Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by theMoMA » Mon May 04, 2015 11:43 am

There are many skills in quizbowl. Some that I can think of: buzzer speed on contested clues, intuition and feel, ability to lock down categories, working well with teammates, depth/breadth knowledge base, and ability to pull difficult bonus parts. There are fewer outcomes in quizbowl; the only ones that are recorded and attributed to the individual are 10s, -5s, and 15s (when present). Bonus conversion is also recorded but not attributed; other things, like "good buzzes" and "good pulls," are not recorded anywhere, but may be perceived by opponents, teammates, moderators, etc.

Very good players will, of course, have a lot of the above skills. Very good players will also, generally speaking, create good outcomes: they'll have lots of 10s and 15s, and relatively few -5s, next to their names; their teams will have good bonus conversions; and they'll generate memorably good buzzes and pulls that teammates, opponents, and moderators will notice.

So it's clear to me that very good players have a constellation of skills that generate good outcomes. But what skills and outcomes are actually important to assessing a player's merits?

Consider John Lawrence. His extremely deep knowledge base in literature and the arts generates many quality buzzes in each match. These buzzes are important to his team's chances because the team can expect and rely on getting at least three or four of them each match, even against really good teams. There are other valuable parts of John's game--he's also a proficient generalist--but his main value is that his team can rely on getting a handful of those buzzes each game.

Now consider Chris Ray. Chris also generates many quality buzzes from the deep points of his knowledge base, and (like John's generalist ability) I don't want to minimize that side of his game. But a significant part of Chris's value to his team is that his buzzer speed, intuition, and breadth of knowledge base allow his team to rely on him getting a handful of tossups on the later clues each match, even against really good teams. These points--and the corresponding bonus points they generate--are worth exactly the same as those that John generates when he kills an art or lit tossup. And because they result from Chris's repeatable skills, and not just blind luck, his team can depend on getting these tossups in any given match. (This set of skills isn't limited to Chris; I just used him as an example to illustrate the yin and yang that made this year's Chicago team so dangerous. As presumably many leading lights were reminded of at George Oppen, John's former teammate Matt Jackson is also absurdly good at this side of the game, in addition to his deep knowledge base.)

Quizbowl is (in the most simplistic sense) a game about getting more tossups than the other team. So the most meaningful individual ability in quizbowl is the ability to get tossups before the other team. As Chris and John illustrate, different players may have that ability through different constellations of skills. Some players are overwhelmingly knowledgeable about certain slices of the distribution. Others have very broad knowledge bases and use their intuition and buzzer skills to beat the competition. (Most players, including John and Chris, have some combination of both.)

That says to me that it's folly to use something like "power percentage" or "domination of a particular category" or "subjective assessment of 'good buzzes'" to assess whether a player can consistently get tossups. Rather, it seems to me that you need to look to team performance. I'd ask something like "how good was Team X at getting tossups, and how important was Player Y to Team X's tossup-getting ability?"

I look at this year's Chicago team, for example, and say that they're pretty damn good at getting tossups--good enough to get second at ACF and third at ICT. I look at their stats at most tournaments where they had full lineups and say that John, Chris, and Max are all contributing large percentages of that tossup conversion, with John and Chris most crucial. I look at the ICT stats and say that Chris definitely had a more central impact there; I look at the Nationals stats and see that John was the more consistent scorer. I take into consideration that Chris took the buzzer out of his teammates' hands by negging more often than John did. I take into consideration that Chris and John appear to be equally consistent in the playoff phases of both tournaments (which I didn't necessarily expect, but goes to show that Chris's breadth-based skillset can be just as consistent as John's depth-based one). I consider that (on a brief review), John scored more points during regular-season tournaments than Chris when they played alongside each other. I consider that there are only two NAQT events on the calendar as compared to many ACF-style events, and minimize my emphasis on ICT stats accordingly. My conclusion is that I'd rank John slightly ahead of Chris, but it's very close. I'd probably put them right next to each other on a player poll ballot.

(Unscientifically, I'd offer this top ten: Matt, Eric, Jordan, Tommy, Saajid, John, Chris, Auroni, Will, Stephen. I certainly won't quibble with anyone who mixes up those names a bit differently or wants to give a shout-out to Neil, Shan, Andrew, Adam, or anyone else I fiendishly forgot.)
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by grapesmoker » Mon May 04, 2015 11:51 am

good enough to get third at ACF and second at ICT
Presumably you mean those in reverse order.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by theMoMA » Mon May 04, 2015 11:57 am

Yes, amended. Thanks.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon May 04, 2015 3:16 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: No I'm not. I'm legitimately stating that Saajid's in the top 10 this year, absolute or relative.
You can't possibly be stating this "legitimately" if you continue to insist that some non-relative, absolute form of this statement exists! That's not what Top 10 means!
Ok, let me make sure I understand. You're saying I can only make that determination if I compare him to other players and explain how he's better or worse, hopefully sifting him into a spot above 10? I may just be misunderstanding your point.
The point that I'm trying to make here is that anyone simply listing the things that their teammate is good at is doing absolutely nothing to help establish rankings, because there are no absolute criteria that correlate with a particular spot in the Top 25. Top 5, Top 10, etc. are not useful a priori numerical categories. For example, I think last year's Top 3 was a genuine tier unto itself: you, Bollinger, and Matt Jackson are all super-generalists with best-in-the-game specialist abilities in certain categories. I don't think anyone new has stepped into that tier this year. But someone still has to be third best, even if they don't meet last year's Top 3 criteria.
Last year, only people capable of being team leaders / high-scorers on a top-bracket team made it into the Top 10. Implicitly, if we are arguing that people like Saajid are in this year's Top 10, we are arguing either that: (a) there are not enough of those types of players to fill out the Top 10, or (b) some of the contributions made by supporting cast types who couldn't be good team leaders if thrust into that role are more valuable than the contributions of the leading players in the top bracket. For this to actually be an interesting discussion rather than people arguing from bullshit math or from authority, it would be helpful to make criteria like that into explicit rather than implicit areas of discussion.
Ok, now we're getting to a spot of agreement here. You seem to be suggesting that we take a hierarchical approach, and then sort within the cluster to determine rank order. Furthermore, you seem to be suggesting developing criteria for each cluster. I can support this idea. Lets do it (I'll do it at the end of the post, to give the rest of what you said due diligence).
So, I point out that you're basically saying that you know how good other players are from playing against them, but other players don't know how good Saajid is from playing against him, which is why you need to tell them. You respond by repeating that you know how good other players are from playing against them....
So, I see this discussion as an exercise in reflective equilibrium, where everyone adjusts their perceptions based on what other people tell them; everyone else is here to offer info on players that they know well, and I can offer info on players I know well. I think I have a fairly good sense of the top players based on how much I've played against them (this year and previous years), esp teams like Chicago (because I've played against and with the four of you both separately and together over the years) and Michigan (because I've played against Will for a while and I know enough about history and chemistry to assess Kenji and Sid's buzzes as "legit"). That is to say, I think I've played against the collective mass of "good" players more than most people have over the years, and have enough background to tell you if someone's buzzes are "legit" in some subjects. Furthermore, I'm willing to listen to people talk about players I've almost never seen play (like Jason Asher. I don't even know what he looks like, let alone how good he is). I think this is a normal part of the process.
I suppose that I was unclear about what "where you're supposed to buzz" means. I meant that the points at which we buzzed were on clues that any self-appointed "music player" should know if they've been keeping up with recent packets. [snip] They were signs of basic-level competence from both of us, rather than any notable prowess; which, once again, is not to say that Saajid isn't a great music player, now! It's just that those tossups happened not to demonstrate that.
I understand what you're saying, but I reject your premise that these buzzes aren't "diagnostic" or "demonstrative". Even as a specialist in a category, most of the time I'm buzzing "where I'm supposed to" by your definition. I just flipped through all of my biology and chemistry buzzes at ACF nationals, and many of the clues have come up recently. If you use an even more stringent criterion of "real", there's only a few that is almost completely untraceable by previous packet knowledge, meaning the clue has never come up before (CRISPR, arrhythmias, and /maybe/ carbenes if you're being generous). Hell, Max Schindler would have raced me to the first line of the Liver question based on a diagnostic test that I've used to evaluate people in real life. That's just the nature of specialization - there are so many packets written every year, and so many clues available to learn, that the metric of "where you have to buzz" becomes almost meaningless.
I'm not clear to me whether you didn't read what I wrote, are just trying to be nasty, or both. If I say that I have no first-hand in-match data on Saajid's music prowess, because all four of the music buzzes in our games were unimpressive, pointing out that my music buzz on that clue was unimpressive enough that you could have made it supports rather than refutes my argument, while adding a needless level of dickishness. And yes, of course I know you gave Silla to Chris! I was in that match too! I didn't know if you were punting me the last tossup (you'd already won, and most teams continue to play the rest of the tossups live after they've won: see a certain Patrick Liao's On-to-Ottawa buzz); but even if you were, that doesn't change the fact that there were no "good" music buzzes in our matches to provide data, which is all that I said.
I apologize for my attitude, and that point is fair. The point I was trying to make is that question wasn't diagnostic in the way you suggest, which it appears you are also saying. As above, let me both agree and disagree with the larger point you're making, though, that these kinds of specialist-have-to-know-mid-level-grapple buzzes aren't "diagnostic", reasons for which I have outlined above. If there was something unusual about the particular draw of questions between the two of us (say, all of the music was about Xenakis or the biology was food-related), then I think you have a point.
Also, as I make clear, my point was not challenging the idea that Saajid is a good player. It is challenging the idea that four matches against out-of-region opponents necessarily helps one gauge people's strength in categories. I was making the point that sometimes, the questions you happen to play people on create poor diagnostic conditions for the qualities you wish to test, and reading into that small sample size of matches skews perceptions.
I think its a fair statement that four games is not a large enough sample to make a good point estimate, but as far as head to head data is concerned it's all we've got. Furthermore, this year we only had 5 games against UVA with our full roster and 8 against UMD, for comparison. It's not exactly a large window.
Powers are somewhat useful, but I don't find it as helpful as people say. Subjects are rarely edited to similar levels of depth, and most editors conform to answer-relative depth-of-cluing rather than difficulty-relative depth-of-cluing. (I'm not going to recap what this means here. I've done it too many times. Find an old post of mine on this subject, if you don't know what I mean.) If we knew which tossups a player powered, that would help. But also, as I'll say yet again, ranking player skill is a relative exercise, and not an absolute one. If there's a category that basically no one has a high power-rate on, but Player X is still buzzing earlier than most players, that's more valuable in a ranking situation than Player Y's tendency to buzz in-power against weak players in a category that great players are getting on the first/second line.
One can probably normalize by average power rate of the field, in this case.
I think Magin has said something like this before, but as is probably clear from my post, I think that discussing the tiers that good players fall into in each year is more valuable than the numerical ranking. I also wish that we discussed individual categories more (ranked Top 5 for each category, for example). It would give more recognition to specialists (science players being the obvious ones, but even specialists in particular humanities categories) who might be getting shut out of the poll, because they're not Top 25 overall.
I actually suggested in the IRC doing subject rankings rather than an overall, but also said that I didn't want to start that thread, because last year my attempt at a science player poll devolved into Rob Carson saying no one cared and various jokes about Stephen Hines.

