"This Things I Believe"

Elaborate on the merits of specific tournaments or have general theoretical discussion here.
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"This Things I Believe"

Post by minusfive » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:41 am

Since this is my last post (I have retired: don't anybody freaking quote "Weiner's 2nd Law" or any similar bullshit), and I won't be reading/responding to any replies, I will take this opportunity to, in my own way, drop the mic. I don't give a damn that you don't give a damn that the "quizbowl community" is fixable but currently fucked.
My top 5 stupidest quizbowl things that would get people laughed at in the academic/real world, in no systematized order:

1) Only resolving protests if they matter to the outcome.
A stupid rule which has all sorts of implications for things like scoring prizes. But on principle, if the question says "name the capital of Canada" and "Washington, DC" is accepted, this stands unless it alters the game's result. Think of any other competition where any type of gross error isn't corrected if it doesn't change the winner.

2) Not needing "the" or "a" in front of a proper title
Shakespeare wrote something popularly known as "The Winter's Tale." Margaret Atwood wrote "The Handmaid's Tale." While shortening that has some cache in some academic writing, eliminating the proper pronoun means YOU ARE NOT QUOTING THE PROPER TITLE. If I have to be exact on "Where Do We Come From? etc.", then there's no reason to not require people to actually know the ACTUAL title of a work, including pronouns in all cases.

3) Book Prizes
Oh, hey, you spent hundreds of dollars to get to and play this tournament? Hope you enjoy your (invariably literary) book I bought for $1! At least make the books nicer (or better yet, have some better prizes), and here's a thought: there's literally nothing to be played for in a final where everyone has scored enough to win a book. First prize should be first prize. And some dollar-store trophy (looking at you both, ACF and NAQT!) isn't the solution.

4) All-or-nothing buzzes and bonuses
People are thinking, wtf does that mean? I mean that if someone negs, the rest of the team sits abjectly through the entire question and then the bonus (and gets no reward for knowing the bonus even if they would 30 it and the other team zeroes it). Multiple buzzes should be allowed. Stealing bonus answers should be allowed. But hey, keep doing something that is literally more boring to watch and play, with less excitement/ability to come back.

5) Not treating moderators better
I have never been able to understand people who want to devote a full (stupidly full) day to reading any more than I could understand someone who only likes to give but not receive oral sex. This weird fetish has to be better remunerated; buying people lunch for well over $100 of work at minimum wage (in a respectable country, we all know you Americans have like a ten cent minimum wage) just doesn't cut it.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:54 am

I sort of agree in terms of book prizes, at least in terms of the types of books that are frequently offered as prizes. I get why, it's cheaper and erudite to keep proffering those paperback copies of The Mayor of Casterbridge, but I think a little more variety, especially at more prestige tournaments, might be nice. I really enjoyed at CULT how Mike Bentley had some non-fiction books. There were a couple tournaments at maybe (ugh) Carleton where history books were prizes; I scored a sweet copy of Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Storm.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:16 pm

These are the very strangest of quizbowl hills to die on.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:19 pm

Incidentally, I strongly resent the implication that our trophies were in any way "dime-store." Just FYI, we spent over $800 on trophies for Nationals this year, including some pretty solid pieces that you would not be ashamed to put in a glass case at your institution of higher learning. So, you know, fuck off with this bullshit.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:47 pm

I'm certainly no slouch when it comes to advocating paying people for quizbowl work, but the money's gotta come from somewhere. Do you want to pay $200-$300 for the average tournament so I can afford to pay all the moderators minimum wage, pay the editors of the tournament, and still make money for my club? Didn't think so.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Ike » Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:11 pm

I guess he's saying we should be using that 800 dollars and paying the moderators. Either way, it's the editors who get the shaft in terms of how much time they invest.

Yes, it does suck, that The Catcher in the Rye was a book prize at Chicago Open, but putting that into your top five issues list is pretty stupid.

