Page 1 of 1

Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:06 pm
by Sima Guang Hater
In 2013, we discovered that Andy Watkins is human scum who cheated 3 ICTs worth of people out of a fair contest, including his own teammates. Worse than any other cheater before or after him (Baselius, Cam, Amit Bilgi, Steven Hines, Josh Alman, Scott Putzig, and Joe Brosch), Andy was uniquely one of us, who wrote, edited, and played many tournaments, participated in many discussions, and generally was plugged into the community. He even had a leadership role in PACE (which he ran into the ground in 2011 before disappearing permanently from QB).

Let us also review some recent developments in the Watkins Saga, including retired quizbowler Marshall Steinbaum calling him out on twitter during the recent College Admissions Scandal:

Image

Also may this content from 2018 live forever:

Image

Reports say that he still shows no remorse for his actions.. And because of Andy's insane knowledge of Thailand, I personally will be celebrating by eating Thai food every March 20th.

Cheating sucks. Don't do it.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 6:09 pm
by Cheynem
Aside from cheating, I wonder if the Watkins story is also a cautionary tale about how relationships in quizbowl can be turned for bad.

When I first started doing quizbowl, Andy seemed to be very popular. I say "seemed" because ex post facto, I hear a lot of people saying they couldn't stand him, but that wasn't readily apparent at the time. I found Andy kind of a jerk--I remember in 2009 he said it would be fun to play a summer open together, then retracted and said that was "idle Internet chatter" and played on another team. Whatever. There was a sense of Andy-being-in-the-in-crowd that led to questionable things being shrugged off (flying to Minnesota to play--on an open team no less--a mirror of MUT).

However, Andy in person was actually a fairly charismatic guy. He remembered who you were and your background and your life. My interactions with him in person were more or less pleasant (I actually, in a kind of Last Supper-esque way, had dinner with him and Trygve before the infamous 2011 NSC). Looking back, a lot of his persona was presumably him looking at how best to cultivate allies and use them.

Anyway, the quick points I take away from this:

1. Just because someone is nice and charming or cool, don't bend the rules for them.

2. Don't assume everyone loves somebody. If you think they're being a jerk, call them out on that. You don't have to be a jerk about that, but I feel like quizbowl does this thing in which whisper networks spread stories about so and so being a jerk (but in person everyone's smiles and light), and you the new player or the new kid on the block, just assume this behavior is accepted and that person is beloved. We should do better about that.

I would suggest for Watkinsgate we try to evaluate our own behavior in quizbowl.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:32 pm
by adamsil
Sima Guang Hater wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:06 pm
In 2013, we discovered that Andy Watkins is human scum who cheated 3 ICTs worth of people out of a fair contest, including his own teammates. Worse than any other cheater before or after him (Baselius, Cam, Amit Bilgi, Steven Hines, Lane Silberstein, Josh Alman, Scott Putzig, and Joe Brosch), Andy was uniquely one of us, who wrote, edited, and played many tournaments, participated in many discussions, and generally was plugged into the community. He even had a leadership role in PACE (which he ran into the ground in 2011 before disappearing permanently from QB).

Let us also review some recent developments in the Watkins Saga...
I've got a thing that I've wanted to get off my chest for months now. This post convinced me to do it. I apologize that this is a personal ethical quandary that I'm asking about, but it's also an important one, and I'd appreciate measured responses.

For those curious, Andy Watkins is currently doing a post-doc in Rhiju Das' lab at Stanford. I know this because this a lab that my group collaborates with very heavily; they're the most important lab in the world doing computational RNA design and structure prediction (remember Fold@home? It's that same exact thing, but with RNA, not proteins). (example citation: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/223305v2)

Fortunately, this is not my particular specialty. But there is a graduate student in our lab who works _very_ closely with Andy--to the extent that Andy is mentioned, by name, in all of his presentations, and they have also become very close friends. They are also currently working on a pretty cool project that they would publish together (this would give me the dubious distinction of an "Andy Watkins number" of 2. :shock: )

I've never actually met Andy; the scandal happened before I got involved with college quizbowl. Though I don't think there's a chance I would ever be forced to interact with him through science, I would refuse to do so. But the key point is: his academic career has definitely not been stunted by the scandal; in fact, I imagine that he has a tenure-track faculty job in sight, since being in the Das lab is considered pretty prestigious.

