UIC deserves its own thread

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UIC deserves its own thread

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:52 am

I would like to preface this thread by saying, I find it hard to run a quiz bowl tournament, and I've been playing for ~10 years now, so I need to give UIC props for what did get done.

Registration: Why would you not have any small or medium t-shirts?
Breakfast: Very nice. Orange juice was meh, according to my teammates, but they approved of the pulp. The starbucks was really nice.
Ft. Dearborn room: The regular mod for that room did a pretty good job, once she got acclimated. ~18 tossups/game
Illinois C room: Nolan rocks. His room handled things very well.
White Oak Room: Do people in the city not know how to schedule? Poor Northwestern had to sit in the same tiny room the whole day. The mod here did a pretty good job. What was going on with the Cardinal Room? I've never seen an open door to a quiz bowl match.


Illinois A: The ultimate shit show. Room was running behind by a lot, and this is a timed tournament. Caused 100% of the delays in D2. Some people are not meant to be quiz bowl moderators. Why were we signing score sheets here, but not anywhere else all day? Weird.
To the Chicago D issue: So when we were playing Chicago D, Jakub was sitting out as the alternate. The Illinois A room was set up for "Stadium Quizbowl" so that a big crowd could watch (despite the fact that there is rarely a crowd for quiz bowl, and when there is, the players should have their back to the crowd). Jakub was getting into the game, a lot of body language, which is fine and all, but it had gotten to the point which it had attracted Mark and I's attention, as he was in our sight-line. At one point in the 2nd half (when they were up by a lot), Chicago had a bonus and the answer to the third part was "Queen Maud". Jakub had mouthed this (twice), while Chicago was conferring (Chicago got it wrong). I had enough time to ask Mark if I should mention something, and he saw too, so he said yes. At which point, then the mod said the answer. I called timeout, and basically said what I had seen. I assumed, he would get a warning or something, and then he would watch his mouth, and there are no issues. It is my understanding of the rules, that he should have gotten a warning. They kicked him out of the match, despite me asking to keep him in the room. They then proceeded to ban him from the tournament, without the TD or anyone else consulting me or anyone on my team, when we had made it clear that it was not intentional, and no harm had been done. This is ridiculous. It is ridiculously obvious that he didn't mean to do anything wrong, and I only brought it up to prevent some unfortunate issue where someone from his team saw him mouthing it. When it happened it looked super sketchy, but it was quite obvious that there was no issues here. I still have the same high level of respect for Chicago and all its players, and hope that we can come to an understanding that nothing happened here. In conclusion, Jakub didn't do anything wrong, and shouldn't have been banned from the tournament. Congrats to Chicago D and E, good luck at nationals.


Of the 5 mods, 2 1/2 of them were of SCT/ACF level (Nolan, the guy in the white oak room, and then kinda lady in the Ft. Dearborn room). The one in the Illinois A room, and the substitute moderator were BAD. We should have been hitting 20 tossups every round. I heard that one of the Chicago teams averaged 14 tossups heard in the morning. We didn't get to 24 at all all day, compared to last year @A2, where I recollect always getting through 20 tossups, and finishing 24 a couple times.
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:06 am

According to the NAQT rules, judgment of misconduct is between the team or players involved and the tournament staff. The opposing team's consent is not required for sanctions to take place. (Read section K here)
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:42 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:According to the NAQT rules, judgment of misconduct is between the team or players involved and the tournament staff. The opposing team's consent is not required for sanctions to take place. (Read section K here)
Ok, fine.
"For official NAQT events, the tournament director must, following the tournament, report all instances of misconduct to NAQT. These instances, as well as instances of misconduct occurring outside the tournament site, may result in sanctions to be determined by NAQT."

He didn't deserve anything more than a warning in the first place. If him or Chicago gets any sanctions, I'll be pissed.
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by majadirks » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:52 am

Regarding the Illinois A room moderator: I find it inconceivable than anyone can graduate from high school and still be unable to pronounce "viscous," "integral," or "Mesopotamia".
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:55 am

This tournament was pretty well run. However, I believe one critical error was made by the UIC people, and that was the fact that they would not remove the moderator in Illinois A.

Now, I know that it is hard to be an effective moderator, and nobody wants to openly have to criticize a moderator. But this is a case where something needed to be done. The moderator in Illinois A read syllable by syllable, which meant that not only did she read slow, but it was almost impossible to understand. I am convinced that she cost us at least one hundred points, and to be honest I really feel like she hurt the chances of every team at UIC D2. We did not convert Les Demoiselles d'Avignon because we honest to god did not hear it. To give you an example of how she read, Aristophanes became "Are-is-top-hanes". The constant attempts to discern what she said really, in my opinion, made any result in this room illegitimate.

