ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by magin » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:57 pm

I'm pleased to announce the second William Gaddis Experiment: An American Editor's Response to Justified Criticism, to be held Saturday night at HSNCT. Right now, this tournament is being written by myself, Ahmad Ragab, Shantanu Jha, Chris Chiego, Dwight Wynne, Gautam Kandlikar, Mike Bentley, Donald Taylor, and Kent Buxton. It will start on a set time Saturday after games at HSNCT end, in order to prevent the chaos of last year.

Basically, there are going to be teams of four players, two teams in a room playing a round robin, or a modified one, like other tournaments. However, instead of playing against one another, both teams collaborate on the tossups and the bonuses, with the object being to score as many points possible on the packet. So, if teams A and B combine to score 500 points in round 1, they each have a score of 500 after round 1. Then, if team A and team C combine to score 600 points in round 2, while team B and team D combine to score 400 points, after two rounds, team A would have 1100 points, while team B would have 900 points, and so on. At the end of the tournament, the teams will be ranked by points, with the team scoring the most points being the winner. Individual stats and prizes will still be kept, of course.

Instead of having a draft, like last year, players can form teams of four with no teammate restrictions. There will be powers and superpowers (worth 20 and 30 points, respectively), and no negs. We're debating over whether there should be two or three allowed buzzes per tossup; I'm open to any thoughts on this. I think that getting rid of the draft and starting earlier will allow us to end much earlier than last year.

Also, this tournament is going to be very hard. It won't be impossible, but powering tossups will be difficult, and the bonuses will be quite difficult. Don't play this if you're expecting a regular difficulty tournament; it is going to be harder than ICT/ACF Nationals. The tossups are probably going to be a hair easier than last year's Gaddis, but they will be longer and harder to power.

If you'd like to play, email me at jsmagin at yahoo dot com or post in this thread. Oh yeah, the cost of the tournament is again zero dollars and zero cents, and everyone who wants to play can play. If people want to start earlier and work with us to buy food to eat during the tournament, there will probably be a five dollar charge for that. Anyway, it's shaping up to be better-written than last year, so sign up. It's going to be exciting.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by MLafer » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:01 pm

I will be there
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:03 pm

I'll play regardless, of course, but I'm wondering what procedures are being put into place to make sure that a tournament featuring multiple full-length rounds that starts after a 14-round HSNCT day does not take literally all night to play.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by magin » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:09 pm

So, last year, with a long draft and an unclear starting time, we ended at 1:30 AM, I believe. Why wouldn't eliminating the draft and setting an earlier starting time allow us to end earlier?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:11 pm

I'm concerned that the bonuses will add significant time to the rounds, and that the unusual setup will be both unfamiliar to participants and the cause of logistical problems in conferring among 8 people, and thus add more time as well.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by theMoMA » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:19 pm

What Matt said.

Also, I'm envisioning not necessarily a problem with tiered powers and multiple buzzes, but something that I think is suboptimal. Do we really want to encourage one or two buzzes per question to be educated guesses? It only makes sense that given the format, the teams in a room at any given time should try to use their first [two] buzz[es] to get power, especially if the bonuses are really hard. I'm of the mind that these types of tournaments should be about showing the amount of cool stuff that you know, and having a format like that rewards guessing would seriously hinder my enjoyment.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by magin » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:24 pm

That seems like an argument in favor of two buzzes, not three, then (or negs); actually, two buzzes per room, plus negs might work.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:40 pm

Yeah, I'll play regardless of what happens.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:44 pm

Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:Also, this tournament is going to be very hard. It won't be impossible...
I'm disappointed.

No, wait, of course I'll play this. Maybe this time I can avoid comically negging the birdwatching tossup in the last round.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by pray for elves » Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:51 pm

If I make it to HSNCT, I'll play.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Auroni » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:02 pm

Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:If I make it to HSNCT, I'll play.
It'll be the same for me.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Not That Kind of Christian!! » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:47 pm

Ukonvasara wrote:Yeah, I'll play regardless of what happens.
Ditto.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Sir Thopas » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:50 pm

Ukonvasara wrote:Yeah, I'll play regardless of what happens.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by wd4gdz » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:00 pm

theMoMA wrote:I'm of the mind that these types of tournaments should be about showing the amount of cool stuff that you know, and having a format like that rewards guessing would seriously hinder my enjoyment.
What he said.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Eärendil » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:13 pm

JelloBiafra wrote:
Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:If I make it to HSNCT, I'll play.
It'll be the same for me.

