Post-2008 SCT General NAQT Discussion

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Post-2008 SCT General NAQT Discussion

Post by rhentzel »

This topic is intended to cover questions for/about NAQT that transcend the 2008 SCT in terms of their scope. Examples might include NAQT's distribution, question length, its overall philosophy, and so on. The timing of games would also be included, but that has already been given a separate thread.

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Post by DumbJaques »

Well, this isn't going to be the main NAQT discussion post, but I think that the decision to host sectionals at both VA Tech and Pitt was a pretty terrible idea. It amazingly diluted the field at both events and forced everyone into the always-fun double-triple round (fucking quadruple!!??!1) round robin. It also seemed really unnecessary, as I think most teams who attended were more or less equidistant from both places and probably everyone would have benefited from a more central location for the mid-atlantic (with the few not benefiting also being equidistant from somewhere like Chicago). So yeah, pretty much not a great idea.

Added hilarity to the fact that the "east" sectional was further west than the "mideast" sectional. . .
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Post by rhentzel »

DumbJaques wrote:Well, this isn't going to be the main NAQT discussion post, but I think that the decision to host sectionals at both VA Tech and Pitt was a pretty terrible idea.
NAQT is under no illusion that its choice of Sectional sites this year was optimal from a geographic point of view; we are very glad that Pitt and Virginia Tech were both able to host, but, in an ideal world, they would have done so in different years. We're sorry that some teams were inconvenienced by this.

NAQT would like to have a greater set of choices when choosing hosts; we encourage schools to start thinking about whether they would like to host Sectional Championship Tournaments in 2009. If you have any questions, about the process, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

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Post by rhentzel »

rhentzel wrote:NAQT would like to have a greater set of choices when choosing hosts; we encourage schools to start thinking about whether they would like to host Sectional Championship Tournaments in 2009. If you have any questions, about the process, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].
This brings up a question that NAQT has for the circuit's active teams:

What can we do to increase the number of schools that are bidding to host Sectionals?

If your program has considered hosting but chosen not to--and there is a readily identifiable reason that you didn't--can you let us know? There are some things we can't (or possibly won't) change, but we might also be ignorant of obstacles or philosophical objections that schools have to hosting that could be easily changed.

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Post by cvdwightw »

This is a response to the thread going on in the other topic, but I felt it would be more appropriate here.
qbwiki wrote:If this is translated proportionately to the 26 tossups and bonuses in a regulation NAQT collegiate packet, it comes out to:

* 4.86/4.86 Science
* 4.84/4.84 History
* 4.81/4.81 Literature/Mythology
* 2.03/2.03 Fine Arts
* 1.98/1.98 Popular Culture
* 1.64/1.64 Current Events
* 1.64/1.64 Geography
* 1.46/1.46 General Knowledge/Mixed
* 1.14/1.14 Social Science
* 0.94/0.94 Sports
* 0.73/0,73 Philosophy
* 0.05/0.05 Foreign Language
I don't see why philosophy and sports can't be upgraded to a full 1/1 each per 26/26 at the slight expense of current events and geography being downgraded to 1/2 or 2/1 in every packet instead of the occasional 2/2. Similarly, I think the Literature/Mythology distribution should be upgraded to something slightly under 6/6 Literature/Religion/Mythology by changing the history and science to roughly 4.5/4.5 each and the pop culture to slightly over 1.5/1.5. Thus there would be a distribution like (with + meaning slightly more than and - meaning slightly less than)

5.8-/5.8- Literature/Religion/Mythology with somewhere over 1.5/1.5 of that being Religion/Mythology (note that the "literature" content theoretically goes down, but I think stuff like the Bible gets lumped into literature as it is right now, so it actually stays roughly unchanged)
4.5/4.5 History
4.5/4.5 Science
2+/2+ Fine Arts
1.5+/1.5+ Pop Culture
1.5/1.5 Current Events
1.5/1.5 Geography
1.5-/1.5- Inter/Multidisciplinary
1+/1+ Social Science (at the college level, "Foreign Language" can be probably lumped into linguistics, and would go here)
1/1 Philosophy
1/1 Sports

