock me that the volunteers vary in their degrees of taking this seriously, there really has to be a bottom acceptable threshold on that. But the NAQT staff, despite their feedback forms, comes away with so little information on how each person performs...
Yeah, most of the implications of my comments were less focused on the in-game competency and more generally directed. NAQT doesn't share that information, that may stem from NAQT's previously noted culture of corporate secrecy (I cite their previous stances on such things as the distribution, s-value formula, names of subject editors, etc), or perhaps there is some good intentioned legitimate desire not to hurt people's feelings or wrongly attribute dispersions on individuals. I don't know how serious or accurate the data they collect on moderators is exactly, and perhaps neither does NAQT. As a staffer I would like to know what I am doing wrong, so I could potentially resolve those mistakes, instead of repeating them in perpetuity.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Ken Jennings » Mon Jun 01, 2009 4:18 pm

JelloBiafra wrote:the three mentioned game-deciding errors (Breughels, Brahma/Brahman, waiting too long on a buzz) essentially screwed up the tournament once it was down to the final four.
The moderator-best-guess stuff (Breughels and the stammering on Zardari) aside, I didn't know there was a consensus that the Brahma/Brahman ruling was "screwed up". I edited the question; my understanding is that both answers were ruled acceptable based on a Britannica cite that the concept we call "brahma" is actually called "Brahman" in Sanskrit:
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/77039/brahma

If you disagree, can you explain why? I'd like to get that answer line right (and consistent) in future.
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:01 pm

There are two separate concepts, brahma and brahman, that mean very different things; both trace back to the same Sanskrit etymology but they shouldn't be treated as the same concept for quizbowl purposes (i.e. you shouldn't be able to say the same word for both answers, unless we are n thousand years ago and in India).
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by master15625 » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:05 pm

Does anyone know when the podcasts will be posted? Does anyone remember when they were posted last year?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Dresden_The_BIG_JERK » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:26 pm

etchdulac wrote:
SnookerUSF wrote:
everyday847 wrote:Between staff-side logistical flubs...
I hope this post does not come across as unduly moralizing; however, as a moderator and staffer for this event - I was somewhat disappointed in the behavior and performance of some of my fellow staffers. This is not a general condemnation, but I heard of and was witness to many instances of moderator laziness, incompetence, etc. I will not engage in any calling out of names, but I will say that those who ask NAQT to pay for a hotel room, flight, etc. have some obligation to do what is asked of them.
I'd like to hear more about this. Since I was off moderating in my own room, I have a very poor idea of what went on everywhere else on Saturday. All I get is a few coaches complimenting me on my reading without citing a counterexample. While it doesn't shock me that the volunteers vary in their degrees of taking this seriously, there really has to be a bottom acceptable threshold on that. But the NAQT staff, despite their feedback forms, comes away with so little information on how each person performs that it's impossible to expect improvement without relying on the dedication of the individuals.
To this, as it was my first time moderating at such a large-scale event, I'd be very curious about how my performance was judged by the quizbowl community at large, as opposed to the IL/IN and neighboring states that I'm used to reading for. Would it be entirely innapropiate to have a moderator evaluation thread?
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:29 pm

everyday847 wrote:
SaveComputationalMath wrote:
everyday847 huang and grapesmoker wrote: see above
Okay, from now on, I will agree with everything you guys say on math and trash (I'm citing your experience and above logic). Trash and math are inherently different than other questions and should be eliminated. That said, I'll boil down my remaining argument to be as brief as I can state it.

A team of extremely experienced and knowledgeable people decided that this distribution was acceptable. Will it ever be possible to create a distribution that is acceptable to the elite teams, accessible to the up-and-coming and (I quote) "mediocre" teams, and fun to play (as in, teams that spent tons of money on fees and travel can still take a huge loss with a smile)?

