A word of caution when ordering HSAPQ questions...

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A word of caution when ordering HSAPQ questions...

Post by Robbie Ram » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:40 pm

I am disappointed to report that HSAPQ (High School Academic Pyramid Questions), the company from whom I ordered the questions for the (now indefinitely postponed) 2009 Robinson Academic Quizbowl Invitational Tournament did not deliver the questions in a timely fashion despite my many attempts to get them to deliver on time, as they had promised.

When I ordered the questions for our tournament at the beginning of February, HSAPQ promised me I would receive them on March 23 or 24 (for a tournament taking place on Saturday, March 28). When I followed up with HSAPQ several weeks in advance of the tournament date to confirm that the questions would be ready as promised by March 23, HSAPQ told me they would no longer mbe able to meet the March 23 delivery date but that they would deliver the questions "by Wednesday [March 25] morning". I sent additional emails every day that week asking for delivery of the questions, and I was promised daily that I would receive the questions "by tomorrow morning", "by this evening" or the like.

I can't begin to express how upset I am that an otherwise well-organized and well-attended tournament had to be postponed indefinitely because the questions just flat-out weren't provided in time. Perhaps other teams and coaches would disagree, but one day is simply not enough time to produce and organize question sets— especially for a "newbie" tournament director managing his first tournament!

I will of course acknowledge that based on the publicly-available HSAPQ sets which were produced in Fall 2008, there's no doubt that the quality of HSAPQ-produced questions is among the best-- and maybe *the* best-- available to tournaments from any third-party vendor. Unfortunately, that hardly matters if they cannot *produce* and *deliver* on time a question set which was ordered two months previously!

Because of HSAPQ's inability to deliver their questions on time, my team has been scr*wed out of a great deal of money in set-up costs for the tournament (trophies, food, et al.), and the members and coaches of the 32 teams who signed up to attend our tournament have been deprived of a chance to compete against each other despite setting aside their personal weekend time to commit to attending. This is in addition to the countless hours I personally have spent as RAQIT tournament director planning the tournament details, training staff members, making purchases, filling out approval paperwork, etc., only to have to cancel the tournament due to HSAPQ's inability to deliver a question set five days-- or even three days-- before the start of a tournament to which they had committed to providing questions almost two months previously.

[edited to reflect current circumstances:] Therefore, I must reluctantly caution other academic teams and tournament directors to be careful buying questions for your tournament from HSAPQ — unless they can guarantee that their questions can be delivered to teams by at least several days before the start of the tournament!!! If nothing else, HSAPQ needs to admit to teams up front that they cannot guarantee any specific delivery date for their questions, at which time teams can decide whether or not to "risk it". Caveat emptor! A vague and continually changing delivery date is simply unacceptable for a question vendor of any repute.

[Update:] Since this situation occurred, I have been contacted by several individuals associated with HSAPQ, including separate emails and/or calls from their communications officer and the individual in charge of producing the question set I ordered for our tournament. In the interest of fairness to them, I need to note the following additional information:

1. I did receive the questions eventually from the individual in charge of sending (and apparently creating and/or editing) the question packet, but unfortunately it was after I had already been forced to postpone the tournament because of deadlines *I* needed to meet. Since I did not have the questions by *my* deadline-- which was, after all, several days *after* HSAPQ had initially told me they would deliver the questions and a full day and a half after they had most recently promised the questions-- I had no way of knowing at that point if I would *ever* get the questions.

2. The HSAPQ communications director offered me a different already-completed and as-yet unused question set to replace the set I had ordered, and he further offered to pre-copy and hand-deliver the set by the next morning, all at no charge to us (including not charging anything for the use of the questions). Although it's too late for me to un-postpone the tournament, I do appreciate this good-faith gesture by HSAPQ, and I think it bodes well for the company's future.

3. The HSAPQ communications director additionally offered me free use of an HSAPQ question set for a future rescheduling of this tournament even if it couldn't be un-postponed on its original date (and it can't). Again, I greatly appreciate this and will consider accepting that offer if/when we can re-schedule.

