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ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:43 pm
by Mike Bentley
Did this tournament seriously receive 62 packets and use like 20 of them? This seems like a tremendous waste of effort.

Re: ACF Fall 2011 Global Announcement (November 5, 2011)

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:45 pm
by Matt Weiner
I remain surprised by the number of experienced quizbowl people who can't make a reasonably accurate guess at the average usability of the material cut from ACF Fall.

Re: ACF Fall 2011 Global Announcement (November 5, 2011)

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:34 pm
by Mike Bentley
Matt Weiner wrote:I remain surprised by the number of experienced quizbowl people who can't make a reasonably accurate guess at the average usability of the material cut from ACF Fall.
So you're asserting that 40+ packets worth of material was not usable?

Re: ACF Fall 2011 Global Announcement (November 5, 2011)

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:43 pm
by Auks Ran Ova
Through either repeats or difficulty, yes.

Re: ACF Fall 2011 Global Announcement (November 5, 2011)

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:08 pm
by Mike Bentley
Then why require all teams to write packets? Again, unless the packets are mislabeled or all the packets weren't sent to this site, over 2/3 of the packets written for this tournament were discarded entirely. This includes packets not just from new teams, but from teams perfectly capable of writing fine quizbowl questions like Penn, Chicago and Harvard.

If repeats are such a problem, why not require just a half packet from teams? This would ease the writing burden and allow questions for more teams to be used. Or come up with some system where the packets can be used for a second tournament in the fall.

Re: ACF Fall 2011 Global Announcement (November 5, 2011)

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:45 pm
by magin
I think it's a good thing to have teams get experience writing a full packet, especially when many tournaments these days are housewritten.

Re: ACF Fall 2011 Global Announcement (November 5, 2011)

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:48 pm
by Mike Bentley
magin wrote:I think it's a good thing to have teams get experience writing a full packet, especially when many tournaments these days are housewritten.
But what type of experience is it if none of the questions are used for the tournament? That doesn't send a good message to teams.

Re: ACF Fall 2011 Global Announcement (November 5, 2011)

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 4:49 pm
by Mike Bentley
Also, I'd encourage the editors to release at least some of the raw submission packets so that teams at least can use these questions to practice on.

Re: ACF Fall 2011 Global Announcement (November 5, 2011)

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:53 pm
by Auroni
Mike Bentley wrote:
magin wrote:I think it's a good thing to have teams get experience writing a full packet, especially when many tournaments these days are housewritten.
But what type of experience is it if none of the questions are used for the tournament? That doesn't send a good message to teams.
Presumably the experience of doing research and learning in the process.

Re: ACF Fall 2011 Global Announcement (November 5, 2011)

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:58 pm
by Auroni
Having edited Fall in the past, I can tell you that there's just no way given the difficulty constraints of the tournament that each of 60 packets has new, usable material. Not even 1/1 per packet at the minimum. The first good packets will have the lion's share of usable questions, with the first bad packets having the second-most amount of raw material. After a certain point, all packets, good and bad alike, compete for a diminishing number of slots for questions that haven't repeated with earlier questions. This is just a reality, it will never change under the current, most fair, system. It may be a good idea to inform teams of this fact in the tournament announcement in the future so that we don't get massive amounts of hurt feelings.

Re: ACF Fall 2011 Global Announcement (November 5, 2011)

Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:51 pm
by Adventure Temple Trail
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:Having edited Fall in the past, I can tell you that there's just no way given the difficulty constraints of the tournament that each of 60 packets has new, usable material. Not even 1/1 per packet at the minimum. The first good packets will have the lion's share of usable questions, with the first bad packets having the second-most amount of raw material. After a certain point, all packets, good and bad alike, compete for a diminishing number of slots for questions that haven't repeated with earlier questions. This is just a reality, it will never change under the current, most fair, system. It may be a good idea to inform teams of this fact in the tournament announcement in the future so that we don't get massive amounts of hurt feelings.
What speaks to the difference in number of packets used between 2009, in which 36 teams' packets were combined into 17, and 2010 (25 total across 16 packets) or 2011 (21 total across 16 packets)? Is it a function of the number of teams which submitted usable packets by the earliest deadline each year?

