Writing for SCT/ICT

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Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by setht » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:16 pm

I've brought this over from a thread in the ICT discussion section because it doesn't involve discussion of set content, so it doesn't need to be private, and I'd like as many people to see this as possible.
Birdofredum Sawin wrote:Seth noted in another thread that "the distribution of questions per writer had a mode of 1 and median of 3 (or maybe 2)." To expand on this observation: The D1 ICT set contained a total of 864 questions. Of those, 310 were written by Seth, while 191 were written by me. (Note that these figures do not include questions that were nominally "by" other writers, but that Seth or I radically rewrote for inclusion in the set.) After that, the next most productive writer (NAQT member Peter Freeman) produced 41 questions. After that, as Seth indicated, the number of questions-produced-per-writer drops off drastically.
I'll expand on Andrew's expansion: the writing break-down of the 864 questions in the 2012 DI ICT set was as follows:

lingering questions from people who appear to have retired from writing: 34
questions from circuit people who have not historically kicked in bunches of ICT questions: 91
questions from NAQT people other than myself and Andrew: 238
questions by me and Andrew: 501

These categories are a bit nebulous and overlap somewhat, but shuffling things around a bit won't change the basic picture. I'll also note that I think approximately 20 of the "circuit people" questions were written by people who may well play DI ICT next year.

The corresponding numbers for 2012 DI SCT:

lingering questions from people who appear to have retired from writing: 53
questions from circuit people who have not historically kicked in bunches of ICT questions: 148
questions from NAQT people other than myself and Andrew: 404
questions by me and Andrew: 163 (Andrew had the largest contribution at 106; I came in third with 57, with R. edging past me at 58 questions)

Another way of viewing these numbers: the circuit contributed approximately 2 packets' worth of questions to the 2012 DI ICT (out of 18 packets), and approximately 3 packets' worth to the 2012 DI SCT (out of 16 packets). Compare that with ACF--even ACF Nationals 2011, which featured 10 editor packets, was more than 50% circuit-written (at least in name, I don't know how many questions in the submitted packets were replaced wholesale by editor-written questions), and ACF Regionals 2012 had no pure editor packets.

Obviously the extent to which the circuit as a whole can contribute to SCT or ICT is severely hampered by the fact that they are non-packet-submission events, but I have to think we can do better than this. I also think the set production models embodied by the last few SCTs/ICTs is not sustainable in the long run--I think SCT 2012 came closer to a reasonable production template than the others, but I think there needs to be even more circuit involvement than there was there. I've heard from a few people who won't be competing next year and want to chip in more. That will be a great help, and hopefully more such people will step up. I'd also like to see more contributions to the SCT set from players in clubs that are hosting SCT (so they'll wind up staffing rather than playing), and more contributions to the ICT from players who aren't going to attend ICT (because of not having a bid, or not having time/money/whatever). I'd also like to see a repeat of the set-up from SCT 2012, where an eligible player helped write and edit the set in exchange for an autobid; unfortunately, I think the timing of the arrangement and Andrew Hart's other commitments precluded him from writing lots of questions for the SCT set (and he absolutely did the right thing in prioritizing set editing over question writing), but hopefully we can get something similar set up for SCT 2013: bring in one or more eligible players who have time to handle the set editing, and ideally also get them kick in a bunch of questions to reduce the load on NAQT writers who are eligible to write for ICT 2013. Finally, players competing at DII ICT can write DI ICT questions for use that same year (and vice versa for DI ICT players writing DII questions), and it would be great to see more of this*.

* Note that this is not true for SCT; I apologize to anyone I misinformed on this point before I learned a couple months ago about the "no cross-division question writing for SCT" policy.

If anyone has questions or comments about this--especially, suggestions on how to get more contributions from circuit people to SCT and ICT set production--I'd be very interested to hear them.

Thanks
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Ondes Martenot » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:33 pm

Finally, players competing at DII ICT can write DI ICT questions for use that same year (and vice versa for DI ICT players writing DII questions), and it would be great to see more of this*.

* Note that this is not true for SCT; I apologize to anyone I misinformed on this point before I learned a couple months ago about the "no cross-division question writing for SCT" policy.

Umm...when did this happen? This seems like a horrible idea considering all the DI writers who chip in for DII SCT?
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by setht » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:39 pm

Ondes Martenot wrote:
Finally, players competing at DII ICT can write DI ICT questions for use that same year (and vice versa for DI ICT players writing DII questions), and it would be great to see more of this*.