4. According to the HSAPQ communications director, the HSAPQ member in charge of the questions we ordered has been suspended from HSAPQ as a result of this fiasco. While I did not ask for or expect that, and am somewhat saddened by that outcome, I do agree that HSAPQ needed to take some sort of action to assure that their reputation is not further damaged by something like this happening again, and it is the perrogative of the HSAPQ board of directors to do what they felt was necessary to address this situation.

All of this tells me that HSAPQ probably deserves another chance... but I again assert that tournament directors need to exercise caution if they order from HSAPQ. I encourage TDs to ask HSAPQ for a firm delivery date/time *before* committing to using HSAPQ questions for their tournament. I also encourage them to ask HSAPQ to offer some sort of compensation in the event that HSAPQ cannot or does not meet the firm delivery date upon which you agree.
Last edited by Robbie Ram on Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:25 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Ondes Martenot » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:53 pm

Coach,

I have to strongly disagree with your post for several reasons. I understand that you are frustrated; you were promised one thing and did not get that, fine. I also understand that you are angry about all the money you lost (although personally I feel there was no reason to cancel your tournament but I'll leave that for another discussion). As you yourself mentioned, HSAPQ has by far the best high school questions in terms of appropriate difficulty, consistency and very good writers. I've looked through all 30 HSAPQ sets that have been posted and I think I have noticed 2 problems in total, which is superb, particularly for a new group.

While I don't know if it's the best idea to give a tournament its questions the night before, clearly this has had no impact on tournaments that have used HSAPQ sets this year. I know this was your first time hosting and you were being cautious, which is understandable, but with a full staff/TD working together, the sent packets can printed/copied/ready to go in a couple of hours.

In short, I understand your frustration, and while I agree with you in some areas, I don't think there is any reason for you to be telling other teams to not use a product whose many positive attributes far outweight its minor flaws.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by dtaylor4 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:03 pm

aarcoh wrote:Coach,

I have to strongly disagree with your post for several reasons. I understand that you are frustrated; you were promised one thing and did not get that, fine. I also understand that you are angry about all the money you lost (although personally I feel there was no reason to cancel your tournament but I'll leave that for another discussion). As you yourself mentioned, HSAPQ has by far the best high school questions in terms of appropriate difficulty, consistency and very good writers. I've looked through all 30 HSAPQ sets that have been posted and I think I have noticed 2 problems in total, which is superb, particularly for a new group.

While I don't know if it's the best idea to give a tournament its questions the night before, clearly this has had no impact on tournaments that have used HSAPQ sets this year. I know this was your first time hosting and you were being cautious, which is understandable, but with a full staff/TD working together, the sent packets can printed/copied/ready to go in a couple of hours.

In short, I understand your frustration, and while I agree with you in some areas, I don't think there is any reason for you to be telling other teams to not use a product whose many positive attributes far outweight its minor flaws.
And here is where I disagree with you. Regardless of the quality of the product that is given, if people "speaking on behalf of HSAPQ" made these promises and failed to come through, this is a significant issue.

I do concede that it shouldn't take an exorbitant to print/copy/staple packets once the electronic files are received, and offer the team of me myself, and I as an example. However, it can be mighty difficult to assemble a team to do this on a moment's notice on a Friday. To counter your historical example, many of those tournaments were run by college clubs, who are more likely to be able to run a tournament wirelessly, or find a computer lab to print questions from. High school teams may not have this resource, and even if they do, it may not be accessible on a Friday night or Saturday morning.

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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:32 pm

dtaylor4 wrote:To counter your historical example, many of those tournaments were run by college clubs, who are more likely to be able to run a tournament wirelessly, or find a computer lab to print questions from. High school teams may not have this resource, and even if they do, it may not be accessible on a Friday night or Saturday morning.
College clubs with at least one member also have the luxury of at least one person who is burdened by absolutely no one the night before a tournament. Coaches of high school teams have jobs and families; high school students have parents who want them to sleep. I was able to stay up from Wednesday to Sunday the week of HFT; leaving aside the question of whether a high schooler could do this (and let me go on record as advocating that no high schooler try), it's pretty indisputable that no high schooler would be allowed to.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by JackGlerum » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:20 pm

Robbie Ram wrote:one day is simply not enough time to produce and organize question sets
Printing packets takes 20 minutes.

