TRASHionals discussion

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Rothlover
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TRASHionals discussion

Post by Rothlover »

Hey, got to go ahead to discuss all your TRASHionals-related stuff. Here is as good a thread as any to opine away.
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Re: TRASHionals XII Field Update

Post by marnold »

This can be moved to a discussion thread if one is eventually started, but I want to write this now and then just be done with it.

I can't say I enjoyed my first TRASHionals experience. I came into this tournament with fairly low expectations and the tournament still fell short in two areas: administration and the questions.

First, the administration. While far from the worse run tournament I've ever been to, there were many, many serious issues. There were delays starting on time on Saturday (buzzers put in wrong rooms, the tedious set up of speakers, the inexplicable need to introduce every team and where they're from... by reading from the sheet already distributed to everyone that lists every team and where they're from) and since we finished so early on Sunday, I feel like this was a one-day tournament played over two days. If for some reason people cherish the unique TRASHionals atmosphere (and after all, who doesn't love 45 minute rounds because the opponents and moderator giggle over every question and spout movie quotes perpetually?), at least don't appeal to strict deadlines at arbitrary times. The rush to start on Sunday resulted in a top-bracket team (Sorice's) being functionally forfeited to ASU for being 15 minutes late... only for the next round to start 20 minutes after the first one was finished. Even worse, they were late because they thought Sunday rounds started at 9 instead of 8:30, something we also thought before having the correct time hollered to us in a crowded hallway right as we were getting on an elevator to leave Saturday night.

I'm further confused by some of TRASH's rules. The decision not to break ties when there are extra questions in each packet is baffling. I think the Chicago Open Trash tournaments, the last incarnation of which I helped produce and will be writing for again this coming summer, might have also not broken ties (I'm not sure), but our packets contained precisely 20 questions; when there are extra tossups in each packet, the idea that ties are to stand is curious. Of course, this rule was related to us not being in the finals: ASU finished exactly one half-game ahead of us thanks to them having an unbroken tie in the championship bracket, so had they lost that tiebreaker maybe we would have been in the finals. Then again, who knows - I still have no idea what tiebreakers TRASH uses. ASU had beaten us head to head in a previous bracket, so certainly would have deserved to still be ahead of us, but I heard no explanation of how TRASH breaks ties and there was no copy of any kind of rules available for reference. Similarly, trying to figure out who would make the top bracket during the second rebracketing involved a circle of death and the same confusion reigned - maybe I should just be glad that fortune smiled upon us and we made it through, but the lack of a preordained tiebreaker (or at least the perceived lack of one) is ridiculous. As someone said: "TRASH has a CFO but no copy of written rules?"

Moreover, I'm still not sure I understand the rationale for the two sets of rebracketing: am I wrong to think its perfectly obvious that a 32-team tournament should be run 4 brackets of 8 then rebracket to another 4 brackets of 8 composed by 1 and 2s from the original brackets into the top bracket, 3 and 4s into the second, etc? I would try to explain the schedule that was used here, but suffice it to say it involved multiple rebrackets and a liberal sprinkling of byes.

Perhaps the argument is that it prevents deserving teams from being eliminated too early: after all, our ultimately third place team wouldn't have made the top bracket with a normal schedule. Of course, this worry could also be addressed by having questions that legitimately differentiate between teams. Any tournament where the team with the best bonus conversion in the entire field goes 2-4 in the prelims (see the Rocky Mountain Regional team in the stats above) clearly has issues, which brings me to the second major problem with the weekend - the questions.

This set was not good, and was significantly worse than TRASH regionals, which I actually enjoyed quite a bit. Increasing difficulty between regionals and nationals is of course right, but the increase should not come in the form of ridiculous answer selection, something this tournament had in spades. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to discuss specific answers to this set or not, but even if could I don't have the time to post all of the answers written about here that CLEARLY should not be getting tossed up. This was worst in a few areas: the sports in particular was filled with tossups on leagues and individual players that have no business coming up as tossup answers. This isn't a complaint about the tossups skewing old: they did, of course, and being one of few (or possibly the only, I'm not sure) all-undergrad teams, that hurt us. But we expected that and we can answer tossups about old things, just not on ridiculous and laughably unimportant things (and laughable they are; I wish I could post some of the particular answers just for popular amusement).

