5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

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5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by Great Bustard » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:41 am

http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... =30&t=3478
So, from someone who at least to date has had very little to do with the college scene, where do things stand?
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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:07 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: where do things stand?
Matt Weiner was right. A significant number of people stepped up after some of those "quizbowl luminaries" decided to step back from the game. An influx of talented high school players in the last few years has not only helped ACF, NAQT, and independent mACF events survive, but also strengthened them and has allowed for good quizbowl to be played year round.
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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by theMoMA » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:22 am

What a weird thread. It's also hard to believe that the five-year anniversary of my first circuit tournament is coming up. Five years seems both way shorter than it's been and way longer.
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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by MLafer » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:17 am

Paul's also acknowledged that he was wrong following ACF Nats 2010:
To that end, I also want to say that after seeing this tournament its safe to say I was completely and utterly wrong about my pronouncements of quizbowl's demise 5 years ago.I have never been so happy to be wrong about something before! Seeing the way that the young teams have taken up the mantle was incredibly inspiring to me, and I want to thank all of you for proving me wrong. Though it's getting redundant to heap praise upon the top bracket, I think it's worth acknowledging how pleasurable it was to watch them play and have the opportunity to read some great matches for them (Stanford-Brown, Chicago-Brown were two very memorable games, not to mention the final of course!)
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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:58 am

Paul Litvak was a great player and writer who deserves much better, but I fear he will go down in history as quizbowl's equivalent of the guy who said the patent office should shut down in the late 19th century.

I think the big thing that Paul couldn't predict was the rise of players who got really good in high school and thus were already elite players when they were freshmen in college. Chris Ray and Charlie Dees really started this, and you see it every year now with people like Ted Gioia, Matt Jackson, Matt Bollinger, etc.

In contrast, when I was a college freshman in 2004, you didn't see that. The general trend was, you played fake questions in high school, you showed up to college and you weren't all that good, you spent four years slowly improving, and then you went to grad school and that's where you got really good. So you can see why somebody would panic if, like 5 years ago, most of the editors were grad students on their way out and there wasn't an intermediate class between them and the young undergrads.
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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by Cheynem » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:40 pm

My favorite post is one that Jerry makes, where he says "Andrew [Yaphe] is no longer playing collegiate tournaments" (he would play two and win one ACF Nationals) and also that "Seth and I and presumably Mike [Sorice]" will not be able to play as much as they'd like (Seth and Jerry and Mike had numerous top placements at ICT and ACF Nationals to come). This is capped by Jerry predicting "ACF Nationals 2009 isn't going to feature very many teams and players that are considered at the top today" (that tournament was won by a team led by Seth, who beat a team led by Jerry, with a team led by Yaphe in third place).

I don't wish to suggest that Jerry was totally wrong--he actually was correct in his overall point, about how the circuit would persist, and indeed there were a lot of folks at ACF Nationals 2009 who did very well who were in fact unheralded in 2006.
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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by Susan » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:52 pm

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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by cvdwightw » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:59 pm

Looking at that thread, there were some major events that both Paul's "worst case scenario" and Matt's competing "best case scenario" couldn't have taken into account. Obviously the first of these is the rise of some truly great players and writers who were barely out of high school - e.g., Eric Mukherjee, Andrew Hart - or even still in high school - e.g., Evan Adams, Trevor Davis - when Paul wrote that. I'm going to list two other things that there is no way Paul could have ever foreseen in 2006, and both of these changes are things that I don't think we've seen the full repercussions of yet:

1. The sudden, unexpected demise of CBI, and subsequent NAQT-ACUI partnership. I think in December 2006 that people were still convinced that the war on CBI was going to be a long, hard-fought slog with CBI fighting to stay on as long as it could. CBI's sudden "suspension" of the program was the quizbowl equivalent of the collapse of the Soviet Union. NAQT ultimately stepped into the ACUI power vacuum and has done a pretty good job of bringing "real quizbowl" to the masses - no, the partnership isn't always perfect (cf. several awful sectional tournaments), but we knew there was going to be a mess for the first few years.