I honestly like the idea of the bounceback bonuses. I have always thought they were more engaging and decrease variance, but I think we have so much inertia built up that ACF nor NAQT will ever consider the idea of using bouncebacks. I would really like to see one tournament this year employ them, but someone on here is going to object on the sheer principle of their moderators being incapable of handling it.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:13 pm

If the greatest quizbowl crime I've ever committed in my life is providing a sub-par book prize, I shall sleep very soundly indeed.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:32 pm

grapesmoker wrote:including some pretty solid pieces that you would not be ashamed to put in a glass case at your institution of higher learning
from my cold dead hands
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:32 pm

grapesmoker wrote:These are the very strangest of quizbowl hills to die on.
Yeah I was really hoping for some more serious demands when I started reading this thread. "Offer nice books and trophies, resolve protests, have bounceback bonuses and pay your moderators" is a really mild rebuke to the structure of the game, especially since almost all of those things happen in isolated cases already!
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:35 pm

I'm making a separate point to note that volunteering is a real thing that people do for shit all the time, including quizbowl. If you don't feel that volunteering to help quizbowl exist is a good use of your time, then go find some better group of people to help. If you think that volunteering in general is a waste of your precious time, go fuck yourself.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:05 pm

I'd like to point out that point #1 does have some basis, especially since a decent number of HS and collegiate tournaments use paper tiebreakers in some way to determine advancement. If you're using PPG or PPB to determine who gets to advance to playoffs or to the finals, then it's grossly unfair to teams if they can't lodge a protest because it didn't affect the outcome of a game, particularly if it could've resulted in a 90 point swing.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:32 pm

If TDs had to resolve every protest that gets lodged irrespective of whether it'd affect the outcome of a game, and players knew this to be true, control rooms would be utterly swamped with frivolous and score-padding protests, and would have to waste a lot of effort looking into all kinds of issues which would have no* effect on the order of finish. The pragmatic way to do things is the way we do them now.

*or rather "very little", since the edge case where it affects PPG or PPB for advancement on paper tiebreakers does exist. I guess this is actually a question about tradeoffs: whether the prospect of a team being booted from contention for low PPG/PPB here or there (as can happen now) is a worse thing for the game's long-term health than the effects that would arise from never mooting any protests. I don't think it is.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:55 pm

Adventure Temple Trail wrote:If TDs had to resolve every protest that gets lodged irrespective of whether it'd affect the outcome of a game, and players knew this to be true, control rooms would be utterly swamped with frivolous and score-padding protests, and would have to waste a lot of effort looking into all kinds of issues which would have no* effect on the order of finish. The pragmatic way to do things is the way we do them now.
I actually think there's a compromise solution here. If teams had to fill out a protest form, that would actually deter them from filing frivolous protests, I believe.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by at your pleasure » Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:02 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
Adventure Temple Trail wrote:If TDs had to resolve every protest that gets lodged irrespective of whether it'd affect the outcome of a game, and players knew this to be true, control rooms would be utterly swamped with frivolous and score-padding protests, and would have to waste a lot of effort looking into all kinds of issues which would have no* effect on the order of finish. The pragmatic way to do things is the way we do them now.
I actually think there's a compromise solution here. If teams had to fill out a protest form, that would actually deter them from filing frivolous protests, I believe.
That and maybe keeping them on file to resolve if and only if a statistical tiebreaker becomes necessary. Is this viable or would it be too complicated to calculate?
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:21 pm

christino wrote:I'd like to point out that point #1 does have some basis, especially since a decent number of HS and collegiate tournaments use paper tiebreakers in some way to determine advancement. If you're using PPG or PPB to determine who gets to advance to playoffs or to the finals, then it's grossly unfair to teams if they can't lodge a protest because it didn't affect the outcome of a game, particularly if it could've resulted in a 90 point swing.
PPG/PPB still determine which teams get "byes" over others in tiebreakers situations with 3 or more teams. PPG is also the way HSNCT playoff brackets are determined, and may also give you a first round bye.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 27, 2015 4:57 pm

The Last 21 Stanley Cup Winners wrote:
christino wrote:I'd like to point out that point #1 does have some basis, especially since a decent number of HS and collegiate tournaments use paper tiebreakers in some way to determine advancement. If you're using PPG or PPB to determine who gets to advance to playoffs or to the finals, then it's grossly unfair to teams if they can't lodge a protest because it didn't affect the outcome of a game, particularly if it could've resulted in a 90 point swing.
PPG/PPB still determine which teams get "byes" over others in tiebreakers situations with 3 or more teams. PPG is also the way HSNCT playoff brackets are determined, and may also give you a first round bye.
Some points regarding PPG/PPB:

1) At ACF Nationals, it has been our policy for years now that all ties affecting bracket placement and final outcome should be broken on packets, and we explicitly work to come up with schedules and numbers of packets which make this possible.