Besides the terrible answers, the questions were occasionally distributed horrendously. I'm not sure who exactly is clamoring for the TONS of musicals questions in this set, but perhaps even these mythical people would see that having two musicals bonuses back-to-back is not a good idea. We were trying to mount a comeback in a game against a good team when we got a musicals bonus which we lamed... only to get ANOTHER musicals bonus in its place which we of course zero'd. (Incidentally, another match was even more directly decided by musicals, when in our final match of the day, another good team needed to 20 the last bonus to tie us only to get a musicals bonus asking for 3 characters from the same musical - needless to say, our lead was safe.)

Even on the questions with acceptable answer selection, the tossup construction for this tournament seemed much worse than at regionals. Non-unique lead-ins, tossups with no identifying pronouns, first clue buzzer races, etc. - all were there. Then there were the audio tossups and bonuses. Besides making the rounds much, much longer because no moderator could use the cheapo mp3 players provided, audio tossups are almost never pyramidal. There were a couple that did an admirable job simulating pyramidality, but there were many more that were first-second buzzer races.

Look, this tournament wasn't uniformly terrible. Mehdi in particular and Penn in general did everything in their power for the tournament to run well, there were probably 6 or 7 packets worth of unimpeachable questions and some areas were fine (I'll give a shout-out to who I presume to be Yogesh and say the few art film questions seemed interesting and good even though our team was only mediocre at them). TRASH can clearly produce a pretty good set since I think Regionals was better than MO Trash, Penn Bowl Trash and possibly even a bit better than GARBAGE, but this tournament was far more disappointing than all three. I assume we'll play Regionals next year, but I wouldn't bet on a Chicago team going back to TRASHionals in the near future unless it's really close or there's evidence something will improve.
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Coelacanth »

Expanding on marnold's thoughts, which I mostly agree with..

Opening meeting: I'm sure that room had chairs in it when they scheduled it, but expecting people to just stand around waiting for things to start was a mistake. I agree that there's no need to introduce the teams, and they definitely should have talked through the format a bit more. It was never really made clear which games carried forward from one set of games to the next.

Start time: look, if you announce that games are going to start at 9:30, then they should start at 9:30. This comment is directed at all TDs everywhere: nobody will think you are being a hardass if your pre-tournament communication contains the following. "Registration is from 8-9 with a meeting from 9-9:15. There will be a moderators' meeting from 9:15-9:30, and games will start at 9:30. If you are not in your room at 9:30, and I have not heard from you on my cell phone by 9:15, you will forfeit your first round game." It's not unreasonable to expect adults (even college students) to either show up on time or communicate the fact that they will be late or absent.

Other logistics: the game rooms were actually very good (comfortable seating/temperature, appropriate size, close together, well soundproofed) but the lack of a central auditorium where people could go to look at stats and hear announcements was a critical failure. Having ~100 people crammed into a narrow hallway trying to find out what was going on was comically impossible. Important information like what time to arrive on Sunday, the deal with the theme rounds, and where everyone fell in the standings after tiebreakers etc was just not effectively communicated. There was something like 45 minutes after play ended Saturday before the theme rounds began; why?

Staffing: I know finding 16 competent readers who are willing to give up their weekend is difficult, but you just need to try harder. Most of the moderators were actually quite good, but the ones that were not were very very poor. At academic tournaments, with many unfamiliar scientific terms and words of foreign origin, I expect to hear some things butchered; at TRASH, pronouncing the name of Don Strock as "Don Stork" just should never happen.

Awards presentation: apparently there were some teams who failed to return for Sunday. One of the incentives for returning is the chance to play for an actual prize, even if it's the prize for winning the bottom bracket. Not only was no such prize awarded, I have no idea who won that bracket, or any of the non-championship brackets. In fact, I have no idea where my team finished in the standings; I think we were somewhere between 9th and 11th overall, but I'm just guessing.

