VETO discussion

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Sir Thopas
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by Sir Thopas »

grapesmoker wrote:Shorter Charles Meigs
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by theMoMA »

grapesmoker wrote:Have we ever done anything but this? I dislike the implication that I somehow tricked someone into doing something they wouldn't have done otherwise. I have never even attempted to pretend that the entirety of my VETO efforts would consist of spell-checking or whatever. Of course I welcome anyone who wants to play good quizbowl and do my best to encourage those players.
I'm not accusing anyone of wrongdoing or trickery, especially not you. What I mean is, we need to transcend answering the usual criticisms about good quizbowl that come out of events like the late VETO. Yes, we need to do answer them, but we also need to have a positive message. We could do a better job explicitly stating to the old guard that though modern quizbowl is shocking in its drastic difference from tournaments like old VETOs, it's on the march and there are only two options, one of which is to adapt, join the community, and thus have standing to have a voice in debates that matter, like question difficulty, length, and distribution. The other option, of course, is to make VETO a fortress to protect the old ways. The real losers in this are the young players of the emerging circuits, who lose the dedication and resources of the older players. We need to make it clear that these are the only two paths. There is no magical option to "bring back 1999 for everyone." We also need to be explicit that our ways aren't dependent on driving out the old people; we will gladly welcome anyone who wants to join us.

The only real problem with what we (as the circuit) are currently doing is that it conforms pretty well to what Charles is saying. We engage in the same cycle of writing good tournaments, hosting them in regions without many good tournaments, and getting the same reactions from the entrenched players. This is a fine way to get a young generation involved in the game, and it's worked really well to that end in places like the upper midwest and Missouri. In order to convert circuits wholesale, it doesn't work. All I'm saying is that we can either live with that, or try to address the older players in circuits like Canada with the above points, in addition to our current efforts.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

theMoMA wrote:I'm not accusing anyone of wrongdoing or trickery, especially not you. What I mean is, we need to transcend answering the usual criticisms about good quizbowl that come out of events like the late VETO. Yes, we need to do answer them, but we also need to have a positive message. We could do a better job explicitly stating to the old guard that though modern quizbowl is shocking in its drastic difference from tournaments like old VETOs, it's on the march and there are only two options, one of which is to adapt, join the community, and thus have standing to have a voice in debates that matter, like question difficulty, length, and distribution. The other option, of course, is to make VETO a fortress to protect the old ways. The real losers in this are the young players of the emerging circuits, who lose the dedication and resources of the older players. We need to make it clear that these are the only two paths. There is no magical option to "bring back 1999 for everyone." We also need to be explicit that our ways aren't dependent on driving out the old people; we will gladly welcome anyone who wants to join us.
Ah, the good old "Resistance is useless; you will be assimilated," argument.

I have no interest in cajoling the old guard or stroking their egos. You want to come along, the door is open for you; if you don't, that's your prerogative but don't expect anyone to coddle you. I've got nothing I need to say to people who still don't get it that hasn't been said in any number of ways any number of times. If you still think that "you have been handed random pictures from a Canadian magazine, identify them" is a good way of writing a question, then you either have not been listening or you don't care.
The only real problem with what we (as the circuit) are currently doing is that it conforms pretty well to what Charles is saying.
Charles' post consists of denunciations of my alleged quizbowl imperialism, implications that I spent three weeks editing a tournament so that I could feel high and mighty about something, and accusations of ruining a hilariously bad tournament that apparently should have been preserved out of some kind of sense of quizbowl history or whatever. Whatever the argument about what ways there are of replacing bad quizbowl with good, that wasn't at all the argument being made in that post. Maybe I was being quixotic, but anyone who genuinely thinks that I enjoy throwing away my time so I can be all angry afterwards is being an idiot. I stand behind everything I did for VETO and I don't owe anyone any apologies for anything that I've done.