For the 16-packet SCT this would result in roughly:
72/72 History
72/72 Science
65/65 Literature
32/32 Fine Arts
27/27 Pop Culture
27/27 Religion and Mythology
24/24 Current Events
24/24 Geography
23/23 Interdisciplinary/etc.
18/18 Social Science inc. Foreign Language
16/16 Philosophy
16/16 Sports

For the 20-packet ICT this would result in roughly:
90/90 History
90/90 Science
82/82 Literature
41/41 Fine Arts
33/33 Pop Culture
33/33 Religion and Mythology
30/30 Current Events
30/30 Geography
28/28 Interdisciplinary/etc.
23/23 Social Science
20/20 Philosophy
20/20 Sports

Converting back to percentages, this would be roughly:
17.3% History
17.3% Science
15.8% Literature
7.7% Fine Arts
6.4% Pop Culture
6.4% Religion and Mythology
5.8% Current Events
5.8% Geography
5.6% Interdisciplinary
4.3% Social Science
3.8% Philosophy
3.8% Sports

I don't find this particularly different from the percentages that NAQT posted about their ICT set last year. I would like to see what both NAQT and the "NAQT haters" think about this.

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Post by grapesmoker »

rhentzel wrote:What can we do to increase the number of schools that are bidding to host Sectionals?
I know this may sound a little like a broken record, and I can't honestly say to what extent this affects hosting decisions, but I feel the timing requirements place a strong constraint on staffing that many clubs just can't meet. As I understand, SCT at Brown ran pretty well (someone correct me if I'm wrong), but the requirement of having a moderator and a scorekeeper in every room is very limiting for smaller clubs.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

I don't know if this is required anymore, but allowing teams to host tournaments on laptops (and thus save money on printing costs) might encourage some more schools to host it. I also prefer reading on laptops compared to paper questions, although I don't know if most people feel this way.
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Post by dtaylor4 »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I don't know if this is required anymore, but allowing teams to host tournaments on laptops (and thus save money on printing costs) might encourage some more schools to host it. I also prefer reading on laptops compared to paper questions, although I don't know if most people feel this way.
For standard tournaments, I'd agree with this, but would reading off of a laptop affect the in-game logistics involved with using a timer?

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Post by rhentzel »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I don't know if this is required anymore, but allowing teams to host tournaments on laptops (and thus save money on printing costs) might encourage some more schools to host it. I also prefer reading on laptops compared to paper questions, although I don't know if most people feel this way.
This is probably implicit in your question, but I'll make it explicit for others who haven't thought about the issue before.

NAQT has no problem with teams reading questions from laptops, or, really, doing anything that improves their moderators' ability to run the tournaments and doesn't directly contravene our rules.

The issue here is that NAQT requires that paper copies of the questions be given to the teams in attendance, so it doesn't save paper to read them off laptops . . . because copies have to be printed for distribution anyway.

NAQT is unlikely to change this policy and allow the distribution of electronic versions of its question sets due to fears of copyright infringement.

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Post by Mike Bentley »

DaGeneral wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:I don't know if this is required anymore, but allowing teams to host tournaments on laptops (and thus save money on printing costs) might encourage some more schools to host it. I also prefer reading on laptops compared to paper questions, although I don't know if most people feel this way.
For standard tournaments, I'd agree with this, but would reading off of a laptop affect the in-game logistics involved with using a timer?
You could just have the scorekeeper deal with that. Or you could use a timer program on the computer if you didn't have enough scorekeepers (which would probably actually improve things a bit).
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Post by First Chairman »

grapesmoker wrote:
rhentzel wrote:What can we do to increase the number of schools that are bidding to host Sectionals?
I know this may sound a little like a broken record, and I can't honestly say to what extent this affects hosting decisions, but I feel the timing requirements place a strong constraint on staffing that many clubs just can't meet. As I understand, SCT at Brown ran pretty well (someone correct me if I'm wrong), but the requirement of having a moderator and a scorekeeper in every room is very limiting for smaller clubs.
Okay, I'm out of the loop. I hosted SCT the previous year, and I definitely cannot speak for the group of students who are on teams this year. I don't know what the company uses as incentives to promote running Sectionals or outreach that NAQT takes part in to push teams to apply.