I do want to say (after 5 paragraphs of complaints about the logistics) that many of these problems arose out of inexperience and external circumstance as much as anything else. Whether everything turned out perfectly or not, Tim Young worked his ass off and I'm sure the Penn folks were doing everything they could as well. I appreciate your efforts even though clearly the weekend was lacking in some areas.

Questions: just some quickfire thoughts. Movies-too many directors, not enough actors and films. Too much stuff about documentaries and not enough about mainstream hit movies. Sports-probably the best of the big 4 categories. Some headscratchers in the answer selection though. Music-skewed way too current and hiphoppy for my tastes, but that's probably just me. TV-I'm going to keep saying this until someone gets it. STOP TOSSING UP TV SHOW CHARACTERS FROM NON-ICONIC SHOWS. You can toss up Simpsons and MASH characters; you can't toss up NCIS and Gossip Girl characters. Please stop doing this! "Other"-I have no knowledge of video games or comic books, but it seemed like too much of the former and not enough of the latter.

I'm sure there will be further discussion of the questions. For now I'll agree that the set was not as good as Regionals. I also agree that some of the tossups are just not accessible, even at a "nationals" level. Our game against the defending champions featured two top-bracket teams from last year (both of us in the second bracket this year) and seven tossups went dead. That can't happen.
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

Yea, my deepest apologies for basically having the month from hell and depriving TRASHionals of another good moderator by not being there.
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Re: TRASHionals XII Field Update

Post by Lapego1 »

marnold wrote:The rush to start on Sunday resulted in a top-bracket team (Sorice's) being functionally forfeited to ASU for being 15 minutes late... only for the next round to start 20 minutes after the first one was finished. Even worse, they were late because they thought Sunday rounds started at 9 instead of 8:30, something we also thought before having the correct time hollered to us in a crowded hallway right as we were getting on an elevator to leave Saturday night.
Just a brief word on this...rounds were scheduled to start at 9 period on Sunday (in fact, I myself showed up around 8:30). Some teams might have been told to show up at 8:30, but I'm hoping there was never any ambiguity as to when exactly rounds were starting. Moderators were sent off to their rooms perhaps no later than 9:05, and every team that eventually showed up was there except the Illinois group (who showed up at like 9:15-9:20 IIRC), so without any call notifying them otherwise, the people in charge just assumed they were not showing up and had gotten an early start on their drive home. It seemed like a reasonable assumption, and I don't see anything wrong with the decision to just let that reader start the match for one team given the desire to end before 10pm on Sunday.

Also, Tim told me the reason for the multiple rebrackets was not to screw top teams out of a shot based on prelim screwiness, which seems reasonable, but the paper schedule could've vastly been simplified to include all this info. Also, they could've certainly done a better job of explaining the format for breaking ties within brackets and how records carried over, but I think the logical method (and the one eventually utilized) was to count records only against teams in the new bracket.
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Re: TRASHionals XII Field Update

Post by WellTraveledSalesman »

Lapego1 wrote: Just a brief word on this...rounds were scheduled to start at 9 period on Sunday (in fact, I myself showed up around 8:30). Some teams might have been told to show up at 8:30, but I'm hoping there was never any ambiguity as to when exactly rounds were starting. Moderators were sent off to their rooms perhaps no later than 9:05, and every team that eventually showed up was there except the Illinois group (who showed up at like 9:15-9:20 IIRC), so without any call notifying them otherwise, the people in charge just assumed they were not showing up and had gotten an early start on their drive home. It seemed like a reasonable assumption, and I don't see anything wrong with the decision to just let that reader start the match for one team given the desire to end before 10pm on Sunday.
To weigh in on this, the only time me or my teammates ever heard was 9am (and not with the context of it being the "rounds will begin then with or without us" time). This was yelled by a staff member in a very, very crowded hallway to which we did not stick around in. We had no reason to assume this was misleading, so we attempted to get there at 9 am. Some annoyances, including traffic/parking related beyond our control delayed us. We figured we'd get a bit of grace time, as 15 min late didn't sound like enough to essentially outright forfeit us given the general atmosphere /time schedule of the previous day's rounds. We also submitted contact info as part of registration, so we assumed we'd at least get a call before this would happen as well.

