VCU Open 2014: August 2

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VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:04 pm

The 2014 incarnation of VCU Open will be held on Saturday, August 2nd at VCU. It will begin at the normal time of 9:00 AM because our room reservation policies have become less weird than they were in the recent past. The tournament will be held in the Harris building, which faces Main St, Harrison St, Floyd Ave, and the University Student Commons on its four sides.

Difficult, distribution, and style will be very similar to the 2011 and 2013 incarnations of the tournament, which I would describe as "Nationals-esque or slightly below on difficulty, with a slight amount of trash added to the distro, and a soupçon of whimsy."

Mike Bentley, Sinan Ulusoy, Shan Kothari, Dan Puma, and myself are writing the packets.

Register for this site by contacting me at mattweiner.vcu@gmail.com. Please use this thread, and not any spreadsheets, to advertise that you are looking for teammates or otherwise form teams, and then send me an e-mail once your final team is decided.

This is a simple open tournament; there will be one division, consisting of teams of up to four people which may include any type of person whatsoever including current high school students, just-graduated people who are entering college in the fall, current college students, college graduates, and people who fit into none of those categories.

The base cost for this tournament is $120 per team, payable by cash or by check made out to "Commonwealth Quizbowl" on-site. Any team that does not pay in full by the end of the last tournament of the weekend will be charged a $25 late fee.

The buzzer discount is $10 per system with no per-team limits (fully functional systems only).

People who YOU ARE TRANSPORTING TO THE TOURNAMENT AT YOUR OWN COST, you being any portion of a team playing the tournament, and are judged to be competent staffers by me, will earn a $10 discount if used as scorekeepers and a $30 discount if used as readers. I have no interest in compromising the quality of my tournament by using anything but the best readers available, so I will not intentionally move someone to a different role to save money. By the same token, do NOT try to claim someone who was showing up on their own dime to help out as "your" staffer for a discount. This is a dishonest practice that needs to end.

If you wish to mirror this event elsewhere, get in touch with me at mattweiner.vcu@gmail.com. You may certainly mirror on 8/3 or later, but the set will not be complete in time for any mirrors earlier than the main site's date of 8/2. Currently, mirrors in Michigan, Texas, and California are being organized.

Additional events that will be held at VCU on the August 2-3 weekend, with the specific order to be determined:

Tricon 2.5 (http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... =8&t=16039)
Mirror of the Texas Quiz Bowl Camp Tournament (http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... =8&t=16037)
Imaginary Landscape, if Magin decides to do it (http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... =9&t=16027)
Possibly some version of the DUST trash tournament (http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... 6&p=279543)

Main site teams list:
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Cheynem » Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:58 pm

Can the full announcement be posted soon (as well as the mirror announcements)?
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by women, fire and dangerous things » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:40 pm

Michigan will be hosting the Midwest mirror of this. I'll post the announcement soon, but first I wanted to find out if people who might play have a preference between August 2 and August 9 as the date.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Fri Jun 27, 2014 6:44 pm

women, fire and dangerous things wrote:Michigan will be hosting the Midwest mirror of this. I'll post the announcement soon, but first I wanted to find out if people who might play have a preference between August 2 and August 9 as the date.
I would almost certainly attend on August 9, but very likely would not on August 2.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:29 pm

I might choose a Midwest mirror if it meant I could go on August 9. I'd like to play the side events, though.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:03 pm

Excelsior (smack) wrote:I would almost certainly attend on August 9, but very likely would not on August 2.
Same for me.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:03 pm

The first post has been updated with the full announcement of this tournament & a list of side events.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Sam » Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:02 am

I'm looking for a team for the VCU site.

EDIT: Tejas Raje and I have joined forces.
EDIT2: Playing with Tejas, Ian Lenhoff, and Victor Prieto.
Last edited by Sam on Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Sat Jun 28, 2014 2:53 pm

A word to those planning travel: We are seriously considering running two full tournaments and three side tournaments within the weekend. That's a great value for your quizbowl travel dollars, but it requires that people be realistic about the end time on Sunday -- don't expect to leave at 2 PM, and if you absolutely have to, then be fair to everyone else and don't sign up for the events you can't actually completely attend.

I will get a schedule of events up once all the side stuff is confirmed.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Panayot Hitov » Sat Jun 28, 2014 11:12 pm

I'll be there and I am looking for a team.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:30 pm

Tommy Casalaspi, Jonathan Magin, JR Roach, and I are playing the main tournament as a team.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:23 am

I would very much love to find some coattails to ride on Saturday and a scientician to play with Yamin Alam, Chris Manners, and I on Sunday would be pretty cool too. I promise I haven't totally atrophied yet.
Last edited by Frater Taciturnus on Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Fri Jul 04, 2014 12:58 pm

Eric Mukherjee and I will be on a team for this. We're still seeking specialist teammates.