Please, be gentle.
Are trash and mathcomp inherently more accessible than other questions? I'll say no. Are they inherently more fun? No, I don't think so. But even the majority of 20/20 distributions have 1/1 trash. That's okay, I guess. 7/7 miscellany isn't.
Agreeing that trash and math calc are not inherently more accessible. I recorded dead TUs while keeping score in my notebook. We played 16 games against teams of varying skill level, in which I recorded 22 dead toss-ups. 5 of these were strictly academic with one geo. The other 16 were current events, math calc, and trash. This is an average of one dead nonsense TU per game, which I find ludicrous (apologies if this is the wrong thread for this; I haven't gotten to the question thread yet).

After observing the last few games I find myself glad we never had to get a protest resolved, and I was pretty disappointed with this tournament overall. Besides the protest stuff, though, the logistics that I observed were well-managed (we stayed in long enough to not be involved in the consolation rounds, which sound like a mess according to earlier posts), so that was a positive. I'm not a huge fan of double elimination, but I'm also no expert on schedules, so I can't really comment there. I sincerely hope next year's HSNCT will be better. Congrats to Charter and Dorman (and SC and DCC) regardless.
Sam (Sarah Angelo) Luongo,
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by jagluski » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:36 pm

SnookerUSF wrote:
etchdulac wrote:I'd like to hear more about this. Since I was off moderating in my own room, I have a very poor idea of what went on everywhere else on Saturday. All I get is a few coaches complimenting me on my reading without citing a counterexample. While it doesn't shock me that the volunteers vary in their degrees of taking this seriously, there really has to be a bottom acceptable threshold on that. But the NAQT staff, despite their feedback forms, comes away with so little information on how each person performs...
Yeah, most of the implications of my comments were less focused on the in-game competency and more generally directed. NAQT doesn't share that information, that may stem from NAQT's previously noted culture of corporate secrecy (I cite their previous stances on such things as the distribution, s-value formula, names of subject editors, etc), or perhaps there is some good intentioned legitimate desire not to hurt people's feelings or wrongly attribute dispersions on individuals. I don't know how serious or accurate the data they collect on moderators is exactly, and perhaps neither does NAQT. As a staffer I would like to know what I am doing wrong, so I could potentially resolve those mistakes, instead of repeating them in perpetuity.

Ahmad,

I don't disagree with your comments at all. Honestly, any comments I received during the tournament about moderators were passed along to them directly. These were very few that came to me in general, but they were passed along. Over the summer, we will be tallying the moderator evaluation forms and then I will be able to pass that feedback along to you and the rest of the staff.

Thanks for staffing the tournament.

Joel Gluskin
Joel Gluskin
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NAQT Vice President for Logistics

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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:46 pm

As far as the consolation management went, it was definitely not perfect, but also not nearly as bad as last year. (For those who weren't there, consolation HQ was in the elevator lobby of one of the floors of the executive wing (the room numbers in the 2000's) with game rooms on that floor and adjacent floors.) There really isn't a good place for teams to hang out and wait in the executive wing, which caused another crush of humanity like last year, but at least this year the organization wasn't done in an ultra-cramped hotel room. Many people were wishing that consolation organization would take place in the lobby downstairs, but then getting to the rooms would likely cause a crush on the elevators that kills too much time to be worthwhile.

If it's possible, if consolation will be run in the same format as this and previous years (and I can't come up with a solution that wouldn't require changing the regular playoff format), I think the consolation organization should be done in one of the named meeting rooms, as there is considerably more space for the team representative and staffers to organize to start the match, as well as for the rest of the team members to wait for their match to begin.

Ad hoc consolation games are pretty much mandatory in a tournament where you A: don't know how many teams want to play consolation games and B: have more consolation teams arriving after their elimination from the playoffs. Those two problems will have to be remedied for the consolation rounds to improve appreciably from how it's done now, and consolation rounds are likely low enough on the priority list that this should come as an afterthought to playoff format considerations.
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