The ethics have eaten at me. For the past two years, I decided to be a bystander, since I don't personally feel comfortable telling my colleague to refuse to work with Andy for a thing that he did as an undergraduate. Andy's suggestions have been a huge asset to my colleague's research and they are likely to publish high with the support of a collaborator in the Das lab. Perhaps Rhiju knows what happened and accepted Andy's apologies. It's also entirely plausible that he doesn't know at all, and I could very easily make public some information that would wreck Andy's academic future. ("Google Andy Watkins quizbowl")

Is it incumbent on me to do something about this? To what extent should I (or any of us, really), be blamed for allowing his career to progress? I have no evidence that he committed fraudulent research or anything that should prevent him from working on, like, life-saving RNA therapeutics; should quizbowl cheating be a crime that ends a career?

Edit: I've asked a few non-involved science people about this (withholding names) and they unanimously agreed that it was not my place to jump in; obviously, this is a different community with a very defined set of justified beefs.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:01 pm
by Fuddle Duddle
I was 13 when this happened. I don't know why continuing to commemorate Watkins is necessary, especially in this weirdly celebratory tone. Cheating is bad, but I'm sure people are aware of this and that doesn't strike me as a terribly valid excuse to post. If this is just a Guy Remembering exercise, there are significantly better Guys to Remember. Can we move on?

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:07 pm
by Cheynem
I feel like at this point it's probably not worth pursuing. At worst, I think you come off as a vindictive crank to someone who doesn't understand the full implications. At best, I don't think it will actually lead to anything.

What I will say, though, is that I think compared to other "cheating" things, Andy's to me stands out because of the pervasiveness and scope. Andy was a member of NAQT--he basically betrayed an employer's trust to ruin some of their projects, while profiting from it and doing it for multiple years and not actually showing any remorse. If I were a future employer, that would ring warning bells. If there was ever a cheating scandal that probably deserved to have future implications, this would be the one. I can't speak for NAQT, but I would wish that they (as a company and former employer) would be willing to produce a public statement denouncing his behavior that they might distribute to his programs or employers (perhaps they already have).

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:08 pm
by heterodyne
adamsil wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:32 pm
Edit: I've asked a few non-involved science people about this (withholding names) and they unanimously agreed that it was not my place to jump in; obviously, this is a different community with a very defined set of justified beefs.
I agree with this; the fact that he cheated at quizbowl is a matter of public record, and is easily accessible by those interested in his personal life. If they've decided they are only interested in him as scientist, then they're well within their rights.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:09 pm
by Cheynem
An Economic Ignoramus wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:01 pm
I was 13 when this happened. I don't know why continuing to commemorate Watkins is necessary, especially in this weirdly celebratory tone. Cheating is bad, but I'm sure people are aware of this and that doesn't strike me as a terribly valid excuse to post. If this is just a Guy Remembering exercise, there are significantly better Guys to Remember. Can we move on?
I actually posted last year (?) about not enjoying commemorating this, but I feel like this is venturing on more of a flippant dismissal of the incident altogether, which I doubt was your intent.

Yes, this was six years ago. It remains one of the most shameful, gut-wrenching, and worst incidents in quizbowl history, effectively ruining multiple national tournaments. I would agree that a weirdly celebratory tone might not be the best take (YMMV), but this is an undeniably important part of quizbowl history. Just because you weren't directly impacted or affected doesn't mean we should just "move on."

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:36 pm
by AKKOLADE
An Economic Ignoramus wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:01 pm
I was 13 when this happened. I don't know why continuing to commemorate Watkins is necessary, especially in this weirdly celebratory tone. Cheating is bad, but I'm sure people are aware of this and that doesn't strike me as a terribly valid excuse to post. If this is just a Guy Remembering exercise, there are significantly better Guys to Remember. Can we move on?
I think remembering the most pervasive instance of cheating in quiz bowl history is a worthwhile exercise, if nothing else as a warning against cheating to the current generation of players. Quiz bowl does a terrible job of remembering anything that happened in the past with the exception of making memes. Maintaining this incident in the forefront of the collective memory of quiz bowl has value.

