Why we can't have nice things

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8411
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:04 pm

Dresden The Moderator wrote:If I'm interpreting this correctly this means you would, in real life, go up to someone you scarcely know and call them a liar, a poor authority figure and bad at their job? That is just cold.
If I told them "you are wearing a purple shirt today" and they responded by jumping around the room screaming "LIBERALS!" then yeah, I very well might do that.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
Geringer
Rikku
Posts: 354
Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 11:10 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Geringer » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:11 pm

Not to defend QG, but as previously stated, the Masonic tournament can net huge funds for a victorious team and possibly fund an entire year's worth of tournaments. While the format sucks and the questions suck harder, if a team needs to win at Masonics to pay for their season, trying to get a good handle on this format before storming in to the sectional is somewhat understandable. After all, if they don't win at Masonics, they might not have to budget to attend mACF-style tournaments. Especially with funding cuts, the money will certainly disappear from their quizbowl accounts before the football team even has to worry about it. Especially when a team is not able to run a house-write or can't attract enough of a field for a major fundraiser tournament, the Masons might be their only hope. After all, the Masons' money paid my NSC entrance fee last year.
R. Jeffrey Geringer
Saint Viator '09
Illinois '13, '14

Kanga-Rat Murder Society
Wakka
Posts: 209
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 10:52 pm
Location: NW Suburbia, IL

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:48 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:Coach Grant, what's your position here regarding the relationship between your chosen question source and the "operational" side of a tournament? I've run totally smooth tournaments on pyramidal high school and college questions, so I'm not sure in what respects using QG makes the tournament smoother.
I'm obviously not Coach Grant, but I think I can answer this. I assume that his Masonic tournament uses almost entirely volunteers with no relationship to the Scholastic Bowl program. These volunteers are probably not familiar with the system that is being used for the Masonic state tournament this year. Volunteers are often confused by minor changes in format, so expecting them to understand the new Masonics system if they have never read a tournament in the format before would be wishful thinking. In case you are not familiar with the Masons format for this year, it is:
Each match will consist of a tossup session with 16 tossups worth 15 points each followed by a bonus session with 16 bonuses worth 30 points each. Each team will get first crack at 8 of the bonuses, with rebounding. (I know that bonus is a poor word choice with this format, but that's an extremely minor issue in my mind.)
Since QG is the only company which produces in this format, I think it is pretty obvious that Mr. Grant needs to buy QG to familiarize his volunteers with format. If not, and his moderators are as incompetent as other volunteers I have seen, then all hell will break loose at a state tournament qualifier.

The only real issue I have with this tournament is the use of Avery in the afternoon. Quite frankly, I think that once PORTA decided to host the Masonic Sectional, they had no choice other than using QG. If anything, he should be praised for only using the questions in the morning, because if he truly thought they were effective questions, he would be running his whole tournament with them.
Nicholas Bergeon
Buffalo Grove High School '09
UW-Madison '12
WUSTL Law'15

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:16 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:Coach Grant, what's your position here regarding the relationship between your chosen question source and the "operational" side of a tournament? I've run totally smooth tournaments on pyramidal high school and college questions, so I'm not sure in what respects using QG makes the tournament smoother.
The chosen source was based on Masonic choosing QG as the source for thier tournament. Since round length was an unknown, other than the schedule proposed by Masonic, I did not want to change the too much from the real-world conditions. Secondly the majority of my moderators, who preview all my questions for accuracy, readability and aternative responses, have no experience with QG, since I don't use them as a supplier (this meet being the exception). As a result I wanted them to have some idea of what to expect, and what to look for when reviewed the actual questions for the meet.

Again, since I had no influence over the questions used for the Masonic, I made a decision to use them for a portion of my meet.

Everyone was aware of the decision before entering the meet, and only one team had a problem with it and I fully understood and respected their decision to not participate. I have been lead to believe that they understand my decision and next year when I return to a more conventional Pyramidal form of tournament they have indicated a desire to participate.

I might add, not as defense but as a consideration, most of the teams who attend my tournament will be more than comfortable with the format. Most are just now adjusting to the pyramidal format and find a steady diet frustrating. Even those who who are comfortable in a pyramidal format adapt well and will have an enjoyable experience, assuming my people do a good job of weeding out the poor questions. As I said earlier I ordered 150 toss-ups in oeder to get 48 that will work.
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

User avatar
cvdwightw
Auron
Posts: 3446
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Southern CA
Contact:

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by cvdwightw » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:17 pm

Shcool wrote:Dwight, here's a better analogy:
A student at a school wears one of those bright orange belts at recess because the school has appointed him Playground Monitor. The student has a reputation for getting into fights with new transfer students because he has on several occasions gotten into fights with new transfer students. The school asks him why he always gets in fights with transfer students, and he claims that it is always the transfer students' faults, and the school believes him. A bunch of regular students ask the school why this kid is still the Playground Monitor, and the kid tells the school not to pay attention to them because they are idiots, and the school buys it and keeps him on as Playground Monitor. He then punches all of the kids who complained in the face, which the school chooses to ignore. A prominent member of the community leaves and tells the school it is because that kid has created a bad environment, and upon being confronted he behaves for a few days before returning to his old ways. The school gets a reputation for being a bad place for transfer students, and the kid says that the school should not do anything about that because it is possible that what many people are telling them is untrue, so the school does nothing about it.
Here's the problem with your analogy: you're conveniently ignoring the fact that the Playground Monitor isn't going around beating up transfer students without provocation. To my knowledge, Matt has never pre-emptively targeted any new poster. What he's objecting to is the people who come on here and post "don't lecture me about how my tournament is/was terrible because I don't want to hear those arguments." It would be like if the transfer student spent the first recess at the new school throwing rocks, and when the Playground Monitor comes over to talk to him about it, the student starts telling him "don't tell me not to throw rocks, because that was perfectly fine at my old school." So the Playground Monitor decides that the only way to get through to this kid is to beat him up, and the school ignores it because the kid was throwing rocks.

I hope you go through most of the tit-for-tat-nonsense over the past couple of years and either prove me wrong or learn that the problem is not that Matt is intentionally instigating the flapfests on the boards; the only problem is whether or not Matt is overaggressively reacting and conflating his positions of Good Quizbowl Crusader and Board Administrator in the same post.
Matt Weiner wrote:If I told them "you are wearing a purple shirt today" and they responded by jumping around the room screaming "LIBERALS!" then yeah, I very well might do that.
But see, you're not telling them that. It's like if your school colors were green and gold, and on School Spirit Day you told a new student that "You are wearing a purple shirt today." On the surface that's a perfectly innocuous statement; it should just be a harmless statement of fact with the implication that the student should be wearing a green or gold shirt instead. But if someone comes to your school with the preconceived notion that (1) you're a jerk and (2) you're a member of the School Spirit Committee and have the power (no matter how seldom exercised) to temporarily kick the student out of the school, then that student is not going to view it as a harmless comment on a lack of school spirit; he's going to view it as a personal attack on himself and/or his wardrobe, even if you didn't mean it like that.

