Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

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Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:09 am

Hi Everyone,
I'm not sure if this is the best place to put this post up, but I know it will be of interest to many college bowl people and was not sure where else to post it so that you all would catch it. Anyway, my name is David Madden, and I am the founder and Executive Director of the all new National History Bee and Bowl. These are two brand new buzzer-based competitions for high school students focusing on history (albeit with a very broad definition including history of the arts, sciences, philosophy, religion, recent history, and historical geography) that will debuting across the USA in a network of tournaments this year. All the information (subject to change) is online at www.historybowl.com and www.historybee.com
I'll be posting another post with more information on the tournaments, but in this one, I'd just like to say that I might be potentially interested in hiring a number of people to work for a full time position coordinating and directing tournaments. This position would be in the NYC area and would likely begin on or around October 1. Potentially up to as many as 6 people might be hired.
While ideally, the applicant would have a background in quiz bowl, even more important is a capacity for handling logistics, processing registrations, writing questions, recruiting schools, and other work of that sort. You would be expected to direct about 8 tournaments, primarily in Jan-March. The position would initially be through March 31, but if all goes well, it could lead to a permanent contract.
Applicants must have a college degree, and while of course all ages will be considered, it might be a position more ideally suited for a relatively recent college graduate. The salary, while not that high, will certainly provide for a living wage in the NYC area. Also, keep in mind that this would be a full time position in the quiz bowl industry during a tough economic time, so there's something to be said for that.
If you are interested in the position, or know someone who might be, please let me know at: director at historybowl dot com
I should know within a week or two if the position will in fact be on offer (it depends on a number of external factors), but if it is, it will need to be filled as soon as possible.
Thus, if you're interested, don't hesitate to contact me as soon as you read this. This is a job that will be a ton of work, and hopefully a ton of fun. Opportunities like this in academic competition do not come along frequently, so I hope this can generate a little excitement and some interest throughout the quiz bowl community.
Hope to hear from you soon, if you're the sort of applicant I'm looking for!
Cheers,
David
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by fizzball » Wed Sep 08, 2010 12:23 pm

I have a question. What, specifically, about these potential positions requires them to be located in the NY area?


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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants » Mon Sep 20, 2010 4:39 pm

So since it's been two weeks do you know yet if this position will in fact be offered/if progress has been made on getting NHB going?
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:08 pm

Man, where were these opportunities when I was looking for employment? I would have been happy to move to NYC, too. Oh well.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Tanay » Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:52 pm

I really hope someone familiar with modern, pyramidal quizbowl joins and cleans up issues like these questions from the practice round (found at http://www.historybowl.com/wp-content/u ... -Round.pdf):
Which president shared his actual first name with a saint who was stoned to death, his middle name- which he used more frequently than his first- with a Muppet, and his last name with a city on Lake Erie in Ohio?
Which Germanic tribe, whose infamous name can be found in the lyrics of the Bob Dylan song “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” founded a powerful kingdom based in North Africa in the fifth century A.D.?
Pencil and paper ready! For ten points, arrange these Revolutionary War battles in chronological order: Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord, Yorktown, and Trenton.
This is in addition to glaring issues with pyramidality that are apparent throughout the packet. I understand that the format of this competition isn't necessarily intended to mirror that of quizbowl (which justifies the final question I quoted from, I guess), but the "Game Format" section of the website nonetheless promises that questions will be "written in a pyramidal format," which certainly isn't upheld by a lot of these questions.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:22 pm

Didn't Chip advertise using David Madden's name during David's Jeopardy! streak, saying that Chip personally drilled David with two billion questions or whatever? I don't exactly expect David to hire anyone interested in pyramidal quizbowl, though I'd be excited if he proves me wrong.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:15 pm

While there will be another message and thread posted within a week formally introducing the competitions, I wanted to just use this post to clarify a few points regarding question formats and my philosophy behind that. I guess to some extent, the matter is one of how you define "pyramidality." This can be looked at in a few ways. Of course the way that most people are familiar with (or at least people on the forum) is the standard paragraph length tossup. On the other hand, you can have a much shorter question and still have it be largely pyramidal in structure. Take question one for example:
NoWayItsTanay wrote:I really hope someone familiar with modern, pyramidal quizbowl joins and cleans up issues like these questions from the practice round (found at http://www.historybowl.com/wp-content/u ... -Round.pdf):
Which president shared his actual first name with a saint who was stoned to death, his middle name- which he used more frequently than his first- with a Muppet, and his last name with a city on Lake Erie in Ohio?
Ok, for this question, if you know Grover Cleveland's real first name is Stephen, that no other president had that name, that Stephen is far and away the most famous stoned martyr, then you can get it off the first bit of the question. The second and third bits are granted, bits of pop culture and geography, but some of that comes up in any NAQT tournament, and I've been very clear that I'm trying to do a tournament that while focusing on history, still appeals to people who aren't huge history buffs.
Which Germanic tribe, whose infamous name can be found in the lyrics of the Bob Dylan song “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” founded a powerful kingdom based in North Africa in the fifth century A.D.?
Likewise, here there are three bits of information that lead directly to the answer – the Bob Dylan song, North Africa, and the century. Again, I’ve tried to tie history in with pop culture (although this Bob Dylan song is genuinely historic in its own right) and still have the more obscure information at the beginning of the question. Yes, it’s shorter than what many people are used to on a tossup, but this goes beyond just a one fact buzzer beater question.


Finally, please keep the following in mind:
1. One of the major things I’m hoping will come out of the History Bee and Bowl is greater enthusiasm for academic competition writ large, and in particular getting new schools not only to participate in the competitions that I’m arranging, but in quiz bowl in general. Everyone benefits from this. However, the standard NAQT format, while certainly very fair, is not everyone’s favorite, and in particular, teams new to quiz bowl often find it less enjoyable. One of the reasons I stopped playing college bowl was, to be frank, the monotony of tossup-bonus, tossup-bonus, all the time. Within each game, it always was the same, from one tournament to the next, it was always the same.
In high school, I played NAQT, I played PACE, I played QU, I played house tournaments that were non-buzzer, I did Quiznet, I did the Knowledge Master Open, etc. etc. etc. Granted, I had my own gripes at a lot of the questions and styles, but I loved it all and enjoyed the variety. I’m trying to inject a little of this into the quiz bowl world, and yet still have a serious tournament with nothing that could be construed as unfair.
2. Within each tournament the questions will get harder in the playoffs, and get longer and more traditionally pyramidal as well. The same goes for the National Finals. In the prelims, I’ve been at many tournaments, where in an NAQT setting, a team might go the whole round and answer 0-2 tossups. And even between two teams, there may be half the tossups that go unanswered. It’s much better to have easier questions in the prelims so that newer teams and novice players feel like this is fun, rather than to appeal solely to the top teams in the country at this level.
In the playoffs, and at the National Finals (where we’ll have power), on the other hand, we’ll want to appeal to stronger teams, so expect greater difficulty and somewhat more pyramidal questions there.
3. NAQT isn’t as pyramidal as you might think itself – after all, in any bonus question (which aren’t related to the tossups, unlike the 2nd quarter of the History Bowl) there are twice as many points as in the tossup (assuming it’s powered). These questions aren’t pyramidal, and the lack of subject consistency with the tossups means that there’s a lot of luck involved in terms of who gets what bonus question.
4. Our second quarter and fourth quarter very much resemble more standard pyramidal questions. Since this is roughly half the points in the game, there’s a lot of pyramidality here too.
5. Finally, please recognize that everything here is a work in progress and that I am always open to suggestions and comments. While not every aspect of the competition will strike everyone as perfectly designed (though this is obviously impossible for any tournament), I am certainly open to adjusting the format, particularly in advance of Nationals, and then again for years to come. Please also just keep in mind, though, that the Boards are incredibly dominated by people who like one particular style, though this is far from a universal preference. In the pilot tournament I ran, I used a Jeopardy style non-buzzer format for some rounds, and there were plenty of kids that actually really liked that because it gave the weaker teams an opportunity to answer more questions. Now, I’ve done away with that here, but just keep in mind that I’m trying to appeal to as many students as possible while at the same time make sure that the best teams rise to the top (the fact that teams advance to the playoffs on points and not record, since we only have time for 5 prelim rounds also helps to ensure this). It’s not an easy balance to strike, but I always appreciate your feedback.