* Note that this is not true for SCT; I apologize to anyone I misinformed on this point before I learned a couple months ago about the "no cross-division question writing for SCT" policy.

Umm...when did this happen? This seems like a horrible idea considering all the DI writers who chip in for DII SCT?
I might be wrong about this, but my understanding is that there aren't supposed to be cross-division (going either direction) questions by active players in the SCT set because some SCTs wind up running combined fields on one set; in particular, this can happen without advance notice due to weather conditions, so it's not even safe to let players write cross-division SCT questions just because their local SCT is supposed to have separate divisions.

-Seth
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Mike Bentley » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:59 pm

I think there are a couple of things preventing more eligible circuit people from writing for NAQT, although I may just be generalizing my experiences:

1. There aren't really any formal assignments for writing questions. R. typically sends out an e-mail like 2 weeks before the tournament saying "there are 150 SCT questions to write, please sign up to write some", but I haven't seen NAQT go out of its way to contact people and say, "you're going to write all of the history questions for this tournament by this date" or "you will write two packets worth of questions by this date" similar to how most house written sets work. Instead, you need to sort of remember that SCT/ICT are coming up and contribute some random amount of questions that may or may not get used within the next few years.
2. Writing 425 or 500 character tossups is really hard and not overly rewarding. This isn't that big of a deal for bonuses, which are now largely the same as mACF bonuses, but NAQT tossups can be quite challenging to write.
3. NAQT seems to rely a lot more on the rewrite than other organizations. While I get that this shifts the burden from the editor to the writer, it's also discouraging to get a message essentially saying, "this question sucks, rewrite it", even when the question justifiably does suck and needs to be rewritten.
4. While the online editing thing has improved matters some (combined with that tool I wrote), it's still a bit annoying to format NAQT questions properly.
5. The whole writing and editing process seems a lot more opaque than most other house-written sets. This year's ICT saw a big improvement with things like question playtesting, but usually I have no real idea who is editing my questions, why editorial decisions are made, who else is writing, what the overall difficulty/style philosophy is, etc.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by The Toad to Wigan Pier » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:13 pm

setht wrote:
Ondes Martenot wrote:
Finally, players competing at DII ICT can write DI ICT questions for use that same year (and vice versa for DI ICT players writing DII questions), and it would be great to see more of this*.

* Note that this is not true for SCT; I apologize to anyone I misinformed on this point before I learned a couple months ago about the "no cross-division question writing for SCT" policy.

Umm...when did this happen? This seems like a horrible idea considering all the DI writers who chip in for DII SCT?
I might be wrong about this, but my understanding is that there aren't supposed to be cross-division (going either direction) questions by active players in the SCT set because some SCTs wind up running combined fields on one set; in particular, this can happen without advance notice due to weather conditions, so it's not even safe to let players write cross-division SCT questions just because their local SCT is supposed to have separate divisions.

-Seth
The DII SCT set from this year seems to contain questions from DI players who played DI sectionals this year,
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by setht » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:49 pm

The Toad to Wigan Pier wrote:The DII SCT set from this year seems to contain questions from DI players who played DI sectionals this year,
I'll have to ask around about this; possibly this is a new policy, or maybe I misunderstood what's going on.

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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:00 pm

It is a new policy, but I have also asked R. for a clarification on this point.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Kyle » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:06 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:1. There aren't really any formal assignments for writing questions. R. typically sends out an e-mail like 2 weeks before the tournament saying "there are 150 SCT questions to write, please sign up to write some", but I haven't seen NAQT go out of its way to contact people and say, "you're going to write all of the history questions for this tournament by this date" or "you will write two packets worth of questions by this date" similar to how most house written sets work. Instead, you need to sort of remember that SCT/ICT are coming up and contribute some random amount of questions that may or may not get used within the next few years.
I think NAQT's writing model works better for high school questions, where the assumption is that you just write a bunch whenever you want and then those questions get used pretty soon. For level 9, if your questions don't get used this time around then you have to wait another year to have another shot.
Mike Bentley wrote:3. NAQT seems to rely a lot more on the rewrite than other organizations. While I get that this shifts the burden from the editor to the writer, it's also discouraging to get a message essentially saying, "this question sucks, rewrite it", even when the question justifiably does suck and needs to be rewritten.
I think this depends to a large extent on the individual subject editors. I have seen some people give really concrete suggestions about how to approach rewriting your questions, but I have also seen some editors say things every bit as unnecessarily rude as "this question sucks." Or, you know, say the equivalent in Russian.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by setht » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:24 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:I think there are a couple of things preventing more eligible circuit people from writing for NAQT, although I may just be generalizing my experiences:

1. There aren't really any formal assignments for writing questions. R. typically sends out an e-mail like 2 weeks before the tournament saying "there are 150 SCT questions to write, please sign up to write some", but I haven't seen NAQT go out of its way to contact people and say, "you're going to write all of the history questions for this tournament by this date" or "you will write two packets worth of questions by this date" similar to how most house written sets work. Instead, you need to sort of remember that SCT/ICT are coming up and contribute some random amount of questions that may or may not get used within the next few years.
I've been wondering if this is part of the problem. It should be easy for set editors to send more direct requests for writer contributions in the future.
Mike Bentley wrote:2. Writing 425 or 500 character tossups is really hard and not overly rewarding. This isn't that big of a deal for bonuses, which are now largely the same as mACF bonuses, but NAQT tossups can be quite challenging to write.
I'll respectfully disagree with you about it being rewarding: it is certainly challenging, coming from a background of writing much longer tossups, to write a good, short tossup, but getting it right is a nice feeling, and I think it's an exercise that can help improve question writing (even longer question writing). I think the shorter tossups also allow writers to explore some topics where people might know a few things, but not all that many--I'm thinking of something like my art tossup on "[the thing Seth wrote an art tossup on]." I'd like to think that pretty much all the clues in that tossup were things people might have a chance of knowing (hopefully arranged in increasing chance of knowing); it's hard for me to imagine writing a significantly longer tossup on "[that thing]" and not feel like I was wasting people's time with super-obscure clues, or a bunch of clues at the same level.
Mike Bentley wrote:3. NAQT seems to rely a lot more on the rewrite than other organizations. While I get that this shifts the burden from the editor to the writer, it's also discouraging to get a message essentially saying, "this question sucks, rewrite it", even when the question justifiably does suck and needs to be rewritten.
I'm not sure there's much that can be done about this, except to urge writers not to take this too much to heart--the vision of ideal difficulty for each national set varies with editor, so there's always bound to be some number of questions that seemed fine upon submission but wind up outside the target difficulty for the particular set where they show up. Also, if a question justifiably does suck and needs to be rewritten, I hope writers can understand that that happens to all of us, and I hope writers will be happier about getting a chance to rewrite and get their question played, as opposed to trashed and never used at all.
Mike Bentley wrote:4. While the online editing thing has improved matters some (combined with that tool I wrote), it's still a bit annoying to format NAQT questions properly.
I still make formatting mistakes. If anyone has ideas on how to improve this, I'm interested in hearing them.
Mike Bentley wrote:5. The whole writing and editing process seems a lot more opaque than most other house-written sets. This year's ICT saw a big improvement with things like question playtesting, but usually I have no real idea who is editing my questions, why editorial decisions are made, who else is writing, what the overall difficulty/style philosophy is, etc.
There should be a list of current subject editors available to view on the NAQT website, and writers should be able to look at their questions whenever they like (which will show who subject edited the questions and what comments, if any, they made). I also usually leave copious notes while subject editing, which can also be viewed by writers who look back at their questions. I'm confident that any subject or set editor who gets a request for more feedback from a writer would make a good-faith effort to comply.

-Seth

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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:13 pm

I got some appeals for questions from R that were addressed just to me. He would ask something along the lines of whether I could write 5 questions in the next 48 hours, and when I said yes he would give me subject areas. In my case, it was DII, since that's more in my comfort zone. (I did end up with some DI questions, but many of them were intended for DII but I made them too difficult or were heavily edited.) It would be pretty surprising if I was the only one asked individually, since I'm not special. If you didn't get such requests, my guess is that it's because you haven't written a lot of questions recently, though I don't know.

