SCT 2009 discussion

Old college threads.
User avatar
Important Bird Area
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5502
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:33 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Contact:

SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:16 am

Here's a thread for discussion of the just-completed NAQT SCT.

Please do not discuss specific questions in public, as the SCT questions will be used at the CCCT later this month and at high school tournaments later in the spring.

Tomorrow Mike Bentley will be opening a private-access forum (like the one we had last year) for question-specific commentary.
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

"I wish to make some kind of joke about Jeff's love of birds, but I always fear he'll turn them on me Hitchcock-style." -Fred

User avatar
Golran
Auron
Posts: 1032
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:23 am
Location: Southern California

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Golran » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:47 am

I had a great time and loved the tournament as a whole, but one issue I saw was our tournament director not being able to get in touch with NAQT about a protest, which led us to play a replacement final round. I'm just curious how the at-large bids will work and when they will be announced.
Drayer the Slayer
currently unaffiliated

User avatar
tiwonge
Tidus
Posts: 744
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:54 pm
Location: Boise (City of Trees), Idaho

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by tiwonge » Sun Feb 08, 2009 4:33 am

NAQT sent the hosts a phone number to call, saying that the 800 number would be unavailable. Was nobody answering that phone?

(I called with a question around noon MST, and it was answered.)
Colin McNamara, Boise State University
PACE
Idaho Quiz & Academic Teams

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 08, 2009 12:35 pm

I understand that the set is going to be used at CCCT, but to have to not be able to discuss specifics because high schools are going to play it seems a little absurd.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

Tower Monarch
Rikku
Posts: 360
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 6:23 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Tower Monarch » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:11 pm

grapesmoker wrote:I understand that the set is going to be used at CCCT, but to have to not be able to discuss specifics because high schools are going to play it seems a little absurd.
Also, what sets could potentially overlap that have not been played? Did high school staffers automatically cede their rights to play any more IS sets this year? (not that this affects me, but I am curious)
Cameron Orth - Freelance Writer/Moderator, PACE member
College: JTCC 2011, Dartmouth College '09-'10, '11-'14
Mathematics, Computer Science and Film/Media Studies
High School: Home Schooled/Cosby High '08-'09, MLWGSGIS A-E '06-'08

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6597
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Cheynem » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:25 pm

Without being specific, I will say that this was a fairly enjoyable set. The expanded clock was a very good move as all of our rounds gave us at least 20 toss-ups, which I am okay with.

The flaws I can think of were some rather eccentric bonus topics, a tendency in tossups to suddenly slide right into a (relative) giveway with little middle cushion, and the usual "several topics that i suppose could all be considered trash" style tossups (i.e., "literature," cross-genre questions that began or featured trash clues, current events with mild trash elements). The latter was not as pronounced as other NAQT sets I have seen though.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8411
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:40 pm

Questions were pretty good.

I think it's time to really look at the role of the clock in NAQT. This is the 13th year of NAQT's operation. If people were ever going to figure out how to run timed tournaments properly, I think it would have happened by now. Every single year we have these games that don't come within spitting distance of 20 tossups and produce aberrant results and/or poor value for the entry fee. It's never going to stop happening. That's the major reason I'd like to see NAQT move to a standard 20/20 or 22/22 packet and eliminate the clock from its rules; here are some others:

*Given the eminently sensible rules changes this year that all but eliminate the role of clock-gaming strategy in NAQT, the clock does not change the game beyond occasionally creating 15-tossup matches. There is no longer any argument for timed quizbowl being an interesting change of pace or a place to demonstrate your pressure-management skills in addition to your knowledge. I'm not sure many people ever bought into those arguments to begin with, and they are now entirely gone because of the long-overdue elimination of the clock-killing neg and the 9-minute half.

*NAQT is expending more effort and money than it needs to be on creating 26/26 packets for Division I, when only the top 5% of moderators ever reach past tossup 24, and most of them are averaging in the 20-22 range (based on the stats that have been posted so far). It would be better for everyone if the packets were just 22/22, or perhaps 25/22 to account for tiebreakers [given that the current 24/24 DII packets seem to be just fine, even this is not necessary; using Packet 16 for tiebreakers seems like a perfectly workable solution]. NAQT would not be paying to create questions that are never used, and NAQT writers and editors would not be using their valuable time making a good-faith effort to create good questions, only to have dozens of those questions go unheard.

*Essentially no non-NAQT timed tournaments exist. At the college level, SCT and ICT (and Fake ICT) are literally the only tournaments each year that use a clock. At the high school level, similar conditions prevail; the clock is used in only a small handful (I think about 4 or 5?) of NAQT IS tournaments per year out of 100+ that run, and in no non-NAQT tournaments I know of except maybe the Vermont format. At both levels, it's not very sensible to determine regional and national championships based on a huge change to the conditions of gameplay that no one ever uses elsewhere. NAQT tournaments should test people's knowledge of the topics covered in the NAQT distribution; they should not place a giant value on being able to adapt to a pointless and enormous change to how the game works, as they do now.