Edit: accidentally hit submit early; am editing in second half of post

The tone thing is a different issue. At one point I looked back on this with some happiness due to the fact that Watkins was no longer involved with the game; working with him and dealing with the fallout of the Trygve Meade presidency of PACE is the low point of my involvement in quiz bowl.

The anniversary is now a memory that I had to deal with him and his behavior and the stress and difficulties that led to. It's not something I relish. I don't go out of my way to participate in a public celebration of this.

I do, however, defend the posting of a thread about this for the reasons listed above.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:38 pm
by Fuddle Duddle
Cheynem wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:09 pm
An Economic Ignoramus wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:01 pm
I was 13 when this happened. I don't know why continuing to commemorate Watkins is necessary, especially in this weirdly celebratory tone. Cheating is bad, but I'm sure people are aware of this and that doesn't strike me as a terribly valid excuse to post. If this is just a Guy Remembering exercise, there are significantly better Guys to Remember. Can we move on?
I actually posted last year (?) about not enjoying commemorating this, but I feel like this is venturing on more of a flippant dismissal of the incident altogether, which I doubt was your intent.

Yes, this was six years ago. It remains one of the most shameful, gut-wrenching, and worst incidents in quizbowl history, effectively ruining multiple national tournaments. I would agree that a weirdly celebratory tone might not be the best take (YMMV), but this is an undeniably important part of quizbowl history. Just because you weren't directly impacted or affected doesn't mean we should just "move on."
That's a fair point, and I didn't intend to dismiss anyone Andy screwed over by doing what he did. I can see, however, how my post could've been read as doing that, so for those parts of it I unreservedly apologize.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:39 pm
by Sima Guang Hater
Cheynem wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:07 pm
I feel like at this point it's probably not worth pursuing. At worst, I think you come off as a vindictive crank to someone who doesn't understand the full implications. At best, I don't think it will actually lead to anything.

What I will say, though, is that I think compared to other "cheating" things, Andy's to me stands out because of the pervasiveness and scope. Andy was a member of NAQT--he basically betrayed an employer's trust to ruin some of their projects, while profiting from it and doing it for multiple years and not actually showing any remorse. If I were a future employer, that would ring warning bells.
Mike is 100% correct. Andy is unfortunately beyond the reach of any kind of justice, and there's nothing we can do about it that doesnt make us look like vindictive cranks. I admire Adam's stance to refuse to work with him, however.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:48 pm
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
Watkinsgate is the biggest news story in the history of quizbowl. It was the subject of an article in a newspaper in Nepal, which I'm pretty sure has never happened before or since. As far as people in Nepal are concerned it's the only thing to ever happen in quizbowl.

I have long critiqued the celebratory nature of the annual Watkinsgate anniversary. What is there to celebrate? A bad hombre deeply infiltrated our game, obtained multiple key editing and leadership positions (in which he made many bad decisions, perhaps intentionally), ruined three national championships, wasn't caught until years later, and has largely escaped any negative consequences. It's all bad. It's a sad day not a happy day.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:49 pm
by AKKOLADE
adamsil wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:32 pm
Sima Guang Hater wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:06 pm
In 2013, we discovered that Andy Watkins is human scum who cheated 3 ICTs worth of people out of a fair contest, including his own teammates. Worse than any other cheater before or after him (Baselius, Cam, Amit Bilgi, Steven Hines, Lane Silberstein, Josh Alman, Scott Putzig, and Joe Brosch), Andy was uniquely one of us, who wrote, edited, and played many tournaments, participated in many discussions, and generally was plugged into the community. He even had a leadership role in PACE (which he ran into the ground in 2011 before disappearing permanently from QB).

Let us also review some recent developments in the Watkins Saga...
I've got a thing that I've wanted to get off my chest for months now. This post convinced me to do it. I apologize that this is a personal ethical quandary that I'm asking about, but it's also an important one, and I'd appreciate measured responses.

