Eligibility

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Eligibility

Post by marnold » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:10 pm

This seems like it's an issue every year and it really shouldn't be. Wishy-washy eligibility guidelines (which include things like gentlemen's agreements or case-by-case exceptions) just don't work. Some people aren't going to be bound by social conventions because they either don't believe in the justifications and/or they're shameless. Making people ask for exceptions will exclude people who don't feel comfortable asking or who might think there's a gentlemen's agreement that's in place. Ad hoc exceptions are also probably going to be pretty arbitrary (e.g., the UIUC EFT standard that would exclude noted good player and grad student Mike Sorice but allow noted good player and grad student Andrew Hart). Note that firmer eligibility rules need not be more sweeping. Andrew Hart set up a pretty finely tuned set of circumstances that define eligibility for Autumn Novice, or you can list non-performance reasons why you might allow older players, like "if an upperclassman is necessary to transport other players to the tournament, they will be allowed to play." Every year I've been involved in quizbowl there's been some confusion or issue with eligibility for EFT or Fall; I think eligibility restrictions are a bad idea for most tournaments (even ones with easy questions) but if the community wants them for something, let's stamp out wishy-washy guidelines so this same issue doesn't reoccur every year.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:25 pm

This post is a good post.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Cheynem » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:52 pm

I've been one of the staunchest proponents of tighter restriction for ACF Fall, but I was very confused by the retroactive EFT guideline discussion. At no time, aside from a few sentences in Charles Martin's initial post that could have been interpreted various ways and were never discussed again, was the idea of eligibility ever raised. EFT has traditionally had no eligibility restrictions and it did not have such restrictions at other sites. Thus, I would guess Andrew had no idea that there were these eligibility questions in the first place. Certainly, until I asked Charles myself, was I even aware. I don't know if anyone is "upset" that Minnesota brought two grad students to play, but I hope they aren't. Let me just say that if Charles wanted the field limited to certain players, he needed to have been far more explicit about it.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by marnold » Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:47 pm

People have always thought EFT has limited eligibility even though it hasn't (Andrew Yaphe played the first EFT, I'm pretty sure). The point is that vague, unclear, unspoken or unenforced eligibility guidelines are contributing to people not playing tournaments they want to (Surya, Nolan for UIUC EFT) or catching flack they don't deserve (Andrew for this EFT, people like Mike Sorice historically). It would be best if we could say "there are no more gentlemen's agreements from here on out," but first we need to establish that if we want restrictions for tournaments they must be made explicit.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Papa's in the House » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:08 pm

As I explained to at least one other person, I would not have allowed Andrew Hart to play at EFT had I had known slightly earlier than I did that he would be attending this tournament. My original intention was to have Rob lead one team and Mike Cheyne lead another when Mike first contacted me. In some later email I learned that Andrew was coming, but that email came in the last week before the tournament and by that point in time I was more concerned with another situation related to a team that decided not to tell me they weren't going to bring 2 teams until I emailed the person in charge of that school. I will be more explicit with eligibility rules in the future.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:22 pm

Papa's in the House wrote:As I explained to at least one other person, I would not have allowed Andrew Hart to play at EFT had I had known slightly earlier than I did that he would be attending this tournament.
Why not?
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Cheynem » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:28 pm

So you weren't going to let Andrew play...but you were never going to inform him or find out if he was coming?
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Papa's in the House » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:31 pm

Morraine Man wrote:
Papa's in the House wrote:As I explained to at least one other person, I would not have allowed Andrew Hart to play at EFT had I had known slightly earlier than I did that he would be attending this tournament.
Why not?
For much the same reason I wouldn't want Mike Sorice playing this tournament. Andrew is a good quiz bowl player and, as we saw, he led that team to first place nearly singlehandedly. His presence on a team creates a team that is superior to much of the field that we drew and I was trying to limit any superteams from forming. Unfortunately, I was unable to do that, and for that I apologize. As I stated in my last post, I will try to avoid that in the future by explicitly stating eligibility rules.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Papa's in the House » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:33 pm

Cheynem wrote:So you weren't going to let Andrew play...but you were never going to inform him or find out if he was coming?
I wrongly assumed he would not be coming to this tournament based on the eligibility rules I had posted (which can be read in the main EFT field). It appears that I made an ass out of myself by making that assumption.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Terrible Shorts Depot » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:10 am

