Conferring on Tossups

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Conferring on Tossups

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:14 pm

Today I was thinking a bit about verbal conferring on tossups. What are the reasons that mainstream quizbowl doesn't allow for this?

I'm not necessarily agitating for this, but I don't think I've ever heard a reason why it's not allowed other than "that's the way it's been".

I think some elements of tossup strategy would change a bit if this was allowed. I think that conversion rates would improve a bit, as you would have a team coming up with a definitive right answer after a team negs. There would also probably be an increase in early buzzes, as instances where someone has figured out the answer but is drawing a blank in his mind would reduce (for instance, if Player A has read "Ann Vickers" and recognizes that the plot of that work is beign described on a tossup on Sinclair Lewis, he could turn to his teammate who is a stronger generalist and say "buzz with the guy who wrote Ann Vickers and Main Street who I can't think of the name of".)

On a practical level, I could see how it would make it hard to hear the moderator in some instances. Also, some room configurations might make it difficult to confer at a level where your teammates could hear you but your opponents could not.

In summary, I'd like to hear why people think this is a bad idea, or any other novel ideas on how it might change the game.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Cheynem » Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:26 pm

I'm not quite a fan of this for a few reasons.

1. I think it downplays the role of the individual. What I like about quizbowl is that you balance individual knowledge with team knowledge. An individual must answer a tossup, but the team answers bonus parts. I like that symmetry.

2. I think it might lead to a lot of annoying talking and make it hard to hear. Also, the idea you could cherry-pick an answer off of someone on the other team talking a little louder than you is annoying.

3. I also wonder if this might further widen the gap between good and not so good teams. I'm interested what you think about this, Mike.

I would possibly be amenable to tossup conferring with a few stipulations:

1. Conferring can only happen after the other team negs. This gives an even larger advantage, I suppose, to the team that didn't neg.

2. Conferring can only begin after one person buzzes in with a strict timing rule enforced. This means that the person buzzing in has to know very clearly what he's looking for if he's fishing. "It's the bloodiest battle of the War of 1812--help me," etc.

For some reason, I seem to recall that the NSC I went to in 2002 was a little lax about tossup conferral rules. I distinctly remember writing things down on a paper to ask questions to teammates during tossups, and not thinking that it was against the rules.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:38 pm

Conferring could also hurt the buzzing team by encouraging people to second-guess their teammates and risk negging said teammates out of tossups they would have beaten the other team to anyways.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:27 pm

This is basically a rule that basically defines the game one way or another. I don't see better reasons for or against it, the paramount issue being whether learning is encouraged one way or another. That said, I don't see any reason to change it; I like the gameplay rules as they are, more or less.

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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:29 pm

I'd think that conferring during TUs would impact the general ability to understand questions, thus grinding the game to a halt.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by jonpin » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:07 pm

FredMorlan wrote:I'd think that conferring during TUs would impact the general ability to understand questions, thus grinding the game to a halt.
Exactly. Picture a team leading by 20 points entering TU #20 which decides to CONFER VERY LOUDLY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE LAST TOSSUP.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:08 pm

jonpin wrote:
FredMorlan wrote:I'd think that conferring during TUs would impact the general ability to understand questions, thus grinding the game to a halt.
Exactly. Picture a team leading by 20 points entering TU #20 which decides to CONFER VERY LOUDLY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE LAST TOSSUP.
I mean, I assumed that you could buzz in, then confer for five (or n) seconds.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Oct 26, 2009 5:28 pm

I look forward to teams devising elaborate code to communicate with themselves, and/or all learning the same obscure foreign language.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:29 pm

Well, they'll be called for conferring, then, Bruce. At least by me. Also, anyone who cheats or tries to cheat at quizbowl is a fucking loser and I hope they're kicked directly in the face (also by me, but I'll settle for other people, including the horses to which Susan is related.)

To everyone else, there are certainly ways that conferring can be made possible without otherwise breaking the current play of the game. For example, some kind of maximum volume could be established or conferring allowed only after a buzz or limited to writing. It's obvious that allowing anyone to speak at any volume at any time is unacceptable for a variety of reasons.