I had a much longer post written out, but everything I wanted to say about Matt's administrative skills can be summarized with his responses here (pages 2 and 3 of the Georgia thread, for people who don't want to actually go find those posts). Without putting words in his mouth, I think this (except for the whole Sandy-William spat) is how Matt wants forum discussions to look (solution-oriented, discussion of actual obstacles) and how he wants to administrate the forums. Sadly, I think there's a switch that goes on when the discussion stops being solution-oriented and starts devolving into each side blaming the other for the fact that the thread was derailed in the first place.
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
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

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:33 pm

BG MSL Champs wrote:The only real issue I have with this tournament is the use of Avery in the afternoon.
I understand now the problems most of you have with Avery, and I respect that you have good and sincere reasons. However, I had not had any of the experiences that you described and went with a source that I knew. Normally I would have written the questions in-house and they would have been pyramidal, however personal conditions dictated that that was not going to happen. By looking at the major players in pyramidal questions I didn't want to ask them to respond in a short time frame for only 4-5 sets of questions, perhaps an error on my part.
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

User avatar
Auroni
Auron
Posts: 2998
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Brooklyn

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Auroni » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:41 pm

Mr. Grant, I would strongly urge you to consider Jeff Geringer's proposal to use a housewritten set at least for the afternoon rounds. While you might or might not be justified in using QG questions to emulate the Masonic Format, you really don't want to deal with Avery's questions. Avery's reputation is at least a thousand times worse than Questions Galore's is; all you need to do is to read his exchanges with board members here as outlined in this post: viewtopic.php?p=170416#p170416. There are several uncleared non-vendor sets, such as GSAC and the UGA set, whose head editors would certainly sympathize with your position and offer you a reasonable deal to use their questions on very short notice. Again, please do not subject the players at your tournament to Avery's questions. They really are the bottom of the line.
Auroni Gupta
UIUC
ACF

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:10 pm

jpn wrote:Mr. Grant, I would strongly urge you to consider Jeff Geringer's proposal to use a housewritten set at least for the afternoon rounds. While you might or might not be justified in using QG questions to emulate the Masonic Format, you really don't want to deal with Avery's questions. Avery's reputation is at least a thousand times worse than Questions Galore's is; all you need to do is to read his exchanges with board members here as outlined in this post: viewtopic.php?p=170416#p170416. There are several uncleared non-vendor sets, such as GSAC and the UGA set, whose head editors would certainly sympathize with your position and offer you a reasonable deal to use their questions on very short notice. Again, please do not subject the players at your tournament to Avery's questions. They really are the bottom of the line.
Since the meet is Saturday and my moderators have the questions already, it is pretty much a moot point. In the future I will certainly look to other options such as you have described. Assuming I survive in this forum, :grin: (once again only kidding) I look forward to discussing a variety of issues.
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

User avatar
Nine-Tenths Ideas
Auron
Posts: 1549
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:14 pm
Location: MD

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:56 pm

Macho Man for Expediency wrote:Not to defend QG, but as previously stated, the Masonic tournament can net huge funds for a victorious team and possibly fund an entire year's worth of tournaments. While the format sucks and the questions suck harder, if a team needs to win at Masonics to pay for their season, trying to get a good handle on this format before storming in to the sectional is somewhat understandable. After all, if they don't win at Masonics, they might not have to budget to attend mACF-style tournaments. Especially with funding cuts, the money will certainly disappear from their quizbowl accounts before the football team even has to worry about it. Especially when a team is not able to run a house-write or can't attract enough of a field for a major fundraiser tournament, the Masons might be their only hope. After all, the Masons' money paid my NSC entrance fee last year.
Rebuttal
Isaac Hirsch
University of Maryland '14
Never Gonna Play Again

User avatar
Edward Elric
Tidus
Posts: 506
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:31 pm
Location: Wheaton, IL

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Edward Elric » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:15 pm

Aldo Montoya wrote:
Macho Man for Expediency wrote:Not to defend QG, but as previously stated, the Masonic tournament can net huge funds for a victorious team and possibly fund an entire year's worth of tournaments. While the format sucks and the questions suck harder, if a team needs to win at Masonics to pay for their season, trying to get a good handle on this format before storming in to the sectional is somewhat understandable. After all, if they don't win at Masonics, they might not have to budget to attend mACF-style tournaments. Especially with funding cuts, the money will certainly disappear from their quizbowl accounts before the football team even has to worry about it. Especially when a team is not able to run a house-write or can't attract enough of a field for a major fundraiser tournament, the Masons might be their only hope. After all, the Masons' money paid my NSC entrance fee last year.
Rebuttal
Haha good one
Mike Perovanovic
University of Ill.-Chicago '13
Wheaton North '09

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5686
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by theMoMA » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:17 pm

I think what people are missing is that the first thread was not reasoned discussion. No matter how you construe Matt's first comment, it was a statement of fact. The response effectively destroyed the terms of reasonable discussion. Look, people get angry and say inappropriate things from time to time, and those things typically seem to escalate when the cold truth of their inappropriateness and falseness is exposed, especially in a ruthless manner. We can understand that and move past it if we all agree to do so, as we seem to be doing here.

Now, we have established that there is indeed a common ground for us to discuss, and we're all doing it on reasonable terms. We're making progress and discussing openly both the points at hand and the manner in which we conduct ourselves when communicating with others. Instead of understanding all this happening in spite of Matt's actions, I see it happening directly because of them. By making clear in the coldest possible terms the unacceptability of the terms of the previous discussion, Matt's strategy has allowed us to get to this point. He may have to be forever a jerk to a few Illinois quizbowlers, but we have made lots of progress in both the discussion of Illinois quizbowl and the acceptable means of discussion about quizbowl in general; infinitely more progress, I would argue, than a soft- or backhanded approach would have made.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

jrbarry
Yuna
Posts: 853
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 10:22 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by jrbarry » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:20 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:What a ridiculous claim. Of course it matters, and of course people who claim authority by virtue of their real-world status should be held to a higher standard. We haven't even gotten into this point at all, but the patronizing that people like JR Barry project towards anyone younger than them (even college students or professionals in their 30s) by virtue of their "I'm the teacher and you have to listen to me" mentality is a huge problem here and a major source of these conflicts.
You mistake my desire to promote this activity and my opinions about what is good in quiz bowl for a "patronizing, I'm the teacher and you have to listen to me" mentality. You have attacked me personally on this site and in other places as I answer a questions asked or give an opinion that differs somewhat from your's. Bringing my name up in this fashion here is patently absurd, but it would seem you just cannot help yourself in that regard. Consider dropping my name less or even not dropping it at all.
J.R. Barry
Retired teacher and former coach

The Atom Strikes!
Tidus
Posts: 612
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:05 pm
Location: Houston, Texas

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by The Atom Strikes! » Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:23 pm

In response to the initial controversy that started things off, I'll remark that while Coach Grant's posts were very inappropriate, Matt's response as a board administrator was a severe overreaction. If somebody is posting inappropriately, a moderator or administrator might simply post telling them that they are wrong to do so and link to the board rules-- still telling them that their style of discourse is unacceptable in no uncertain terms. Whether or not Matt's statements were valid, they certainly failed to promote the productive discourse that he sought.

