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Best Practices for Running a Discord Tournament

Posted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:06 pm
by Mike Bentley
Here's a more organized version of how to run a good Discord tournament. This post is missing some of the very basics of how such a tournament works. I'll add that when I get a chance.

Before the tournament:

Tournament Directors:
-Send out frequent reminders that the tournament is coming up to your players and moderators. Get confirmation that people are actually coming. People have a bad tendency to forget about online tournaments and/or flake.
-Make sure you have enough moderators. And ideally you'd even have a couple of backup moderators. Discord tournaments are prone to have technical issues. You don't want to end up with one fewer moderator than you need because a moderator's voice chat isn't working.
-Confirm that all your moderators have headsets for reading. This is essential and if they don't you're going to put on a bad tournament. Order headset mics for people if you have to. You can get them cheaply and quickly from Amazon. DO NOT EVER RELY ON A LAPTOP MICROPHONE for your moderators.
-Set you start time to be as early as possible. Discord tournaments often have players in different time zones. I'd suggest making people on the West Coast get up early as you're more likely to run into people having to leave by dinner time than West Coast players who can't get up on time.
-Create the server early and send out invites. This will let you set up the permissions to channels.
-You'll want to set up a voice channel for each room. And separate text channels for each room+round pair. Add permissions to these channels for all rounds before the tournament starts. DO NOT PLAN ON ADDING PEOPLE TO CHATS AFTER EACH ROUND. This takes forever and causes delays. Do it all at once at the beginning (or on rebracketing if needed).
-The day before the tournament, confirm that voice chat works with all of your moderators.
-Recognize that Discord tournaments take a long time and plan for a schedule that has no more than 10 games. Plan for a final only if teams are tied--it's rare that teams want to play advantaged finals.
-If you're doing a playtest and have more than 10 or so packets, I suggest scheduling a follow-up shootout on another day to playtest the remaining packets.

Players and Moderators:
-Download the desktop app. DO NOT USE THE WEB APP. It uses inferior voice chat protocols and you'll run into issues.
-Be responsive to the TD. Confirm with your teammates that they're playing.
-Join the server as soon as you get the link. Use your real name.
-You'll almost certainly want to get a headset to, but it's less crucial than moderators.
-Test that you can hear audio in Discord.
-Plan to be in a place with a good internet connection. Ideally over a wired connection.
-Moderators: This should be self-evident but read in a place where there isn't background noise.

During the tournament:

Moderators:
-Use push to talk to speak. If you don't do this, you're liable to get cut-off at the beginning/end of reading questions / acknowledging people.
-If you can't use Push to Talk for some reason, you should at least set the microphone sensitivity as low as possible so that it picks up the start of sentences.
-Arrange your windows so you can see the packet, the scoresheet and the chat without having to Alt+Tab. This will help you efficiently move between questions.
-Get someone else to type of the number of the question in between tossups (to separate the buzzes).
-If you're playing a tournament with bonuses, be strict on timing. Don't let people think of answers if they don't have an immediate answer. I'm personally inclined to accept correct answers even if teams haven't directed them to keep things moving.
-Unless it's a shootout, always assume that people buzzing on the other team will withdraw after a neg. If people want to vulch, they can re-buzz.
-If you're having audio issues, try restarting the app.
-Worst comes to worst, you may want to try reading over your phone.
-If for some reason you didn't listen to me above and don't have a headset mic, at the very least use headphones to reduce echo.
-Let the TD know as soon as possible if you're having technical details, waiting for someone, etc.
-If things go super wrong with mics, you can fallback to pasting in text. This sucks, though, and you should avoid it if possible.

Players:
-If you're using the web app, stop right now and download the desktop app.
-Plan for lunch ahead of time.
-Mute your mics except when absolutely needed.
-Use headsets. At the very least use headphones to reduce echo.
-On bonuses, be clear about directing answers. Use things like CAPS or ^ to indicate something is directed. Don't slow down the whole tournament by being slow on bonuses.
-If the event is a play test, write down notes about your questions and post them at the end of the tournament. Don't slow things down by discussing each question in realtime.

Re: Best Practices for Running a Discord Tournament

Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:00 pm
by Mike Bentley
Dupe

Re: Best Practices for Running a Discord Tournament

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:56 pm
by Mike Bentley
Ignore

Re: Best Practices for Running a Discord Tournament

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:05 pm
by VSCOelasticity
This is a great guide. Having recently been a mod for the FST Discord mirror (that Mike played) there are definitely things in this post we should have done to improve the player experience. Everyone who hosts an online tournament should re-read this a week or two before the mirror date.
Mike Bentley wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:56 pm
During the tournament:
Moderators:
-Use push to talk to speak. If you don't do this, you're liable to get cut-off at the beginning/end of reading questions / acknowledging people.
Regarding PTT, moderators should also hold down the push to talk button a little bit after they stop talking. If you release the button right away, sometimes the end of the sentence is cut off. I've had this problem a couple of times.

Edit: English is hard

Re: Best Practices for Running a Discord Tournament

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:16 pm
by Wartortullian
settlej wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:05 pm
Regarding PTT, moderators should also hold down the push to talk button a little bit after they stop talking. If you release the button right away, sometimes the end of the sentence is cut off. I've had this problem a couple of times.
Teams should use push-to-talk, but for moderators, I think it's a better idea to just leave the mic on and turn the noise threshold all the way down. The only time a moderator shouldn't be talking is when a team's conferring on a bonus via voice chat, and a single mic picking up the occasional scuffle shouldn't interfere with that too much. In addition to eliminating the risk of your words being cut off, leaving your mic on also frees up your hands if you need to type or switch windows while talking.

Re: Best Practices for Running a Discord Tournament

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:19 pm
by Mike Bentley
A Very Long Math Tossup wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:16 pm
settlej wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:05 pm
Regarding PTT, moderators should also hold down the push to talk button a little bit after they stop talking. If you release the button right away, sometimes the end of the sentence is cut off. I've had this problem a couple of times.
Teams should use push-to-talk, but for moderators, I think it's a better idea to just leave the mic on and turn the noise threshold all the way down. The only time a moderator shouldn't be talking is when a team's conferring on a bonus via voice chat, and a single mic picking up the occasional scuffle shouldn't interfere with that too much. In addition to eliminating the risk of your words being cut off, leaving your mic on also frees up your hands if you need to type or switch windows while talking.
Maybe. I've seen mixed success with this.

Re: Best Practices for Running a Discord Tournament

Posted: Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:19 pm
by UlyssesInvictus
I, for one, really enjoyed hearing Mike's kitty in the background.

I'd also:
- get someone to post question numbers after each cycle (beyond keep tracking, it makes it easier to scan for answers if your eyes have to move between questions and chat)
- make a specific note for people to keep cross"talk" between questions minimal, it interferes with finding answers in the same way
- keep people in "rooms" in the same scenarios you'd keep teams in physical rooms, e.g. confirming scores and before lunch/rebracketing (you don't want to have to start @ing people to track them down)

Honestly, a surprising amount of analog QB habits have digital equivalents.

Re: Best Practices for Running a Discord Tournament

Posted: Sat Oct 12, 2019 4:26 pm
by Mike Bentley
Is anyone familiar with Discord's Server Boost feature? As far as I can tell it does things like increase fidelity for audio quality after a number of boosts (only available to people with paid Nitro subscriptions). If it improves latency or audio quality, I think having two people temporarily pony up a subscription from the mirror fees of the tournament would be worth it to improve tournament quality.