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:23 am
by Broad-tailed Grassbird
I'm really confused with how bad this tournament was. The fact that no packets submitted after the -$25 deadline were used is fine. It's just they had 6 weeks to edit the whole tournament (which they didn't finish until 4 AM Saturday morning). If you aren't going to use any of the $0 or later packets, then it better be an extremely well-edited tournament. It obviously was not. There's basically two things the editors could have done. 1) not procrastinated so much. 2) Created more hybrid packets, so that there wasn't such a huge difference in difficulty. The teams that submitted packets that were used did alright, it's just that in an ACF Fall, you are going to have a lot of packets where some subjects in a specific packet are not at the level they should be at. That's where you combine two packets, and make a great packet.


Basically, this set would have been 10X better if 25+ packets were used instead of 20 (for the 16 rounds), and all the repeats had been taken out.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:52 am
by Steeve Ho You Fat
I realize that lots of packets were terrible or full of duplicates, but the fact is that the tournament was mediocre and FULL of duplicates. If they had discarded two thirds of the packets and turned the ones they had into the best tournament ever, I'd be vaguely irked at having wasted effort and stress on getting a packet done, but not too upset. However, even if some packets only did have 1/1 good stuff, I'd much rather have seen that 1/1 used to replace 1/1 terrible questions or duplicates in the tournament than just thrown out. I was extremely disappointed in playing this tournament with the low question quality, wild difficulty variations, and simply ridiculous amount of duplicates. And it is really discouraging to have spent time trying to make a good packet and then learn that all the questions were thrown out without even being looked at by the editors. I could have literally turned in the first drafts of stuff from my teammates and written all my questions from Wikipedia and noone would ever care, and I could have not spent my Sunday evening getting my team's packet into shape to submit for the deadline.

Basically, if this had been an awesome tournament, I could forgive some wasted effort on the part of teams and go along with "they learned stuff while doing it." But it was very much not an awesome tournament, and I don't understand why that was the case when there was so much raw material that the editors could have had their pick of combinations when compiling final packets.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:01 am
by Nine-Tenths Ideas
I mean, this tournament seemed pretty determined to make me dislike it, but I'll admit it wasn't bad at all. It was still fairly enjoyable [except for a few things that I will address when a forum gets set up] and, yeah, there was some issues, but acting like "HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME WRITE A PACKET WHEN I DO NOT ENJOY YOUR TOURNAMENT" might be swinging too far in the other direction.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:06 am
by Sima Guang Hater
So I made the suggestion to Carsten to return the unused questions back to their respective teams. Since these questions are no longer blind to the collegiate circuit, I'd like to suggest that people submit them to high school tournaments like PACE. The usable parts of my packet are going into NSC, and I'd be willing to pay the usual freelance rate for donated unused questions (assuming they pass muster). Of course, this only applies to college teams, and you can also choose to use them for your NSC assignments assuming they are of appropriate length and difficulty.

EDIT: I also think its completely useless to get all irritated about your questions not being used. Sure, I'm not too happy about the packet I wrote solo for a -50$ discount not being used, but them's the breaks. I'm not sure that the tournament would have been better if Carsten and co would have combined more packets together or used more packets (though specifically why teams like Harvard's and Penn's were not used is a little puzzling). I'm sure Carsten had a good reason for editing the way that he did, results aside.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:21 am
by Cody
Nalin, perhaps you should check your facts before posting, because you are extremely wrong. VCU's packet was submitted by the +$50 deadline. UIC's packet was submitted by the +$0 deadline. Macomb was submitted by the +$0 deadline. MIT A's packet was submitted by the +$0 deadline. Georgia Tech A's packet was submitted by the +$0 deadline. That's 5 packets that were used that were submitted after the -$25. That's 1/4 of the packets used.