So, onto the tiers.

Tier 1 this year should be people who have both supergeneralist and specialist abilities, by your count. According to you, that tier consists of me and Matt Bollinger, with him significantly better than me. No argument with the relative ranking there.

Tier 2 last year were people who could lead a team to the top bracket, according to you. Assuming you're taking this as prescriptive, and not just a post-hoc observation, I'm not sure this is a great criterion, because it creates wayyyy to many ambiguities and what-ifs wrt to teammates. Matt Bollinger could lead a team of himself, Gjoll, and the Sympheglades to a high top bracket finish, but for everyone else its way more of a tossup depending on what teammates they would have. I'm fairly confident that if Saajid had, say, Michigan minus Will Nediger, UMD minus Jordan, or Stanford minus Stephen Liu he could lead that team to the top bracket, but I don't think that's terribly meaningful. I would be happy to be proven wrong on this impression.

You don't outline what Tier 3 should be, but I'll offer that it could be reserved for specialists who can or do contribute heavily next to better players (Brian McPeak) and people on the way to becoming good generalists (Jason Asher, from what I understand).

Tiers past this, I don't really know
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by gyre and gimble » Mon May 04, 2015 5:56 pm

I don't understand all this backlash against this poll or against taking it seriously. Like, why does it matter if someone cares about it way more than you think they should? Or why does it matter that people post after the results are out with complaints about how X or Y is underrated? It's just a thing that happens. People should take into account the enormous amount of stupid stuff that gets posted on these forums, realize that this has some merit and isn't that dumb even at any subjective level, and then let it go. I can't believe people think Eric or Aidan were seriously using threatening language. The discussion in this thread is interesting and useful, not just for the poll, but for preparing to play against players in the future.

Also, ballots don't remain secret forever? What?
theMoMA wrote:(Unscientifically, I'd offer this top ten: Matt, Eric, Jordan, Tommy, Saajid, John, Chris, Auroni, Will, Stephen. I certainly won't quibble with anyone who mixes up those names a bit differently or wants to give a shout-out to Neil, Shan, Andrew, Adam, or anyone else I fiendishly forgot.)
This is actually the same top 10 I have, with some rearrangement in the middle (I don't think Tommy and Saajid are top 5; I'd give those spots to John, Auroni, or Will). But like John said, the top 10 isn't necessarily some kind of objectively meaningful cutoff, and I think that's especially true this year.

And since we're offering praise for our own teammates: I'm sure most people have Austin on their radar by now, but they probably don't know why he's such a valuable teammate. His best categories, at least playing next to Benji, Nikhil, and myself, are religion/physics/earth science/world myth. He probably had at least 2 first/second line buzzes in each of these categories at Nationals and buzzed more often by the middle of the tossup than he picked up things at the end. I also think he contributed to the majority of our 30s, cleaning up on religion and physics (though this may have been a function of those categories having more reasonable bonuses than Stanford's other strengths). On top of this, he's an excellent history player and has great buzzer reflexes (e.g. he somehow got the tossup on The Nightmare in the Stanford-UVA game even though he has close to no arts knowledge). I'd also say he scales up better than anyone else in quizbowl (see his STIMPY stats v. his Nationals stats), proportionally speaking.

I'd also offer some thoughts on my other teammates, because I'll certainly have some of them on my ballot. But aside from saying that Benji and Nikhil suffer immensely from the shadow effect (keep in mind all four of us on Stanford A started out as pure generalists) I don't think I could really convince anyone based on empirical evidence that they should make the top 25. I'll just leave you all with my best piece of evidence--Stanford would have beaten Virginia by even more points had I not been playing that round.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Ike » Mon May 04, 2015 7:49 pm

I don't understand all this backlash against this poll or against taking it seriously. Like, why does it matter if someone cares about it way more than you think they should? Or why does it matter that people post after the results are out with complaints about how X or Y is underrated? It's just a thing that happens. People should take into account the enormous amount of stupid stuff that gets posted on these forums, realize that this has some merit and isn't that dumb even at any subjective level, and then let it go. I can't believe people think Eric or Aidan were seriously using threatening language. The discussion in this thread is interesting and useful, not just for the poll, but for preparing to play against players in the future.
I'm not sure if this is directed at me in particular, but I guess I'll respond to this since it doesn't feel snarky. The behavior in the thread, especially in the early parts, but even somewhat in the end, is not the behavior I see most of the time from this community. It's off-putting to say the least. If you think I'm completely alone in that, you're mistaken: Auroni had some disgust with this thread, and Matt Jackson's sarcastic statement at the very least tells me he has some amount of discomfort. I'm sure there are others who looked at it and didn't post and had the same feeling I did. As to the question "why does it matter" - well let's be honest, we all have egos and probably more benevolently, we all want to see our teammates get recognized for their hard work. That's understandable, but I think we should be having more posts along the lines of Sinan's, your's and Andrew Hart's that are more explicative and interesting to ruminate about.