More interestingly, where were all these defenders of unique quizbowl awfulness before this project got underway. All I heard was, "Oh, that's great, we really look forward to VETO being good!" Now it's, "you terrible imperialist how dare you," apparently even from some Americans. Maybe next time people with contrary opinions might care to voice them before a plan of action is implemented.
We engage in the same cycle of writing good tournaments, hosting them in regions without many good tournaments, and getting the same reactions from the entrenched players. This is a fine way to get a young generation involved in the game, and it's worked really well to that end in places like the upper midwest and Missouri. In order to convert circuits wholesale, it doesn't work. All I'm saying is that we can either live with that, or try to address the older players in circuits like Canada with the above points, in addition to our current efforts.
There was a time when every place was like Canada. What did we do? We changed the culture, driven by people who knew what was going on Now, horrible tournaments are dead, and good tournaments prosper and are better attended than ever. I've made my (small) contribution to that effort before, and did so again this time. It's worked to convert circuits wholesale, contrary to what you say. I don't meant to pull rank on you or anything, Andrew, but at this point I'm old enough and have been playing quizbowl long enough to see this transformation firsthand, and I think it's been quite successful.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

By the way, the set has been posted here. It includes both the original packets and the final edits, except the originals have had the images stripped from them because otherwise the file would be huge.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by neil.walford »

Here's a story of my involvement in quiz bowl over the years; hopefully it will illuminate some of the issues being discussed.

When I joined McMaster quiz bowl in 2004 I had a few clear goals: to put to use my above average trivia skills, to participate in an event or two, and to meet friends who might enjoy a cold beer after practice. In my early years, quiz bowl was both new and fun. The Mac team would practice once a week and attended a number of events spread across the calendar. The highlight was Sectionals, where we would compete against other Ontario universities and maybe one or two from the states. Other tournaments included VETO and a trivial pursuit competition at Niagara College. I met lots of good friends and had a blast going to various tournaments. Quiz bowl enhanced my life and was an ideal extra-curricular activity

Eventually, new and talented players starting joining the Mac team and the club grew in size. Mac suddenly became more competitive, and this was reflected in the way we practiced and approached tournaments. In 2006 I left Mac for a two year college program in journalism; however, I stayed in touch with the Mac team which had so many good friends on it. When I returned to McMaster to finish my undergrad, the club was as big and strong as ever. During my absence quiz bowl had grown, both at Mac and other Ontario universities. There were enough strong players in our club that we approached quiz bowl as a quasi-varsity sport, and for me this kind of growth was welcome. Quiz Bowl was fun, challenging, and I was still meeting new people, playing various events, and drinking a pint or two now and then.

Last year I finally started experiencing success. At ACF fall my team finished 2nd; at sectionals my team finished first, nearly going undefeated in the process; at the Ottawa Hybrid my team finished first again; at ICT my team finished 8th; and finally I went to Philadelphia for trashionals. For someone who initially signed up for one or two events a year, 2008-09 was like a fairy tale. My teammates and I joke around about writing a latin american magic realist novel about my year.

I'd like to conclude this lengthy story by extending a big thank you to Jerry and his team of editors. According to their own standards for VETO 2009 - and apparently Peter's as well - the questions were, for the most part, good. However, I was expecting a less competitive tournament, and Saturday made me realize that I prefer the kind of quiz bowl where I'm mostly practicing and drinking beer with great friends.

I hope quiz bowl continues to thrive in both Canada and the US, and that God doesn't punish me for introducing drinking to the Mac quiz bowl community.

Neil Walford
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by at your pleasure »

One thing that has not really been mentioned is the importance of internal advocates for good quizbowl in any given circuit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but have not sucessful efforts on the part of the circuit at large to promote good quizbowl in local curcuits been supported by members of that circuit who advocated for good quizbowl? If this is the case, complementing our efforts to get good tournaments mirrored with a further increase in support for "Canadian circuit insiders" interested in good quizbowl would be very productive.
Another less-discussed issue is the interplay between the collegiate circuit and the high school circuit. In recent years, high school players starting teams at new schools and actively promoting good quizbowl in new areas have done quite a bit for the circuit. Therfore, it may be productive to encourage Reach for the Top teams to branch out into good quizbowl by encouraging Canadian schools that like good quizbowl to host high school tournaments and even by inviting Reach schools interested in good quizbowl to play tournaments in the states.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by at your pleasure »

Also, I was just trying to compare some of the unedited and edited questions. Does anyone know how to open an .odt file?
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

Russian dance music wrote:Also, I was just trying to compare some of the unedited and edited questions. Does anyone know how to open an .odt file?
Oh, my apologies, that's an OpenOffice document that I forgot to convert.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by Mike Bentley »

In regards to the Lisgar B packet that I edited, this was done at the very last minute in attempt to create enough packets for a format that would have given everyone more rounds and taken less time in Vancouver that was ultimately not used so that we could play unedited packets.