Also, teams should never leave quizbowl tournaments early, so when is this a reasonable assumption? (Especially as mentioned earlier, we were in the top bracket and still in contention for the title [apparently])
Last edited by WellTraveledSalesman on Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TRASHionals XII Field Update

Post by Lapego1 »

WellTraveledSalesman wrote:To weigh in on this, the only time me or my teammates ever heard was 9am. This was yelled by a staff member in a very, very crowded hallway to which we did not stick around in. We had no reason to assume this was misleading, so we attempted to get there at 9 am. Some annoyances, including traffic/parking related beyond our control delayed us. We figured we'd get a bit of grace time, as 15 min late didn't sound like enough to essentially outright forfeit us. We also submitted contact info as part of registration, so we assumed we'd at least get a call before this would happen as well.

Also, teams should never leave quizbowl tournaments early, so when is this a reasonable assumption?
I wasn't aware you had submitted contact info thing, but I think there was some conversation about getting in touch with you guys that ended up not materializing because no one had your number (but Tim apparently did), but they figured you at least had Tim's number to call and let him know. I say "reasonable" assumption (note: not "acceptable" assumption) because other teams were not showing up due to the logistics of the day before. The TRASH people knew Illinois had a long drive ahead of them, so I guess they just assumed when the moderator had been sitting there with only one team at least 10min, the moderator could go ahead and start reading.

I forgot to point out in my earlier post that I had no idea that there would be no chairs at the opening meeting room. When you book a room called an auditorium for what you make blatantly clear is a meeting that needs to seat 150+ people, I would think that implies it should have chairs. I guess not!
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Demonic Leftovers »

I would like to echo Michael's sentiments about this tournament. I was highly disappointed with it and unlikely to return barring it being held extremely locally. A few specific comments to expand on his:
1. TRASH needs to make it rules public.
2. Not only do audio tossups slow down the tournament but they can often be hard to hear due to speakers not functioning and are almost always non-pyramidal.
3. If you are going to write on individuals either make them notable current or notable retired players. It is unacceptable to tossup the 7th most notable player from a team that lost the NBA Finals a few years ago or a player from a team that is only notable for being good for one Elite 8 Team like 5 years ago or a player who is only notable for running for like 600 yards this season.
4. Also if you are going to write about minor sports it must be something extremely notable. Minor things minor sports are untossuppable.
5. Too much TRASH current events. Although TRASH should have recent things it shouldn't have like ten tossups that were clearly written after just scanning the obituaries. Just because someone just died doesn't mean they need to be tossupped. Stick to things that meet a certain level of notability.
Ultimately TRASH would benefit from a better understanding of what is notable and what isn't. It seems that TRASH believes that anything that has occurred in pop culture is fair game to be tossed up and this resulted in numerous tossups that were laughably obscure. The final scores in this tournament seem to imply to me that the tournament was just too hard and far too many tossups were going dead.
Anyways I will probably post more if I can see the questions and point out specific problems. Although I certainly would be critical I believe specific criticism and making the questions public is the best way to help improve TRASH to a point where I would be willing to attend next year.
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by creed_of_hubris »

Hi all -- some quick notes.

1) First off, I want to give a shout out to the Penn team, who, despite having Spring Fling as a distraction/possible personnel suck, did a great job hosting-- we encourage any other groups looking for hosts to work with them.

2) The rules -- the only nonstandard rules that TRASH uses are the rules for bonus laming and for tie scores, which were both, as I recall, explained at the initial team meeting. We could post those if you want, but there wouldn't be a great deal to post.

3) The 2 back-to-back musicals question -- that's a problem. The two bonuses were coded in different categories, which is how they both ended up in the pack in the first place, but the back-to-back should've been spotted at a later phase and was not.

4) Tiebreakers for rebracketing/finals -- the criteria for the tiebreakers were set out ahead of time; the info went out to all of the TRASH writers to vet. You're of course correct that the info should also have been made available for players.

5) Specific, difficult tossup answers -- we'll take these concerns into account when working on next year's set. We do analyze score sheets to look at which tossups go dead. I know it's affected my approach to the questions I edit.