I also think that we as a whole are wrong in the way that we so often single out those who do not understand the tenets of good quizbowl as deviant thoughtcriminals. The reasons why pyramidal questions, round-robin formatting structures, and distributions in academic tournaments focusing on more significant facts rather than trivia are obvious to most of us. However, somebody completely new to quizbowl, or somebody from outside of the established circuit, probably has not thought about the issues in the same way. I don't think that most of these people regard quizbowl as an ideological matter, so they will likely change their views when given a reasoned explanation. I actually had an excellent experience of this sort at the beginning of this year-- one of my teammates at Rice came from a school that did not play good quizbowl-- in fact, he won a national championship for Chip in his senior year of high school. However, when I talked about the quizbowl that I played in highschool, and why I liked it more than Chip, he understood almost immediately. Now, he's become a staunch mACF lover and says that he doesn't understand how he played on such crap in high school.

On the other hand, we often tend to bombard people with a very pointed, almost somewhat hostile attitude. This is in part magnified by the fact that the areas where bad quizbowl holds sway tend to be more rural and conservative, but the most prominent defenders of good quizbowl mostly tend to live in cities and more liberal areas, leading a lot of people to see the defenders of good quizbowl as elitist outsiders who belittle and bully them. I think that we, as a whole, should make more of a good-faith effort to engage those who have not seen the light as equals, and discuss the reasons why we like good quizbowl in the way that we would discuss an intellectual topic with a friend.

Of course, this does not apply to those who obviously should no better, and those whose ethics are obviously dubious, in the way of Beall/Avery. And, of course, I'm not suggesting that we compromise our own beliefs about what constitutes good quizbowl-- but merely reformulate our arguments for it so that they bring people in rather than provoking a communication breakdown.
Henry Gorman, Wilmington Charter '09, Rice '13, PhD History Vanderbilt '1X

User avatar
kayli
Auron
Posts: 1525
Joined: Sat Jun 21, 2008 10:15 pm
Location: Illinois

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by kayli » Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:22 pm

Aldo Montoya wrote:
Macho Man for Expediency wrote:Not to defend QG, but as previously stated, the Masonic tournament can net huge funds for a victorious team and possibly fund an entire year's worth of tournaments. While the format sucks and the questions suck harder, if a team needs to win at Masonics to pay for their season, trying to get a good handle on this format before storming in to the sectional is somewhat understandable. After all, if they don't win at Masonics, they might not have to budget to attend mACF-style tournaments. Especially with funding cuts, the money will certainly disappear from their quizbowl accounts before the football team even has to worry about it. Especially when a team is not able to run a house-write or can't attract enough of a field for a major fundraiser tournament, the Masons might be their only hope. After all, the Masons' money paid my NSC entrance fee last year.
Rebuttal
To be honest, I'd consider it if the price were $500 or something... unfortunately this is impossible for me and my 6 inch biceps.
Kay, Chicago.

User avatar
jonpin
Forums Staff: Moderator
Posts: 2028
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 6:45 pm
Location: BCA NJ / WUSTL MO / Hackensack NJ

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by jonpin » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:00 am

Aldo Montoya wrote:
Macho Man for Expediency wrote:Not to defend QG, but as previously stated, the Masonic tournament can net huge funds for a victorious team and possibly fund an entire year's worth of tournaments. While the format sucks and the questions suck harder, if a team needs to win at Masonics to pay for their season, trying to get a good handle on this format before storming in to the sectional is somewhat understandable. After all, if they don't win at Masonics, they might not have to budget to attend mACF-style tournaments. Especially with funding cuts, the money will certainly disappear from their quizbowl accounts before the football team even has to worry about it. Especially when a team is not able to run a house-write or can't attract enough of a field for a major fundraiser tournament, the Masons might be their only hope. After all, the Masons' money paid my NSC entrance fee last year.
Rebuttal
That's a pretty terrible analogy there. Playing bad quizbowl is not a violent act, and is detrimental only so far as propping up a business that should not benefit. Maybe a better one would be "Would you buy a ticket to watch The View*?" No. "What if you had a 1 in 10 shot of winning $500?" Well, probably.

*-or pro wrestling, or whatever. In fact, from what I can tell, the Masonics competition itself doesn't have any entry fee. So maybe it's just "Would you go to see The View?" I wouldn't, because it would be a painful way to spend a day. But if my team had a significant chance at winning significant money, maybe you would.
Jon Pinyan
Coach, Bergen County Academies (NJ); former player for BCA (2000-03) and WUSTL (2003-07)
HSQB forum mod, PACE member
Stat director for: NSC '13-'15, '17; ACF '14, '17, '19; NHBB '13-'15; NASAT '11

"A [...] wizard who controls the weather" - Jerry Vinokurov

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Captain Sinico » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:52 am

Can we please all stop talking in stilted, pointless analogies? (NOTE: Exceptions may be made for particularly funny and apropos analogies like that comic.)

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8411
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Matt Weiner » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:22 am

I find this thread on a similar topic from three years ago, particularly Mike's several posts and one of my own, to be very relevant to the current discussion: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=4243&start=0
I wrote:There is something of an anti-intellectual strain in the idea that no amount of demonstrated experience, logical argument, or time spent studying the issue can make anyone know more about quizbowl than anyone else, even when considering extreme examples of, say, people who have edited well-received tournaments at the highest levels of both collegiate and high school competition, versus our example of someone from Utah who has never even attended a good tournament. Such a premise is often stated outright, and is always implicit in the idea that only an appeal to democracy, where we just vote on what is more popular since everyone's opinions are by necessity exactly equal, can resolve these questions of what quizbowl should be.
The above is pretty much what I think about every time I see this mysterious "elitism" word thrown around. I asked Grant to define exactly what he meant by that, but he didn't respond. Frankly I think it's a shorthand for "listening to people who actually do know better than me" and the idea of being opposed to it is absurd. I think the tension inherent in the "your opinions are subject to critique and change and are probably wrong" model versus the "everyone is born with an arbitrary set of beliefs and it's offensive to question them" model underlies a lot of the conflict here. People go in with the wrong expectations and simply don't expect to be questioned at all, and that leads to either fallacious responses to the whole idea of trying to draw out what is good and bad (eg, "well I have fun playing College Bowl so I don't care what you think about it") or flipouts. Can we talk about this?