Now that's out of the way - As to my view, I think Andrew Hart said it perfectly: it is perfectly okay to rank generalists higher than specialists. For example, I think it's fine to say Will Nediger, Auroni, or god forbid, Andrew Wang, is higher on the player poll than Saajid - and you can argue against it all you want. One of the reasons why I like ranking generalists higher is that I think they can easily transition to being specialists if given enough time, and that they already have shown what it takes to build and lead a team - that's another way of saying I'm willing to rank players for their points and their "sweat and glue" equity. Contra Eric's post, I don't think it's right to counterfactually consider whether you're given a team - like it makes no sense to say Saajid would play well with Marylanders minus Jordan; it makes more sense to ask would Saajid, had he spent a year playing there brought that team to the top bracket / victory? Along this line, I half-amusingly and half-seriously suggest that Chris Ray's most underrated great skill is his ability to find science players anywhere. To me, that's worth some amount of consideration.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by vinteuil » Mon May 04, 2015 8:38 pm

Ike wrote: One of the reasons why I like ranking generalists higher is that I think they can easily transition to being specialists if given enough time.
That's interesting—why not the other way around (e.g. Eric, John)?
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Mon May 04, 2015 9:19 pm

This is silly. Since college quizbowl players are adults, they can deal with civil discussions of their strengths and weaknesses in an adult manner.

I've dealt with this myself. The major debate in the 2012 player poll was over whether Eric or I deserved the #1 spot. The older people - Michael Arnold, Bruce Arthur, Eric Mukherjee - made posts in favor of Eric Mukherjee that questioned my ability to contend with specialists on their categories. On IRC, Michael specifically said that I didn't have Seth Teitler's competitive edge, and only cared about "getting lots of questions" rather than winning. I didn't really like it much, but those players questioning my ability made it much more satisfying when I broke through in 2014.

Look, among other things, quizbowl is a competition for kleos. As in any other such competition, you have to answer questions about your ability if you want to achieve recognition. If we just sat around and said "Man, I hear that guy is good at quizbowl," ad infinitum, like we have in other times, it would mean nothing.

As for the generalists/specialists debate: I tend to fill the second tier of my ballots more with specialists, since, given Andrew's criteria, I think they do more to help their teams compete at high levels than superficial generalists do. I'm not sure why Ike uses Will Nediger as a "generalist" counterexample, since Will's knowledge of specialized areas of literature could create a small singularity. I don't think "You can fill your ballots any way you want" is a good argument, either, since you can take that to all sorts of crazy extremes. However, I accept that there are reasonable counterarguments based on other players' particular experiences, and look forward to seeing the democratic outcome.

The bottom line is that in any competitive activity with honors, not every excellent player can be an "all-star." This is a feature and not a bug. The discussions of edge cases are healthy because they force us to examine what makes a player "more valuable" than another, what makes a player "better" at this game, and what our game is all about. Honors are worth striving for because not everybody can get them. Expecting players to listen to discussions of their own capabilities with equanimity is a reasonable request in return for that arrangement.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Ike » Mon May 04, 2015 9:23 pm

vinteuil wrote:
Ike wrote: One of the reasons why I like ranking generalists higher is that I think they can easily transition to being specialists if given enough time.
That's interesting—why not the other way around (e.g. Eric, John)?
The short answer is that generalists are willing to learn all aspects of a category in order to stay competitive, while many specialists seem to don't care enough to learn outside of what's interests them - see Eric's remark about Saajid's purism for example. I think it's very easy to transition from a generalism model to specialism model in terms of studying - go learn all about one topic instead of many topic. The other way around is much harder, instead of learning all about lit, you now have to learn about Platonic dialogues, American elections, linguistics - yuck! to say the least - and I think many specialists just don't want to do the dirty work it takes to bring a team to a competitive level. The best generalists either learns them so that they are competent at them, finds teammates who will learn them, or ensures that they do learn them - that, to me, really counts for being a good "player." Furthermore, what I say about "sweat and glue" equity still stands, as a specialist, you're not the one being the glue, and it's not apparently obvious that you can be the glue.

Speaking from personal experience and also to plug the Wangster, if I were still at Illinois, Andrew Wang would be my new science player, he wouldn't need any of that generalism crap if I'm there - I'm sure you all agree that Andrew is a pretty great bio and chem player. But the fact that he was able to assemble three players, two of which put up negligible ppg before this year and get them into the nats top bracket is equally, if not more impressive than being a specialist.

Of course, obviously some specialists do transition out to become great generalists - John and Eric as you said, but even Will Nediger and others who I didn't see.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Mon May 04, 2015 10:02 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote: I understand what you're saying, but I reject your premise that these buzzes aren't "diagnostic" or "demonstrative". Even as a specialist in a category, most of the time I'm buzzing "where I'm supposed to" by your definition. I just flipped through all of my biology and chemistry buzzes at ACF nationals, and many of the clues have come up recently. If you use an even more stringent criterion of "real", there's only a few that is almost completely untraceable by previous packet knowledge, meaning the clue has never come up before (CRISPR, arrhythmias, and /maybe/ carbenes if you're being generous). Hell, Max Schindler would have raced me to the first line of the Liver question based on a diagnostic test that I've used to evaluate people in real life. That's just the nature of specialization - there are so many packets written every year, and so many clues available to learn, that the metric of "where you have to buzz" becomes almost meaningless.
I suspect that you would agree that the buzzes we witness in matches have variable diagnostic value, so maybe our disagreement is just a terminological issue. At any rate, this seems like a point worth clarifying.

Stats tell a very incomplete tale, because not all buzzes are created equal. Now, I'm not talking about things like "real knowledge". If somebody who never reads a book for real gets to the point where he can beat me to most literature questions off of rote memorization, that person is effectively a better literature player. No, the questions I ask when I get beaten to a question in my categories is: "How indicative was that buzz of what I think this is player is generally capable of doing on questions in this category? And how much was this a product of nearly unrepeatable circumstance?". Naturally, I can't answer these questions for sure, but they form the frame of mind with which I approach rankings.

Not all buzzes will be equally indicative. A late buzzer-race doesn't give me any positive indications of prowess. A good buzz in a very specific sub-specialty may tell me very little about someone's general aptitude for the category (e.g. a player who generally can't buzz well on music beats me to a flute tossup off of a clue about the concerto he played in his 9th grade recital, a player who generally can't buzz well on literature beats me to a poetry tossup off of a little-known poem that they happened to be assigned in AP English, etc.). The moment you start regarding someone as a good player is when you start regarding their good buzzes as characteristic of what they do rather than as flukes.

The point that I described as the "where you're supposed to buzz" point is when the tossup has reached clues that might distinguish between "specialist" and "non-specialist", but which are no longer likely to distinguish between specialists of different depths. The tossup stops quoting from Viola's speeches and says "disguised as Sir Thopas". The tossup stops mucking about with Edward of York's troop movements and tells you that Charles d'Albret died at this battle. If I let a question in one of "my categories" go that far (or one of these clues is dropped early) and I am beaten, I'm probably not going to attach any diagnostic significance to that. That Player X beat me there tells me nothing. By virtue of considering "Player X" as someone "in play" for that tossup, I assumed that he could buzz on that clue.

Note that I'm not conflating this with whether or not it was a buzzer-race. If someone buzzer-races me on a clue that I think that few if any other players know besides us two, that will make me take notice. If I get beaten on a late clue I didn't know, this will barely register. While I generally have good coverage in my specialties, there are various answer-lines in those categories about which I know so little that a grilled cheese sandwich could beat me to a tossup on them.

My assumption is that the packet-derived early buzzes that you are talking about, Eric, are not the kind of "where you're supposed to buzz" points that I'm talking about, because it sounds like these are clues that you wouldn't be surprised to find some other science player knew (because they're available to diligent packet researchers), but would be surprised if every other science player knew (because you don't regard them as having achieved fairly canonical middle-clue status).
Tier 2 last year were people who could lead a team to the top bracket, according to you.
To be clear, I wasn't endorsing these criteria. I don't think that someone necessarily has to be a team leader to be in this year's Tier Two.

No longer addressing Eric in particular: I'm probably not going to vote this year, but when I've voted in previous player polls, the system that I tried to set up is this: After we move past Tier One, there are usually two categories of great players, those who are leading-generalist types and those who are specialist types. These are not firm binaries, of course. But it's often easier to compare apples to apples, so I group them as such.