What they've said.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Pilgrim » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:17 pm

I'll play this no matter what if I'm at HSNCT, but I'd like to say I think the format is silly and that the inclusion of bonuses is going to make this last way later than last year.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by magin » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:23 pm

I'm not tied to including bonuses; if the majority believe that they would make the tournament run severely late, there's no need to have them. Also, to people criticizing the tournament format, it would be helpful if you posted reasons for disliking it rather than "it offends my sense of quizbowl aesthetics" or "I just don't like such formats."

It would also be helpful if such critics noted that this tournament is an experiment designed to test several hypotheses about quizbowl while hopefully providing enjoyable questions to play on, and not an attempt to displace regular tournaments or to foist my personal beliefs onto quizbowlers by fiat.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by ak47 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 7:49 pm

I'll play.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:33 pm

One vote here in favor of bonuses, if only because I'd like to see the third parts of Gaddis-level bonuses and the resultant crazy kinds of canon expansion.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by cornfused » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:47 pm

Eärendil wrote:
JelloBiafra wrote:
Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:If I make it to HSNCT, I'll play.
It'll be the same for me.

What they've said.
Yep.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:52 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:One vote here in favor of bonuses, if only because I'd like to see the third parts of Gaddis-level bonuses and the resultant crazy kinds of canon expansion.
Pretty much what he said. And the resulting two year wait before the third part of a Gaddis bonus becomes an insanely inappropriate tossup.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:04 pm

This tournament ran really late last year, and I don't think that the relatively minor reforms being made to dinner scheduling will save enough time to have both bonuses and sleep.

Nonetheless, I'll be there unless I have to work that weekend.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:25 pm

Yeah, we have to try and remember I guess that pretty much everyone who is going to be at this will need to do some sleeping to be able to moderate the next morning or to go get some rest before playing (even more important, especially since I'm sure a lot of coaches will set some kind of player deadline). It seems to me like having bonuses is just going to make this run indefinitely, not to mention with longer tossups too. We probably should try to aim to finish this by midnight this year, and I just don't see that happening with bonuses.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Mike Bentley » Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:34 pm

With Gaddis level difficulty, I don't see how matches could possibly end in under 30 minutes with bonuses. The podcasts from last year indicate they took around 17-19 minutes per round. With people probably using the full 5 seconds per bonus part to try to come up with answers they don't know, I see them taking more in the order of 35 minutes, even with good readers. Adding 5 minutes to the rounds for time to move between rooms, go to the bathroom, hand in scoresheets, etc., that means that 10 rounds (what we did last year) will take 40 minutes x 10 = 400 minutes which is almost 7 hours. 5 rounds would be 3.3 hours, 8 rounds would be 5.3 hours.

I think even 5 rounds is pushing it, as you have to allow time after the HSNCT ends on Saturday for people to get food, show up late, get schedules, rebracket, etc. Setting a start time at 7 PM probably won't finish until 1 AM if you do 8 rounds with bonuses.

Also, I still think the format is dumb for reasons specified last time we had this discussion.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:41 am

I enjoy (quasi-)quizbowl!

MaS

PS: I'll try not to delay the tournament this time around.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Pilgrim » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:35 am

Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:Also, to people criticizing the tournament format, it would be helpful if you posted reasons for disliking it rather than "it offends my sense of quizbowl aesthetics" or "I just don't like such formats."
My primary objection to a weird format like this is that it seems to encourage attempts to game the format (e.g. "We have x buzzes to use on each tossup, so we might as well make x-1 of them random guesses in attempts to get power!"), getting in the way of just playing quizbowl.

Also, I think a lot of the attraction of quizbowl is the competitiveness - not necessarily of trying to win the game, but of trying to beat the other team to the buzz on each question, thus demonstrating superior knowledge, and I think this format all but eliminates that.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by DumbJaques » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:56 am

I agree that having three buzzes is just going to encourage using the first one as a wild guess, and that's not really desirable. I guess I also see equal problems with the two buzz route, given the current parameters at least. I mean, if you use bonuses, it's absolutely in everyone's best interest to just not buzz in until the end, nonverbally conferring with the other team bounce-back style to establish who's sure. Even if you don't use bonuses, this strategy is still probably the best to use. It's essentially an entire tournament of hearing bouncebacks, except there are 8 people. Even if teams tried to buzz in early, then you would play this format by trying to calculate who your teammates are (most of which you might not even know), who your opponents are, and when each might have a decent shot of getting a question, etc. So, it seems as if two buzzes per room don't work so well either. Also, to clarify - would that be one buzz per team, as normal, or could one team lock the other out by double negging? If this is the case - hey Trevor, want to join up for this?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by magin » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:28 am