2) Some numbers: at Nationals again, the median team scored somewhere around 1700-1800 points total in the playoffs. Let's call it 1750. Since points against doesn't count, a tossup protest puts, maximum, 40 points in question, or just over 2% of total points, assuming a PPG tiebreaker. The average gap between two teams whose ordinal ranking differs by one place (which is the situation where you'd have ties that needed to be broken) seems to be roughly 500 points (I eyeballed it). You'd need a lot of protests to accumulate before that really ends up mattering.

3) If PPB is the relevant tiebreaker, which is usually is when teams don't play common opponents, then consider that the median team at Nationals got about 1000 of their points from bonuses and heard roughly 80 or so of them. Again, I'm kind of eyeballing this, but these numbers are approximately right. That works out to a nice 12.5 PPB; assuming you 30 a bonus that you got due to a protested tossup going your way, you could get all the way up to... 12.71 PPB. Or you could drop to 12.34 PPB if you zero it. Of course your expected PPB is around your average anyway, so chances are it won't affect you that much. But even if it did the effects are very small. Presumably if PPB really did matter down to 2 decimal places, we could keep track of protests and resolve them if the statistical tiebreakers become meaningful.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:20 pm

Jerry's post explains why ACF Nationals definitely doesn't have to worry about non-moot protests, but for smaller events, it's not as cut and dry.

Consider a 24-team tournament that runs four prelim pools of 6, then four playoff pools of 6, with no time and/or packets to run tiebreaking games for playoff advancement. One protested tossup in the morning could be a 50 point swing (+15 for the power, +5 for the erased neg, +30 for the bonus), which is a 10 PPG improvement; I've seen plenty of teams within that margin after 5 games. If the swing is against the team you're tied with, it's now possibly a 20 PPG difference. In this format, two second-place teams don't make the championship bracket; you could have a one-loss 7th place team, which is awkward. (That said, they both "lost one game" and "lost the paper tiebreaker to two other teams," so it's not "burn down the tournament" bad.)

This makes me think about doing protest forms, filing them until needed to resolve paper tiebreakers. EDIT: If there's exactly one form in Tournament Central at lunchtime, this is obviously a good and just thing to do. But, after further thought, you're going to have more than one. You're quite possibly going to have 10 or 20. Some of those forms are going to "moot" other forms if they're upheld. The job would require not just a protest resolution committee (which every tournament should have -- though at lunch, they should be busy eating) but ALSO a quick-witted statistician who can figure out the contingencies. It'd be a gargantuan task, and it relies on accurate pre-protested stats, a quality and time-efficient protest committee, AND on accurate depictions of the protest from the team and moderator. There are way too many moving parts for any tournament to reasonably consider.

At the end, therefore, I'm just more appreciative of formats that allow time to play off these ties at the buzzer.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 27, 2015 5:45 pm

Yes, the logistical complications are mainly why it makes the most sense to resolve protests only when necessary.

Obviously small tournaments don't have the same precautions taken as ACF Nationals does, but... is it really that important to know who made the top or middle bracket at Your Regional Invitational? We're talking about a ton of effort that would go towards solving what problem? With what consequences? Like, sure, if you have the time and the person-power to make it happen, why not, but making it mandatory would grind many events to a halt in the face of multiple protests.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by jonpin » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:58 pm

in on these shenanigans wrote:Jerry's post explains why ACF Nationals definitely doesn't have to worry about non-moot protests, but for smaller events, it's not as cut and dry.

Consider a 24-team tournament that runs four prelim pools of 6, then four playoff pools of 6, with no time and/or packets to run tiebreaking games for playoff advancement. One protested tossup in the morning could be a 50 point swing (+15 for the power, +5 for the erased neg, +30 for the bonus), which is a 10 PPG improvement; I've seen plenty of teams within that margin after 5 games. If the swing is against the team you're tied with, it's now possibly a 20 PPG difference. In this format, two second-place teams don't make the championship bracket; you could have a one-loss 7th place team, which is awkward. (That said, they both "lost one game" and "lost the paper tiebreaker to two other teams," so it's not "burn down the tournament" bad.)

This makes me think about doing protest forms, filing them until needed to resolve paper tiebreakers. EDIT: If there's exactly one form in Tournament Central at lunchtime, this is obviously a good and just thing to do. But, after further thought, you're going to have more than one. You're quite possibly going to have 10 or 20. Some of those forms are going to "moot" other forms if they're upheld. The job would require not just a protest resolution committee (which every tournament should have -- though at lunch, they should be busy eating) but ALSO a quick-witted statistician who can figure out the contingencies. It'd be a gargantuan task, and it relies on accurate pre-protested stats, a quality and time-efficient protest committee, AND on accurate depictions of the protest from the team and moderator. There are way too many moving parts for any tournament to reasonably consider.