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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:40 pm

I think conferring would add to the confusion since you're now trying to listen simultaneously to at least two people, and maybe more. I guess I can think of some situations where conferral on tossups might be useful (if your teammate buzzes in on a question that you know, you can help him out) but for the most part I think it would be distracting to both teams no matter how quietly you did it.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:57 pm

Captain Sinico wrote:Well, they'll be called for conferring, then, Bruce. At least by me. Also, anyone who cheats or tries to cheat at quizbowl is a fucking loser and I hope they're kicked directly in the face (also by me, but I'll settle for other people, including the horses to which Susan is related.)
Not if conferring is legal?
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:34 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:
Captain Sinico wrote:Well, they'll be called for conferring, then, Bruce. At least by me. Also, anyone who cheats or tries to cheat at quizbowl is a fucking loser and I hope they're kicked directly in the face (also by me, but I'll settle for other people, including the horses to which Susan is related.)
Not if conferring is legal?
To clarify, I think the idea of obscure languages and hand gestures is to keep the other team from benefiting from the conferring, not to conceal the conferring itself.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by theMoMA » Mon Oct 26, 2009 7:42 pm

It would be interesting to let people write on each others' papers during matches, which would get around the distraction of talking loudly during tossups. I don't really see a reason to do this or anything.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:08 pm

Having a lot of experience with this [bad quizbowl loves conferring,] I think probably the best way to implement this if it were to be implemented, is to have buzz and confer bits, but keep them to maybe 5 seconds.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by bsmith » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:07 pm

I have played a format that allowed buzz-then-confer (SmartAsk!) and one that allows confer-then-buzz (Reach).

Buzz-then-confer was ridiculous when we had it. If you're going to take the risk of buzzing, you need to own up to that risk on your own. Having teammates bail you out leads to spectacles where every player buzzes in at the same time on a keyword in hopes that a teammate knows it. After the runners-up to us abused the system, and we had to give in and use the rule in our final match, SmartAsk! got rid of the buzz-then-confer rule for the following season.

Confer-then-buzz is widespread in Reach, and I have never heard of players yelling for the purpose of distraction in a close game (which would fall under unsportsmanlike conduct rules), nor have I heard of teams developing a secret system to communicate. Conferring only ever comes up after one team gets a neg - every player is too focused on getting the first buzz to worry about sharing info.

I have no problem with confer-then-buzz, but putting it in gameplay will make individual stats meaningless.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by AlphaQuizBowler » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:25 pm

ACF Rules wrote:Substantive conferring refers to verbal, written or analogous communication among team members that can convey information pertinent to what the possible answer to the question is.
Unless I read them incorrectly, the ACF rules allow verbal conferring that does not relate to what the answer is; thus, saying "I've got this one" after an opponent negs would be allowed under the current system.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Kouign Amann » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:28 pm

AlphaQuizBowler wrote:
ACF Rules wrote:Substantive conferring refers to verbal, written or analogous communication among team members that can convey information pertinent to what the possible answer to the question is.
Unless I read them incorrectly, the ACF rules allow verbal conferring that does not relate to what the answer is; thus, saying "I've got this one" after an opponent negs would be allowed under the current system.
I think people are discussing the possibility of allowing substantive conferring in this thread; non-substantive is still fine.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by the return of AHAN » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:40 pm

How does the forum feel about non-verbal conferring? I ask this because last year, during the Davey and Goliath Throwdown (a Frosh/Soph HS event), I saw a team (a highly accomplished program whose school name is eponymous with a university in Alabama) that did a fair amount of non-verbal communicating during the reading toss-ups; that is, on toss-ups where a player thought he might have it but wanted to hear a little more, such a player would hold the buzzer out, as if to indicate to his teammates, "I got this." This surprised me, as all of my earlier experience coaching the activity was at the MS level where any sort of signaling is forbidden on TU.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:43 pm

Woody Paige wrote:How does the forum feel about non-verbal conferring? I ask this because last year, during the Davey and Goliath Throwdown (a Frosh/Soph HS event), I saw a team (a highly accomplished program whose school name is eponymous with a university in Alabama) that did a fair amount of non-verbal communicating during the reading toss-ups; that is, on toss-ups where a player thought he might have it but wanted to hear a little more, such a player would hold the buzzer out, as if to indicate to his teammates, "I got this." This surprised me, as all of my earlier experience coaching the activity was at the MS level where any sort of signaling is forbidden on TU.
As per the ACF rule cited above, conferring of any sort is only forbidden if it might reveal the answer. Vigorous gestures to do things like claim a tossup or remind your teammates not to buzz in after the other team negs are prefectly legal.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by powerplant » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:53 pm