Thus, I was editing that packet on a very short time frame. In order to get the packet done on time, I used replacement questions a lot more than I usually would when editing a packet. For instance, the tossup on the Risorgiomento that Jerry mentioned would have probably been turned into a tossup on Cavour or Girabaldi or something had I had more time. Instead, it was easier for me to paste in a tossup on the Whig party that I had unused on my computer. So, in that respect I apologize to the Lisgar B teams that more submitted topics weren't used. However, you guys should make a better attempt to follow the ACF question guidelines. I realize that writing questions is tough, but please try to follow the actual distribution and not submit stuff like 2/1 questions on hockey in addition to maybe 4/4 other pop culture questions.

Oh yeah, I think next year there should be clearer guidelines for the submitted and final distributions. Rather than a standard listing of "4/4 Lit, 4/4 Hist...", we had a page on the VETO site that was something like "3-4 history questions". This is ambiguous (does this mean 3-4 total history questions, or 3.5/3.5 history questions?) and doesn't really say what the final distribution of a packet should be.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by adosreme »

Jerry, would it be alright if I asked for feedback regarding the questions that I wrote? I have listed them below. You don't have to give feedback on everything, just a few examples regarding what was done properly and what was done badly along with general tips for improvement would be immensely helpful.

In the interest of not gumming up this thread more than necessary and also because I am still somewhat self-concious about my question-writing ability, I would appreciate it if I could get your analysis PMed to me or, if that is not possible, emailed to me at adosreme at uwaterloo dot ca (I do not yet have the ability to send private messages, or else I would have made the request that way).

Once again, your willingness to help others improve their quizbowling is very much appreciated.

The answers to the questions I wrote are not mentioned as I expect that there are some who like to read packets for edutainment purposes.

Packet: Waterloo A
Tossups Written: Science (all), Geography (first one), Current Events (first one), Fine Arts (all), RMP (all), Social Science, Pop Culture (all), General Knowledge (all)
Bonuses Written: Science (first two), Geography (first one i.e. the non-visual one), Current Events (all), Fine Arts (first one), RMP, Social Science, Pop Culture (just the first one, it's quite clear why the visual one is terrible), General Knowledge (all)
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by bsmith »

Dear Hamilton complainers: did Ottawa get a different set of questions?

But seriously, it was not hostile up here. The complaints were repeats, typos, and how submitted questions got changed. We had one person who chose to be a staffer instead of a player after learning that pop culture would be minimal, but other than that, there weren't complaints about difficulty or how we never buzzed until FTP or that *gasp* there are philosophy questions. And this is from the site that probably had the lowest points conversion of the three.

I am one of these "old guard" people. After ACF Fall, I thought, "hey, Americans aren't writing hard stuff all the time". I'm beyond saving, but this year had a complete change at U of O from "old people" to "new people". These new players won't win Nationals tomorrow, but they've been spending practices recognizing quizbowl basics like the Arnolfini Wedding or Lady Murasaki, and - guess what? - they survived VETO. They even beat their old-guard coach in a game. These "gruelling" VETO questions are going to lead to a better showing at other tournaments next year.
Russian dance music wrote:Another less-discussed issue is the interplay between the collegiate circuit and the high school circuit. In recent years, high school players starting teams at new schools and actively promoting good quizbowl in new areas have done quite a bit for the circuit. Therfore, it may be productive to encourage Reach for the Top teams to branch out into good quizbowl by encouraging Canadian schools that like good quizbowl to host high school tournaments and even by inviting Reach schools interested in good quizbowl to play tournaments in the states.
Based on my 4 years of attempts: easier said than done. Chris starting a team at Guelph and Lisgar going to the HSNCT are the only products of this so far.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

I've heard a few recordings of the Vancouver mirror and they feature things like people recognizing clues and buzzing on them well before the FTP. I'm glad to hear that Ottawa's experience seemed to have been positive. It would be nice if more players from that mirror could weigh in with their impressions.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by Geringer »

Were there any questions on awesome Canadian icons like Geddy Lee and Mike Vanderjagt at this tournament? Because, if so, I would very much enjoy to see the Canadian trash questions.