*The clock forces tournaments to find extra staff and run games under stressful conditions; this increases the chance of a poorly staffed game and makes it harder to find SCT hosts. VCU may bid for SCT next year because we've now attended two consecutive Sectionals where a field of less than ten teams still could not avoid staffing rooms with people who got through 13-15 tossups in a game, and we want to avoid a third straight year of that being the case in the region. I hope we can simply deploy all of the good moderators who usually staff our tournaments, and not also be forced to round up a bunch of separate scorekeepers that the clock makes necessary.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:51 pm

I agree with all these arguments. Granted, the Northeast was staffed so well that I think we got through 22+ in all our games, and 26 in four (with seconds left on the clock in two) (it helped to be playing Brown). But my comment isn't about my experience. One of the primary arguments that R. has advanced in the past in favor of short questions is that he believes that games consisting of more, shorter questions decide better than games consisting of fewer, longer questions. It's entirely possible that this is true; indeed, I don't have statistics to judge. But, excluding HSNCT outrounds, there simply aren't that many more questions--if you wanted to create tossups 10% shorter than an eight-line ACF tossup (because the typical NAQT game gets through, let's say, 22), then hey, that's fine by me. But creating 30% more tossups, two thirds of which on average never get read, is a poor idea.

(Other reasons this isn't fantastic: the chances that the four plus unread tossups in a packet are perfectly distributed is pretty slim, so you have crazily redistributed games because there happened to be two RMP in the last four questions or whatever. Moreover, when you consider the differences, question by question, between a 26/26 packet of NAQT and a 20/20 packet of ACF, you essentially have that 6/6 difference from trash, current events, geography, and maybe 1/0 or 0/1 in some subdistribution (which skews that distro towards that subdistribution, but even leaving that problem aside).)
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Important Bird Area
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5502
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:33 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:12 pm

grapesmoker wrote:I understand that the set is going to be used at CCCT, but to have to not be able to discuss specifics because high schools are going to play it seems a little absurd.
It's what we did last year, Jerry. I don't see how question security really differs between the two audiences (plenty of high school players participate in discussion of college-level questions on this board).
Tower Monarch wrote:Also, what sets could potentially overlap that have not been played? Did high school staffers automatically cede their rights to play any more IS sets this year?
The SCT has no overlap with any IS set past or future. The Division II SCT itself (which does overlap the DI set) is used for a few late-spring high school tournaments whose hosts have requested questions more difficult than IS-level.
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

"I wish to make some kind of joke about Jeff's love of birds, but I always fear he'll turn them on me Hitchcock-style." -Fred

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:37 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:It's what we did last year, Jerry. I don't see how question security really differs between the two audiences (plenty of high school players participate in discussion of college-level questions on this board).
Just because it was done last year doesn't make it right. NAQT's unfortunate tendency of double- and now triple-marketing its sets is effectively serving to eliminate question discussion and this is a bad thing.

edit: well, nevermind. I apparently missed the part about Mike setting up a private forum, so I guess that point is moot.
Last edited by grapesmoker on Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

User avatar
Sima Guang Hater
Auron
Posts: 1852
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:38 pm

Can we set up a private forum like we did last year?
Eric Mukherjee, MD PhD
Washburn Rural High School, 2005
Brown University, 2009
Medical Scientist Training Program, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 2018
Intern in Internal Medicine, Yale-Waterbury, 2018-9
Dermatology Resident, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2019-

Member Emeritus, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer, NAQT, NHBB, IQBT

"The next generation will always surpass the previous one. It's one of the never-ending cycles in life."

User avatar
Gautam
Auron
Posts: 1413
Joined: Sun Feb 11, 2007 7:28 pm
Location: Zone of Avoidance
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Gautam » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:40 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote: Tomorrow Mike Bentley will be opening a private-access forum (like the one we had last year) for question-specific commentary.
yeah, of course.

