IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

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IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by nick. »

Hello everyone!

I am happy to announce the Mid-Atlantic Mirror of IKEA, a medium difficulty college set written by the Georgia Tech and Columbia quiz bowl teams, which you can read more about here. The set will be around Terrapin 2016/DRAGOON difficulty, a 2.5 on Ophir's Calendar. This mirror will be open to closed college and high school teams from the states of New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

UPDATE: Will Alston will now be the primary Tournament Director of this specific mirror.

Eligibility:
People enrolled in a university or high school are allowed to play with people from that same university or high school.

Registration:
In order to register, please fill out the centralized google form here.

Payment:
The fee for this tournament will be $80. This can be paid by PayPal, Venmo, Check, or other methods if need be. There is also a new to QuizBowl discount for colleges that did not send a team to any regular collegiate academic tournament (exclusively Novice tournaments do not count) since September 2019, and have no one on the team(s) claiming this discount who played those tournaments for another school. This discount is $20.

Field Cap:
The field cap for this tournament will be 24 initially, with expansions possible if the demand is present.

Staffing:
If you want to staff, please indicate that on this spreadsheet. Staff will receive $40 for the day.

Logistics:
This tournament will begin at 9 AM Eastern Time. Please be on the server at 8:30; a link for the discord server the tournament will be taking place on will be sent to the contact email provided the week before.

Additional Info:
BounceBacks will most likely be used for this tournament (though this may change depending on how the open bounceback mirror goes), which will be played according to the PACE rules. You can read those rules here.

I look forward to hosting you in October and I hope you can play!
Last edited by nick. on Thu Aug 13, 2020 4:32 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Without questioning Nick's particular skills or abilities: why is a high schooler directing this college tournament? Did we not just have several discussions about appropriate boundaries?
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Auks Ran Ova wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:21 am Without questioning Nick's particular skills or abilities: why is a high schooler directing this college tournament? Did we not just have several discussions about appropriate boundaries?
This is a valid concern which I considered carefully in making this decision. However, Nick has experience directing several online tournaments and gave me good references. After reaching out to several other older people, and a lack of volunteers to run the crucial Mid-Atlantic mirror, we decided to turn to somebody with a track record of success who was interested in contributing to helping keep quizbowl going.

I have confidence in his abilities but will be available to provide support / resolve concerns throughout the day as necessary, and we will have a number of older staffers on hand as well.

Having a strong team of outside staff for the Mid-Atlantic will give us an opportunity to allow as many enrolled college players to play as they desire, an opportunity which I hope people in this field will take advantage of.
Last edited by naan/steak-holding toll on Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Separate post for a small point of clarification - bouncebacks are still up in the air, and we will use the bounceback playtest mirror to confirm whether they are viable or not. Teams which would like to attend this mirror are encouraged to voice their preferences!
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by Cody »

naan/steak-holding toll wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 11:24 am
Auks Ran Ova wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:21 am Without questioning Nick's particular skills or abilities: why is a high schooler directing this college tournament? Did we not just have several discussions about appropriate boundaries?
This is a valid concern which I considered carefully in making this decision. However, Nick has experience directing several online tournaments and gave me good references. After reaching out to several other older people, and a lack of volunteers to run the crucial Mid-Atlantic mirror, we decided to turn to somebody with a track record of success who was interested in contributing to helping keep quizbowl going.

I have confidence in his abilities but will be available to provide support / resolve concerns throughout the day as necessary, and we will have a number of older staffers on hand as well.

Having a strong team of outside staff for the Mid-Atlantic will give us an opportunity to allow as many enrolled college players to play as they desire, an opportunity which I hope people in this field will take advantage of.
I can't speak to the bid situation, but I dislike this train of thought, re: "experience directing several online tournaments". The entirety of quizbowl has to adjust to an online hosting paradigm that has not previously existed, and with which few teams have any experience. Privileging people outside the collegiate circuit with experience running online tournaments will simply silo the knowledge* – instead, sets need to work with collegiate clubs to find and educate hosts, which will be easier closer to the semester as more online hosting guides circulate in preparation for the fall. (Plus, you yourself are quite experienced with online tournaments!)

* and profits, which would normally be reinvested in the collegiate circuit

A lack of volunteers from the collegiate circuits should be expected given that the semester has not started and that many institutions still do not have a plan for the semester / quarter (Brown University announced their plans for September this morning, for instance). Sets are going to have to put more effort into reaching out to collegiate clubs and securing hosts in Fall 2020 (and, likely, Winter/Spring 2020).

No disrespect to Nick, but there are a number of problems with this announcement that proceed from the TD being a high school senior with no collegiate hosting experience, no idea of circuit norms, and (crucially) no support from someone who knows about these things. Why is registration & staff signup being conducted through anonymous editing of an publicly editable spreadsheet, which Nick has already experienced problems with? Why is payment solely through PayPal or Venmo? Is Nick prepared to fill out W9 or other vendor forms for colleges that are funding student activities in the fall?