Are the rounds up somewhere to download?
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

SomethingBetterAndLessCumbersome wrote:Were there any questions on awesome Canadian icons like Geddy Lee and Mike Vanderjagt at this tournament? Because, if so, I would very much enjoy to see the Canadian trash questions.

Are the rounds up somewhere to download?
Yeah, check upthread. It's on Chris Carter's archive, with both originals and final edited packets.

As for Canadian trash, I'm afraid I really suck at that. I tried to keep stuff that looked reasonable, and the only trash questions I personally wrote were the tossups on The New Pornographers and Moxy Fruvous, since those happen to be bands I listen to sometimes.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

adosreme wrote:Jerry, would it be alright if I asked for feedback regarding the questions that I wrote?
Aaron, I'll try to get back to you on this before tomorrow on those questions that I edited.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO 7/18/2009 in Vancouver, Hamilton, Ottawa

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

adosreme wrote: Then (and I'm only making an educated guess here) I'm betting that a lot of the people who were upset showed up expecting to be entertained today and the reality was that Saturday's "American-style tournament" and its attempt to advance Quizbowl as a solid academic endeavour wasn't entertaining. Again, this is not a slight or insult to you or good quizbowl, but simply a difference in opinion of what we want out of quizbowl and ensuing clash. In the end, I'm sure this will just result in Peter not asking for your help next year (again, not stating a fact but simply predciting what I expect will happen), as I believe it should be.
I don't mean to nitpick here, because while you do seem to be operating from quite different assumptions, you do seem to be talking sense based on those assumptions. But as Matt said, people don't play American quizbowl out of a sense of obligation; we do so because we are entertained by it. Now, I won't pretend that a tournament that is 100% on things you do not know and cannot connect to anything you know, however aesthetically similar it is to good quizbowl, would be very entertaining to anyone. But that doesn't describe this incarnation of VETO.

And I would contend that certain elements of VETO, while more entertaining in the "oh, my, a tossup on Kaiser's stoneless peaches followed by a bonus on milk bags!" sense, are less entertaining in other senses. For example, I can take a great deal of pride in winning an American tournament because I can be sure that each victory was largely fairly earned. What I've seen of previous incarnations of VETO and the submitted packets to this event is that I could not count on fair matches on those packets. Inevitably, one team would get much harder bonuses, or lose a lot of buzzer races--assuming that the packets' distribution wasn't already subverted and stuff.

Like, these are routine criticisms. The central issue is this: we're entertained by different things. I think there are enough people in Canada that would be entertained by a largely fair VETO. Are there enough that competent editors are invited back next year? Perhaps not.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by Matt Weiner »

Oh yeah, to continue the correcting-misconceptions train--have Peter or Zhan or the people threatening to punch Jerry looked at NAQT DI Sectionals lately? It's well harder than ACF Fall and it certainly doesn't contain tossups on Tesla that talk about airports and his height. And, for whatever distributional differences it might have with other tournaments, it does actually have a distribution--you can't just write 4/4 trash in one packet and 1/1 in the next, nor can you write any question that involves handing out vegetables. If VETO was announced as being like NAQT DI Sectionals then no one has any grounds to complain about what it turned out to be, other than "hey, this tournament turned out to be significantly easier and slightly longer in the tossups than NAQT DI Sectionals."

I think a lot of the problem here is people whose idea of what NAQT, ACF, and quizbowl are hasn't changed since 1999. As Andrew points out, this is a doomed mindset from the start. One of the specific ways in which it causes problems is a falure of communication. What people who are mentally in the 90s think they mean when they compare something to NAQT or ACF has no relationship to what those things actually are now, and thus no relationship to what people who are still paying attention to mainstream quizbowl hear when you use those terms.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by Mike Bentley »

While I wait for my account on qb-canada to get approved, I was wondering if Eric Smith could reply to this post he made there:
Andrew,

You might have a point if there really was a cohort of young Canadian
quiz-bowlers who prefer the "new" style. But other than Jason D, Peter
B, and Will N, I know of no others who actually prefer it.

You were not present at the wrap-up after the McMaster mirror where the
condemnation of this "new" format was nearly universal. It wasn't just
a couple of old grognards complaining about the changing world... it was
a rejection of the ACF style by players from all levels of quiz-bowl
experience, from all the schools that were present (except UWO).