Papa's in the House wrote:My original intention was to have Rob lead one team and Mike Cheyne lead another when Mike first contacted me
Are you serious? This is completely absurd. There's not a meaningful ability difference between Rob and Andrew and they also graduated high school together! Just because Rob isn't technically a grad student doesn't mean he isn't "too good" for EFT.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:22 am

I think all that goes to show is that, unless a tournament director is so up on the circuit that he can confidently make almost all the right judgements on player ability (and that number of people is incredibly small, the only reason it worked for ACF Novice is that Andrew is one of those few people), setting objective eligibility criteria is absolutely necessary for tournaments like this.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by theMoMA » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:33 am

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:I think all that goes to show is that, unless a tournament director is so up on the circuit that he can confidently make almost all the right judgements on player ability (and that number of people is incredibly small, the only reason it worked for ACF Novice is that Andrew is one of those few people), setting objective eligibility criteria is absolutely necessary for tournaments like this.
100% of the success of the Collegiate Novice restrictions is based on the fact that people have been fair about who they ask exceptions for. I've been lenient with exceptions in most cases, especially when sites are small or older players are needed to drive (this is why, somewhat unfortunately in my view, that really good Cornell team got to play). If anyone is thinking of drawing up eligibility rules for future tournaments, I would suggest something along the lines of what Collegiate Novice's restrictions are. I think that most potential TDs are good enough judges of who is a clear spirit-of-the-rules exception and who is a clear eligibility violator. The number of hard cases you want to allow is up to the individual TDs.

The EFT eligibility problems stem from simple miscommunication, and I hope that no one is legitimately up in arms over the fact that I played. I haven't been very involved with QB recently, so I honestly didn't know that there was any attempt to limit the field.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by marnold » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:40 am

I just want to note that I think the bigger misfortune at the UIUC EFT was Surya and Nolan not going to a tournament they would have been perfectly fine playing. Like I said, I think eligibility restrictions are generally bad and good players playing quizbowl almost never hurts anyone, so this thread wasn't meant to be a referendum on Andrew (or even the UIUC EFT) but a suggestion about what sorts of eligibility controls do and don't work.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by jdeliverer » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:58 am

I found it pretty inspiring, personally, to be really crushed by good teams for the first time this weekend; then again, maybe that's just me or because I've been playing for a few years.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:09 am

I think for tournaments like EFT and regular-difficulty tournaments, every host should be able to define its own eligibility standards. It's true that most people don't know everyone's strength nationally, but within each individual circuit most TDs know basically who the good/old/non-student/whatever players are, what their expected field size and strength is, and can plan appropriate eligibility rules accordingly.

If it really comes down to it, TDs can announce basic eligibility rules (e.g., "only people actually enrolled in college can play this tournament") and then privately contact people with something like "I think that your presence at this tournament might upset the competitive balance; would you mind sitting this one out or staffing the tournament instead?". I think this might actually be the best solution, because then the "blame" for any of these controversies falls clearly on the player and not the TD or eligibility rules.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Boeing X-20, Please! » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:18 am

jdeliverer wrote:I found it pretty inspiring, personally, to be really crushed by good teams for the first time this weekend; then again, maybe that's just me or because I've been playing for a few years.
I mean, you've been crushed by what people could consider good teams (Not that I consider my team is truly a good team or mean to be coming off like that) before, as illustrated by round 2, which could come into play considering you're used to that experience.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by jdeliverer » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:57 am

Secretary of Bobcats wrote:
jdeliverer wrote:I found it pretty inspiring, personally, to be really crushed by good teams for the first time this weekend; then again, maybe that's just me or because I've been playing for a few years.
I mean, you've been crushed by what people could consider good teams (Not that I consider my team is truly a good team or mean to be coming off like that) before, as illustrated by round 2, which could come into play considering you're used to that experience.
That's true - I meant at a college level, I guess. As good as the top teams in Illinois were last year, I don't think any of them were really as impressive as some teams here. Also, I would go so far as to say that Yale A was better than Loyola was last year (in the game you bring up, I got 5 tossups against you guys and could have gotten more off buzzer races, etc.; against Yale I had no shot at any tossup in that packet with my current knowledge).
Last edited by jdeliverer on Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Geringer » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:06 am