EDIT: Chris Manners and Aaron Rosenberg have joined.
Last edited by The King's Flight to the Scots on Sun Jul 06, 2014 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:24 pm

A Chicago team of the future (Chris Ray, Max Schindler, Michael Coates, and I) will be playing this tournament.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Frauny Von Smiley » Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:05 pm

I'm looking for a team. I'm generally pretty OK on everything that isn't science, if anybody is looking for that sort of player.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Charlie and Lolcat » Sat Jul 05, 2014 2:40 pm

I'm available and already in Richmond. I'm good at history, and occasionally some lit and RMP.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:56 pm

Will Prof. Boyd-Graeber's Quizbowl Robot be playing this?
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Thu Jul 17, 2014 12:15 am

40th Day after death wrote:I'll be there and I am looking for a team.
I'm coming along too.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by DumbJaques » Mon Jul 21, 2014 3:51 pm

I'm looking for a team for Sunday.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by jonpin » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:35 pm

I, too, would like to play whatever things are happening on Sunday. I don't expect to arrive in a timely fashion to play anything on Saturday.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Muriel Axon » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:58 am

Can we get an update of Saturday teams? On here, I see:

Bailey, Lenhoff, Raje, Prieto
Casalaspi, Jackson, Roach, Magin
McPeak, Adams, Duncan, Berry
Mukherjee, Rosenberg, Bollinger, Manners
Future Chicago

Free agents:
One Kirk-Davidoff
The other Kirk-Davidoff
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Dr. Boyd-Graber's robot?!?!

EDIT: List of teams fixed due to my own stupid error.
Last edited by Muriel Axon on Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:06 pm

Manners Alam and I are a team for Sunday.

Saturday is Brian McPeak, Evan Adams, Josh Duncan, and myself.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Muriel Axon » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:55 pm

Frater Taciturnus wrote:Manners Alam and I are a team for Sunday.

Saturday is Brian McPeak, Evan Adams, Josh Duncan, and myself.
Whoops, reading comprehension!
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Cody » Fri Jul 25, 2014 12:10 pm

In case anyone is still planning travel, I would like to note that - unlike what we ran during the school year - we are not beholden to a 10am room reservation start time for either day of this tournament. Do expect each day to start registration well before 9am and plan your travel / hotels accordingly.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Sam » Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:53 pm

Cody wrote:In case anyone is still planning travel, I would like to note that - unlike what we ran during the school year - we are not beholden to a 10am room reservation start time for either day of this tournament. Do expect each day to start registration well before 9am and plan your travel / hotels accordingly.
If anyone planning travel would like to stay at a hotel close to VCU and also enjoy a warm chocolate chip cookie, Ian, Tejas and I have a space for a fourth person at the Double Tree downtown for Friday and Saturday night. My email is [firstandlastname]1729@gmail.com.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Nice hockey Cote d'Azur » Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:57 pm

Anyone looking for a team member for the Sunday events?

EDIT: I am collaborating on a Tricon packet with people who are not going to this site, so if anyone wants to play without having written a packet, let me know.
Last edited by Nice hockey Cote d'Azur on Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:18 pm

The final order of events is as follows. I will get the fields updated shortly:

Saturday:

VCU Open
Imaginary Landscape
Tricon

Sunday:

Texas Camp tournament
DUST Trash

Please continue forming teams for VCUO and Texas Camp and letting me know what they are. Tricon is also a team event but it is guerilla; you have the right to play (for free) if you write a packet, and if you'd like to try to get onto a team without a packet, show up when we start and we'll do what we can.

For DUST, we will probably do singles in something like the National History Bee or Gorilla Literature formats. This is a short set with 19-tossup packets only so that seemed the best way to go. The entry fee is, I believe, $10 per person, and anyone who shows up and pays it will be able to play; like Tricon, there is no need to register in advance.

Both days will be normal quizbowl timeframe -- starting by 9, taking a lunch break, then completing the schedule when we return without any further stoppages.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Sun Jul 27, 2014 9:40 pm

Me and possibly Isaac Hirsch(??) are looking for teammates for the non-VCUO stuff. Email me if interested!
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:32 pm

Can someone post a field update for all days/links to appropriate spreadsheets?
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:07 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Both days will be normal quizbowl timeframe -- starting by 9, taking a lunch break, then completing the schedule when we return without any further stoppages.
To be clear: Registration will run from 8 to 8:30 for both events, with the goal of starting round 1 as soon after 8:30 as possible. Show up by 8:30, not 9. This applies to both days.

This is the field list for VCU Open (Saturday main event). If I have included or omitted someone improperly, let me know and I'll correct it.