I'm sure we will continue to participate in SCTs and TRASH tournaments,
but we can also continue to have a made-in-Canada circuit which ignores
the mistaken direction being taken by parts of the American quiz-bowl
community.
Specifically, what do you feel this "mistaken direction" of "ACF style" tournaments is? What do you feel the difference is between, say, ACF Regionals and DI SCT (or ACF Fall and DII SCT) that makes the former worse than the latter? Can you post examples of some of the VETO questions from years past that you liked and were not "boring"?
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by bsmith »

This was only a brief look-over, but there were a lot of repeated topics in the original submissions. This is no one's fault, obviously, but I'd estimate there are more repeated topics in these originals than in any previous VETO. Compounding this problem with the already well-noted quality issue... my hat is tipped for editing this monster.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

bsmith wrote:This was only a brief look-over, but there were a lot of repeated topics in the original submissions. This is no one's fault, obviously, but I'd estimate there are more repeated topics in these originals than in any previous VETO. Compounding this problem with the already well-noted quality issue... my hat is tipped for editing this monster.
As I mentioned before, Mike edited the Lisgar packet in isolation, which was awesome of him to do but contributed somewhat to the repeats. We tried to take out as many repeats as possible (there were like 4 or 5 tossups on the Iranian presidential election) from tossups as well as bonuses. I know from looking at the set again today that we missed a few. However, keep in mind that a repeat of an answer (e.g. Finland or Japan being answers twice) is not a repeat unless it repeats actual information, which some of them did not do.
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Post by Important Bird Area »

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:Specifically, what do you feel this "mistaken direction" of "ACF style" tournaments is? What do you feel the difference is between, say, ACF Regionals and DI SCT (or ACF Fall and DII SCT) that makes the former worse than the latter?
I'll second this question: is it a matter of distribution? Tossup length? Something else? (On both of those areas, SCT has recently moved in directions considered praiseworthy by most of NAQT's American customers- did Canadian teams dislike those changes?)
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by at your pleasure »

Not to get off-topic, but here's an interesting(if now impossible to create in reality) thought experiment. Let's say that the organizers and editiors had not told the people submitting packets that the packets would be edited by ACF luminaries(say, that the organizer had said that he would simply edit the packets himself to remove repeats and prehaps inappropriatly hard answers). Therfore, the players would not have known beforehand that the tournament was edited to conform to "yankee imperialist" standards of good quizbowl. Would the reaction have been the same?
Now for the next thought experiment: Let's say there was circuit quizbowl in some english-speaking country not in North America and luminaries from that country, instead of luminaries from the US, had publicly edited this tournament(presumably to what would be considered "good quizbowl". In this case, would the reaction have also been the same?
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by bmcke »

I'm not sure I like what you're thinking about, Russian Dance Music. I talked to people who were pretty angry at the "editors in Vancouver."

Edit to add a list of favourites:
Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer, Long Day's Journey into Night, August Wilson, Beethoven's 3rd, Newfoundland, Measure for Measure, Alice Munro, Deirdre, Marxism, Plains of Abraham, Crassus, Thoth
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by grapesmoker »

bmcke wrote:I'm not sure I like what you're thinking about, Russian Dance Music. I talked to people who were pretty angry at the "editors in Vancouver."
It really seems like people should have been told what was going on. On the other hand, qb-canada had a post telling people to send their questions to me, and I got plenty of emails to my @brown account, so 2+2 = this person is not in Canada.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by Camelopardalis »

As one of the attendees of the Ottawa site of VETO, there are several main themes that I'd like to comment on. I'll reserve my specific discussion of the set until later, as I feel the below points are what caused the varying, strongly opinionated, reactions to VETO. I apologize if some of this is difficult to understand - a 6am wake-up to watch Halladay thrash the Red Sox in Toronto this aft has left my mind a little fried.