Another, separate, thing that I'd like to get back to in this thread is why the IHSSBCA page currently advises coaches to watch a College Bowl match from 1966, but does not direct them to a site that lists and discusses high school quizbowl tournaments.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:21 am

Matt Weiner wrote: I asked Grant to define exactly what he meant by that, but he didn't respond.
Actually I did respond to your post, which asked me to define elitism in the context that it was being used. Since I am still having trouble with using the quote feature I apologize if this is not a word for word repetition.

My response was that in the context of the discussion, I interpreted your post, "your using QG AND Avery" to be a dismissal of my original post and all it contained and therefore not worthy of your responding. I admitted that this may have been a overreaction, but having read the earlier posts in December concerning what I was doing, as well as looking on other threads where such dismissals were common place, it is the reaction I had.

Elitism, to me, on a more general note, is the presumption that your view on a matter is always right, and therefore any variance is by default wrong. As a result the elitist feels they need offer no explaination beyond their own pronouncement to justify their correctness. By my using QG and Avery, you pronounced that my tournament was bad, I was bad, and eventually my program was bad and that my views were therefore not to be considered.

Your claim that I never responded to would therefore suggest:

A) you missed my post and therefore made a mistake. (Human)

B) You read my post but did not deem it worthy of your response. (Elitist)

C) You read my post, but chose to say otherwise to advance your arguement that I am not worth recognizing. (Liar)

I do not wish this to excite more problems, but I do feel that on this point I am being dealt with unfairly.
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8411
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Matt Weiner » Fri Jan 29, 2010 11:40 am

OK, I didn't think that post was addressing my post because it didn't really answer what I asked. If your definition of "elitist" is "bad argument" then it's a novel one and I would request that you use more precise language to facilitate better communication.

And I think it's a little unfair to claim that what you wanted was for people to present you with an argument against Questions Galore, when the whole premise of your meltdown was that no one has any right to challenge your use of Questions Galore. You're creating a Catch-22 where any discourse is "uncivil" and to be ignored, which is exactly why discourse critiques are not allowed in such threads.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Jan 29, 2010 12:31 pm

Yeah, I tend to side (at least in part) with Matt here. Coach Grant, I think several arguments were offered against Questions Galore without the air of "look at how right I am" grandstanding; I think one of the problems here is that these boards have a lot of closed questions. It's a closed question whether QG ought to be used, and I think you know what the board's answer is. I think the boards, moreover, would seek any remedy possible for your stated problems (which I'm willing to admit are very real) with potential staffers: that they want a tournament to warm up to the format, whatever. (I've gotten crazier ultimatums from teams attending tournaments, so I'm quite willing to believe staff would make demands that seem strange to us.)

Other options to explore in the future would include putting out a call for moderators and other help on the boards, by the way. If your moderator problems are so strange and severe that QG is (somehow) your only choice, I'm sure some people would be willing to help you out.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Deviant Insider
Auron
Posts: 4592
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:08 am
Location: Chicagoland
Contact:

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:37 pm

Dwight is correct that my analogy is imperfect. As Sorice has reminded us, analogies generally have flaws. In this case, we have transcripts that show that my analogy was flawed. That's why I followed my analogy with a direct statement.

Andy is correct that we have made progress dealing with Coach Grant, and the actions Matt Weiner took were a major part of that process. However, this is an ends justify the means argument that misses out on the fact that the argument between Grant and Weiner (which some other people, including possibly me, inflamed) have contributed to what some people see as a somewhat toxic atmosphere on this board, including people not from Illinois. To add to Andy's compliments, I'll say that overall Matt has done wonderful things with this site and wonderful things with quizbowl on a national level, many of which have had a significant positive impact on Illinois. I don't want anybody to confuse the fact that we argue a lot on the internet to draw the conclusion that I don't have a lot of respect for him. Anybody who does not think that he has had a significant positive impact on our activity simply does not understand the history of quizbowl over the last ten years.

Matt's link is a non sequitur, since I don't believe all views deserve equal treatment, and I'm pretty sure Coach Grant does not believe that either. I don't see why it is relevant that some posters a while ago said some things that are wrong.

As to Matt's question as to why IHSSBCA currently links to a College Bowl match from 1966 but not this site, the first, and unimportant, part of my answer is that the 1966 College Bowl match is pretty cool. Furthermore, it is my hope that removing the link was a temporary measure. I am going to see if anything comes of this discussion, both in terms of adjustments to board policy and in terms of anybody convincing me that I have made a mistake. So far, I have not heard from any current members of our Steering Committee on this issue other than a short, semi-relevant post by Jonah upthread (Laird's post upthread was irrelevant to this issue) on this, but some of them read these boards and are free to communicate with my publicly or privately. To be very clear, I have never taken action against anybody on the Steering Committee for disagreeing with me, and I certainly would not do so for disagreeing with me on an issue such as this one. Also to be clear, anybody is free to communicate with me publicly or privately. I was contacted by a former Steering Committee member who told me that I did not go far enough.

The reason I acted as I did is that many of our members and members' students who would be most interested in this board are already here. Many of the others are novices when it comes to internet discussions and discussions on the differences between good and bad quizbowl. In fact, I am of the belief that Coach Grant is ahead of the curve, and I say that being fully aware of his behavior in the other thread and its inappropriateness. I believe that many people have opinions that are difficult to defend and that it is human nature to lash back when attacked and to have difficulty among strangers determining when their attacks are based on issues and when they are based on personal reasons. I do not want to send people to a website on which a site administrator will tell them publicly and incorrectly that anybody who is not an idiot thinks that they are incapable of being a quizbowl coach and educator in any meaningful way, and then have the administrator show no contrition whatsoever. I am fully aware that there is a downside to removing the link, and, like I said before, I hope to have reason to put it back up at some point, and that reason may be an adjustment in this site or clearer thinking on my part.

Read again the posts that Matt, Kay, Nick, and Jonah made Wednesday night in this thread. As an educator, I hesitate to send students to an atmosphere like the one they describe. As an educator, I have to treat those types of concerns seriously. To the extent that I have contributed to the sometimes negative atmosphere, I have to make a resolution to try to do a better job myself of not contributing to it in the future and even doing something to lessen it if I am going to continue to be a part of it.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:44 pm

Shcool wrote:Andy is correct that we have made progress dealing with Coach Grant, and the actions Matt Weiner took were a major part of that process. However, this is an ends justify the means argument that misses out on the fact that the argument between Grant and Weiner (which some other people, including possibly me, inflamed) have contributed to what some people see as a somewhat toxic atmosphere on this board, including people not from Illinois. To add to Andy's compliments, I'll say that overall Matt has done wonderful things with this site and wonderful things with quizbowl on a national level, many of which have had a significant positive impact on Illinois. I don't want anybody to confuse the fact that we argue a lot on the internet to draw the conclusion that I don't have a lot of respect for him. Anybody who does not think that he has had a significant positive impact on our activity simply does not understand the history of quizbowl over the last ten years.
I assume you mean Andrew Hart here, for what it's worth.