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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:27 pm

JackGlerum wrote:
Robbie Ram wrote:one day is simply not enough time to produce and organize question sets
Printing packets takes 20 minutes.
Yeah, I mean, printing and collating is like an hour, tops. It's not like the questions haven't been written yet.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Cheynem » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:30 pm

It does depend a little on your school resources. My high school had a smallish computer lab with not the quickest printers in the world that I didn't have 24-hour access to, so it probably would have taken me more than a hour (of course there was a reason why we didn't host things).
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by AdamL » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:41 pm

JackGlerum wrote:Printing packets takes 20 minutes.
Ukonvasara wrote:Yeah, I mean, printing and collating is like an hour, tops.
Robinson's tournament was smaller (32 teams, I believe?), but printing/copying packets for the 50+ teams we had at Chattahoochee's tournament my junior year [I think. I may be getting years mixed up] took hours, what with stapling and collating, and we had several people working on this. It certainly wasn't fun staying after school on Friday evening to do so, along with other tourney prep duties.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:53 pm

AdamL wrote:
JackGlerum wrote:Printing packets takes 20 minutes.
Ukonvasara wrote:Yeah, I mean, printing and collating is like an hour, tops.
Robinson's tournament was smaller (32 teams, I believe?), but printing/copying packets for the 50+ teams we had at Chattahoochee's tournament my junior year [I think. I may be getting years mixed up] took hours, what with stapling and collating, and we had several people working on this. It certainly wasn't fun staying after school on Friday evening to do so, along with other tourney prep duties.
This seems to be more of an exception than a rule. It took TJ an hour to copy 15 rounds for 48 teams.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:58 pm

The Coach did not go into great detail on his decision to cancel the tournament, but it could have been more complicated than some people are making it seem by saying that it takes less than an hour to copy and collate packets, even though it does in fact take less than an hour to copy and collate packets.

For one thing, some teachers do not have 24 hour access to the building, a computer, their email account, a printer, and/or a copier. For another thing, TDs do not want to cancel their tournaments the morning of the tournaments. If I was hosting, had not received the questions, had lost faith in the question provider, did not know how to get questions from another source, and it was 24 hours before my tournament was scheduled to start, then I probably would cancel. I would work very hard to avoid a situation where teams travel to a tournament and find out it is canceled when they arrive, and I also would want to avoid putting coaches in situations where they have to reach all their kids on a Friday night or Saturday morning so that the kids are not getting up early to attend a tournament that does not exist. Based on the original post in this thread, the TD was very clear as to when he needed the questions and was repeatedly lied to by HSAPQ, so he had good reason to lose faith in HSAPQ.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by AdamL » Thu Mar 26, 2009 5:59 pm

hwhite wrote:This seems to be more of an exception than a rule.
Sure, that's possible. I know we didn't have a copier that automatically collated or stapled, and that was a big part of it. But who's to say what resources or personnel Robinson had available?
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:01 pm

AdamL wrote:
hwhite wrote:This seems to be more of an exception than a rule.
Sure, that's possible. I know we didn't have a copier that automatically collated or stapled, and that was a big part of it. But who's to say what resources or personnel Robinson had available?
Coming from a fellow FCPS school, yes they do have the resources.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Robbie Ram » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:15 pm

All of your speculation as to how long it would take to print packets is beside the point. I needed to know by 2:30 today whether or not I *had* questions so that I could meet other deadlines in terms of facilities logistics and staffing.

No questions by 2:30 today meant no tournament on Saturday, period. I had no choice, whether you choose to believe that or not. I had no reason to expect the questions any time soon either, since the delivery time/day continued to be a moving target all this week. The last I had heard from HSAPQ was that I should expect the questions "Thursday morning" ...and yes, I emailed them several times today after Thursday morning came & went with no questions in sight. As far as I knew, the questions might well have *never* shown up.