So, I agree that having multiple buzzes with no negs will encourage guessing, which is obviously not what I want to do. However, it seems to me like having two buzzes will cause most rooms to wait till the end of the tossups to buzz, which is not optimal either. Therefore, I think having three buzzes per tossup, plus negs, will work; sure, you can guess in an attempt to power tossups and get those 30 or 20 points, but now it's possible to get up to -15 or -10 points per question (with two negs requiring someone to answer the tossup at the end just to return to 0 for the tossup). I think that would discourage wild guessing while still allowing players chances to buzz during the middle, since I agree that encouraging guessing and waiting to the end of the tossups to buzz would be a bad idea.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by fleurdelivre » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:38 am

Hope to make it to HSNCT; will obviously volunteer to staff if I'm there...
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by setht » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:56 am

Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:I'm not tied to including bonuses; if the majority believe that they would make the tournament run severely late, there's no need to have them. Also, to people criticizing the tournament format, it would be helpful if you posted reasons for disliking it rather than "it offends my sense of quizbowl aesthetics" or "I just don't like such formats."

It would also be helpful if such critics noted that this tournament is an experiment designed to test several hypotheses about quizbowl while hopefully providing enjoyable questions to play on, and not an attempt to displace regular tournaments or to foist my personal beliefs onto quizbowlers by fiat.
10 untimed rounds of tossups and bonuses takes at least 5 hours to run under ideal circumstances. Given that the questions are supposed to be post-Nationals-level and extra-long, I'm guessing it will take a decent bit more than 5 hours. If you can't start until 6 or later, and you need to deal with dinner somehow, and you want to finish before midnight so people staffing/competing in HSNCT won't be zombies the next day, I don't think you have time for 10 rounds with tossups and bonuses.

Jonathan, it might help the critics formulate more nuanced responses to the tournament format if you could give more of an explanation of what hypotheses you're trying to test and why you think this format is a good idea. Without being entirely sure what your goals are, I'll go ahead and say I'm not a fan of this experimental format for a couple reasons. First off, I think it's most likely that the most-knowledgeable team is going to win out, but no more likely than with a traditional format (if anything I think it's going to do a less good job of this than a traditional format). Assuming this format doesn't do a better job of ranking teams by knowledge, what's gained with this format besides confusing people? Second, I think this format is more likely than a traditional format to have weird results with less-knowledgeable teams placing higher than more-knowledgeable teams: this format rewards teams that have good luck in their packet + opponent match-ups (for instance, the team that's playing against Jeff Hoppes's team on the packet with 5/5 birds and 5/5 New Model Army benefits as much as Jeff's team does and gets much more points out of that match-up than any team playing Jeff's team on most other packets). It doesn't matter at all whether the opponent scores more or less points than your own team, as long as they score lots of points. An extreme possibility is that a team of empty chairs could win this tournament if they hit the other teams on the right packets. The analogous issue in a traditional format seems much less problematic to me; if you're on a strong team, you should have a good shot at scoring more points than your opponent even when they hit a packet with a chunk of questions suited to their strengths.

If the goal is to foster camaraderie and a sense of community by making games a cooperative struggle rather than a competitive struggle, I think having people play on mixed teams with people they don't usually play with and promoting a relaxed atmosphere of friendly competition at the tournament will be more effective. Really, this doesn't seem like it should be a concern at Gaddis.

The one possible advantage I can think of for this format is that it promotes scoring points over winning games. I'm not sure this is actually better than the traditional format, and if this is in fact the impetus for the format it seems like just having each team keep its own score from each round would do a better job of tracking which teams put up the most points. I suppose this format also rewards teams that are especially effective in getting their opponents to score points; I have no idea what such teams look like and I see no reason to reward this particular ability.

I haven't thought of any positive aspects of the format that seem like they outweigh what I feel are the negative aspects of the format, but I'm going to stop speculating wildly on the goals of the tournament and wait to see what Jonathan has in mind.

If I'm at HSNCT I'll want to play this regardless of format.

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by setht » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:10 am

Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:So, I agree that having multiple buzzes with no negs will encourage guessing, which is obviously not what I want to do. However, it seems to me like having two buzzes will cause most rooms to wait till the end of the tossups to buzz, which is not optimal either. Therefore, I think having three buzzes per tossup, plus negs, will work; sure, you can guess in an attempt to power tossups and get those 30 or 20 points, but now it's possible to get up to -15 or -10 points per question (with two negs requiring someone to answer the tossup at the end just to return to 0 for the tossup). I think that would discourage wild guessing while still allowing players chances to buzz during the middle, since I agree that encouraging guessing and waiting to the end of the tossups to buzz would be a bad idea.
Why are we discussing what number of buzzes/negs format will best discourage wild guessing and waiting until the end to buzz? If you really want people to buzz correctly midway through tossups, put in middle clues that players with decent knowledge can buzz on, and make it worth their while to buzz when they know, rather than waiting until the end (by switching to a competitive format where people want to buzz before the other team, or by making the power marks generous* so people know it's better to buzz in the middle/late middle rather than wait until the end). It's really that simple.