Even if people did not get individual invitations, I don't understand why somebody would not reply to a group message saying that they need several people to each write 5 questions and then complain that the requests weren't specific enough. NAQT wanted its writers to write questions, and it told its writers repeatedly that it wanted them to write questions. Their business model allows for many writers who take time off from writing whenever life gets busy, which means that NAQT doesn't send individual demands to people that a certain number of questions need to get written in a certain time period. Instead, they make many requests, and people who ignore those requests end up not writing questions. If you can't remember when SCT/ICT are even though you are or were once part of the quizbowl circuit and get a lot of emails saying that SCT/ICT are coming up, then it's not NAQT's fault that you didn't write a lot of questions for SCT/ICT.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Gautam » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:29 pm

setht wrote:
Mike Bentley wrote:2. Writing 425 or 500 character tossups is really hard and not overly rewarding. This isn't that big of a deal for bonuses, which are now largely the same as mACF bonuses, but NAQT tossups can be quite challenging to write.
I'll respectfully disagree with you about it being rewarding: it is certainly challenging, coming from a background of writing much longer tossups, to write a good, short tossup, but getting it right is a nice feeling, and I think it's an exercise that can help improve question writing (even longer question writing). I think the shorter tossups also allow writers to explore some topics where people might know a few things, but not all that many--I'm thinking of something like my art tossup on "[the thing Seth wrote an art tossup on]." I'd like to think that pretty much all the clues in that tossup were things people might have a chance of knowing (hopefully arranged in increasing chance of knowing); it's hard for me to imagine writing a significantly longer tossup on "[that thing]" and not feel like I was wasting people's time with super-obscure clues, or a bunch of clues at the same level.
Mike Bentley wrote:4. While the online editing thing has improved matters some (combined with that tool I wrote), it's still a bit annoying to format NAQT questions properly.
I still make formatting mistakes. If anyone has ideas on how to improve this, I'm interested in hearing them
-Seth
I haven't submitted questions for NAQT in a bit... So out of curiosity: am I even allowed to submit questions that are greater than 500 characters long? I remember that when I did write some questions in the past there were instances where I was indifferent between using two clues in a tossup and would rather have left it to the editor to decide which of the two clues to use. However that caused the questions to be longer than the max length, which made me sad and less interested in submitting it to NAQT.

Also agree with Bentley's point #4.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by jonah » Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:37 pm

gkandlikar wrote:I haven't submitted questions for NAQT in a bit... So out of curiosity: am I even allowed to submit questions that are greater than 500 characters long?
No, but
gkandlikar wrote:I remember that when I did write some questions in the past there were instances where I was indifferent between using two clues in a tossup and would rather have left it to the editor to decide which of the two clues to use. However that caused the questions to be longer than the max length, which made me sad and less interested in submitting it to NAQT.
In this situation, I would suggest picking one of them, then putting in a note that says "Possible substitution for [whatever clue]: [alternate clue]."
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by magin » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:09 pm

I don't know if NAQT does this already, but for last year's ACF Nationals (and this year's), I've had a fair amount of success targeting people who like specific subjects and asking them to write those subjects. People are usually happy to write subcategories that they know well and enjoy, especially if they've been asked to contribute because of their expertise, since who doesn't like feeling needed and competent?

Note: this works best with reasonable amounts of questions spread out over a few people. Even if someone likes biology a whole lot, they're a lot more likely to write you 10 biology questions than 100 biology questions. If you get target 10 people and have them write 10 questions in their favorite categories, that's a pretty good dent right there.

Also, getting a group of people online and having them write can be very effective. The hardest part of writing tossups is figuring out what to write on, but a group of 10 or more people will often have plenty of good suggestions. Similarly, you can challenge everyone to write something like 5 questions in an hour. With 10 people, that's 50 questions. A NAQT packet is what, 24/24? 20 packets of that is 960 questions. A few hours here and there with just 10 people and you don't have to rely on one person to write 300 questions. This might work even better for NAQT than ACF, since NAQT's questions are shorter.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Gautam » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:36 pm

jonah wrote:
gkandlikar wrote:I haven't submitted questions for NAQT in a bit... So out of curiosity: am I even allowed to submit questions that are greater than 500 characters long?
No, but
gkandlikar wrote:I remember that when I did write some questions in the past there were instances where I was indifferent between using two clues in a tossup and would rather have left it to the editor to decide which of the two clues to use. However that caused the questions to be longer than the max length, which made me sad and less interested in submitting it to NAQT.
In this situation, I would suggest picking one of them, then putting in a note that says "Possible substitution for [whatever clue]: [alternate clue]."
Good to know. Thanks.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Gautam » Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:04 pm