Good luck to your team this year and hope to see you at our Bay Area tournament!
-David
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:17 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:Didn't Chip advertise using David Madden's name during David's Jeopardy! streak, saying that Chip personally drilled David with two billion questions or whatever? I don't exactly expect David to hire anyone interested in pyramidal quizbowl, though I'd be excited if he proves me wrong.
I already have, in fact, with Samantha Ross, my assistant executive director. And anyone else who comes on board will certainly have a background in pyramidal quiz bowl too. And for that matter, I've read at many NAQT style tournaments over the years and have lots of friends and acquaintances throughout the NAQT world, so I'm certainly aware of different formats, their pros and cons, and trying to come up with the format that will have both the broadest possible appeal and be as fair as possible. -David
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:23 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: 3. NAQT isn’t as pyramidal as you might think itself – after all, in any bonus question (which aren’t related to the tossups, unlike the 2nd quarter of the History Bowl) there are twice as many points as in the tossup (assuming it’s powered). These questions aren’t pyramidal, and the lack of subject consistency with the tossups means that there’s a lot of luck involved in terms of who gets what bonus question.
30-20-10 style aside, why would a bonus be pyramidal? The point of tossups is that you interrupt the question, with more knowledgeable people buzzing in on harder clues. The point of bonuses is that you get to hear the whole thing before answering, so arranging clues in order of difficulty isn't necessary.

Basically, I don't see how you can say that NAQT isn't pyramidal because of how the bonuses are written.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Sep 22, 2010 6:07 pm

List of wrestling-based comic books wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: 3. NAQT isn’t as pyramidal as you might think itself – after all, in any bonus question (which aren’t related to the tossups, unlike the 2nd quarter of the History Bowl) there are twice as many points as in the tossup (assuming it’s powered). These questions aren’t pyramidal, and the lack of subject consistency with the tossups means that there’s a lot of luck involved in terms of who gets what bonus question.
30-20-10 style aside, why would a bonus be pyramidal? The point of tossups is that you interrupt the question, with more knowledgeable people buzzing in on harder clues. The point of bonuses is that you get to hear the whole thing before answering, so arranging clues in order of difficulty isn't necessary.

Basically, I don't see how you can say that NAQT isn't pyramidal because of how the bonuses are written.
But this is the point exactly that I'm trying to make. Of course, NAQT is pyramidal to a point, just like the format I'm using is pyramidal to a point. All I'm saying here is that for all the fuss often made about pyramidality, the bonus questions themselves, which is where 2/3 of the points in NAQT format are, aren't pyramidal. Now, of course you can say that that all hinges on the tossup, which is true, but it might be fairer to spread the points out more evenly, say 15 points per bonus, so that more of the scoring is weighted to questions where both teams have a chance to answer it, rather than having so much ride on what subject the bonus is on.
Anyway, I think the most important thing is that a question format is fair, and that the top teams rise to the top by the end. But a little variety, particularly in the earlier rounds to have greater appeal for novice teams, wouldn't hurt.
Finally, let me also just say that I've designed the question format having been involved with quiz bowl for 14 years. But I'm not going to be tone deaf here, or unwilling to give teams what they want. Since qualifying for Nationals is completely based within each tournament, if, after the first few tournaments, there seems to be a majority consensus to adjust the format, I'll do that.

-David
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:53 pm

I don't know how else to break it to you, but whether or not you think questions that test your ability to know Grover Cleveland's mostly unused first name and muppets are good quizbowl, the standards of good quizbowl are in fact so far gone from what you have produced that we can categorically judge your product as of low quality. In an incredibly objective sense, the tossups you have written are incredibly, wildly, horrifically off the mark of any true modern definition of pyramidal.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by DumbJaques » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:55 pm

There are a lot of statements in your posts about mainstream quizbowl that, while very likely true at one time, are not really accurate anymore (not the least of which is the assumption that "NAQT" is a monolithic representative of pyramidal quizbowl). I'm sure other people will be along shortly to offer variously belligerent takes on those matters.

I guess I'd like to make an appeal to you as someone who is also working toward the precise ends you really seem to have - that is, if I'm reading your posts correctly, to bring academic competition to a much wider high school audience, and to appeal to a much broader base while retaining the definitions of "academic" and "competition." I think that there's a pretty substantive problem with questions like, to use your example, the Cleveland question. This problem has nothing to do with conflicting definitions of pyramidality or acceptability of clues somehow pertaining to pop culture, but rather is merely a question of academic merit that I'd hope any educator would find reasonably compelling.

Essentially, I'd argue that the clues in that question are not desirable because they are not at all relevant to the reasons why Grover Cleveland is worth asking about. Grover Cleveland was not an important historical figure because his first name was Stephen and his middle name Grover, and was certainly not historically relevant because a millenia and a half earlier some dude who also happened to be named Stephen took it in the chin a few dozen times, or because of what Jim Henson chose to name his puppets a century after Cleveland was dead. You would never test students with an exam covering those things, and discovering them in an essay you were grading would be cringe-inducing.

You don't need to make any given question longer or adhere to any other convention of "pyramidal quizbowl" or anything else to choose good clues. I certainly would laugh at anyone who suggested using 6-line tossups for an inaugural history bowl, most of whose participants would never have played quizbowl. But there are a number of reasons to avoid questions like that one that have nothing to do with these issues. To give another example, I would absolutely assume that independent study of history on the part of high school students is something you are obviously seeking to promote, both as the director of this project and on a personal level as an educator. I think you'd have to admit that no amount of time studying the American History curriculum would really offer you a better chance at getting this question - I mean, if a kid has read three biographies of Grover Cleveland but is an atheistic Sesame Street enthusiast, he's very unlikely to get this question.

Avoiding these kinds of problems is an absolute necessity when writing solid, pyramidal questions today (be it for NAQT, PACE, your own tournament, and in both high school and college). You very likely don't need a number of the other skills unique to writing pyramidal questions (an ability to craft a six line tossup among them), but I can't think of any format in which this ability wouldn't be infinitely preferable to the alternative, and that's why I think people have certain expectations when nobody who's in touch with how mainstream questions are written today is attached to the project.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:12 pm

Also, other than being told just now in the IRC that she is a Macalester (a school that is known for not being particularly active) alum who "plays trash sometimes and reads at league things," I and many other people in the quizbowl community have never heard of Ms. Ross. Has she edited or written for any good tournaments that can be pointed to? I'm not trying to disparage her personally, but unless there is some work she has done that we are unaware of, her track record in producing high quality quizbowl tournaments doesn't seem to exist, and I find it troubling that that is the only person you can bring up as an example of someone who knows pyramidal quizbowl who is heavily involved in your project.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:59 pm

DumbJaques wrote:There are a lot of statements in your posts about mainstream quizbowl that, while very likely true at one time, are not really accurate anymore (not the least of which is the assumption that "NAQT" is a monolithic representative of pyramidal quizbowl). I'm sure other people will be along shortly to offer variously belligerent takes on those matters.
First of all, I really hope everyone can steer clear of any degree of "belligerence." I know that the anonymity of the internet allows people to say things that they wouldn't say in person, but there's no reason to be belligerent at any level. Moreover, I'm sorry if anyone was offended or misled by my use of NAQT as shorthand for pyramidality - I know that NAQT affiliated tournaments sometimes use different formats and that there are plenty of other organizations that also make use of pyramidal questions to one extent or another. I meant it more simply as a way to refer to the standard toss up/bonus format that has been used at NAQT nationals and most other NAQT tournaments for years. I know that the Virginia state quiz bowl and PACE also make use of this, as do other organizations, with some variations here and there.

DumbJaques wrote:I guess I'd like to make an appeal to you as someone who is also working toward the precise ends you really seem to have - that is, if I'm reading your posts correctly, to bring academic competition to a much wider high school audience, and to appeal to a much broader base while retaining the definitions of "academic" and "competition." I think that there's a pretty substantive problem with questions like, to use your example, the Cleveland question. This problem has nothing to do with conflicting definitions of pyramidality or acceptability of clues somehow pertaining to pop culture, but rather is merely a question of academic merit that I'd hope any educator would find reasonably compelling.

Essentially, I'd argue that the clues in that question are not desirable because they are not at all relevant to the reasons why Grover Cleveland is worth asking about. Grover Cleveland was not an important historical figure because his first name was Stephen and his middle name Grover, and was certainly not historically relevant because a millenia and a half earlier some dude who also happened to be named Stephen took it in the chin a few dozen times, or because of what Jim Henson chose to name his puppets a century after Cleveland was dead. You would never test students with an exam covering those things, and discovering them in an essay you were grading would be cringe-inducing.
Here, you're assuming that everything has to be reflective of what's going on in a classroom. When I was moderating at an NAQT tournament a few weeks ago, of all the questions that came up, the one that far and away excited the students the most was one on pop culture, specifically referring to a particular commercial (I'm not revealing more, in case other people are still going to play that question). No one is going to object to NAQT's use of a minor degree of trash, and if you have a closer look at the NHB questions, you’ll see this is also the case here. Also, while the question is about Cleveland, why can't it also at some level be about St. Stephen? This isn't a hose- it's very clear what the question is going after, and St. Stephen is obviously historical too. Moreover, this is a 10 point question in the first round, whereas the 2nd and 4th quarter questions are obviously worth more.
Likewise, if it’s all academic, all the time, and you exclude history-pop culture tie ins, you end up losing lots of potential people. Not, mind you, most of the people that post here on this forum. But for the more casual or novice player (and certainly for some stronger players too), bringing in questions like this helps to keep it enjoyable. Finally, in terms of what about Grover Cleveland is worth asking about, it depends on what the point of academic competition is. This is clearly an area where people can have all sorts of varying opinions. Your point about having it relate back to his more historic achievements (if marrying a 21 year old or whatever while president can be called that…) is well taken, and this is certainly something I should keep in mind. However, particularly in the first quarter, I’d like to not be so strict about excluding “trivia” as many people both like these questions and what is trivia vs. significant is of course a very subjective question.
DumbJaques wrote:You don't need to make any given question longer or adhere to any other convention of "pyramidal quizbowl" or anything else to choose good clues. I certainly would laugh at anyone who suggested using 6-line tossups for an inaugural history bowl, most of whose participants would never have played quizbowl. But there are a number of reasons to avoid questions like that one that have nothing to do with these issues. To give another example, I would absolutely assume that independent study of history on the part of high school students is something you are obviously seeking to promote, both as the director of this project and on a personal level as an educator. I think you'd have to admit that no amount of time studying the American History curriculum would really offer you a better chance at getting this question - I mean, if a kid has read three biographies of Grover Cleveland but is an atheistic Sesame Street enthusiast, he's very unlikely to get this question.