I think I can bring an interesting viewpoint to this discussion in that I have discussed some of these issues with the lowest-bracket teams at EFT and previous tournaments. Let's take a walk in their shoes:

EFT was billed as a novice tournament. From my perspective, novice tournaments are supposed to introduce people to the game and make them feel good about quizbowl. Converting 2/20 tossups does not make you want to play more quizbowl, especially if this is "novice level." In addition, playing national caliber teams at said novice tournaments doesn't exactly make you want to keep playing, either. I know that this argument has been made before, and that quizbowl is a competitive game and we shouldn't baby people (I remember Matt Weiner and others refuting my exact argument at some point), but I can't help but see how demoralizing it is to new teams.

I will go so far as to say that this lack of true novice-field, novice-question tournaments hurts recruitment of new members. With a few notable exceptions, most strong collegiate players were very competitive in high school. Besides Delta Burke and the new ACF Novice, I don't think there are any other sandbox tournaments in which new collegiate teams can both succeed and challenge themselves to get better.

[I don't mean this as an affront to the better players at EFT. I respect you guys, but I'm just trying to contribute a viewpoint that most people forget about.]

What benefit do seasoned players get from playing EFT? I say, none. As a scary, multi-headed forum machine, we've yelled at players and teams in the past for running A-sets and playing on the Community College circuit because we feel that players should play questions that challenge them and expand their horizons, but I don't see how sending an all-star team to EFT is any less of an offense. To use a old phrase, you're clubbing baby seals. To make matters worse, the editors of this tournament have come to expect a higher level of play and write more difficult questions accordingly, thus putting the tournament out of the reach of many novice teams. Don't even get me started on the occasional meta clues in EFT. I don't care whether or not this guy loves [this game] or that we can make a funny joke about this other quizbowler in our bonus about [this other thing]; when some of your packets look like they were translated from Japanese to Russian and then to English via Babelfish, these things look pretty ridiculous.

These circumstances deeply sadden me. Combine these novice-hostile tournaments with the HSQB forums, another tool for helping our novice brethren, and I foresee major expansion problems in the future. In the last two years, there's almost been a reign of terror towards any breach of the status quo, so much so that the forums have become exclusive. If the first thread you saw as a casual lurker was that thread about Trygve abusing admin privileges, would you want to be part of this community? I certainly wouldn't want to be. Quite frankly, after all of the good experiences I've had and all of the friends I've made, I almost don't want to be. I would even bet that I'm not the only one that feels this way. So please, quizbowl at-large, don't shun the little guys. Take them under your wing.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by cchiego » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:06 am