2. The gradual "realification" and transparency of NAQT. NAQT of the early 2000's was a better-distributed, more pyramidal, more ethical version of CBI. Seriously - there was a time when all NAQT had going for it in quizbowl commentary was that "it was better than CBI." At the time Paul wrote, Andrew's association with NAQT had just started and was thought to be a one-time thing - Paul even wrote that "its [sic] not as though the best writers in the game are flocking to NAQT to help them." Now, just about every major set has the hands of one or two circuit veterans all over it (even if there are still way more clunkers than NAQT critics like). "NAQT Customer Service" is largely a thing of the past - a revised S-value is now openly displayed for every SCT team, all major sets have posted distributions, appointing Jeff Hoppes as Communications Director played out much better than I think anyone expected at the time, etc.

Imagine a future in which CBI continued to siphon off every casually-interested team, NAQT did squat to improve its product, and ACF seemed destined for a significant downgrade in quality. You can see where Paul's pessimism was coming from.
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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by Susan » Sat Dec 17, 2011 12:22 am

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Paul Litvak was a great player and writer who deserves much better, but I fear he will go down in history as quizbowl's equivalent of the guy who said the patent office should shut down in the late 19th century.

I think the big thing that Paul couldn't predict was the rise of players who got really good in high school and thus were already elite players when they were freshmen in college. Chris Ray and Charlie Dees really started this, and you see it every year now with people like Ted Gioia, Matt Jackson, Matt Bollinger, etc.

In contrast, when I was a college freshman in 2004, you didn't see that. The general trend was, you played fake questions in high school, you showed up to college and you weren't all that good, you spent four years slowly improving, and then you went to grad school and that's where you got really good. So you can see why somebody would panic if, like 5 years ago, most of the editors were grad students on their way out and there wasn't an intermediate class between them and the young undergrads.
This change was not as abrupt as Bruce's description implies. There have always been people who come into collegiate quizbowl as star high school players and are great right out of the gate--Julie Singer, John Kenney, maybe Mike Wehrman, all of whom predate me, come to mind, and while I was at Chicago we picked up former hs players like Matt Reece (from duPont Manual in 2000), Martin Devecka (from State College in, I think, 2001), and Laura Kirkpatrick (from Holton Arms in 2004) who were certainly better than "not all that good" when they started out. I think the big differences these days are: 1) there are more top hs players entering college quizbowl and immediately making waves, which I suppose is due to good hs quizbowl getting both harder (compared to lower-level college tournaments) and more widespread and 2) there are fewer people who enter college quizbowl never having played in college. I know when I started playing quizbowl there were a bunch of us who had never played in college; even relatively late in my career at Chicago we were still getting very good first-years who had never played (I don't believe either Michael Arnold or David Seal, both of whom started in 2006, played in hs). I don't know how many, if any, of Chicago's current first-years never played in high school. I'd bet it's far fewer than recent years. This should, in theory, mean that easy parts get easier and that it should be easier to get first-years to write questions well (because you're dealing with fewer people who have never seen a pyramidal question before); not sure how this has played out in practice.
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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:46 pm

The constantly increasing standards, horizons, size, and skill level of high school quizbowl. There will always be some people looking for good questions and real competition as they enter college as long as the current trends at the high school level continue.
Weiner was spot on. Every incoming college class is better than the previous one.
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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by setht » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:15 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Paul Litvak was a great player and writer who deserves much better, but I fear he will go down in history as quizbowl's equivalent of the guy who said the patent office should shut down in the late 19th century.
Man, if quizbowl history remembers Paul Litvak as some guy in a patent office then quizbowl history sure is dumb. Seriously, Paul is awesome; it never occurred to me (until reading this) that anyone would think there was any danger of the current crop of anklebiters willfully ignoring the rest of his quizbowl legacy in favor of focusing on one thread he started. The thought is so repugnant it almost makes me want to go write a bunch of stuff for the qb wiki. Or write a meta packet or whatever it is that people do these days to make sure quizbowl history gets tattooed into players' limbic systems.
cvdwightw wrote:2. The gradual "realification" and transparency of NAQT. NAQT of the early 2000's was a better-distributed, more pyramidal, more ethical version of CBI. Seriously - there was a time when all NAQT had going for it in quizbowl commentary was that "it was better than CBI." At the time Paul wrote, Andrew's association with NAQT had just started and was thought to be a one-time thing - Paul even wrote that "its [sic] not as though the best writers in the game are flocking to NAQT to help them." Now, just about every major set has the hands of one or two circuit veterans all over it (even if there are still way more clunkers than NAQT critics like). "NAQT Customer Service" is largely a thing of the past - a revised S-value is now openly displayed for every SCT team, all major sets have posted distributions, appointing Jeff Hoppes as Communications Director played out much better than I think anyone expected at the time, etc.
I guess I'll take that as a cue for the next installment in my series of pleas to the circuit to chip in to NAQT. To be perfectly honest I haven't checked any numbers in a long time--possibly about a year--so perhaps this has changed in the interim, but the last time I looked, while there were a small number of circuit people writing decent numbers of questions for NAQT (and some people contributing further through editing), the aggregate response from the circuit was depressing. I don't know if anyone has updated numbers for this stuff, but I'd be interested in seeing them if they are available. In any case, I think it's fair to say that there's still no major flocking of the best writers over to NAQT, and I find that disappointing and worrisome.