I stand by my assertion that HSAPQ needs to give its customes a firm delivery date "up front" and then stick to it. This is what legitimate businesses do-- and if they fail to do that, they don't blame the customer for *their* failure to deliver.
Last edited by Robbie Ram on Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by wd4gdz » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:16 pm

Robbie Ram wrote:All of your speculation as to how long it would take to print packets is beside the point. I needed to know by 2:30 today whether or not I *had* questions so that I could meet other deadlines in terms of facilities logistics and staffing.
I wish I had known about this.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Robbie Ram » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:18 pm

wd4gdz wrote:
Robbie Ram wrote:All of your speculation as to how long it would take to print packets is beside the point. I needed to know by 2:30 today whether or not I *had* questions so that I could meet other deadlines in terms of facilities logistics and staffing.
I wish I had known about this.
I told you several times last week and this week that I *really* needed the questions as soon as possible-- Monday, or Wednesday at the latest. I'm not sure I could have been much clearer. I certainly felt my emails conveyed a sufficient sense of urgency.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:19 pm

Robbie Ram wrote:
wd4gdz wrote:
Robbie Ram wrote:All of your speculation as to how long it would take to print packets is beside the point. I needed to know by 2:30 today whether or not I *had* questions so that I could meet other deadlines in terms of facilities logistics and staffing.
I wish I had known about this.
I told you several times last week and this week that I *really* needed the questions as soon as possible-- Monday, or Wednesday at the latest. I'm not sure I could have been much clearer. I certainly felt my emails conveyed a sufficient sense of urgency.
The trouble is, unless people are told about a hard and fast deadline, they won't know that they have to abide by it.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:24 pm

hwhite wrote:
Robbie Ram wrote:
wd4gdz wrote:
Robbie Ram wrote:All of your speculation as to how long it would take to print packets is beside the point. I needed to know by 2:30 today whether or not I *had* questions so that I could meet other deadlines in terms of facilities logistics and staffing.
I wish I had known about this.
I told you several times last week and this week that I *really* needed the questions as soon as possible-- Monday, or Wednesday at the latest. I'm not sure I could have been much clearer. I certainly felt my emails conveyed a sufficient sense of urgency.
The trouble is, unless people are told about a hard and fast deadline, they won't know that they have to abide by it.
Monday, or Wednesday at the latest
Monday, or Wednesday at the latest
How is that not a sufficient "deadline" for anyone?
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:24 pm

hwhite wrote:
Robbie Ram wrote:
wd4gdz wrote:
Robbie Ram wrote:All of your speculation as to how long it would take to print packets is beside the point. I needed to know by 2:30 today whether or not I *had* questions so that I could meet other deadlines in terms of facilities logistics and staffing.
I wish I had known about this.
I told you several times last week and this week that I *really* needed the questions as soon as possible-- Monday, or Wednesday at the latest. I'm not sure I could have been much clearer. I certainly felt my emails conveyed a sufficient sense of urgency.
The trouble is, unless people are told about a hard and fast deadline, they won't know that they have to abide by it.
And you could equally say that anyone who actually says "no questions by time x, and i cancel the tournament" is probably bluffing, and so you have to send a picture of yourself, thumb trembling over the Big Red Button, to really be believed. At some point, the question deadline supplied by the host has to mean something in HSAPQ's mind, and the not-actually-a-promise-no-sir HSAPQ provides has to have some meaning itself (and this is HSAPQ's responsibility; one way is not to change it all the time).
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by at your pleasure » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:27 pm

Also, can we hold off further discussion of this issue until someone from HSAPQ comes and clarifies what was going on at their end? I think we all know how much havoc last-minute problems can wreak.

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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by closesesame » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:40 pm

At least HSAPQ has beautiful, freely-available scoresheets...
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by aestheteboy » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:15 pm

Wow, this is absolutely incredible. I would be truly disappointed and disgusted if what Mr. Campana described in the first post are all true.
People who are talking about the printing time or the question quality are obviously missing the point. I don't agree that the tournament has to be postponed just because the questions didn't arrive by Thursday evening, but it's an entirely separate issue. I've already posted about the apparent lack of professionalism in the quizbowl circuit, and I'm not going to reiterate the same points. It's bad that two individuals failed to fulfill their responsibility; it's something much worse than bad when a company makes the same mistake.