Geringer wrote: EFT was billed as a novice tournament.
Perhaps quizbowl needs to be more explicit about difficulty levels; experienced editors should be honest and choose terms slightly more descriptive than "regular" or "novice" difficulty. The spectrum of "novice" runs from Delta Burke through ACF Fall and encounters EFT right on the border with regular difficulty. That said, EFT was not a "hard" tournament per se, as the stats show; rather, it was really the quality of the players that made it seem tougher.
Geringer wrote:I will go so far as to say that this lack of true novice-field, novice-question tournaments hurts recruitment of new members.
ACF Fall, Delta Burke, and MUT are all easier than EFT usually. The addition of ACF Novice makes no less than 4 excellent tournaments for novices where you probably won't find "baby seal clubbers." (Not to mention DII SCT).
Geringer wrote: What benefit do seasoned players get from playing EFT?
There weren't really any "All-Star" teams at EFT. There were just a number of excellent players (divided up), most of whom I suspect you won't be seeing at ACF Fall or MUT. It is fun to put up pinball-like numbers at least once a year and EFT has a reputation as the hardest "novice" set out there. Plus, as has been pointed out before, there just aren't that many tournaments in the fall.
Geringer wrote:when some of your packets look like they were translated from Japanese to Russian and then to English via Babelfish, these things look pretty ridiculous.
Yeah, this is something that could be easily corrected; there are many players/former players out there who can spare 15 minutes to proofread a packet (I will always proofread a packet sent to me, so please do so in the future if you need copyediting help). Meta isn't that bad though and if it helps people learn quizbowl lore and share a laugh, then it's not necessarily a bad thing. These concerns aren't exactly earth-shattering.
Geringer wrote:Combine these novice-hostile tournaments with the HSQB forums, another tool for helping our novice brethren, and I foresee major expansion problems in the future. In the last two years, there's almost been a reign of terror towards any breach of the status quo, so much so that the forums have become exclusive
I think you're overstating this. If anything, I've noticed less hostility recently and judging by the large fields some of the EFTs have attracted (as well as the small but significant number of newer teams attending collegiate novice mirrors), quizbowl is still expanding. I would love to hear more though from some of the newer teams themselves about what they thought of the tournament/playing more advanced players (keeping in mind that unless you have super-stringent guidelines, you'll still probably end up on the losing end of the stick many times as a brand-new team/player) and would encourage them to attend the other novice-level tournaments as well.
marnold wrote:but if the community wants them for something, let's stamp out wishy-washy guidelines so this same issue doesn't reoccur every year.
The Collegiate Novice tournament as a model sounds perfect. Publicly announce that you will limit players to some given group of X for a given tournament. Add option for those not in X to request exemptions and encourage them to do so. Approve those exemptions on a case-by-case basis (or in return for providing a public good like writing a packet). Some tournaments can be more strict than others- MUT for undergrads only, Novice for "true novices," EFT maybe for ppl never in the top bracket at a nationals, etc. Whatever a tournament wants to choose, you have to have an explicit option for exceptions and people who feel that they deserve one should be encouraged to apply. (I doubt that this applies outside of the nebulous category of "novice" tournaments).
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:04 am

This fascination with insulating new players is fairly recent. At the first ACF Fall I attended (October 2004), there were teams led by Andrew Yaphe, Seth Teitler, and Zeke.

There are legitimate reasons for good players to play fall tournaments, even easy ones. If you have new people joining your A team, you may want to find out how you "gel together" as a team early on. Or maybe you just want to shake off the summer's buzzer rust.

If you're absolutely committed to insulating new players, why not do two divisions at your tournament, like NAQT? I've seen this at mACF Berkeley tournaments. That way you can even have superteams at EFT.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:29 am

Morraine Man wrote:This fascination with insulating new players is fairly recent. At the first ACF Fall I attended (October 2004), there were teams led by Andrew Yaphe, Seth Teitler, and Zeke.
If you're really concerned with insulating new players, look at the great stats some of the more accomplished high school players-turned-college-freshmen put up. Should we forbid them from playing because they're going to intimidate the other freshmen?
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:37 am

Not That Kind of Christian!! wrote:
Morraine Man wrote:This fascination with insulating new players is fairly recent. At the first ACF Fall I attended (October 2004), there were teams led by Andrew Yaphe, Seth Teitler, and Zeke.
If you're really concerned with insulating new players, look at the great stats some of the more accomplished high school players-turned-college-freshmen put up. Should we forbid them from playing because they're going to intimidate the other freshmen?
Exactly.

We all love Nolan Esser here. But there is a long list of college underclassmen -- and even high school students! -- who are much better at quizbowl than Nolan Esser. A rule that allows Rob Carson while banning Nolan Esser is an absurd rule.

(Just to be clear, I support allowing both Rob and Nolan to play)
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Oct 04, 2010 11:38 am

Keeping good players out of EFT isn't going to make it easier for new and lower level teams (like mine) to get better. All but the top tier of players are going to get crushed in collegiate quizbowl at some point, and delaying that from September to December really doesn't make that much of a difference to me. Having easy competition through the first few tournaments of the year may actually make lower level teams worse in the long run. If a new team played well at tournaments in the fall with easier fields, they might just think they're already good at quizbowl and not do much to get better. Then they'd go to a tournament like THUNDER or ACF Regionals, and have their asses handed to them by teams like Illinois, Minnesota, and Harvard and wonder why they suddenly started sucking at quizbowl.

To summarize what I think lower level teams should do (this directly applies to what I hope to do at WKU): Go get the shit beat out of you at EFT, see what went wrong and try to get better, get the shit beat out of you a bit less at ACF Fall, see what went wrong and try to get better, and rinse and repeat until you're good.

