On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Old college threads.
Locked
User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
Posts: 1223
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm
Contact:

On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:22 pm

So, for ACF Winter, we used electronic scorekeeping at the Michigan site. I think I'm not being too harsh in saying that it was an unmitigated nightmare and added at least a good 10 minutes onto each round. I want to throw out a few thoughts concerning my experience.

First off, what seems to happen when you try to clear off the spreadsheet to input scores for a new round is that some pre-existing fields like tossup number erase themselves. These fields need to be locked, or else you have to save an empty version of the spreadsheet somewhere and keep using that, which is a pain.

More to the point though...it's my current opinion - and I know people will probably disagree with me - that the innovation of electronic scorekeeping is a fool's errand. Even in the best possible scenario: where the system is made as good as it can be, where everyone knows how to operate it efficiently, where nothing flukey happens with computers or internet access or emailing, etc. - even in that scenario, I think the idea of electronic scorekeeping only creates more delay in rounds, as compared with manual scorekeeping and manual delivery to a given room.

One minor problem that might be helpful to note is that it's difficult to keep score at the same time as you're reading a packet, because you have to constantly minimize and maximize screens, or toggle between two windows. It makes things unworkably tiny when you try to put the scoresheet on one half of your screen and the packet (which is already split between tus and bonuses) on the other. I'll concede that the time difference between keeping score manually and electronically is probably minimal, when you have only one staffer in the room - but of course, if you have two staffers, it's much more convenient to just allow the other person to keep score manually - that is, unless you put two computers in each room, so that the other person can keep score on his own computer.

A far bigger problem, and this goes beyond the value of electronic scorekeeping, is that I'm not wild about any system of tournament management which requires the emailing of lots of information back and forth - emailing of packets, scoresheets, passwords, and so on, or instant messaging and whatnot. It just creates a lot more delay than when you have things ready to go on the computer. Especially if you're using someone else's laptop, shit always seems to go wrong with all kinds of stuff. Really, I'm not sure I'm sold on any management system that requires internet access, but it's particularly cumbersome when there's lots of emailing and downloading going on.

On a kind-of related note...I'm sympathetic to the problem of moderators mistakenly reading the wrong packet, but I'm not sure that happens enough or can't be corrected for sufficiently, such that we need to password-protect files or send packets out individually and so on.

Perhaps, at some point, I can be convinced of the utility of things like electronic scorekeeping, but I'm pretty dubious at this time.
Ryan Westbrook, no affiliation whatsoever.

I am pure energy...and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!

Left here since birth...forgotten in the river of time...I've had an eternity to...ponder the meaning of things...and now I have an answer!

User avatar
DumbJaques
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 3079
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Jan 19, 2009 8:38 pm

On a kind-of related note...I'm sympathetic to the problem of moderators mistakenly reading the wrong packet, but I'm not sure that happens enough or can't be corrected for sufficiently, such that we need to password-protect files or send packets out individually and so on.
I'm with you on the other points (I think I would just demand such stat keeping be stopped if it was adding ten minutes consistently to my games), and I generally think the electronic stats thing is a cool idea that's just not feasible for anything but extremely small tournaments with very good staff manning both the reader and scorekeeper positions. However, I really think password protecting is a good idea - having been through the epic disaster that was Minnesota Open trash, it's really not that hard to read the wrong packet, and even in a ten round tournament it can happen twice and just ruin everything. If that had been an academic tournament, much less the Minnesota Open, there would have been some kind of unholy hell to pay among the participants. I've read the wrong round before; people mis-click, sometimes when you have to move stuff around at the last minute, directions get muddled. Having mods pick up the password for the next round when they drop off their scoresheets is easy (they have to do that anyway), and the alternative of printing the password on the next round's scorescheets is also easy (they need those anyway). If I understand the backbone of your main argument, that the cost-reward schdule for electronic stats is way not worth it, I'd say logic dictates that password protecting by round is entirely worth it from a cost-reward standpoint. Have plenty of tournaments been run not using passwords? Sure, but as a TD you have to jump at any opportunity you have to deal with something ahead of time, because lord knows there'll be enough to deal with the day of the event.
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE

User avatar
alkrav112
Rikku
Posts: 269
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Contact:

Re: On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by alkrav112 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:31 pm

Yeah, we used the electronic scoresheets at our ACF Winter site. I had a theory that they would be easier to manage and would allow moderators to move more quickly from one round to the next. They did not work as well as I hoped for our purposes (though they worked very well for our trash mirror yesterday). We will not be using them again in the near future. They are a very neat concept, and I enjoy them very much (thank you, Lily), but paper scorekeeping has proven to be a much more efficient method for us.
Andy Kravis
Michigan '09
Columbia Law, '13

User avatar
alkrav112
Rikku
Posts: 269
Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 8:55 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Contact:

Re: On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by alkrav112 » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:32 pm

On a related note, we did not have any instances of packets being read in the wrong round. It was a slow but precise tournament.
Andy Kravis
Michigan '09
Columbia Law, '13

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2840
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Re: On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Jan 20, 2009 12:03 am

Just keep the sheet open and use alt-tab/command-tab to switch between sheet and round. Also, keep an unedited copy of the sheet somewhere ON THE INTERNET!* Finally, you can establish communication over AIM/Google Talk/whatever, so that e-mail is not necessary, or you can swap data on thumb drives, so that internet access is not necessary (though this requires walking, of course.) Those things seem entirely to solve your problems (or, at least, these problems...)
It seems to me that your bad experience is a result purely of your non-training and non-familiarity. At Illinois, we've seen nothing but positive results in terms of speed and accuracy from using these sheets, but then, we showed people how to use them properly and had people use them extensively at practice before asking them to do so in game situations. From your experience, I gather that such was not the case for you: I hope that you will consider that your experience is neither typical for everyone and nor inevitable for anyone and that these sheets impute a number of benefits apparently not evident to you.