At the end, therefore, I'm just more appreciative of formats that allow time to play off these ties at the buzzer.
And then once you'd decided these N protests have merit and relevance, you need to reconvene up to 2N teams for a make-up question. Likewise, you need to alert all the other protesting teams why their protest was rejected... Some tournament, I do not remember which one, had a policy where protests would be heard if they affected the outcome of the game or if they solely consisted of "I should get points for this bonus part" (as the latter cannot require any contingency play), which seems reasonable.

As to the moderator thing, sure I'd love to get a Ben every time I staff an event. Hell, I'd staff a whole bunch of regular-season college tournaments if that were the case. But there just isn't money in the economy for that. I'm appreciative when my direct costs are reimbursed (tolls and gas/train) and when I bring in outside staffers to my tournaments, I offer them the same, but yeah it's volunteering not a money-making endeavor.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:59 pm

As someone who routinely gives friends my used books as birthday presents, I just want to say that books can be the greatest gifts on earth. The material quality of the book matters much less than the actual book. I got a ratty copy of some Ken Kesey book (Sometimes a Great Notion) recently at a tournament. It may disintegrate if I try to read it, but I'll never forget the quote on the cover ("A lusty Paul Bunyan of a man!"). If you pick your books with care (maybe write a nice note in them) people won't be disappointed (unless they would rather have a e-book on their apple watches so they can call an Uber or whatever). I come from an extended family of bibliophiles and my own bookcases are stuffed to the brim, so I may not be one to talk, but I can say that some trophy - no matter how expensive - can never live up to book prizes.

Advice: go to a nice used book store this summer. If anyone passes through Ely, Minnesota (gateway to the boundary waters), I recommend Chapman Street Books and Prairie Fire Tobacco, a truly OG store whose owner repairs her own rotary phones and has no computers (but a giant ledger). Sure her books (stacked miles high) still smell like tobacco, but I am forever grateful that I could own a 1950s hardcover of Independent People, Scandal by Shusako Endo, 2666 and several other books (many of which were given away as prizes).

too long; rely on dumb internet acronyms: a copy of Catcher in the Rye = meh, a copy of Franny and Zooey with your handwritten notes: yes please!
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Captain Sinico » Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:27 pm

If I wanted to claim such inconsequential nonsense makes up the 5 most important things wrong with the game today, I'd probably never show my face again after, either!
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by bsmith » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:17 pm

Jordan was a bewildering character. We both started at the same time; I was (arguably) the better player and circuit organizer to start, but faded over time, while Jordan increased his skill with each passing year. Perhaps his memories of me always beating him in the early years gave him this impression in his mind that I was his elusive white whale that he needed to super-team up with at some point (which never happened).

Jordan managed to fall on both sides of the VETO schism. He was there to help bring in and attend ACF events and other regular season tournaments in Ontario in the 2010s to get our circuit out of a backwater status, but then he did things like revive Hybrids and keep VETO alive (both of which should have died off after that summer). The unfortunate resurgent popularity of those tournaments and subsequent “fun” events like MacVanity and Cottage Bowl is, I fear, a toxic regression to the bad old days. Jordan played in those “days”- he should know better.

Then again, I am just the old man on the Canadian circuit, spouting nonsense as if I’m from a bygone era. I just hope new leadership filling Jordan’s (and my) void steers the circuit back to the credibility and potential we had about five years ago.
minusfive wrote:5) Not treating moderators better
I have never been able to understand people who want to devote a full (stupidly full) day to reading any more than I could understand someone who only likes to give but not receive oral sex. This weird fetish has to be better remunerated; buying people lunch for well over $100 of work at minimum wage (in a respectable country, we all know you Americans have like a ten cent minimum wage) just doesn't cut it.
Jordan has probably had me as a reader more than anyone else over his tenure, except maybe Rico. Not once did Jordan offer a minimum wage (or any compensation) to me, nor when he was a tournament director and asked me to read. There were several other Ottawa tournaments with Jordan mostly in charge and unaffiliated people helping purely on a voluntary basis without payment, so it’s a bit rich for him to preach without practicing. But it's nice to know that the lunches and cake he got at the high school events he helped at isn't good enough...
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by p-vs-vp » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:09 pm