Edit: Left out a word.
Last edited by Rococo A Go Go on Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask » Mon Oct 04, 2010 12:03 pm

Morraine Man wrote:This fascination with insulating new players is fairly recent.
No it's really not. My freshman year at Swarthmore (2001-2002), there were no fewer than four "juniorbird" tournaments within two hours of me with stringent elgibility requirements that excluded not just grad students, but many upperclassmen (to wit: SNEWT, Baby Hen, DSHIT, and DII SCT). And I was quite greatful to be able to play in three of them.

This was also ACF Fall's first year, though there wasn't a Mid-Atlantic site that year.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by The Moviegoer » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:04 pm

Hey folks, so on behalf of the ABT I want to apologize to Andrew Hart. I don't think there was any malice in Charles' comments at all, but I think it needs to be said that this whole thing is all our fault for not having clear eligibility guidelines or even none at all, and that Andrew, of course, has nothing to answer for. Merging EFT with MCMNT caused a bit of confusion towards the eligibility rules even within the club I believe, but we'll work on that for the future.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:11 pm

I know we're getting away somewhat from the original intent of this thread, but there are some interesting points in Jeffrey's post I'd like to address.
Geringer wrote:I think I can bring an interesting viewpoint to this discussion in that I have discussed some of these issues with the lowest-bracket teams at EFT and previous tournaments. Let's take a walk in their shoes:

EFT was billed as a novice tournament. From my perspective, novice tournaments are supposed to introduce people to the game and make them feel good about quizbowl. Converting 2/20 tossups does not make you want to play more quizbowl, especially if this is "novice level." In addition, playing national caliber teams at said novice tournaments doesn't exactly make you want to keep playing, either. I know that this argument has been made before, and that quizbowl is a competitive game and we shouldn't baby people (I remember Matt Weiner and others refuting my exact argument at some point), but I can't help but see how demoralizing it is to new teams.
Yeah, I disagree with EFT being marketed as a novice tournament. I think a school or two at our site last year were demoralized when 1) The questions were harder than a true novice tournament would be and 2) Non-novice teams pummeled them. Marketing matters for teams without a whole lot of quizbowl experience, so I think writers and hosts should really put thought into what type of tournament they say they're selling.

That said, I also think that EFT is a great tournament for novices to attend. From my experience, the questions are excellently written, the information in them is crucial to getting good at quizbowl, and there is a lot of stuff in them that would be accessible to novices. Although I think it’s incorrect to say EFT is a novice tournament, I definitely think novices should go. And when they go, I think novice players need to meet the circuit half-way. Novices need to understand that they’ll be playing good teams and will likely get beaten badly at times. Novices need to understand that they might not score a ton of points. Novices need to understand that the key is to have some fun, learn some stuff, and get motivated to win some matches in the future.
Geringer wrote:I will go so far as to say that this lack of true novice-field, novice-question tournaments hurts recruitment of new members. With a few notable exceptions, most strong collegiate players were very competitive in high school. Besides Delta Burke and the new ACF Novice, I don't think there are any other sandbox tournaments in which new collegiate teams can both succeed and challenge themselves to get better.
I think this is a fair point. One or two more true novice tournaments would be nice. I think a big reason you don’t see more is financial. The fact is is that, at least in some regions, it’s hard to get a decent-sized field of teams that have to meet a certain eligibility caps. The ENT at USC was a fun, competitive tournament, but, despite my fairly aggressive marketing of the tournament, we only got 3 teams from outside schools to play. Shorter University had similar problems recruiting teams ( I think they got about 4 teams, including house teams). If you can only get, like, 5-6 schools total (including house teams) to attend a novice tournament at 2 very accessible sites in a fairly populous region, well, there’s just not a ton of incentive to write or host novice tournaments in that region. Losing money hosting tournaments is no fun. In contrast, the tournament in the region that has an essentially open eligibility regime (EFT at Ga Tech) has a decent field already lined up with 3 weeks to go before T-time.
Geringer wrote:What benefit do seasoned players get from playing EFT? I say, none. As a scary, multi-headed forum machine, we've yelled at players and teams in the past for running A-sets and playing on the Community College circuit because we feel that players should play questions that challenge them and expand their horizons, but I don't see how sending an all-star team to EFT is any less of an offense. To use a old phrase, you're clubbing baby seals.
The benefit is playing quizbowl on good questions and getting practice against real teams. As an example, I work with the South Carolina team. SC is a good team of essentially veteran players. In our region, there are a total of two tournaments they can play in this semester. We’re hosting one of those tournaments (ACF Fall). Assuming that enough teams sign up for ACF Fall such that the USC players all have to staff, that would give USC a total of 1 tournament to play in this semester. If they deceided not to play EFT out of principle, that would leave them a total of zero tournaments for Fall 2010. Sorry, but we’re gotta play at some point if we’re going to be a quizbowl program.