I know that I am not alone in my belief. I heard complaints from six of the eight teams, and everybody had their own story to tell. Incredibly funny mispronunciations, not accepting equivalent answers, giving teams twelve seconds to answer bonus parts (I timed it). Plain and simply, she was a terrible moderator.

I approached Joey as early as Round 6 and demanded that she be removed for afternoon rounds. The response that I received was "we will get your thoughts on moderators on the form." Well, how the hell does that help my three Senior teammates? There was no reason to have her continue to read after lunch. The decision to leave her in was a major mistake that really spoiled an otherwise great day of quizbowl.
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by AKKOLADE » Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:25 am

Is it at all possible for NAQT to pay for the transit of a third party who knows what's up to act as a co-TD with the ACUI-ran regions and act as something of a big sibling and as someone prevent things like over-zealousness and the like?
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by pray for elves » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:31 am

FredMorlan wrote:Is it at all possible for NAQT to pay for the transit of a third party who knows what's up to act as a co-TD with the ACUI-ran regions and act as something of a big sibling and as someone prevent things like over-zealousness and the like?
I essentially did this for the Knoxville site, but without any reimbursement.
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:06 pm

One more thing. Joey accepted "Thermometer" for the "Calorimeter" tossup. I should have protested, but I didn't realize what had happened until 2 rounds later when I was talking about the question, and how I got outbuzzed during power. When a moderator says correct answer, you just learn to trust it, especially when you know it, sometimes not even fully hearing what was said. It didn't make a difference in the outcome of the game, and the game was already long over.
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by setht » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:27 pm

I thought the organization and running of the UIC SCT were pretty good. It's clear that the moderator corps for DI was quite a bit more experienced than the DII group, and that really helped keep things running smoothly in DI--not that the DI moderators all hit 20+ tossups in every game, but they were never well below 20 tossups, we didn't have lots of delays between rounds, etc. If the hosts had called in more Chicago-area alums and high school coaches I think the DII side of things would have gone much better as well.

After moderator quality, I think the next main thing to improve in future iterations would be to make sure game rooms are more isolated, sound-wise: there was a pair of game rooms separated by a wall thin enough that we could hear the games in the next room over, not quite clearly enough to understand what was being read, but it was loud enough to be distracting. Another game room had an open doorway onto an antechamber connected to a second game room; in this case we couldn't hear the second game room from the first, but once the timing of rounds in the two divisions started diverging we could hear teams go in and out of the second room while we were playing games in the first. Aside from that the rooms seemed fine, and they'd clearly been set up nicely beforehand, so there was much less delay in getting started with the tournament than at most circuit events I've been to.

After that, we start getting into minor details: having the schedules printed and ready to hand out to teams before round 1 instead of telling each team where to go for round 1 and then printing schedules during round 1 (this didn't delay things more than 5 or 10 minutes, I think), making sure everyone knows when snack time starts*, shirt sizes below XL, etc. Actually, looking over other people's comments, setting up schedules so that all teams cycle through all rooms (as opposed to having Anant play all his games in one room) would be a nice improvement in future iterations.

* Seriously, I think missing out on snack time is my single greatest regret of the tournament--not playing an advantaged finals match in DI was somewhat disappointing, but doesn't hold a candle to missing snack time. I say that somewhat tongue in cheek, but I had a really good time at the tournament and there's almost nothing else I could point to that I wish had gone differently.

Moving on to other people's comments:
BG MSL Champs wrote:I believe one critical error was made by the UIC people, and that was the fact that they would not remove the moderator in Illinois A... I approached Joey as early as Round 6 and demanded that she be removed for afternoon rounds. The response that I received was "we will get your thoughts on moderators on the form." Well, how the hell does that help my three Senior teammates? There was no reason to have her continue to read after lunch. The decision to leave her in was a major mistake that really spoiled an otherwise great day of quizbowl.
I actually had the impression that the ACUI people were very receptive to suggestions from quizbowl circuit people--one of our staffers pointed out in the morning that quizbowl tournaments normally don't have moderators rotate from room to room each round, and they accepted that and changed their plans accordingly; when DI finished a well ahead of DII, I and some other Chicago people offered to read the last round of the second round-robin in a couple rooms in DII to give staffers a break and possibly move things along a bit, and Joey seemed happy to have us (and had me read in Illinois A). I would point to these things as good omens for future ACUI+circuit-run events. I'm not sure what happened with your earlier request to switch out the moderator in Illinois A. One thing I would say: you use the word "demanded" in your write-up of what happened. I wonder if you would have had more success in getting a new moderator in Illinois A if you had calmly explained to Joey and/or Ruby that moderators at SCT are expected to get through 18+ questions per round and presented some numbers from the previous games in Illinois A. Div I had two rooms with two good moderators each (in both rooms moderators took turns reading)--presumably it would have been fine to shuffle things around so that Div I wound up with two rooms with one good moderator and a scorekeeper each, and Div II got an influx of two good moderators replacing the Illinois A and substitute moderators you complained about. Perhaps the best way to get this change to occur mid-tournament would have been to approach some of the DI moderators, explain the situation, get them on board and have them present the case to the TDs--not that TDs should ignore direct requests from players, but I think the organizers may have been under the impression that they were supposed to stack all the best staff in DI even if it meant there were quality moderators reading half the rounds while DII had less-experienced readers, and I think the best way to clear things up would have been to have some of the DI moderators volunteer to switch to DII to get numbers up and keep things moving.
FredMorlan wrote:Is it at all possible for NAQT to pay for the transit of a third party who knows what's up to act as a co-TD with the ACUI-ran regions and act as something of a big sibling and as someone prevent things like over-zealousness and the like?
I guess this also could have helped with the situation Nicholas and others have complained about, but (as I said above) I think it also could have been resolved with some help from DI staff--and there were plenty of circuit people staffing DI who I imagine would have understood what was up and would have been happy to help sort things out if they'd been approached.

