Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

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Mechanical Beasts
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Columbia B have a collective forty-nine years of quizbowl experience between them, explaining away their round one victory over Alabama A. We'll have to wait and see whether any other teams have more years of experience than Alabama.
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Lapego1
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by Lapego1 »

UVA won this tournament going undefeated, and Maryland A finished second with just one loss to UVA. Due to a little packet snafu, we didn't have enough packets for an ACF format finals and so decided to only hold a final game if two teams were tied for record. Stats should be up very soon. Please remember not to discuss specific questions until all mirrors are over (we have one more at Washington). I'll put a full post of thanks, etc. later but thanks to everyone for coming out, particularly those from long distances! Hope to see you again next year!
Mehdi Razvi
Maggie Walker Gov. School '07
University of Pennsylvania '11

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The Ununtiable Twine
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by The Ununtiable Twine »

I would like to thank Penn for hosting a wonderful tournament today. The question set was mighty fun to play, and I found this tournament to be logistically excellent and very enjoyable. Congratulations go out to UVA for winning, as well.
Jake Sundberg
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by KoH »

The prelim stats can be found at http://results.scobo.net/penn/pb2011. The final stats can be found at http://results.scobo.net/penn/pb2011final.
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by DumbJaques »

Although people will assuredly have things to say about the question set, I found it to be pretty playable with only a few systemic issues (bonus variability, a higher-than-ideal clunker frequency, and an abusively hard Finals 1 packet). Among other things, this tournament was vastly better than last year's Penn Bowl, and I enjoyed playing it.

What was not at all good, however, was Penn's job of running this tournament. Now, you might say I'm just especially pissed off because my team was denied the chance to play a proper advantaged final because of Penn's collective screwups. And you'd be totally fucking right! I'm super pissed about that, particular since, among other things, had we (the team that heard the wrong packet) simply forfeited our next round to UVA, we'd have ensured a chance to play a finals series.

But really, yesterday's unfortunate business was merely the inevitable culmination of the myriad ways in which Penn Bowl has logistically sucked ass over the past three years. If you remove all the hard work Matt Weiner did editing and running 3 Penn Bowls, Penn's track record with this event looks even worse. Here's my recollection of how the last three years of this tournament have gone from a "running a normal schedule with the appropriate playoff/finals resolutions you'd expect from an mACF event" perspective:

2009: I apologize profusely if I'm wrong about this, because I honestly don't remember this day super well and I'm relatively certain it didn't finish until pretty damn late in the evening, so I'm a bit fuzzy on how we resolved this tournament. However, I'm pretty sure I remember playing in an advantaged finals series against Chicago. . . after which, one of us would earn a right to go to the finals against Brown/Harvard, who were doing the same. Novel and I suppose not inherently unfair, but presumably not ideal and certainly not something I've seen before or since.
2010: Horrible discounting of prelim games against teams people were forced to play again in the playoffs, leading to, among other things, our loss against State College being arbitrarily counted and our win against them literally like 2 hours earlier arbitrarily discounted. Bad for all kinds of reasons.
2011: Fuckup-induced lack of ACF-style finals, a change announced midway through the event. Since no packets had any tiebreakers in them that I saw, and we needed only an additional 10/10 to restore order at 11 am or so in the morning, I'm a bit disappointed that things couldn't be salvaged. Considering that two teams were on byes each round and readers were certainly recruitable for a game or two, I'm a bit disappointed that 1-3 people from Penn didn't just peel off for lunch plus the next two rounds and hammer out 5/10 or something to fix the tournament. If there were literally no tiebreakers anywhere, that's problematic for other reasons (were you going to let ties stand?) but not prohibitive. There were a ton of rounds in between when this problem cropped up and when we'd have needed to play the last round (really, like 7-8 hours).

Since I'm already complaining about stuff, I might as well register an official plea in hopes of ending another long-time blight endemic to this tournament: That one room (or sometimes two rooms) that everyone has come to expect to fuck up a few rounds of their Penn Bowl experience. For people who've been to Penn Bowl enough times, you know what I'm talking about, but basically Penn Bowl seems unable to exist without one or two rooms run by people who just should not be reading. The amount of actual rounds slowed down by this room this year actually seemed to be significantly smaller, perhaps because the room was occupied by a decent reader half the time, or perhaps because teams deliberately sought out the bye round teams preemptively after said room once again came forth from primordial chaos and saltwater.