1) Matt Jackson, Tommy Casalaspi, Jonathan Magin, J.R. Roach
2) Ian Lenhoff, Victor Prieto, Tejas Raje, Sam Bailey
3) Max Schindler, Chris Ray, Michael Coates, John Lawrence
4) Patrick Canteros, Vasa Clarke, Will Overman, Connor Wood, Kevin Yuan
5) Erik Mukherjee, Matt Bollinger, Chris Manners, Aaron Rosenberg
6) George Berry, Brian McPeak, Evan Adams, Josh Duncan
7) Isaac Hirsch, Paul Kirk-Davidoff, Isaac Kirk-Davidoff
8) A free agent team, maybe

Staff: Me, Sarah Angelo, Andrew Feist, Cody Voight, Dan Puma, Najwa Watson. If we stay at 6-7 teams then we may have a lot of scorekeepers or we may be able to form an additional team from people on staff who have not seen the questions.

For Sunday, we have an in-thread registration from a team of George Berry, Yamin Alam, Chris Manners, and an e-mail registration from Nick Clusserath & friends, plus a lot of individual people saying they might want to play but not forming teams. Please do try to nail your plans down as much as possible just so I can make sure we have enough readers if we end up with 8 or 10 teams; otherwise, I'll be happy to facilitate whatever needs to be done if we have 10-15 people who show up on Sunday to play this set but not a lot of fixed teams, including drafts, singles/doubles formats, etc.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Jul 31, 2014 5:54 pm

Updates:

*The VCU Open field should be closed at 7 teams above with the possibility of an 8th, though if only 1-2 free agents show up I'll probably slot them onto existing teams if they don't want to play by themselves.

*I've received only 1 more registration for the Texas tournament on Sunday, so instead of designing a format for 3 teams we're just going to ask everyone who wants to play to show up and arrange a schedule based on that. I can make sure at least part of the format is teams-of-four if that's what people want.

*I'd like to form a last-minute Tricon team so let me know if you want to play that tournament.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by vcuEvan » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:22 pm

I was planning on playing the Texas tournament with John Lawrence, Matt Jackson, and Eric Mukherjee. Maybe there are other teams that have formed that haven't posted here as well.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by felgon123 » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:31 pm

vcuEvan wrote:I was planning on playing the Texas tournament with John Lawrence, Matt Jackson, and Eric Mukherjee. Maybe there are other teams that have formed that haven't posted here as well.
This is indeed the case. I am playing with Matt Bollinger, JR Roach, and Juan Garavito.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matthew Bonnan » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:27 pm

So my ride to this on Saturday had to bail. If anyone in the Richmond area could spare me a ride (I'm about two hours away from VCU), private message me. I can fully compensate for gas/time/etc.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Cody » Fri Aug 01, 2014 2:42 pm

Matthew Bonnan wrote:So my ride to this on Saturday had to bail. If anyone in the Richmond area could spare me a ride (I'm about two hours away from VCU), private message me. I can fully compensate for gas/time/etc.
It would be helpful to know from what direction you need a ride (e.g. north).
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matthew Bonnan » Fri Aug 01, 2014 4:05 pm

Cody wrote:
Matthew Bonnan wrote:So my ride to this on Saturday had to bail. If anyone in the Richmond area could spare me a ride (I'm about two hours away from VCU), private message me. I can fully compensate for gas/time/etc.
It would be helpful to know from what direction you need a ride (e.g. north).
I'm coming from southern Virginia; I don't believe anyone's driving from North Carolina or below.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Sat Aug 02, 2014 1:51 pm

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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:19 pm

The Bollinger/Mukherjee team won by going 10-2 for the day while all other teams had at least 4 losses. Playoff stats: http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournament ... /playoffs/
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Sun Aug 03, 2014 6:20 pm

The Mukherjee/Jackson team won the Sunday tournament: http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournament ... _combined/
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Mnemosyne » Mon Aug 04, 2014 1:52 pm

Are there discussion threads for either VCU Open or DISCO (TQBA set)? I'm wondering how the sets were received, but it doesn't look like anything's been posted about either of them.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:57 pm

I don't believe there's a discussion forum for either yet. Can some mod please create them?
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Aug 04, 2014 7:35 pm

For simplicity's sake, I've created a single group for discussion of VCU Open, the Texas Camp tournament, Imaginary Landscape, Tricon, and DUST. As far as I know these tournaments are being run together everywhere. Don't join the group until your opportunity to play ALL of them has passed (or you are ready to commit to being ineligible).

Edit: I guess this isn't the case at Minnesota...I'll let them decide whether they want to wait to discuss or just trust people not to open the specific thread about the Texas tournament. Five private forums seems excessive.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Mike Bentley » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:01 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:For simplicity's sake, I've created a single group for discussion of VCU Open, the Texas Camp tournament, Imaginary Landscape, Tricon, and DUST. As far as I know these tournaments are being run together everywhere. Don't join the group until your opportunity to play ALL of them has passed (or you are ready to commit to being ineligible).