So, for this year I might generate this list in order for the leading-generalists:

Tier-Two / Tier-Three Leaders:
Jordan Brownstein
Will Nediger
Chris Ray
Auroni Gupta
Stephen Liu
Trevor Davis
Andrew Wang
Neil Gurram

And this one for some supporting cast members:

Tier-Two Supporting Cast Members:
Tommy Casalaspi
Saajid Moyen
Max Schindler
Austin Brownlow

(I am purposely leaving myself off of these lists, so as not to make claims about myself.)

The apples-to-apples nature of comparisons within categories makes my life a little easier. My impression is that Jordan's specialties are wider than Will's (Literature and History) and nearly as deep, so I rank him ahead. Will with weaker support held his own against with Chris with stronger support at some regional tournaments this year, and Will scales up really well, so I put him ahead of Chris. I've seen Chris in situations where he had as little support as Auroni, and I think he put up a better fight, so he goes ahead of Auroni. And so on, down the line.

With the specialists, I don't have difficulty putting Tommy at the top. The second spot gives me pause. I must admit that I considered putting Max ahead of Saajid, because Max is really badly shadowed: he fights for all of his main categories (science, lit, and myth) against at least one of us, whereas Saajid seems to have most of his categories to himself. But Saajid's Nats stats are too good to be explainable by his comparative lack of shadow effect. And so on.

Now I need to interleave these two columns. The questions I start to ask are: "How would these generalists fare if they were functioning as specialists?" and "How many more points do I think these supporting cast members would get if you took away their lead scorer?". I'm going to put both Jordan and Will ahead of Tommy; I think that they could put nearly comparable specialist numbers up. The tough question for me would be whether to put Tommy in between Will and Chris or between Chris and Auroni. I'm going to put Auroni ahead of Saajid; I've seen lots of impressive buzzes from Auroni in his best categories. Do I put Saajid ahead of Stephen Liu? I think Stephen Liu is better at Visual Art than Saajid is at Auditory Art. I think Stephen is better at Myth than Saajid is at his best 1/1 of his remaining categories. I might generally ask: how's Stephen's History vs. Saajid's Literature? After more of these questions, I would have to conclude that I've seen better buzzing from Stephen from Saajid; but as I said in earlier posts, I seem not to have caught Saajid in the matches where he was showing his stuff. Regardless, Saajid is definitely going ahead of the next batch of generalists. And I continue this process.

Over the years, I've definitely made what are (in retrospect) bad misvotes, where I've underrated particular players. One of the reasons I'm emphasizing the whole "good diagnostic vs. bad diagnostic" thing is that there were people I underrated specifically because they were excellent in some sub-specialty I never got to witness, because it happened not to come up in any of the matches I played against them; or I or my teammates beat them in fluke buzzes in categories where they were generally stronger than we were. But I've found that most of these misvotes occurred when I didn't order the apples and the oranges separately and only then tried to mix them. So, I recommend this at least as an interesting intellectual exercise to try.

[EDIT: Grammar]
Last edited by ThisIsMyUsername on Mon May 04, 2015 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Muriel Axon » Mon May 04, 2015 10:21 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote:I also wish that we discussed individual categories more (ranked Top 5 for each category, for example). It would give more recognition to specialists (science players being the obvious ones, but even specialists in particular humanities categories) who might be getting shut out of the poll, because they're not Top 25 overall.
It seems like the information crunch here would be even worse, though. If I want to find out if I'm a better player than, say, Andrew Wang, I have twenty tossups per game to determine that (minus a correction for whatever our teammates do). If I want to find out if I'm a better science player than Andrew (hint: I'm not), I have at most four tossups per round to go on. And worse, if I look up the stats later, I can't tell who got how many science tossups and where, unless I write it down and look up the packet as well. This problem is, of course, even worse for trying to determine who's better between two players in the Northeast, because I don't regularly get to watch those games, nor would I if they were recorded - it's just too much effort.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by gyre and gimble » Mon May 04, 2015 10:26 pm

Muriel Axon wrote:
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:I also wish that we discussed individual categories more (ranked Top 5 for each category, for example). It would give more recognition to specialists (science players being the obvious ones, but even specialists in particular humanities categories) who might be getting shut out of the poll, because they're not Top 25 overall.
It seems like the information crunch here would be even worse, though. If I want to find out if I'm a better player than, say, Andrew Wang, I have twenty tossups per game to determine that (minus a correction for whatever our teammates do). If I want to find out if I'm a better science player than Andrew (hint: I'm not), I have at most four tossups per round to go on. And worse, if I look up the stats later, I can't tell who got how many science tossups and where, unless I write it down and look up the packet as well. This problem is, of course, even worse for trying to determine who's better between two players in the Northeast, because I don't regularly get to watch those games, nor would I if they were recorded - it's just too much effort.
I think this is a discussion worth having, but it would never lend well to an actual poll and could never really be conclusive (some things can be stated conclusively, obviously, like Eric being #1 in science). A thread about top specialists would really just consist of people posting their own opinions, but I really don't see the harm in that, as long as we recognize that what is posted doesn't hold a ton of weight.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Guile Island » Mon May 04, 2015 11:32 pm

I think John's list is quite good, but would likely add Shan Kothari, Richard Yu, and Adam Silverman into that category of "second/third tier team leader." At the very least, they would be my top choices for the next tier in said list, probably alongside Jacob and a few others.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Mewto55555 » Tue May 05, 2015 8:34 pm

As promised, here's my discussion of Chicago. I'm going to try and include as much objective data I have that isn't immediately obvious/obtainable from the stats (I've done some detailed analysis of our ACF stats, not much of ICT, so you'll have to deal with that), as well a bunch of subjective stuff I've noticed playing alongside these dudes this year. I'll do my best to present both their pluses and their minuses, and let you determine how much each of them matter.

I'll only be discussing people who played on the A team for either national: John, Chris, Max, Coates, James. Our B team has a lot of young talent who could very easily crack this poll as soon as next year, but I don't think any of them are there yet.

JOHN LAWRENCE:

Categories: Literature, Philosophy, Arts (esp. music).

To give a brief preview of my eventual ranking criteria, I believe that quizbowlers can basically be divided into three groups: generalists, specialists, and a sort of hybrid. This isn't a perfect division -- most top generalists have some categories they're way better at than others, and some specialists can buzz out of their categories on occasion, but whatever. Generally, I think it will be easiest for me to rank within these groups, and then mergesort it all together to produce my final rankings.

John Lawrence is, far and away, the top player on my hybrid list. While he's the anchor of our team, he doesn't buzz much outside of these categories -- of his 99 non-vulch buzzes at ACF Nats, only 18 were in any category besides these 4 (and 12 of those were in history alone). Anyone who has ever played John knows that when the tossup starts "this composer" things are going to get rough, but I don't think anyone realizes just how dominant he is. Our overall PPB at ACF Nats was 18.4. In lit, we had 21.5. In music we had 23.6. Against other top 8 teams at ACF Nats, we heard 10 music questions. John got 9 of them. We heard 7 British lit tossups. John got 6 (Chris got the other). John also got just below half of our visual arts tossups (Chris the other half).

This also means John doesn't really have off games (at ACF, at least...) -- aside from a 1/1 in the Maryland clusterfuck, he never dropped below 3 tossups in any match, including the finals where the rest of Chicago collectively shit the bed.

Of course, this specialization is also John's big weakness -- while he's an enormous favorite for 6 or so tossups a game, he's also an enormous underdog on everything else. Chicago did way better this year than last primarily due to adding a generalist (Chris) who has that can-get-any-tossup presence John is lacking. He got wombo'ed pretty hard at ICT, where shorter questions and NAQT flavor make him mortal in his categories -- he was our third scorer in the prelims, and went 1/0/2 each game against Penn/Virginia. He is still capable of dishing out a beatdown, as Maryland found out in our 3rd place game where he went 2/6/0, or when he went 7/1 against Stanford at ACF, but those are somewhat rare.

Ultimately, John is very very good at what he does, and not incredibly elite at what he doesn't. If John is your team's go-to generalist, you're probably not contending for a title. However, if you pair him with a solid generalist in a #2/joint-#1 role, he's very very difficult to stop. He’ll probably end up floating around the edge of my top five.

CHRIS RAY!!!!!!