MaS

*Actually, if you really want to idiot-proof this, you can have someone at HQ pre-fill sheets for each room and provide them on the computers used or on the internet. That also implements an automatic check for teams being in the wrong rooms, etc.
Mike Sorice
Coach, Centennial High School of Champaign, IL (2014-) & Team Illinois (2016-2018)
Alumnus, Illinois ABT (2000-2002; 2003-2009) & Fenwick Scholastic Bowl (1999-2000)
ACF
IHSSBCA
PACE

User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
Posts: 1223
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm
Contact:

Re: On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:32 am

I should say that I'm not exactly sure what most contributed to the experience at Michigan moving so slowly, but it did (as Mike undoubtedly knows, since he played the event). Maybe there's a way to pull this off better (apparently it worked okay for trash).
Ryan Westbrook, no affiliation whatsoever.

I am pure energy...and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!

Left here since birth...forgotten in the river of time...I've had an eternity to...ponder the meaning of things...and now I have an answer!

User avatar
goblue16
Lulu
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 8:17 pm
Location: South Bend

Re: On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by goblue16 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:42 am

I must agree with mike that additional training on how to use and submit the electronic score sheets would have helped significantly--specifically what basic information to include in the email back to the TD after the end of the round. I know that some of the moderators were confused and I personally accidentally replied to an email to send one score sheet back when I should have created a new email instead.

On regards to having a new score sheet each round I simply downloaded it from the original email providing the score sheet from the beginning of the tournament each round, which was simple and easy, or you could save a copy to the desktop. I also personally find reading packets off a computer to be much easier and faster by splitting the word document, although for some reason some people don’t know how to do that.

I must disagree with Brian's view that the actual use of the score sheets was the major reason for the time delay between rounds, rather that we had to wait for all the rooms to be done and score sheets returned before the next packet was emailed out. Before some rounds I found myself waiting with both teams present for at least 10 minutes waiting for the packet, although we did correct this problem as the tournament progressed by just not waiting for the packets to all be returned. I, like many others, also remember the debacle at the Minnesota Deep Bench last year where packets were read out of order and thereby destroying the schedule. I am very glad that this did not occur during the tournament where emailing the packets out each round with a password probably did help prevent mistakes from occurring. With slight modifications and moderator training I do believe that electronic scoring can be viable and beneficial to tournaments. If done correctly it can make rounds go much faster than physical score keeping.
Scot Putzig
Michigan 2010
Notre Dame Law 2013

User avatar
Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat
Rikku
Posts: 435
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2007 1:16 pm
Location: Midland, MI

Re: On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by Quantum Mushroom Billiard Hat » Tue Jan 20, 2009 1:49 am

Over the weekend, I was in a room with both a scorekeeper and reader, a room by myself, and in the stat room at various times. A few things from what I saw:
As Scot said, there was a blank copy on the email all tournament.
I had no problems with the electronic system, and I don't think it slowed me down much at all. It is probably just something you get used to, and how quickly depends on how much you use your computer. I am on mine way too much, which is probably why I had no problems to start with the computerized sheets. Other people will probably have very few problems, if any, if we were to try this again.
From a stat room perspective, these were a lot quicker to use than paper sheets, since everything was calculated automatically. It is much harder to lose tossups that people answered, and it's nice to double check all the numbers like bonus conversion. Of course the rest of the tournament is far more important than making stats easy, but if your mods can run as efficiently electronically as on paper, the electronic version is really nice for the statkeepers.
Michael Hausinger
Coach, Bay City Western High School
formerly of University of Michigan and East Lansing High School

User avatar
dtaylor4
Auron
Posts: 3733
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:43 am

Re: On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by dtaylor4 » Tue Jan 20, 2009 6:51 am

As the main stats person for IO, where these were used, I loved them, for many of the reasons supplied by Michael.

As a reader, both in practice and during the trash tournament on Sunday, I again loved them. It took me a round to get used to them again, but after that I was gold.

To Ryan's blank copy issue: Instead of opening it through the email, I already had a copy on the desktop. After a round was done, I did File -> Save As, labeled it with the round number, and put it into a "Penn Bowl Trash" folder, where I kept all filled scoresheets and packets.

User avatar
No Rules Westbrook
Auron
Posts: 1223
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 1:04 pm
Contact:

Re: On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Tue Jan 20, 2009 5:18 pm

Okay, based on the reactions here, I'm convinced that I was probably too harsh on the prospects of electronic scorekeeping. Sorry about that. I'm willing to believe that it can be perfectly useful in the right situation.
Ryan Westbrook, no affiliation whatsoever.

I am pure energy...and as ancient as the cosmos. Feeble creatures, GO!

Left here since birth...forgotten in the river of time...I've had an eternity to...ponder the meaning of things...and now I have an answer!

User avatar
naturalistic phallacy
Auron
Posts: 1368
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 12:03 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: On Electronic Scorekeeping and Related Matters

Post by naturalistic phallacy » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:33 pm

No Rules Westbrook wrote:Okay, based on the reactions here, I'm convinced that I was probably too harsh on the prospects of electronic scorekeeping. Sorry about that. I'm willing to believe that it can be perfectly useful in the right situation.
Start looking for that scroll with seven seals on it, guys. The apocalypse is near.
Bernadette Spencer
University of Minnesota
MCTC
Event Manager, PACE

Father, among these many souls / Is there not one / Whom thou shalt pluck for love out of the coals?

Locked