Edit: I guess this isn't the case at Minnesota...I'll let them decide whether they want to wait to discuss or just trust people not to open the specific thread about the Texas tournament. Five private forums seems excessive.
We might host a Texas Camp mirror so it would be nice if that was split up, but I could just avoid that thread I suppose.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:28 pm

This was a really fun weekend, so here's a brief thank you to everybody who helped put it together. There was something interesting and unique to enjoy about all of the events that took place, which was hardly guaranteed given that there were five of them and they were quite distinct. I particularly enjoyed the Texas set, which is on the whole quite high-quality writing and enjoyable for players at all skill levels -- if it's being played somewhere near you, go sign up!!

I do think that future summer open weekends could stand to (a) run a smaller number of total events in a two-day time span -- especially if any of them are full-length, all-subject tournaments, five is really pushing it and it's much safer to assume events will run over than under (b) pick a schedule of events further out and stick to it, so players can plan ahead of time when they'll be arriving and leaving, rather than missing an event or scrambling to stay the night when an event is moved (c) post up to date field and free agent info from much further out, so that people who are unsure about whether to come can decide and form teams more easily (I know at least one non-hypothetical person decided not to attend because they thought there was no need for free agents, when in reality there was space for them).
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by adosreme » Mon Aug 04, 2014 10:44 pm

Just out of curiosity, how long did the tournaments/various side events take and what formats did you use for them? Knowing that would help us with time estimates for the Waterloo mirror this weekend.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:15 pm

This weekend suffered from enough issues that I think it's time to open up a larger conversation about side event scheduling. For those of you who weren't there, I'll provide a basic recap of what happened. Before the tournament, Matt announced that the weekend's schedule would be VCU Open, then Imaginary Landscape, then Tricon on Saturday, followed by the Texas Invitational and the trash tournament on Sunday. As it became increasingly clear that we couldn't finish all three events on Saturday, Matt announced that we would move Landscape to Sunday afternoon and play trash over lunch. Aaron and Magin ended up having to pay for space in hotel rooms for the unexpected night as a result, but it did turn out that we would never have had time for Landscape.

On Sunday, trash over lunch ended up taking 130 minutes instead of the allotted 90. Non-trash players were pretty annoyed at the real tournament being interrupted for a vanity event filled with Pokemon and anime. At some point, Magin barged into one of the trash rooms and announced that they were going to restart the main event - this didn't work. The end result was that the Texas tournament ended prematurely when one of the teams left the round robin to get sushi; my team ended up losing our last chance to take a game off the superteam and force a final.

I'm pretty unhappy with the way the tournament's administration and field dealt with each other here. The administrative end basically didn't do anything to try to host Imaginary Landscape as they'd agreed. It seems doubtful that the event would have happened at all if the Texas tournament hadn't imploded the way it did. Regardless of the appeal of this tournament, it's unacceptable to renege on an agreement to host it, particularly when you've gotten several players to come down to Richmond just to play/read it.

However, I'm more annoyed with how the field responded to the director's executive decisions. Since this is a VCU tournament, VCU's TD is in charge, period. It's not OK to terminate a scheduled tournament, even if it's shit trash that shouldn't have been there in the first place, because people are getting bored. It's less OK to blow up an entire tournament so that people can eat sushi or play music. Even if you don't agree with what the TD is doing, you're only going to hurt the event by refusing to go along with the organizer's plans. It also makes us all look that much worse that we're completely unable to follow any structured schedule.

My final take on this is that weekend schedules don't need to be stuffed with every side event available, since we've seen the resultant bickering both here and at CO 2013. Even though Imaginary Landscape was an enjoyable and well-edited tournament, with its limited competitive appeal, it probably shouldn't have been given a schedule slot in the first place. Interested parties could have played it in a hotel room, or waited until a high school national with more of a competitive field. Needless to say, the trash BS really didn't need to be there either.

I'm not blaming Matt for all this because we tend to assume that if an editor wants to run his event some weekend, the TD of the event has to oblige. That's going to continue to lead to overstocked weekends where people bicker over what to play and no one gets any downtime. We can do better. From now on, I think tournament directors should exercise more authority in trimming side tournaments from weekend schedules, and the audience for the weekend's events should respect those decisions so long as they're announced beforehand. With a freer schedule, we should be able to behave more professionally, socialize more frequently, and debate less acrimoniously.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Gonzagapuma1 » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:22 pm

Vernon Lee Bad Marriage, Jr. wrote:This weekend suffered from enough issues that I think it's time to open up a larger conversation about side event scheduling. For those of you who weren't there, I'll provide a basic recap of what happened. Before the tournament, Matt announced that the weekend's schedule would be VCU Open, then Imaginary Landscape, then Tricon on Saturday, followed by the Texas Invitational and the trash tournament on Sunday. As it became increasingly clear that we couldn't finish all three events on Saturday, Matt announced that we would move Landscape to Sunday afternoon and play trash over lunch. Aaron and Magin ended up having to pay for space in hotel rooms for the unexpected night as a result, but it did turn out that we would never have had time for Landscape.