As someone that played four years of conferral allowing OAC format, I have to say that the only thing that conferring does to help your team on tossups is allow more people to buzz on a certain clue. For example, back when Dan and I played for Garfield, I'd frequently buzz when I heard history clues that I knew Dan knew, and he'd do the same with things he knew I knew. Normally trying to pay attention to what the moderator is saying and what your teammate is hard and leads to the other team getting the tossups.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by nobthehobbit » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:37 am

bsmith wrote:I have played a format that allowed buzz-then-confer (SmartAsk!) and one that allows confer-then-buzz (Reach).

Buzz-then-confer was ridiculous when we had it. If you're going to take the risk of buzzing, you need to own up to that risk on your own. Having teammates bail you out leads to spectacles where every player buzzes in at the same time on a keyword in hopes that a teammate knows it. After the runners-up to us abused the system, and we had to give in and use the rule in our final match, SmartAsk! got rid of the buzz-then-confer rule for the following season.

Confer-then-buzz is widespread in Reach, and I have never heard of players yelling for the purpose of distraction in a close game (which would fall under unsportsmanlike conduct rules), nor have I heard of teams developing a secret system to communicate. Conferring only ever comes up after one team gets a neg - every player is too focused on getting the first buzz to worry about sharing info.

I have no problem with confer-then-buzz, but putting it in gameplay will make individual stats meaningless.
To add to this, as another former SmartAsk! (though only in the season without buzz-then-confer) and Reach player, I'm pretty hard-pressed to recall an instance of my team's using the confer-then-buzz rules. (Or rather, I can recall one in which my teammate whispered what he thought the answer was to me, but we were leading by enough that I opted not to take the risk; he turned out to be right, but we still won.)

That said, both games have not-insignificant sections where no conferral is allowed: SA had the Dirty Half Dozen, while Reach has (among other rounds; it's been a while) assigned questions and shootouts.

i'm ambivalent about confer-then-buzz (the other is plainly absurd, so much so that it had its own name back in the day). I think the game might improve a little (in that fewer tossups would likely go dead) if players were allowed, after a neg by the other team, to tell their teammates that they have this one rather than having to wait for the clue that'll nail it down for them and hope one of their teammates doesn't buzz incorrectly in the interim, or beat them (with an incorrect answer) on a buzzer race after the giveaway. But anything more is already taking a fair deal of the risk out of buzzing.

And yeah, both Ask and Reach fall into the category of bad quizbowl.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by dtaylor4 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:59 am

nobthehobbit wrote:i'm ambivalent about confer-then-buzz (the other is plainly absurd, so much so that it had its own name back in the day). I think the game might improve a little (in that fewer tossups would likely go dead) if players were allowed, after a neg by the other team, to tell their teammates that they have this one rather than having to wait for the clue that'll nail it down for them and hope one of their teammates doesn't buzz incorrectly in the interim, or beat them (with an incorrect answer) on a buzzer race after the giveaway. But anything more is already taking a fair deal of the risk out of buzzing.
This can be done non-verbally, via a raised buzzer or other form of hand signaling, and in a standard tournament is legal.

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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by nobthehobbit » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:20 am

dtaylor4 wrote:This can be done non-verbally, via a raised buzzer or other form of hand signaling, and in a standard tournament is legal.
If you ever have the pleasure of playing with or against any of my former UBC teammates, tell them, "when I wave you off, you stay off". You'll probably get at least a good laugh, and maybe even a story or two that will not cast me in a good light.