ALTERNATIVE COMEDY VERSION: You're a liar! I never said any of that! Liar!
Andrew Watkins

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:12 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:OK, I didn't think that post was addressing my post because it didn't really answer what I asked. If your definition of "elitist" is "bad argument" then it's a novel one and I would request that you use more precise language to facilitate better communication.
No not "bad argument" but rather dismissive, much like the first sentence of this post. If it is your intent to bait me into a repeat of the other night, you'll have to do better.
Matt Weiner wrote:And I think it's a little unfair to claim that what you wanted was for people to present you with an argument against Questions Galore, when the whole premise of your meltdown was that no one has any right to challenge your use of Questions Galore. You're creating a Catch-22 where any discourse is "uncivil" and to be ignored, which is exactly why discourse critiques are not allowed in such threads.
Also not a true representation of the facts. I clearly stated in my first post, that I accepted that there was no defensible argument for QG in general to be offered, I simply presented the reasons why It might be justifiable in this unique case. Your response was not directed at my decision to host, my decision to prepare, or my decision to be a part a the forum. Rather your response was, at least to me, to dismiss me as one to be totally ignored for compounding my crime by using Avery as well.
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Captain Sinico » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:24 pm

mrgsmath wrote:...I accepted that there was no defensible argument for QG in general to be offered, I simply presented the reasons why It might be justifiable in this unique case.
That's what's known as the fallacy of special pleading. It is categorically true that in this case your actions are inconsistent with your own convictions.
Also, if all types of quizbowl are of value (per you,) what's wrong with QG even in general (also per you?) It seems to me that your convictions are also inconsistent with themselves.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Fri Jan 29, 2010 4:31 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:I think several arguments were offered against Questions Galore without the air of "look at how right I am" grandstanding; I think one of the problems here is that these boards have a lot of closed questions. It's a closed question whether QG ought to be used, and I think you know what the board's answer is.
I do realize what you are saying. As I said previously, I was aware of the boards problems with QG, and offered a Mia Culpa to that point in my first post, what I was not aware of was the feelings towards Avery. It was my dismissal on that basis that caused my reaction, some might say over-reaction, and troublesome second posting. Couple this with the delays imposed on my not being able to respond in real-time due to review policies and a signature being missing, resulted in my being berated pretty badly, in particular by an administrator, and a general downturn in the discussion. I do not offer this as an excuse for my behavior, but as an explaination as to why I rapidly felt that the standard for the night was mud-slinging and I joined in. It was not until later that I understood the hostility towards Avery, and have since tried to be civil.
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:07 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:
mrgsmath wrote:...I accepted that there was no defensible argument for QG in general to be offered, I simply presented the reasons why It might be justifiable in this unique case.
That's what's known as the fallacy of special pleading. It is categorically true that in this case your actions are inconsistent with your own convictions.
Also, if all types of quizbowl are of value (per you,) what's wrong with QG even in general (also per you?) It seems to me that your convictions are also inconsistent with themselves.

MaS
I don't think your application of special pleading is properly applied here. I know you hate anologies on this board but I ask you to tolerate one. Consider the doughnut spare in the trunk of a car. We can agree that it is a bad idea, we can agree that to use it as a permanent replacement is a terrible idea. In fact, we can agree that our goal is to eliminate all doughnut spares. However, the trunk of the car I pickup at the rental agency is designed only to accomodate the doughnut spare,(yes such cars exist) and you have a tire going flat.

We can argue over my choice of rental companies, (Masonics) we can argue over whether I should have demanded they give me a car with a "good spare"(pyramidal questions). But I am on the road in the car and the doughnut spare (QG) is the tire I have to work with. To say that I am opposed to doughnut spares yet choose to use it this one time due to special circumstances is not a special peading, since there are no inportant facts that I failed to mention because they were inconvenient to my argument, such as I hadn't left the rental agency. A special pleading is more like the argument, "Sorry officer I know it is wrong to speed, but everyone else was doing it so I thought it would be ok."

Also I am not sure I have said all forms of quiz bowl are of value, rather what I have tried to convey is that the difference between Good quizbowl and Bad quiz bowl should allow for some value in between.
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Captain Sinico » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:16 pm

I find your analogy a very poor model of the situation. You had and have all sorts of options regarding what questions to use, what sort of tournament to run, etc. You are not frozen into any of those things. They are in every sense under your own control.
In fact, even accepting your analogy, your argument is wrong. I don't agree that we should eliminate all spare tires and contend that nobody should have an issue with the use of a spare tire as a spare tire. The spare tire used as spare tire has positive virtues: it's compact enough to be stored and transported easily and it's in general reliable enough to use until a permanent replacement can be obtained. That's why spare tires exist.
So, taking up your analogy, what you did is: you chose to buy a substandard tire. Why you chose to do this, I'm not sure, because you're saying different things in different places. You've said things to the effect of:
*You didn't know this was a bad tire when you bought it or, a stronger form of the same argument, you think that all tires are about equally good.
*You're some kind of a bus driver or something and you think your clientele will only ride in a vehicle with this type of tire, even if it sucks. Indeed, other people use the tire, practically forcing you to do so as well.
*You think that having tires that fail is an inevitable or even positive experience: it forces one to learn the useful skill of changing tires, it builds character, etc. So maybe it's even good to get substandard tires sometimes.
Whatever your reason for buying the tire, I'm here trying to tell you: "You've selected a poor tire for the purpose you're putting it to. Other, better tires are available and you should buy those from now on."

Now, to get back to reality, I have yet to see you make any argument for the virtues of the questions you've decided to use relative to other questions. In fact, you have (now repeatedly) acknowledged in this very thread that other questions are better. Use those in future.
Further, you have avoided my question about how you can say both "QG is worse" and "all questions are valuable." You have also avoided confronting other inconsistencies in what you're saying, e.g. "As a far rightist, I fervently believe that everyone's actions are their own responsibility," vs. "I can't get my team to what I myself consider higher-caliber tournaments because we're just too darn poor." I wish you would address these things.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:54 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:So, taking up your analogy, what you did is: you chose to buy a substandard tire.
No, I chose to buy the manufacturer's reccommend tire and not a tire that didn't fit the car.

I appreciate the boards position that I should have run my invite to a higher standard and not compromised. I however made a decision to sacrifice, for one year, the quality of my home tournament in an effort to improve the quality of another tournament I was hosting in which I saw greater potential problems than would be created by the modification to mine.