On Sunday, trash over lunch ended up taking 130 minutes instead of the allotted 90. Non-trash players were pretty annoyed at the real tournament being interrupted for a vanity event filled with Pokemon and anime. At some point, Magin barged into one of the trash rooms and announced that they were going to restart the main event - this didn't work. The end result was that the Texas tournament ended prematurely when one of the teams left the round robin to get sushi; my team ended up losing our last chance to take a game off the superteam and force a final.

I'm pretty unhappy with the way the tournament's administration and field dealt with each other here. The administrative end basically didn't do anything to try to host Imaginary Landscape as they'd agreed. It seems doubtful that the event would have happened at all if the Texas tournament hadn't imploded the way it did. Regardless of the appeal of this tournament, it's unacceptable to renege on an agreement to host it, particularly when you've gotten several players to come down to Richmond just to play/read it.

However, I'm more annoyed with how the field responded to the director's executive decisions. Since this is a VCU tournament, VCU's TD is in charge, period. It's not OK to terminate a scheduled tournament, even if it's shit trash that shouldn't have been there in the first place, because people are getting bored. It's less OK to blow up an entire tournament so that people can eat sushi or play music. Even if you don't agree with what the TD is doing, you're only going to hurt the event by refusing to go along with the organizer's plans. It also makes us all look that much worse that we're completely unable to follow any structured schedule.

My final take on this is that weekend schedules don't need to be stuffed with every side event available, since we've seen the resultant bickering both here and at CO 2013. Even though Imaginary Landscape was an enjoyable and well-edited tournament, with its limited competitive appeal, it probably shouldn't have been given a schedule slot in the first place. Interested parties could have played it in a hotel room, or waited until a high school national with more of a competitive field. Needless to say, the trash BS really didn't need to be there either.

I'm not blaming Matt for all this because we tend to assume that if an editor wants to run his event some weekend, the TD of the event has to oblige. That's going to continue to lead to overstocked weekends where people bicker over what to play and no one gets any downtime. We can do better. From now on, I think tournament directors should exercise more authority in trimming side tournaments from weekend schedules, and the audience for the weekend's events should respect those decisions so long as they're announced beforehand. With a freer schedule, we should be able to behave more professionally, socialize more frequently, and debate less acrimoniously.
Just to defend our actions, to my knowledge, everyone in the top bracket had agreed to end the tournament after one round robin following lunch. Perhaps signals got crossed there, but that was what I thought was agreed upon so that Imaginary Landscape could be run at a sane hour. In any case, I apologize if I/we inconvenienced anyone.
Last edited by Gonzagapuma1 on Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Tue Aug 05, 2014 2:42 pm

adosreme wrote:Just out of curiosity, how long did the tournaments/various side events take and what formats did you use for them? Knowing that would help us with time estimates for the Waterloo mirror this weekend.
VCU Open and the Texas Quizbowl Camp set are both full-length, all-subject, "real tournament"s, and should be either allotted the full time that a real tournament takes (7 to 9 hours with break, depending on how fast your readers are) or shortened so not all of the packets are read.

Imaginary Landscape lasted about 2.5 hours from start to finish, though I imagine that a John Lawrenceless site would take much longer and last about 3. As stated above, DUST took about 135-140 minutes to get through 160 tossups. Each packet of Tricon lasted about 30-35 minutes in our field, so you're looking at 5ish hours if you run all of them, or more if you have slower moderators.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:09 pm

Gonzagapuma1 wrote:Just to defend our actions, to my knowledge, everyone in the top bracket had agreed to end the tournament after one round robin following lunch. Perhaps signals got crossed there, but that was what I thought was agreed upon so that Imaginary Landscape could be run at a sane hour. In any case, I apologize if I/we inconvenienced anyone.
So, since this is being spoken to, a few points:

Signals were crossed and I scheduled Imaginary Landscape on the belief that it took an hour to run. When Magin arrived at the tournament he told me it actually would be a three-hour event. I also ended up using a 13-round schedule for VCU Open because we landed on 7 teams and the only other choice was a 10 round schedule where the bottom bracket would only play 8 total games, which i thought was too low for the prices/norms of a full-scale academic event. This wasn't known far in advance because a lot of people were on the fence about playing, or forming teams, until a few days before the tournament.

We were very late getting started because no one arrived on time, as is usual for quizbowl. I also expected a possible need to find 15 minutes in the schedule to recompile the packets because we were missing about the last 10 questions for the set, though this ended up being a non-factor (I sent out the first 2 rounds to get started and was able to have the rest ready by the time round 3 needed to begin; there was no delay at all for inserting the remaining questions).

As a result of mostly waiting for people to arrive, we ended up starting round 1 at 9:15 instead of 8:30. When it became clear that all of the above would be the case, I realized we were looking at going until at least 5:00 for the main tournament even if everything moved as smoothly as possible there, then three hours for Imaginary Landscape, then starting Tricon, which couldn't possibly take less than three hours. So, an 11 PM end time assuming absolutely no delays, inefficiencies, or friction whatsoever from moving from one event to the next. This struck me as way too ambitious and I began looking for solutions.