More seriously, non-verbal signaling is fine unless your teammates are so intent on the question that they don't notice your signal. I don't see any harm in allowing a player to say, after the other team has negged, "I've got this one" since his or her teammates would notice that and the player would be taking something of a risk by talking over the moderator and possibly missing a crucial word that pushes the tossup from what s/he thought it was (and so signaled "I've got this one") to something completely different that, in fact, the player doesn't know but a teammate does.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:28 am

I'm not sure what you guys are doing buzzing in before the end of the question after the neg unless you're absolutely sure and you don't want to have the moderator read another five lines of tossup.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by nobthehobbit » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:36 am

Earthquake wrote:I'm not sure what you guys are doing buzzing in before the end of the question after the neg unless you're absolutely sure and you don't want to have the moderator read another five lines of tossup.
Well, in tournaments with power marks, there's that. And in those without, even if you always wait for the end of the question you can still have races between teammates if one doesn't notice the other's signal, if any signal is made.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by dtaylor4 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:53 am

nobthehobbit wrote:
Earthquake wrote:I'm not sure what you guys are doing buzzing in before the end of the question after the neg unless you're absolutely sure and you don't want to have the moderator read another five lines of tossup.
Well, in tournaments with power marks, there's that. And in those without, even if you always wait for the end of the question you can still have races between teammates if one doesn't notice the other's signal, if any signal is made.
The only time you should try to power-vulch is if you must get the extra points to have a chance of winning the game. There is too much risk involved when vulching like that over an extra five points.

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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by nobthehobbit » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:00 am

dtaylor4 wrote:
nobthehobbit wrote:
Earthquake wrote:I'm not sure what you guys are doing buzzing in before the end of the question after the neg unless you're absolutely sure and you don't want to have the moderator read another five lines of tossup.
Well, in tournaments with power marks, there's that. And in those without, even if you always wait for the end of the question you can still have races between teammates if one doesn't notice the other's signal, if any signal is made.
The only time you should try to power-vulch is if you must get the extra points to have a chance of winning the game. There is too much risk involved when vulching like that over an extra five points.
I'll agree with you on that point, but I'd like to know your thoughts on my second point. Sometimes, players just don't notice a non-verbal signal or misinterpret it. It'd be a lot harder for them to miss or misinterpret a verbal one, and a verbal signal would have inherent risk (miss part of the tossup), and still be non-substantive, and, I'd argue, increase tossup conversion rates.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by dtaylor4 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:01 am

nobthehobbit wrote:I'll agree with you on that point, but I'd like to know your thoughts on my second point. Sometimes, players just don't notice a non-verbal signal or misinterpret it. It'd be a lot harder for them to miss or misinterpret a verbal one, and a verbal signal would have inherent risk (miss part of the tossup), and still be non-substantive, and, I'd argue, increase tossup conversion rates.
As long as the team knows what the non-verbal signal is, which shouldn't be that hard to communicate, there should not be a problem.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:25 am

dtaylor4 wrote:
nobthehobbit wrote:I'll agree with you on that point, but I'd like to know your thoughts on my second point. Sometimes, players just don't notice a non-verbal signal or misinterpret it. It'd be a lot harder for them to miss or misinterpret a verbal one, and a verbal signal would have inherent risk (miss part of the tossup), and still be non-substantive, and, I'd argue, increase tossup conversion rates.
As long as the team knows what the verbal signal is, which shouldn't be that hard to communicate, there should not be a problem.
Moderators tend to not to be too keen on verbal signals. I remember at HFT 2008 (my second tournament, and first that wasn't confer-then-buzz), a couple of times I blurted out "buzz with something" at the end of a tossup and I got warned for it.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:47 am

Do you mean HFT '07, or the VCU mirror of '08? Anyway, I'll be sure to tell my mods to chill a little with respect to non-answer conferring.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:37 pm

I'm not a fan of non-answer verbal conference. I guess at the end of a question it's OK, but I would be inclined to call illegal conference on somebody who yelled "buzz with something!" during a question, simply to penalize them for talking during the question and disrupting it for the other six people in the room.

Indeed, if you read the frequent "Stop talking during games!" threads that Matt posts, I often suggest more aggressively using the illegal conference rule to punish those who keep talking after a tossup and thus cut down tournament times.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Susan » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:40 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:I'm not a fan of non-answer verbal conference. I guess at the end of a question it's OK, but I would be inclined to call illegal conference on somebody who yelled "buzz with something!" during a question, simply to penalize them for talking during the question and disrupting it for the other six people in the room.
I agree with Bruce and I'll add that if a player isn't paying enough attention to his or her teammates during the match to see if one of them knows the answer and wants to buzz (or is trying to get him or her to buzz and say something), that player has problems.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:25 pm

Whig's Boson wrote:Indeed, if you read the frequent "Stop talking during games!" threads that Matt posts, I often suggest more aggressively using the illegal conference rule to punish those who keep talking after a tossup and thus cut down tournament times.
I usually just yell, "Shut up!" really loudly. Works most of the time.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Cheynem » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:38 pm

It would certainly scare me.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Captain Sinico » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:49 pm

Okay. Why can't/won't they then just ignore or misinterpret a verbal signal? I think this is a fairly weak argument.

