NAQT timing policy

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Matt Weiner
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NAQT timing policy

Post by Matt Weiner »

Accepting as a premise that the clock is here to stay, here are some suggestions for making sure games don't end after 13 tossups:

1) There should be a rule requiring that all games go through tossup 18 regardless of when the clock goes off.

2) NAQT should send moderator instructions with its packet sets that tell people not to make comments between questions, not to stare at the packet for several seconds for no apparent reason, and not to allow more time than the rules dictate for teams to answer.

3) Given that they make it harder for moderators to find the actual words to read and never seem to provide their ostensible benefit, the intrusive, difficult-to-decipher, and frequently incorrect pronunciation guides should be dropped from the questions.

There are some things, like tripping over foreign or sciencey words, that are unavoidable when you have inexperienced people reading, and I understand that and realize that people are volunteering their time and shouldn't be criticized for those things if it's not a hugely important game. But there are other issues that can be dealt with via a long-overdue rules change, or simply telling people firmly to stop doing certain things.

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Re: NAQT timing policy

Post by NoahMinkCHS »

Matt Weiner wrote:Accepting as a premise that the clock is here to stay, here are some suggestions for making sure games don't end after 13 tossups:

1) There should be a rule requiring that all games go through tossup 18 regardless of when the clock goes off.
That seems reasonable to me, even as a fan of timed matches in general. Did a match really end after only 13 tossups? I cannot imagine how many terrible things had to have happened for that to happen. My condolences to whoever had to deal with that.

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Re: NAQT timing policy

Post by vandyhawk »

NoahMinkCHS wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:Accepting as a premise that the clock is here to stay, here are some suggestions for making sure games don't end after 13 tossups:

1) There should be a rule requiring that all games go through tossup 18 regardless of when the clock goes off.
That seems reasonable to me, even as a fan of timed matches in general. Did a match really end after only 13 tossups? I cannot imagine how many terrible things had to have happened for that to happen. My condolences to whoever had to deal with that.
Matt is talking about Va Tech, but our DII guys said they had a game only get through 12 questions, which assuming they're correct, is just awful.

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Post by Matt Weiner »

I'm not trying to call anyone out; this has been a problem that has been noted to some extent after every collegiate NAQT tournament. There was one rocky game at VT but the other 99% of matches there went very well, so this should be taken as a general reflection and not a commentary on what was on the whole a very well-run VT event.

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Post by Susan »

Matt wrote:3) Given that they make it harder for moderators to find the actual words to read and never seem to provide their ostensible benefit, the intrusive, difficult-to-decipher, and frequently incorrect pronunciation guides should be dropped from the questions.
I definitely support this. The pronunciation guides tripped me up much more often than they helped me, and some of the ones for words in languages I know seemed a bit iffy. If they must be included, I'd rather have all of the pronunciation guides for the question printed above the question (as was done for the Michigan MLK at one point) than have them interspersed in the question.

Also, twenty-four questions is awfully short for D2. I guess I agree with CBI's principle (!) that, if you're going to have a clock, you should be reading questions until the timer goes off. A reasonably speedy moderator is likely to finish a 24-question packet in a D2 match in less than 18 minutes. I'd like it if the D2 packets had twenty-six questions like D1.

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Post by grapesmoker »

This strikes me as being more of a problem of inefficient moderating than one of NAQT's policies. When moderating a timed match, you have to be aware of that factor and run the match accordingly.
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Post by Strongside »

I am not a huge fan of timed rounds, but I did not mind them as much as I thought I would.

One thing that might be better to see a timer where the moderator and the teams can see the clock at the same time.

Time rounds can lead to gamesmanship, strategy, and some dirty tricks. The one thing I don't like is that if time runs out on a tossup, it goes dead. That just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If time runs out on a bonus the team gets to continue hearing the bonus.
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Post by dtaylor4 »

bjb87 wrote:Time rounds can lead to gamesmanship, strategy, and some dirty tricks. The one thing I don't like is that if time runs out on a tossup, it goes dead. That just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If time runs out on a bonus the team gets to continue hearing the bonus.
What's wrong with strategy? It's part of the game. I don't like it either, but I recognize that it's there. One thing that could be done to get rid of it is make "invisible clock rules" the norm. Under invisible clock rules, the timer does not kill the tossup. This would get rid of any "gamesmanship."