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Northern Illinois University ('10)
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by fleurdelivre » Mon Jun 01, 2009 5:57 pm

jagluski wrote:
SnookerUSF wrote:
etchdulac wrote:I'd like to hear more about this. Since I was off moderating in my own room, I have a very poor idea of what went on everywhere else on Saturday. All I get is a few coaches complimenting me on my reading without citing a counterexample. While it doesn't shock me that the volunteers vary in their degrees of taking this seriously, there really has to be a bottom acceptable threshold on that. But the NAQT staff, despite their feedback forms, comes away with so little information on how each person performs...
Yeah, most of the implications of my comments were less focused on the in-game competency and more generally directed. NAQT doesn't share that information, that may stem from NAQT's previously noted culture of corporate secrecy (I cite their previous stances on such things as the distribution, s-value formula, names of subject editors, etc), or perhaps there is some good intentioned legitimate desire not to hurt people's feelings or wrongly attribute dispersions on individuals. I don't know how serious or accurate the data they collect on moderators is exactly, and perhaps neither does NAQT. As a staffer I would like to know what I am doing wrong, so I could potentially resolve those mistakes, instead of repeating them in perpetuity.
I don't disagree with your comments at all. Honestly, any comments I received during the tournament about moderators were passed along to them directly. These were very few that came to me in general, but they were passed along. Over the summer, we will be tallying the moderator evaluation forms and then I will be able to pass that feedback along to you and the rest of the staff.
I'd kind of like to state the reverse: as an experienced tournament staffer who was present entirely to ensure the smooth, professional running of this tournament, I felt occasionally condescended to by upper tournament staff (this statement is obviously not universal to all NAQT membership, but having my dedication questioned even once makes an impact).
Katy
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Dan Greenstein » Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:30 pm

styxman wrote:Ad hoc consolation games are pretty much mandatory in a tournament where you A: don't know how many teams want to play consolation games and B: have more consolation teams arriving after their elimination from the playoffs. Those two problems will have to be remedied for the consolation rounds to improve appreciably from how it's done now, and consolation rounds are likely low enough on the priority list that this should come as an afterthought to playoff format considerations.
I disagree. Yes, it is much more challenging to figure out a consolation structure for 100 teams versus 32, but it is not an impossible or even extremely difficult undertaking. The key is to have teams opt-out instead of opt-in. Let teams know that unless they explicitly say they are not returning Sunday for a minimum of four games* that they will be expected to show up at 9 am in their assigned room.

Consider how much time is spent handing 100 teams a sheet of paper with their Sunday morning schedule rather than try to play matchmaker for 16 or more games ad hoc. Now keep in mind that this matchmaking process repeats itself after every round until the consolation rounds either end prior to the last few games of the championship playoffs or no one shows up due to getting sick of trying to organize scrimmages. It would seem like two teams deciding to play each other and grabbing a moderator is a simple thing, but the time it takes adds up rather quickly if more than a few teams are involved.

Instead, would it be possible to put together four or five predetermined games, then have single elimination among the top consolation teams? One 96-team format that comes to mind is 16 groups of 6 teams. The winners of each group advance to a single elim playoff. Maybe nine rounds is too long, but you get the gist of what I am proposing here. Granted, I would not know what to do if teams eliminated from the championship flight need to be included as they come. But the general principle holds: give the teams that do not make the top flight something structured to come back for on Sunday.

* I consider four consolation games the minimum number for which it would be worth it for a team to stick around Sunday rather than start the nine hour drive home. I base this on personal experience and opinions may wildly differ on this point.
Daniel Greenstein
University of Maryland (2000-2004)
Eleanor Roosevelt High School (1998-2000)

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:54 pm

fleurdelivre wrote:I'd kind of like to state the reverse: as an experienced tournament staffer who was present entirely to ensure the smooth, professional running of this tournament, I felt occasionally condescended to by upper tournament staff (this statement is obviously not universal to all NAQT membership, but having my dedication questioned even once makes an impact).
Without calling people out, I think that there was a bit of a problem with some people feeling that the "bare minimum" - or quite possibly below that - constituted a satisfactory performance. Ahmad also noticed this, and I think that some NAQT higher-ups may have been frustrated at that, and taken it out on other experienced staffers who were trying to do their best. For instance, (Katy, I don't know what exactly was going on with you) Joel snapped at me a couple of times over the course of the tournament - I don't think that at any point, he was angry at me; rather, he was frustrated with an unrelated situation, and I happened to be the guy trying to add something else onto his plate. It was entirely understandable and did not in any way feel condescending or question my dedication.

