Open tournaments and team-building

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Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Sun Devil Student » Fri Nov 21, 2014 8:26 pm

Split from the DEES at Northwestern thread --Mgmt.
Excelsior (smack) wrote:But you're a student at UIC, aren't you? The eligibility rules for DEES prohibit students playing on teams with non-students.
There exists no team for which I would be eligible to play. If the price of entry to a quizbowl tournament nowadays is starting an entire new student organization from scratch, the vast majority of current players would be priced out of the market. Writing a quarter packet once per tournament is a reasonable amount of effort to demand from an ordinary player, but the kind of nation-building some people implicitly seem to have expected from me when I first got here goes way beyond that. I do what I can (for this year probably just this and moderating HSNCT (and, if I can get free, ICT)), but I know I won't be able to live up to the expectations of the most dedicated quizbowlers, and if that makes me uniquely subject to a higher-than-average barrier of entry, I can only accept the judgment of the community and limit myself to those avenues of participation that remain open to me.

I appreciate and thank the DEES tournament editors for allowing me to play this time, whatever their reasoning. I would've understood whichever way they chose, but I'm glad they didn't leave Ashvin out to dry.
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Re: DEES at Northwestern (11/22/2014)

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:45 pm

This is why I think more non-ACF non-NAQT tournaments should be open. People are going to want to play as a school team to get live practice for the most important tournaments (NAQT and ACF) which are school-only, and non-students and people who can't get their school to commit to go to tournaments but who like the game get to play more. Hosts can bar people from entering if someone wants to build a superteam for MUT or whatever, and most of the time gentlemans' agreements seem to work out fine in quizbowl. I understand that this weakens incentives for building a strong program, but I think the benefits (mainly greater tournament attendance) are worth it.
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Re: DEES at Northwestern (11/22/2014)

Post by Cheynem » Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:52 pm

I'm hesitant to wade into this off topic morass, but lest anyone think Kenneth is "right" here:
Sun Devil Student wrote:
Excelsior (smack) wrote:But you're a student at UIC, aren't you? The eligibility rules for DEES prohibit students playing on teams with non-students.
There exists no team for which I would be eligible to play. If the price of entry to a quizbowl tournament nowadays is starting an entire new student organization from scratch, the vast majority of current players would be priced out of the market. Writing a quarter packet once per tournament is a reasonable amount of effort to demand from an ordinary player, but the kind of nation-building some people implicitly seem to have expected from me when I first got here goes way beyond that. I do what I can (for this year probably just this and moderating HSNCT (and, if I can get free, ICT)), but I know I won't be able to live up to the expectations of the most dedicated quizbowlers, and if that makes me uniquely subject to a higher-than-average barrier of entry, I can only accept the judgment of the community and limit myself to those avenues of participation that remain open to me.
The price of entry to a quizbowl tournament is to be a student at a school, find teammates, and attend a tournament. You act like this is some bizarre barrier ("higher than average barrier"--no, my friend, that is literally the AVERAGE barrier of entry to tournaments!). It is not like we are asking you to be President of some complicated quizbowl bureaucracy. At least assuming you don't require orbs of money (and for this tournament, you shouldn't, since it's a stone's throw from where you live), it's not that onerous. Get some teammates together. Bing. Get in a car/find public transportation/get a ride to the tournament. Bing. Play the tournament. Bing! This is what literally every school is capable of doing, so there isn't any "price of entry" bullshit other than the normal conventional "prices" (registration fees, travel fees--in this case, should be minimal). Realistically speaking, you could play this tournament for the cost of a train ticket and registration fees.

Maybe you don't have teammates--yeah I get it, that sucks. But that isn't some quizbowl-creating-a-barrier-thing, that's an issue at your school. Find teammates that want to play quizbowl! Check around--surely there are some.

In short, my point is that these "woe is me" vaguely conspiracy theories are misplaced and wrong, but they are also horribly misleading and insulting to other teams. For example, new teams at places like Notre Dame (to name a recent example) solved your problem by basically just GOING TO TOURNAMENTS and not complaining that they don't have time to "nation build." We do not want you to build a nation, we would like you to play quizbowl. Perhaps you do not have time to play quizbowl. That is, of course, perfectly fine. But please do not act like there are magical barriers that only affect you.

Also, I disagree with Will Alston, but I'll save that for a different post.
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Re: DEES at Northwestern (11/22/2014)

Post by Cheynem » Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:57 pm

I disagree with Will because I believe college quizbowl is about colleges and college teams. There are exceedingly few people who are in Kenneth's situation (which as I explained above is also a vaguely imaginary situation). People who are not in school do not have a "right" to play non open tournaments, and people who are in schools should be working to "create" programs (again, not through imaginary "nation building" ideas but simply through finding teammates and going to tournaments). The recent growth in online open tournaments also offers more potential for people who would like to play opens in a way that does not affect the actual competitive college game.
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Re: DEES at Northwestern (11/22/2014)

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:16 pm

Mike's point about online tournaments is a fair one; the growth of those kinds of tournaments does do a lot to cater to the small audience of people without strong teams who really want a chance at playing tournaments that aren't difficult. If more non-ACF tournaments get more online open mirrors then that will do a lot of good, as it already has.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Gautam » Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:43 am

Sun Devil Student wrote: If the price of entry to a quizbowl tournament nowadays is starting an entire new student organization from scratch, the vast majority of current players would be priced out of the market. Writing a quarter packet once per tournament is a reasonable amount of effort to demand from an ordinary player, but the kind of nation-building some people implicitly seem to have expected from me when I first got here goes way beyond that.
This is pure nonsense. No empire building is necessary.

If you are a new player, you literally have to write 0 packets and play 0 dollars to play ACF events. No questions asked. Just get yourself to the site and find a place to stay overnight if you need to.

If you have been playing quizbowl for several years, the price of playing quizbowl is some questions plus some money (like $2 per round of quizbowl!) ACF even makes a lot of exemptions, for the money. Ask the several people who played ACF Fall shorthanded. The submission of questions as a "fee" for playing quizbowl is a well-established thing and if you have been playing for several years you should know that that's how quizbowl works.

If you (not you specifically, the general you) think you exhibit some kind of hardship that merits special dispensation, I would be happy to consider that request, and would grant an exemption if it was reasonable. I'm positive others would do it as well. The "price of entry" is not some kind of glass floor quizbowlers want to impose. I think we all recognize that we need to be flexible when appropriate.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:58 pm

In general, I think that open teams and masters players are used too much as a boogeyman in modern quizbowl. If you opened more tournaments up to exhibition teams, I don't think the sky would fall down, as people like Matt Jackson are fond of predicting. But no doubt, the "open tournaments = bad" mentality is very dominant in quizbowl today and likely to remain so for the time being. I hope that, one day, open tournaments will have a renaissance: perhaps people will come to see that, like bounceback bonuses or the four quarters format, open tournaments are not an inherent evil and can be done well with little to no ill effect on the growth of good quizbowl. The fact that DEES was made an open tournament at the last minute, and that nobody is calling for the editors to be lynched, is a good sign for those of us who wish to see more open tournaments.