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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by dtaylor4 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 1:54 pm

Earthquake wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote:
nobthehobbit wrote:I'll agree with you on that point, but I'd like to know your thoughts on my second point. Sometimes, players just don't notice a non-verbal signal or misinterpret it. It'd be a lot harder for them to miss or misinterpret a verbal one, and a verbal signal would have inherent risk (miss part of the tossup), and still be non-substantive, and, I'd argue, increase tossup conversion rates.
As long as the team knows what the verbal signal is, which shouldn't be that hard to communicate, there should not be a problem.
Moderators tend to not to be too keen on verbal signals. I remember at HFT 2008 (my second tournament, and first that wasn't confer-then-buzz), a couple of times I blurted out "buzz with something" at the end of a tossup and I got warned for it.
Posting while trying to write half a dozen other things is a bad idea. I misspoke.

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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by cvdwightw » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:01 pm

Earthquake wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote:
nobthehobbit wrote:I'll agree with you on that point, but I'd like to know your thoughts on my second point. Sometimes, players just don't notice a non-verbal signal or misinterpret it. It'd be a lot harder for them to miss or misinterpret a verbal one, and a verbal signal would have inherent risk (miss part of the tossup), and still be non-substantive, and, I'd argue, increase tossup conversion rates.
As long as the team knows what the verbal signal is, which shouldn't be that hard to communicate, there should not be a problem.
Moderators tend to not to be too keen on verbal signals. I remember at HFT 2008 (my second tournament, and first that wasn't confer-then-buzz), a couple of times I blurted out "buzz with something" at the end of a tossup and I got warned for it.
Delaware Enemies List wrote:A lot of people have bad experiences with QB Etiquette. Here at Delaware, we try to be extremely nice and polite. Jason and Samantha took it to a whole new level though at Beltway Bandits V, where after the other teams negs a buzzer race, both individuals are allowing the other to buzz in. Jason says out loud, "After you", to which Sam replies "No, after you." After going back and forth about 3 or 4 times and Jason saying "I don't know it", the moderator had no choice to call them for conferring. Through it all though, they were polite.
One of the joys of playing CBI was having to buzzer-race three teammates on blindingly obvious rebounds because you couldn't in any way signal that you knew the answer, so you had to buzz to make sure that your teammate didn't screw it up. Occasionally this resulted in hilarious (presumably to CBI officials) embarrassment when the person who won the buzzer race was the one person that didn't know the answer. This is the biggest argument for why, if we're trying to reward knowledge, we should allow at least some form of nonsubstantive conferring.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:09 pm

Crazy Andy Watkins wrote:Do you mean HFT '07, or the VCU mirror of '08? Anyway, I'll be sure to tell my mods to chill a little with respect to non-answer conferring.
The former.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Howard » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:58 pm

Cheynem wrote:2. I think it might lead to a lot of annoying talking and make it hard to hear. Also, the idea you could cherry-pick an answer off of someone on the other team talking a little louder than you is annoying.
Having coached a large number of conferring-allowed events, I can testify that with perhaps on a few questions where a team got overexcited, this doesn't happen. I'm in agreement with other posts in the thread that would penalize purposeful and loud conferring during the question.
Cheynem wrote:3. I also wonder if this might further widen the gap between good and not so good teams. I'm interested what you think about this, Mike.
I don't think so. It does change the game a little bit. I'm actually a fan of the fact that it concentrates more on the team as a whole and less on the individual. Some players are stronger on the buzzer, some are stronger at interpreting the question, some are stronger at certain areas of knowledge. Not being able to confer limits a team's ability to take advantage of the positive traits of all its members at the same time. Allowing conferring allows each team to utilize each player's positive traits to their maximum.