Another point I would like to make regarding the SC team is that they were all novices when they started college and they had very little high school playing experience. I took them to tournaments as freshmen where they would get stomped by the likes of FSU and Vandy every tournament. They had the attitude to get motivated by defeats instead of quitting, and now they’re a good team.
Geringer wrote:These circumstances deeply sadden me. Combine these novice-hostile tournaments with the HSQB forums, another tool for helping our novice brethren, and I foresee major expansion problems in the future. In the last two years, there's almost been a reign of terror towards any breach of the status quo, so much so that the forums have become exclusive.
This is where I think you’re getting carried away a bit. It’s one thing to say that EFT is not a novice tournament, but (again I haven’t seen the questions) I think it’s a gigantic stretch to say EFT is “novice hostile.” It certainly has not been that in the past and I highly doubt that’s been the case this year. There’s plenty of outreach to novice players and there’s virtually no hostility towards novice players on the forums. There’s no reign of terror against people who speak out against whatever the status quo may be.
Geringer wrote: So please, quizbowl at-large, don't shun the little guys. Take them under your wing.
Sorry, but this made me laugh. I had this thought of Chris Ray going up to some random novice player from the VCU EFT and saying “Rargh, you’re going under my wing!” No doubt we would never see that dude again.

In all seriousness, good players helping aspiring good players happens all of the time. Good quizbowl players are always willing to listen to new players and provide assistance. Look at the countless threads on the boards dedicated to just that.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:03 pm

Sorry, but this made me laugh. I had this thought of Chris Ray going up to some random novice player from the VCU EFT and saying “Rargh, you’re going under my wing!” No doubt we would never see that dude again.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Oct 04, 2010 2:12 pm

Theory Of The Leisure Flask wrote:
Morraine Man wrote:This fascination with insulating new players is fairly recent.
No it's really not. My freshman year at Swarthmore (2001-2002), there were no fewer than four "juniorbird" tournaments within two hours of me with stringent elgibility requirements that excluded not just grad students, but many upperclassmen (to wit: SNEWT, Baby Hen, DSHIT, and DII SCT). And I was quite greatful to be able to play in three of them.

This was also ACF Fall's first year, though there wasn't a Mid-Atlantic site that year.
"Juniorbirds" were around but dying out when I was a freshman (in large part because it was difficult to motivate older students to drive us to a tournament they couldn't play), and they were definitely restricted, but there was none of this current nonsense like "I'm too good to play ACF Winter". Elite player teams existed not just at Chicago Open, but also at everyday regular difficulty tournaments.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Papa's in the House » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:14 pm

I was going to post this a couple of hours ago, but I looked over it a couple of times as I wanted to make sure I wasn't being as stupid as I was last night.
theMoMA wrote:I hope that no one is legitimately up in arms over the fact that I played.
I also hope this is the case. I apologize for having much of the early stages of this discussion focus on you playing this tournament and I hope you will accept this apology. This screw up was entirely my fault and I should be the only one blamed for it.
cvdwightw wrote:If it really comes down to it, TDs can announce basic eligibility rules (e.g., "only people actually enrolled in college can play this tournament") and then privately contact people with something like "I think that your presence at this tournament might upset the competitive balance; would you mind sitting this one out or staffing the tournament instead?". I think this might actually be the best solution, because then the "blame" for any of these controversies falls clearly on the player and not the TD or eligibility rules.
The only problem that I foresee with this solution is getting in contact with the player in question. I say this because I initially had trouble getting responses from several schools. This was likely a result of the fact that I did not have an email address readily available for someone from that school, so I had to PM someone from that school as an email button did not display next to the PM button.
Morraine Man wrote:A rule that allows Rob Carson while banning Nolan Esser is an absurd rule.
This statement about sums up my views on strict eligibility rules.