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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Xevo »

While not having played in every packet (we had 5 on on Little Jack Slade after free agents arrived, and Weinstein drove me away), I have to say that some of these complaints seem arbitrary. While this may not have been a 100% perfect tournament as far as administration goes, it was far from the worst I've been to in the year I've been playing. The packets certainly could have benefited from more editing as I noticed some readers having trouble with grammar once or twice a packet, and the clustering and repetition of some subjects is also unfortunate.

All that being said, I thought the tournament was a fun and fairly typical trash affair, and if snickering at the jokes in the packet seems unnecessary to you then maybe trash isn't your format. I look forward to playing at TRASHionals next year as well, most likely as a free agent in that tournament. Speaking of which, if any teams need a young-ish trash player who specializes in videogames, comic books and sci-fi novels, I'm looking for a team!
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Jamnman23 »

Xevo wrote:Speaking of which, if any teams need a young-ish trash player who specializes in videogames, comic books and sci-fi novels, I'm looking for a team!
Right now, those are certainly the need areas of the Penn trash team. We are certainly trying for TRASHionals next year and returning all members from a solid, very young team. If we need another member sometime next year, I would certainly be open to considering some kind of arrangement.
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Coelacanth »

I note that a couple of Chicago people have expressed interest in attending next year's event if it's more local for them. TRASHionals has not been held in the midwest since 2002. Please...Chicago, Northwestern, Michigan, WashU or other air-accessible midwestern teams, put in a bid to host next year!
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Xevo »

Coelacanth wrote:I note that a couple of Chicago people have expressed interest in attending next year's event if it's more local for them. TRASHionals has not been held in the midwest since 2002. Please...Chicago, Northwestern, Michigan, WashU or other air-accessible midwestern teams, put in a bid to host next year!
What about the idea of TRASHionals North and TRASHionals South or TRASHionals East and TRASHionals West which I have heard thrown around?
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Captain Sinico »

Xevo wrote:All that being said, I thought the tournament was a fun and fairly typical trash affair, and if snickering at the jokes in the packet seems unnecessary to you then maybe trash isn't your format.
I thought that was a fun and fairly typical post criticizing a tournament, and if people criticizing tournaments seems unnecessary to you then maybe this board isn't your forum.
Seriously, though, these arguments are silly. TRASHionals would have been significantly better if rounds were kept moving; you and I can (and presumably will) make stupid in-jokes with our teams later, not on every other team's time. Also, it's not hard to do: TRASH, please just tell your moderators to keep reading and, if people talk during the other team's bonuses or tossups, take the appropriate action. I finished the round I read in under 25 minutes...
I would also have preferred different questions; I thought the TRASH Regionals questions, for example, would have been better, easier as they were. That, however, is another matter.

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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Cheynem »

It seems as if having regional TRASHionals would be defeating the point of a national tournament, unless you are suggesting like some sort of NBA or NHL situation in which the winner of East and West plays each other in some Arena of Death.
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Xevo »

Cheynem wrote:It seems as if having regional TRASHionals would be defeating the point of a national tournament, unless you are suggesting like some sort of NBA or NHL situation in which the winner of East and West plays each other in some Arena of Death.
Well it wasn't my idea *cough*Bush*cough* but I could see that happening. The issue, from my understanding, was that a national tournament has problems with both needing a big field of teams to be worth running (i.e. 32+) but having to draw those teams from around the country. By doing mirrored national tournaments in 2 different areas, you could run one-day tournaments with 16-24 team fields and cut down on everyone's travel expenses.