I also don't think there needs to be a correlation between "bad quizbowl" and conferring. It'll achieve the same whole-team effect with whatever questions are being read.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by rjaguar3 » Wed Oct 28, 2009 9:55 pm

Howard wrote: Some players are stronger on the buzzer, some are stronger at interpreting the question, some are stronger at certain areas of knowledge. Not being able to confer limits a team's ability to take advantage of the positive traits of all its members at the same time. Allowing conferring allows each team to utilize each player's positive traits to their maximum.
Except for the fact that the first two are only emphasized in bad quizbowl (with hoses, buzzer races caused by poor pyramidality and difficulty cliffs, psychic-connection-required questions, and the like). In good quizbowl, I don't see conferring substantively helping a team as much as in bad quizbowl.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Howard » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:59 pm

rjaguar3 wrote:
Howard wrote: Some players are stronger on the buzzer, some are stronger at interpreting the question, some are stronger at certain areas of knowledge. Not being able to confer limits a team's ability to take advantage of the positive traits of all its members at the same time. Allowing conferring allows each team to utilize each player's positive traits to their maximum.
Except for the fact that the first two are only emphasized in bad quizbowl (with hoses, buzzer races caused by poor pyramidality and difficulty cliffs, psychic-connection-required questions, and the like). In good quizbowl, I don't see conferring substantively helping a team as much as in bad quizbowl.
While I'll agree there's a different level of emphasis on the first two items, they're still present in all types of quizbowl. So in that sense, I agree that conferring may not help as much in "good" quizbowl. Still, someone who is a slower thinker or buzzer could get great assistance from someone who better at those tasks who can identify the question as answerable by another player on the team.

On another note, the idea that teams can cherry pick answers from the other team's conferring is a valid criticism. It doesn't happen frequently (probably not enough to affect the outcome of a significant number of games), but it does occur. The only way I could think of to successfully eliminate this concern required much more of an overhaul of the 20TU/Bonus format than simply the conferring. To prevent such cherry-picking, tossup bouncebacks would need to be eliminated and scored +/-10 or something similar. This, then leads to a desire to eliminate bonus questions in favor of more tossups to eliminate problems with Team A being able to prevent bonus questions to Team B simply by negging the tossup. So now we're at something like a 50 tossup match with no bonuses, scored at +/-10 each tossup. I could see this community accepting the conferring, but not a 50TU no bounceback format.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by DumbJaques » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:33 am

Given our track record with buzz-assists so far this year, Maryland probably supports trying out a conferring-allowed format. To be clear, I assume that means a system in which you can confer verbally after buzzing in during the 5 seconds, or confer by writing things down during the tossup if you really needed to. I've played conferring formats as well, and I never had an issue with anyone talking over the moderator during a tossup, nor did I see people buzzing madly and hoping someone could pull the answer. Such a phenomena is particularly unlikely to occur in college quizbowl, as buzzing in on the first line of a Nationals tossup is likely going to leave you up shit's creek regardless of whether you've dragged your teammates along for the ride. It does create issues with individual stats though, I've never really come across a good way to reconcile those things.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Important Bird Area » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:04 am

DumbJaques wrote:I've played conferring formats as well, and I never had an issue with anyone talking over the moderator during a tossup, nor did I see people buzzing madly and hoping someone could pull the answer.
Depends on the conferring format. One of the high school formats I played allowed tossup conferral because there was only one buzzer per team.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo » Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:51 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:
DumbJaques wrote:I've played conferring formats as well, and I never had an issue with anyone talking over the moderator during a tossup, nor did I see people buzzing madly and hoping someone could pull the answer.
Depends on the conferring format. One of the high school formats I played allowed tossup conferral because there was only one buzzer per team.
The Panasonic tournament was like this, at least for the year that i went to play in it in 2000.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Cheynem » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:19 am

It was also so in 2002 when I went.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by DumbJaques » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:27 pm

How come mainstream quizbowl events don't incorporate chicken fighting? That's how we settled things with Team VA at Panasonic.
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Re: Conferring on Tossups

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sat Oct 31, 2009 2:35 am

DumbJaques wrote:Given our track record with buzz-assists so far this year,
You should have busted out this tactic at VCU open, man.
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