For those curious, Andy Watkins is currently doing a post-doc in Rhiju Das' lab at Stanford. I know this because this a lab that my group collaborates with very heavily; they're the most important lab in the world doing computational RNA design and structure prediction (remember Fold@home? It's that same exact thing, but with RNA, not proteins). (example citation: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/223305v2)

Fortunately, this is not my particular specialty. But there is a graduate student in our lab who works _very_ closely with Andy--to the extent that Andy is mentioned, by name, in all of his presentations, and they have also become very close friends. They are also currently working on a pretty cool project that they would publish together (this would give me the dubious distinction of an "Andy Watkins number" of 2. :shock: )

I've never actually met Andy; the scandal happened before I got involved with college quizbowl. Though I don't think there's a chance I would ever be forced to interact with him through science, I would refuse to do so. But the key point is: his academic career has definitely not been stunted by the scandal; in fact, I imagine that he has a tenure-track faculty job in sight, since being in the Das lab is considered pretty prestigious.

The ethics have eaten at me. For the past two years, I decided to be a bystander, since I don't personally feel comfortable telling my colleague to refuse to work with Andy for a thing that he did as an undergraduate. Andy's suggestions have been a huge asset to my colleague's research and they are likely to publish high with the support of a collaborator in the Das lab. Perhaps Rhiju knows what happened and accepted Andy's apologies. It's also entirely plausible that he doesn't know at all, and I could very easily make public some information that would wreck Andy's academic future. ("Google Andy Watkins quizbowl")

Is it incumbent on me to do something about this? To what extent should I (or any of us, really), be blamed for allowing his career to progress? I have no evidence that he committed fraudulent research or anything that should prevent him from working on, like, life-saving RNA therapeutics; should quizbowl cheating be a crime that ends a career?

Edit: I've asked a few non-involved science people about this (withholding names) and they unanimously agreed that it was not my place to jump in; obviously, this is a different community with a very defined set of justified beefs.
I would encourage you to not do this. It's highly unlikely this will have any kind of negative effect on Watkins' career; that would likely require an extensive explanation ofwhat he did, how it worked technically (both in terms of the exploitation of a flaw in NAQT's internal setup at that point & in terms of what it meant to quiz bowl), and how it reflects his character. The chances you'd get someone you don't know to listen to that and care seems very low.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:34 pm
by Auks Ran Ova
As the years go by I find myself more and more weirded out by the idea of continuing to take this level of self-righteous glee in what was ultimately a really shitty series of events. In particular,
Sima Guang Hater wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:06 pm
And because of Andy's insane knowledge of Thailand, I personally will be celebrating by eating Thai food every March 20th.
gave me an oddly unsettled feeling when I read it that I've been struggling to put into words. Obviously you can do and eat whatever you want, but it's just kind of uncomfortable to hear about a (relatively) uninvolved person ironically celebrating the theft of one of my (and my teammates') potential peak life experiences. I don't think a yearly Two Minutes Hate is especially productive, nor do I think treating Andy as part of an ongoing "saga" is useful. While I personally found it amusing and a little satisfying to get the chance to directly call him an asshole on Twitter, I don't think posting screenshots of epic owns here serves a worthwhile purpose*, nor does it reflect particularly well on the forums themselves.

I think Mike's post is a much more useful sort of thing to do, if we want to commemorate March 20th in some way: remembering quizbowl history is valuable, and propagating the lessons we've learned is an end worth pursuing, as is reflecting on and evaluating our own behavior!

*I am, admittedly, pretty amused by Bruce referring to Andy as a "bad hombre".

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:27 am
by Sima Guang Hater
Auks Ran Ova wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:34 pm
Obviously you can do and eat whatever you want, but it's just kind of uncomfortable to hear about a (relatively) uninvolved person ironically celebrating the theft of one of my (and my teammates') potential peak life experiences. I don't think a yearly Two Minutes Hate is especially productive, nor do I think treating Andy as part of an ongoing "saga" is useful. While I personally found it amusing and a little satisfying to get the chance to directly call him an asshole on Twitter, I don't think posting screenshots of epic owns here serves a worthwhile purpose*, nor does it reflect particularly well on the forums themselves.