I probably should end there, but I'm going to angrily add another point: we all understand that sh*t happens; HSAPQ is a first-year company, and its questions are so superior that I would personally continue to endorse the company if it can promise that the same thing won't happen again. Sh*t is going to happen again and again, though, if people can't even accept their responsibility and admit to their mistakes. It's shocking how HSAPQ (or a person ostensibly speaking for the company) is responding to this issue. I really can't feel any sympathy for "medical emergencies." If you are going to do business, you have to do better than "we'll do what we can do, and hope that problems don't arise." Emergencies do happen, and you need to plan ahead and prepare in case they do happen. Also, how did an emergency of one writer impact the entire company so much? Either its organization and leadership structure were seriosuly flawed, or its members just didn't care. Judging from what apparently happened and what HSAPQ (members) have said so far, HSAPQ wasn't very serious about meeting the deadline. To me, it just seems terribly unethical.

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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:19 pm

aestheteboy wrote:Either its organization and leadership structure were seriosuly flawed, or its members just didn't care. Judging from what apparently happened and what HSAPQ (members) have said so far, HSAPQ wasn't very serious about meeting the deadline. To me, it just seems terribly unethical.
Now, I'm not an HSAPQ member and I don't think that there's any excuse for what happened this weekend. But saying that its members just don't care, now, that seems to be a pretty important claim. Could you cite some sort of evidence to support it (perhaps what members "have said so far"), or is it easier to impugn people by keeping the evidence far away from your point?
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by dtaylor4 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:21 pm

everyday847 wrote:
aestheteboy wrote:Either its organization and leadership structure were seriosuly flawed, or its members just didn't care. Judging from what apparently happened and what HSAPQ (members) have said so far, HSAPQ wasn't very serious about meeting the deadline. To me, it just seems terribly unethical.
Now, I'm not an HSAPQ member and I don't think that there's any excuse for what happened this weekend. But saying that its members just don't care, now, that seems to be a pretty important claim. Could you cite some sort of evidence to support it (perhaps what members "have said so far"), or is it easier to impugn people by keeping the evidence far away from your point?
I would cite the constantly moving delivery date you (Andrew) had issues with in a previous post.

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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by closesesame » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:24 pm

It's also hilarious to watch the people who lampoon and skewer NAQT (and often for good reason) do precisely what NAQT does to tournament hosts. Ok, maybe not hilarious, but certainly very ironic.

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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:31 pm

dtaylor4 wrote:I would cite the constantly moving delivery date you (Andrew) had issues with in a previous post.
That's fair; certainly Billy's actions are problematic. I think it's much more reasonable to say that the set editor seemed not to care than "HSAPQ members," which seems to implicate the members of the organization as a whole, some of whom didn't really seem to know that something was going wrong at all until recently.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by dtaylor4 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:36 pm

everyday847 wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote:I would cite the constantly moving delivery date you (Andrew) had issues with in a previous post.
That's fair; certainly Billy's actions are problematic. I think it's much more reasonable to say that the set editor seemed not to care than "HSAPQ members," which seems to implicate the members of the organization as a whole, some of whom didn't really seem to know that something was going wrong at all until recently.
If it were true that the other members didn't know there was a problem, then I would argue that the organization as a whole should shoulder responsibility for this debacle.

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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by closesesame » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:37 pm

Aren't you guys (HSAPQ writers and also other college players) all in communication through #quizbowl and other channels more or less non-stop? I don't buy this "we didn't know" argument...

EDIT: The edit was to remove the worthless drivel.
Last edited by closesesame on Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by BuzzerZen » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:38 pm

closesesame wrote:Alberto Gonzales defense FTW woohooquizbowldidn'tgetmeintocollegebutitsuregotmealotoflaughsonathursdaywhileireadtheforumsinsteadofdoinghomework
If you don't stop making worthless posts, you will be tempbanned.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:41 pm

closesesame wrote:Aren't you guys (HSAPQ writers and also other college players) all in communication through #quizbowl and other channels more or less non-stop? I don't buy this "we didn't know" argument...