Avoiding these kinds of problems is an absolute necessity when writing solid, pyramidal questions today (be it for NAQT, PACE, your own tournament, and in both high school and college). You very likely don't need a number of the other skills unique to writing pyramidal questions (an ability to craft a six line tossup among them), but I can't think of any format in which this ability wouldn't be infinitely preferable to the alternative, and that's why I think people have certain expectations when nobody who's in touch with how mainstream questions are written today is attached to the project.
Here again, I take somewhat of an objection. First of all, have you even looked at the second and fourth quarter questions? I’d like your opinion there before you comment that “nobody who’s in touch with the way mainstream questions are written today is attached to the project.” I played my first NAQT pyramidal tournament in 1997, attended NAQT nationals in 2009, played college bowl for 3 years at Princeton, wrote well over a hundred pyramidal questions for my pilot tournament last spring, have talked with loads of people all over the country affiliated with NAQT and coaches of top teams, etc. etc. Likewise, everyone who has been working for me and who I am considering hiring has either played at or moderated at standard pyramidal tournaments for years.
Again, I’m open to all suggestions and comments and don’t deny that I (like everyone) can improve my question writing skills. But please just be careful about making sweeping comments that aren’t in fact true.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Sep 22, 2010 10:24 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:I don't know how else to break it to you, but whether or not you think questions that test your ability to know Grover Cleveland's mostly unused first name and muppets are good quizbowl, the standards of good quizbowl are in fact so far gone from what you have produced that we can categorically judge your product as of low quality. In an incredibly objective sense, the tossups you have written are incredibly, wildly, horrifically off the mark of any true modern definition of pyramidal.
Please don't focus obsessively on one question, and please keep in mind that not everyone shares your opinion as to what quizbowl is or should be about. As I've mentioned, I know that there are many people out there (particularly at the college level) who really love the more usual format. However, after having been named to the PACE all-star team at Nationals in 1999, I lost interest in college bowl at least in part due to monotony of format and an over reliance on really deep knowledge that - let's face it - is itself not exactly a prerequisite for success in life. Is knowing Grover Cleveland's first name really that different from knowing obscure Aztec gods, all the battles in the war of the Austrian Succession, or lots of the stuff that comes up all the time?
Also, again, it depends on how pyramidal is defined. I know that pyramidal typically refers to questions that are much longer and written according to a standard format. I know that these first quarter questions are not like that. But - if you can realize that most of these questions are still structured so they are pyramidal in at least a quick way that will appeal to new teams and that I am both open to suggestions and have said all along that the playoff questions and nationals questions will be more standardly pyramidal - then I hope that you can see at least where I'm coming from.
Finally, please don't judge Samantha on the basis of where she went to school or whether she's been very active in writing in the past. For one thing, I hired her for her organizing skills, not her question writing experience. That's more why I posted the offer here in the first place. In the meantime, I would just like everyone to be a little patient, and if anything is unclear, please just email me or send me a private message asking me to clarify matters before rampant speculation becomes hardened fact.
Thanks,
David
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Deviant Insider » Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:03 pm

There seems to be some confusion here between means and ends. The major ends of good academic competition generally are encouraging and rewarding significant learning. One of the means that quizbowl uses towards those ends is pyramidality, but pyramidality is not the final goal. Nobody cares about the pyramidality of NAQT bonuses because pyramidality is not the end goal--encouraging and rewarding significantly learning is. NAQT bonuses often encourage and reward significant learning, which is why we often like them, though we get upset at some of the bonuses that do not work towards this goal, which has nothing to do in that case with pyramidality. Nobody cares whether or not they are pyramidal, because the goal of good academic competition is not to be pyramidal. Tossups need to be pyramidal to encourage and reward significant learning due to the way tossups are played, but bonuses are not played like tossups.

If you want to produce a good competition, write good questions or hire people to write good questions. If you write bad questions and somebody points that out to you, the best response is to apologize and seek out useful criticism so you can do better the next time. There can be good competitions with varying formats, but there is no point in shifting the discussion to format philosophies if you are using bad questions, because bad questions are the cornerstone of bad competitions.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:33 pm

When I was moderating at an NAQT tournament a few weeks ago, of all the questions that came up, the one that far and away excited the students the most was one on pop culture, specifically referring to a particular commercial (I'm not revealing more, in case other people are still going to play that question). No one is going to object to NAQT's use of a minor degree of trash, and if you have a closer look at the NHB questions, you’ll see this is also the case here.
The incredibly obvious flaw in this argument is that NAQT writes tournaments with an explicit distribution for popular culture (although NAQT even gets constant requests to reduce or eliminate their pop culture distribution), and whenever they use trashy clues in their history (or literature, or science, or anything else, really), they elicit groans and lots of complaints, because there is no reason for a trash question to take away from the history distribution. If your event is advertised as a history-only tournament, then putting non-history questions will elicit similarly unhappy responses. You don't see people complaining about pop culture coming up at trash tournaments for that same reason.
Likewise, if it’s all academic, all the time, and you exclude history-pop culture tie ins, you end up losing lots of potential people.
If people go to a tournament explicitly advertised as a "history bee" and are unhappy that all the questions are about history, then they deserve what they get.
First of all, have you even looked at the second and fourth quarter questions? I’d like your opinion there before you comment that “nobody who’s in touch with the way mainstream questions are written today is attached to the project.”
Pencil and paper ready! For ten points, arrange these Revolutionary War battles in chronological order: Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord,. Yorktown, and Trenton.
Oh yeah, I'm convinced.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:39 pm

Westwon wrote:There seems to be some confusion here between means and ends. The major ends of good academic competition generally are encouraging and rewarding significant learning. One of the means that quizbowl uses towards those ends is pyramidality, but pyramidality is not the final goal. Nobody cares about the pyramidality of NAQT bonuses because pyramidality is not the end goal--encouraging and rewarding significantly learning is. NAQT bonuses often encourage and reward significant learning, which is why we often like them, though we get upset at some of the bonuses that do not work towards this goal, which has nothing to do in that case with pyramidality. Nobody cares whether or not they are pyramidal, because the goal of good academic competition is not to be pyramidal. Tossups need to be pyramidal to encourage and reward significant learning due to the way tossups are played, but bonuses are not played like tossups.

If you want to produce a good competition, write good questions or hire people to write good questions. If you write bad questions and somebody points that out to you, the best response is to apologize and seek out useful criticism so you can do better the next time. There can be good competitions with varying formats, but there is no point in shifting the discussion to format philosophies if you are using bad questions, because bad questions are the cornerstone of bad competitions.
Ok, obviously my aim is not to have bad questions, and in fact, all of the feedback that I'm getting here is all very helpful. Granted, the sort of questions teams like will vary and that's fine. Likewise, I completely agree about significant learning, but here too, it's somewhat subjective. People can and have and will debate on into the night the relevance of geography, trash, current events, etc. and trying to please everyone is impossible. But looking ahead, this is all good to know. I'm going to be moderating at a tournament this weekend and likely the next as well, and will seek out as much feedback as I can get. Please feel free to contact me either here on the boards or by private message if you have any advice about any aspects of the competition. This is obviously a work in progress, and I am eager to hear everyone's opinions. Good luck to your team and all teams this year!
-David
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:51 pm