magin wrote:I don't know if NAQT does this already, but for last year's ACF Nationals (and this year's), I've had a fair amount of success targeting people who like specific subjects and asking them to write those subjects. People are usually happy to write subcategories that they know well and enjoy, especially if they've been asked to contribute because of their expertise, since who doesn't like feeling needed and competent?
Agreed with Jonathan. Especially the last sentence, since I have felt needed more than once. :)
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:13 pm

gkandlikar wrote:I haven't submitted questions for NAQT in a bit... So out of curiosity: am I even allowed to submit questions that are greater than 500 characters long? I remember that when I did write some questions in the past there were instances where I was indifferent between using two clues in a tossup and would rather have left it to the editor to decide which of the two clues to use. However that caused the questions to be longer than the max length, which made me sad and less interested in submitting it to NAQT.

This is probably the #1 thing that's made me write very little for NAQT. It's the most annoying thing in the world to write a good tossup and then get a message that it's 2 characters over the limit and have to spend a while figuring out how to fix it without completely rewriting the question or taking out a whole clue and having it be much too short.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Kyle » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:25 pm

Plan Rubber wrote:This is probably the #1 thing that's made me write very little for NAQT. It's the most annoying thing in the world to write a good tossup and then get a message that it's 2 characters over the limit and have to spend a while figuring out how to fix it without completely rewriting the question or taking out a whole clue and having it be much too short.
I really don't understand this claim. I have never found it remotely difficult to find 2 characters to get rid of -- or, for that matter, 50 characters. Almost every question that anybody writes contains extraneous words that add nothing to the content. NAQT's character limit has the unintended but fortunate effect of requiring you to proofread your question and eliminate words that you do not need.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:54 pm

Kyle wrote:
Plan Rubber wrote:This is probably the #1 thing that's made me write very little for NAQT. It's the most annoying thing in the world to write a good tossup and then get a message that it's 2 characters over the limit and have to spend a while figuring out how to fix it without completely rewriting the question or taking out a whole clue and having it be much too short.
I really don't understand this claim. I have never found it remotely difficult to find 2 characters to get rid of -- or, for that matter, 50 characters. Almost every question that anybody writes contains extraneous words that add nothing to the content. NAQT's character limit has the unintended but fortunate effect of requiring you to proofread your question and eliminate words that you do not need.
The problem arises when this happens after you have already cut 50 characters off and it's still 2 characters too long. It's incredibly frustrating, and makes you just not want to write (at least that's what happens to me).

Also, is there a chance that we could get a function online that let's us see our most recently edited questions, that way we can see what changes are being made by editors so we know if something is wrong with what we were writing?
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Kyle » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:21 pm

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:The problem arises when this happens after you have already cut 50 characters off and it's still 2 characters too long. It's incredibly frustrating, and makes you just not want to write (at least that's what happens to me).
But...don't write a 477-character tossup if the character limit is 425. Instead of writing longer tossups and then trying to contort them to conform to NAQT's requirements, just write the tossup to conform to NAQT's requirements in the first place.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Black-throated Antshrike » Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:28 pm

Kyle wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:The problem arises when this happens after you have already cut 50 characters off and it's still 2 characters too long. It's incredibly frustrating, and makes you just not want to write (at least that's what happens to me).
But...don't write a 477-character tossup if the character limit is 425. Instead of writing longer tossups and then trying to contort them to conform to NAQT's requirements, just write the tossup to conform to NAQT's requirements in the first place.
I don't know about you, but I don't purposefully go out to write long tossups that can't be whittled down easily. It's just annoying when you do whittle it down and it's still <10 characters over the limit.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Gautam » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:01 am

Kyle wrote:
Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:The problem arises when this happens after you have already cut 50 characters off and it's still 2 characters too long. It's incredibly frustrating, and makes you just not want to write (at least that's what happens to me).
But...don't write a 477-character tossup if the character limit is 425. Instead of writing longer tossups and then trying to contort them to conform to NAQT's requirements, just write the tossup to conform to NAQT's requirements in the first place.
Kyle, I find that its often easier for an independent pair of eyes to cut the fat than it is for the person writing question. Mostly because I stare at the question too long and the more I stare at a question the less I want to work on it... This is how almost any packet sub events work where the editors choose to enforce strict length caps. People may submit 8 line tossups which are made more efficient by compactifying to 6 lines or whatever. I don't see why I can't be allowed to have (say) a 5% leeway in the raw product... When I know that it will pass through a third party who will quality-control it so that the final product meets NAQTs standards, why should I be the one working on the length caps when there is an editor who has the power and the duty to standardize the questions?
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Deviant Insider » Fri Apr 06, 2012 6:44 am

If you write questions online, it counts characters as you type, which makes it easier to get the question to the right number of characters, though it can still sometimes be a pain. Also, when you write online, the selections that take the place of coding take less than a minute.