Additionally, I do think that ACF and quizbowl in general could do more to accommodate one-man teams, financially. A lot of the discounts for short-handed teams are geared towards newer, less experienced teams, and more experienced players who find themselves on one-man teams can feel a lot less welcome when they look at the fee structure.

That said, you are essentially whining about having to write a packet, and for that I have no sympathy. Question-writing is the one thing without which quizbowl could not survive. It is not just a "barrier to entry" - it is a necessity for the very existence of the game. Writing questions is also good for you. The more you do it, the less of a burden it will seem. I'd go so far as to say that if there's one burden that modern quizbowl doesn't impose enough on players, it is question writing.

In short, drop and give me 20/20.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Cheynem » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:35 pm

Ironically, it seems the one thing Kenneth is not complaining about is writing questions.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Matt Weiner » Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:17 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:In general, I think that open teams and masters players are used too much as a boogeyman in modern quizbowl. If you opened more tournaments up to exhibition teams, I don't think the sky would fall down, as people like Matt Jackson are fond of predicting. But no doubt, the "open tournaments = bad" mentality is very dominant in quizbowl today and likely to remain so for the time being. I hope that, one day, open tournaments will have a renaissance: perhaps people will come to see that, like bounceback bonuses or the four quarters format, open tournaments are not an inherent evil and can be done well with little to no ill effect on the growth of good quizbowl. The fact that DEES was made an open tournament at the last minute, and that nobody is calling for the editors to be lynched, is a good sign for those of us who wish to see more open tournaments.
I cannot believe that this is still an opinion people hold after seeing the huge success of ACF Fall, NAQT Sectionals, and MUT, aka precisely those tournaments which take a hard stance on the "just play on whatever team you want" phenomenon. Quizbowl taking itself more seriously than five years ago has led to higher participation, both directly (by clearly signalling that college quizbowl teams play college tournaments) and in a roundabout cultural way (by not encouraging the insular, arms race mindset that also produced overly hard questions and lackadaisically organized tournaments, which went hand in hand with the everything-is-open regime).

As for Kenneth -- starting a team (at ASU) was the one thing you have clearly demonstrated your capability at in quizbowl. It baffles me that you still think that "novice only teams" are a thing despite being directly told that this is something you made up, or that you don't understand that UIC simply ended legacy College Bowl funding and you can now start an ordinary club that funds itself the same way 95% of quizbowl teams do (out of pocket, or by running tournaments). Get on the public transit system in the city you live in and show up to a tournament at Northwestern or Chicago; they will let you play for cheap, and you can recruit teammates from your school in the same way anyone else does.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:15 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:If you opened more tournaments up to exhibition teams, I don't think the sky would fall down, as people like Matt Jackson are fond of predicting. But no doubt, the "open tournaments = bad" mentality is very dominant in quizbowl today and likely to remain so for the time being. I hope that, one day, open tournaments will have a renaissance: perhaps people will come to see that, like bounceback bonuses or the four quarters format, open tournaments are not an inherent evil and can be done well with little to no ill effect on the growth of good quizbowl. The fact that DEES was made an open tournament at the last minute, and that nobody is calling for the editors to be lynched, is a good sign for those of us who wish to see more open tournaments.
Mattw's post above sums up most of what I think on this topic. But since my name was invoked in particular, I may as well restate some things to correct the record:

(a) My documented view on open tournaments has been "all summer tournaments should be opens; beyond that, there should be no more than one school-year open tournament in the fall and no one than one school-year open tournament in the spring". This is rather far from "opens = bad," and is in fact a view that you and Ryan both stated was acceptable to you the last time this was discussed in summer 2012. I still hold this view, even though I would now benefit much more from there being more opens. Before DEES made its change, there were 0 opens scheduled for the fall and 1 open scheduled for the spring, which I was fine with. After DEES made its change, there was 1 open scheduled for the fall and 1 open scheduled for the spring, which I am fine with.
(b) The DEES situation has a lot of unique circumstances which make it a particularly inapt bellwether for setting future policy. As you would know if you were actually checking announcement threads during the run-up to the tournament, the packet-sub requirement and lack of effective advertising, communication of deadlines, etc. from Charlie (and perhaps lack of confidence in Charlie in some quarters) meant that several sites had very small fields and were at risk of folding entirely if they didn't get more teams in on very short notice.
(c) In this particular case I supported the opening of DEES to non-student teams as an emergency measure, precisely because (i) there wasn't a fall open already scheduled, so little harm would be done (b) it was likely necessary to save at least some sites of the tournament from collapsing outright. In this case, it was better to have open sites than not to have those sites at all. I also supported the lifting of the packet requirements despite normally being very sticklerish about rules, because even more sites would have gone belly-up otherwise, making the work that Victor et al. were doing an utter waste of effort if nothing were done. It is precisely because these were needed last-minute measures that nobody is upset and nobody ought to be. That doesn't mean I or anyone else is okay as a matter of continued principle with tournaments changing eligibility or packet-sub rules midstream on a whim, or that having one open this semester has any empirical relevance to assessing what [returning to] a world with 3+ open tournaments per academic year would be like.
(d) For what it's worth, I do think that the model which we're starting to formally or informally coalesce around for school-year opens, namely "schools have to play together and may not mix or add non-students to their teams [without editorial approval]" is a good one from here on out.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:27 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Additionally, I do think that ACF and quizbowl in general could do more to accommodate one-man teams, financially. A lot of the discounts for short-handed teams are geared towards newer, less experienced teams, and more experienced players who find themselves on one-man teams can feel a lot less welcome when they look at the fee structure.
I got a pretty nice discount whenever I played ACF Nationals solo last year (I think it was $50 or $60, I don't remember now). I think this is the type of discount that should be as-needed on a case-by-case basis, though (I was paying out of pocket, without any of the club funds available).
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Gautam » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:45 pm

The Two Hearts of Kwasi Boachi wrote:
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Additionally, I do think that ACF and quizbowl in general could do more to accommodate one-man teams, financially. A lot of the discounts for short-handed teams are geared towards newer, less experienced teams, and more experienced players who find themselves on one-man teams can feel a lot less welcome when they look at the fee structure.
I got a pretty nice discount whenever I played ACF Nationals solo last year (I think it was $50 or $60, I don't remember now). I think this is the type of discount that should be as-needed on a case-by-case basis, though (I was paying out of pocket, without any of the club funds available).
Current rule for shorthanded teams: not limited to new teams. That is the "New to ACF" discount.
For teams which meet all of the following conditions, further discounts are available:

A team of less than 3 people
The team is being funded directly by its members (rather than by its school or by a team budget)
If required to write a packet, the team writes a packet before the no-penalty deadline and it is of acceptable quality

Under those circumstances, solo teams will get a discount of -$80 and two-person teams will get a discount of -$60. The teams will still be eligible for further discounts down to the minimum $0 fee.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Sun Nov 23, 2014 12:19 am