Jordan and I are not friends. I do not expect this to change. That being said...
bsmith wrote:
He did things like revive Hybrids and keep VETO alive (both of which should have died off after that summer). The unfortunate resurgent popularity of those tournaments and subsequent “fun” events like MacVanity and Cottage Bowl is, I fear, a toxic regression to the bad old days. Jordan played in those “days”- he should know better.
Only in quizbowl would I not be surprised to see "fun" equivocated with "toxic". God forbid Canadian teams have fun?
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by heterodyne » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:13 pm

p-vs-vp wrote:Jordan and I are not friends. I do not expect this to change. That being said...
bsmith wrote:
He did things like revive Hybrids and keep VETO alive (both of which should have died off after that summer). The unfortunate resurgent popularity of those tournaments and subsequent “fun” events like MacVanity and Cottage Bowl is, I fear, a toxic regression to the bad old days. Jordan played in those “days”- he should know better.
Only in quizbowl would I not be surprised to see "fun" equivocated with "toxic". God forbid Canadian teams have fun?
Are you not capable of discerning the difference between fun and "fun"?
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:18 pm

minusfive wrote:5) Not treating moderators better
I have never been able to understand people who want to devote a full (stupidly full) day to reading any more than I could understand someone who only likes to give but not receive oral sex. This weird fetish has to be better remunerated; buying people lunch for well over $100 of work at minimum wage (in a respectable country, we all know you Americans have like a ten cent minimum wage) just doesn't cut it.
I actually enjoy reading questions, since it lets me stay involved, do something that I actually am very good at (as opposed to say, question writing, where I'm pretty mediocre), and chill with folks.

No wait what do I mean, Jacob Reed, I demand $100 or I will not staff your tournaments.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:19 pm

People occasionally seem to forget about quizbowl's voluntaristic nature. I keep meaning to do a post about it.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by vinteuil » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:25 pm

Steeve Ho You Fat wrote:No wait what do I mean, Jacob Reed, I demand $100 or I will not staff your tournaments.
D:
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:29 pm

p-vs-vp wrote:Jordan and I are not friends. I do not expect this to change. That being said...
bsmith wrote:
He did things like revive Hybrids and keep VETO alive (both of which should have died off after that summer). The unfortunate resurgent popularity of those tournaments and subsequent “fun” events like MacVanity and Cottage Bowl is, I fear, a toxic regression to the bad old days. Jordan played in those “days”- he should know better.
Only in quizbowl would I not be surprised to see "fun" equivocated with "toxic". God forbid Canadian teams have fun?
you misread that post

http://www.qbwiki.com/wiki/view/Funn
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:30 pm

minusfive wrote:5) Not treating moderators better
I have never been able to understand people who want to devote a full (stupidly full) day to reading any more than I could understand someone who only likes to give but not receive oral sex. This weird fetish has to be better remunerated; buying people lunch for well over $100 of work at minimum wage (in a respectable country, we all know you Americans have like a ten cent minimum wage) just doesn't cut it.
when i helped organize blood drives in college, they never even OFFERED me a bag of blood wtf
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by p-vs-vp » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:37 pm

heterodyne wrote:
p-vs-vp wrote:Jordan and I are not friends. I do not expect this to change. That being said...
bsmith wrote:
He did things like revive Hybrids and keep VETO alive (both of which should have died off after that summer). The unfortunate resurgent popularity of those tournaments and subsequent “fun” events like MacVanity and Cottage Bowl is, I fear, a toxic regression to the bad old days. Jordan played in those “days”- he should know better.
Only in quizbowl would I not be surprised to see "fun" equivocated with "toxic". God forbid Canadian teams have fun?
Are you not capable of discerning the difference between fun and "fun"?
I guess not. Please explain to me how none of these tournaments were fun. I assume you attended all of them, or conducted a survey among the attendees. I'm currently working in survey analysis, so I'd be very interested to hear your results!
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by AKKOLADE » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:43 pm

p-vs-vp wrote:
heterodyne wrote:
p-vs-vp wrote:Jordan and I are not friends. I do not expect this to change. That being said...
bsmith wrote:
He did things like revive Hybrids and keep VETO alive (both of which should have died off after that summer). The unfortunate resurgent popularity of those tournaments and subsequent “fun” events like MacVanity and Cottage Bowl is, I fear, a toxic regression to the bad old days. Jordan played in those “days”- he should know better.
Only in quizbowl would I not be surprised to see "fun" equivocated with "toxic". God forbid Canadian teams have fun?
Are you not capable of discerning the difference between fun and "fun"?
I guess not. Please explain to me how none of these tournaments were fun. I assume you attended all of them, or conducted a survey among the attendees. I'm currently working in survey analysis, so I'd be very interested to hear your results!
Read the link two posts above this post you made, thank you in advance.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by RexSueciae » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:07 pm