If you click on Processed files (and then click Questions written online if you wrote online), you can see your questions in their edited form. Also, if you click on Statistics for a specific tournament and then click on your name, you can see all your questions for that tournament in their edited form. From Admin Home, you can click on Questions Used in Packet Sets and see all of your used questions sorted by tournament.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:32 am

gkandlikar wrote:When I know that it will pass through a third party who will quality-control it so that the final product meets NAQTs standards, why should I be the one working on the length caps when there is an editor who has the power and the duty to standardize the questions?
This is actually a pretty good argument: since subject editors are in theory going to change your question to make it good anyway, and this may affect the length--maybe you spelled Jugurtha "Jugtha" and only _thought_ you were writing a 425-character tossup--there might as well be some leeway given there. If it meaningfully increases questions submitted, it's certainly worth a try--perhaps we could do a trial period of this.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Kyle » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:13 pm

One of the interesting things about this thread is that people expressing similar points of view are demonstrating a general sense of ambivalence toward the subject editors. Joe wants an easier way to check up on the work of subject editors, while Gautam wants to expand their role. I think a lot of people share this ambivalence, and it has to do with the fact that the approaches of the different subject editors vary widely. NAQT does need to consider its standards with respect to some of these things.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:37 pm

For what it's worth, my rewrites for sciences and music have come with very useful feedback (not saying the other editors don't write useful notes, but most of my submissions are in those categories). The character length restrictions can be annoying, but I sort of view it as practice for school papers with length restrictions. Some leeway with how long initial submissions can be could be nice, though.

Edit for editing
Last edited by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant on Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by setht » Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:44 pm

I think it makes more sense to place more of a burden on the larger group of writers by requiring them to submit questions that fit the length restrictions, than to allow leeway in submissions and make more work for the much smaller group of subject and set editors. It certainly is easier for a second pair of eyes to find places to trim characters from a tossup, but I think the way to take advantage of this is for writers to do as Jonah suggested and move a clue into a note. Alternatively, I guess a writer could email a subject or set editor directly with a too-long tossup and ask for help trimming it down to size before submitting. It's also worth noting that when crunch time rolls around, some of the last questions in the set may not get much (or any) subject or set editing attention, so one of the arguments for giving writers more leeway is based on an assumption (that questions always go through a full quality control process) that is, unfortunately, not always true. Hopefully these other suggestions will suffice to deal with getting tossups down to fighting weight.

I think the idea of the SCT/ICT set editors more aggressively (and directly) sending out requests to writers for submissions is a good one.

David has pointed out a couple of the options currently available to writers who want to find out more about the status of their questions (thanks for that!). If anyone has suggestions for other stuff along these lines that they'd like to see added (e.g. Joe's suggestion for something that collects and displays recently-edited questions), please post them. I can't guarantee that every suggestion will be implemented, but I'm sure they will all receive due consideration.

Please also post any further thoughts on what NAQT can do to get more writer contributions (especially to the high-level sets).

Thanks,
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Marble-faced Bristle Tyrant » Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:02 pm

setht wrote:David has pointed out a couple of the options currently available to writers who want to find out more about the status of their questions (thanks for that!). If anyone has suggestions for other stuff along these lines that they'd like to see added (e.g. Joe's suggestion for something that collects and displays recently-edited questions), please post them. I can't guarantee that every suggestion will be implemented, but I'm sure they will all receive due consideration.
Maybe in addition to the "Processed files" page, have all of a writer's submissions (not just edited ones) listed with edit status. Like how when you view a processed file, it shows the questions in that file, except for all files.