I think Mike's post is a much more useful sort of thing to do, if we want to commemorate March 20th in some way: remembering quizbowl history is valuable, and propagating the lessons we've learned is an end worth pursuing, as is reflecting on and evaluating our own behavior!
I'm sorry if that part of my post offended you in particular, as that was very much not my intention. I tried to think of a way to commemorate the occasion that was both communal and delicious. There wasn't anything comparable in my 2010 ICT game against him that was widely reported in the articles about the incident (I guess I could derive the conjugate variables in stat mech again?), so I picked that instead.

I, however, do think its productive to remember the incident in itself as something vitally important to the history of quizbowl (in the way Mike and others have done) and to celebrate it as a wrong being righted (in particular, you and your teammates regaining a title you were robbed of, and me getting my highest finish at ICT my first year of leading a team), which is why I'm doing this on the day his cheating was actually revealed. And I don't celebrate this ironically - as old logs reminded me, people were uproariously joyous on the day that occured (including you and your teammates!), and I remember being quite happy that day as well. I see no issue with remembering that happiness, frankly, even if I personally take more grim joy in vindication than I probably should.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 12:35 am
by vinteuil
Auks Ran Ova wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:34 pm
Sima Guang Hater wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:06 pm
And because of Andy's insane knowledge of Thailand, I personally will be celebrating by eating Thai food every March 20th.
gave me an oddly unsettled feeling when I read it that I've been struggling to put into words. Obviously you can do and eat whatever you want, but it's just kind of uncomfortable to hear about a (relatively) uninvolved person ironically celebrating the theft of one of my (and my teammates') potential peak life experiences. I don't think a yearly Two Minutes Hate is especially productive, nor do I think treating Andy as part of an ongoing "saga" is useful.
I agree with this.

I also love excuses to eat Thai food and gladly took this one today. If you could only find me 364 more somewhat flimsy reasons, I could die happy...

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:07 pm
by gyre and gimble
Auks Ran Ova wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:34 pm
As the years go by I find myself more and more weirded out by the idea of continuing to take this level of self-righteous glee in what was ultimately a really shitty series of events. In particular,
Sima Guang Hater wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:06 pm
And because of Andy's insane knowledge of Thailand, I personally will be celebrating by eating Thai food every March 20th.
gave me an oddly unsettled feeling when I read it that I've been struggling to put into words. Obviously you can do and eat whatever you want, but it's just kind of uncomfortable to hear about a (relatively) uninvolved person ironically celebrating the theft of one of my (and my teammates') potential peak life experiences. I don't think a yearly Two Minutes Hate is especially productive, nor do I think treating Andy as part of an ongoing "saga" is useful. While I personally found it amusing and a little satisfying to get the chance to directly call him an asshole on Twitter, I don't think posting screenshots of epic owns here serves a worthwhile purpose*, nor does it reflect particularly well on the forums themselves.
Not to criticize Eric or this thread specifically, but I also find celebrating the Watkins scandal to be in bad taste. If there's something to celebrate about, it's that three new national champions were crowned that day, and I would have no problem framing this "anniversary" as such.

But let's remember that there are some people, including myself, for whom the scandal had no redeeming aspects. The integrity of my school, my teammates, and myself were temporarily called into question, although thankfully only very briefly. We had to deal with the press and rebuild our team's reputation. Not to mention the unpleasant surprise of finding out that you never actually earned those national titles you thought you had won.

I don't mean to be dramatic, and it wasn't as tough as I've just made it sound. To be frank, my reaction to this thread doesn't draw so much from personal experience as it does from knowledge of the perspectives that my personal experience has made me acutely aware. I thought it would be good to voice those perspectives here, because I may be in a somewhat unique position to do so.