But, there is the problem of not having one "victor" of course.
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by cvdwightw »

Xevo wrote:a national tournament has problems with both needing a big field of teams to be worth running (i.e. 32+)
False. The past 6 ACF Nationals, including this year's, have had fields in the twenties. If TRASH is really having trouble filling out its 32-team field, then they may want to consider dropping the field size to somewhere in the twenties; it will not perceptibly affect the quality of the tournament.
Xevo wrote:having to draw those teams from around the country.
Realistically, there are probably a lot of people who like to play trash. However, there seem to be lots of problems endemic to this year's TRASHionals, and TRASH in general (for instance: no real central editor for any set; no distributed rules - I understand that a lot of TRASH-only teams either do not play academic quizbowl or have not played it in some time, so claiming that they are "standard" does nothing; an apparent "write whatever you want" philosophy, at least at the nationals level, with no checks on difficulty or quality). Until these problems are fixed (problems that are rare in, e.g., the Yaphe and Bentley-helmed trash tournaments), TRASHionals remains a distant third option for teams that also enjoy academic quizbowl. There was some interest in our club about going, but ultimately we could not justify the expense of flying out for a second national tournament. You will always face these difficulties when trying to run a national tournament, and the way to attract teams to TRASHionals is to make it a tournament worth attending.

Given the remarks in this thread, it appears as if teams are unhappy with multiple aspects of this tournament (lack of communication, question quality/difficulty, etc.); in and of itself, that's no big deal, as people find faults with every tournament. However, over the past several years, ACF and to a slightly lesser extent NAQT have adapted their national tournaments to both retain potentially dissatisfied core customers and attract peripherally interested groups. What will TRASH do to adapt?
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by creed_of_hubris »

TRASH, please just tell your moderators to keep reading and, if people talk during the other team's bonuses or tossups, take the appropriate action. I finished the round I read in under 25 minutes...
You are of course correct that people shouldn't be talking during the other team's bonuses or tossups.

However, the tourney delays were primarily caused by buzzer systems failing. Once the tournament began, this wasn't something we could easily fix; we didn't have much backup capacity. Our priority was to prevent slap bowl, not to keep everything running on time. In the future we'll ensure that we have more backup buzzer systems.

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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Cheynem »

My off the cuff suggestions for TRASH would be to:

-produce a detailed, well-explicated distribution along the lines that ACF uses (I am unable to find an "official" one if there is one, my apologies in advance). While there is certainly a "rough" distribution followed by most trash tournaments, it does tend to turn into "write what you want," and certainly the non "Big Four" categories (other than TV, Movies, Sports, Music) seem to become an amorphous blob at times.

-make available more questions, especially from the last few years sets, online. While I certainly don't want to berate capitalism and the idea of getting money from one's labor, such considerations have not prevented tons of academic packets from becoming available online (and a lot of trash too, including GARBAGE, Chicago Open Trash, Bentley's trash, etc.). This can help in providing a better comparative and analytical framework for giving question feedback. For example, I played TRASH Regionals but not TRASHionals--I, and apparently a good number of folks, thought TRASH Regionals was a fairly good set, but all my comments from it are from memory because I can't see the set.
Mike Cheyne
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Captain Sinico »

creed_of_hubris wrote:However, the tourney delays were primarily caused by buzzer systems failing.
You'll excuse me if I'm somewhat skeptical about that claim. I played multiple 45-60 (!!) minute rounds which were more or less entirely due to moderators letting people talk. Certainly I saw several systems that didn't work (and I hope people will fix their systems, advice my team needs to get on taking itself) and I know those delay things. However, even just my team (and I'll never believe it was just my team) having multiple ~50 minute round play times has to significantly dilate the mean round time in a way that is going to be at least as important as initial system failures in holding this tournament back from the 25-40 minutes per round that I expect.
To go one further, even if I'm wrong here and there was no effect on tournament timing, I'll just say that the amount of extraneous talking allowed was unacceptable to me because, frankly, I don't want to hear it. There can be little doubt that we're all adults at TRASHionals and ought to be able to keep it in our pants at least until the round ends. That's doubly true given that people can and will talk outside rounds, e.g. loudly outside the doors of rooms where rounds are still going on, as happened in literally every round I played. So I hope that tolerating such talking (as a matter of policy, to the extent any exists) is something TRASH considers changing.

MaS
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by creed_of_hubris »

I can tell you that I personally had to use 3 different buzzers in my room over the course of the tourney, and at one point had to go door to door to find another room using the same (unfamiliar) model buzzers in order to replace a key part, so it caused a bunch of delays. If there were ~60 minute rounds on top of that then you're right, that needs to change.