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Post by Mike Bentley »

DaGeneral wrote:
bjb87 wrote:Time rounds can lead to gamesmanship, strategy, and some dirty tricks. The one thing I don't like is that if time runs out on a tossup, it goes dead. That just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If time runs out on a bonus the team gets to continue hearing the bonus.
What's wrong with strategy? It's part of the game. I don't like it either, but I recognize that it's there. One thing that could be done to get rid of it is make "invisible clock rules" the norm. Under invisible clock rules, the timer does not kill the tossup. This would get rid of any "gamesmanship."
This was done in one of the rooms at the Pitt mirror and worked very well.

With this policy as the norm, matches would still go fast, and you would still have incentives to rush or slow down I guess (to keep at least some the "gamesmanship" in timed rounds), but there would be less matches coming down to wild guesses or annoying time-wasting neg fives at the end of rounds.
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Post by grapesmoker »

DaGeneral wrote:
bjb87 wrote:Time rounds can lead to gamesmanship, strategy, and some dirty tricks. The one thing I don't like is that if time runs out on a tossup, it goes dead. That just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If time runs out on a bonus the team gets to continue hearing the bonus.
What's wrong with strategy? It's part of the game. I don't like it either, but I recognize that it's there. One thing that could be done to get rid of it is make "invisible clock rules" the norm. Under invisible clock rules, the timer does not kill the tossup. This would get rid of any "gamesmanship."
I think you're missing the point that the more rules there are, the more ways there are to exploit them. The question that needs to be asked is whether having a clock is an integral part of the game, or something tacked on to make rounds seem "exciting." My answer is that the clock is an unnecessary hindrance, but NAQT loves the clock so we're pretty much stuck with it.
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Post by Aaron Kashtan »

How would "invisible clock rules" be enforced? Are the players forbidden to look at their own watches or cell phones? What if there's a wall clock in the room?

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Post by Important Bird Area »

That's NAQT rule F.5, specifying that the tossup be completed if the official clock is not visible to both teams. It's not some bizarre scenario banning the players from using their own clocks.
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Post by swwFCqb »

bt_green_warbler wrote:That's NAQT rule F.5, specifying that the tossup be completed if the official clock is not visible to both teams. It's not some bizarre scenario banning the players from using their own clocks.
I could definately see a scenario of some team up by 10 points buzzing in with 4-5 seconds left to kill the match, then the losing team claim that they couldn't see the clock in order to get the whole toss-up read. Of course this could be avoided if the moderator asked about the clock's visibility beforehand.
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Post by Important Bird Area »

It has to be announced by the moderator before the match starts. You can't claim it retroactively.
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Post by swwFCqb »

I figured that it should be, I could just see a problem on the off chance that the mod forgot.
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Post by Interrupt »

I'll throw another suggestion in for the sake of moderators who aren't so experienced in the NAQT format. This is most likely probably common sense as well (as "not making extraneous remarks" should be), but... it's worked before, I'll just say.

Separate toss-ups and bonuses before starting the game. The two to three seconds you save by not flipping pages every time you go from one to the other can very easily add up to an additional tossup/bonus cycle you can fit in.

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Post by NoahMinkCHS »

Interrupt wrote:Separate toss-ups and bonuses before starting the game. The two to three seconds you save by not flipping pages every time you go from one to the other can very easily add up to an additional tossup/bonus cycle you can fit in.
Absolutely. And this works even in untimed matches, only instead of giving you more questions, it gets you home sooner. And laptop tournaments? Open two copies of the packet and switch between.

Should be common sense, but it never hurts to remind your readers.

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Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Or, with packets in .doc format, open them in Word and split-screen it. Takes even less time during the match.
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Post by Captain Sinico »

bt_green_warbler wrote:It has to be announced by the moderator before the match starts. You can't claim it retroactively.
Yeah, you hear that, Bruce Arthur? Taste it.

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Post by Paul150 »

I would also like to add in that TD's should make sure they have readers read at practice to ensure they don't constantly mispronounce common words or have a tendency to lapse into a fake British accent while reading quickly, as it can get extremely distracting. Also, ensuring you don't have a reader who fights with his scorekeeper and delays the round during a timed match is something I'd like to see (This isn't to detract from the Alabama TD, who ran a great tournament, but there was one reader with whom I took an issue after being in his room twice).
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Post by geekjohnson »

I have a good idea of who you are referring to. Lord knows, you now have met...Jonathan Thompson.

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