I want to respond to your other questions but time dictates my focus on the very tournament in question, which starts in 14 hours.
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Captain Sinico » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:17 pm

Well, I'm glad we're at that point at least. That said, that doesn't make sense. Your running a tournament in Masonic format isn't going to change the Masonic tournament itself. Perhaps you mean that you're doing it to prepare your team for the Masonic tournament.
I look forward to your responses to my other questions when you have more time.

MaS
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:24 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:Well, I'm glad we're at that point at least. That said, that doesn't make sense. Your running a tournament in Masonic format isn't going to change the Masonic tournament itself. Perhaps you mean that you're doing it to prepare your team for the Masonic tournament.
I look forward to your responses to my other questions when you have more time.

MaS
Just quickly, and not on this point specifically, but as a matter of form, can I start a seperate thread tomorrow to futher our discussion and hopefully bring in a few other voices. I am having trouble seperating the original intend of this thread, how to deal with newbies (me) from what I had originally hoped the other evening would be a discussion of of my reasoning ( or lack there of) in the decision I made. I am new to this type of discussion format and have trouble finding various posts I wish to reference, among some of the others.
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

User avatar
cvdwightw
Auron
Posts: 3446
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Southern CA
Contact:

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by cvdwightw » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:28 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:Your running a tournament in Masonic format isn't going to change the Masonic tournament itself. Perhaps you mean that you're doing it to prepare your team for the Masonic tournament.
I think that the idea to prepare one's team, one's staff, and other local teams for the Masonic tournament is the only possibly-rational explanation for running this crazy setup. To amend this terrible analogy, it would be as if you know that in a few weeks you and a group of local businessmen are going to be sent on a trip to meet potential investors. This trip may determine the near-term future of all of your companies. You also know that those investors have mandated that you use a particular brand of rental car that breaks down all the time and has a bunch of smudged maps written in Chinese instead of a GPS, because they're cheap or because they think having nice cars is "elitist" or whatever. You know that you need to understand how to work this terrible rental car in order to make the business trip a success.

Next week a few of you are going on another business trip and you are selecting the group's rental car. You can choose to rent any number of nicer brands, and every member of your group will have a positive experience except the ones who prefer riding in beat-up cars because they haven't realized that nicer cars are nicer or because they've had bad experiences in nicer cars before. Or you can choose to rent the brand of rental car that breaks down a lot, so that you and the other members of your group know how to deal with the inevitable breakdowns and hopefully have a reasonably successful meeting with the investors; you and everyone else who prefers riding in actually working cars will be miserable, but there is a better chance of you being able to survive the car's breakdowns on your trip to the investors.

Instead, you decide to go with a third option, which is to drive the breaking-down car halfway to your destination, then ditch the car and rent a different brand of car, which (unknown to you) breaks down just as much and has the additional problem that the manufacturer occasionally threatens to sue people who publicly complain about how shoddy the car is.

[if it hasn't become clear by now, I rather like making these terrible, terrible conceits.]

When other local businessmen hear about this oddity and ask you why you are doing such a thing, you respond with a variety of illogical excuses such as:
*I want to provide the highest-quality trip experience for my group (and then get defensive when someone points out that you are not providing an experience anyone would objectively consider "high quality")
*I typically like reliable cars, but cars that break down all the time are fine too
*People who like nice cars should learn how to deal with unreliable ones
*My group members won't go on business trips unless we use these jalopies

While I and a bunch of people on the people on the boards still don't agree with the decision, I do acknowledge that there is a rational chain of thought behind the decision (this tournament hands out money we need; we won't get any money if our moderators are compounding the mistakes already inherent in the question and our students can't play the format; we need to run a "practice tournament" so that our upcoming tournament's moderators and students get used to how bad the questions are). I think Mike and I (and others) would argue that there's a logical fallacy in that chain of thought, but I can see where the decision is not being made because of a love for terrible "quizbowl."
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
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

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:23 am

cvdwightw wrote:I think that the idea to prepare one's team, one's staff, and other local teams for the Masonic tournament is the only possibly-rational explanation for running this crazy setup. To amend this terrible analogy, it would be as if you know that in a few weeks you and a group of local businessmen are going to be sent on a trip to meet potential investors. This trip may determine the near-term future of all of your companies. You also know that those investors have mandated that you use a particular brand of rental car that breaks down all the time and has a bunch of smudged maps written in Chinese instead of a GPS, because they're cheap or because they think having nice cars is "elitist" or whatever. You know that you need to understand how to work this terrible rental car in order to make the business trip a success.
I would most likely accept this analogy. Since analogies by nature are flawed to one degree or another, minor exaggerations to empasize a point are to be expected. We translated the maps, and "elitist" had nothing with the car.
cvdwightw wrote:Instead, you decide to go with a third option, which is to drive the breaking-down car halfway to your destination, then ditch the car and rent a different brand of car, which (unknown to you) breaks down just as much and has the additional problem that the manufacturer occasionally threatens to sue people who publicly complain about how shoddy the car is.
Emphasis on the (unknown to you). (meaning me not you)
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

User avatar
Howard
Yuna
Posts: 967
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 5:42 pm
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Howard » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:15 am

theMoMA wrote:Instead of understanding all this happening in spite of Matt's actions, I see it happening directly because of them. By making clear in the coldest possible terms the unacceptability of the terms of the previous discussion, Matt's strategy has allowed us to get to this point.
I couldn't disagree with this more. The single thing Matt did that allowed us to get to this point was to start this thread, which wasn't about the tournament to begin with. There was nothing that prevented this discussion in the original thread. The problem occurred because of a mutual feeling of necessity to respond "in kind" rather than provide some supporting discussion for the arguments being posed. This forum has an excellent set of rules. Neither moderators/administrators nor posters should be allowed to break the rules originally, and neither should be allowed to break rules in response. In the specific case being referenced, what I see is akin to a driver doing 75 MPH following a police cruiser doing the same speed, and then, the police cruiser pulling over the driver for doing 75 MPH.

And it isn't always this way, either. I reference this thread, where on the first page, after making a polite point and explaining my reasoning, the following ensued:
-- Matt accused my of a meaning different than that which I clearly stated, using his "magic decoder ring" to give everyone the "ovaltine" message.
-- Matt made several inaccurate statements and implications about me.
-- Matt primarily constructed his arguments of ad hominem attacks.
-- Matt then accused me of being anti-quizbowl discussion.
One cannot reasonably expect the forum members to follow the rules if the administrators/moderators refuse to follow them themselves.