I don't expect the hosting situation to be changed for this mirror, but I hope that other mirrors and sets avoid this.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Cody raises several interesting points which are worth responding to, and which I will indeed respond to later, but I'd like to address this one:
No disrespect to Nick, but there are a number of problems with this announcement that proceed from the TD being a high school senior with no collegiate hosting experience, no idea of circuit norms, and (crucially) no support from someone who knows about these things. Why is registration & staff signup being conducted through anonymous editing of an publicly editable spreadsheet, which Nick has already experienced problems with? Why is payment solely through PayPal or Venmo? Is Nick prepared to fill out W9 or other vendor forms for colleges that are funding student activities in the fall?
There are indeed errors in this announcement which I should have caught earlier - schools are not in fact required to pay via PayPal or Venmo, as that is not possible for a very large number of clubs, nor was this the intention. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Having dealt extensively with collecting from school administrators before (hint: it's a pain in the ass, and you absolutely cannot trust them, especially right now) there are no expectations that TCs will collect payments, but rather provide clear instructions as to how to conduct them.

That being said, past frustration with collecting payments from host sites due to reimbursement policies (I've had payment delays of over a year in the past) is partly why we decided to use independent hosts where possible (though once again, schools are very welcome to apply to be hosts, as I have made clear elsewhere). In particular, in my experience, many clubs do not understand how their school's reimbursement process for vendors works at all and I've ended up in extremely long emails chains with administrators who barely understand what's going on. I don't expect this painstaking process to be one iota better at this time, given that so many schools hardly know what they're doing this fall - nor do I want to heap a massive burden on host sites in having to deal with it beyond the usual requirement of filling out invoices, which we will do as the IKEA team. The PayPal/Venmo requirement is only mandatory for moderators/TCs, so we can send payments to them, and open sites, to streamline collection.

We already significantly accelerated tournament production in order to fill in the Penn Bowl slot for the fall, and we want to give as many schools as possible a chance to play this tournament, taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by the online environment. It would have been much easier for us to just not do this and host in-person in the spring semester as intended, but as-is, we're taking this path of making collegiate quizbowl happen this fall. I don't anticipate having the time to extensively educate people on how to host a Discord tournament, beyond providing a server, nor do I think it's particularly fair to expect us to do all of this extra heavy lifting when we already took on a massive task of completing this set for an earlier date. We will provide servers, payment forms, and a standardized Code of Conduct, and we will pay our moderators and TCs in accordance with established precedent.

YET ANOTHER EDIT: I'd also be remiss if I didn't note that our tournaments are rather inexpensive compared to traditional in-circuit tournaments.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

As an addendum, the original post has been updated to reflect corrections to payment information, as well as link to our centralized registration form.

Thank you all for your patience!
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Response as promised earlier:
I can't speak to the bid situation, but I dislike this train of thought, re: "experience directing several online tournaments". The entirety of quizbowl has to adjust to an online hosting paradigm that has not previously existed, and with which few teams have any experience. Privileging people outside the collegiate circuit with experience running online tournaments will simply silo the knowledge* – instead, sets need to work with collegiate clubs to find and educate hosts, which will be easier closer to the semester as more online hosting guides circulate in preparation for the fall. (Plus, you yourself are quite experienced with online tournaments!)

* and profits, which would normally be reinvested in the collegiate circuit
As I noted above, this post implies an expectation of a very large amount of extra work on the part of set hosts, not only in the form of education for something that we sincerely hope won't have to be a pattern going too far beyond this school year (unless there's a bolstered demand for these online events, or a resurgence/similar travel-restricting event - two not-unlikely outcomes) but also in the form of ongoing logistics work, collections from clubs which often take months, extra forms, school administrators, etc. which result in headaches and months of payment delay. Yes, these are all possible - but they aren't pleasant, and avoiding them during an already challenging time strikes me as an eminently defensible decision.

Cody notes that hosting profits are typically "re-invested" in the form of paying other schools' tournament fees. This is true, ultimately the money does go to these purposes and "sinks away" in the form of mirror fees, discounts, hosting costs/room fees, travel costs, etc. While there is some merit here, I think that beyond noting that non-school profits are also sometimes reinvested, there are additional points worth considering:
  • Many schools are not able to host for a variety of reasons and benefit unambiguously overall from a lower-cost model, if we are to contrast IKEA fees with traditional mirror fees for school-hosted tournaments. These and others may be able to afford to attend more tournaments.
  • Given the dramatically reduced travel costs, this point is not as salient as it typically would be.
I won't say our choice of how to run this tournament is unambiguously superior, but I think it makes sense given the circumstances and our desire to allow as many teams to play as possible, particularly as last year's season was cut short.