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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by Important Bird Area » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:54 pm

setht wrote:If the hosts had called in more Chicago-area alums and high school coaches I think the DII side of things would have gone much better as well.
Just a quick note that we did email our entire contact list of Chicago-area alums (thanks to Susan for adding some names to this list, thanks to Sendhil, Mitchell, and Colby for coming out to staff) and that there were effectively no high school coaches available (everyone with significant moderating experience was staffing Huskie Bowl for Brad and Kristen).
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by marnold » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:27 pm

Seth is pretty much right about everything: I thought this tournament ran really smoothly (and about a billion times more smoothly than I had expected) and Joey and Ruby were both admirably flexible. Obviously there were a few issues in DII and some issues with the UIC catering service (I defy anyone to look at that piece of cheese and tell me that wasn't a bite). I'm still miffed a bit about the Jakub situation, though. Is this matter being considered by NAQT or something? Like, Jakub was worried he'd be BANNED FOR LIFE from NAQT and cost his team an at-large bid: if kicking him out of the tournament seems excessive and harsh, something like this seems completely insane (especially given what Nalin says above).
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:04 pm

setht wrote: Moving on to other people's comments:
BG MSL Champs wrote:I believe one critical error was made by the UIC people, and that was the fact that they would not remove the moderator in Illinois A... I approached Joey as early as Round 6 and demanded that she be removed for afternoon rounds. The response that I received was "we will get your thoughts on moderators on the form." Well, how the hell does that help my three Senior teammates? There was no reason to have her continue to read after lunch. The decision to leave her in was a major mistake that really spoiled an otherwise great day of quizbowl.
I actually had the impression that the ACUI people were very receptive to suggestions from quizbowl circuit people--one of our staffers pointed out in the morning that quizbowl tournaments normally don't have moderators rotate from room to room each round, and they accepted that and changed their plans accordingly; when DI finished a well ahead of DII, I and some other Chicago people offered to read the last round of the second round-robin in a couple rooms in DII to give staffers a break and possibly move things along a bit, and Joey seemed happy to have us (and had me read in Illinois A). I would point to these things as good omens for future ACUI+circuit-run events. I'm not sure what happened with your earlier request to switch out the moderator in Illinois A. One thing I would say: you use the word "demanded" in your write-up of what happened. I wonder if you would have had more success in getting a new moderator in Illinois A if you had calmly explained to Joey and/or Ruby that moderators at SCT are expected to get through 18+ questions per round and presented some numbers from the previous games in Illinois A. Div I had two rooms with two good moderators each (in both rooms moderators took turns reading)--presumably it would have been fine to shuffle things around so that Div I wound up with two rooms with one good moderator and a scorekeeper each, and Div II got an influx of two good moderators replacing the Illinois A and substitute moderators you complained about. Perhaps the best way to get this change to occur mid-tournament would have been to approach some of the DI moderators, explain the situation, get them on board and have them present the case to the TDs--not that TDs should ignore direct requests from players, but I think the organizers may have been under the impression that they were supposed to stack all the best staff in DI even if it meant there were quality moderators reading half the rounds while DII had less-experienced readers, and I think the best way to clear things up would have been to have some of the DI moderators volunteer to switch to DII to get numbers up and keep things moving.
-Seth
What I essentially did was give specific examples of mispronunciations, and I gave specific incidences where it cost us points. At the end, I said that because of this, she really should be replaced after lunch. She essentially said that all concerns with moderators could be addressed in the moderator evaluation sheet. My tone may have been of anger, but it was also not simply me screaming "she must be removed". In fact, no screaming was involved at all.