My priority was to figure out any way at all to host all five tournaments that people had traveled in for over the weekend, and avoid cancelling any in favor of another. The first thing I tried to do was collapse the trash tournament to a during-lunch event in "shootout" format on Sunday to eliminate as much separate time for that as possible. Next, I asked Magin if he could be more realistic about Imaginary Landscape, commit to do it in just one room and pick his favorite one hour's worth of questions rather than running the full length of the tournament (since we all knew that IL basically consists of "watching John buzz on things and then talk about why he knew them," I figured we were just concerned with giving people enough of the tournament experience to be worthwhile and didn't need to run every question for competitive purposes). I thought we could fit it in on the scheduled Saturday slot if it only took the amount of time I had originally assumed it took when putting it there. Magin flatly refused to cut any length from the event at all, so I took a poll of the room on the single, direct question of "is there any person here who wants to play Imaginary Landscape and is not already planning to come back on Sunday?" No one raised their hands. This was at 9 AM, after I had announced that the tournament's arrive-by time was 8:30 AM and we intended to start playing at 8:30 AM.

VCU Open ended up dragging a little for whatever reason (we had only 3 rooms, and very good readers, but there was a lot of between-question digression by teams, which is most likely the cause of the rounds taking more than half an hour each). When I got the last round 5 scoresheet at 12:15 I calculated that we would finish round 7 at around 1:15, and asked people to be back for playoff seeds and round 8 by 2. The building we were using had plenty of fast eateries within two blocks so I assumed that people would have plenty of time to get some food and return. For some reason, one room ran 20 minutes behind the others, and in tandem with that, quizbowl acted like quizbowl acts and a bunch of people just sat down and ate long meals without regard to time. I waited until 2:15 for the bulk of the tournament to actually return, then took the IL poll again. Again, no one said they were planning to leave on Saturday and wanted to play IL.

Since it looked like no one would be inconvenienced, I then announced that we would move IL to after the Sunday tournament, planned to stridently emphasize on-time arrival for Sunday throughout the rest of Saturday communication, and specified the during-lunch plan for trash as well. When Aaron arrived a few minutes later, he expressed dismay that the tournament had been moved since he had not been planning to stay over for Sunday. At this point, the announcement had already been made, because the people who came on time to the tournament in the morning and after lunch hadn't raised any objections. I started to consider options to accommodate Aaron, but almost right away, he was given a spot in someone's hotel room and the issue was solved.

We then ran the rest of VCU Open and Tricon, which in fact took super-long even without needing a VCU Open final, and it was 10:30 before people were done and left to find dinner and go to bed. Obviously, this showed that there was no way at all we could have run a three-hour IL and Tricon on Saturday night, as it would have put us at 1:30 in the morning even without letting people eat, so I felt I had made the right call given the situation.

On Sunday morning, we suffered some delays from a smaller number of people not getting there, waiting for the building to be unlocked, and (mostly) from the fact that only 3 teams had managed to register in advance for the Sunday tournament despite my repeated pleas, but we ended up with 7 teams worth of people showing up. It didn't take too long to deal with this since we already had a 7-team schedule from the previous day, but getting to the point where we were sure of who was coming took up the bulk of the opening period. After all was said and done, we sat down to play round 1 at 8:55 instead of the 8:30 time I was shooting for. Not terrible, but the sort of little time loss that can add up when it happens every time you move through starting a new event or restarting after lunch in a five-tournament weekend.

We made up a lot of time over the course of the day with the Texas event; people were moving a little more snappily and the questions were being answered earlier. When it looked like we would finish the 7-game round robin at around 12:45, I announced a 2:15 return time from lunch and arranged to order pizza for people playing trash so we could do that straight through. Andrew Feist and myself, two of the fastest readers anywhere, would moderate.

We lost about ten minutes on getting started because people wanted to argue about the format, which had a max-out for the first round of tossups to prevent a single top player from distorting the rankings in their room, then we got going. No one hit the max so it turned out to be a moot point. We did end up going over time, much to my surprise (I figured 160 tossups would take around 80 minutes to read given 30 seconds per question, which seems like a reasonable projection based on how fast people normally read tossups, but I guess the delays in filling out a scoresheet for an 8-person room and a few questions that went all the way to the end and got multiple incorrect guesses added up). I put the playoff seeds up on the projector in the main room and asked a person who was hanging out in there to let everyone who was returning know that the info was available so we could start round 8 right away when trash ended. As the trash tournament neared its end, some very unacceptable behavior started manifesting.

Aaron Rosenberg came into my room at 2:05 (that is, ten minutes BEFORE the announced end time of trash / resumption of round 8 of DISCO) and started arguing with me about why trash wasn't over yet. I was actually reading tossups in the final round of the event and got interrupted by this. Then, twenty minutes later, Jonathan Magin also burst into the room DURING the reading of questions and told me that he was cancelling the trash tournament. I told him this was not his decision to make and he barked "it's your funeral" and stormed out. All in all, between the various delays, we finished trash at 2:55 instead of 2:15.