EDIT: The edit was to remove the worthless drivel.
I mean, yes? But I don't know what color pants Evan is wearing right now. Because he didn't bring it up. So it's entirely plausible that communication didn't have for stupid reasons that ought to be blamed on editors and HSAPQ as an organization, rather than people who just weren't told that there was a problem, for whatever reason.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by BuzzerZen » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:43 pm

closesesame wrote:EDIT: The edit was to remove the worthless drivel.
You're not allowed to do that either. Come back tomorrow.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by aestheteboy » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:53 pm

everyday847 wrote:
aestheteboy wrote:Either its organization and leadership structure were seriosuly flawed, or its members just didn't care. Judging from what apparently happened and what HSAPQ (members) have said so far, HSAPQ wasn't very serious about meeting the deadline. To me, it just seems terribly unethical.
Now, I'm not an HSAPQ member and I don't think that there's any excuse for what happened this weekend. But saying that its members just don't care, now, that seems to be a pretty important claim. Could you cite some sort of evidence to support it (perhaps what members "have said so far"), or is it easier to impugn people by keeping the evidence far away from your point?
There are 15 members listed on the HSAPQ website (you are one of them, just so you know), all of whom are very competent writers. As soon as the set editor became aware of the "emergency" or the possibility that the set may not finish on time, he should have asked for help from the 14 other members. Experienced writers can write solid 10/10 high school questions in one evening, and if half of the members were unavailable to write for whatever reason, you still have 70/70 (I assume that would have been enough to finish the set). I don't know what happened instead, but I do know that it didn't happen. The two likely explanations that I had in mind were flaws in communication/organization or indifference on the part of the writers. I guess it was the former.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:01 pm

aestheteboy wrote:There are 15 members listed on the HSAPQ website (you are one of them, just so you know), all of whom are very competent writers. As soon as the set editor became aware of the "emergency" or the possibility that the set may not finish on time, he should have asked for help from the 14 other members. Experienced writers can write solid 10/10 high school questions in one evening, and if half of the members were unavailable to write for whatever reason, you still have 70/70 (I assume that would have been enough to finish the set). I don't know what happened instead, but I do know that it didn't happen. The two likely explanations that I had in mind were flaws in communication/organization or indifference on the part of the writers. I guess it was the former.
That list is inaccurate; the website hasn't been updated for a while. (Its list of tournaments being run on HSAPQ questions seems to fail a little, for example.) In any event, I certainly couldn't count as an HSAPQ member in good standing, seeing as I've written zero questions since their third set.

I'm very reluctant to say that HSAPQ writers are broadly "indifferent" (or Andrew wouldn't be head editing PACE NSC; or Dwight wouldn't be managing the high school circuit of a whole state, et cetera), so I'm much more willing to conclude that communication didn't happen, particularly because when we came close to deadlines on HFT and T-Party, the issues were entirely communication, rather than people not caring about Harvard's reputation. (That Peter Carey bonus, however, was outright character assassination on Adam Hallowell's part.)

I've got no beef here; I just wanted to make sure we were clear.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by dtaylor4 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:06 pm

aestheteboy wrote:There are 15 members listed on the HSAPQ website (you are one of them, just so you know), all of whom are very competent writers. As soon as the set editor became aware of the "emergency" or the possibility that the set may not finish on time, he should have asked for help from the 14 other members. Experienced writers can write solid 10/10 high school questions in one evening, and if half of the members were unavailable to write for whatever reason, you still have 70/70 (I assume that would have been enough to finish the set). I don't know what happened instead, but I do know that it didn't happen. The two likely explanations that I had in mind were flaws in communication/organization or indifference on the part of the writers. I guess it was the former.
I haven't looked at any of their questions, but trust the judgment of the players/coaches/writers in that they are good questions. That being said, if it is the former, HSAPQ needs to come out and say so, while simultaneously rectifying this problem so it doesn't happen again.