In order to allow people to better understand how the eligibility "rules" formed for the UIUC EFT mirror (so they can avoid my mistake), I thought I would go through their evolution.

Back when we were considering doing MCMNT separately from EFT, I had copied the eligibility rules from last year's MCMNT thread into the new announcement. When we decided to merge EFT with MCMNT, I went and looked at what Brown had posted for eligibility for EFT to determine what I should use myself. I saw the following:
Gypsy punk wrote:This will be a novice-difficulty tournament aimed at new players, similar to past incarnations of EFT and ACF Fall.
I also happened to have an email from a couple of IL high schoolers that were interesting in playing the tournament. After discussing things with Ike a bit, I determined that his intention for this tournament was to avoid having "superteams" from forming. I did not receive any specific eligibility criteria from him. Being relatively unaware of how eligibility at EFT was determined in the past and taking the discussion with Ike into consideration, I decided to write:
Papa's in the House wrote:Who can play this tournament?
Since we have merged this set with Brown's EFT, you can play this tournament if you an undergraduate student. High school teams can play this tournament. You should contact me if you have any questions about your eligibility or if you want to play on a mixed team.

What kind of difficulty can I expect?
This set will be in line with other novice tournaments, such as recent incarnations of ACF Fall.
In my mind, this positively stated who could play and opened an avenue for people who were unsure of whether or not they could play to determine if they could play this tournament. I wanted to allow people to email me about playing this tournament because I had already received emails from the aforementioned IL high schoolers and used those emails to state that high schoolers could play. Unfortunately, I did not explain clearly enough that graduate students should contact me as well if they wanted to play this set. Hopefully this helps other TDs determine eligibility in the future.

Having relayed this information, I wanted to give my personal opinion on the discussion that is the main point of this thread. I think that if the quiz bowl community decides to have strict eligibility rules in the future, the tournament editors should initially determine those rules and then be appealed to by players that have questions about their eligibility. While TDs have comparatively more knowledge about their region than editors from other regions, they do not always know what the tournament editors intentions are for the tournament (like having EFT be closer to "regular" difficulty than novice difficulty tournament). Having editors determine eligibility rules and then consult the region's TD about a player's strength compared to the field's strength should prevent future problems similar to what popped up at UIUC's EFT mirror. It should also prevent different sites from having substantially different eligibility rules for the same tournament.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Papa's in the House » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:39 pm

Just out of curiosity, I have two stupid questions:

1 - Why didn't people raise issues with eligibility restrictions at EFT before the tournament took place?
2 - Why wasn't there a discussion about placing eligibility restrictions on all tournaments before this thread came up?

Like I said, they're stupid questions, but I'm interested to know people's answers. They may have even already been answered and I'm just unaware of this as I don't read all threads.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Susan » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:46 pm

Papa's in the House wrote:Just out of curiosity, I have two stupid questions:

1 - Why didn't people raise issues with eligibility restrictions at EFT before the tournament took place?
I would assume that it's because, if something is billed as a novice tournament*, it's sort of unseemly to be like RAARGH LET MY GRAD STUDENT ASS PLAY.

*and it seems like a fair number of people saw the UIUC EFT mirror this way
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Re: Eligibility

Post by sds » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:16 pm

myamphigory wrote:
Papa's in the House wrote:Just out of curiosity, I have two stupid questions:

1 - Why didn't people raise issues with eligibility restrictions at EFT before the tournament took place?
I would assume that it's because, if something is billed as a novice tournament*, it's sort of unseemly to be like RAARGH LET MY GRAD STUDENT ASS PLAY.

*and it seems like a fair number of people saw the UIUC EFT mirror this way

Speaking from my end, "you can play this tournament if you are an undergraduate student. High school teams can play this tournament" seemed to very obviously exclude grad students; it never even occurred to me to ask whether I could play. Something along the lines of "graduate students may be allowed to play on a case-by-case basis" would have indicated to me that an email was in order. I'm not saying this to find any fault with Charles, but simply to point out that there's a great deal of variance in how we all interpreted the same two sentences.