EDIT: accidental clicking led to empty post.
Gautam - ACF
Currently tending to the 'quizbowl hobo' persuasion.

cdcarter
Yuna
Posts: 945
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:06 am
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by cdcarter » Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:43 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:Can we set up a private forum like we did last year?
bt_green_warbler wrote:Tomorrow Mike Bentley will be opening a private-access forum (like the one we had last year) for question-specific commentary.
Christian Carter
Minneapolis South High School '09 | Emerson College '13
PACE Member (retired)

User avatar
millionwaves
Auron
Posts: 1360
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 12:35 pm
Location: Urbana, Illinois
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by millionwaves » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:05 pm

Obviously without going into a lot of detail, I want to say that I thought this year's questions were by and large much better than last year's, although, of course, there were several bad questions that seemed to me to be holdovers from an earlier era that are still clunking around the database (some of which, no doubt, we'll talk about on the private message board soon). I appreciate NAQT taking the step to approach a circuit editor to improve the questions, and I hope that they choose to repeat that tactic in the future; I feel like the results made my own experience as a player much more positive.
Trygve Meade
Illinois, ACF

Above the Star-Apple Kingdom

User avatar
Important Bird Area
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5502
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:33 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:10 pm

millionwaves wrote:Obviously without going into a lot of detail, I want to say that I thought this year's questions were by and large much better than last year's, although, of course, there were several bad questions that seemed to me to be holdovers from an earlier era that are still clunking around the database (some of which, no doubt, we'll talk about on the private message board soon).
Thanks, Trygve. NAQT's editors do in fact have the power to edit/modify/reject ancient questions that emerge from the backlog of NAQT's files. So, when the question forum goes up later today, let's talk about what features of these were clunky so that Andrew and I can be extra-vigilant for the ICT.
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

"I wish to make some kind of joke about Jeff's love of birds, but I always fear he'll turn them on me Hitchcock-style." -Fred

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Sun Feb 08, 2009 3:32 pm

My general impression of the questions was very positive. I thought this was as good an SCT as the one Subash edited in 2005; by and large the negative trends that tend to show up in NAQT packets were mitigated, although there were still a few holdovers from eras past, as Trygve has mentioned. I actually thought the science was a little disappointing (at least in my fields of knowledge) in terms of answer choices, and I thought many of those questions could have been better written. Many questions also seemed to lack usable middle clues, something that I think is in large part a function of the length limitation. That said, I thought both the lengthening of the halves and the raising of the character limit were good moves, though I also agree with Matt that the clock is an anachronism that no one really needs. We were lucky in our games to be able to hear many tossups, especially when Katy was reading for us, but since not everyone is as lucky, the clock just depresses the number of questions many teams get to hear.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

User avatar
setht
Auron
Posts: 1176
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:41 pm
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by setht » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:52 pm

Hey,

I want to encourage everyone to give me and NAQT lots of feedback about the sets--what was good, what wasn't, whatever people feel like talking about. I'll certainly take part in discussion on the private board once it's set up, but if anyone wants to send me comments privately my email is setht@uchicago.edu. I'd love to get lots of constructive criticism backed up with specific examples, but I'll read through non-constructive criticism or whatever I can get.

Thanks,
-Seth
Seth Teitler
Formerly UC Berkeley and U. Chicago
President and Chief Editor, NAQT
Emeritus member, ACF

User avatar
setht
Auron
Posts: 1176
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:41 pm
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by setht » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:46 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:I think it's time to really look at the role of the clock in NAQT. This is the 13th year of NAQT's operation. If people were ever going to figure out how to run timed tournaments properly, I think it would have happened by now. Every single year we have these games that don't come within spitting distance of 20 tossups and produce aberrant results and/or poor value for the entry fee. It's never going to stop happening. That's the major reason I'd like to see NAQT move to a standard 20/20 or 22/22 packet and eliminate the clock from its rules; here are some others:

*Given the eminently sensible rules changes this year that all but eliminate the role of clock-gaming strategy in NAQT, the clock does not change the game beyond occasionally creating 15-tossup matches. There is no longer any argument for timed quizbowl being an interesting change of pace or a place to demonstrate your pressure-management skills in addition to your knowledge. I'm not sure many people ever bought into those arguments to begin with, and they are now entirely gone because of the long-overdue elimination of the clock-killing neg and the 9-minute half.

*NAQT is expending more effort and money than it needs to be on creating 26/26 packets for Division I, when only the top 5% of moderators ever reach past tossup 24, and most of them are averaging in the 20-22 range (based on the stats that have been posted so far). It would be better for everyone if the packets were just 22/22, or perhaps 25/22 to account for tiebreakers [given that the current 24/24 DII packets seem to be just fine, even this is not necessary; using Packet 16 for tiebreakers seems like a perfectly workable solution]. NAQT would not be paying to create questions that are never used, and NAQT writers and editors would not be using their valuable time making a good-faith effort to create good questions, only to have dozens of those questions go unheard.

*Essentially no non-NAQT timed tournaments exist. At the college level, SCT and ICT (and Fake ICT) are literally the only tournaments each year that use a clock. At the high school level, similar conditions prevail; the clock is used in only a small handful (I think about 4 or 5?) of NAQT IS tournaments per year out of 100+ that run, and in no non-NAQT tournaments I know of except maybe the Vermont format. At both levels, it's not very sensible to determine regional and national championships based on a huge change to the conditions of gameplay that no one ever uses elsewhere. NAQT tournaments should test people's knowledge of the topics covered in the NAQT distribution; they should not place a giant value on being able to adapt to a pointless and enormous change to how the game works, as they do now.