Finally, I'd like to reiterate that schools are still welcome to apply to be hosts (and price their own mirrors as they please) and we will consider their offers - but we will continue to seek out non-school TCs as well. That said, we've received at least one contact from a circuit within one of our mirror regions that would like to host in-person in the spring. We plan to accommodate this request.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by jdpasspawn »

So after the last few weeks of discussion this community has had about boundaries and making this place a more safe and inclusive environment, your decision Will to have a high schooler TD a college tournament bewilders me. I understand that we are in different circumstances than usual, but that doesn’t make this okay. I don’t care who the high schooler is or what their logistical capabilities are, having a high schooler as the head position of authority makes it an environment that is dramatically lacking in professionalism. I mean, we have had debates as a community about whether high schoolers should even play in college tournaments and landed in a position with both major quizbowl organizations banning high schoolers from playing. Imagine someone (especially a person from a minority group) who is playing their first quizbowl tournament and learns that the event is run by a high schooler. What message does that send about college quizbowl and its ability to competently function? What does that say when they learn that the code of conduct they just read and agreed to abide by will be enforced by a high schooler? I apologize if I come across hyperbolic, but having a high schooler TD a college tournament would be deemed as completely unacceptable in pre pandemic times, and I don’t see why that should suddenly change.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

jdpasspawn wrote:I don’t care who the high schooler is or what their logistical capabilities are, having a high schooler as the head position of authority makes it an environment that is dramatically lacking in professionalism.
To alleviate the concerns expressed in this thread, I will direct this tournament on the day of and send the corresponding pre-tournament email. Nick will continue in his logistics role of reaching out to teams and gathering moderators, updating posts, etc. and I will pay him in accordance with the pre-established TC schedule, as he has done a good job with those so far.

Thank you all for your feedback.
Last edited by naan/steak-holding toll on Wed Aug 12, 2020 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by Cheynem »

Perhaps some of the concerns might be allayed if there was like a co-TD or if Nick was working as part of a "Tournament Direction group." I agree with Jack that there are some concerns about having a high schooler direct a tournament of college players and enforce a code of conduct (I've met Nick maybe...twice...online, so I know almost nothing about him, so this is nothing against him). I have no doubt Nick has experience running online tournaments (presumably high school tournaments?). Perhaps he could handle some of the more logistical elements, while someone else can be the point person for registration and someone else be there to resolve issues like conduct. Especially in regards to the latter you don't need a ton of experience running online tournaments to be in charge of that.

Edit: Whoops, Will posted basically exactly that. Good resolution!
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by Votre Kickstarter Est Nul »

Any chance we could get a field update?

Thanks!
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

A centralized form with registrations for all sites can now be viewed here.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Excitingly, there are now 15 registrations for this tournament! Please keep them rolling in.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

We still have 15 teams in the field, with a few new additions and a few drops. I'd like to have a nice even number at this field - 16 and 18 would be ideal field sizes enabling clean formats. Get your registrations in!
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Since we're still at 15 teams, we'd be happy to have a team from a different regional mirror site fill out the field.

EDIT: University of Texas A has joined this field. We are closing it now at 16 teams. We will play a round with 2 brackets of 8, followed by four crossover playoff games and a final if necessary. Expect an email tomorrow.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

I am sincerely sorry for the moderator issues and technical difficulties at this tournament. We will do our best to fix things up for the afternoon rounds.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Congratulations to Texas A, who won this tournament by going undefeated. Full stats will be posted tomorrow.

For future events, we will be exploring shorter formats (8-9 rounds max including playoffs) with bouncebacks, as based on the mirrors we've run so far, we believe this will increase player engagement and reduce tournament length overall. We will also be providing more rigorous best practices guides to moderators for such events.
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Re: IKEA Mid-Atlantic Mirror @ Discord (10/3/20)

Post by Votre Kickstarter Est Nul »

I'm sorry if any of this gets any facts about the tournament wrong.

But: this tournament seemed to me a pretty good reason to make sure hosts of tournaments are schools, not individuals. Having a group of people you can guarantee will staff the tournament seems like it can go a long way toward avoiding staffing shortages, moderators whose quality you only barely know, etc. The tournament yesterday seemed to suffer from these issues. Overall, I think yesterday went pretty well, but I can't help thinking in general, schools should host tournaments. [If this happens because schools did not volunteer to host, that's another issue, in which case I suppose I'm speaking more generally]

A more minor thing: if you're going to ask for rosters anyway, why not ask them before seeding? Penn, for instance, was the 3 seed according to the schedule, but played without Nitin. I don't think the tournament was particularly affected by this (we weren't) but it seems like an easy enough re-ordering of procedure.

[also stat note: Rutgers A was in the billy bracket for prelims]

EDIT: typo. Also forgot to mention: Thanks for running this! The set was very fun and aside from some minor issues yesterday went well. Running tournaments online seems like hell; thanks for doing it!
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