At this point, I returned to the HQ room to tell anyone left there that they should go to round 8 of DISCO, where I found about half the tournament waiting while someone finished typing a new playoff schedule on the projector. Apparently, it was decided that having teams move between 3 rooms on a single hallway was "inefficient" and we needed to redo the schedule so that 2 of the 3 rooms had a single team remaining in the same place for the entirety of the afternoon -- an aesthetically suboptimal quizbowl experience which I had written the schedule specifically to avoid. I was annoyed by the fact that people had hijacked the tournament I was directing in the first place to make the schedule worse, that they had done so out of some irrational belief that moving 10 feet between game rooms was going to slow us down, and that no attempt was made to actually communicate a schedule change to people who had already moved to their round 8 room like they were supposed to do.

Predictably, this caused delays after round 8 and round 9 as people following the originally issued schedule and people following the "new" schedule tried to figure out which rooms and opponents they were actually supposed to be looking for. It was one of the most irritating parts of the weekend since it was so unnecessary in the first place and betrayed a total lack of basic respect for other people's time and skills. Guess what, I know how to write a schedule.

Even with that, we still made good time because the DISCO rounds were getting done very quickly. We finished 10 rounds of DISCO as well as an entire trash tournament and lunch by 4:30, and were well in position to knock off the second playoff round-robin by 5:50-6 and move into Imaginary Landscape. This was simply a matter of moving on to round 11 and playing the games; no more reseeding breaks or other delays were needed. Unfortunately, this did not happen. Instead, three people started hijacking the tournament a third time and herded everyone into HQ. I knew that my trying to interfere in my own tournament at this point would only lead to some stupid explosion about "civility" so I retreated to a game room and finished the stats for the weekend while this was going on. The yelling was loud enough that I could hear it from down the hall, though. The people who wanted to start Imaginary Landscape right away kept announcing that they were going to do so and holding "votes" on discarding the end of the Texas tournament, over a 10 minute period, until people finally gave up on opposing them and "voted" their way. This accomplished, the four people who actually wanted to play IL started doing so while 12 other people went to play extra packets from the weekend in another room and everyone else left. As promised, IL lasted just under three hours, then the weekend was over. As this was going on, several people departed due to train bookings or to get to some sushi party on time.

So, what can we learn from this?

First off, scheduling five events was too ambitious. It relied on mistaken assumptions about how long tournaments would take, which was mostly my fault. It also relied on mistaken assumptions about people cooperating with requests to arrive on time for tournament registration and the resumption of events after lunch, as well as the idea that veteran quizbowlers in their mid-20s would act like adults and not constantly try to stop or cancel events they weren't personally interested in playing so as to start the ones they wanted earlier, which is the fault of the people who behaved in that way. Next year, I would like to run one main tournament on Saturday and one side event on Sunday morning, and nothing else.

Second, it's pointless to try to run open tournaments on Sundays. People will schedule unrealistic departure times and then either bail on tournaments early or try to make you shorten events to accommodate them. It doesn't matter how clearly you ask them not to do this or publicize your projected end time, it's obvious that this behavior is not going to end. There's no point trying to run all-day Sunday schedules for this kind of tournament. It will never work. Don't bother doing it.

Third and most importantly, people can talk themselves into a self-centered view of what "everyone" wants remarkably easily. As can be seen from this thread, it was not in fact the case that "everyone" wanted to stop playing DISCO, and it took basically an all-day whining campaign followed by an intense haranguing session to eliminate the 1 hour and 20 minutes of remaining scheduled time by finally making people sick of resisting it. The idea that people are going to get together and collectively "decide" things is a ridiculous fallacy. Tournaments, like everything, run by hierarchies of people who are qualified by merit (being better TDs whom the community trusts to be fair and sensible) or right (being the person who actually is authorized to run the tournament by the host school) making decisions that are as fair and sensible as possible given the circumstances, and other people following those decisions. Turning my tournament into some bullshit communal decision-making session had exactly the result that such behavior always does -- it let the people willing to be the loudest and most obstinate bulldoze everyone else who was sick of dealing with them, then claim "consensus" as a result.

The behavior of certain people over the weekend was extremely irritating. What gives people the right to delay tournaments by repeatedly being late, then complain that events are taking too long? How dare people burst into a tournament in progress, literally interrupting a question being read, to argue about the tournament's existence or try to unilaterally cancel it. And hijacking other people's events to rewrite the schedule or simply cancel rounds in a tournament people had paid for by essentially bullying people into leaving is ridiculous. What I basically saw was people going "since I, personally, am not interested in playing anything but Imaginary Landscape, the preferences of those who want to play trash or DISCO are not meaningful." There was no empathy for the fact that other people want different things and we needed to balance all interests, just a lot of basically narcissistic "why aren't we playing the tournament I want to play right now instead of wasting time with something as insignificant as other people?" thinking and childish action based on implementing that thinking.