Oh, right. Thanks for posting that, Gautam!
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Sun Nov 23, 2014 1:48 am

Additionally, I do think that ACF and quizbowl in general could do more to accommodate one-man teams, financially. A lot of the discounts for short-handed teams are geared towards newer, less experienced teams, and more experienced players who find themselves on one-man teams can feel a lot less welcome when they look at the fee structure.
I have never quite understood why tournament fees are charged on a per-team basis rather than on a per-player basis. Granted, there are some costs tied to the number of teams participating (e.g. rooms to be reserved, moderators to be located); to deal with this, one could have fees like "$20 per team you register plus $25 per player you play". This has two positive effects: (1) it should effectively put a stop to the nonsense some high school teams do where they try to shove a gorillion people on one team (and in a cleaner way than saying "you cannot have more than 6 players on a team"); (2) it makes life easier for teams who do not have a neat multiple of 4 people to bring to a given tournament. The obvious negative effect is that this probably decreases the editors' income from mirror fees - but probably not to a degree that makes a huge difference.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:34 pm

Excelsior (smack) wrote:I have never quite understood why tournament fees are charged on a per-team basis rather than on a per-player basis. Granted, there are some costs tied to the number of teams participating (e.g. rooms to be reserved, moderators to be located); to deal with this, one could have fees like "$20 per team you register plus $25 per player you play".
All costs and effort on the tournament logistics end depend on the number of teams participating and in no sense directly on the number of players. Because games are played between two teams, you need a minimum of n/2 staff and you need to expend whatever amount of effort and money you normally do to get those staff, regardless of whether every team has 1 player or every team has 6 players. Handwaving away the obvious answer to this post before proceeding anyway is strange.
This has two positive effects: (1) it should effectively put a stop to the nonsense some high school teams do where they try to shove a gorillion people on one team (and in a cleaner way than saying "you cannot have more than 6 players on a team");
There is nothing ambiguous or "unclean" (?) or difficult about saying "you cannot have more than 6 players on a team." This is not a problem that needs to be solved. The reasons that people* have 9 player subapalooza when not prohibited by rule from doing so have nothing to do with avoiding small financial disincentives and everything to do with factors totally unrelated to cost, such as wanting to prepare for tournaments where only one team per school is allowed or being unaware that quizbowl doesn't work the way sports do. How will allowing teams to do this by paying an extra $25 as opposed to continuing to ban it outright "effectively put a stop" to something that is 100% stopped by existing procedures? It seems like it can only have the exact opposite effect -- it provides a clear path to doing something that is currently banned!

*Almost always high school people -- this happens so rarely even at college tournaments that do allow it that it is, again, a total non-issue that should never be addressed by making risky changes to other aspects of the system.
(2) it makes life easier for teams who do not have a neat multiple of 4 people to bring to a given tournament.
By....having them deal with exactly the same issues of managing substitutions that they do now, but also charging them more money? How does that "make life easier" for them?
The obvious negative effect is that this probably decreases the editors' income from mirror fees - but probably not to a degree that makes a huge difference.
Much like the TD, the editors likewise do not have to do any less work for teams of 1 than teams of 4, so from their perspective this is similarly a terrible idea that should not be adopted by anyone.

Kenneth Lan's problem is not a lack of discounts for shorthanded teams -- which, despite the fact that they probably shouldn't exist, do in fact exist now, another important fact totally ignored by the above post -- it's that he has spent the last five years living in a quizbowl fantasy universe where doing things the way the other 200 teams in college quizbowl do them is not only for some reason impossible, but seems to never occur to him before he constantly asks for bizarre exceptions from every rule. I have no idea why making accounting more complicated for the purpose of letting people get around the six-player limit is supposed to solve his issues, but I assure you it will not and it will introduce new and terrible headaches for anyone who tries it.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:30 pm

Everyone knows that I support open tournaments (for anything besides novice events and official ACF events) and have supported them since the beginning of time, so I won't spend my internet breath arguing about that.

I do think it's obviously fair to charge tournament fees on a per-player basis instead of a per-team basis. Most regional events in the middle of the year don't exactly have a booming field - they're scrounging for more teams, instead of worrying about having too many teams and not enough staff. So, in most cases, I don't understand the argument that the TD should be "compensated" on a per-team basis, because having extra teams makes him do so much more work by forcing him to come up with more staff - if anything, most events are desperately trying to convince enough teams to come and play them.

Never mind the fact that talking about "compensation" and "payment" in this game is a joke. If you wanna be compensated for your work and time, do something else - maybe get a job folding chinos at the Gap, tell everyone you saw the Virgin Mary in a plate of nachos and try to sell them on Ebay, panhandle on a traffic island in the middle of the expressway - all of these pursuits will do a better job at "compensating" you for your effort than editing a quizbowl event.

So, why on earth would you punish a one or two (or even three) man team by forcing those players to pay more (...especially if those players have contributed a packet to the tournament)? It's not like you need to "incentivize" playing on a four-man team, just the same as you don't need to incentivize college teams playing together. Anyone would rather play on a four-man team than a two-man team.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Cody » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:33 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Most regional events in the middle of the year don't exactly have a booming field - they're scrounging for more teams, instead of worrying about having too many teams and not enough staff.
Uh.....no?
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Cheynem » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:34 pm

Yeah, I don't think this is true--a number of recent tournaments have had issues with not enough staff for the amount of teams.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:36 pm

Ryan's talking about the collegiate quizbowl dystopia he wishes to create where open teams are encouraged to participate in in-season tournaments and "regionals-plus opens during the year" become the norm again. In the universe he is posting from, being desperate to find enough college teams to fill any tournament field will certainly be a reality.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Sun Nov 23, 2014 6:42 pm

In any event, we're talking about dollars here, not tournament space.

Why would you seek to punish a person who is forced to play on a team with less than four players? The only way I could justify that is if, in order to allow your shorthanded team to play the tournament, I literally had to pay some people to come staff my event.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Sun Devil Student » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:44 pm

“Nation-building” was kind of a current events metaphor, sorry that wasn’t very clear. What I meant by that term was just all of the things involved in creating a team (recruiting people, fundraising, student org paperwork, organizing people/schedules to attend things) as contrasted with simply joining an existing team and showing up when/where told to. If anyone is not convinced that the former is objectively more difficult and time-consuming than the latter, I can explain why that is the case in further detail. My point is simply that the amount of effort required for an average player to become and remain involved in quizbowl is very case-dependent and is nowhere close to being equal for all students at all schools.

I don’t think my situation is unique. On the contrary, there are probably lots of average players on average teams who finish undergrad programs and then become grad students at another school which doesn’t have an established regular-difficulty team. When they attended a school that had a team, they were able to participate, but when they landed somewhere that didn’t, the need to find teammates and start a new team became prohibitive. That’s why players “in my situation” are so rare: because most of them are no longer quizbowl players. I bet that “people in my situation” are far, far more common than “players in my situation”.