*The clock forces tournaments to find extra staff and run games under stressful conditions; this increases the chance of a poorly staffed game and makes it harder to find SCT hosts. VCU may bid for SCT next year because we've now attended two consecutive Sectionals where a field of less than ten teams still could not avoid staffing rooms with people who got through 13-15 tossups in a game, and we want to avoid a third straight year of that being the case in the region. I hope we can simply deploy all of the good moderators who usually staff our tournaments, and not also be forced to round up a bunch of separate scorekeepers that the clock makes necessary.
I certainly agree that a game with only 13-15 tossups heard is no good, but I'm not sure the clock is really the main culprit here (or rather, I want to argue that just getting rid of the clock will introduce other problems). Simple math tells me that a moderator that gets through only 15 tossups in 20 minutes of clock time will add about an hour and a half to the length of a tournament over the course of a day reading full sets of 20 minutes, all else being equal. And to be honest, I don't think all else will be equal in a clockless setting--I think people will talk much more between questions (I saw almost no talking between questions at SCT), and there's zero incentive for interrupting bonus parts or not taking the full 5 seconds on almost every prompt. At SCT, Illinois A regularly interrupted bonus parts or answered in less than five seconds; I don't know if this cost them a single bonus part the whole day, and it netted them more tossups heard. Would they do that in an untimed setting? Would all teams do that in an untimed setting? I think the answer is clearly no, since not all teams do this even in a timed setting. So, my point is that this 15-tossups-in-20-minutes moderator will add at least an hour and a half over the course of a tournament with 20-tossup rounds and a clock or some other way of keeping teams from wasting time talking, and I think it'll be more like 2+ hours in an untimed, 20-tossup round setting. I think the real problem here is the moderator (with people's tendency to waste time during untimed rounds being a second, somewhat smaller problem). If it's so hard to find enough competent staff to provide a good reader and someone who can add and subtract in each room, getting rid of the clock will get rid of the 15-tossup match, but I think it will also make tournaments run a good bit longer. Pretty much all of my experience with non-NAQT tournaments supports this hypothesis.

-Seth
Seth Teitler
Formerly UC Berkeley and U. Chicago
President and Chief Editor, NAQT
Emeritus member, ACF

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5686
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by theMoMA » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:56 pm

While I agree with most of the above with regards to talking between questions, I would be very surprised if interrupting bonus parts went without consequences over an entire tournament. I used this strategy quite a bit during the day with good results in terms of extra tossups heard, but we did wind up missing a handful of bonus parts we otherwise would have gotten, and it seems likely to me that other teams using this strategy would get similar results.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Feb 09, 2009 3:59 pm

I can certainly buy that the moderator is the problem here: when such bad moderators exist (and only in that case), the clock makes tournaments run substantially faster. But I'd rather stay two more hours and have a far more valid result. I think packet eight had a whole lot of science bonuses or so in the first few. What if we were stuck in some strange, anomalous, eleven tossup room?
Andrew Watkins

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

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:18 pm

I think Seth's point, though, stands; as long as you're dealing with slow moderators, you're always left choosing between the lesser of two evils (be that fewer questions heard or longer tournaments in your mind) since those are just facets of the same problem. The only way to solve this problem is to employ competent, reasonably fast, trained moderators.
As for interrupting bonuses, the strategy is somewhat more subtle. For our situation Saturday, I reasoned it was a good tactic when I was either sure I knew the part or sure nobody on my team knew it; if I entertained doubts, I had the team wait and think. Obviously, the success of this strategy relies on the accuracy of my assessment of what my team knows, but I don't think that's a bad thing to rely on if one has familiar teammates: I think the strategy caused us to miss maybe a part or two, but we probably heard many more bonuses than we otherwise would, so it seemed to me a net positive.
However, that's because I was confident we were the better team in each game so it should have paid for us to hear as many questions as possible (since that is the best way to precipitate the mean result, which should be us winning.) Conversely, if I felt my team an underdog, especially with a lead, I'd always take the full time both to get every last point and in the hopes that doing so would result in fewer questions heard (to shift the match away from the mean result.) Also, in any situation, if we needed a big comeback, there was significant time left, and it didn't look like we'd get through the whole packet, I'd probably throw guesses out immediately on almost every part to maximize the number of questions we can get.