I'll also echo Mike's statement in the other thread about a disturbing trend of stuff not getting done on time. I could probably count on one hand the number of current writers who have never been in charge of writing a set that wasn't done before the day before the tournament. There are a huge number of competent writers on the circuit today, but looking at the huge variances in quality, it doesn't show.

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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:09 pm

dtaylor4 wrote: I'll also echo Mike's statement in the other thread about a disturbing trend of stuff not getting done on time. I could probably count on one hand the number of current writers who have never been in charge of writing a set that wasn't done before the day before the tournament. There are a huge number of competent writers on the circuit today, but looking at the huge variances in quality, it doesn't show.
I mean, the day before is something, at least. That's not nearly so much of a problem as the sets that have actually not been ready the day of the tournament.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by at your pleasure » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:10 pm

Andrew wouldn't be head editing PACE NSC; or Dwight wouldn't be managing the high school circuit of a whole state, et cetera),
I'm going to guess this is part of the problem as well. People are probably just taking too much onto themselves, and something's going to get short-shifted. In a lot of cases, I suspect that thing was HSAPQ. Also, I think that more information about what was/was not being communicated in cases where there were problems would be helpful for people trying to produce stuff so they know what to avoid.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:12 pm

What's the next announced event that's supposed to use set #4? Are there any others yet? Will they be done by whatever time that is as well?
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by dtaylor4 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:14 pm

everyday847 wrote:I mean, the day before is something, at least. That's not nearly so much of a problem as the sets that have actually not been ready the day of the tournament.
My argument is that it's getting done, but the quality is lacking. Oftentimes, writers/editors sacrifice quality for simply getting it done. This should change.

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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Magister Ludi » Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:20 pm

HSAPQ would like to apologize for the terrible situation Robinson High School was put through this past week. Unfortunately the editor of the ACF-4 set, Billy Beyer, had not completed his editorial work and did not tell anyone he needed help in finishing the set. Last weekend Beyer sent the Michigan tournament that was supposed to use ACF-4 a different set without informing anyone within HSAPQ of his decision. Beyer served as HSAPQ’s CFO and accordingly was in charge of mailing the questions to our customers. No one in HSAPQ was aware of the full severity of the situation until this afternoon. Beyer did not answer his phone or return calls this week and did not answer emails from Coach Campana or other HSAPQ members asking why the questions had not been mailed. Beyer has been suspended from HSAPQ over this situation.

HSAPQ values the highest standards of professionalism and is taking action immediately to alleviate both the present situation with Robinson and any future concerns about our unreliability. As a first step HSAPQ would like to do anything possible to persuade Robinson to reconsider canceling their tournament. The ACF-4 set is finished and as a token of our apology HSAPQ would like to offer Robinson a completely free set of questions. These questions will be copied at HSAPQ's expense and hand delivered to your school at 7:30 AM Saturday morning. If Robinson feels unable to host the tournament this Saturday and would like to reschedule for another date, HSAPQ's offer of free questions remains open indefinitely.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Robbie Ram » Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:59 am

Magister Ludi wrote:HSAPQ would like to apologize for the terrible situation Robinson High School was put through this past week. Unfortunately the editor of the ACF-4 set, Billy Beyer, had not completed his editorial work and did not tell anyone he needed help in finishing the set. Last weekend Beyer sent the Michigan tournament that was supposed to use ACF-4 a different set without informing anyone within HSAPQ of his decision. Beyer served as HSAPQ’s CFO and accordingly was in charge of mailing the questions to our customers. No one in HSAPQ was aware of the full severity of the situation until this afternoon. Beyer did not answer his phone or return calls this week and did not answer emails from Coach Campana or other HSAPQ members asking why the questions had not been mailed. Beyer has been suspended from HSAPQ over this situation.