I'm not sure where all this anger is coming from. Yes there were repeats that were extremely frustrating to play (although, if you're being realistic, they wouldn't have affected who did or did not get a tossup and/or bonus part). However, it wasn't like there was even, on average, one repeat per packet and there is no way using more packets would have solved this issue, so I have absolutely no clue where this kind of off-the-wall criticism is coming from or why you think it's appropriate.

Except for the aforementioned repeats and one specific general thing I'll note after the mirrors have concluded, I have absolutely no complaints about the content of this tournament and my teammates were likewise not upset by the questions, so I have no idea why either of you felt it was "mediocre" or "not an extremely well-edited tournament". Perhaps you're both just too good for Fall and this is coloring your perception of the tournament.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:30 am
by No Rules Westbrook
I can't speak at all to the quality of the set that was produced - it may be true that the editors did not optimally use the submissions and time they were given - but using 20 out of 63 packets is just the way it has to be for ACF Fall.

People need to communicate to attending teams that this is one tournament where your packet may not be used - there aren't many of those events during the year. Most tournaments are fairly obligated to use any packets that aren't complete rubbish, because they only have so many. There's still plenty of value in learning how to write qb questions - going through the process of finding clues, ordering them, picking answers, and so on. I don't really see why it's all that frustrating that your questions weren't used (but then again, I've never been the most understanding of new player's supposed frustrations, have I?).

But, I mean...seriously, don't get that offended that your questions weren't used..because your questions weren't that good anyway. Maybe that's harsh, but it's true - I'm guessing there weren't any packets that contained shining diamonds of wonderful question-writing that got left out (maybe this is untrue - if so, that's bad editing, but I'm just guessing). Basically "sorry your sucky tossup on the Trent Affair that contained 2 barely usable clues in the wrong order wasn't used - if it was used, it would have been changed beyond recognition anyway - and would that really give you more satisfaction?" - well, that's how I'd put it, but I'm sure there are others who could put it more gently, and more helpfully.

It's silly of editors to do this once-popular charade where they have "PACKET 12 - BY 15 TEAMS!" in order to just throw something by every team in the packet. For one thing, it doesn't speed up the editing time at all. And practically, it restricts the use of those packets as there are fewer non-blind teams, too.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:39 am
by grapesmoker
As head editor of various ACF tournaments in the past, I've usually tried to combine packets in a sensible way so that one packet's strengths can compensate for the weaknesses of another, and so that most teams have the possibility of having some of their questions heard. That said, it's a hard balancing act to pull off, and in some cases it can't be done.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:24 pm
by Mike Bentley
Is there any feasibility in doing some sort of two-part ACF Fall next year? I'm not advocating hosting two tournaments on the same weekend, which would likely be overwhelming for many news players, but instead perhaps have ACF Fall Part 1 in October and ACF Fall Part 2 in November. Teams attending either tournament would need to submit one packet to make them eligible to player in both tournaments. The editors (would would need to be expanded to take on the increasing editing load) would choose which packets go in what tournaments. By splitting up the submissions into two tournaments the editors would at least be able to use more questions by throwing out less repeats (there would be no guarantees that something in the 2nd tournament wouldn't repeat with something in the 1st tournament).

This likely isn't realistic for scheduling or question security reasons, but I thought I'd at least throw it out there.