I went into the tournament with a sense that since NAQT was more-or-less paying me to be there, I should do everything I could do to ensure that there was nothing left undone. From the moment on Friday that I went to the moderator meeting to the time on Sunday that I left the hotel (feeling a bit guilty, incidentally, about not staying to help collate packets), if I was in the area and "on the clock," I was looking for something to do to help the tournament run. I don't know how frustrated Matt Bruce and the Tegel Boardroom people got with me constantly asking whether there was something they needed help with, but thanks to those people for putting up with my pestering.
Dwight Wynne
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UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by etchdulac » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:08 pm

fleurdelivre wrote:I'd kind of like to state the reverse: as an experienced tournament staffer who was present entirely to ensure the smooth, professional running of this tournament, I felt occasionally condescended to by upper tournament staff (this statement is obviously not universal to all NAQT membership, but having my dedication questioned even once makes an impact).
I had a couple of these experiences, though for the most part, NAQT members have been as pleasant and helpful as I could ask of extremely busy people. Being older than many of the volunteers there, and being unknown to the vast majority, there is the occasional "I don't know you, so you must be useless" kind of situation. But I don't really see that conception as out of the ordinary in these settings. Some people just think that way. Saying "I need somebody I can trust" and implying "I need somebody I know, not you" is my favorite example.

To second what Dwight just posted above, NAQT flying me out ensured my obligation to look for something to do to help the tournament run, and that left me often being pointed in the direction of other people to ask... which is great; if everything's running fine, that's the objective.

Just the two cents of another longtime staffer, present entirely to ensure the smooth, professional running of this tournament.
Stephen Fontenot
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Communications, UT Dallas
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:17 pm

NAQT had all the teams fill out cards at the end of the day Saturday. To be more efficient, they could have added a few lines on to those cards asking teams that did not make the playoffs whether they wanted to play consolation matches and giving a choice of starting and ending times. Somebody could then schedule those teams by 8:30 the next day. The scheduling would not have to be complex--just make sure teams have a room to go to every forty minutes. The teams that got knocked out of the playoffs would still have to be scheduled ad lib, but that would mean many fewer teams showing up at the consolation headquarters every forty minutes looking for a match, which would make for a more orderly situation.
David Reinstein
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Re: 2009 NAQT HSNCT

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:18 pm

I hope this is appropriate for a public forum and if it isn't, I apologize, but as the thread is meant to discuss the tournament and I wish to invite others' feedback and not just one person at NAQT via a private e-mail:

NAQT might want to be a little more mindful about how the moderators' meeting is organized. Frank Thomas is a nice guy and he was very helpful to me during the day, but there were times when I felt and I think others did too that we were being "talked down to" during the meeting and very real questions were being brushed aside. I realize that this is a short meeting and that the people in the room run the gamut from old pros to novices, but I think a little better consideration could be attended to in the future.

For example, the time to hash out basic gameplay rules should be Friday night during scrimmage sessions, not in this meeting. A quick reminder on the 3-2-5 thing and other things would be great, but if people are genuinely unsure if bouncebacks should be applied by Saturday morning, then those Friday night sessions didn't help much. I guess what I'm saying is that there should be time for people who have very real and important questions about protest resolutions, answer acceptabilities, etc. to ask them and have, ideally, several people from NAQT on hand to answer them. At the risk of sounding like a jerk (and I admit I am not super involved in high school quiz bowl), I am not sure to the extent of Frank Thomas' quiz bowl experience (i.e., perhaps someone who typically serves on protest committees and has experience dealing with this could have fielded questions on protests).

On the plus side, all of the NAQT people I dealt with were super nice to me during the course of the day, so on that front, I'm cool.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

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