I fully agree with Marnold that any restrictions on who can play (or even who might be able to play) need to be stated explicitly. Moreover, it might be worth updating stated eligibility requirements when exceptions are granted, so that other players in a similar situation know it's even worth asking. I suspect quite a few people would have emailed if we'd known that Mike had received permission to play.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Papa's in the House » Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:36 pm

sds wrote:
myamphigory wrote:
Papa's in the House wrote:Just out of curiosity, I have two stupid questions:

1 - Why didn't people raise issues with eligibility restrictions at EFT before the tournament took place?
I would assume that it's because, if something is billed as a novice tournament*, it's sort of unseemly to be like RAARGH LET MY GRAD STUDENT ASS PLAY.

*and it seems like a fair number of people saw the UIUC EFT mirror this way

Speaking from my end, "you can play this tournament if you are an undergraduate student. High school teams can play this tournament" seemed to very obviously exclude grad students; it never even occurred to me to ask whether I could play. Something along the lines of "graduate students may be allowed to play on a case-by-case basis" would have indicated to me that an email was in order. I'm not saying this to find any fault with Charles, but simply to point out that there's a great deal of variance in how we all interpreted the same two sentences.

I fully agree with Marnold that any restrictions on who can play (or even who might be able to play) need to be stated explicitly. Moreover, it might be worth updating stated eligibility requirements when exceptions are granted, so that other players in a similar situation know it's even worth asking. I suspect quite a few people would have emailed if we'd known that Mike had received permission to play.
Thanks for explaining this better to me.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Cheynem » Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:27 pm

Yeah, looking back, I didn't even think to realize that others would have had the same question as I did. If I had realized this, I would have posted my question right in the thread to get it cleared away. I regret that Surya and Nolan were not there, as they are Good People and enliven a tournament.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:46 pm

Cheynem wrote:Yeah, looking back, I didn't even think to realize that others would have had the same question as I did. If I had realized this, I would have posted my question right in the thread to get it cleared away. I regret that Surya and Nolan were not there, as they are Good People and enliven a tournament.
Can we just set the eligibility so that it's Good People only. No Bad People allowed.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:59 pm

Bruce has a pretty good perspective here - this compulsion with eligiblity ins-and-outs is a really weird development that's grown like a Frankenstein monster out of the 2006-era movement to soften the game and become more inviting to new players.

Even I've conceded the wisdom of that movement at various times, but the kind of fretting we're seeing in this thread seems silly. You'd convince me if I thought you could show me even one player who would actually be persuaded to keep playing and improving at this game if that player had not had to play Andrew Hart at this tournament. At most, you might convince me that what lies in the balance is getting a handful of players to return to practice for four or five more weeks, and then leave. The chivalrous "knight on white horse" mentality is kinda insulting.

Look, if you're the 28th best team in a 32 team tourney, focus your competitive instincts on beating teams 20-27. Don't worry about teams 1-5, just let them be your inspiration.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Tue Oct 05, 2010 10:37 am

Question: should eligibility rules for a tournament be dictated by the head editor, or by the sites individually? This, I think, was the main problem I had with this year's EFT, because I didn't feel like that I had the right to tell Illinois who could and could not play. Also, because UIUC switched to using the EFT set after originally announcing MCMNT, I wasn't sure what they were going for.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:05 pm

myamphigory wrote:RAARGH LET MY POST-GRAD STUDENT ASS PLAY.
Fixed for myself.

I think explicit eligibility is a rule whose time has come. ACF has had it for a long time now, so I can't see why other tournaments can't do the same. I'm a little disappointed that the "gentlemen's agreement" has failed in this way, because I really think that a good player should be able to look at their own skills and come to a conclusion about whether this tournament is right for them.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:17 pm

Morraine Man wrote:If you're absolutely committed to insulating new players, why not do two divisions at your tournament, like NAQT? I've seen this at mACF Berkeley tournaments. That way you can even have superteams at EFT.
This is a good idea.
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Re: Eligibility

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Oct 05, 2010 1:43 pm

The 2008 Harvard Novice Tournament (a mirror of Illinois Novice, I think) did that. There was a division in which true novice teams played each other, and then a division in which non-novice players (including grad students) played each other in teams of 1 or 2.

Of course you'll need staff and rooms, but if you give the non-novice division a schedule with byes, there's extra staff right there.
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