Problems

1. Rifts created by change over time


Earlier, Andrew noted the differences between the "new guard" and the "old guard", and I found a lot of unity between this and Ben's post about his experiences with the "new guard". I think Ben's message that elaborated on the differences between the Ottawa and Hamilton sites is very telling of a rift between those who are frequently exposed to newer standards of quizbowl, and those who haven't. Those who have been frequently exposed to newer standards of quizbowl (Ottawa students, all current or former students of Lisgar), seemed to view this tournament as uniformly more enjoyable than the way it was received at the Hamilton site. Why? Over time, some programs and geographic regions have evolved as these standards have changed; others haven't. The differences in position relative to these new standards has created varying opinions on VETO, and that resulted in varying enjoyment of this tournament. What has caused these differences in evolution? I'd argue a lack of communication, a lack of tournaments, and a lack of involvement in the online community are the main causes of varying levels of enjoyment, and a general rejection of this sort of tournament's ideals by some individuals and programs.

2. Differences in expectations


I think all people went to this tournament expecting to experience the quizbowl they are used to, which is precisely the problem. Unfortunately, related to the problem above, not all individuals, programs, and regions are used to the same thing, and these differences in expectations led some to reject what they saw as a terrible event. I think the most illustrative of example of this point is that 11 teams went to ACF Fall at McMaster and had a universally great time, but mostly the same people attended the almost identical, yet slightly more difficult VETO, and had a horrible time. Why? Because they were expecting something different, and the general shock of the change created hostility and anger which served to only feed off of itself. I don't think the editors failed in conveying the difficulty for this tournament - I think the Canadian quizbowl community itself as a whole (of which I am a member) did a poor job of communicating within itself the expectations for this tournament, and listening to the opinions of others before it started.

3. Perceived exclusivity of enjoyment of trivia and enjoyment of academic competition

These two things, contrary to what seems to have been expressed by some, are not at all mutually exclusive. I worry that those who had a bad time at VETO 2009 will be led to conclude that "I prefer trivia events more than competitive, learning-oriented events, so I will reject the latter as unfun", and I strongly encourage those who may be considering this position to reconsider this polarizing position. You can totally like old versions of VETO, pub trivia and Trivial Pursuit for being awesome and a lot of fun within their own domain. But this type of competition is most definitely trivia, and should not be mingled with academic competition in its purest sense - each can exist on its own, and each should be embraced on its own, but separately. At the same time as enjoying old VETO tournaments for their own sake, you can totally like ACF Regionals or NAQT SCT for providing great standards of competition and providing awesome chances to learn things that you didn't know before (on a personal note, I loved the Regina v. Oakes tossup in VETO 2009 for exactly that reason). I understand Zhan, Eric, and Neil's points that they enjoy old VETO tournaments for their own sake and don't want to see them die. I sympathize, and I too can see why they're fun. But I think the Canadian circuit should avoid recognizing old VETO tournaments as legitimate forms of quizbowl, which they aren't.

As a side note, there are two teams that I think exemplify this embracing attitude: triviahalloffame.com and the Lisgar student teams. Triviahalloffame.com is a group of like-minded adults that run pub- and trivia-events in Ottawa, yet they embrace many opportunities to participate in academic competition, and never have a bad time. The Lisgar students, all of which play and enjoy Reach for the Top, which is essentially trivia, instead of storming out of VETO 2009 vowing never to go the HSNCT again, embraced it as an opportunity to learn new things and will likely further appreciate the value of practicing on ACF Fall, EFT, or HFT packets.

Solutions

1. More communication


A lack of communication between members of the Canadian quizbowl community, is, I think, the most hindering thing to the community as a whole. Not only did a lack of communication result in the varying expectations surrounding VETO 2009, it also serves to hinder growth and evolution, especially regarding adoption of newer standards, circuit, tournament, and club size, and the discussion of a various opinions, which may serve to help change the direction of quizbowl in Canada. More communication has been done regarding opinions of quizbowl in Canada among Canadian quizbowlers in the past two days than I've seen in the past two semesters.

2. More tournaments

One thing that unquestionably created hostility towards this event was a lack of appreciation of the benefits of the newer standards of academic competition. These need to be better conveyed to the Canadian quizbowl community as a whole, through the adoption of additions to the Canadian quizbowl calendar. The more times that a type of tournament is introduced and played, the more people will be accustomed to a tournament like 2009 VETO, and will embrace it as an enjoyable event. Additionally, it would serve to strengthen the Canadian circuit as a whole, and would make a Fall/Regionals level tournament seem less difficult, more competitive, and consequently more enjoyable.