I understand my views are different from the majority of this board, but that doesn't change the fact that ridiculous exchanges like the ones referenced here drive people from the board and, to a lesser degree, from quizbowl in general. Whether desired or not, this board is the face of quizbowl on the internet. Even if we accept the board purpose as expanding and promoting "good" quizbowl, that won't happen if this isn't a pleasant place. If people don't have a good experience, they'll leave. If people think we're nothing more than a bunch of buttheads, they won't bother joining. So it's important for the board to present a good atmosphere. I don't say this as an adult looking to take charge, but as someone offering my advice for success in reaching your goals. There's a great deal for us to learn from each other, regardless of our position or age, as long as we keep our minds open.

For the record, and for the sake of brevity, not only do I support Reinstein's position, I agree with every single thing he's posted in this thread.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5686
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by theMoMA » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:18 am

The terms of the old thread were not the terms of free discussion that this board requires. Forum moderators took action, and now we have a new thread, and more importantly, an open discussion about quizbowl in Illinois and about discussing quizbowl in general. No one was shown the door or banned for holding contrary opinions; on the contrary, they are free to express them at any time so long as they do it under the rules of logical and open discussion. The manner in which Matt destroyed the terms of the old discussion was surely brusque and may offend sensibilities, but destroying the terms of the old discussion was absolutely necessary. The result is the current dialogue that allows me to say my part, Matt his, you yours, and coach Grant his.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

mrgsmath
Wakka
Posts: 126
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:36 pm

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by mrgsmath » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:03 am

theMoMA wrote:The terms of the old thread were not the terms of free discussion that this board requires. Forum moderators took action, and now we have a new thread, and more importantly, an open discussion about quizbowl in Illinois and about discussing quizbowl in general. No one was shown the door or banned for holding contrary opinions; on the contrary, they are free to express them at any time so long as they do it under the rules of logical and open discussion.
I do agree that this is a more productive enviroment. However, as the "newbie" who seemed to be the cause of the closing of the previous thread, as well as the creation of the present one, I would like to make a couple of points.

1) A review of the previous thread in its entirety will show that I didn't just jump in and try to pick a fight. If you look at posts prior to my initial post you will find a discussion about my tournament, and in it were some inaccuracies that I felt needed correcting.
2) Once I recieved a warning for improper posting. "...storm the castle..." I no longer engaged in inflammatory retoric.
3) Several people both on this forum and through e-mail have indicated that Matt is someone to respect for what he has done to promote quizbowl. However, nothing he has said so far has given me any reason to change my opinion that he has been total dismissive and condesending towards me. He claims that his initial statement was innoculous, "your using QG AND Avery" yet I would ask you to compare that to the brief discussion on defining elitist.

Matt: How do you define elitist...
Mark: Matt, in this case I definie elitist as ......
Matt: Mark never answered my question
Mark: yes I answered here where I said, "Matt,....
Matt: Oh I didn't think you were talking to me

I very much want to know how I should interpret this, especially since his response was to simply dismiss my definition and fabricate a new one and attribute it to me.
Even the very name of the thread could be interpreted as condesending. I might suggest that if you want nice things, don't use them to beat others over the head, and break them.

I would like to continue discussions on this forum, and I too would like nice things. I hope that it can be done with mutual respect.
Mark Grant
Coach - PORTA H.S.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got ."

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8411
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:46 pm

Howard wrote:-- Matt then accused me of being anti-quizbowl discussion.
You've pulled the "civility" card more than anyone else in the history of this board, John. This is by necessity, because almost the only thing you post about anymore is how speed tossups, trick questions, and IA-format tournaments are acceptable, and we both know there's no reasonable way to defend that position. You are the epitome of the anti-discussion poster; as soon as someone brings up the voluminous reasons why your anti-quizbowl beliefs are wrong, you try to cut them off by saying it's offensive to discuss things, because your feelings are being hurt by people disagreeing with you.

To reiterate what I said before, it is inevitable that any neutral and fair enforcement of the rules will appear to be biased against the fake-quizbowl position, because that position has much weaker arguments and much less impulse towards self-examination, and, as a matter of historical fact, more frequently resorts to logical fallacies and freakouts in order to defend what cannot be defended through good argument.

For the past two weeks, I have pleaded with the rest of the board staff to help me clarify the rules so that this doesn't happen again, though some key people have been unresponsive. I will say that, unless there is some opposition from my colleagues, we will soon announce that any discussions of "elitism" or "civility" whatsoever will be banned as part of an expanded and very precise rule against hijacking quizbowl discussions into discussions of other people's politeness. This will go hand-in-hand with some changes to how staff intervenes in threads.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
Howard
Yuna
Posts: 967
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 5:42 pm
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Howard » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:31 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:
Howard wrote:-- Matt then accused me of being anti-quizbowl discussion.
You've pulled the "civility" card more than anyone else in the history of this board, John.
That could be. I'm not certain, and don't really care either way whether this is true. I don't recall a single instance when I've suggested that a point of argument shouldn't be made, simply that it should be made politely and in a manner that follows the rules of logic. Regardless, this is a straw man. You haven't addressed the main point, which is that I was indeed discussing the tournament in question while you were making ad hominem attacks.
Matt Weiner wrote:This is by necessity, because almost the only thing you post about anymore is how speed tossups, trick questions, and IA-format tournaments are acceptable, and we both know there's no reasonable way to defend that position.
There are ways to defend the position, and I've done it before. I didn't come to this thread to start this argument again, but I suppose we can do that here as well if you'd like. I thought the purpose of this thread was to discuss why the board is having this "civility" issue in the first place.

Furthermore, your assertion is just plain inconsistent with the facts. I reviewed my the first page of the search of my posts. Using the most liberal set of standards I could, I found exactly eight posts out of the fifty that had anything to do with the topics you mention, and about 3/4 of those weren't discussing anything regarding acceptability.
Matt Weiner wrote:You are the epitome of the anti-discussion poster; as soon as someone brings up the voluminous reasons why your anti-quizbowl beliefs are wrong, you try to cut them off by saying it's offensive to discuss things, because your feelings are being hurt by people disagreeing with you.
Uh, no? As I've said before, I have no problem with discussion of beliefs. But there's no reason to be rude or offensive, nor any to use illogical or ad hominem attacks. Want to discuss my (or anyone else's) beliefs, fine. Discuss the beliefs. That doesn't make it necessary to resort to logical fallacies and personal attacks.

Furthermore, I don't think I'm "anti-quizbowl." The majority of events my team has attended over the 19 years I have been coaching have been what the majority of members of this board would deem "good quizbowl." Mr. Weiner knows we attend such events because we have even travelled twice in excess of two hours to attend such events with which he was associated.