Note that these are circumstances beyond anyone’s control. The fact that many current players are able to play on school-affiliated teams with much less effort than it would take for me to do so is not anyone’s fault. It’s just a fact. It doesn’t mean anyone owes me anything. I’m not complaining about not being allowed to play closed tournaments as an open/non-affiliated player. I was not asking for discounts as a short-handed player, even back before I knew they were already present. What I am complaining about is that someone is judging me for failing to do something (e.g. starting a team) under circumstances in which 95% of quizbowlers would be no more able to do so than I was. Of course, this doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to judge me - if anyone has earned the right to cast the first stone, Matt Weiner and Mike Cheyne most definitely have. I’m the equivalent of a mortal among deities in this discussion, and I’m sure if Matt Weiner was in my position, he would have overcome even the obstacles that I can’t. That’s why we look up to him. I just think it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to live up to that level of dedication. I realize that on the forums, my opinion may be in the minority, but someone has to say it and I guess I’m it right now.

Recruiting teammates is a good idea on paper (yes, I did think of that myself as well), but from my personal experience I don’t think it will work. What Matt calls my “fantasy universe” is merely the reality I observed on the ground around me. Doing things just like every other team does only works if you’re in a similar situation/environment as every other team is. I’ve learned that the hard way.

Some schools have a higher concentration of the kinds of students who easily become interested in quizbowl. Various Michigan and Illinois players for example have told me that they get many new students each year including a large number of in-state former high school players (some already super-good). In Arizona, by contrast, even the best high school recruits are substantially below the skill threshold needed to enjoy regular-difficulty college quizbowl, and between 75 and 100 percent of graduating high school quizbowlers go out-of-state, so the ASU team is lucky if even one of their 2-3 new players ends up staying in any given year.

In other words, the type of students who might actually go on to play regular college difficulty (e.g. would be potential teammates for the "imaginary person in Kenneth’s situation”) are not the kind of students that usually go to a place like UIC.

This doesn’t mean we can’t also look for new college students with no high school experience, but those students often don’t make it in regular difficulty either. For example, at ASU I once sent many new students to ACF Fall, but over the years few of them stayed. Back then, as an idealistic undergraduate, I was frustrated by those high rates of quitting. It wasn’t until I went to ACF Nationals 2011 that I really began to understand how many less-skilled quizbowlers must feel when playing a regular-difficulty tournament. I’ve heard the same thing from all clubs – that only a small fraction of their recruits stick around. When the mountain looks too steep to climb, people quit whether you judge them for it or not. The number of recruits it would take to end up with a viable regular-difficulty team several tournaments later is much higher than the number you need to end up with. At ASU-Tempe, a campus of 50,000 students (overwhelmingly undergraduate) with a heavily-advertised honors college, only about 40 people joined over a 5-year period and only about 5 of those people remain, almost all of those people were honors college students. Of UIC's 28,000 students only about 17,000 are undergrads and the honors college I might try to recruit from is two rooms in a building (according to one of my classmates who was in it). Many of the grad students are health professions (pharmacy, dental, medical, PT/OT, etc) and like me, have little time to spare. (There are three former quizbowlers in my medical school class but none would give up a full Saturday to join me.) If you can find 4 UIC students who actually like quizbowl enough to sacrifice their weekends and do the work to improve as a team and play regular difficulty, I will eat my hat.

Quizbowl is known to draw disproportionately from students of higher socioeconomic levels. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that students who go to “cheap” public schools for cost reasons are disproportionately unwilling to pay out-of-pocket for anything, quizbowl included. Given what I know about UIC and its demographics, and my experience pulling teeth at ASU trying to get money, I don’t believe anyone would pay out-of-pocket to support a new UIC team.

Tournament hosting is a great idea, except that it depends on recruitment (difficult as noted above) to obtain staff, none of whom would be high-quality since they would all be new to the game. (Would all the local high school students come despite that?) The paperwork and logistics would have to be on UIC East Campus (undergrad). I don’t know anyone there, and the traffic between UIC East and UIC West (the health science campus) is heavy enough that the commute takes 20-30 minutes even though it’s only 1.5 miles. But those are relatively minor difficulties compared to the problems of finding/retaining team members and navigating the student government bureaucracy (a simple yet time-consuming task). The latter is a time commitment issue, the former involves both time and structural issues.

The Arizona quizbowl circuit only exists because I literally made it my entire life outside of school for all those years. I’m sorry (to the entire community) that I am no longer able to give that same level of time commitment now due to my increased course load. Like I said, if that’s how dedicated you have to be just to play (not to mention actually win a game at regular difficulty), only a small proportion of students would be able to overcome that. I’m not saying that’s a good or a bad thing. That’s for the community to debate and decide.

I share my perspective, as someone from the edge of our world, because it is one that many on these forums may not otherwise have access to. It’s been a strange experience coming from a place where everyone thought my expectations were unrealistically high when I asked them to learn things outside of practice, and now being on the receiving end of even higher expectations (start a whole team! BE a whole team!), but maybe my unusual combination of being in this (possibly imaginary?) situation and being someone who cared enough to post about it was exactly what we needed to start this discussion. If I didn’t love this game as much as I do, I would’ve left this community after the kind of flak I’ve gotten just for giving my outsider’s perspective. I understand now why other outsiders feel unwelcome on this forum of insiders, but I also understand and respect the perspective of those here – enough so that I have continued to participate in this community in whatever small ways I can, forgive and accept the implied attacks on me for not contributing even more, and neither expect nor desire any apologies.

-----

Anyway, other specific discussion:
Matt Weiner wrote:It baffles me that you still think that "novice only teams" are a thing
I remember seeing a discussion on these forums about teams that only play “ACF Fall, SCT, and MUT” some months ago. I may be out of date – if all of those teams have since gone on to consistently play regular difficulty as well, then that’s something to be very happy about.
For teams which meet all of the following conditions, further discounts are available:

A team of less than 3 people
The team is being funded directly by its members (rather than by its school or by a team budget)
If required to write a packet, the team writes a packet before the no-penalty deadline and it is of acceptable quality