3. Acceptance of the individual enjoyment of both trivia and academic competition

Hey, we can all enjoy both. But academic competition is academic competition, and its standards should never be breached, and trivia is trivia, and an independent event that features trivia can be a lot of fun in its own right. Each needs to be recognized and individually enjoyed by the same people, but they should never be merged. Never.

4. What combines the above? I'd be very supportive of the establishment of a new governing body for quizbowl in Canada. I propose that a federation that could control communication, establishment of tournaments, and the discussion and integration of the various opinions in the Canadian quizbowl community would make sure that everyone had a lot more fun at all events. Not only would it recognize the difference between trivia and academic quizbowl competition, but it would help convey the overwhelming enjoyment and benefit of academic competition, strengthen the Canadian circuit, and strongly aid and support growth of quizbowl in Canada, and additionally, an improved technological aspect of this organization would help in this (website, hsquizbowl forums, etc.). I would be supportive of VETO returning to its old state, and recognized as a trivia event, if EFT, ACF Fall, ACF Regionals, Illinois Open, Minnesota Undergraduate Tournament, and other similar quizbowl events were run in Canada and viewed as the legitimate, embraced form of academic competition, which currently, I don't think they universally are (in Canada). I'd posit that the earnest formation of an organization like this would do only good for both the collegiate and high school quizbowl scenes.

PS. There are some things that are totally, totally uncool.
1. As Jordan said, teams should never leave tournaments early.
2. People shouldn't be attacked for doing a job they were asked to do, and executing it to some level of success. Regardless of what people thought, I think everyone should be appreciative of the effort put into this by both the editors and writers.
Chris Greenwood
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by vetovian »

I'll have more time to discuss this in a couple of days, but I see that a lot of people who went to VETO yesterday were pretty unhappy about how it went. I take full responsibility for the decision to take up Jerry's offer to edit the questions. Now, first, it is obvious just from looking at the edited packets that he and the other editors put a tremendous amount of work into them, just out of love for quizbowl and a desire to improve the quality of what people have been playing on, and therefore a threat of physical violence against him (which apparently came from someone who played at McMaster) is completely outrageous. If you have to punch anyone then punch me.

There was a concern about low-scoring games in previous VETOs. This year in Vancouver, average scores were about the same as in previous years, and there was no significant difference between scores on edited packets vs. unedited packets. (We played three unedited packets.) Jerry once said that the "holy trifecta" of quizbowl tossup writing consists of clarity, factual accuracy, and pyramidality. In these respects, I think we would all agree that the edited packets were much more successful than VETO packets of earlier years, or even the unedited packets we played this year. Still, except for Mike Bentley's team, the clear sense I got from the other players was that they did not enjoy playing VETO as much as they did in previous years. I think the biggest difference in the questions was that the tossups were much longer than we're used to. The length limit announced was six lines of 80 characters each, but some tossups were more than twice that length. Other differences were less multimedia gimmickry (obviously), and also, it seemed, less Canadiana than usual and fewer questions on current events, pop culture, general knowledge, and geography, though I'll have to look through the packets to see if this is true. All of these factors made VETO less enjoyable to most of the players who were expecting something a bit different.

Anyway, it's clear that we're not going to run VETO again the same way we did this year.
Peter, SFU alumnus

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Re: VETO discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Are there stats online from Vancouver and Hamilton? They would probably be useful in determining whether this VETO or last VETO was harder.
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by bsmith »