* If you want people to buzz as soon as they know an answer (no matter where that happens) and you want to keep the cooperative format, you could make tossups worth 10 + 5 times the number of lines before the last line at the point of the buzz.

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Cheynem » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:13 am

I suppose this format also rewards teams that are especially effective in getting their opponents to score points
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by magin » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:30 am

setht wrote:
Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:So, I agree that having multiple buzzes with no negs will encourage guessing, which is obviously not what I want to do. However, it seems to me like having two buzzes will cause most rooms to wait till the end of the tossups to buzz, which is not optimal either. Therefore, I think having three buzzes per tossup, plus negs, will work; sure, you can guess in an attempt to power tossups and get those 30 or 20 points, but now it's possible to get up to -15 or -10 points per question (with two negs requiring someone to answer the tossup at the end just to return to 0 for the tossup). I think that would discourage wild guessing while still allowing players chances to buzz during the middle, since I agree that encouraging guessing and waiting to the end of the tossups to buzz would be a bad idea.
Why are we discussing what number of buzzes/negs format will best discourage wild guessing and waiting until the end to buzz? If you really want people to buzz correctly midway through tossups, put in middle clues that players with decent knowledge can buzz on, and make it worth their while to buzz when they know, rather than waiting until the end (by switching to a competitive format where people want to buzz before the other team, or by making the power marks generous* so people know it's better to buzz in the middle/late middle rather than wait until the end). It's really that simple.

* If you want people to buzz as soon as they know an answer (no matter where that happens) and you want to keep the cooperative format, you could make tossups worth 10 + 5 times the number of lines before the last line at the point of the buzz.

-Seth
First of all, Seth, I considered making tossups worth 10 + 5 times the number of lines before the last line of the buzz, but felt that it would be a strain on moderators, so I decided on generous powers and superpowers (I mean, I feel that receiving 30 or 20 points for a good buzz will encourage players to buzz when they know, since people like the points and the recognition of powering a tossup).

Second, I'll explain my hypotheses. Certainly, I don't think the current format of quizbowl is bad or wrong or anything, but I feel that it relies on tension between the playing teams (which causes players to become frustrated at buzzer races or other teams, and is generally a negative). I think that quizbowl can be played well and competitively if the only major tension is between players and the packet, not between one team, another team, and the packet. For this tournament, I'm attempting to replace the incentive of "answer the tossup earlier to beat the other team" with "answer the tossup earlier to get more points" to see whether reducing this interteam tension is potentially worthwhile. My primary goal is not to increase camaraderie, but to allow people to play perhaps a "purer" form of quizbowl where buzzes are much less affected by interteam tension. Of course, if this format happens to increase camaraderie, I think that can only be a good thing, but that is not my primary goal. Does that make sense?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by setht » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:12 pm

Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:First of all, Seth, I considered making tossups worth 10 + 5 times the number of lines before the last line of the buzz, but felt that it would be a strain on moderators, so I decided on generous powers and superpowers (I mean, I feel that receiving 30 or 20 points for a good buzz will encourage players to buzz when they know, since people like the points and the recognition of powering a tossup).

Second, I'll explain my hypotheses. Certainly, I don't think the current format of quizbowl is bad or wrong or anything, but I feel that it relies on tension between the playing teams (which causes players to become frustrated at buzzer races or other teams, and is generally a negative). I think that quizbowl can be played well and competitively if the only major tension is between players and the packet, not between one team, another team, and the packet. For this tournament, I'm attempting to replace the incentive of "answer the tossup earlier to beat the other team" with "answer the tossup earlier to get more points" to see whether reducing this interteam tension is potentially worthwhile. My primary goal is not to increase camaraderie, but to allow people to play perhaps a "purer" form of quizbowl where buzzes are much less affected by interteam tension. Of course, if this format happens to increase camaraderie, I think that can only be a good thing, but that is not my primary goal. Does that make sense?
I'm not sure how to square your statement that powers and superpowers will be generous with your earlier statement that powering tossups will be difficult. Obviously giving out lots of points for really good early buzzes promotes early buzzes, but I don't see how that does anything to promote not-so-early-but-still-before-the-end buzzes. From the discussion on negs and numbers of buzzes per tossup I thought you were concerned that players that figure out an answer 70% of the way through a tossup will just sit there and wait for the end of the tossup because there's no incentive for them to risk a neg. I don't really see how difficult-to-earn powers, however generous they are with points, will answer this concern--if I'm playing a tossup and I'm pretty sure it's gone past the power mark, what incentive do I have for interrupting a question when I recognize a clue?