Also,
I played my first NAQT pyramidal tournament in 1997, attended NAQT nationals in 2009, played college bowl for 3 years at Princeton, wrote well over a hundred pyramidal questions for my pilot tournament last spring, have talked with loads of people all over the country affiliated with NAQT and coaches of top teams, etc. etc. Likewise, everyone who has been working for me and who I am considering hiring has either played at or moderated at standard pyramidal tournaments for years.
Standards of pyramidal quizbowl are so drastically changed in the last decade that essentially every single veteran of the game who was around in 2000 and is around today will tell you that what passed for good quizbowl then would be literally laughed out of the room today. Similarly, looking at your list of staff and advisors, I again reiterate that I, and pretty much everyone I have spoken to who I would consider experts on the state of the circuit, have never heard of anybody on your staff but you and Jeff Hoppes, who just tonight publicly disavowed having any strong link to this event beyond attempting to point you towards good questions to have you emulate them. Looking at these names, it seems that a number of them are recent graduates from New York area schools who are notorious Questions Unlimited supporters, so unless someone can produce a solid track record of events they have written and edited for that people can agree are of high quality, I find these claims of their expertise dubious. Also, assuming your last tournament with "well over a hundred pyramidal questions" looks like the sample packet on your website, then whether or not you think those are examples of strong writing, they are not. I am unsure what top teams you are speaking to, but I can strongly assure you that almost none of the top 32 teams at PACE would enthusiastically be willing to spend money on a product that looks like what you are intending to create. Questions Unlimited's NAC attracts no top teams anymore because they are not up to standards, and I would expect the same teams abandoning the NAC to not be willing to patronize your event unless the questions are significantly improved.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:57 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
When I was moderating at an NAQT tournament a few weeks ago, of all the questions that came up, the one that far and away excited the students the most was one on pop culture, specifically referring to a particular commercial (I'm not revealing more, in case other people are still going to play that question). No one is going to object to NAQT's use of a minor degree of trash, and if you have a closer look at the NHB questions, you’ll see this is also the case here.
The incredibly obvious flaw in this argument is that NAQT writes tournaments with an explicit distribution for popular culture (although NAQT even gets constant requests to reduce or eliminate their pop culture distribution), and whenever they use trashy clues in their history (or literature, or science, or anything else, really), they elicit groans and lots of complaints, because there is no reason for a trash question to take away from the history distribution. If your event is advertised as a history-only tournament, then putting non-history questions will elicit similarly unhappy responses. You don't see people complaining about pop culture coming up at trash tournaments for that same reason.
You raise a good point here regarding distribution on matters of trash. I can certainly work in a specific distribution for this just like NAQT. However, I don't know how much of the website you've read, but I am very clear under "Tournament Philosophy" about looking at history from a very broad perspective. Some huge history buffs may get slightly upset here, but I think it's important to keep the appeal broad. There is nothing wrong with looking at history in this way; in fact this is often the sort of stuff in the past that has the greatest impact on people's lives today. Take the Beatles - or even The Clash. Usually, that would be construed as trash, but there's no denying it's part of music history. So it - to a limited extent - fits.
Likewise, if it’s all academic, all the time, and you exclude history-pop culture tie ins, you end up losing lots of potential people.
If people go to a tournament explicitly advertised as a "history bee" and are unhappy that all the questions are about history, then they deserve what they get.
Yes, but the point is not to have unhappy people in the first place, but rather to have a healthy majority of the questions be typical history, and then work in the historical geography, recent history, history of arts, sciences, sports, entertainment, etc.
First of all, have you even looked at the second and fourth quarter questions? I’d like your opinion there before you comment that “nobody who’s in touch with the way mainstream questions are written today is attached to the project.”
Pencil and paper ready! For ten points, arrange these Revolutionary War battles in chronological order: Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord,. Yorktown, and Trenton.
Oh yeah, I'm convinced.
Here you're cherry picking the one ordering question per round. And yes, there's one matching question too. That's compared to 14 more standard pyramidal tossups. But again, the top teams will still likely be the ones getting these questions right, (matching in particular, since there you can potentially anticipate what needs to be matched if you're quick thinking) and this allows for just a little bit more variety, which I think many people (though perhaps not you personally, nor the majority of people on the boards) may appreciate. Again, I'm open to all comments and advice, though I will lean more strongly on the comments and advice from people who are in high school or are coaches, as again, the somewhat insular and echo chamber nature of college bowl led me somewhat away from it all in the first place.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:11 am

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:Also,
I played my first NAQT pyramidal tournament in 1997, attended NAQT nationals in 2009, played college bowl for 3 years at Princeton, wrote well over a hundred pyramidal questions for my pilot tournament last spring, have talked with loads of people all over the country affiliated with NAQT and coaches of top teams, etc. etc. Likewise, everyone who has been working for me and who I am considering hiring has either played at or moderated at standard pyramidal tournaments for years.
Standards of pyramidal quizbowl are so drastically changed in the last decade that essentially every single veteran of the game who was around in 2000 and is around today will tell you that what passed for good quizbowl then would be literally laughed out of the room today. Similarly, looking at your list of staff and advisors, I again reiterate that I, and pretty much everyone I have spoken to who I would consider experts on the state of the circuit, have never heard of anybody on your staff but you and Jeff Hoppes, who just tonight publicly disavowed having any strong link to this event beyond attempting to point you towards good questions to have you emulate them. Looking at these names, it seems that a number of them are recent graduates from New York area schools who are notorious Questions Unlimited supporters, so unless someone can produce a solid track record of events they have written and edited for that people can agree are of high quality, I find these claims of their expertise dubious. Also, assuming your last tournament with "well over a hundred pyramidal questions" looks like the sample packet on your website, then whether or not you think those are examples of strong writing, they are not. I am unsure what top teams you are speaking to, but I can strongly assure you that almost none of the top 32 teams at PACE would enthusiastically be willing to spend money on a product that looks like what you are intending to create. Questions Unlimited's NAC attracts no top teams anymore because they are not up to standards, and I would expect the same teams abandoning the NAC to not be willing to patronize your event unless the questions are significantly improved.
Ok, this will be my last post of tonight, and perhaps for some time on all of these subjects. I understand people's concerns and will try and accommodate as many people as possible. I am trying to walk a very fine line between giving the top teams what they want, schools that do (and prefer) other formats what they would want, and to created the sort of event that thousands of high school students who have no clue quiz bowl even exists but who would like to do an event that is enjoyable would want. Personally, if I find that there's a big consensus for adjusting things in one direction or even going over to the format now commonly employed, then sure, I'd be up for that. I have no axe to grind whatsover beyond trying to create the broadest possible and fairest possible event. But for now, please just know that I gave out the practice questions to all teams at an NAQT event earlier this fall and got no negative feedback at all. I'll be doing this again for the next two weeks with my ears wide open. I'm even flying out to a quiz bowl conference in Kentucky tomorrow and will look for feedback there. And finally, let me reiterate, the whole reason I was looking for people to work for the NHBB on this website was to find people experienced with pyramidal questions and serious quiz bowl in the first place. So, can we give this whole thread a rest for a bit? The first tournament isn't until November at this point; there's plenty of time to adjust things (including the practice packet if this continues to be an issue). And like I've said, I can't please everyone all the time, so please just bear that in mind too.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Charbroil » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:20 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:...When I was moderating at an NAQT tournament a few weeks ago, of all the questions that came up, the one that far and away excited the students the most was one on pop culture, specifically referring to a particular commercial (I'm not revealing more, in case other people are still going to play that question). No one is going to object to NAQT's use of a minor degree of trash, and if you have a closer look at the NHB questions, you’ll see this is also the case here. Also, while the question is about Cleveland, why can't it also at some level be about St. Stephen?
In contrast, the thing that has by and far away irritated all of the teammates I've had has been questions they feel are on trivial topics. This is true despite the fact that I've never played on any sort of nationally competitive, "elite" team. I personally believe that the kind of intellectually curious people who generally enjoy Quiz Bowl really do care about learning and would find questions designed to make the game more fun by diluting its academic content to be more annoying than appealing.

Also, St. Stephen is important, but is the fact that Grover Cleveland's middle name is Stephen important? For that matter, I question whether most high schoolers are going to find the Muppets terribly interesting.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:11 am