From my own part I admit we have a different issue going on that is larger than just NAQT. TRASH took quite a while until it finally boiled down to a venue for TRASHionals. ACF had a similar issue before narrowing it down to Boston, and we at PACE are trying to identify venues for NSC for 2009 and 2011.

To me, this is a systemic problem. There are fewer places that feel confident enough that they have the experience to run a competition like an ACF Fall or an SCT. We need more places that can host tournaments and run them without getting totally discouraged by being blasted to kingdom come if things go wrong (something that may be the fault of us consumers).

There are things I hope we can do to stem this problem, but I do not see it solely as being an issue of NAQT's inability to choose proper venues for the SCT. However, the stated requirements to have two staff per room does tax the resources of many programs that have limited pools of "quality" readers and limited commitment by other team members to staff.
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Post by Important Bird Area »

grapesmoker wrote:the requirement of having a moderator and a scorekeeper in every room is very limiting for smaller clubs.
What Jerry said. Berkeley is a big club in a small region. And yet, we came very close to running out of staff and had to draft Gaius ten minutes before the tournament began.
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Post by NoahMinkCHS »

I think part of what limits hosting is that a lot of people really want to play Sectionals. Comments on this board notwithstanding, it's one of the major (and, IMHO, one of the better) events of the year, and skipping out on playing it isn't really attractive to a lot of people.

Another thing is that a large program that has the staff to host may not be content with one auto-bid. For example, my team at the beginning of this year felt that we had a very good shot to qualify an undergrad D1 team, a pretty good shot to qualify a D2 team, and a decent shot to qualify a second team in at least one of those divisions. I can't remember if we ended up bidding for SCT anyway, but even if we did, it wasn't an easy decision because our goal as a program is to get as many teams and players to ICT as possible.

Now, it might have been an easier decision if we could have taken a D2 autobid and qualified a D1 team by playing, but I understand the rationale behind that rule -- and, in our case, it makes sense, since a lot of our most experienced people would have played rather than helped host.

I'm not sure what else could be done to encourage hosting. I feel like people would always rather play major events than host, and I don't know if increasing the amount of payment to the host or decreasing requirements for hosting would change that too much.

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Post by First Chairman »

Yes, that's also a really good point... usually the teams that are best equipped to host are also the teams that have the most people who want to play to qualify for ICT as well. Thus the dilemma...
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Post by Kyle »

Harvard is one of maybe three teams in the northeast big enough to host a tournament that requires two staff people in every room (Brown and MIT being the others). We barely pulled it off last year with four of our freshmen playing in division II. But what if we had wanted to host this year? If we took the team that played D2 last year (i.e. Harvard B) and let them play in D1, the A team would lose its automatic bid. I can't see how any school wanting to qualify more than one D1 team could ever host sectionals unless they had a couple people so good they could qualify solo (which, apparently, Harvard once did — I read my school's wiki page). But something needs to be worked out about the automatic bids before teams in our situation could host again.

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Post by Strongside »

This happened in both divisions at the NAQT North SCT at Carleton College, and I couldn't find anything about it on the NAQT website about it, but perhaps I didn't look closely enough.

After 12 rounds in Division 1, Carleton was 11-1, and Iowa was 9-3, while all the other teams had at last 4 losses. Iowa and Carleton advanced to a final series where Carleton had a one-game advantage by virtue of having a better record. Iowa had to win two consecutive games to win the overall championship, and Carleton had to win one of two games. Iowa ended up winning the series, and the championship.

This makes me wonder why there was an advantaged final when Carleton was up by two games. I remember it being talked about during the opening meeting, but I wasn't paying very close attention. I know that in ACF, if a team clears the field by 2+ games, they are the champions.

Is NAQT's policy for Sectionals to have a finals series if two or fewer games separate the top two teams, but not if three or more games separate the field.