Under those circumstances, solo teams will get a discount of -$80 and two-person teams will get a discount of -$60. The teams will still be eligible for further discounts down to the minimum $0 fee.
It’s great that solo players are being financially accommodated. This is great for the subset of solo players who are sufficiently good generalists to actually enjoy playing solo. However, a team (solo or not) that only gets to play 2-5 bonuses per game is almost certainly not having much fun. Scorning them for not having fun/not investing enough time to become better players won’t change that fact and might additionally make them feel less welcome. Of course, if you think those teams don’t contribute anything positive and shouldn’t be welcomed, then driving them away is a good thing, but that doesn’t seem to be the prevailing opinion on the circuit.
Matt Weiner wrote:
Excelsior (smack) wrote:I have never quite understood why tournament fees are charged on a per-team basis rather than on a per-player basis. Granted, there are some costs tied to the number of teams participating (e.g. rooms to be reserved, moderators to be located); to deal with this, one could have fees like "$20 per team you register plus $25 per player you play".
All costs and effort on the tournament logistics end depend on the number of teams participating and in no sense directly on the number of players. Because games are played between two teams, you need a minimum of n/2 staff and you need to expend whatever amount of effort and money you normally do to get those staff, regardless of whether every team has 1 player or every team has 6 players. Handwaving away the obvious answer to this post before proceeding anyway is strange.
I think Ashvin asked this because he and I both noticed that there were 6 total free-agents at our DEES mirror but the two of us were charged twice as much each as the other 4 free-agents because we were charged per team. Is there a policy justification for making one free-agent pay more than another for the same tournament, all other things equal? If not, one possible remedy I can think of would be for all open players at open tournaments to equally share the total registration fees for all open teams while the official school teams continue to pay per-team. This way the open players have an incentive to combine into fewer teams (less work for the TD/hosts) and the short-handed open teams don't get penalized when the number of open players isn't divisble by 4. The school teams, meanwhile, don't get disincentivized from bringing their "extra" players when they have a 5th or 9th or 13th player who wants to attend.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:25 am

Sun Devil Student wrote:“Nation-building” was kind of a current events metaphor, sorry that wasn’t very clear. What I meant by that term was just all of the things involved in creating a team (recruiting people, fundraising, student org paperwork, organizing people/schedules to attend things) as contrasted with simply joining an existing team and showing up when/where told to. If anyone is not convinced that the former is objectively more difficult and time-consuming than the latter, I can explain why that is the case in further detail. My point is simply that the amount of effort required for an average player to become and remain involved in quizbowl is very case-dependent and is nowhere close to being equal for all students at all schools.
I certainly do not deny that it is more difficult and time consuming, but it is also not impossible. It obviously would be much more difficult to raise long term funds with just one person, which is why I wouldn't necessarily expect to see you fly across the country and throw up major registration fees. But we're not talking about running a 20 team tournament, having three four man teams, and establishing a trust fund of major dollars--we're talking about you traveling to a local tournament (in this case, going from Chicago to Evanston). You don't need to fill out paperwork and fundraise--you just need to find public transportation/car and go.

I'm confused to as what your point is. I'm not "judging you" for not doing anything about the UIC team situation--that's work and you may not have it. I haven't done anything about the atrocious team situation at Morris because it was too much work. I was irritated at your complaining about it--if you want to play more tournaments, it is not because there is some conspiratorial burden against you, it is because that is how the game works. You have to do work in order to play tournaments (although see below, I don't think it's as hard as you make it out to be) and some teams have it easier than others.

I'm not sitting here as some sort of deity laughing at the peasants who can't start a team. I am simply defending the principle that college quizbowl is for college teams and that even if it is hard to form a college team, that does not mean the rules get changed. There are plenty of other examples of college teams that have done just fine working within these rules and your situation.

Regarding new players, it seems unlikely that there is no one interested in playing any quizbowl. UIC had a team before you were there; it went to various events. Reading that clustermess of a thread about you trying to start a team at UIC, it seems like there was even a team when you arrived but communication problems prevented it from really going any further. Anyway, you don't have to necessarily recruit high school all stars. Even just asking around your program could be a start. If none wants to give up time to join you, again, that is the burden of your situation and program, not a burden imposed on you by quizbowl. It is ludicrous though to assume that students who go to public schools cannot pay out of pocket, particularly when as we have documented in this thread, the costs for local tournaments are low, especially for new teams. There are many tournaments in Chicago and Evanston, so transportation/lodging costs are low. At most then we are looking at what, like, what, perhaps $30 a person, if that? That's like a movie and a dinner--do you think people can't afford to pay that? How much of your recruiting and team efforts at UIC is being warped by this bizarre attitude towards socioeconomic situations?

It is also ludicrous to assume that "only a small proportion of students can overcome" these barriers. If you look all around the quizbowl scene, there are lots of programs at various states of strength, including many founded by undergrads, grad students, etc. Again, I do not deny it is hard. It may very well be. But: 1. declaring by fiat, that it is impossible is just not true, and 2. acting like your situation is like the silent majority of quizbowl is also not true. What you are really saying is that for your situation, you do not have time or motivation to start a team. THAT IS PERFECTLY FINE AND I DO NOT JUDGE YOU ONE BIT. But please do not complain or extrapolate things about the quizbowl scene based on that. There are no expectations here other than the expectations that literally everyone else in quizbowl has. I do not judge you for failing to meet those expectations, but they are not onerous. I am not attacking you for "contributing less," rather I am suggesting that your situation is neither as onerous nor as widespread as you imply it to be.

If you would like some specific help about finding cheap ways to start playing as a team at UIC, I can provide that in a different thread or through private conversation.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Sun Devil Student » Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:22 am

I'm only explaining my previous experiences for some context as to why I don't think it would be worth trying to recruit at UIC. At ASU, $20 a person was a very difficult sell, even though it was affordable to most. Just because people have that money to spend doesn't mean they are willing to use it on quizbowl rather than on that dinner and movie (as one example of an alternative use). This may seem bizarre to you because you're used to being around people who value quizbowl very highly, but where I came from, that's how it was. As for the UIC team that existed before I arrived, they were definitively not interested in improving their game to a regular-difficulty level, and that's not something you can force.

We can disagree on our estimates of how large the silent constituencies are (though I certainly don't claim they are a majority). I appreciate your clarification, though - things can come across differently in writing than they were intended to. I think the forums have served their purpose quite well here, as we've all gotten to hear some different points of view. :party:

(Also, if you can think of a less labor-intensive way to recruit than e-mails, flyers, room reservations, running practices, actually being there in person and taking people to tournaments, let me know - as that kind of effort is what my assumptions were based on.)
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by jonpin » Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:36 am

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Never mind the fact that talking about "compensation" and "payment" in this game is a joke. If you wanna be compensated for your work and time, do something else - maybe get a job folding chinos at the Gap, tell everyone you saw the Virgin Mary in a plate of nachos and try to sell them on Ebay, panhandle on a traffic island in the middle of the expressway - all of these pursuits will do a better job at "compensating" you for your effort than editing a quizbowl event.
This is a strange analogy to throw in here. I can think of no regular-season college quiz bowl tournaments that are hosted for personal profit. The entity that wants to be compensated for running events is the team, so that they have the funds necessary to go to tournaments in their own rights.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 24, 2014 2:29 am

I might think about how you are presenting quizbowl in your recruiting. The best strategy is to get people who like playing quizbowl, regardless if they seem to be "novice-only" or "improving for regular difficulty." Development comes with time. People who genuinely like quizbowl I don't believe should have any problem spending $15-$20 out of pocket (at first) in order to enjoy the activity (again, $20 is basically a cheap dinner and movie weekend--unless UIC's student body is legitimately living in abject poverty, this should not be that hard a sell). Also, from what I understand UIC had a history of being a funded club with campus advisers; have you contacted the advisers for some suggestions? To follow up on that, if you can even recruit a handful of players and play something (Regionals or MUT, although you couldn't play MUT), that could help your case that your club could get revived in funding.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:48 am