Here you're cherry picking the one ordering question per round. And yes, there's one matching question too. That's compared to 14 more standard pyramidal tossups. But again, the top teams will still likely be the ones getting these questions right, (matching in particular, since there you can potentially anticipate what needs to be matched if you're quick thinking) and this allows for just a little bit more variety, which I think many people (though perhaps not you personally, nor the majority of people on the boards) may appreciate.
The reason I'm cherrypicking that question is because no self respecting pyramidal quizbowl editor would include that questions in any set they use ever. However, if you want me to critique your "pyramidal" questions, then yeah, those are pretty bad too. I'll break down three examples -
Born in 1931 at Klerksdorp in the Transvaal, he was ordained in 1960 but first rose to prominence in the 1970’s before later winning the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. For ten points name this former head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Anglican archbishop in South Africa.
Birth dates and locations are all but gone from modern pyramidal quizbowl, because they are about facts that are both intrinsically uninteresting and are only secondary to why Desmond Tutu was important or knowable to high schoolers. The second big problem is that, with the birth clue, you have established to anybody that knows what the Transvaal is, once you say he was ordained, that the question wants a 20th century priest from South Africa one line in. I know transparent is a word that has mostly been phased out of the dialogue from misuse, but this is in fact the exact definition of a transparent question. Without knowing much beyond the very basic facts of Desmond Tutu's life, any competent player will buzz there. The rest of the question seems to be of no real change in difficulty, until you say South Africa, and in particular the Truth and Reconciliation Commission clue seems like it is much more difficult. The question also generally lacks good, concrete clues about Tutu's important actions, since it just seems to talk a lot about him being a South African bishop. The question is also shorter than most pyramidal questions.
Although he lived a long life, he was obese and once famously got stuck in the bathtub. His “dollar diplomacy” proved to be a largely ineffective foreign policy, and he was not a happy camper in the White House. Being Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was more up his alley. For ten points, name the only sitting president ever to come in third in the electoral college in a presidential election, in the election of 1912.
First things first, the clue ordering is all wrong here. The anecdote about his bathtub is far more well known than pretty much any of his presidential policies like dollar diplomacy. Additionally, the giveaway clue about him coming in third in the 1912 election is not a giveaway, and is probably marginally more difficult than knowing he was the only Chief Justice and president. A truly appropriate giveaway to this question would be something like "For 10 points, name this Republican who succeeded Theodore Roosevelt to the presidency in 1908." Of different concern in this question is the wasted space created by editorializing. Statements like "he was not a happy camper in the White House" and "Being Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was more up his alley" are essentially needless and do nothing but waste space in the question. Replacing those kinds of statements with concrete clues would lead to much better questions. This editorializing is actually a huge problem in your sample (as evinced by the tossup on Sparta, which also has exactly the kind of trash giveaway that NAQT has been ridiculed for in the past). Lastly, I am loath to include the bathtub clue, because that is exactly the kind of biographical trivia that rewards people knowing random, irrelevant trivia about him and disincentivizes learning about issues of actual historical import. That is essentially just an old chestnut of the type that has mostly disappeared from modern quizbowl.
This country made effective use of ski troops in the Winter War with the Soviet Union. Neither a member of NATO nor the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, it prospered economically despite its precarious location close to Leningrad. For ten points, name this home of Nobel laureate Martti Ahtisaari and home of the 1975 Helsinki Accords.
The Winter War clue is fine, but the next clue is so vague that it essentially conveys nothing and is dead space, because there were tons of countries that never joined the Warsaw Pact or NATO (for instance, the entire non-aligned movement). Similarly, the clue about it prospering conveys nothing particularly unique until you say that it is close to Leningrad, which seems to reward lateral thinking based on geography over knowing history. Lastly, your "giveaway" includes a clue about a person who I would say is more obscure than all the rest of the clues in your tossup, barring perhaps (perhaps) the Winter War.
Yes, but the point is not to have unhappy people in the first place, but rather to have a healthy majority of the questions be typical history, and then work in the historical geography, recent history, history of arts, sciences, sports, entertainment, etc.
I think that sort of misses my point. If a student signs up for an event explicitly labeled history bee, then I see no reason why you should expect for them to be unhappy when all the questions are about history, and watering down the event with trash just to make the tournament more palatable to people who don't like history is patently absurd because your audience is already self selecting to be filled with people who like history.
I have no axe to grind whatsover beyond trying to create the broadest possible and fairest possible event.
The fairest possible event would be one that uses pyramidal tossups as the only tossups. This is simply an objective fact. With that in mind,
I am trying to walk a very fine line between giving the top teams what they want, schools that do (and prefer) other formats what they would want, and to created the sort of event that thousands of high school students who have no clue quiz bowl even exists but who would like to do an event that is enjoyable would want.
This is going to be impossible for you to reconcile. Either you can attempt some kind of wide reaching attempt to placate quizbowl teams who are enthusiastic about bad practices, and you will alienate the teams who would normally be in contention for national titles at your event and also massively compromise your ability to determine the championship fairly, or you can produce the kinds of questions that are agreed upon as good quizbowl. I think maybe you miss the point that your event is truly a blank slate, and you have the entire power to set the tone for what it will be. If you set the tone as one of "compromise," then I guarantee you are going to see a bunch of good teams refuse to participate, and if in the future you realize the error of your ways and decide to go all pyramidal, at that point it is too late and the teams who are now your faithful customers will be unhappy at the shift. On the other hand, if you start by producing good quizbowl right off the bat, you will both attract good teams, and the other teams that participate will have to accept what you are producing immediately, because there is no other history bowl for them to compare it to, or because they are entirely new to quizbowl.
But for now, please just know that I gave out the practice questions to all teams at an NAQT event earlier this fall and got no negative feedback at all.
Because your contention seems to be that top teams were enthusiastic about this, how many top 40-ish high school teams were giving you feedback?
And finally, let me reiterate, the whole reason I was looking for people to work for the NHBB on this website was to find people experienced with pyramidal questions and serious quiz bowl in the first place.
Reading your job offer above, by limiting these jobs to people who are in a position to be able to live in New York City and have college degrees, you are creating restrictions so great that it will be incredibly difficult for you to find employees, and I see no request specifically for writers and editors, which is a job that can be done anywhere, so as much as there are qualified people who would like to help you, it's going to be nearly impossible with the stated conditions.
And lastly,
Again, I'm open to all comments and advice, though I will lean more strongly on the comments and advice from people who are in high school or are coaches, as again, the somewhat insular and echo chamber nature of college bowl led me somewhat away from it all in the first place.
As offensive as it is to be told that the people who are actual experts on how to make good quizbowl happen will not be given strong weight in your opinions on how to make a good quizbowl tournament, I can let that roll like water off a duck's back and tell you that, as an assistant coach at Rock Bridge High School, I will emphatically not recommend our team patronize your events unless there is a vast increase in question quality.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:28 am

Let me be counted as the 2nd high school coach in this thread to state that the question samples are of poor quality and that's a major reason I am not currently interested in involving my team in this competition. Furthermore, if it would take a certain number of people with a certain threshold level of investment in the high school game to agree with Charlie to convince you that he is correct, please let us know what that number and threshold are. I would love to see this project succeed, and I could give you a significant amount of free help in having that happen if I believed you were running a good program.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:17 am

I would love to see this project succeed, and I could give you a significant amount of free help in having that happen if I believed you were running a good program.
I want to also clear up that I am in this exact same boat. Nothing would make me happier than to see a well run history only tournament, and as a person who is heavily involved in the Missouri Quizbowl Alliance, which is a group of ultra-dedicated organizers in our statewide circuit, I am actually in an excellent position to facilitate you finding good hosts, good staff, and plenty of teams in both Kansas City and St. Louis. However, as this product currently stands, I would not be willing to recommend to MOQBA that we get involved in this event.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:06 pm

Yeah, I mean, the basic problem with these questions is that they focus mostly on minutia that aren't very helpful or interesting. Good pyramidal questions will not just have the information in the right order, but they'll have information that's actually worth knowing.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:43 pm

As a high school player whose best subject is history and greatly enjoys hearing well-written history questions, I can say that I would have no desire to play a tournament with questions written in the style of those in the sample packet and would be disappointed and feel like I had wasted my money if I attended a tournament not knowing that it would have questions of this quality. I can also say that I agree with the majority of the comments made by Charlie Dees, David Reinstein, and Charles Huang. I wish you the best of luck with your endeavor, but I will not participate, and will not encourage my team or any other team to attend until I see sample questions of a much higher quality. I would also like to say that I like history. I don't enjoy hearing pop culture questions, and if I sign up for a history tournament, I don't want to hear pop culture questions, or history questions that are, in reality, just pop culture clues about a history thing. Yes, The Beatles are important, and if a question on them, or Jackie Robinson, was written well, with a focus on the historical effects of what they did, it could be acceptable. Using a clue about, say, Beatles' song lyrics to describe a historical figure instead of clues about that figure's accomplishments and actions is not important and not historical.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Tanay » Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:59 pm

Joe N wrote:Using a clue about, say, Beatles' song lyrics to describe a historical figure instead of clues about that figure's accomplishments and actions is not important and not historical.
I'd like to add that it's infinitely harder to learn this way. If I wanted to study about Egypt to get things on the leadin, for example, there would be two ways to do this. One would be to read a book about Egypt or look it up online so that I'd know more about it than the next person. The other way would be to search sites like Youtube for things like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgTPH5y1-ZI, which would seem likely leadin clues given this tournament's inclination toward things of that sort. I would then have to watch a lot of these different things. The presence of pop culture (especially in lead-ins but absolutely in all instances) promotes the second route of "learning" rather than the first, and that undermines a good amount of this activity's educational purpose. Of course, the leadin should be harder than the rest of the question, but it can be harder in that it requires deeper knowledge of the specifics of the topic rather than being harder by virtue of requiring the player to have looked up and learned about specific songs, TV shows, or movies.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:59 pm