I will say, however, that one of my core beliefs is that not all teams need to decide that their primary focus is "good quizbowl." Nor do I think it is an affront to "good quizbowl" that such alternatives exist. So, when I see a a bunch of people telling someone else how to run their tournament, I have a bit of a problem with that. The reasons I take issue are as follows:
1. Teams preferring "good quizbowl" aren't necessarily the target audience of the tournament.
2. Advice is often provided as a number of posters telling the organizer how to run the tournament/what questions to use/etc. instead of providing a logical reasoned argument for the preference.
3. Even after the organizer states the preference (and often reasons for the preference) of a feature not endorsed by a majority of the board, posters continue harassing the organizer.
While I can see how this can be construed as anti-discussion, the fact is none of this typically results in discussion. More frequently, it devolves into contentiousness on the part of both parties.

I suppose part of the problem here is that Mr. Weiner sees this site as being for "good quizbowl" only, whereas not all users see it that way.
Matt Weiner wrote:To reiterate what I said before, it is inevitable that any neutral and fair enforcement of the rules will appear to be biased against the fake-quizbowl position, because that position has much weaker arguments and much less impulse towards self-examination, and, as a matter of historical fact, more frequently resorts to logical fallacies and freakouts in order to defend what cannot be defended through good argument.
Weak arguments, logical fallacies, and "freakouts" have nothing to do with the side of a debate one is on. Neither side should be resorting to these tactics. I understand that from your point of view the other side of the argument is wrong and you see their position as inferior. That's to be expected. And that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about uniformly applying the rules. And I'm talking about the moderators/administrators behaving as they're asking the members to behave.
Matt Weiner wrote:For the past two weeks, I have pleaded with the rest of the board staff to help me clarify the rules so that this doesn't happen again, though some key people have been unresponsive. I will say that, unless there is some opposition from my colleagues, we will soon announce that any discussions of "elitism" or "civility" whatsoever will be banned as part of an expanded and very precise rule against hijacking quizbowl discussions into discussions of other people's politeness. This will go hand-in-hand with some changes to how staff intervenes in threads.
If arguments were constructed properly, we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place. There's no point which cannot be made in a civil manner. If the board were to have uniformly applied the rules prohibiting personal attacks and requiring polite discussion (and if the moderators/administrators had followed these rules), there would be no need for this thread in the first place.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred

User avatar
Howard
Yuna
Posts: 967
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 5:42 pm
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Howard » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:34 pm

theMoMA wrote:The terms of the old thread were not the terms of free discussion that this board requires. Forum moderators took action, and now we have a new thread, and more importantly, an open discussion about quizbowl in Illinois and about discussing quizbowl in general.
Agree wholeheartedly on this point, Andrew. Moderators had little choice but to intervene in the old thread.
John Gilbert
Coach, Howard High School Academic Team
Ellicott City, MD

"John Gilbert is a quiz bowl god" -- leftsaidfred

evilmonkey
Yuna
Posts: 964
Joined: Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:23 am
Location: Durham, NC

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by evilmonkey » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:39 am

Matt Weiner wrote: For the past two weeks, I have pleaded with the rest of the board staff to help me clarify the rules so that this doesn't happen again, though some key people have been unresponsive. I will say that, unless there is some opposition from my colleagues, we will soon announce that any discussions of "elitism" or "civility" whatsoever will be banned as part of an expanded and very precise rule against hijacking quizbowl discussions into discussions of other people's politeness. This will go hand-in-hand with some changes to how staff intervenes in threads.
As someone who has used the "civility" defense before, I want to both agree and disagree with you, Matt. I agree when you say that many times the civility defense is used to defend the indefensible. However, if I may bring up the example of the Rochester thread from two years ago - the guy who came on this site, happy that his team won CBI nationals, and then got torn to shreds. Civility was certainly lacking - locking the thread much earlier than it got locked, following by reframing the discussion would have been better. Perhaps if, along with the forbidding of the civility argument for all non-moderators, you could drive home the point that instead people are requesting to contact a moderator with their concerns, and that their concerns will be responded to in some manner (either a moderator comment in the thread, or by respondingly privately to the complaint with a reason why you aren't going to take action yet). Please don't take this as me trying to tell you how to run the board, but rather, as a suggestion for improving the board.

The area that I disagree with you on is on the discussion of elitism. There are certainly some posters who discuss from an elitist point of view. Instead of establishing this with specific cases from the board, I want to share an anecdote about the time when I realized just how some people viewed the various regions. When I was helping staff PACE NSC this past year, I was standing around in the control room between rounds. A certain player of an elite caliber (who will remain unnamed, because names are unnecessary) was checking the standings. When he saw that the Illinois teams were performing less well than they were expected to perform, he laughed, saying something to the effect of "Take that Illinois! That's what you get for insisting on having this format." This, of course, ignores the fact that resistance to the format change (with the exception of the complete elimination of computational math) is put up by Illinois teams that do not attend PACE-NSC. Such blatant regional elitism underlies the comments of several members of the forum community. As such, I believe comments made in an elitist vein, such as those that do not take into account the relative power of "bad quizbowl"-oriented schools in Midwestern regions, should be criticized and attacked whenever they are made. However, this does not mean that I suppose all arguments against elitism to be factual - I have observed the charge of regional elitism invoked merely to avoid defending otherwise indefensible practices. In those cases, it is vital for administrators who are deeply invested in the region (e.g. Sorice for Illinois issues) to dispel these phantom charges.

I fear that what I say may be taken as telling people what to post. That is not the intent of my 5:30 AM brain at all. Rather, it is to argue that due to the biases of some members of this forum, the elitism argument, when used appropriately, is a valid form of argumentation.

EDIT: Sentence Structure
Bryce Durgin
Culver Academies '07
University of Notre Dame '11
Texas A&M '15

User avatar
Deviant Insider
Auron
Posts: 4592
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:08 am
Location: Chicagoland
Contact:

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:35 pm

I don't think it's a problem if people from the East Coast root against Illinois and don't understand our quizbowl politics. I don't understand our quizbowl politics either.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

User avatar
Scott
Rikku
Posts: 382
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:13 pm
Location: Leitchfield KY

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by Scott » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:36 am

I do not understand why people feel they can successfully argue in favor of one line/speed formats.
These people are irrational and often refute logical arguments with statements like:
"The faster you know it, the better you know it."
What can be done to help these people realize that quality quizbowl truly is better?
Scott Blain
Grayson '12
Vanderbilt '16

David Riley
Auron
Posts: 1428
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 8:27 am
Location: Morton Grove, IL

Re: Why we can't have nice things

Post by David Riley » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:50 pm

Point-blank range.

Seriously, though, you answered your own question: if they are truly irrational, then nothing is going to convince them. If they are willing to give it an honest trial period, then there's hope.
David Riley
Coach Emeritus, Loyola Academy, Wilmette, Illinois, 1993-2010
Steering Committee, IHSSBCA, 1996 -
Member, PACE, 2012 -

"This is 1183, of course we're barbarians" -- Eleanor of Aquitaine in "The Lion in Winter"

Locked