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

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:28 pm

Hey, I had a random question based on some comments on both this and the private forum:

NAQT editors repeatedly reference that a tossup "played well" in testing when discussing difficulty, clue placement appropriateness, or whether something is a reasonable answer. I'm quite intrigued as to who this group of people ends up being. Most active players participate in SCT, and those that don't usually participate in the ICT. Of the "elder statesmen" who do not participate in sectionals, ICT, or non-open quizbowl, some of them work for NAQT already and a lot of the others I'm in contact with do not, to my knowledge, test NAQT tossups. So, who's in this group? I mean, I would think you'd need at least some active players who have a good grasp of the canon at various levels to effectively do this. Such a burden may be impossible for a tournament that draws so many participants, but if that's the case, I think the fact that something played well in difficulty testing might need to be rethought. In any case, I'd be quite interested to know who does this kind of stuff for NAQT.
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE

User avatar
Mike Bentley
Auron
Posts: 5810
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:03 pm
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:54 pm

DumbJaques wrote:Hey, I had a random question based on some comments on both this and the private forum:

NAQT editors repeatedly reference that a tossup "played well" in testing when discussing difficulty, clue placement appropriateness, or whether something is a reasonable answer. I'm quite intrigued as to who this group of people ends up being. Most active players participate in SCT, and those that don't usually participate in the ICT. Of the "elder statesmen" who do not participate in sectionals, ICT, or non-open quizbowl, some of them work for NAQT already and a lot of the others I'm in contact with do not, to my knowledge, test NAQT tossups. So, who's in this group? I mean, I would think you'd need at least some active players who have a good grasp of the canon at various levels to effectively do this. Such a burden may be impossible for a tournament that draws so many participants, but if that's the case, I think the fact that something played well in difficulty testing might need to be rethought. In any case, I'd be quite interested to know who does this kind of stuff for NAQT.
I had this question as well. As someone in this potential target group (i.e. a writer for NAQT and a semi-recent college gradudate), I would be interested in being part of this group in the future.
Mike Bentley
VP of Editing, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence
Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region
Yuna
Posts: 970
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:50 am
Location: Columbia, SC

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:54 pm

If NAQT absolutely must continue using the clock, perhaps NAQT could use its leverage to give hosts incentives to prevent having rooms in which 15 tossup rounds become the norm. Why not have a rule requiring that hosts compensate teams for every round they have to sit through in which fewer than, say, 17 tossups are read? NAQT could enforce this rule by telling the hosts that they could lose their auto bids if they don't comply with it. It seems to me that hosts who can't put together enough moderators to competently read a minimum number of questions in a reasonable period of time are failing the teams that pay a lot of money to play in their tournament and should compensate accordingly to the tune of, say, $10 a round. Perhaps this could be the motivation that would give hosts the incentive to find and train moderators, inform their moderators of the magic of separating the tossups and bonuses before the match begins, and tell their moderators "Hey, perhaps you shouldn't just stare idly at a sheet of questions for 10 seconds at a time without reading."
Eric D.
University of South Carolina Alum

User avatar
cvdwightw
Auron
Posts: 3446
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Southern CA
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by cvdwightw » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:15 pm

Here's a counter-proposal to the one proposed by Eric: NAQT revises its rules (at least for HSNCT, SCT, and ICT) to state that "matches consist of 20-minute games divided into two 10-minute halves, or 20 tossup/bonus cycles, whichever results in more questions heard." For a moderator getting through 15 tossups a game, this adds about 7 minutes to the match. So over a 15-round tournament, we've added no more than 2 hours to a tournament that should be done before 5:00 (start at 9:30, 25 minutes a round with an hour for lunch). 7:00 strikes me as a non-ideal but acceptable finish time for a college tournament. For a moderator getting through 22 tossups a game, it has absolutely no effect. The clock is still a factor (in that, e.g., teams that are behind can attempt to answer things faster to speed up the game and leave time for a comeback), but no one gets screwed over by 15-tossup games.

NAQT expects that all moderators are able to get through 18 tossups in a game. This is clearly not happening. By mandating that all games hit 20 tossups, NAQT removes the "wonky" factor from 15-tossup and 18-tossup games without significantly delaying the tournament. Regardless of your view on the "more, shorter questions" vs. "fewer, longer questions" debate, I think everyone is in agreement that "playing on fewer, shorter questions" is worse than either of those.

Under this plan, good teams or good moderators will still get average 22-24 tossups a game, and the middle-of-the-pack teams that slow moderators hurt the most (competent enough to get most tossups, but not going to power a lot or throw out bonus answers a second after the question ends) won't be as adversely affected.
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry

User avatar
ValenciaQBowl
Auron
Posts: 2359
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: Orlando, Florida

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:27 pm

That's a decent idea, Dwight, but two hours is still a lot of extra time for teams in the other rooms to have to be sitting around just because one or two very slow readers have to be used.