Not to take this off-topic (although the thread seems to be verging in that direction), but on the specific subject of what constitutes "fun," I think the following quote from the 2012 thread for Ridgewood's abortive 3 Day Summer Invitational is pretty relevant, given the circumstances:
Matt Weiner wrote: So, some quick notes on "fun" and "casual" tournaments:

Lots of people find different things fun. Some people find Chicago Open fun. Some people find HSNCT fun. Some people find Chip Beall fun. Some people's ideal of fun is to dispense with buzzers entirely and play Trivial Pursuit or sit around a table talking about how great someone's performance on Jeopardy! was. Some people couldn't be more bored with anything resembling question-and-answer competition and will go play skeeball to have fun.

No one can legitimately accuse any other person of being dishonest when they claim to have "had fun" at something, so we have no choice but to take their word for it.

For the above reasons, the fact that someone "had fun" at a tournament is rarely if ever a meaningful defense to claims that a tournament massively :capybara: . It's also, in almost every case, the first refuge of people who get overly defensive about their terrible questions. Most people don't have a lot invested in quizbowl and will "have fun" doing anything on a weekend morning that doesn't involve working in a coal mine. So what? Through the years, we've heard about how much fun College Bowl was, how much fun VETO is, and how great it is to spend $3000 attending the NAC so that we can determine the National Champion of Having Fun. When you invoke "people had fun at my tournament/on my packet" you're all but saying "I have no intention of conforming to objectively correct principles of good question writing in the future and am going to keep on pumping out this awful product and covering up my doing so with evasive, fallacious rhetoric. PYRAMIDAL PYRAMIDAL TINYCHAT."

Similarly, I don't believe the alleged distinction between "casual" and "non-casual" (formal? black tie? monogamous?) tournaments exists anywhere but in flailing attempts to defend bad questions. All quizbowl tournaments work on pretty much the same stakes--you pay some non-trivial but non-crippling amount of money to play somewhere between 8 and 18 rounds of questions, and if you win, maybe you get a small trophy or a book. The goal of all of them is the virtue of competition (perhaps even including the elusive "fun.") There isn't some other kind of tournament out there where this setup is drastically changed to be less "casual." There is no reason why whatever a "casual" tournament is cannot and should not have good questions, especially if the organizer of said tournament claims to have put fifty hours into its editing and shanghaied teenagers from across the country to do more work still. In fact, since there was much greater time, effort, and money put into attending Ridgewood than is put into attending most non-national tournaments, one ought to expect that it will be far less "casual" in terms of the quality and value returned to those making that investment.

Quizbowl needs to run on good questions. To produce good questions, you need good writers and good editors. To make good writers and good editors, you need to expose players exclusively to good questions as a model, set realistic goals for your product, and not get defensive and make excuses when it is pointed out that you have not yet achieved your goals. Nothing in this paragraph should be controversial. If you disagree with something here, you are way off the correct path and should re-evaluate either your interpretation of the purpose of quizbowl or your own ability to take criticism.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:17 pm

Whenever I need to explain the ethos of the hardcore ACF player to somebody, I bring up the fact that at the most elite college quizbowl tournaments, the prizes are tattered old books. Its a great illustration of the ideals of the quizbowl community, that demonstrating knowledge of things is its own reward, etc.

That said, probably quizbowl could stand to give away more shiny plaques and stuff that, while meaningless to the stereotypical ACF player, would impress a school administrator or parent into viewing quizbowl more seriously.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by bsmith » Tue Jul 28, 2015 8:30 am

p-vs-vp wrote:
heterodyne wrote:
p-vs-vp wrote:Jordan and I are not friends. I do not expect this to change. That being said...
bsmith wrote: He did things like revive Hybrids and keep VETO alive (both of which should have died off after that summer). The unfortunate resurgent popularity of those tournaments and subsequent “fun” events like MacVanity and Cottage Bowl is, I fear, a toxic regression to the bad old days. Jordan played in those “days”- he should know better.
Only in quizbowl would I not be surprised to see "fun" equivocated with "toxic". God forbid Canadian teams have fun?
Are you not capable of discerning the difference between fun and "fun"?
I guess not. Please explain to me how none of these tournaments were fun. I assume you attended all of them, or conducted a survey among the attendees. I'm currently working in survey analysis, so I'd be very interested to hear your results!
Firstly, I don’t want to give the impression that Jordan was this mastermind trying to bring back bad quizbowl as a giant middle finger to the American teams; he just wanted more tournaments, regardless of how good they were.