For this year's tournament, I (somewhat selfishly) also like Eric's idea of recycling some of the unused and unheard packets or questions into questions for high school national tournaments.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:42 pm
by bmcke
Veterans in this thread might be under-rating the effort it takes for a team of inexperienced writers to make even a bad packet of questions. The high school idea is terrific; I bet most teams would be glad to see their writing get used somewhere.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:42 pm
by theMoMA
Even though there are diminishing returns to packet submission, it's still important to require teams to write, especially at ACF Fall. Back we enforced ACF's packet-writing requirements more loosely, we had major issues with established teams shirking on their responsibilities. I don't think there's a middle ground here. We need to keep experienced players writing for this event because of the repeat issues that arise from the Fall canon. And less-experienced players need to keep writing, once they hit that two-year mark, because packet submission serves more than just a utilitarian purpose. It helps keep teams connected with the circuit in ways beyond simply showing up to tournaments.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:01 am
by Council of Trent Reznor
theMoMA wrote:It helps keep teams connected with the circuit in ways beyond simply showing up to tournaments.
I've never developed a connection with someone by sending them an e-mail with an attachment.

And would it damage this mystical connection to have teams submit half-packets? 43 unused packets is a tremendous waste of time and energy that could be put to better use, and if the packets are full of repeats then this will save the editors from having to comb through them all. And I don't think anyone here has suggested getting rid of the fines, which would be just as effective for 10 questions as they are for 20.

Hey, I just found the middle ground! :party:

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 12:37 am
by theMoMA
Council of Trent Reznor wrote:
theMoMA wrote:It helps keep teams connected with the circuit in ways beyond simply showing up to tournaments.
I've never developed a connection with someone by sending them an e-mail with an attachment.

And would it damage this mystical connection to have teams submit half-packets? 43 unused packets is a tremendous waste of time and energy that could be put to better use, and if the packets are full of repeats then this will save the editors from having to comb through them all. And I don't think anyone here has suggested getting rid of the fines, which would be just as effective for 10 questions as they are for 20.

Hey, I just found the middle ground! :party:
I'm talking about the connection to the circuit that comes from making a meaningful commitment to writing questions and improving as writers of future questions, not some kind of personal bond with the editors. Writing a packet, even an unused one, is not a waste of time. It's part of an experienced team's responsibility to the circuit.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:32 am
by Council of Trent Reznor
theMoMA wrote:I'm talking about the connection to the circuit that comes from making a meaningful commitment to writing questions and improving as writers of future questions, not some kind of personal bond with the editors. Writing a packet, even an unused one, is not a waste of time. It's part of an experienced team's responsibility to the circuit.
That's just as vague and meaningless. You're talking about writing 20 questions as if it were some kind of sacred duty, and not giving any concrete arguments about why it's better to have everyone write 20 questions when writing 10 would still be more than enough, and save everyone a bunch of time. How much bio/chem/physics questions written by people who know nothing about any of these subjects do we need?

The only "connection to the circuit" this formed were people bonding while grousing about having their efforts go to waste. Taking a "meaningful commitment" and throwing it out, especially when so many people are writing for the first time, is not a good way to get people enthused about writing questions. And if they don't hear edited versions of their questions, how will they know what they need to improve on?

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:57 am
by theMoMA
What you see as a waste of time, I see as a meaningful step towards fuller participation in quizbowl. ACF requires teams composed of players with two or more years of experience to write a packet. As editors, we obviously need those questions to fill the packets in our tournaments. But beyond that narrow function, ACF's writing requirement equips teams with necessary writing experience. Packet-writing is a core function of what makes a quizbowl team a quizbowl team. In order to participate in the majority of circuit tournaments, teams need to be able to write packets, not half-packets or optional packets.

ACF Fall exists (and indeed, all ACF tournaments exist) for reasons beyond the end goal of providing high-quality quizbowl competition. The tournaments are more than just ends; they're a means to foster participation in and expansion of the quizbowl circuit and community. Writing questions is an important step to that goal. That's why I believe requiring veteran teams to write a full packet is one of ACF's core and crucial functions.