vetovian wrote:the clear sense I got from the other players was that they did not enjoy playing VETO as much as they did in previous years.
Ottawa had only 4 people who appeared at a previous VETO: Chris and I; Paul, the self-proclaimed "professional" who can get points on anything; and Philippe, who now studies at Berkeley and has more exposure to "regular" events. Other than the response I'm seeing from the new Waterloo, what is the reaction of people who have not played a previous VETO (and presumably would not have a prior assumption of what VETO is like)?
less Canadiana than usual
This was a point I considered discussing before the tournament, but decided instead to just have the 4/4 minimum in my packet and leave the issue alone. 4/4 of the first 20/20 (20%) as Canadian content is, in many cases, higher than the American content in American tournaments. It is possible to have an ACF-style submission with only 2/2 American (the history and lit question), and - without knowing NAQT's geographical distribution for pop culture - NAQT is roughly 4/4 American in the 24/24 of their non-pop distribution. Even my Hybrids only had about 2/2 CanCon, and the high school NAQT tournaments for Ottawa only get edited for 1/1 Canadian.
fewer questions on current events, pop culture, general knowledge, and geography
Last year's Hybrid condensed "current events, politics, and geography" down to roughly 1/1, and general knowledge would have been part of the 1/1 "other pop culture". That being said - and outsiders will sigh in disbelief at this - for two years, the 50% pop culture Hybrid was the most-attended event in Canada, even more than the SCT. In the 2005 ACF Fall/TRASH combo weekend, TRASH had something like 14 teams, ACF Fall had 4. Pop culture appears to be the ticket for bringing the crowds in Canada.
Anyway, it's clear that we're not going to run VETO again the same way we did this year.
For those not in the loop of the "VETO cabal" or the qb-canada board, this year's VETO always had some intention of editing. There was no initial search for a single editor; the plan was to have the best 3 or 4 people fix a set of 3 or 4 packets each, giving 12 packets with potentials for repeats. Once the central editor mode came about, I - being the only person there who has had to fix raw Canadian submissions - warned that some packets are going to be really bad. I suggested that the worst packet from each site should be pre-edited/resuscitated by a "good" person playing at the tournament. Indirectly, this ended up happening with Mike and the Lisgar packet, but I have a hunch that if two other packets resembled something Chris or I would do, Jerry would have less work and we could have had either 12 packets or less last-minute editing.
Ben Smith
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by Mike Bentley »

vetovian wrote:Still, except for Mike Bentley's team, the clear sense I got from the other players was that they did not enjoy playing VETO as much as they did in previous years. I think the biggest difference in the questions was that the tossups were much longer than we're used to. The length limit announced was six lines of 80 characters each, but some tossups were more than twice that length. Other differences were less multimedia gimmickry (obviously), and also, it seemed, less Canadiana than usual and fewer questions on current events, pop culture, general knowledge, and geography, though I'll have to look through the packets to see if this is true. All of these factors made VETO less enjoyable to most of the players who were expecting something a bit different.
I don't want to speak for the Oregon team, but they seemed to be having a reasonably good time on the edited packets. We had two very close games against them that I think both teams found very entertaining. By the same token, there was a lot of eye rolling and buzzer racing in the unedited round I read to that team. In some ways this makes it more "fun" because everyone is involved, but I would imagine if they were playing your team or my team on that packet there'd be a lot of frustration.

I also really wasn't seeing a frothing demand for additional Canadian content, except for maybe in the pop culture and history realm. No one seemed to be enjoying the Canadian literature questions, and I wasn't seeing very many non-giveaway buzzes on the geography. I'd be surprised if anyone was calling for more questions like that one on the Asian-Canadian architect in your round.

Anyway, I'll cast my vote for not returning to the crap that was the unedited packets next year. Please see my VETO 2010 post for what I think would be a solution that would be agreeable to all parties involved.
Mike Bentley
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Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by adosreme »

I think Chris makes a very good point in his above post. I really enjoyed playing ACF Fall and, in pre-VETO practices, there were a lot of old VETO packets that I refused to read as they were quite insubstantial. I think that if I had known in advance that VETO was going to be similar in style to an ACF-regionals like tournament (am I correct in saying that this is a decent comparison of the two events?), then I would have been much more accepting of the format and had a better time.

That said, I think that it would be great if, as Mike suggested in the VETO 2010 thread, we modeled VETO after an NAQT type template (but without timers). In terms of difficulty, I believe that SCT level, somewhere between D1 and D2 might be worth investigating. While there are some strong players, this makes it accessible to everyone, including beginners and teams which do not attend tournaments at all other than VETO. In addition, NAQT-style has two distinct properties that I think are quite popular:

- shorter questions
- a distribution which appeals to what many want (i.e. more current events, geography, pop culture)

This is just a thought off the top of my head, and there would definitely be disadvantages to it, and I would welcome responses telling me if I am way off base with my thinking. Also, should I have posted this in the VETO 2010 thread instead?
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Re: VETO discussion

Post by Important Bird Area »

bsmith wrote:without knowing NAQT's geographical distribution for pop culture
We don't have a fixed quota, but for obvious reasons it trends majority-American.
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