As for “fun” or “funn” events: Canada has had this weird distinction of never producing (either by house-write or packet-sub) a standard academic tournament since the 1999 Mackenzie Bowl; ANGST would have fit this, but it was abandoned before being rescued by a team of American editors. Yet, Canada has produced tons of “unconventional” tournaments: VETO, Hybrids, Brock’s trash singles tournaments, Jeff Goldblums, the recent stuff (and yes, I am to blame for some of this). These events, which feature higher amounts of pop culture or general knowledge (or both), are labelled as “fun” by the participants, usually because they enjoyed 2 or 3 amusing questions while slogging through 15 other not-so-great questions. This is exacerbated in submission format, where writers put in either an inappropriate wisecrack or some obscure thing they like, making it “fun” for the writer but a pain for editing (Brendan probably has a lengthy list of rejected stuff from the submissions he edited in recent Hybrids).

Quizbowl is not the format for talking about overlooked games on Steam or fancy cooking methods. That is best left for discussions amongst friends. Quizbowl is an activity to differentiate levels of knowledge between a variety of teams, and needs to have questions that do so through scaled-clue tossups and balanced bonuses. It is possible to have those criteria in a format with pop culture or general knowledge (as evidenced by some American tournaments), but it is not being done in the Canadian events. We get tossups that are “fun” because someone powered something they like when the clue structure was bad. We get bonuses that are “fun” when we can make fun of someone getting 0 on a topic they like when there was no easy or medium part. But we forget that it is not “fun” when a tossup on someone’s favourite film from the 1940s goes dead, or a bonus on “name these kickers from a defunct football team” is followed by “name three kings of England” for the other team.

Ultimately, though, the Canadian market has decided, and they are OK with a sprinkling of these kinds of events while still playing SCTs and mirrored academic events. “Credible” people with good quizbowl attitudes (McGill, Patrick, Colonel By, etc) attend and/or submit stuff for them these days, so the events get a dose of balance amongst the bad rounds. Nevertheless, the “fun” elements that continue to persist will remain the butt of jokes elsewhere, and hurt progress towards great results. It’s a shame that many good high school players over the years that graduate into this Canadian university circuit wilt when exposed to these bad formats, while the ones that get out of Ontario end up far more successful.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:15 pm

VETO this year was split between awful packets and decent packets. Even Jay Misuk and Jordan Palmer made a effort into making their science tossups good and science bonuses easy/medium/hard. I don't see any problem with VETO continuing, knowing that question quality is going to improve with established players, and the VETO dinosaurs will eventually stop playing.

Over the 2014-2015 season, Ontario's collegiate circuit has mirrored everything available. In addition, there was Mac Vanity, Hybrid, and COTTAGE Bowl. Next year, I believe Jay plans to do a fall Mac Vanity. This past season, we paired Saturday/Sunday for most weekends, the ones that were on Saturday only were DEES, SCT, and Hybrid - there is room for these types of vanity events on Sunday after tournaments. It's when they take up a Saturday, such as Hybrid or Mac Vanity, that they begin to hurt the circuit as you could just host a high school tournament on that day.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Mightyrodrigo » Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:58 pm

The Last 21 Stanley Cup Winners wrote: It's when they take up a Saturday, such as Hybrid or Mac Vanity, that they begin to hurt the circuit as you could just host a high school tournament on that day.
The dates for tournaments are organized for the most part way in advanced in the Fall, so I don't see how scheduling these tournaments harms the circuit .Lock this thread. Out.

https://mobile.twitter.com/cbcsports/st ... 5027641344
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Tue Jul 28, 2015 3:41 pm

Mightyrodrigo wrote:
The Last 21 Stanley Cup Winners wrote: It's when they take up a Saturday, such as Hybrid or Mac Vanity, that they begin to hurt the circuit as you could just host a high school tournament on that day.
The dates for tournaments are organized for the most part way in advanced in the Fall, so I don't see how scheduling these tournaments harms the circuit .Lock this thread. Out.

https://mobile.twitter.com/cbcsports/st ... 5027641344
Not all dates for high school tournaments are organized in advance of the fall. I think most spring tournaments don't have dates or announcement until October or November, for example.