I didn't really want to get into this post because Kenneth seems insistent on living outside of reality, but for the benefit of anyone else out there trying to start a team, it's important to set the record straight.
Sun Devil Student wrote: What I meant by that term was just all of the things involved in creating a team (recruiting people, fundraising, student org paperwork, organizing people/schedules to attend things)
You don't need to raise any funds because you live in Chicago and can access tournaments at UC and Northwestern on public transit. Sure, it might be nice to go further afield in the future, but for now, you can play many tournaments every year for trivial amounts of money. You also don't need to formally register your organization (which can't possibly be anything more than a few hours of cumulative work spread out over the course of a semester anyway). "Recruiting people" is in fact the first and last step of the process for anyone not trying to throw a huge pity party for themselves over how hard it is to form a quizbowl team.
if anyone has earned the right to cast the first stone, Matt Weiner and Mike Cheyne most definitely have. I’m the equivalent of a mortal among deities in this discussion, and I’m sure if Matt Weiner was in my position, he would have overcome even the obstacles that I can’t.
I'm not even sure what this refers to, but for the record, yeah, I played tournaments solo or with friends from my classes who weren't really quizbowl people and felt like going to Maryland for the day, for my first 2 years at VCU. I was hardly independently wealthy and I was able to conserve costs by submitting packets early or carpooling with more established programs from the general area. I paid everything that had to be paid out of pocket for my entire college career, even when I had managed to recruit some more permanent teammates. It just isn't a big deal for almost anyone to come up with $60 to cover a discounted registration fee and some minor travel costs every few months to play a tournament -- and if you have a full team, change that number to $15. The people who seriously cannot do that are not in college and thus not eligible for quizbowl, because they are working 80 hours a week to survive. I consider the financial side of attending ordinary tournaments to be basically a non-issue, because I know from personal experience that it is such.

When I moved into a coaching role in 2008, I made sure to focus more on recruiting a larger team and hosting more tournaments. VCU has been almost entirely self-funded for all seven years it has existed as a real program after my graduation, We get plane tickets to ICT reimbursed by the university (and still have to have the money to put up beforehand) most years, and pay for all other costs of ICT and 100% costs of everything else we do through money raised by hosting tournaments. We have never had to ask a team member to pay out-of-pocket for travel or registration expenses since 2007. There is nothing magical about "raise the money you need by hosting tournaments and being persistent about finding university offices that have a budget for you"; it's what most teams do.
Some schools have a higher concentration of the kinds of students who easily become interested in quizbowl.
Some schools like ... UIC, the second-largest public school in the state with the highest number of graduating high school seniors who play quizbowl of any in the country? How many people who have ALREADY played tournaments do you think there are at your university? I'm guessing it might be in the hundreds.
I remember seeing a discussion on these forums about teams that only play “ACF Fall, SCT, and MUT” some months ago. I may be out of date – if all of those teams have since gone on to consistently play regular difficulty as well, then that’s something to be very happy about.
The way to play something else is to play something else. There is nothing inherent about a team that makes it "novice only" or "D2 only" as you seem to insist. As a matter of actual fact, what Ulysses said was that the current UIC people didn't want to play HARD tournaments, which he specifically defined as anything "beyond ACF Regionals" --excluding only about 3 tournaments on the calendar this year! As a matter of further actual fact, UIC has sent teams to numerous hard tournaments including ACF Nationals and Chicago Open in the past. So no, there is no one decreeing that UIC only plays those three tournaments, and even if there were, you are perfectly eligible to play ACF Fall and D1 SCT.

The bottom line is that people -- including 18-year-olds with minimal to no high school experience -- found college teams all the time. It's about having the attitude that you are going to accomplish that goal and being realistic about the direct steps ("find other people, get in a car, go to tournaments") needed to do so rather than constantly finding reasons to deem it impossible.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by jmarvin_ » Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:15 am

As someone attempting the "team-building" thing right now, I can attest to its difficulty; even at a school wherein most are quite affluent it's difficult to get people out to events, and even more difficult to retain them. The trouble is usually less "getting people to spend 20$ and their Saturday" and more "getting people to spend 20$ and their Saturday on quizbowl" rather than DI sports or whatever else. I get at least four or five people (not including myself) showing up to all the practices I hold (weekday nights, mind you), and it isn't the same group every time. And yet, to date, there hasn't been a BC quizbowl team playing with more than two players- and it has been with a different second player each time, at that. Waking up early has discouraged far more people than it should. People don't see it as a serious commitment, and to date I've had six instances of individuals claiming they'd go to a tournament and dropping off the night before or morning of the event.

On top of this, student funding has been completely uncooperative, and the remnants of an old BC College Bowl group (which sit around and play "trivia" with their buzzers [which they do not lend to actual quizbowl]) have only made this more difficult. In the view of the student funding and student organization people, why have two trivia clubs?

This isn't to say "woe is me, founding a team is hard," but rather to point out that 100% of the difficulty has been with the students and with my school. Dealing with the quizbowl circuit, both ACF and other events, has been the easiest part of my experience so far. ACF has incredibly generous discounts for new teams, and multiple non-ACF tournament hosts have been commendably encouraging and economically accommodating beyond reasonable expectations. At least here in the Northeast, the circuit has taken active efforts to support the formation of a team here at BC, and I'd assume of other new teams as well.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 24, 2014 11:53 am

Certainly, John. As someone who was witness to a rebuilding project with young, only mildly interested (at times) players at Minnesota, I understand that it can be tough to sell quizbowl at first glance. As someone who is at a school with a buffoonish faux quizbowl club who doesn't actually play things (and in fact. lost all their buzzers), I also sympathize with that. Nobody should deny that it can be difficult at times to make a large, vibrant, well funded team a reality.

What we WERE objecting to was Kenneth's ideas that somehow quizbowl puts up "barriers to entry," making it nigh impossible for people to even play tournaments without a great deal of effort. This is not true. It certainly wasn't true for Boston College, which has played at least recently ACF Fall and DEES. Can it be difficult? Sure. But it's possible and as you correctly pointed out, a lot of the problems come from within the contrivances of a particular school, not quizbowl at large.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by jmarvin_ » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:56 pm

Cheynem wrote:What we WERE objecting to was Kenneth's ideas that somehow quizbowl puts up "barriers to entry," making it nigh impossible for people to even play tournaments without a great deal of effort. This is not true. It certainly wasn't true for Boston College, which has played at least recently ACF Fall and DEES. Can it be difficult? Sure. But it's possible and as you correctly pointed out, a lot of the problems come from within the contrivances of a particular school, not quizbowl at large.
The aim of my post was to corroborate your objections- I was trying to say that, far from putting up "barriers to entry," the quizbowl circuit has, if anything, made it easier to start a team.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 24, 2014 12:57 pm

Ah. okay--was misreading your tone. I completely agree then and I must say it's great to see Boston College playing things.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Sun Devil Student » Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:14 pm