I wonder why some host schools have such a hard time finding 7-10 readers who can consistently hit 20+. Most programs that would bid for an SCT have that many active players, and I have to wonder if they can't get all of them to read that quickly if the veterans in those programs are training the newer players in the methods to maintain pace and allowing them sufficient reading opportunities in practice or elsewhere. I'm sure some hosts were dealing with no shows or last-minute cancellations, but outside of that, why would someone bid before being sure of a good reader pool? FWIW, I'm confident that I'll have 13-14 readers (though I'll need 12) and 15-16 trained/experienced scorekeepers for the CCCT, and I'm hopeful that the readers will all hit 21 or more every round. More than half are former Valencia players, whom I encourage to read at practices, especially in summer, while otherwise I'll be fortunate to have some USF and UF friends and others to call on. But I imagine that anyone bidding would want to line that up in advance.

I like the clock, as I do think it provides an interesting variant to the game, and I've always enjoyed coaching players to use the clock to their benefit. The new rules do eliminate some of that strategy stuff, which really was rarely as useful as my emphasis on it warranted, but for the reasons Seth outlined above, I'd like to see it continued, just as much as I'm glad not to have the clock in mACF/ACF tournaments.
Chris Borglum
Valencia College Grand Poobah

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:17 pm

The argument about the clock seems misguided. Most tournaments already take place off the clock and yet do not have rounds that stretch for hours (case in point: TIT, T-Party, EFT, etc.) So clearly rounds do not require an extraordinarily long time to read at most other events. Given that NAQT questions are typically shorter, I can't see games going beyond 25 minutes per round in most situations. I think if NAQT wants to use the clock, it should have a 20/20 minimum for questions read, or the clock, whichever is more. It seems like a good way to get more teams to hear the right amount of questions and set a floor for how many you get so you don't wind up with 15 question rounds.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

User avatar
cornfused
Auron
Posts: 2160
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:22 pm
Location: Des Moines, IA

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by cornfused » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:26 pm

cvdwightw wrote:"matches consist of 20-minute games divided into two 10-minute halves, or 20 tossup/bonus cycles, whichever results in more questions heard."
grapesmoker wrote:I think if NAQT wants to use the clock, it should have a 20/20 minimum for questions read, or the clock, whichever is more.
Consensus!
Greg Peterson

Northwestern University '18
Lawrence University '11
Maine South HS '07

"a decent player" - Mike Cheyne

User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:35 pm

So isn't that saying that it's against the rules to read more than 20 questions in a game?
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:38 pm

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:So isn't that saying that it's against the rules to read more than 20 questions in a game?
"Do x or y, whichever yields more questions" does not imply a twenty question maximum.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Mon Feb 09, 2009 11:42 pm

Then why does it even say "20 questions" at all? Why not "read as many as you can" or something obviously more professional sounding?
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:05 am

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:Then why does it even say "20 questions" at all? Why not "read as many as you can" or something obviously more professional sounding?
Er, because that doesn't make any sense. "Read as many as you can before the clock expires" is the status quo. "Read twenty questions or twenty minutes worth of questions, whichever is more questions" is an improvement to protect against 15 tossup games.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:23 am

But it could easily be misconstrued as "stop once you read the 20th question" as well, couldn't it?
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

User avatar
Auks Ran Ova
Forums Staff: Chief Administrator
Posts: 4048
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 10:28 pm
Location: Minneapolis
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:25 am

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:But it could easily be misconstrued as "stop once you read the 20th question" as well, couldn't it?
I guess if you don't understand the idea behind the word "more," yes.
Rob Carson
University of Minnesota '11, MCTC '??
Member, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer and Editor, NAQT

User avatar
Paul150
Lulu
Posts: 15
Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2008 4:30 pm
Location: Athens, GA
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Paul150 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:26 am

Not exactly, as it clearly says to proceed with whichever method sees more questions read.

Edit: Directed at Caesar Rodney HS
Paul Barnhill
University of Georgia 2009
Hofstra University School of Law 2012

User avatar
Down and out in Quintana Roo
Auron
Posts: 2907
Joined: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:25 am
Location: Camden, DE
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:28 am

I'm just trying to make sure that the rules are clear, that's all. I could easily see moderators thinking "okay, this rule says i have to try to read 20 questions and then stop, but i get two 10-minute halves to try to do that and i have to stop early if i run out of time. If the TD said 'time up' or '20 questions' 'whatever comes first' and when the 20th question comes, that's it so i'm done."