So that's what happened with the schedule. Let's make it the last time this happens.
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Re: VCU Open 2014: August 2

Post by DumbJaques » Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:05 pm

I agree with most things in Matt's posts (in the posts by both Matts, actually). While I don't think the people who showed up late to things are in fact the same people who were most disruptive in the unacceptable way Matt outlines, that behavior was really aggravating. I mean, sure, it's Texas HS Bowl... except that the tournament ended up being quite good, and fun, and the teams pretty competitive. So it was basically a real tournament, at which teams had agreed to play a 12-game schedule. Presumably nobody is mentioning this because it was an open event rather than a regular season one, but canceling the second round of a round robin when the OUTCOME OF THE TOURNAMENT IS NOT YET CERTAIN is unacceptable. Obviously you'd have to be nuts to think anyone had remotely ulterior motives, but as someone who wanted to keep playing, it was aggravating (and I'm sure even more so for Matt/Tommy/JR).
Also, one thing not mentioned is that a certain room at VCU Open was COLD AS BALLS (and I consider myself a person who normally prefers ball-like temperatures), and Matt had carefully planned the schedule out so almost nobody was in there twice in a row. As a result of the UTTERLY POINTLESS schedule-rewriting, I was in there like 5 games straight. Thanks, over-helpers.

I think Bollinger is right that we need to be more careful about scheduling, and that Matt W. is right that Jonathan's behavior was aggravating and unproductive. However, a few things I think need to be pointed out:

-I'm not sure that Matt intended this, but the post above makes it sound like everyone playing IL behaved badly and tried to kill the Texas event. That's not accurate. John Lawrence, who scored well over 50% of the points at IL, was staying with me and both of us were there for the duration no matter what happened; he wouldn't have had a reason to lobby, and indeed did not do so. Various other people were stuck in Richmond for the night anyway and in a similar situation.

-No allowance is being made here for the fact that Jonathan put a lot of effort into this set, which was very good (or so I gather). I for one was not remotely surprised that Jonathan didn't want to truncate it; I'd never agree to something like that, and I find it odd that Matt seems to take the tone that it wouldn't have been a big deal.

-I understand Matt was frustrated by various people badgering him all day about scheduling, hijacking the event, etc. But you can't post a big proclamation about tournament directors being in charge (which, Matt, you are 100% right about), but then also solely hold other parties responsible for you becoming too exasperated to keep dealing with people. Certainly a TD can't just hold everyone at gunpoint - if the whole field revolts, there's nothing to be done, and by the end of the night that had sort of happened. But there are two mutually incompatible scenarios that could've taken place this weekend:
1) A few people hijacked the tournament and forced the schedule change Sunday afternoon.
2) The whole field decided not to play the rest of the Texas tournament, without prodding by the vanguard of the revolution, taking the decision out of Matt's hands.
I agree with Matt that scenario 1) is the more accurate. If so, then the TD has to walk the walk of the principles Matt dictated. Indeed, Matt did this when Jonathan tried to cancel the trash tournament. I don't even know that Matt could have prevented Texasbowl from ending had he done something similar later on, but I do think it's the TD's role to step in and try.
Again though, at that point we were tired and he had been dealing with this noise for a while, so I don't hold it against Matt as a TD. I just don't think it's fair here to put 100% of that on the "hijackers." Now, I don't think a TD should be compelled to take abuse form people, but if it's really at that point there's always the simple solution of telling someone "if you keep badgering me about this, I'm going to ask you to leave."
I should add here, though, that I wasn't privy to all Matt's interactions on this front; it could well have been worse than I saw. If so, I'll apologize and perhaps revise my position, depending on the details.
Matt Weiner wrote:Next year, I would like to run one main tournament on Saturday and one side event on Sunday morning, and nothing else
-That's just alarmist and I suspect mainly a reaction to how annoying it was to deal with complaints Sunday (and was it ever). Running 5 things in a weekend went badly and now we're only going to run 1.5 ever again? I think everyone would agree this is an overreaction, especially when the scheduling was itself only one of three major problems (the others being the problems with people registering and the bad behavior).

-I for one think the problem with registration owed a LOT to the lack of Google spreadsheets. Various people seem to have decided that these things are deeply evil, but I don't know why. Yes, they can discourage people from emailing registrations, which is bad. But it's not really THAT bad (it should be on the teams and not the TD, but in a pinch you can at least see who's coming) and doesn't impact the entire field. Not having a spreadsheet really made it hard for anyone to know who was coming, who was available, etc.; it directly led to an attitude that nobody needed to form teams, and in the days approaching VCU Open I heard from several people that they just assumed a draft would take place. Please use sign-up spreadsheets.
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