In Division 2, Carleton A was 12-0, and Carleton B was 10-2, and Carleton A won the first game of an advantaged final.

This didn't affect me or my team personally, but I am curious as to exactly what the policy about this is.
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Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I think an easy way to fix the questionable bids problem would be to submit rosters to NAQT and possibly show them stats for your A team showing that you really are the A team and have placed higher/have better stats then the group of people you would have play in your tournament. Then just have NAQT label that team "Harvard B" or something, and keep your A team's automatic bid no matter what. Maybe?
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Post by jollyjew »

I'm not sure what 'stats' these would be that we're reporting to NAQT. Stats from the year's other tournaments? The problem with that is some teams (well, everywhere I've played in the last 4 1/2 years) don't put their 'A' squads together in a room until SCT and Regionals time, or even not until ICT and ACF Nats. So these stats just don't exist. Even if they did, they wouldn't really prove anything.

But to echo a lot of what's been said here, the ICT bids issue is a major deterrent for potential hosts. I'm pretty sure that there were at least two years when Carleton could have, logistically speaking, hosted an SCT but chose not to bid because of the possibility of qualifying 3 or 4 teams if, say, Minnesota was hosting. Relatedly, teams like Chicago (who, incidentally, had to bring in alumni and others to fill staffing requirements, despite being such a big team) take a major hit when 3/4 of last year's championship team and some top-notch undergrads have to read.

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Post by setht »

I agree with John that there's no good way to send NAQT stats from other tournaments to get automatic bids for host teams.

Another option might be to guarantee every host an automatic bid, but give hosts an additional bid if they successfully staff an SCT with more than (say) 12 teams, a third bid if they successfully staff an SCT with more than (say) 20 teams, etc. This would give more of an incentive for large clubs to host SCT; I think most clubs care more about getting bids to ICT than getting money for hosting (although that's also nice), and a scheme like this would reward clubs for running good, large sectionals with two staff in each room.

A possible problem with a scheme like this is that it gives out more automatic bids, cutting down on the number of at-large bids (unless NAQT expands the field sizes). This might not be a big problem, since large clubs can often field multiple competitive teams.

Anyway, I think something like this might be a good way to go: regions with small numbers of active teams will only get one auto-bid, but I think those regions generally have less trouble finding clubs that are willing to host (also, if there's one large club in a small region, they may be able to host for one auto-bid and qualify a Div II team through competition); regions with lots of active teams and a couple large clubs will get a couple auto-bids, and the large clubs will have more incentive to host.

Perhaps I'm wrong and NAQT is also having trouble finding hosts in regions with small numbers of teams and small clubs. If that's the case, I don't really know what they can do.

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Post by grapesmoker »

I'm going to propose a radical solution that I don't think will be accepted by NAQT, but one that I hope will at least be taken seriously. The solution:

Abandon the SCT as an ICT qualifier.

I think that the idea of Chicago or Illinois or Maryland having to qualify for ICT after playing the way they did at various tournaments this year (Maryland beating a front-loaded field at Cardinal Classic, for example) is absurd. There was never any doubt in my mind that Maryland would finish first at the Brown SCT; was it really necessary to have them jump through that hoop? Any of the teams that finished in the top half of the field last year are virtually guaranteed qualification for ICT if they return most of their personnel. Why not have regional tournaments act as qualifiers for ICT? That way, there won't be nearly as much pressure on schools to qualify as many teams as they can, freeing up resources for staffing.
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Post by setht »

grapesmoker wrote:I'm going to propose a radical solution that I don't think will be accepted by NAQT, but one that I hope will at least be taken seriously. The solution:

Abandon the SCT as an ICT qualifier.