I suppose i haven't gotten my point across. Sorry for detracting from the thread and wasting everyone's time.
Mr. Andrew Chrzanowski
Caesar Rodney High School
Camden, Delaware
CRHS '97-'01
University of Delaware '01-'05
CRHS quizbowl coach '06-'12
http://crquizbowl.edublogs.org

User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
Banned Cheater
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:34 am

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:I'm just trying to make sure that the rules are clear, that's all. I could easily see moderators thinking "okay, this rule says i have to try to read 20 questions and then stop, but i get two 10-minute halves to try to do that and i have to stop early if i run out of time. If the TD said 'time up' or '20 questions' 'whatever comes first' and when the 20th question comes, that's it so i'm done."
Yeah, they will sure think that if they hear 'whatever comes first', which is why we say 'whatever comes last'. Your proposed revision to make the rules 'clear' actually makes the rules do nothing at all.
Andrew Watkins

User avatar
qroper224
Lulu
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 3:01 pm

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by qroper224 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:50 am

theMoMA wrote:While I agree with most of the above with regards to talking between questions, I would be very surprised if interrupting bonus parts went without consequences over an entire tournament. I used this strategy quite a bit during the day with good results in terms of extra tossups heard, but we did wind up missing a handful of bonus parts we otherwise would have gotten, and it seems likely to me that other teams using this strategy would get similar results.
This happened at least once to my team too.

It seems to me that in a timed format, it benefits good teams (or at least the better team in the room) to get through as many tossups as possible, so they interrupt bonuses. It seems like a good idea, then, for bonuses to specify what answer is being asked for via a pronoun in the first few words (kinda like a tossup).

This is not a defense of the clock, just that if it's a given that NAQT will use timed rounds next year, it's something NAQT should implement in order to alleviate good teams not getting bonus points on stuff they know.
Quentin Roper
University of Iowa

User avatar
jhn31
Wakka
Posts: 178
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:18 pm
Location: Starkville, MS

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by jhn31 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:02 am

I think we're forgetting one thing: Southerners just don't speak as quickly as people in other parts of the country, and it adds up on a 20-minute clock. I feel like that's exactly why, even though I screened and trained all of the mods (except one, who had to replace someone with a sudden illness), and told them 10 quesitons per half are expected, 9 is the minimum, half the games ended at 17 or fewer questions read. I never really felt like anything was going too slow though, in fact I thought every moderator was trying to go as fast as they could.

I definitely support allowing matches to go to 20 questions.
Harry, Mississippi State

User avatar
cornfused
Auron
Posts: 2160
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:22 pm
Location: Des Moines, IA

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by cornfused » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:20 am

jhn31 wrote:Southerners just don't speak as quickly as people in other parts of the country, and it adds up on a 20-minute clock.
I read quizbowl differently than I speak. This isn't actually a problem.

P.S. I've tested this theory with one of my teammates, who is from Baton Rouge and has the slow, mumbly Louisiana accent. He does just fine when moderating.
Greg Peterson

Northwestern University '18
Lawrence University '11
Maine South HS '07

"a decent player" - Mike Cheyne

User avatar
jhn31
Wakka
Posts: 178
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:18 pm
Location: Starkville, MS

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by jhn31 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:25 am

cornfused wrote:
jhn31 wrote:Southerners just don't speak as quickly as people in other parts of the country, and it adds up on a 20-minute clock.
I read quizbowl differently than I speak. This isn't actually a problem.

P.S. I've tested this theory with one of my teammates, who is from Baton Rouge and has the slow, mumbly Louisiana accent. He does just fine when moderating.
I think you're right that that's how it should be, and when I read, I can get through 20-22 questions. However, I'm pretty sure that's the reason why the readers at my site had problems getting to 18, despite being trained and told to.
Harry, Mississippi State

User avatar
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
Chairman of Anti-Music Mafia Committee
Posts: 5640
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:46 pm
Location: Columbia, MO

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Tue Feb 10, 2009 1:35 am

Then instruct them to speed up if they aren't making it to 20 very often.

Also, I'm kind of dumbfounded that you have attacked people on this board for reinforcing stereotypes or whatever about the South being racist (When all they did was ask about a racist southern politician), and now are using another stereotype to get your moderators off the hook.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region
Yuna
Posts: 970
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:50 am
Location: Columbia, SC

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:04 am

I'm not buying the Southerners speaking slowly thing as the primary reason readers can't get through a decent number of questions. In my experience, the failure of readers to get through a reasonable number of questions at timed events has more to do with a lack of training, and I've seen this happen at events not staffed by Southerners. Things like taking 10 seconds to flip between pages to get from tossups to bonuses, staring at the questions without reading for no good reason, agonizing over pronunciation, failing to properly observe answer time limits, and wasting good moderators as scorekeepers or doughnut eaters while having incompetent house staff read every round are among the things I have observed that caused teams to lose out on more questions.
Eric D.
University of South Carolina Alum

User avatar
jhn31
Wakka
Posts: 178
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:18 pm
Location: Starkville, MS

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by jhn31 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:11 am