Okay, just a few points here:
1. Thanks for all the constructive criticism; while I really hope that the tone of some of these messages becomes somewhat less combative, I do appreciate all the feedback. As I've been saying all along, this is a work in progress, and we have two months until our first tournament, and four months until most of them, so this is plenty of time to revamp, rework, and polish the questions. Granted, I have less experience than many people in terms of writing pyramidal questions, but now that this is my full-time job and I am willing to go back and improve both the practice packet and my question writing skills writ large, I am confident in my abilities to improve on what I've put on the website so far.
2. The comment about criticizing limiting the job on offer to college graduates misses the point - I am primarily looking for people to organize tournaments. For various reasons, I need to be completely sure that whoever I hire would both be of a certain age and able to work full time, so this is incompatible with hiring people still in college.
3. In terms of how much to focus on what is usually thought of as history vis a vis working in the history of various other subjects, again, while certainly some people would prefer questions solely with a focus on history, I think many people will appreciate a tournament that also brings in the history of the arts, sciences, religion and philosophy, and even a small amount of sports and entertainment history. But just like question styles, this is something that I will be looking for feedback from all corners on over the next few months. If it does seem that most people who would be interested in coming to a History Bee and Bowl would prefer a distribution that tilts toward standard history questions, then, ok, I'll adjust accordingly. However, I still maintain that the boards tend to attract people with similar viewpoints, which are by no means universal, so while I will certainly take into account what everyone says here, I'm not going to be making major adjustments until I speak with people at tournaments, conferences, along with coaches and teachers I know and respect. Once I get a better sense of a general consensus, this will help guide things.
4. Another thing that people can and do disagree on, and not just for the History Bee and Bowl, but for quiz bowl in general, is what the relation of quiz bowl should be regarding stuff that is "academic" "trivial" "general knowledge." Personally, I think the point some people have made about focusing more on stuff that's historically important (and less on stuff like Grover Cleveland's first name) is a very valid one, and I will certainly keep this in mind going ahead. However, I think a focus that gets too exclusionary can be a little dull for many students. I learned about the Hudson River School, Leibniz, and watched Dr. Strangelove in my high school history classes. Now, usually, this would be considered art history, science/philosophy, and film. But it's all historically significant, so I think it's fair game. Likewise historic geography and recent history; while I know that geography and current events have their supporters and detractors in quiz bowl, I do think that geographic knowledge is essential for understanding history and that more recent history (up to a point, I'm not asking about the Tea Party or what's in yesterday's headlines) is more important to know about than the Assyrian Empire. Again, I can't please everyone, but I think this all is reasonable enough.
5. Finally, I just want to reiterate that I'm open to all suggestions for improvement and I will put a revised practice packet online within a week. Please hold off on all future comments until you see how I respond to the comments already made. And moreover, there's no reason even that version will be final. I'll keep improving and tweaking things - but again, please recognize that I'm sure that almost everyone will still find at least one aspect that they might want to do differently. Additionally, I'm going to be getting in touch personally with every team that went to NAQT or PACE nationals last year to get their feedback, suggestions, and thoughts. I'll be getting in touch with other schools too to make sure that this has the widest possible appeal, but I certainly recognize the need to in particular listen to the teams that are particularly strong and active within their state and regional circuits.
Sound good? There will be a lot more debate and comments on all aspects of the History Bee and Bowl soon, but for now, please take what I've said here into consideration and give me a chance to respond before any more declarations of "as it stands now we're not going to compete." Though if you have any more suggestions that can help, I'm always all ears.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Tanay » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:50 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote: learning about issues of actual historical import.
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:I think many people will appreciate a tournament that also brings in the history of the arts, sciences, religion and philosophy, and even a small amount of sports and entertainment history
I don't think these views are mutually exclusive. In fact,
Joe N wrote:Yes, The Beatles are important, and if a question on them, or Jackie Robinson, was written well, with a focus on the historical effects of what they did, it could be acceptable.
I'm obviously not qualified to speak on behalf of anyone else, but I feel like the general consensus is that a tournament "that also brings in the history of the arts, sciences..." can fly to an extent if it's pyramidal, well-written, and focused primarily on "mainstream" historical content.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by DumbJaques » Thu Sep 23, 2010 9:39 pm

I think you may have misinterpreted the main argument in my post (and - if you were referencing mine in the above comment - my tone, which was in no way meant to be combative). I wasn't primarily pointing out the problems with using clues that aren't academic (Sesame Street, Dr. Strangelove, and certainly not things like Leibniz, which you'd cover in many history classes anyway).

Rather, I was pointing out that the question in no way reflected, nor did it test for, any actual knowledge of why Grover Cleveland is important. The only information about Cleveland in the tossup (and your point about picking one question out of all of them is well taken, but I think it illustrates what I'm trying to say) is his name; Grover Cleveland wasn't important because he was named Grover Cleveland, but rather because of what he did in his political career. The extent to which it's "proper" by whatever arbitrary standard to include pop culture or whatever else in academic questions is a debatable point. I don't believe the central argument I'm making is - by any reasonable standard I can imagine, we should be rewarding people for substantive knowledge. That's not to say that you can't talk about more incidental or trivial things or whatever (say, a giveaway about a Sesame Street character, etc. etc.), but if that's ALL you're doing in a question, you've not only left those who really know the historical subject at a disadvantage (a big negative from a competition standpoint), but have also made the focus entirely unrelated to history (a big negative from an educational standpoint).
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:13 pm

DumbJaques wrote:I think you may have misinterpreted the main argument in my post (and - if you were referencing mine in the above comment - my tone, which was in no way meant to be combative). I wasn't primarily pointing out the problems with using clues that aren't academic (Sesame Street, Dr. Strangelove, and certainly not things like Leibniz, which you'd cover in many history classes anyway).

Rather, I was pointing out that the question in no way reflected, nor did it test for, any actual knowledge of why Grover Cleveland is important. The only information about Cleveland in the tossup (and your point about picking one question out of all of them is well taken, but I think it illustrates what I'm trying to say) is his name; Grover Cleveland wasn't important because he was named Grover Cleveland, but rather because of what he did in his political career. The extent to which it's "proper" by whatever arbitrary standard to include pop culture or whatever else in academic questions is a debatable point. I don't believe the central argument I'm making is - by any reasonable standard I can imagine, we should be rewarding people for substantive knowledge. That's not to say that you can't talk about more incidental or trivial things or whatever (say, a giveaway about a Sesame Street character, etc. etc.), but if that's ALL you're doing in a question, you've not only left those who really know the historical subject at a disadvantage (a big negative from a competition standpoint), but have also made the focus entirely unrelated to history (a big negative from an educational standpoint).
Good point; I think I referenced this somewhat in the post above, but I basically agree with this. I agree that the question leaves a lot to be desired for, and it will certainly get reworked- though in reworking the practice packet, I'm going to try and stick with all of the original answers that I have (or very close to them) in order to make it clear how I've reworked things. Still, the result (particularly in the 1st quarter for the prelim rounds) may be shorter questions than what many would desire. But what I'm primarily getting here is a sense that it's not so much length but what is actually in the question that's more the issue. If this is true, then that's good, because I'd like to stick with the format as much as possible and make sure the questions are improved within it. I can lengthen them slightly, but the point here is not to have standard paragraph length pyramidals in the first quarter of the prelims.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:29 pm

But what I'm primarily getting here is a sense that it's not so much length but what is actually in the question that's more the issue.
That's an incorrect assumption. People here are asking you to produce consistently pyramidal questions that also adhere to high standards of clue selection. Having one or two-liners in your opening quarter is incompatible with that goal.
Now, usually, this would be considered art history, science/philosophy, and film. But it's all historically significant, so I think it's fair game.
I guess I have to ask then, if all things that are of historical significance are fair game, why even try to distinguish this from the standard quizbowl circuit? If you are opening yourself up to writing on all topics because they are things that happened in the past that are important, then isn't that a description of almost every topic that comes up in a normal quizbowl packet? What about your goal sets this event apart from the goal of any other event?
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:40 pm