Categories: History, Myth, Visual Art, can buzz on almost anything

As Andrew noted earlier, Chris is very different in his playstyle to John. Between an incredible ability to figure things out, years of learning clues by osmosis, and some really weird mnemonics, he can and does buzz on anything and everything – at ACF the only category he didn’t get any questions in was music, for obvious reasons. Even specialists are rightly terrified of him; there’s very little way to know when Chris is going to come swooping in with a second line buzz on something you’d never expect him to get. Of course, he has a healthy amount of negs (though not as many as his reputation would lead you to believe – he really tightened up his play this year), so playing alongside him can be equally as nerve-wracking.

To be honest, John and I were both a little worried about Chris prior to the nationals; his play year-round had been somewhat inconsistent. However, during ICT, he turned into a monster – aside from Virginia and Maryland Pt. I, he never dipped below 4 tossups in a game, and he scored only 10 ppg less than John and I combined. PPG is a bit misleading, since Chris takes most of our vulches (about 70% at Nats, feeding him about 5 ppg), but Chris was every bit as deadly at ACF – he almost equaled John in scoring, and like, damn. That Sunday stretch (aside from the finals), combined with John doing the same thing, was quite the performance.

Chris’ strongest category is history, pretty much of every place and era; the final game against Penn was an anomaly (and his worst performance of the year) primarily because so much of the history went dead. Eric was so afraid of him on that Silla tossup he made Penn put their buzzers down, so he could admire Chris’ Asian history brilliance. He was also our top biology player, and did very well at SS, visual art that John doesn’t know, and other things. He also has like a 15% chance of pulling a hard part in any category at any time, which is pretty useful.

Now, Chris has his flaws as well: he can be high neg, his bad games compound more than John’s do as he gets in a rut (a John stinker is often a 1/0 performance, a Chris stinker is 1/3), huge inconsistencies in what he knows (you know music is going John Lawrence’s way, in a Chris Ray category anything could happen). At the end of the day though, Chris is the sort of all-encompassing generalist John needs to play on a team with – when the tournament is on the line and you need to get tossup 20 against Matt Bollinger, he’s one of the first players I’d pick to have next to me (unless like, it was on a minor Gilbert and Sullivan work or something). Dude was phenomenal at both nationals this year; I'm very tempted to put him right above John, and certainly they'll be near each other near the top of my ballot.

John and Chris are both near the top of my humor All-Star ballot.

MAX SCHINDLER

Categories: Science, especially math, Literature, Myth, Econ, Things That Came Up in High School

I’m not really sure how to talk about myself, so I’ll do my best to keep it as objective as possible. I think this year I finally rounded the corner as a science player – I got very little science against top players last year (with a few exceptions – remember ACF Nats, Billy?!?!?), whereas this year, I was basically taking 1+ against every team but Penn (to my knowledge, the only games at nationals where I didn’t get at least one science were UVA at ICT, UCSD at ACF, and Penn game 1 at ACF). My bread and butter in high school was actually literature, and I still buzz on that – I got about half as many correct literature buzzes at ACF as science (with far fewer negs). I’m very streaky; a couple times I disappear for a game (usually a 0/1 statline, or something, this happened thrice at ACF), but once or twice a tournament I catch the fabled “Max Schindler packet” and do some damage (4/0 against UVA, 9/0 against Alberta). I'm much worse at higher difficulty than regular (alternative spin: I'm really good at regular difficulty!) -- note that at regionals and STIMPY I was about even with Chris and not far behind John. I make a bunch of atrocious negs and ill-advised buzzes, which leads John to threaten to stab me in the eye.

If I must plug myself, I think I’m dealing with one of the largest shadow effects in quizbowl. MattBo’s good, but he’s not (to my knowledge? Correct me if I’m wrong) competing with Tommy on every science tossup. Eric’s really good, but Saajid usually doesn’t have to worry about being beaten to lit/music by someone on his own side of the table (again, correct me if I’m mistaken). If you take out John, I increase my lit buzzes by 50-100%. If you take out Chris, I get almost all the bio and myth on our team. For good measure, we decided our ACF 4th was James, who buzzes frequently on, you guessed it, science (physics, my second-best science, and astro, which admittedly I’m trash at)! I’m not trying to say I’m as good as Tommy or Saajid here, but the gap between us might not be as big as the raw PPGs would suggest. Not sure where I'll end up putting myself (a gut check says that last year I was 18th, I probably leapfrogged 3-5 people in front of me on last year's poll, 3 above me retired, and I got leapfrogged by 2-3, so probably around 10th-15th). I won't complain if you rank me higher though :grin:

JAMES LASKER

Categories: Astro, Physics, Christianity
James was almost completely our backup science option. He does a decent job as this – he isn’t super well-rounded, but he’s very good at astro and physics, and can make some noise on parts of bio or chem (he and I each got about 25% of our bio, behind Chris’ 50%, while I got 50% chem to his and Chris’ 25%). He’s very good at complementing my fake as hell knowledge. He also snags some decent Christianity buzzes, but it can be hit or miss. Due to our large shadow effect, he doesn’t have a huge upside (his 2/0 against UCSD, on astro & physics, is sort of the ideal of what hope for from him), and he’s prone to disappearing (but when he does, it’s usually a 0/0 or 0/1, so not too damaging). James is a great cog in the Chicago machine, but I think there’s enough other good cogs out there that when you’re voting, he’s someone you’re deciding whether to slot in the last couple of slots on your ballot, at best. Should be a top seed at any quizbowl beer pong tournament though.

MICHAEL COATES

Categories: NAQT, Russia
Coates was a crazy good ICT 4th for us this year. After negging the first tossup of the tournament, he went to clean up geo and current events, as well as grab a few other miscellaneous buzzes, while never negging again (that’s right: this dude went 10/10/1 while playing next to me, Chris, and John). Take a look at these statlines and tell me you wouldn’t want him on your team at any NAQT tournament ever – in particular, 3/1/0 against Virginia??!?! I don’t know how people want to rate niche specialists who are only ever elite for one national tournament a year, but I think Coates is going to manage to make his way onto my ballot. Berkeley is also going to be like 5+ places higher than anyone expects at ICT next year.


Hope this insider perspective helps you figure out where to slot us. Sorry this turned out so long.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Cheynem » Mon May 11, 2015 2:30 pm

Ballots are due this week--let's say by Wednesday night.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Peter13 » Mon May 11, 2015 4:54 pm

As some have alluded to prior, this is a hard list to choose from. Aside from players like Matt Bollinger and Eric Mukherjee, a lot of this list is based on interpretation. While its somewhat subjective to say who is the best team at quizbowl, one can generally tell if a team is good enough to be the best in the top 25, with a few exceptions. I don't think this is the case with players. Is getting 60+ppg on a solo team better than getting 20+ppg as a secondary scorer on a regional power? How do we compare generalists vs specialists? How can we make sure we are not biased when it comes to our teammates or people we know well? It just seems that there is so much variance, and I lack the systematic knowledge to rank most quizbowlers in their general dominance of the sport. I wish everyone the best of luck to try and answer this predicament, but I for one cannot.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Mewto55555 » Tue May 12, 2015 4:44 pm

As promised, here is the construction of my ballot. I'm going to do it as I type out this post, so you can follow my EXACT THOUGHT PROCESS!

Here is the set of people mentioned in the thread so far, that I'm going to take my top 25 from. I'm assuming that if someone hasn't been mentioned yet, they're not a top 25 player: http://pastie.org/10185236

This is 78 people (with some repeats, whatever). I roughly divided them into 4 tiers (definitely in, probably in, possibly in consideration, not in), pretty arbitrarily, being more generous with inclusion into the possible in tier. These tiers are not definite -- I'm going to see how many people are in the top two tiers and work from there.

First tier: MattBo, Eric, Will, JL, Stephen Liu, Chris Ray, Tommy, Adam Silverman, Jordan, Evan, Neil, Richard, Max, Saajid, Auroni, Austin Brownlow, Trevor, Sinan
Second tier: Dylan, Yogesh, Shan, Andrew, Dan Puma, Chris Chiego, Patrick Liao, Natan, Jordan Palmer, Derek So, Sean Smiley, Jacob Reed, Brian McPeak, Nikhil, Benji, Siddhant, Stephen Eltinge, Nathan Weiser, James Bradbury, Rafael, Ben Zhang, Coates, Grace, Isaac KD, Charles Hang, Will HM

As I was doing this, I realized the distinction between second and third tier was getting pretty arbitrary, but third/fourth was not, so I merged them.