Also, ACF is very concerned about providing feedback to writers young and old. Jonathan Magin spearheaded the creation of our new writer feedback program to address this issue. Anyone who wants prompt and specific feedback on their questions (even questions that were already submitted to Fall) is welcome to send them in.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:27 am
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
What Andrew is saying is this: quizbowl cannot exist if people don't write questions, and forcing people at bayonet point to write ACF Fall questions, even if these all go to waste, is useful. I'm not involved in ACF fall and I'm certainly not speaking for ACF, but I've always understood that the purpose of the packet requirement is to force people to start writing, not to get usable questions.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:48 pm
by Kyle
theMoMA wrote:Also, ACF is very concerned about providing feedback to writers young and old. Jonathan Magin spearheaded the creation of our new writer feedback program to address this issue. Anyone who wants prompt and specific feedback on their questions (even questions that were already submitted to Fall) is welcome to send them in.
This is a bit off topic, but I wanted to add that I sent three tossups from Oxford's ACF Fall packet (which was written entirely by people writing for the first time) into this program and received extremely detailed and useful feedback from Andrew. Hopefully my teammates will benefit from it. I said to Jonathan that I hoped many people were making use of the program, but he said that in two months we were only the third team. More people should take advantage of this.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:09 pm
by Council of Trent Reznor
theMoMA wrote:What you see as a waste of time, I see as a meaningful step towards fuller participation in quizbowl. ACF requires teams composed of players with two or more years of experience to write a packet. As editors, we obviously need those questions to fill the packets in our tournaments. But beyond that narrow function, ACF's writing requirement equips teams with necessary writing experience. Packet-writing is a core function of what makes a quizbowl team a quizbowl team. In order to participate in the majority of circuit tournaments, teams need to be able to write packets, not half-packets or optional packets.