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Then instruct them to speed up if they aren't making it to 20 very often.
I did. It helped a little, but not to the extent I wanted.
Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Also, I'm kind of dumbfounded that you have attacked people on this board for reinforcing stereotypes or whatever about the South being racist (When all they did was ask about a racist southern politician), and now are using another stereotype to get your moderators off the hook.
Not really the same thing, or even close to it. For starters, I'd say it's a question of fact (Southern drawl is a slower rate of speech, and people who have heard Southern drawl all their life consider it to be "normal") rather than an opinion (Southerners are more racist, Haley Barbour is a racist, etc.). But I digress.
Harry, Mississippi State

User avatar
setht
Auron
Posts: 1176
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:41 pm
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by setht » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:11 am

jhn31 wrote:
cornfused wrote:
jhn31 wrote:Southerners just don't speak as quickly as people in other parts of the country, and it adds up on a 20-minute clock.
I read quizbowl differently than I speak. This isn't actually a problem.

P.S. I've tested this theory with one of my teammates, who is from Baton Rouge and has the slow, mumbly Louisiana accent. He does just fine when moderating.
I think you're right that that's how it should be, and when I read, I can get through 20-22 questions. However, I'm pretty sure that's the reason why the readers at my site had problems getting to 18, despite being trained and told to.
jhn31 wrote:
cornfused wrote:
jhn31 wrote:Southerners just don't speak as quickly as people in other parts of the country, and it adds up on a 20-minute clock.
I read quizbowl differently than I speak. This isn't actually a problem.

P.S. I've tested this theory with one of my teammates, who is from Baton Rouge and has the slow, mumbly Louisiana accent. He does just fine when moderating.
I think you're right that that's how it should be, and when I read, I can get through 20-22 questions. However, I'm pretty sure that's the reason why the readers at my site had problems getting to 18, despite being trained and told to.
Were the moderators giving only 3 seconds per tossup and 5 seconds per bonus part? Were they reading over teams trying to chatter between questions? Those seem to be the most common reasons I've seen for moderators having trouble getting through many questions--more common than reading question text slowly.

-Seth
Seth Teitler
Formerly UC Berkeley and U. Chicago
President and Chief Editor, NAQT
Emeritus member, ACF

OntarioQuizzer
Lulu
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:29 pm
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by OntarioQuizzer » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:33 am

One thing that really irked me from moderating SCT up in Canada:

Being asked to "slow down" -- in a situation where I had gotten through only 10 cycles at halftime.
Andy Saunders
formerly Brock University
(former) general helper, University of Guelph quiz bowl

User avatar
jhn31
Wakka
Posts: 178
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2006 9:18 pm
Location: Starkville, MS

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by jhn31 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:40 am

After taking a look over the stats from the last 3 years of tossups read in d2 sectionals over the last 3 years (since presumably any club will put their best readers in d1), there is a trend that sectionals held in the South (and strangely, Canada) are the 3 or 4 lowest TUHPR, with the exception of Georgia's SCT this year. Also worth noting is that the sectionals the South unfortunately seem to have the lower tossup conversion, so shouldn't they actually get through more tossups because of that? I think the accent thing sounds like a reasonable explanation. Not an excuse or "get my mods of the hook." Just an explanation.

FWIW our 3 best readers all played. If we were ever to host sectionals again, this wouldn't happen.
Last edited by jhn31 on Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
Harry, Mississippi State

User avatar
grapesmoker
Sin
Posts: 6365
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:42 am

Caesar Rodney HS wrote:But it could easily be misconstrued as "stop once you read the 20th question" as well, couldn't it?
Stop rules-lawyering! It's pretty obvious what I meant, and "stop after reading 20 questions" is not it. I'm sure if this becomes the consensus view we can get it codified in unambiguous language to avoid confusion.
Jerry Vinokurov
ex-LJHS, ex-Berkeley, ex-Brown, sorta-ex-CMU
code ape, loud voice, general nuissance

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

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:03 am

Can we maybe split all the ridiculous nonsense about an inexplicable 8 post back and forth about the word "more," and NAQT setting some kind of global policy dictated by Southern linguistic traditions, into another thread? Specifically, a thread in AHAN where people post squirrel recipes?
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region
Yuna
Posts: 970
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:50 am
Location: Columbia, SC

Re: SCT 2009 discussion

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Tue Feb 10, 2009 3:04 am

jhn31 wrote: FWIW our 3 best readers all played. If we were ever to host sectionals again, this wouldn't happen.
Mystery solved! Looks like it didn't have anything to do with y'all's Southern drawls after all. Indeed, hosts need to put the needs of their paying guests ahead of their own. Anyway, it looks like y'all've learned your lesson, so that's cool.
Eric D.
University of South Carolina Alum

Locked