This gave me 45ish people, of whom 18 are in the top list. I did a brief glance at the stats of everyone on the top list -- there's no one I feel comfortable demoting, except possibly Evan. However, I'm assuming his position on the last list was based on his ability to be a strong niche player next to MattBo, while this year he's having to be a decent-but-not-great generalist (for context, his performance with a similar quality of teammates is generally inferior to Dylan Minarik). How people rate Evan this year will be an interesting question -- I'm keeping him in my top chunk since it seems improbable he's gotten worse since last year.

Now I have to figure out which people in the second tier to consider. Dylan's a really good generalist, he's in. Yogesh put in really gaudy numbers...in the bottom bracket of ICT. Shan's in, Andrew's in. Dan Puma and Brian McPeak did roughly equally well, I'm going to take both of them. I'm bringing in the Stanford/Penn/Chicago 3rd/4th (Benji, Nikhil, Coates, ChrisC, Patrick), the latter three based much more on strong ICT performances. Jordan and Derek aren't even powering as much as those three at ICT despite way weaker teammates, and their generalism wasn't enough to take their teams very far (my rule: if you're the main player on your team, I care much more about your final performance than your individual numbers -- this is why Dylan's in) they're out. Jacob Reed's looking a lot like Richard Yu (slightly best player on team at ICT, very much best at ACF, near top of 2nd bracket), so he's in. I'm also taking Rafael and BenZ and StephenE.

That gives me: MattBo, Eric, Will, JL, Stephen Liu, Chris Ray, Tommy, Adam Silverman, Jordan, Evan, Neil, Richard, Max, Saajid, Auroni, Austin Brownlow, Trevor, Sinan, Dylan, Shan, Andrew, Dan, Brian, Benji, Nikhil, Coates, ChrisC, Patrick, Jacob, Rafael, BenZ, StephenE. 32 total, which seems like a good place at which to start ordering.

I realized as I was trying to do it, my generalist/specialist/hybrid division really breaks down. Since I'm a good frame of reference, I sub-divided everyone else into tiers based on where they are relative to me. I might be massively overcorrecting for shadow effect on me, but whatever. It's a good first-order approximation.

Above: MattBo, Eric, Will, JL, Stephen, Chris, Tommy, Jordan, Saajid, Auroni
Equal: Neil, Richard, Max, Austin, Adam
Worse: Evan, Trevor, Sinan, Dylan, Shan, Andrew, Dan, Brian, Benji, Nikhil, Coates, ChrisC, Patrick, Jacob, Rafael, Ben, Stephen

A few comments: I think one of the reasons I'm a decent frame of reference is I'm normally a specialist, but I can play (nearly) solo like a generalist (e.g. at MUT this past weekend). This means I can compare myself with pretty-good-but-not-great generalists (like Dylan, as opposed to Auroni), as well as reasonably elite specialists. Where possible, I tried to compare apples to apples (am I comparable to this dude as a generalist? If so, who has the edge, and how would things change if we were thrust into specialist roles, without too much time to adjust? Are we, as in Brian's case, roughly comparable in science? Then I'll give me the edge because of generalism. Saajid/Tommy on the other hand are roughly as dominant in their specialties, while also having other specialties they are very good at).

At the top, I've got Matt #1, Eric #2. I'm really torn between Chris, Jordan, JL for #3-5 -- Chris/JL had a huge shadow effect, but Jordan had 41!!! powers at ICT, many of them in playoffs. So I'm putting him #3, Chris #4, John #5 (Chris' far superior performance at ICT is slightly better than John's decently better ACF + being better all year at regular difficulty). To order the rest (Auroni + Saajid + Tommy + Stephen + Will) -- I've got Auroni over Will (Auroni did almost as well team-wise with much weaker teammates) over Stephen among the more generalists of the three, Tommy over Saajid (despite Virginia's performance at ACF, Tommy actually did very well there -- look at that 7/0 on Maryland!), and I'll weave them together as Auroni, Tommy, Saajid, Will, Stephen (with my bias towards specialists apparent in the weaving process).

I've got the next tier as Max, Austin, Neil, Adam, Richard (preferring specialists on top teams to generalists on slightly weaker teams, and me to Austin both on my bias towards myself and the large shadow effect. This is probably a decision you could have qualms about).

Among the rest, we have some team leaders (Evan, Trevor, Sinan, Dylan, Shan, Andrew, Jacob), and supporting cast (Dan, Brian, Benji, Nikhil,Coates, ChrisC, Patrick, Stephen, Rafael, Ben) -- Columbia are lumped like that because of how relatively balanced they are.

I rank the generalists: Andrew, Dylan, Shan, Trevor, Sinan, Jacob, Evan. This is somewhat apparent looking at the stats.

Among supporting cast, as I've mentioned, my big test of how good support you are is how you play in the games that count. In the real crunch time games, Brian outplayed Dan, Nikhil slightly outplayed Benji (primarily at ICT), Chris>Coates>Patrick at ICT, but all are hurt by being way weaker at ACF, Stephen, Rafael, and Ben all contributed decently but not hugely on pretty good but not great teams. My ordering is Brian, Nikhil, Benji, Dan, Rafael, Chris, Coates, Patrick, Stephen, Ben.

And now here's how I weave it: Andrew, Dylan, Brian, Shan, Nikhil, Benji, Dan, Trevor, Sinan, Jacob, Rafael, Evan, Chris, Coates, Patrick, Stephen, Ben.

Giving my ballot as:

1. Matt Bollinger
2. Eric Mukherjee
3. Jordan Brownstein
4. CHRIS RAY
5. John Lawrence
6. Auroni Gupta
7. Tommy Casalaspi
8. Saajid Moyen
9. Will Nediger
10. Stephen Liu
11. Max Schindler
12. Austin Brownlow
13. Neil Gurram
14. Adam Silverman
15. Richard Yu
16. Andrew Wang
17. Dylan Minarik
18. Brian McPeak
19. Shan Kothari
20. Nikhil Desai
21. Benji Nguyen
22. Dan Puma
23. Trevor Davis
24. Sinan Ulusoy
25. Jacob Reed

Almost: Rafael K, Evan Adams, Chris Chiego, Michael Coates, Patrick Liao, Stephen Eltinge, Ben Zhang


I'd appreciate any commentary, preferably about what I did wrong, or questions about why I made the choices I did. This is a rough draft of my ballot -- I can be persuaded to change it, especially if people present well-reasoned arguments with some data or useful observations to back them up. Also I'd especially like to know if I accidentally forgot someone in the mess.

EDIT: A note: I put huuuuuge priority on the two nationals, and mostly ignored regular season + Oppen results. Sorry.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue May 12, 2015 5:35 pm

I'm just going to say that's an insane under-ranking of Jacob Reed - if you take a look at his regular-season results, he regularly outperformed Neil (the only other comparable generalist in the Northeast) at regular tournaments and put on a ridiculous performance at George Oppen, almost as insane as his ICT results were bad. The team he led out-PPBd both WUSTL and Illinois by a substantial amount at both Nationals (though you probably shouldn't consider Illinois' ICT results except for ranking Andrew). Jacob is easily peer with Neil, Adam, Richard, and Andrew, and has a super deep specialty (music) that the others don't really have anything comparable to.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by vinteuil » Wed May 13, 2015 12:56 am

This post still has quite a bit of life left in it, I think.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by ryanrosenberg » Wed May 13, 2015 2:36 am

vinteuil wrote:This post still has quite a bit of life left in it, I think.
Spoiler alert: my ballot features Mike Cheyne ahead of both Tommy and Saajid.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Muriel Axon » Wed May 13, 2015 9:06 am

In the spirit of the Cooley Law School rankings, my ballot is just:

1. Matt Bollinger
2. Shan Kothari
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Nabonidus » Wed May 13, 2015 10:14 am

Mewto55555 wrote:Jordan and Derek aren't even powering as much as those three at ICT despite way weaker teammates, and their generalism wasn't enough to take their teams very far
If you're looking at overall stats, these measures are highly correlated: there's a reason I went from scoring 38% powers before rebracketing to 7% powers afterwards, and it's that there's no incentive to buzz early in the bottom bracket.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Mewto55555 » Wed May 13, 2015 12:13 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:I'm just going to say that's an insane under-ranking of Jacob Reed - if you take a look at his regular-season results, he regularly outperformed Neil (the only other comparable generalist in the Northeast) at regular tournaments and put on a ridiculous performance at George Oppen,
This seems inaccurate -- glancing at a couple of stats, Neil way outplayed him at SCT, they had somewhat comparable stats at Regs (greatly complicated by the number of bad teams in the data), and put up slightly better individual numbers at Penn Bowl, but Neil was shadowed waaaay harder. Power count is deceptive -- shadow effect hits you there too (maybe even more than normal, since if someone's going to snag a question in your good category, it's going to be early), and while 18 powers on Oppen is impressive, keep in mind that came with very little support (Grace Liu was only there for four games it seems). He did have a good performance against you -- he went 3/4/1 against you in your game at Oppen, his most powers of the tournament, maybe this is slightly inflating your perception of his dominance relative to Neil?