HSAPQ values the highest standards of professionalism and is taking action immediately to alleviate both the present situation with Robinson and any future concerns about our unreliability. As a first step HSAPQ would like to do anything possible to persuade Robinson to reconsider canceling their tournament. The ACF-4 set is finished and as a token of our apology HSAPQ would like to offer Robinson a completely free set of questions. These questions will be copied at HSAPQ's expense and hand delivered to your school at 7:30 AM Saturday morning. If Robinson feels unable to host the tournament this Saturday and would like to reschedule for another date, HSAPQ's offer of free questions remains open indefinitely.
I have revised and edited my initial post in this thread to reflect all that Ted has said above. I would like to publicly thank him and the other HSAPQ board members for taking what steps they could to remedy this situation. While it is unfortunately beyond my power at this point to un-postpone the RAQIT tournament, I will do everything in my power to see if it can be re-scheduled this year if there's any possibility whatsoever.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by jonpin » Fri Mar 27, 2009 1:47 pm

Magister Ludi wrote:HSAPQ would like to apologize for the terrible situation Robinson High School was put through this past week. Unfortunately the editor of the ACF-4 set, Billy Beyer, had not completed his editorial work and did not tell anyone he needed help in finishing the set. Last weekend Beyer sent the Michigan tournament that was supposed to use ACF-4 a different set without informing anyone within HSAPQ of his decision. Beyer served as HSAPQ’s CFO and accordingly was in charge of mailing the questions to our customers. No one in HSAPQ was aware of the full severity of the situation until this afternoon. Beyer did not answer his phone or return calls this week and did not answer emails from Coach Campana or other HSAPQ members asking why the questions had not been mailed. Beyer has been suspended from HSAPQ over this situation.
Who is the contact person for receiving questions at this time?
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Kechara » Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:06 pm

hwhite wrote: The trouble is, unless people are told about a hard and fast deadline, they won't know that they have to abide by it.
The trouble also is, even when people are told about a hard and fast deadline, they just don't abide by it. This isn't just about HSAPQ, it's about the writing circuit as a whole and what the circuit has lowered their standards to over the years in terms of timeliness. Dave and I have both spent quite a few nearly-sleepless nights over the past 7 years because of people not abiding by hard and fast deadlines. That's why we stopped Academic Initiative...it just wasn't worth the headache of trying to edit questions delivered after the last minute when we both had full-time jobs as well.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by Magister Ludi » Fri Mar 27, 2009 5:15 pm

jonpin wrote:
Magister Ludi wrote:HSAPQ would like to apologize for the terrible situation Robinson High School was put through this past week. Unfortunately the editor of the ACF-4 set, Billy Beyer, had not completed his editorial work and did not tell anyone he needed help in finishing the set. Last weekend Beyer sent the Michigan tournament that was supposed to use ACF-4 a different set without informing anyone within HSAPQ of his decision. Beyer served as HSAPQ’s CFO and accordingly was in charge of mailing the questions to our customers. No one in HSAPQ was aware of the full severity of the situation until this afternoon. Beyer did not answer his phone or return calls this week and did not answer emails from Coach Campana or other HSAPQ members asking why the questions had not been mailed. Beyer has been suspended from HSAPQ over this situation.
Who is the contact person for receiving questions at this time?
Please contact me or Matt Weiner until a new CFO is appointed.
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Re: Do not use HSAPQ for your tournament!!!

Post by AKKOLADE » Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:47 pm

Kechara wrote:
hwhite wrote: The trouble is, unless people are told about a hard and fast deadline, they won't know that they have to abide by it.
The trouble also is, even when people are told about a hard and fast deadline, they just don't abide by it. This isn't just about HSAPQ, it's about the writing circuit as a whole and what the circuit has lowered their standards to over the years in terms of timeliness. Dave and I have both spent quite a few nearly-sleepless nights over the past 7 years because of people not abiding by hard and fast deadlines. That's why we stopped Academic Initiative...it just wasn't worth the headache of trying to edit questions delivered after the last minute when we both had full-time jobs as well.
kids these days etc etc
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Re: A word of caution when ordering HSAPQ questions...

Post by jbarnes112358 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:33 pm

To question writers and editors everywhere, this sad episode should be a wake-up call. We should all be appreciative to Mr. Campana for sounding the alarm. The apparent trend towards just-in-time question delivery needs to be reversed. There are simply too many things that can go wrong with this type of production schedule. Even two days before a tournament is not soon enough. Two weeks before would be a more reasonable expectation, especially when the questions are ordered months in advance.
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