I just got the impression that Joey did not want to deal with removing the reader and sort of ignored my comment. It is one thing to tell people to make a change. It is another thing to fire someone that you may have to deal with at a later date. She just seemed unwilling to do that.

I agree that UIC did a better job than anticipated. They clearly took a lot of pride in hosting the event, and I would certainly go to another event there. That said, it would be a major shame if a team from this tournament does not advance to ICT because of UIC's refusal to remove the moderator. If you do not convert a bonus part because you cannot understand the moderator, or a tossup goes unanswered because of moderator error, it can make a difference. Considering that there appears to be a few "bubble teams", this situation seems at least plausible.
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by cornfused » Sun Feb 07, 2010 8:49 pm

We also had a moderator think that "do not prompt on [thing]" meant "just take [thing], you don't need to prompt."
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by evilmonkey » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:07 pm

BG MSL Champs wrote: I know that I am not alone in my belief. I heard complaints from six of the eight teams, and everybody had their own story to tell.
Notre Dame A and B both had major complaints about this too, include 14 and 15 tossup rounds. She also seemed quite unaware of the rules - before Nick and I checked with her and guided her to the correct rule prior to the first match, she totally was going to kill the tossups at the end of the half. There was a long delay in the second round when the B team captain called a Timeout to sub himself out (due to negging so much), because she didn't believe that there were such things as timeouts. Then, in the third round, the game went to overtime, and she had no idea how to do an overtime. Because I couldn't find the rule within 5 seconds, she felt the need to go find the TD and ask. This wasted 5-10 minutes, as one of my teammates found the rule within 30 seconds of her leaving the room. When she returned, someone asked "are powers and negs still in effect?" causing further delay. She nearly left again, but we all argued against it, saying that powers/negs was correct. However, since the rules don't specifically state that they are, this was not too bad - NAQT, can you add this for next time?

Also, pronunciation I think someone else hit upon the most egregious mistakes, but I'd like to echo that she was really bad. Every tossup had at least one mispronounced word, and anything German or French was unintelligible. To her credit, she did well with long chemical names - but as noted above, she butchered words like viscous (vicious, then a second attempt that was also wrong). The pronunciation guides didn't help her, as she didn't jump ahead to the guide, instead reading the word phonetically, and then reading the pronunciation guide (which was occasionally butchered). Also, the rounds we had in that room had this many tossups, with the score following: 15, 17 + OT, 15, 14.

And, you know, some moderators, even if they're bad, at least they'll be nice. This was the type of moderator that knew she was doing poorly, and it stressed her out and made her not nice.

Also, regarding the Ft. Dearborn Moderator - her pronunciations were mostly okay (a few wrong ones here and there, but nothing big). However, our rounds in there were 17, 17, 17, and 16. But, I feel like with a little bit more practice she would be a good mod. Nolan was good, the White Oak moderator was good.

Regarding the opening meeting - they didn't have schedules printed off prior to the start of the tournament. This slowed things down. The person running the meeting talked to us as if, since it was new to all of them, it was new to all of us as well. Annoying, but understandable. I guess if they run things in the future, they'll be more settled. Requiring name cards brought back memories of high school (and became annoying in Illinois A, since the moderator felt the need to wait until the scorekeeper had gotten all of our names down before doing a buzzer check before each game, during which we were required to wait for her to read our names before buzzing in - at which point I checked to make sure that she knew that she didn't need to recognize us before we gave an answer).

Probably to this point, you would think that we had a horrible time. Not at all - UIC, IMO, did a great job for a group that came in with no prior experience. Providing food was great, the building was good, providing pens, t-shirts, and rules was nice. UIC is in a good location.
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:33 pm

Having never moderated a NAQT tournament before this weekend, I wanted to be sure I would do everything correct, so the day before I printed off a copy of the rules and kept them with me during the day. When that Notre Dame team came into my room and asked about the subs-during-timeout issue from the previous round, I was able to clarify the rules within a matter of seconds. I'd highly suggest that inexperienced moderators be given hard copies of the rules to minimize this sort of issue.
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Re: UIC deserves its own thread

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Feb 09, 2010 2:52 pm

evilmonkey wrote:When she returned, someone asked "are powers and negs still in effect?" causing further delay. She nearly left again, but we all argued against it, saying that powers/negs was correct. However, since the rules don't specifically state that they are, this was not too bad - NAQT, can you add this for next time?
Yes.
Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:I'd highly suggest that inexperienced moderators be given hard copies of the rules to minimize this sort of issue.
We already recommend this as well- every moderator (and especially inexperienced moderators!) should have a copy of the rules immediately to hand.

We'll also add something somewhere noting that we do not require name cards for any purpose and that players should identify themselves to the scorekeeper (eg, during the buzzer check).
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