This problem seems to be caused by a combination of lack of sufficient staff planning (TD's fault), various Penn people leaving during the day (usually their fault, sometimes not when stuff runs really late), really good readers whose teams are on a bye round just sitting in the hallway with nothing to do, and a lack of sufficient laptops leading to an excruciatingly small computer being used in, of all places, the Room of Despair. There are basic things that can be done to prevent this, and to ensure better-quality moderators. I know Penn hasn't done those things because at one point I observed the moderator in this room unaware that you can switch back and forth between word documents, presumably having spent the tournament thus far scrolling up and down for every tossup/bonus cycle.

I don't really care whose fault these issues were, partially because I suspect their shared by everyone on the club but mainly because I just want them to stop, particularly if Penn is going to continue this upward trend of writing increasingly-solid events that are increasingly the result of hard work by the in-house crew. Clawing our way back from the Paganinically-enthralling-but-demonic clutches of John Lawrence to win on the last tossup - only to find out that we'd been boned out of a finals series after the Penn Bowl Schedule Poltergeist struck yet again - really blew ass, and it would rock if stuff like that could stop happening.


EDIT: Re-reading my post, I realize that it does make it sound like Penn Bowl was some kind of a giant clusterfuck or something. That obviously wasn't the case, and as far as I know all the REALLY bad stuff that happened this year didn't particularly impact anyone not on Maryland A. While I remain quite incensed by the unfortunate confluence of circumstances this year and merely somewhat annoyed by the one or two persistent issues I mentioned, I in no way am suggesting teams should avoid this tournament or anything like that. Rather, I think that with a bit of difficulty control and attention to those issues, Penn Bowl can and will pretty much be everything you'd want in such an event, because the people who put this tournament together are clearly capable of doing as well and better next year. If I'm playing quizbowl next winter, I'll certainly be back, and hope teams like Alabama and Guelph will continue making the trip as well.
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Cheynem
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by Cheynem »

I'm sure there will be a discussion forum or something, but some general comments:

1. This tournament was way, way too hard. This cannot be the future of regular difficulty. Maryland, UVA, and Harvard, all top 25 teams (yes, not all at full strength) not hitting 21 on bonus conversion at a regular difficulty tournament? Not good.

2. Editors felt like they were on different pages way too much, and it also felt like submissions were dictating difficulty more than possible.

3. Please, please put alternate answers in answer lines.

Those were the biggest things--there were good questions and bad questions, of course.
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by Nick »

I dont mean to shake the foundations of quizbowl law, but I think situations like this might support the idea that the mentality of "get the most quizbowl for your money" and "since we have X packets, we must plan for X rounds of play" aren't always or necessarily ideal. I wasn't at this tournament, and I respect the fact that teams traveled long distances to compete, but the fact that you literally couldn't finish the tournament is kind of a big deal, and a little embarassing. Is it worse to be guaranteed only 8-10 games of play (and perhaps even for a lower price) than be promised 11-12 but run the risk of not being able to play out the proper and expected playoffs? What if it hadn't been Maryland, but instead one of the teams that came from so far? To be honest, I think Maryland should get some of their money back.

Also- overly difficult bonuses where literally almost nobody, including 3 of the top-5/top-10 teams in the country, can answer, on average, the "hard" part? Thats kind of a bummer tradition we're upholding.
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by Camelopardalis »

Thanks to Mehdi and the rest of the great Penn staff who helped to run this tournament, which featured good questions and organization. We had an excellent time, easily deserving of the lengthy drive, and we look forward to future editions of Penn Bowl!
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Matt Weiner
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by Matt Weiner »

There is now a private discussion forum for this tournament that you can request to join through your User Control Panel.
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by Mike Bentley »

I believe all the mirrors of this tournament are now over. Can this be made a public forum?
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

Will this set be posted online, then, as well?
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Re: Penn Bowl 2011 (February 12, 2011)

Post by Lapego1 »

There's still the Southern mirror I believe.
Mehdi Razvi
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"A goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid."
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