Few quick points before going away for the semester:

No, the people running quizbowl are not to blame for the difficulty of starting new college teams (as I stated in my longer post above). If my past posts before then were perceived as assigning such blame (when they were only intended to describe what my surroundings told me) then I apologize for that and am glad we have cleared it up. As Mike and John said above, the challenges are situational (whether or not you use the term "barriers" to describe them), and in fact John's post is a pretty accurate reflection of the "outside of reality" space that I apparently live in (keep up the good work! :grin: ).
Matt Weiner wrote:you are perfectly eligible to play ACF Fall and D1 SCT
I thought there was a gentleman's agreement that prohibits players who are substantially above novice level from playing things like ACF Fall? Also, the same reason Ashvin didn't want to play DEES alone this past weekend would apply to me for D1 SCT (and NAQT not having solo discounts like ACF does). I wasn't complaining about that, anyway. What seems easy to good players (such as being a one-man team) may be difficult for less-skilled ones, and vice versa, so I can see where you're coming from.
Matt Weiner wrote:
Some schools have a higher concentration of the kinds of students who easily become interested in quizbowl.
Some schools like ... UIC, the second-largest public school in the state with the highest number of graduating high school seniors who play quizbowl of any in the country? How many people who have ALREADY played tournaments do you think there are at your university? I'm guessing it might be in the hundreds.
Of those hundreds of graduating high school seniors (wait, really? How many high school teams are there in Illinois? I thought it was less than 100), only a small fraction are likely to be willing to play regular difficulty in college (for reasons explored in other threads, including that it takes more time and effort to really enjoy the college game enough to keep investing in it, or they've burned out, want to spend their time on new things, etc). Of this group of actually recruitable seniors, almost all of them will go to "better" schools than UIC for undergrad. The ones who want to go to a public school for cost reasons have UIUC next door. UIC is not only a "crappy underfunded public school" (according to its own undergrad alumni), it's not even the best public option in its own state. By comparison, ASU is the dominant public option for Arizona high school seniors, and even then, most of the quizbowlers we need go elsewhere (out of state) and the ones who do stay in-state rarely keep playing.

So, I would expect very few potential quizbowlers at UIC, even taking into account the strength of the Illinois state high school circuit. But maybe I'm wrong, and here is a proposed experiment to prove me wrong. Have all Illinois high school tournaments during this upcoming spring semester ask their 12th grade players where they are going for college and obtain contact info (with consent). Track their playing stats and then, over the next year (or ideally 2), see which players actually go on to play regular-difficulty college tournaments (more than once). For the seniors who actually go to UIC, put them in contact with each other and tell them the same things that you've told me about starting a team. If it's as easy as Matt says, they'll be circuit regulars in no time and I'll be delighted to have been disproved in this matter.
Kenneth Lan, ASU '11, '12, UIC '17
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by jonah » Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:27 pm

Sun Devil Student wrote:How many high school teams are there in Illinois? I thought it was less than 100
Approximately 550. How many that play more than one tournament and their conference a year? Approximately 200.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Cheynem » Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:42 pm

I hate to keep posting in this thread, but yes, you're absolutely right that getting a list of HS seniors who go to UIC and telling them to play quizbowl would be a good thing. But this is not some quizbowl community social experiment--this is in fact things teams do to get players all across the country. The list as far as I know is public and available through resources like NAQT--I'm not even affiliated with the Morris team and got some names of people who were going to Morris. I'd recommend you getting the list and contacting those seniors if you can.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Nov 24, 2014 6:49 pm

I think it's clear that Kenneth has no idea what in the hell he's talking about, and I'm astounded that ASU ever had a team if he had any hand in its founding. There are teams all over the country who aren't perceived as the top school in their state that have teams, and considering that UIC has nearly 30,000 students to draw from, I don't really care if the only students/alumni willing to have a conversation with Kenneth tell him that none of the students who attend UIC are smart enough to play quizbowl. That's horseshit and we all know it. Look I know the team was falling apart (or had already fallen apart) when Kenneth arrived at UIC, and I legitimately felt bad about that because I hate seeing teams go away, but it actually isn't all that much effort to pick up the pieces. If you can't find a few people to play quizbowl with you at a school your size, then I don't think it's a sign of structural problems at your school and has all to do with whatever you're doing (or not doing) to fuck it up. Asking them to chip in $30 a piece to play quizbowl sure would suck, but fortunately I don't think you'd need to, since hosting a tournament to raise money in Chicago is way easier of a task than any other fucking place in the country.

Illinois has a Scholastic Bowl scene where nearly every school in the state has a team; I've seen over the years that even players from programs who played exclusively bad quizbowl are often interested in playing good quizbowl in college since there isn't any other option. This isn't even to mention the fact that Illinois is perhaps the most active state in the country on good questions! There are a ton of people in the state of Illinois, a lot of high schools in the state, and therefore a lot of graduating seniors that go to UIC, UIUC, and every other college on the planet simply because people go to colleges for tons of reasons and not all of them decide solely on dumb crap like college rankings or the perceptions of the 15 people Kenneth talked to on the bus around campus one day.

Tiny religious schools with barely 1,000 students in their student bodies have managed to have stable quizbowl teams. Large public universities that may not be as well known as some of the other schools in their area also have (frequently quite good!) teams. I don't even know where to begin on that category of schools, but just off the top of my head I can point out teams at WKU, VCU, UCF, Wright State, Delaware, Northern Michigan, Georgia State, Auburn-Montgomery, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, and probably a bunch more that I'm forgetting. IUPUI played SCT last year and they are pretty much the absolute equivalent of UIC except Indiana is a much smaller state with a less active high school quizbowl circuit. Northern Illinois has 8,000 fewer students than UIC and is apparently lower ranked than UIC in whatever meaningless college rankings you're basing your perceptions of your school on, but NIU has a team and has for several years now. There are 20 community colleges in Florida that manage to have active teams. Not a single school I listed has the location advantage that UIC does.

I started a team at WKU when I was 19 years old and had no clue what I was doing. This is pretty common everywhere, and while I love my school I'm sure the academic reputation of my school suffers from some of the same issues that limit lots of schools. But we've had a team for 6 years and I think we're actually pretty good nowadays, and this is absolutely not an uncommon story in the quizbowl community. I come from a poor background and so did some of the other people that helped me start the team, but other than a couple tournaments we paid out of pocket and $500 a year from the school for the first 5 years (note: this increase by a lot this year) we built our club from the ground up through hosting tournaments. This despite the fact that no tournament was hosted within 3 hours of WKU (unless we did it ourselves) between Spring 2010 and Fall 2012 while we were building our club.To be able to "nation-build" in UIC's location...man, what I wouldn't do for some of the advantages you have in Chicago. Zero transportation costs, a built-in active circuit at both the high school and college level right under your nose...if you squander that it's because you either don't want to put in the (in your case actually quite low!) amount of effort it takes to build a team or you are just incapable of doing it.