I think that the idea of Chicago or Illinois or Maryland having to qualify for ICT after playing the way they did at various tournaments this year (Maryland beating a front-loaded field at Cardinal Classic, for example) is absurd. There was never any doubt in my mind that Maryland would finish first at the Brown SCT; was it really necessary to have them jump through that hoop? Any of the teams that finished in the top half of the field last year are virtually guaranteed qualification for ICT if they return most of their personnel. Why not have regional tournaments act as qualifiers for ICT? That way, there won't be nearly as much pressure on schools to qualify as many teams as they can, freeing up resources for staffing.
I think this also doesn't work. In any given year it's pretty easy to pick several teams that are clearly going to qualify, but I don't think that helps resolve the dilemma: under the current system, Maryland can host SCT and then send their A team with an automatic bid. How is your system different? If you're saying that Maryland should be able to send their A team automatically, and field their B team in an attempt to earn a bid, you could achieve the same thing by saying that host schools don't lose their automatic bid by fielding a Div I team. That seems simpler to me than trying to come up with some system of deciding which regional tournaments should serve as nationals qualifiers, how to handle bastard teams, etc. However, even that solution (not losing auto-bids for fielding Div I teams) doesn't seem all that great to me, because Maryland (or Brown, or Chicago, or whoever) still has to pull staffers to field teams.

It seems to me that, since the trade-off seems to be "providing enough staff for a large Sectional" vs. "qualifying multiple teams", it makes more sense to do what I proposed above: give out extra bids to clubs that successfully staff larger Sectionals.

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Post by DumbJaques »

I have an issue I'd like to raise: NAQT visual art questions.

Aside from the fact that, like mythology, these tend to be underrepresented in my opinion, I think you can objectively say that many, many of these questions are just terrible. They are often easily powered by anyone who has ever glanced at a painting, and generally seem to reach a much lower mean quality level than any other category. A question on a painter at SCT gave what is arguably his third or fourth most famous work as the last giveaway. That's just silly! Who is in charge of art editing, anyway? I encourage them to take a closer look at the tossups.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

DumbJaques wrote:I have an issue I'd like to raise: NAQT visual art questions.

Aside from the fact that, like mythology, these tend to be underrepresented in my opinion, I think you can objectively say that many, many of these questions are just terrible. They are often easily powered by anyone who has ever glanced at a painting, and generally seem to reach a much lower mean quality level than any other category. A question on a painter at SCT gave what is arguably his third or fourth most famous work as the last giveaway. That's just silly! Who is in charge of art editing, anyway? I encourage them to take a closer look at the tossups.
That question Chris is talking about for the painting actually has an alternative name that we're both more familar with, which maybe is the reason for that happening.

But I do agree that in general the art and probably the mythology at SCT and ICT are compartively very easy in comparison to what you'd find at similar level ACF or mACF tournaments.
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Post by Council of Trent Reznor »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:But I do agree that in general the art and probably the mythology at SCT and ICT are compartively very easy in comparison to what you'd find at similar level ACF or mACF tournaments.
I was under the impression that this was the case for every single subject, since NAQT was supposed to be easier than ACF.

On a more germane note, I'm a big opponent of visual questions. They're easy to power for anyone who has seen the painting once or twice (as mentioned,) the sheets with the visuals could get lost, damaged, or just not printed out in the first place (as previously mentioned,) and in a timed match it would probably be more time-efficient to just read the question.
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Post by Mike Bentley »

Elect James Sanner wrote:
Bentley Like Beckham wrote:But I do agree that in general the art and probably the mythology at SCT and ICT are compartively very easy in comparison to what you'd find at similar level ACF or mACF tournaments.
I was under the impression that this was the case for every single subject, since NAQT was supposed to be easier than ACF.

On a more germane note, I'm a big opponent of visual questions. They're easy to power for anyone who has seen the painting once or twice (as mentioned,) the sheets with the visuals could get lost, damaged, or just not printed out in the first place (as previously mentioned,) and in a timed match it would probably be more time-efficient to just read the question.
Uh, we're not referring to literally visual questions. We're referring to questions on painting and sculpture, mainly.

"ACF" has nothing to do with difficulty on its own. Most parts of DI Sectionals are harder than ACF Fall, but certain categories (like visual fine arts) are, in my opinion, as easy as that tournament or easier, which presents a problem when the rest of the tournament is not that easy.
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