Which is all to say, I don't really see any reason for anyone to be particularly happy about the fact that we caught Andy cheating. If there are lessons to be learned, we should discuss them. But let's not make Andy Watkins into a Guy Fawkes, another tradition I find rather bizarre.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:29 pm
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
Well, the difference between Andy Watkins and Guy Fawkes is that Guy Fawkes was caught before he did anything, right? Parliament did not blow up, the plotters were executed, and disloyal papists all over the country were dragged out of their priest holes and jailed. It's a far more satisfying outcome than what happened with Watkinsgate, where he was not caught until years later and he was never "brought to justice" in any real way.

I do echo what Stephen said about the reputation of the Harvard team. I worked hard for three years to try to build a respectable quizbowl program there, as did some two dozen other people. We played lots of tournaments, wrote lots of tournaments, hosted lots of tournaments, generally tried to be good citizens of the quizbowl world. My first thought upon reading that Andy had been caught was that now all of that would be forgotten and the team would only be known for the villainous deeds of Andy Watkins.

In retrospect, I wonder if this was the only transgressive thrill that Andy was getting. If you recall Harvard-written tournaments of that era, Andy routinely wrote science questions that were way too hard, especially for high school or regular difficulty tournaments. He kept apologizing and saying that he had trouble sensing difficulty. I wonder if that's true or if he was acting in bad faith and sabotaging these events. I have long struggled with reconciling the Andy Watkins I knew - who claimed to be an idealist who didn't care about winning or losing - with somebody who we know cheated at ICT. I think the conclusion I have come to is that yes, he didn't care about winning or losing, but he cared about ruining it for those who do.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:54 am
by AGoodMan
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:29 pm
I do echo what Stephen said about the reputation of the Harvard team. I worked hard for three years to try to build a respectable quizbowl program there, as did some two dozen other people. We played lots of tournaments, wrote lots of tournaments, hosted lots of tournaments, generally tried to be good citizens of the quizbowl world. My first thought upon reading that Andy had been caught was that now all of that would be forgotten and the team would only be known for the villainous deeds of Andy Watkins.
This is something I think about as well. I have never met Andy or any of his teammates (though Thomas Gioia, a freshman at Harvard, is related to Ted Gioia), but unfortunately, the name "Watkins" is irrevocably tied together with "Harvard" in the quiz bowl world and for those from the outside looking in. That's pretty sad. I've been conscious of this association as I became more involved in the quiz bowl community in the past year or so. Therefore, I have been trying to be careful with the way I interact with the community as to not somehow contribute to any negative perception to our program (I recognize I've made mistakes, but they were honest ones, and I've learned from them). Perhaps I'm overthinking all of this. I'm not sure if anyone still feels antagonism to Harvard because of Andy, but I hope that will eventually go away. We as a program will certainly do what we can to be upstanding members of the community.

Re: Happy 6th Watkinsgate Anniversary!

Posted: Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:27 am
by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
AGoodMan wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:54 am
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:
Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:29 pm
I do echo what Stephen said about the reputation of the Harvard team. I worked hard for three years to try to build a respectable quizbowl program there, as did some two dozen other people. We played lots of tournaments, wrote lots of tournaments, hosted lots of tournaments, generally tried to be good citizens of the quizbowl world. My first thought upon reading that Andy had been caught was that now all of that would be forgotten and the team would only be known for the villainous deeds of Andy Watkins.
This is something I think about as well. I have never met Andy or any of his teammates (though Thomas Gioia, a freshman at Harvard, is related to Ted Gioia), but unfortunately, the name "Watkins" is irrevocably tied together with "Harvard" in the quiz bowl world and for those from the outside looking in. That's pretty sad. I've been conscious of this association as I became more involved in the quiz bowl community in the past year or so. Therefore, I have been trying to be careful with the way I interact with the community as to not somehow contribute to any negative perception to our program (I recognize I've made mistakes, but they were honest ones, and I've learned from them). Perhaps I'm overthinking all of this. I'm not sure if anyone still feels antagonism to Harvard because of Andy, but I hope that will eventually go away. We as a program will certainly do what we can to be upstanding members of the community.
People will always love making fun of Harvard when they can because it's a way to "punch up" as it were. I wouldn't take all of it so hard.