I don't want to dismiss him at Oppen, but I'm personally putting little weight on Oppen stats in general (as evidenced by Chris Ray in my top four, for example). I think most other voters are implicitly doing the same (look how many top four votes Stanford got in the team poll, despite being the winningest team at Oppen). Also, that site was waaaaay weaker than the main one, so its difficult to compare -- its really easy to rack up 1 or 2 powers a game against bad teams even at hard tournaments, but that's not so easy when 75% of your site would not be out of place in the top half of the top bracket at ACF Nats.
almost as insane as his ICT results were bad. The team he led out-PPBd both WUSTL and Illinois by a substantial amount at both Nationals (though you probably shouldn't consider Illinois' ICT results except for ranking Andrew). Jacob is easily peer with Neil, Adam, Richard, and Andrew, and has a super deep specialty (music) that the others don't really have anything comparable to.
PPB is a really noisy statistic for individual players (to be fair, so is Winning Games to Make the Top Bracket). At ICT, their PPB was really good...but Jacob was barely the best player on the team. At ACF they did very well, relatively speaking, but Jacob's still getting a lot more support than Richard and Andrew, and finishing lower than them consistently. I don't think the stats bear out the claim that he's on the same level as Neil or Adam at all, and I think Richard and Andrew are still noticeably better than him.

Where would you advocate I rank Jacob Reed?
Nabonidus wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:Jordan and Derek aren't even powering as much as those three at ICT despite way weaker teammates, and their generalism wasn't enough to take their teams very far
If you're looking at overall stats, these measures are highly correlated: there's a reason I went from scoring 38% powers before rebracketing to 7% powers afterwards, and it's that there's no incentive to buzz early in the bottom bracket.
Your absolute number of powers is low. Your power percentage is high in prelims because your absolute number of tens is also low. The incentive to buzz early is to get tossups and win games, which McGill seems to have had a decent amount of trouble doing, going 3-3 in the bottom bracket playoffs.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Wed May 13, 2015 12:24 pm

My main assessment of Jacob's performance relative to Neil (I still ranked Neil ahead of Jacob, since I think Neil generally scales better breadth-wise) is not only having played each of them, but watching them go head-to-head in the finals, where they were pretty evenly matched as individual players.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Wed May 13, 2015 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Mewto55555 » Wed May 13, 2015 12:30 pm

vinteuil wrote:This post still has quite a bit of life left in it, I think.
Your link is screwed up slightly, you want this one.

I don't think that all of these are fallacies -- obviously #2 and #5 are problematic. #4 is also important to keep in mind, but sometimes the differences between the teams is so noticeable you can't just wave it away by wondering about a few buzzer races.

#1 seems like a good thing to me -- the two national tournaments are the two best data points we have. The stakes are high, the questions are hard, everyone's playing with their full team, they're at the end of the season so everyone's done improving, etc. The only regular season tournament of the proper difficulty was Oppen, but its so hard to extract meaningful data from that (team performance was waaaay different than at nationals -- note how similar the ICT/ACF ordering of teams was vs. the Oppen ordering, the battlefield was really muddy both due to the nature of the questions and the presence of so many open teams, one site was balls-hard competition, the others pretty easy, etc). I could even make an argument from regular tournament statistics that I'm almost as good as Chris Ray, which is patently false! Why should I care how well someone does beating up the bad teams in their local circuit? The only real data I get is the round robin between the three good teams there.

#3 is a mixed bag. In the same vein as regular tournaments, a lot of the numbers that come out of facing lower bracket teams at ACF nationals amounts to clubbing baby seals. Raw numbers alone are prone to problems. For example, I went 9/0 against Alberta and 2/2 against Minnesota in prelims. Had Alberta won their tiebreaker to make top bracket, I would have had over 20 ppg in the top bracket instead of 13. That said, I think playoff stats are a better proxy for performance than prelim stats -- when I'm comparing Jacob Reed to Neil Gurram, who gives a fuck that Neil went 8/0 against Notre Dame B while Jacob went 5/2? I don't see why Neil's PPG would go down more noticeably than Jacob's in top bracket situations, but I dunno for sure, since only one of them was able to lead their team there at either tournament.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Ike » Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 pm

Yeah, I want to make the case against #1, #3 and #4 a bit more.

#1 - doesn't seem like a real big deal to me. In fact, the truth of the matter is that as time passes, no one really remembers the regular season - all that's discussed is the nationals tournaments because those are the tournaments that matter. National tournaments are great: You're playing for your legacy, the title, and you are put to the test in so many games, so many situations - and at insane moments you have to put it all on the line. Great players know how to deal with every type of question and situation. I mean look at the awesome Helga Testorf buzz on the last question of the ICT - I don't think Matt Bollinger was 100% confident of the answer on the page and he just decided "screw it, it's time to put the tournament and the title on the line and go with my gut" - and having that sense and being able to act on it (and being right!), is what makes him a great player. You don't test that grace under pressure at these measly regular season tournaments!

#3 - is pretty funny because Ted specifically takes potshots at me, because one of the "weak humanities" teams I allegedly racked up massive points was Harvard every year, who could never beat Illinois at any Nationals during my tenure there. In my opinion, the great players know how to adjust their gameplay to the situation - so why would I ever neg my teammate Eric out of a science question in a pre-Tommy, pre-Billy era? Therefore, I'm going to become more conservative and not neg as much and my statline takes a hit. I actually think argument #3 works against Jacob Reed - from listening to Mike Bentley's recordings of him playing in the second bracket, I think 25 is a bit low I'd move him up AT LEAST - 5 or 6 places.

#4 - is pretty much downright stupid. I'll start by saying that buzzer races don't happen as much as Ted makes them out to be - often times people are "sitting" on answers and that's why they win "buzzer races." Now, Ted has many virtues, but being able to sift through answers in a Yaphe style of fashion is not one of them - no wonder he thinks he's always losing buzzer races! Furthermore, in that game Ted references against Illinois - there were a lot of mistakes he made - negging Strange Meeting against me by saying Dulce et Decorum Est, not knowing what a euphonium was, etc. So while there may have been one "buzzer race" (in the loose sense of the term) - his poor play imho caused him to lose matches, and thus that's what makes him a poorer player and he gets underranked. The short answer is, while knowing things is important, winning games and matches is ultimately very important - if quizbowl were a game about knowing things, I think I would win every time - I mean, I know more than everyone else right? :)

What's doubly ironic, is that cases #2 and #5 go away if you adopt cases #1,3,4 - you have no regional bias at Nationals, and you can spectate and watch so many games at Nationals - and even if you can't - we now live in an age where we record so many games - I'll try to bring recording equipment to my nationals games for next year as well to add to the treasure trove of awesome matches.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed May 13, 2015 1:57 pm

Ike Jose sure seems to know what is going on inside of people's heads merely from his observations of their external behavior. Perhaps instead of telling him to stop posting and start editing tournaments, we should be telling him to stop posting and start solving big problems in mind science and psychology.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Wed May 13, 2015 3:58 pm

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:Ike Jose sure seems to know what is going on inside of people's heads merely from his observations of their external behavior. Perhaps instead of telling him to stop posting and start editing tournaments, we should be telling him to stop posting and start solving big problems in mind science and psychology.
If anyone blares what goes on inside his head right here in massive self-serving forum posts, it's Ted. If that solves major problems in mind science, more power to Ike, but I don't think you need superhuman neuroscientific insight to discern the subtleties of what goes on in Ted's mind.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Nabonidus » Wed May 13, 2015 4:48 pm