I agree that there is competitive tension during quizbowl matches. I also agree that buzzer races are frustrating and that frustration during quizbowl is not fun, but it seems like the proper response is to work at writing questions that won't generate buzzer races, since I'm pretty sure people will still be upset about buzzer races even if they don't cost their team any points. That is, the frustration of a buzzer race in a traditional format game isn't entirely tied to the fact that it reduces one team's chance of winning the game. I've felt frustrated by buzzer races I've won. Given that I think the proposed format will encourage teams to sit through the middle/late middle of all tossups that aren't answered early for power, I believe there will be many more live tossups going to the end, leading to many more "buzzer races" at the ends of tossups (unless you plan on writing tossups so hard that typically only one person even recognizes the giveaway [note: terrible idea]). I think this will be more frustrating to deal with, even if the frustration per buzzer race is reduced by the cooperative format. Also, given the goal of eliminating tension between teams and focusing on "players vs. the packet" why bother having two teams in a room at a time? Why not just have each team sit in a room and play through the packet set by itself, then total up points at the end? This seems like it would do a better job on your primary goal--clearly there's no interteam tension mucking things up if there's no other team present while people are playing the set.

Having said that, I think this format (and the modification where teams sit in rooms playing packets by themselves) is less fun, less interesting, and less likely to encourage the sort of good/decent buzzes I think you want to see, than a traditional format, but perhaps I misunderstand what you mean by "pure" quizbowl. If you mean, "Buzz in the first three lines if you know it then; otherwise go to sleep until the giveaway and then buzz if you know it," I think your proposed format is perfect. If you mean, "Buzz as soon as you're pretty sure you know the answer to a tossup, no matter how early or late in the question that is, and regardless of whether the other team has negged," then I recommend going with the 10+5-per-line-before-the-end scoring system and a traditional competitive format or a format where teams are ranked by total points scored (by themselves, not in cooperation with their opponents). I'm not sure either of these interpretations is anywhere close to what you mean by "pure" quizbowl (I certainly hope the first one is not); if you have something different in mind, please let me/us know.

-Seth
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by magin » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:25 pm

setht wrote:
Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:First of all, Seth, I considered making tossups worth 10 + 5 times the number of lines before the last line of the buzz, but felt that it would be a strain on moderators, so I decided on generous powers and superpowers (I mean, I feel that receiving 30 or 20 points for a good buzz will encourage players to buzz when they know, since people like the points and the recognition of powering a tossup).

Second, I'll explain my hypotheses. Certainly, I don't think the current format of quizbowl is bad or wrong or anything, but I feel that it relies on tension between the playing teams (which causes players to become frustrated at buzzer races or other teams, and is generally a negative). I think that quizbowl can be played well and competitively if the only major tension is between players and the packet, not between one team, another team, and the packet. For this tournament, I'm attempting to replace the incentive of "answer the tossup earlier to beat the other team" with "answer the tossup earlier to get more points" to see whether reducing this interteam tension is potentially worthwhile. My primary goal is not to increase camaraderie, but to allow people to play perhaps a "purer" form of quizbowl where buzzes are much less affected by interteam tension. Of course, if this format happens to increase camaraderie, I think that can only be a good thing, but that is not my primary goal. Does that make sense?
I'm not sure how to square your statement that powers and superpowers will be generous with your earlier statement that powering tossups will be difficult. Obviously giving out lots of points for really good early buzzes promotes early buzzes, but I don't see how that does anything to promote not-so-early-but-still-before-the-end buzzes. From the discussion on negs and numbers of buzzes per tossup I thought you were concerned that players that figure out an answer 70% of the way through a tossup will just sit there and wait for the end of the tossup because there's no incentive for them to risk a neg. I don't really see how difficult-to-earn powers, however generous they are with points, will answer this concern--if I'm playing a tossup and I'm pretty sure it's gone past the power mark, what incentive do I have for interrupting a question when I recognize a clue?

I agree that there is competitive tension during quizbowl matches. I also agree that buzzer races are frustrating and that frustration during quizbowl is not fun, but it seems like the proper response is to work at writing questions that won't generate buzzer races, since I'm pretty sure people will still be upset about buzzer races even if they don't cost their team any points. That is, the frustration of a buzzer race in a traditional format game isn't entirely tied to the fact that it reduces one team's chance of winning the game. I've felt frustrated by buzzer races I've won. Given that I think the proposed format will encourage teams to sit through the middle/late middle of all tossups that aren't answered early for power, I believe there will be many more live tossups going to the end, leading to many more "buzzer races" at the ends of tossups (unless you plan on writing tossups so hard that typically only one person even recognizes the giveaway [note: terrible idea]). I think this will be more frustrating to deal with, even if the frustration per buzzer race is reduced by the cooperative format. Also, given the goal of eliminating tension between teams and focusing on "players vs. the packet" why bother having two teams in a room at a time? Why not just have each team sit in a room and play through the packet set by itself, then total up points at the end? This seems like it would do a better job on your primary goal--clearly there's no interteam tension mucking things up if there's no other team present while people are playing the set.