I also agree that people talking outside rounds was a problem. That's an outgrowth of some rooms being delayed; if everyone gets out at around the same time, then the problem goes away. Unfortunately, if there are delays, then there's gonna be hall chatter; there's no simple fix that I am aware of, other than repeatedly stopping rounds and going outside to tell people to shut up, which was tried by some moderators. What would you like us to do about this in future?
--Fred Bush, TRASHosaur

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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Coelacanth »

creed_of_hubris wrote:I can tell you that I personally had to use 3 different buzzers in my room over the course of the tourney, and at one point had to go door to door to find another room using the same (unfamiliar) model buzzers in order to replace a key part, so it caused a bunch of delays. If there were ~60 minute rounds on top of that then you're right, that needs to change.

I also agree that people talking outside rounds was a problem. That's an outgrowth of some rooms being delayed; if everyone gets out at around the same time, then the problem goes away. Unfortunately, if there are delays, then there's gonna be hall chatter; there's no simple fix that I am aware of, other than repeatedly stopping rounds and going outside to tell people to shut up, which was tried by some moderators. What would you like us to do about this in future?
One thing you could do would be to make an annoucement at the opening meeting: "We are using audio questions in every round, and all the rooms are fairly close together along some narrow hallways, so if you are waiting for your room to open up in between rounds, please keep the noise to a minimum."

Another thing you could do would be to play in a building which has some kind of central congregating area, either an actual room or just some kind of lobby/atrium, that is out of audio range of the game rooms but not so far as to cause delays by forcing people to walk a long way. Clearly, this isn't always possible, but it's something you should definitely be considering as you award hosting bids.

I think most of the problems being discussed here would have been solved with better depth in both moderators and buzzers. Trying to run a 16-room tournament with 13 experienced staff and 14 reliable buzzers is just not going to work. For a tournament of this size, your target number should have been at least 18 of each, and if it became clear as the event approached that you didn't have them, you should have been moving heaven and earth to find them. I know that I communicated to Tim that I have a buzzer that I could have brought, but preferred not to due to the hassle involved. A quick note saying "hey, we're going to be tight on buzzers" would have been sufficient.

Fred, I appreciate your presence here and openness to feedback. I don't think any of this weekend's shortcomings were due to incompetence or lack of effort by you, Tim, or the Penn folks. I think some slight under-preparedness on your part really bit you when buzzers started to not work and rounds started running long. All of this is fixable, and I have no doubt that everyone involved will learn the appropriate lessons from this year's event.
Brian Weikle
I say what it occurs to me to say when I think I hear people say things. More, I cannot say.

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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by creed_of_hubris »

All this logistical trouble is one reason that we keep TRASHionals a two-day affair. Even with an experienced TD and a centralized location (all teams in one building), we still had delays. However, because rounds were spread over 2 days, the delays were more of an annoyance than a crippling problem.

I really think trying to run 30+ teams in one day is a recipe for failure. There's so little margin for error.
--Fred Bush, TRASHosaur

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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by AKKOLADE »

Any word on stats?
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

FredMorlan wrote:Any word on stats?
I'm sure it'll be taken care of soon after the Penn team gets back from ACF Nats; they have the scoresheets and, from what I've heard, need to send them to the TRASH folks.
Chris White
Bloomfield HS (New Jersey) '01, Swarthmore College '05, University of Pennsylvania '10. Still writes questions occasionally.

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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by AKKOLADE »

Cool. Sounds good to me.
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Re: TRASHionals discussion

Post by gpb »

Xevo wrote:
Coelacanth wrote:I note that a couple of Chicago people have expressed interest in attending next year's event if it's more local for them. TRASHionals has not been held in the midwest since 2002. Please...Chicago, Northwestern, Michigan, WashU or other air-accessible midwestern teams, put in a bid to host next year!
What about the idea of TRASHionals North and TRASHionals South or TRASHionals East and TRASHionals West which I have heard thrown around?
With a nod to solving some of the scheduling problems we had with this year's Rocky Mountain Regional, there would be interest in hosting either Trashionals or a sectional final at the University of Colorado, Boulder which would have reasonably good access nationally through Denver International Airport and the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System.
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