And with that, I'd rather never talk about this stupid topic again.
Nick Conder
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by TheDoctor » Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:05 pm

NickConderWKU wrote:Northern Illinois has 8,000 fewer students than UIC and is apparently lower ranked than UIC in whatever meaningless college rankings you're basing your perceptions of your school on, but NIU has a team and has for several years now.
I'd just like to chime in and say that we founded NIU's club with two interested people, zero school funding, and a faculty advisor who has still never seen a game of quizbowl in his life. We did the same thing at our local community college in the year we were there. It is work, but if you really want to play quizbowl you just gird your loins and do it.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:08 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:All costs and effort on the tournament logistics end depend on the number of teams participating and in no sense directly on the number of players. Because games are played between two teams, you need a minimum of n/2 staff and you need to expend whatever amount of effort and money you normally do to get those staff, regardless of whether every team has 1 player or every team has 6 players.
Sure, this is true, but, as I point out below, I don't think it's necessarily always the case that hosts maximize their profit by charging on a per-team basis.

Plus, why, then, does ACF have shorthanded team discounts? I assume there's a good reason for that.
By....having them deal with exactly the same issues of managing substitutions that they do now, but also charging them more money? How does that "make life easier" for them?
Let's say that you are the president of a quizbowl club that is somewhat strapped for cash. You have five people who want to attend a tournament. You have three options. (1) Send one team of five people. (2) Send a team of four people and tell the fifth person he's SOL. (3) Send five people split among two teams. All three are suboptimal - (1) necessitates substitution; (2) probably harms player retention; and (3) is expensive. A model in which entry fees are charged mostly on a per-player basis mitigates the problems with (3), making it a reasonably good solution.

If you (as club president) would opt for (1) or (2) under the current pricing model but would switch to option (3) under a per-player model, the tournament host earns more money off of you, provided that the additional rooms and staff needed to support your additional team cost less than the extra amount you are paying the host. This may be the case in situations where room reservations are cheap or free, and in which a surplus of staff are available (e.g. if you are a large college club and don't require outside staffers). Point is, it's not inconceivable that pricing tournaments on a mostly-per-player basis could increase profits for tournament hosts. I'm not saying it will, because I couldn't possibly know whether or not it would, but that it could, and that it is not so incredibly terrible an idea as to warrant an immediate write-off.
Much like the TD, the editors likewise do not have to do any less work for teams of 1 than teams of 4, so from their perspective this is similarly a terrible idea that should not be adopted by anyone.
The editors have to do a constant amount of work regardless of how many teams or people play their tournaments (assuming a fixed number of packets from the outset, which is how most tournaments are produced). Why should editor income be a function specifically of "the number of teams that played"? You present a reasonable argument for why this should be the case for tournament hosts (host costs are mostly a function of the number of teams present), but I don't see an obvious reason (besides tradition) why this should be the case for editors.
I have no idea why making accounting more complicated for the purpose of letting people get around the six-player limit is supposed to solve his issues, but I assure you it will not and it will introduce new and terrible headaches for anyone who tries it.
None of my post has anything to do with solving issues specifically faced by Kenneth.
Last edited by Excelsior (smack) on Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Nov 24, 2014 10:12 pm

Tournament editors are not paid enough relative to the amount of work they do already. Taking the position "the work won't change, but there should definitely be a way for them to be paid less" is certainly a novel tack, but unlikely to win you any allies.
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Re: Open tournaments and team-building

Post by Gautam » Tue Nov 25, 2014 5:03 am

jonah wrote:
Sun Devil Student wrote:How many high school teams are there in Illinois? I thought it was less than 100
Approximately 550. How many that play more than one tournament and their conference a year? Approximately 200.
I'm guessing that if you want to estimate the number of active teams in a state, you can multiply the number of teams from that state who attended HSNCT by 10-15 and get a solid ballpark upper and lower-bound.

Kenneth, it is clear you have some preconceptions about what makes a "good" quizbowler that don't really sync with experience. We've talked at length about Seth, Jerry, Eric, John Lawrence, etc - people who didn't really play quizbowl in HS and are great at the collegiate game. Quizbowl similarly has a non-trivial set of grad students who never played in undergrad. I'm not sure there is a well-defined causality chain that connects "honors college" and "good people going out of state for college" to the current atmosphere of getting a UIC quizbowl team setup. Those things happen in every state in every year; continuity between HS career and college career is tenuous.

You clearly seem like you understand that it's hard work to get a team going, etc. But if you are looking for concrete things you can do to get the quizbowl world to take you (and whatever you envision UIC Quizbowl becoming) seriously, then I'd you abandon these causal mechanisms.

There's also something to be said about being ambitious and enterprising. 2006 Minnesota, was a team that had earned a derisive nickname in the quizbowl world. I went to a couple of practices in 2007 spring when College Bowl questions were played. Fall 2007 Minnesota was remarkably different - and that Minnesota had an established program didn't really have all that much to do with it. The culture change didn't just come about overnight with ace Minnesota recruits. Andrew, Rob, myself and Bernadette a little bit later - I don't know how many thousands of questions we produced, the many tournaments 500+ miles away to which we drove, etc. It took a lot of "taking ourselves seriously" and ruthlessly executing on it.

I understand not everyone may have the werewithal to live their quizbowl dreams or whatever. But if you are able to crystallize your aspirations (something as simple as 'converting 15ppb at Regionals' can be start) and get a couple of people on board, then honors colleges and wealthy liberal arts schools or whatever-it-is-that-is-mysteriously-contributing-to-the-uic-malaise will start fading away. In an environment like Chicago - where the network effects of having a well-established circuit are really high - I am sure you can make it work.
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Re: DEES at Northwestern (11/22/2014)

Post by KissND » Wed Nov 26, 2014 4:21 am

In short, my point is that these "woe is me" vaguely conspiracy theories are misplaced and wrong, but they are also horribly misleading and insulting to other teams. For example, new teams at places like Notre Dame (to name a recent example) solved your problem by basically just GOING TO TOURNAMENTS and not complaining that they don't have time to "nation build." We do not want you to build a nation, we would like you to play quizbowl. Perhaps you do not have time to play quizbowl. That is, of course, perfectly fine. But please do not act like there are magical barriers that only affect you.
Super appreciate the shout out! While some schools have the advantage of having an established program in place, others consist of small groups of people who (maybe) played in High School and would consider attending a few tournaments here and there. I definitely feel as if mirrors, discounts, and writing requirements are constructed in such a way as to make it so that one person doesn't have a huge burden in attending a tournament. If you don't have time for writing, the QB circuit has plenty of events without writing requirements. Just last year for example, I was able to play CRR and the NHB online mirror with people not from my school because I was the only one on our team interested in playing more tournaments. For MUT last year I literally knocked on doors and asked people in my dorm if they wanted to go with me despite the fact that they had absolutely zero QB experience and we had a blast. My point is that if you are interested in playing more tournaments, there are options without having to "build a nation," which sounds like a problem for Obama or something.
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