Having said that, I think this format (and the modification where teams sit in rooms playing packets by themselves) is less fun, less interesting, and less likely to encourage the sort of good/decent buzzes I think you want to see, than a traditional format, but perhaps I misunderstand what you mean by "pure" quizbowl. If you mean, "Buzz in the first three lines if you know it then; otherwise go to sleep until the giveaway and then buzz if you know it," I think your proposed format is perfect. If you mean, "Buzz as soon as you're pretty sure you know the answer to a tossup, no matter how early or late in the question that is, and regardless of whether the other team has negged," then I recommend going with the 10+5-per-line-before-the-end scoring system and a traditional competitive format or a format where teams are ranked by total points scored (by themselves, not in cooperation with their opponents). I'm not sure either of these interpretations is anywhere close to what you mean by "pure" quizbowl (I certainly hope the first one is not); if you have something different in mind, please let me/us know.

-Seth
Let me explain again. Powering tossups will not be difficult if you know stuff about the answer. It will be difficult if you don't. Also, the incentive to buzz is that the power marks go fairly late into the tossup (look at Ryan's experiment and Gaddis I for examples of this). My discussion of buzzes and negs was based on responses in this thread, which indicated that no negs and several buzzes per tossup would lead to a strategy of guessing on tossups and either getting them right or waiting until the very end to buzz; those outcomes are suboptimal. I mean, it's not like you can't power these tossups. My goal is for each tossup to have lots of good, buzzable clues for superpower and power, and for those clues to predominate over the 10-point clues.

Your arguments seem to be based on the assumption that the tossups are going to be really hard, with short power marks; that is not the case. The clues will be hard, but the answers will not be so difficult that only one person knows them, and the power marks will extend for most of the tossups. By "purer" quizbowl I mean quizbowl without the confounding factor of interteam tension (purer in the sense that a possibly confounding factor is removed, not purer in the sense of a higher moral plane). Also, I think that having everyone sit in one room and play all the tossups together would not test my hypothesis at all. My main hypothesis is: can teams play competitive quizbowl against the packets, and only the packets? I think, if done carefully, it is not only possible, but rewarding.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by marnold » Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:32 pm

Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote: My primary goal is not to increase camaraderie, but to allow people to play perhaps a "purer" form of quizbowl where buzzes are much less affected by interteam tension.
This is like saying the slam dunk competition is a purer form of basketball. In both cases, you've taken an activity where competition is an integral, not merely confounding, part, removed the competitive element and put in some other, more indirect way of comparing participants. The justification for this format should be like the dunk contest's: hey, it's a wacky idea that could be kinda fun as long as it happens only once a year but admittedly bears only tangential resemblance to the main activity. That's at least probably true rather than the "purity" argument.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by setht » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:10 pm

Coral Gardens and Their Magin wrote:Let me explain again. Powering tossups will not be difficult if you know stuff about the answer. It will be difficult if you don't. Also, the incentive to buzz is that the power marks go fairly late into the tossup (look at Ryan's experiment and Gaddis I for examples of this). My discussion of buzzes and negs was based on responses in this thread, which indicated that no negs and several buzzes per tossup would lead to a strategy of guessing on tossups and either getting them right or waiting until the very end to buzz; those outcomes are suboptimal. I mean, it's not like you can't power these tossups. My goal is for each tossup to have lots of good, buzzable clues for superpower and power, and for those clues to predominate over the 10-point clues.

Your arguments seem to be based on the assumption that the tossups are going to be really hard, with short power marks; that is not the case. The clues will be hard, but the answers will not be so difficult that only one person knows them, and the power marks will extend for most of the tossups. By "purer" quizbowl I mean quizbowl without the confounding factor of interteam tension (purer in the sense that a possibly confounding factor is removed, not purer in the sense of a higher moral plane). Also, I think that having everyone sit in one room and play all the tossups together would not test my hypothesis at all. My main hypothesis is: can teams play competitive quizbowl against the packets, and only the packets? I think, if done carefully, it is not only possible, but rewarding.
Okay, I'm glad to hear the stuff about goals for powers.