ACF Fall exists (and indeed, all ACF tournaments exist) for reasons beyond the end goal of providing high-quality quizbowl competition. The tournaments are more than just ends; they're a means to foster participation in and expansion of the quizbowl circuit and community. Writing questions is an important step to that goal. That's why I believe requiring veteran teams to write a full packet is one of ACF's core and crucial functions.
Pedantic explanations of things we already knew notwithstanding, the majority of circuit tournaments won't have 63 submitted packets. And not everyone enjoys writing as much as you do. You participate in quizbowl by playing the game; you become part of the circuit by going to tournaments, and socializing on the internet and IRL outside of tournaments. Packet-writing is a chore that has to be done so we can play the game. Writing twice as many questions as are needed, many of them repeats, is like mowing your lawn once, then mowing it even shorter right after you finish the first time.
Also, ACF is very concerned about providing feedback to writers young and old. Jonathan Magin spearheaded the creation of our new writer feedback program to address this issue. Anyone who wants prompt and specific feedback on their questions (even questions that were already submitted to Fall) is welcome to send them in.
This is the next best thing to actually having your questions used, and it's a shame that nobody's taking advantage of this. It still doesn't make writing 1512/1512 (63 packets of 24/24) questions and only using 480/480 (20 packets with 24/24) any less of a colossal waste of life.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:26 pm
by magin
Kyle wrote:
theMoMA wrote:Also, ACF is very concerned about providing feedback to writers young and old. Jonathan Magin spearheaded the creation of our new writer feedback program to address this issue. Anyone who wants prompt and specific feedback on their questions (even questions that were already submitted to Fall) is welcome to send them in.
This is a bit off topic, but I wanted to add that I sent three tossups from Oxford's ACF Fall packet (which was written entirely by people writing for the first time) into this program and received extremely detailed and useful feedback from Andrew. Hopefully my teammates will benefit from it. I said to Jonathan that I hoped many people were making use of the program, but he said that in two months we were only the third team. More people should take advantage of this.
Thanks, Kyle; I'm glad to hear that you found this useful. We've only had 5 people email asking for feedback so far, and we'd love to have more. If you would like to improve your question writing, don't hesitate to email the feedback.acf@gmail.com account. We're more than happy to help out.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:55 pm
by theMoMA
Greg, I think we're probably at a fundamental impasse. I'm interested in figuring out ways to better utilize the questions we do receive, but I wouldn't want to reduce the packet submissions. In addition to using the feedback.acf@gmail.com service, I encourage anyone who wants to see how their questions are edited to write and submit packets as early as possible. The earlier you submit questions, the more likely the editors are to use them. Also, if you tell the editors that you want feedback, they will usually oblige.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:37 pm
by bmcke
I'll take one last stab at middle ground. Andrew talked about teams "composed of players with two or more years of experience," but what if the writing requirement were reduced for those teams with only one player across the two-year line? I think half a packet would be more fair for those teams, especially because of the likelihood that the one player will be stuck writing it all himself. 13/13 or so is still lots to get someone comfortable writing, but 25/25 can be enough to mess up their week.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:40 pm
by dtaylor4
bmcke wrote:I'll take one last stab at middle ground. Andrew talked about teams "composed of players with two or more years of experience," but what if the writing requirement were reduced for those teams with only one player across the two-year line? I think half a packet would be more fair for those teams, especially because of the likelihood that the one player will be stuck writing it all himself. 13/13 or so is still lots to get someone comfortable writing, but 25/25 can be enough to mess up their week.
Bullshit. Team of four, one TU/B per day. That's 24/24 in a week. Then again, this involves a quizbowl deadline.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:57 pm
by Susan
bmcke wrote:I'll take one last stab at middle ground. Andrew talked about teams "composed of players with two or more years of experience," but what if the writing requirement were reduced for those teams with only one player across the two-year line? I think half a packet would be more fair for those teams, especially because of the likelihood that the one player will be stuck writing it all himself. 13/13 or so is still lots to get someone comfortable writing, but 25/25 can be enough to mess up their week.
What is the likelihood that that one experienced player would be writing the whole packet himself? Maybe he needs some assertiveness training. It's pretty much always a good idea to make sure your teammates know that if you don't write, you don't play.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:24 pm
by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region
Susan wrote:
bmcke wrote:I'll take one last stab at middle ground. Andrew talked about teams "composed of players with two or more years of experience," but what if the writing requirement were reduced for those teams with only one player across the two-year line? I think half a packet would be more fair for those teams, especially because of the likelihood that the one player will be stuck writing it all himself. 13/13 or so is still lots to get someone comfortable writing, but 25/25 can be enough to mess up their week.
What is the likelihood that that one experienced player would be writing the whole packet himself? Maybe he needs some assertiveness training. It's pretty much always a good idea to make sure your teammates know that if you don't write, you don't play.
That's easier said than done at many programs. Lots of teams don't have the luxury of having large numbers of recruits every year where they can just turn away casual players who aren't willing or able to write questions. As Mason said to Dixon, you gotta draw the line somewhere for freeloaders, but early in the year it can be difficult to force newbies to write. Not necessarily advocating lowering the question number requirement here, but there are definitely individuals stuck writing entire packets for their teams.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:26 am
by Matt Weiner
The requirement used to be that EVERY team attending certain ACF tournaments (and packet-submission tournaments of any kind) write a packet. This led to two things:

1) Teams of entirely new players being left to fend for themselves
2) Exemptions being granted on an ad-hoc basis according to whom the editor felt didn't need to write a packet

Thus, the standardized system was born, including the blanket exemption for teams of new players.

There will always be people on the edge of whatever criterion we use who have to post about how it's not fair that they have to write a packet. We can keep adjusting the cutoff upwards and granting exemptions, or we can just say this is the place where it makes the most sense, writing one packet isn't that big a deal, just do it.