I'm pretty ignorant of the situation with the lower-level sets produced by NAQT; most of what I'm about to say is based on what I've seen/am seeing with SCT and ICT. My impression is that fewer questions come in from circuit veterans (leaving aside myself, Andrew Y. and Jeff) these days than we were getting 1 or 2 years ago. On top of that, Andrew Y. has greatly reduced his involvement in NAQT due to real-world demands on his time. Thankfully he left a large stockpile of questions he wrote in his more active days, but that's already starting to run a bit thin at the SCT/ICT level. I've also cut back somewhat: last year I edited SCT and, after Andrew Y. had to bow out, ICT; I decided I couldn't commit that much time this year, so I'm only working on ICT this time around, and it's already taking up more of my time than I'd like. I'm not sure I'll be able to edit ICT in 2012-2013 when I'm in the middle of putting myself on the job market, or what my situation will be after that.

Andrew Hart has stepped up this year to work on SCT, which is great. If NAQT continues to bring in top players to work on SCT each year that will help a lot. There are some inefficiencies with that system; the ideal would be to produce SCT and ICT with editors who are done playing, but it definitely helps way more than it hurts. Hopefully, active players will continue to be willing to take a year off from playing SCT at least once in their playing careers to pitch in in that way. Speaking of SCT, if there are any people out there from clubs hosting SCT this year that know they will be staffing rather than playing, please consider writing some questions for use this year if you have time. I'm sure Andrew, Andy and Jeff will appreciate not having to write the remaining 400+ questions all by themselves.

Dwight notes that NAQT has improved in that "just about every major set has the hands of one or two circuit veterans all over it (even if there are still way more clunkers than NAQT critics like)." I think this is an improvement over the situation 5+ years ago, but it's still clearly lagging behind ACF events, or even most major circuit events, which have more than "one or two circuit veterans" behind them, plus a wider pool of circuit submissions as raw material. I don't believe that NAQT will be out of the college game within 5 years, but I will claim that continued improvement of SCT and ICT is primarily contingent on bringing in good writers and editors who aren't currently working for NAQT (or reactivating some of the mostly-dormant good writers)--and not just writers and editors to work on SCT/ICT; bringing in good writers and editors who focus on lower-level sets and play SCT/ICT every year will also help.

If anyone has any questions about any of this, post here or hit me (or Jeff) up by email (I'm satelite@gmail.com). I'll also try to spend some time in the IRC chat room tonight and the next few nights in case anyone wants to talk there.

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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:56 pm

setht wrote:reactivating some of the mostly-dormant good writers
Matt Keller! Come back to us, Matt Keller. I know you have a real job and writing for NAQT is a terrible way to make money in comparison, but I'm long past caring. We need you, Matt Keller!
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Re: 5 years are up (well, they will be 2 weeks from now)

Post by vandyhawk » Sun Jan 15, 2012 11:08 pm

Mechanical Beasts wrote:
setht wrote:reactivating some of the mostly-dormant good writers
Matt Keller! Come back to us, Matt Keller. I know you have a real job and writing for NAQT is a terrible way to make money in comparison, but I'm long past caring. We need you, Matt Keller!
Man I wish I had time to write a bunch of questions these days. I wrote down some ideas on a recent plane trip, but never got around to filling them out. Perhaps some time soon...
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