I still don't buy into the arguments for the cooperative format, and I think the modified format I outlined above does a better job of testing your main hypothesis than the format you proposed. I wasn't proposing having everyone play in one room; I was proposing forming N teams of 4, then running N rooms of games where each room has 1 team playing packets by itself. This clearly pits every team separately against the packet, and only the packet. If you really want to have a bunch of teams play only against a set of packets, not each other, you should do that. If you think a typical team of 4 won't fare well against these packets, and that's your reason for having 2 teams in a room at a time, just increase the team size. If your goal is to give people the experience of playing against packets on cooperative teams of 8 with half of the team changing each round, I guess what you have in mind is the way to go. I'll also note that this format has the weird property that if the top two teams face each other in the last round, there's literally nothing the second-place team can do to win out (and in fact, no matter when the top two teams face each other it doesn't matter what they do, as long as they don't score so few points as to let the third place team into the top two).

It's not really clear to me how the proposed format is different from a glorified club practice, and while I agree that club practice is rewarding I find playing traditional tournaments much more rewarding. If other people find practices more rewarding than traditional tournaments, or if there's some reason to believe this will actually be more rewarding than typical practices/traditional tournaments, I'll register my vote for using a traditional format and stop debating this. Otherwise, I'll claim that club practices answer the question, "Can competitive quizbowl be played only against a packet, and is it rewarding?" in the affirmative, but I'll claim that it's less rewarding than competitive quizbowl played against other teams, and I'll propose that this tournament adopt a traditional format as being more rewarding for the participants than the cooperative format.

If you're looking for ways to differentiate this event from others, I think post-Nationals-level tournaments are rare enough that you don't need to do anything more to separate this one from the pack of regular-difficulty events.

-Seth
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by magin » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:36 pm

setht wrote:It's not really clear to me how the proposed format is different from a glorified club practice, and while I agree that club practice is rewarding I find playing traditional tournaments much more rewarding. If other people find practices more rewarding than traditional tournaments, or if there's some reason to believe this will actually be more rewarding than typical practices/traditional tournaments, I'll register my vote for using a traditional format and stop debating this. Otherwise, I'll claim that club practices answer the question, "Can competitive quizbowl be played only against a packet, and is it rewarding?" in the affirmative, but I'll claim that it's less rewarding than competitive quizbowl played against other teams, and I'll propose that this tournament adopt a traditional format as being more rewarding for the participants than the cooperative format.

If you're looking for ways to differentiate this event from others, I think post-Nationals-level tournaments are rare enough that you don't need to do anything more to separate this one from the pack of regular-difficulty events.

-Seth
I think it's inaccurate to bill the proposed format "a glorified club practice;" it consists of a series of games in which teams compete with packets (on which other teams are also playing) in order to score the most points. That's different from any practice I've ever been to, but perhaps Chicago has enough people at their practices that they break into several rooms and compete to see which room scores the highest on the same packet?

Also, I considered having each room stay the same throughout all the rounds, which might well produce slightly better data; however, I think part of the charm of these experiments is that you get to play against (or with, in this case) many people from around the country, and I think that that aspect is positive enough that it should stay.

To answer your query "if there's some reason to believe this will actually be more rewarding than typical practices/traditional tournaments," a number of people have told me that they are looking forward to this format precisely because of its differences from traditional tournaments. I won't name names if they for some reason don't want me to mention them, but people do seem to want to play this.

Finally, I'm not just doing this to be different; I've already outlined what I'm trying to accomplish with this specific format, and I think it's a worthwhile experiment (if I can be grandiose here, isn't running this tournament akin to experimental science, in that I've formulated a hypothesis and am testing it through experimentation?)
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by theMoMA » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:39 pm

Maybe make the bonuses just one part worth ten points, with tossup points counting to the team that they go to, and bonus points being collaborative?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by cvdwightw » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:07 pm

If I knew exactly how many people (at least within a ballpark) were showing up and how many rounds were being played, I could create some kind of Stanford Singles format. In "traditional" Stanford Singles, the players themselves rotate teams every round, with the goal to be on as many winning teams as possible. It seems to me that this format could be tweaked slightly to accomplish all of Jonathan's goals while still maintaining some sort of competitive aspect. Here's what I envision:

We begin not with a draft but with a "pick numbers out of a hat" randomization. This shouldn't take too long. Each round, you play with seven other players, and your goal is to score as many team points as possible. Your goal is also to score as many individual points as possible, since your individual score is TEAM SCORE + INDIVIDUAL SCORE. So if your team scores a total of 255 points in a round, and you got 1 20 and 2 -5's, your total score is 265 (255+10). In my mind, this discourages the aggressive buzz, because you're hurting your own individual score by adopting the "let's be superaggressive and buzz in with the first thing that comes to mind because if we're right even 1/5 of the time we've got the same expected points as if we just wait to the end" strategy. I highly suspect that this will not deter the aggressive players from continuing to rack up negs, but will deter normally less aggressive players from implementing the same strategy. Also, if you get beat to a buzzer race, you're still getting the points earned from that buzz (just someone else is getting slightly more).