Also, not wanting to shift the burden of length editing on the editors is completely understandable.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by theMoMA » Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:04 pm

I'll just note that Jonathan promptly responded to my request to him for questions during this year's SCT with several flawless social science and American history tossups, so he practices what he preaches.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue May 01, 2012 8:57 am

Is now a good time for people to discuss what will motivate them to write more HSNCT questions?
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Important Bird Area » Tue May 01, 2012 11:49 am

Yes, absolutely it is. People interested in writing for HSNCT should contact me.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Ondes Martenot » Tue May 01, 2012 6:34 pm

Can Jeff or Seth clarify as to what was mentioned earlier about people playing DI SCT not being able to write for DII SCT (and the opposite case as well)? I always enjoy writing for the DII SCT and I know that DI writers make up a big chunk of the questions used in this set. If you're playing in a big region where the chance of DI and DII SCT being combined is basically next to nothing, there really is no reason for DI players to be locked out of writing for DII SCT.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue May 01, 2012 6:41 pm

Of course, this is one of many reasons why combined fields should never be allowed to happen.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by setht » Wed May 02, 2012 12:32 pm

Ondes Martenot wrote:Can Jeff or Seth clarify as to what was mentioned earlier about people playing DI SCT not being able to write for DII SCT (and the opposite case as well)? I always enjoy writing for the DII SCT and I know that DI writers make up a big chunk of the questions used in this set. If you're playing in a big region where the chance of DI and DII SCT being combined is basically next to nothing, there really is no reason for DI players to be locked out of writing for DII SCT.
I can't speak authoritatively on this point, but my understanding is that one concern is that weather issues might keep some teams from attending an SCT site that was supposed to run split fields, resulting in an unforeseen combined field. I could be wrong, but I believe this has already happened at least once in the recent past. I'm afraid I don't see a good way of dealing with this that would allow cross-division questions to be used in SCT sets.

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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed May 02, 2012 12:48 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:Of course, this is one of many reasons why combined fields should never be allowed to happen.
What's the alternative for a case where a site has a small number of D1 teams and a significant number of D2 teams - say, 2 D1 teams & 8 D2 teams?
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed May 02, 2012 12:51 pm

setht wrote:
Ondes Martenot wrote:Can Jeff or Seth clarify as to what was mentioned earlier about people playing DI SCT not being able to write for DII SCT (and the opposite case as well)? I always enjoy writing for the DII SCT and I know that DI writers make up a big chunk of the questions used in this set. If you're playing in a big region where the chance of DI and DII SCT being combined is basically next to nothing, there really is no reason for DI players to be locked out of writing for DII SCT.
I can't speak authoritatively on this point, but my understanding is that one concern is that weather issues might keep some teams from attending an SCT site that was supposed to run split fields, resulting in an unforeseen combined field. I could be wrong, but I believe this has already happened at least once in the recent past. I'm afraid I don't see a good way of dealing with this that would allow cross-division questions to be used in SCT sets.

-Seth
R. and I have discussed this issue; in September we are going to work out some kind of solution that continues to allow DI players to write for DII SCT. This probably involves accepting sub-optimal field sizes for certain rare cases (eg, once in a very long while having a three-team division, or wildcarding a single isolated team to ICT).
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by setht » Wed May 02, 2012 1:06 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:R. and I have discussed this issue; in September we are going to work out some kind of solution that continues to allow DI players to write for DII SCT. This probably involves accepting sub-optimal field sizes for certain rare cases (eg, once in a very long while having a three-team division, or wildcarding a single isolated team to ICT).
Does this mean that DII players will not be able to write for DI SCT?

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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Important Bird Area » Wed May 02, 2012 1:21 pm

DII players will still be able to write for DI as they normally have (the "combined field on DI questions" is an even rarer beast than "weather-induced emergency combined field on DII").
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed May 02, 2012 3:30 pm

bt_green_warbler wrote:DII players will still be able to write for DI as they normally have (the "combined field on DI questions" is an even rarer beast than "weather-induced emergency combined field on DII").
It seems plausible to make it the rule that combined fields are run on DII. Regions with few enough teams to risk a combined field would usually not lose too much resolution from playing an easier set.
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Re: Writing for SCT/ICT

Post by Golran » Wed May 16, 2012 12:46 am

bt_green_warbler wrote:Yes, absolutely it is. People interested in writing for HSNCT should contact me.
So I sent in my 5/5 about 2 weeks ago and haven't heard back. Can you pm me with what's going on with my application (or post if it's a more widespread issue)?
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