Re: ACF Fall and numbers of packets

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:52 pm
by DumbJaques
Pedantic explanations of things we already knew notwithstanding, the majority of circuit tournaments won't have 63 submitted packets. And not everyone enjoys writing as much as you do. You participate in quizbowl by playing the game; you become part of the circuit by going to tournaments, and socializing on the internet and IRL outside of tournaments. Packet-writing is a chore that has to be done so we can play the game. Writing twice as many questions as are needed, many of them repeats, is like mowing your lawn once, then mowing it even shorter right after you finish the first time.
I don't understand this attitude at all. I mean, packets don't grow on trees. . . the circuit relies on people to write questions, or you don't get to do things like "play the game" or "go to tournaments." You're right, packet-writing is a chore that has to be done for quizbowl to function, and for most non-Fall submission events, editors rely on getting moderately usable questions from some reasonable proportion of the field. The fact is that you DO get better at question writing when you produce 6/6 instead of 3/3, just like you get better after writing your hundreth question than you were after you wrote your fiftieth. Of course, this also depends on a number of other factors related to soliciting feedback/making an effort (plenty of people have written hundreds upon hundreds of questions, all of them terrible), but it's still true.

The lawn-mowing analogy doesn't make any sense, because if you wrote 24/24 that weren't used, then of course your best 12/12 weren't used either. The field, as a collective, may have produced double what was needed, but unless you subscribe to some sort of Gaia theory of the quizbowl community, none of these arguments make sense.

The only real substance I see in Greg's argument is that writing a packet that isn't used at all pisses people off and makes them feel like their labor has been futile (let us measure this Gross National Unhappiness in units of "Grouses"). The only way this argument makes any sense at all is if one believes that cutting down the submission requirement from 24/24 to 12/12 (assuming the same usage rates, in this case zero) would lead to a corresponding halving of Grouses. I don't really buy this. 24/24 is the standard at every submission event we have; if 12/12 were the standard, we'd all be just as apt to complain (or not) if the editors didn't use the 12/12 we slaved over.

And let's remember here, we're not talking about people new to quizbowl here - those people don't have to write packets. They don't even have to write packets the next year (though often, many of them choose to). If you've been playing college quizbowl for over two years, you've benefited from people editing and submitting usable questions for quite some time and have had ample opportunity to learn how to write. And as a reader at this year's Fall, I cannot for a moment believe that if a team submitted a very decent 24/24 even just a week or so before the tournament, it wouldn't have been greatly appreciated and utilized in the final set. But that's not what happens at Fall, because it's generally where people write their first submissions. Which brings me to Greg's other point:
It still doesn't make writing 1512/1512 (63 packets of 24/24) questions and only using 480/480 (20 packets with 24/24) any less of a colossal waste of life.
Yeah, it's actually not a waste of time (or a "waste of life;" apparently nobody told Greg Baboukis that ACF Packet Guidelines no longer require human wave attacks), and if you actually edited tournaments instead of just playing them you would probably have a sense of that.* If you gave me a choice between 10 packets from teams who'd written 12/12 each before, and 10 packets from teams who'd written 24/24 each, guess which one I'm picking? Every bit of writing experience makes you a better writer in the future, so it's not at all a wasted investment if your questions don't get used.
*Maybe you have edited tournaments I'm not aware of. I hope not, though, because I'm not sure how someone who has could draw these conclusions.

More importantly, if you're at the point where you need to write for ACF Fall, you're at the point where you have to write for everything. Most years, there are only one or two regular difficulty packet-submission events. That means that unless you're going to all the IOs/MOs of the world (in which case one assumes your Grouses are being expended on. . . other causes), you're going to need to be prepared to periodically produce 24/24 as a team. If Fall only required 12/12, I guarantee you that we'd get even more teams that only show up for Fall because "those other tournaments make you write so much more." Explain to me how this is a positive result for anybody.

Sure, we can do a better job trying to use most packets (though for reasons others have stated, this is difficult in general and nigh-impossible at Fall) and we can DEFINITELY do a better job with feedback on both sides of the equation. But in absolutely no sense would reducing the Fall submission load from 24/24 to 12/12 change anything Greg is complaining about. And of course, if your Grouse emissions have reached some suitably triply-eponymous limit, there's a pretty straightforward way to ensure that your questions are actually used next time around.