2. The comment about criticizing limiting the job on offer to college graduates misses the point - I am primarily looking for people to organize tournaments. For various reasons, I need to be completely sure that whoever I hire would both be of a certain age and able to work full time, so this is incompatible with hiring people still in college.
Except you directly said
And finally, let me reiterate, the whole reason I was looking for people to work for the NHBB on this website was to find people experienced with pyramidal questions and serious quiz bowl in the first place.
If you are coming on here to find employees who are writers and editors who can help you with the set, then you seem to be directly contradicting that in every other request you've made for employees. I see nothing in your posts that suggest there are separate job offers for writers and editors, so I cannot understand how you were looking for people to work on your set who are experienced with pyramidal quizbowl, but would only be giving them jobs that would involve organization. Do you want people here to help you produce a better set or not? If so, then you probably can't have this job be based out of New York City, and if not, then what are you trying to ask for?
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:55 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
But what I'm primarily getting here is a sense that it's not so much length but what is actually in the question that's more the issue.
That's an incorrect assumption. People here are asking you to produce consistently pyramidal questions that also adhere to high standards of clue selection. Having one or two-liners in your opening quarter is incompatible with that goal.
That's why I said more the issue. I know pyramidality is a huge thing for many people - and obviously for you. But again, even in the case of a two line question, if say four appropriate and historically relevant points are included and in a way in which they're appropriately ordered, then (while maybe not your ideal) it's still pyramidal to some significant extent. Again, though, let me reiterate that what ultimately is going to determine the shape and format of the questions is the feedback I get from many, many people. I'm sticking with this approach for now because I honestly believe that many people like some variety in terms of question formats, and this can include somewhat shorter questions at the start of the game. I can certainly also adjust things by going from 12 to 10 questions and making them a little longer. I'll do that in fact in the reworked packet. But I'm going to see what response I get with the new packet from all corners before making further adjustments.
Now, usually, this would be considered art history, science/philosophy, and film. But it's all historically significant, so I think it's fair game.
I guess I have to ask then, if all things that are of historical significance are fair game, why even try to distinguish this from the standard quizbowl circuit? If you are opening yourself up to writing on all topics because they are things that happened in the past that are important, then isn't that a description of almost every topic that comes up in a normal quizbowl packet? What about your goal sets this event apart from the goal of any other event?
This is a very fair question, but the answer can be looked at in a number of ways. First, there is all sorts of stuff that comes up in regular quiz bowl that won't be in any history bowl game. History of science to a limited extent, sure. Structure of organic compounds? No way. Same thing with much of literature and the arts that has less of a tie-in to history, trash that is really just old trash and not of some greater significance, quantitative math, philosophical concepts that while old are more about the content of philosophy than the history thereof, etc. etc. etc.
And moreover, well over half the questions will still be what is usually considered to be history and only history. Also, at a deeper level, one of the reasons history is worth studying is to gain an appreciation for the interplay between all the different forces that have shaped the past and influenced the present. Beyond the question writing, do you have any thoughts regarding the "subject" (read: different fields and approaches to history) distribution? And while some people will certainly self-select and want a "pure" history tournament, there certainly will be other students who appreciate some other content coming into play. That would have certainly been my preference back in the day, even considering that I was one of the top history players in the country my senior year in high school. But again, this is open for debate, and I'll adjust according to what the general consensus seems to be over the next month or so.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:03 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:
2. The comment about criticizing limiting the job on offer to college graduates misses the point - I am primarily looking for people to organize tournaments. For various reasons, I need to be completely sure that whoever I hire would both be of a certain age and able to work full time, so this is incompatible with hiring people still in college.
Except you directly said
And finally, let me reiterate, the whole reason I was looking for people to work for the NHBB on this website was to find people experienced with pyramidal questions and serious quiz bowl in the first place.
If you are coming on here to find employees who are writers and editors who can help you with the set, then you seem to be directly contradicting that in every other request you've made for employees. I see nothing in your posts that suggest there are separate job offers for writers and editors, so I cannot understand how you were looking for people to work on your set who are experienced with pyramidal quizbowl, but would only be giving them jobs that would involve organization. Do you want people here to help you produce a better set or not? If so, then you probably can't have this job be based out of New York City, and if not, then what are you trying to ask for?
Let me clarify, tournament organization also = tournament directing and outreach work. If you are experienced with pyramidal tossups, serious quiz bowl, issues that are important to teams considering signing up, and so on, this obviously is what I'm looking for. Question writing will likely enter into things at a minor level, but that was not the reason for posting the original offer. In any case, I have received quite a few offers from qualified candidates and am happy with where things stand for now. As things evolve, I may need additional help, but for now, the offer of a paid position is basically closed, unless I get unexpectedly an application from someone willing to commit full-time very, very soon and they are super qualified, though I have a couple of highly qualified candidates lined up who are both highly experienced with pyramidal-style quizbowl. Finally, a lot of my thinking will become clearer in the coming weeks once things progress a little further.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:27 am

I don't think that anyone denies that topics other than history have historical significance. Of course they do. But quizbowl has a schematic division between disciplines, and doesn't shoehorn everything into the "history" category. It seems as though you're calling something a history bowl but you have all sorts of other questions in there, so... why not just call it quizbowl and have questions of every kind? Better yet, why not take advantage of what's being offered by HSAPQ and NAQT, who are producing pretty decent questions already? There seems to be a fair bit of effort duplication going on here and I can't see to what end.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:07 am

grapesmoker wrote:I don't think that anyone denies that topics other than history have historical significance. Of course they do. But quizbowl has a schematic division between disciplines, and doesn't shoehorn everything into the "history" category. It seems as though you're calling something a history bowl but you have all sorts of other questions in there, so... why not just call it quizbowl and have questions of every kind? Better yet, why not take advantage of what's being offered by HSAPQ and NAQT, who are producing pretty decent questions already? There seems to be a fair bit of effort duplication going on here and I can't see to what end.
I mean, he's noted that you're going to still have the supermajority be straightforward history. Most quizbowl luminaries have some cross-topic action in their subject tournaments, perhaps at not much less a rate than he's planning.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:21 am

It would be helpful if this tournament had a distribution. Though many of us would not include topics such as pop culture or fine arts in something called History Bowl, I wouldn't have a serious problem with a distribution that included something along the lines of 6/6 US History, 5/5 European History, 5/5 World History, 1/1 History of Pop Culture, 1/1 History of Fine Arts, 1/1 History of Philosophy & Social Science, and 1/1 History of Science & Technology. I'm just stating this as an example rather than stating my specific distribution is the way it should be--there is a fair amount of flexibility that could be left up to the head editor, though it would help if the rounds were uniform and the distribution was explicit.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Sep 24, 2010 12:37 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:I mean, he's noted that you're going to still have the supermajority be straightforward history. Most quizbowl luminaries have some cross-topic action in their subject tournaments, perhaps at not much less a rate than he's planning.
Sure, I'm not saying one can't do this to some extent. But what I'm seeing here is not so much a history packet as just a mishmash of random things that have quasi-historical answers.

Anyway, David, I'll try to condense into a small space what other people are saying in more words. Which is: if you accept the tossup/bonus format and you accept that more knowledgeable players should be able to buzz before less knowledgeable ones, then I think this quite clearly leads you to the idea of pyramidal questions. Furthermore, if you believe that the rewarded knowledge should be mostly domain-specific (i.e. one should not be able to buzz on history questions from Beatles lyrics) and that it should be relevant (i.e. you should not be able to buzz on Grover Cleveland questions simply by knowing that his name is Stephen), then I think this leads naturally to the conclusion that quizbowl questions should look largely as they do now on the circuit, and not as yours do. If you don't agree with these propositions, I have no particular interest in replaying those arguments except to say that we've had this debate and the side in favor of good quizbowl won. Nebulous appeals of the variety that not everyone accepts these standards aren't terribly relevant; we know that outposts of bad quizbowl remain, but by and large they are being pushed out of existence, which in my view is exactly as it should be.

Since you seem to mostly agree that pyramidal questions are a good thing and that relevant knowledge should be rewarded, it looks like we have some common ground for dialogue. But I think it's also important to realize (as you do) that things have changed quite a bit since you were an active player; standards are different and higher now. If you are interested in enlisting the help of the collegiate circuit in your endeavor (and I think you should be so interested because there are many good people within the circuit doing fine work), then you're going to have to modify your questions to conform to those standards. Otherwise, I just can't see any experienced player or TD getting on board with this when there are so many other ways that they can contribute to the circuit. I say this not as an ultimatum but just as an observation of fact; I'd like to see your project succeed, but if it's going to succeed with circuit assistance, the final product is going to have to look different, or no one will want much to do with it.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by DumbJaques » Fri Sep 24, 2010 2:36 pm

That's an incorrect assumption. People here are asking you to produce consistently pyramidal questions that also adhere to high standards of clue selection. Having one or two-liners in your opening quarter is incompatible with that goal.
No, I'm not asking David to do that, in no small part because I have no particular standing to start issuing requests on a project he presumably has built up through his own effort. That doesn't mean I don't disagree with a number of his arguments (which I've been perfectly open about pointing out), but frankly Charlie, I doubt anyone would respond super favorably to the attitude you're taking with all this. I'm speaking merely for myself and not at all as a moderator on this message board, but it's not as if David is some random high school coach who dropped by to announce he'd be banning his kids from playing serious quizbowl while lighting pyramidal questions on fire. We are not the target audience for the history bee/bowl, nor would any of us be able to significantly impact the attendance of it; if David didn't give a crap about anything we were saying, or wasn't interested in the actual goal of making the competition better and more rewarding academically, I doubt he'd really be replying to all these posts.