So, Seth's example of the wonky packet with 5/5 birds and 5/5 New Model Army, people playing with Jeff benefit from that round, but Jeff benefits more. Similarly, if the top two individuals are in the same room at the last round, then the second-place individual still has a chance to win by getting (however many points he is down) more tossup points than the first-place individual. But, those two individuals also have a high incentive to cooperate, because the third-place individual may be racking up lots of individual points in a second room. This format also allows (forces?) people to play with teammates they would not normally pick, if only for a round.

This would require a decent amount of logistical planning to ensure that random distribution of numbers into rooms is somewhat fair (someone who ends up with Andrew Yaphe in 5 out of 8 rounds is going to have a highly inflated score), but I think that if I had some ballpark knowledge (+/- 8) of how many people are planning to play this thing, I could print cards with an individual schedule for each number and a full schedule for each moderator.

Thoughts?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by magin » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:13 pm

cvdwightw wrote:If I knew exactly how many people (at least within a ballpark) were showing up and how many rounds were being played, I could create some kind of Stanford Singles format. In "traditional" Stanford Singles, the players themselves rotate teams every round, with the goal to be on as many winning teams as possible. It seems to me that this format could be tweaked slightly to accomplish all of Jonathan's goals while still maintaining some sort of competitive aspect. Here's what I envision:

We begin not with a draft but with a "pick numbers out of a hat" randomization. This shouldn't take too long. Each round, you play with seven other players, and your goal is to score as many team points as possible. Your goal is also to score as many individual points as possible, since your individual score is TEAM SCORE + INDIVIDUAL SCORE. So if your team scores a total of 255 points in a round, and you got 1 20 and 2 -5's, your total score is 265 (255+10). In my mind, this discourages the aggressive buzz, because you're hurting your own individual score by adopting the "let's be superaggressive and buzz in with the first thing that comes to mind because if we're right even 1/5 of the time we've got the same expected points as if we just wait to the end" strategy. I highly suspect that this will not deter the aggressive players from continuing to rack up negs, but will deter normally less aggressive players from implementing the same strategy. Also, if you get beat to a buzzer race, you're still getting the points earned from that buzz (just someone else is getting slightly more).

So, Seth's example of the wonky packet with 5/5 birds and 5/5 New Model Army, people playing with Jeff benefit from that round, but Jeff benefits more. Similarly, if the top two individuals are in the same room at the last round, then the second-place individual still has a chance to win by getting (however many points he is down) more tossup points than the first-place individual. But, those two individuals also have a high incentive to cooperate, because the third-place individual may be racking up lots of individual points in a second room. This format also allows (forces?) people to play with teammates they would not normally pick, if only for a round.

This would require a decent amount of logistical planning to ensure that random distribution of numbers into rooms is somewhat fair (someone who ends up with Andrew Yaphe in 5 out of 8 rounds is going to have a highly inflated score), but I think that if I had some ballpark knowledge (+/- 8) of how many people are planning to play this thing, I could print cards with an individual schedule for each number and a full schedule for each moderator.

Thoughts?
I like this idea a lot, Dwight. Instead of complete randomization, would assigning one-eighth of the players the number 1, one-eighth the number 2, and so on up to 8 work, and then doing permutations of that work?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by ... and the chaos of Mexican modernity » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:43 pm

1.Would this begin right after the rounds for the prelims conclude?

2. I would like to play this if it's okay with everyone.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Ondes Martenot » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:53 pm

If I can somehow get myself to Chicago, I'm definitely in
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Thu Mar 12, 2009 6:42 pm

Bakery, State, and Utopia wrote:2. I would like to play this if it's okay with everyone.
I think I speak for everyone when I say that we would love to see you there.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Sampling » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:08 pm

cornfused wrote:
Eärendil wrote:
JelloBiafra wrote:
Hilarius Bookbinder wrote:If I make it to HSNCT, I'll play.
It'll be the same for me.

What they've said.
Yep.
The above.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by Cheynem » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:25 pm

I might be there and if so I will play this. Break the goofy meter, Jonathan. Break it.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by evilmonkey » Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:29 am

I'll help staff this thing
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by manary » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:49 pm

I'll play!
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by ClemsonQB » Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:21 am

I'd like to play this.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Gaddis Experiment II

Post by recfreq » Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:33 pm

I also need teammates for this (esp if it's on sunday, but sat's fine too), but may be I'll just show up and find a team.
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