Mewto55555 wrote:
Nabonidus wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:Jordan and Derek aren't even powering as much as those three at ICT despite way weaker teammates, and their generalism wasn't enough to take their teams very far
If you're looking at overall stats, these measures are highly correlated: there's a reason I went from scoring 38% powers before rebracketing to 7% powers afterwards, and it's that there's no incentive to buzz early in the bottom bracket.
Your absolute number of powers is low. Your power percentage is high in prelims because your absolute number of tens is also low. The incentive to buzz early is to get tossups and win games, which McGill seems to have had a decent amount of trouble doing, going 3-3 in the bottom bracket playoffs.
I'm the first to admit that McGill didn't have the knowledge or the preparation to do well at that level of competition and that we did miserably in both the prelims and in the rebracketed games. But - and I don't know whether you've ever been in our position - we entered the bottom bracket having failed to meet our only objective and with no reason to think anyone cared about how many points we got from then on or whether we came 25th or 26th or 27th out of 32. We went on to do slovenly, reprehensible stuff like miss bonus parts by chatting while the clues were being read and deciding on answers without then directing them to the moderator. Would I have been more aggressive and less lackadaisical if I thought "absolute number of powers across the entire tournament" was an actual statistic that people might use to judge McGill? It's impossible to say retroactively, but it is kind of frustrating to have someone say "well, you scored twice as many powers as these guys during the prelims, which is typically how these things are measured, but that's a less relevant statistic than this one you didn't even think was considered relevant to quiz bowl".
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Wed May 13, 2015 4:56 pm

Nabonidus wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:
Nabonidus wrote:
Mewto55555 wrote:Jordan and Derek aren't even powering as much as those three at ICT despite way weaker teammates, and their generalism wasn't enough to take their teams very far
If you're looking at overall stats, these measures are highly correlated: there's a reason I went from scoring 38% powers before rebracketing to 7% powers afterwards, and it's that there's no incentive to buzz early in the bottom bracket.
Your absolute number of powers is low. Your power percentage is high in prelims because your absolute number of tens is also low. The incentive to buzz early is to get tossups and win games, which McGill seems to have had a decent amount of trouble doing, going 3-3 in the bottom bracket playoffs.
I'm the first to admit that McGill didn't have the knowledge or the preparation to do well at that level of competition and that we did miserably in both the prelims and in the rebracketed games. But - and I don't know whether you've ever been in our position - we entered the bottom bracket having failed to meet our only objective and with no reason to think anyone cared about how many points we got from then on or whether we came 25th or 26th or 27th out of 32. We went on to do slovenly, reprehensible stuff like miss bonus parts by chatting while the clues were being read and deciding on answers without then directing them to the moderator. Would I have been more aggressive and less lackadaisical if I thought "absolute number of powers across the entire tournament" was an actual statistic that people might use to judge McGill? It's impossible to say retroactively, but it is kind of frustrating to have someone say "well, you scored twice as many powers as these guys during the prelims, which is typically how these things are measured, but that's a less relevant statistic than this one you didn't even think was considered relevant to quiz bowl".
good point, this will certainly put you higher on my player poll
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Nabonidus » Wed May 13, 2015 5:13 pm

Black Miao wrote:good point, this will certainly put you higher on my player poll
Ha. If I'm on the the top 25 list I will literally eat my shoe.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Muriel Axon » Wed May 13, 2015 5:17 pm

I thought Jacob was going for this post, which would have been appropriate.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Mewto55555 » Wed May 13, 2015 5:31 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:My main assessment of Jacob's performance relative to Neil (I still ranked Neil ahead of Jacob, since I think Neil generally scales better breadth-wise) is not only having played each of them, but watching them go head-to-head in the finals, where they were pretty evenly matched as individual players.
That's what, five or so games, with some very specific matchups in play (what categories exactly does Jacob do super-well, besides music? Does your team or MIT have someone who really fights him there, or was Yale's game with MIT just Neil and Jacob each grabbing things in separate categories? etc)? These are the sort of in-game observations that could be useful to people trying to rank people, but I'm not going to just blindly trust your judgement -- your perception of which of them did better or who was more dominant in their categories can be totally skewed by the passage of time, one random good buzz in the game they happened to play you, etc. These sorts of gut evaluations of player skill are far less useful than "I've played them both. Jacob knows categories X, Y, and Z real good. Neil knows A, B, and X, and his knowledge of A is better than Jacob's of Y, but Jacob is way better at X" or something.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by grapesmoker » Wed May 13, 2015 5:32 pm

Muriel Axon wrote:I thought Jacob was going for this post, which would have been appropriate.
look how right i was
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Cheynem » Wed May 13, 2015 5:34 pm

Max, are you going to send a revised ballot or should I count your ballot above as official?
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Mewto55555 » Wed May 13, 2015 5:35 pm

Cheynem wrote:Max, are you going to send a revised ballot or should I count your ballot above as official?
I'll send in a revised ballot before the deadline.

EDIT: This is done. After talking with some folks, I ended up bumping Jacob right behind Shan. The rest of my ballot remained the same.
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Re: Player Poll 2015: LET US NOW PRAISE FAMOUS DUFUSES

Post by Cheynem » Wed May 13, 2015 6:48 pm

RESULTS
Voters: The Alston Imperative, Andrew the Hart, Shan I Kothari, Stephen Lou, Saajeezy Moyen, Genocide's #1 Fan, Puma Man, Tejas Raje Against the Machine, Maxwell Schindler, The Animal Sinan Ulusoy, and Yu's on First

1. Matt Bollinger, UVA (274, 10 1st place votes, highest #1,lowest #2, same as last year)
2. Eric Mukherjee, Penn (265, 1 1st place vote, highest #1, lowest #2, same)
3. Jordan Brownstein, Maryland (250, highest #3, lowest #5, +10)
4. John Lawrence, Chicago (226, highest #4, lowest #7, +2)
5. Will Nediger, Michigan (223, highest #3, lowest #9, -1)
6. Auroni Gupta, UCSD (222, highest #4, lowest #9, not ranked)
7. Tommy Casalaspi, UVA (211, highest #4, lowest #11, +4)
8. Chris Ray, Chicago (203, highest #4, lowest #11, +2)
9. Saajid Moyen, Penn (194, highest #5, lowest #12, +12)
10. Stephen Liu, Stanford (179, highest #8, lowest #13, -2)
11. Neil Gurram, MIT (161, highest #10, lowest #13, +4)
12. Adam Silverman, Georgia Tech (145, highest #9, lowest #16, same)
13. Max Schindler, Chicago (119, highest #11, lowest #20, +5)
14. Andrew Wang, Illinois (112, highest #13, lowest #21, not ranked)
15. TIE--Shan Kothari, Minnesota, and Richard Yu, WUSTL (110, Shan's highest #12, Richard's highest #13, both lowest #22, Shan wasn't ranked, Richard +2)
17. Austin Brownlow, Stanford (109, highest #11, lowest: not on ballot, not ranked)
18. TIE--Trevor Davis, Alberta, and Jacob Reed, Yale (75, Trevor's highest #13, lowest: not on ballot; Jacob's highest #14, lowest #24, Trevor -2, Jacob wasn't ranked)
20. Brian McPeak, Maryland (60, highest #15, lowest: not on ballot, not ranked)
21. Dylan Minarik, Northwestern (50, highest #17, lowest: not on ballot, not ranked)
22. Sinan Ulusoy, Alberta (49, highest #17, lowest: not on ballot, -1)
23. Evan Adams, NYU (39, highest #15, lowest: not on ballot, -9)
24. Rafael Krichevsky, Columbia (28, highest #19, lowest: not on ballot, not ranked)
25. Dan Puma, Maryland (20, highest #20, lowest: not on ballot, not ranked)

Also Receiving Votes: Benji Nguyen (13), Nikhil Desai (9), Will Holub-Moorman (9), Will Alston (7), Ewan MacAuley (7), Derek So (5), Siddhant Dogra (5), Natan Holtzman (4), Patrick Liao (4), Grace Liu (1), Chris Manners (1), and Nathan Weiser (1).

Thanks for voting.
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