Charlie is also incorrect if he's suggesting I even would be telling people that two-line questions in an opening quarter are incompatible with having an academically solid national history bowl; I don't think that at all. In fact, the point I've been trying to make is that you can have solid enough questions with good clues completely independent of length. Take this hypothetical question I've just written on Grover Cleveland:
"What President was helped by the defection of the Mugwumps and the phrase "Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion" to defeat James G. Blaine, four years before his two terms were interrupted by Benjamin Harrison?"
This questions is actually even shorter (just 3/4 the length) of the sample question, but I'd argue meets the standards of pyramidality and rigor that would be appropriate for an opening quarter in this competition. From what I understand about this competition, it's going to mostly consist of students with no or limited quizbowl experience. That means that you very likely don't require tossups that are 5 or 6 lines long to really differentiate levels of knowledge. This tossup is two lines long but is made up of solid, academic clues you can reasonably expect students with various commands of American history to know, arranged in pyramidal order. I'd challenge Charlie to point out why such a question would be unacceptable.

Similarly, I hope this example question illustrates to David/others why what I've been saying has nothing to do with the arguments made in this thread about question length, similarity to NAQT or other formats, etc. I'm positing that the substance of the clues is more important than all those other things, no matter what kind of audience you're writing for.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:09 pm

2 line tossups are by default not enough space to truly differentiate teams. I am legitimately amazed that this is even something you, the most recent head editor of the NSC, are not fully convinced of, and I have a hard time believing you actually would ever defend people running quizbowl tournaments using tossups that, essentially, look like the ones in NAQT's sample speedcheck packet that Jeff recently posted. A quizbowl tournament themed around history should not be any different.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Cheynem » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:33 pm

Why is it "by default not enough space"? Maybe Chris' hypothetical Cleveland tossup could be expanded to a full two lines (or three), but I am not sure why it fails to inherently differentiate knowledge.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:34 pm

And to write it off as "for bad teams" is obviously not right either - it's a national championship, and Dave has made it explicit he wants to attract top quizbowl teams.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:47 pm

Cheynem wrote:Why is it "by default not enough space"? Maybe Chris' hypothetical Cleveland tossup could be expanded to a full two lines (or three), but I am not sure why it fails to inherently differentiate knowledge.
It's not "by default," but it's still true that it's not enough space if you want to provide anything more than the barest gradations of knowledge.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Nicklausse/Muse » Fri Sep 24, 2010 6:50 pm

However, I don't know how much of the website you've read, but I am very clear under "Tournament Philosophy" about looking at history from a very broad perspective. Some huge history buffs may get slightly upset here, but I think it's important to keep the appeal broad. There is nothing wrong with looking at history in this way; in fact this is often the sort of stuff in the past that has the greatest impact on people's lives today. Take the Beatles - or even The Clash. Usually, that would be construed as trash, but there's no denying it's part of music history. So it - to a limited extent - fits.
Sorry, this is bothering me.

As someone who a) when writing history questions, makes a conscious attempt to include cultural stuff, and b) thinks that a little space in the arts distribution for folk and rock wouldn't necessarily hurt, this is BS.

Writing a question on the Vandals with a Bob Dylan lyric as the clue (a lyric that moreover is about little-v vandals, not big-V Vandals!) is not even equivalent to writing a question about (say) the Brixton riots that quotes the Clash song - much less writing about an artist or a work that is historically significant in its own right (say, Richard Wagner). Nor is it equivalent to writing an actual question on the Clash or the Beatles or Bob Dylan.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by DumbJaques » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:08 am

2 line tossups are by default not enough space to truly differentiate teams. I am legitimately amazed that this is even something you, the most recent head editor of the NSC, are not fully convinced of, and I have a hard time believing you actually would ever defend people running quizbowl tournaments using tossups that, essentially, look like the ones in NAQT's sample speedcheck packet that Jeff recently posted. A quizbowl tournament themed around history should not be any different.
2-3 line tossups are not long enough to differentiate among top quizbowl teams, and would need to be written by someone who really, really knew what they were doing to even have a chance of differentiating between mid-tier quizbowl teams. If this tournament is really meant to be a history-themed quizbowl event whose aim is to draw the country's best quizbowl teams, it's going to fail because those teams are not going to be interested in playing questions like that. There's no point getting all uppity about it for reasons along those lines, because it's not an issue of debate; empirically, top quizbowl teams already do not go to national quizbowl events with those kinds of questions. If for some reason those teams did attend, it would also fail by virtue of not being a true test of knowledge.

None of facts make what I posted above any less true - by definition, if you're writing questions that produce the desirable distribution of buzzpoints amongst the field, then you're certainly not failing to meet standards of pyramidality. If your intended field is mostly people who don't really play quizbowl (which is what I understand this tournament to be, really), then you do not need 6 lines to differentiate knowledge and no amount of Charlie Dees lecturing me on how to write good questions will change that. Jerry's very correct that a few lines will give only a very limited graduation of knowledge - practically speaking, that might be all you need for the inaugural history bowl. It might not - that's really something that depends entirely on the field, which I have no way of assessing (though I would be somewhat surprised if the minimum threshold ended up being six-line tossups).

To be clear, the point of my post (AGAIN) is that length isn't at all the most important issue at play here. You could make the tossups in that sample packet 10 lines long and good high school quizbowl teams would never come near them, because they fail in a number of more important metrics for questions - clues are irrelevant to the answer's importance, nonspecific, phrased in such a way as to distort pyramidality, rely almost exclusively on trivia, etc. etc. I don't share Charlie's sense of moral outrage that there might be some kind of academic competition where tossups are only 3 lines long at some points, though I would be upset if a tournament using questions characterized by the shortcomings I just mentioned did things like claim the inferiority of other formats, declare itself the one legitimate national championship, or actively discourage participants from accessing the wider world of academic competition. Automatically equating that kind of behavior with a line and a half of text, particularly when we're having this discussion because someone has been willing to engage in it on the message board (something people who support those things ain't exactly lining up to do).
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Great Bustard » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:12 pm

Hi all,
Just wanted to let you all know that I'm in the process of updating the practice packets, and will let you know when I am done doing this, sometime during the middle of this week. I do want to just clear up a few things, though, that despite my prior posts still seem to be a little unclear.
1. First, I just got back from the KAAC conference in Louisville on Friday then drove up to Vermont and worked yesterday at the Sue Pasco tournament on 4 hours of sleep for 2 nights in a row (see http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... =1&t=10413). Next week I hope to be volunteering at Princeton. Not only has this given me a good opportunity to touch base with all manner of coaches and students, but it's a different sort of crowd than has been posting here, and it's good to get feedback from other corners. As I've said before, the Boards tend to attract people of a certain mentality, but this is far from everyone who I have in mind in trying to come up with the format for the tournaments. Also, the tone of the Boards often scares away other people who are still very much interested in academic competition (a very pro-pyramidal friend of mine described the overall tone of the Boards as "abrasive.")
2. That having been said, in terms of who I'm trying to appeal to here, I'm both trying to bring in some new blood into the quiz bowl world and to produce a tournament that will attract the best teams in the country. In the first quarter of the prelim rounds (which is only 1/7 of the points or so in those rounds), I can all but guarantee that the top teams are going to do extremely well on these, even if they are somewhat shorter than they are accustomed to. Sure, having 3-6 things in the question doesn't differentiate as well as 6-12. But the idea is that this is a small part of the total points, and given that I'm planning on 24 tournaments around the country, and that 8 teams at each site both make the playoffs and qualify for nationals, the top teams in the country should not have any trouble qualifying no matter what.
3. As I've said all along, I can make the playoffs and nationals have longer and more pyramidal questions, I just want to make sure that some of the newer teams aren't scared away by a format that doesn't change throughout the game, with questions written with solely the top teams in mind, and that, while impeccably fair, quite honestly some people find a little boring.
4. Still, while the final format won't be to everyone's liking, this feedback is certainly very helpful and I will take it all into account. The revised example of the question on Grover Cleveland is a good example; maybe it won't distinguish between Dorman and State College as well as a longer question would, but quite honestly, the top teams aren't going to be going up against each other in the prelims anyway, so it's a moot point. Moreover, it's silly for me to have this concern be the overriding one in terms of devising question format for the prelims when I need to take into account novice teams' preferences too. That doesn't mean that novice teams can't prefer pyramidal questions - certainly plenty of novice players did when I asked them yesterday in Vermont. But not all did, so I want to make sure that they aren't scared away by 6 line tossups in the first quarter of the prelim games.
5. The revised questions WILL be longer and more pyramidal, so, just hold tight there. Moreover, I am going to make the prelim Bee questions (which haven't come up here yet, but resemble as of now the first quarter tossups) much more pyramidal; I really want to have the best players come and have a great time in the Bee as well, so your feedback is helpful there too.
That's all for now - more later in a few days when the practice packet gets revised.
Cheers,
David
David Madden
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Founder and Director: International History Bee and Bowl, National History Bee and Bowl (High School Division), International History Olympiad, United States Geography Olympiad, US History Bee, US Academic Bee and Bowl, National Humanities Bee, National Science Bee, International Academic Bowl.
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:23 pm

What exactly is the difference between the bee and bowl?
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Re: Potential Full Time Job Offer in Quiz Bowl

Post by Tanay » Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:56 pm

It looks like the Bee is a one-on-one competition.
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