And trash, if not scheduled in a way to not conflict with an existing tournament, can eliminate outside staffers for a high school tournament if some casual outside staff decide they would rather play trash. And while not every state in the U.S. is perfect with the amount of good high school quizbowl there is (see Chris Chiego's excellent rankings), Canada is not much better than Arkansas and Kansas when it comes to the state of good high school quizbowl. So, quite frankly, there needs to be more of an effort done in places like New Brunswick and other provinces, and hosting trash tournaments can eliminate the staff needed for an event that really needs moderators.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by AKKOLADE » Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:50 pm

Mightyrodrigo wrote:
The Last 21 Stanley Cup Winners wrote: It's when they take up a Saturday, such as Hybrid or Mac Vanity, that they begin to hurt the circuit as you could just host a high school tournament on that day.
The dates for tournaments are organized for the most part way in advanced in the Fall, so I don't see how scheduling these tournaments harms the circuit .Lock this thread. Out.

https://mobile.twitter.com/cbcsports/st ... 5027641344
Generally speaking, high school tournament dates often aren't announced "way in advance" in the fall, especially for the spring semester. Just because you're ignoring the rest of the arguments doesn't make them wrong.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by jonpin » Tue Jul 28, 2015 5:23 pm

Mightyrodrigo wrote:
The Last 21 Stanley Cup Winners wrote: It's when they take up a Saturday, such as Hybrid or Mac Vanity, that they begin to hurt the circuit as you could just host a high school tournament on that day.
The dates for tournaments are organized for the most part way in advanced in the Fall, so I don't see how scheduling these tournaments harms the circuit .Lock this thread. Out.

https://mobile.twitter.com/cbcsports/st ... 5027641344
In general, "I disagree with one point you've made on one point of discussion within this relatively broad topic" is not grounds to say "Lock this thread." Nor is anything else, really, 'cause that's not your job, but definitely not whatever the hell it was you posted.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Jul 28, 2015 7:52 pm

The original post is a good start, but it left some things off. My list is a little different, since it is focused less on how academia views us and more on things that need to get fixed immediately for us to respect ourselves.

6) No valet parking
If I'm a paying customer bringing a van full of students to a tournament or a moderator willing to work for no or little pay, I shouldn't have to find a parking space. Just have the valet service park the school van or my car for me.

7) Not solving my joint pain
Sometimes I feel a little sore, and the feeling doesn't go away when I go to a tournament. Today, for example, my left index finger is a bit stiff, but none of you are doing anything to make it feel better.

8) No large screen TVs
I like to watch TV, especially on large screens. However, the rooms I moderate in never have large screen TVs, and I'm never given instructions for hooking up those fancy projectors when they are in the room. This wouldn't be a distraction at all, because I would hit the mute button before each question.

9) Never any Bono
I would love to meet Bono, but he never goes to any tournaments. Not even one. Did he think we wouldn't notice? He wouldn't have to stay for the whole tournament--he could just sing a couple of songs, tell us a Bill Gates story, and hang out long enough so we know what he's really like. If he doesn't want to keep score for some matches, that's his decision.

10) DC facebook page
David Madden has taken complete control of the DC facebook page. WAKE UP SHEEPLE!
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:50 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Incidentally, I strongly resent the implication that our trophies were in any way "dime-store." Just FYI, we spent over $800 on trophies for Nationals this year, including some pretty solid pieces that you would not be ashamed to put in a glass case at your institution of higher learning. So, you know, fuck off with this bullshit.
While I don't agree with Jordan's point that the ACF Nationals trophy was "dime-store," I think there's a point to be made about nice trophies. It would be really awesome if NAQT/ACF purchased a set of trophies (maybe with bowls) that would allow the names of winning teams/players to be engraved onto it. That way the trophy wouldn't just be a decent, but generic winner's trophy, but something with its own lore and traditions. If quizbowl wants to be taken more seriously, then having unique championship would be one way of asserting that.
bsmith wrote: As for “fun” or “funn” events: Canada has had this weird distinction of never producing (either by house-write or packet-sub) a standard academic tournament since the 1999 Mackenzie Bowl.
Not very surprising. Canada doesn't have the same homegrown question writing expertise as the United States, and the best writers typically work on American projects when they do. It would be cool to have a Canadian Open tournament with a slate of Canadian editors though.
bsmith wrote: We get tossups that are “fun” because someone powered something they like when the clue structure was bad. We get bonuses that are “fun” when we can make fun of someone getting 0 on a topic they like when there was no easy or medium part. But we forget that it is not “fun” when a tossup on someone’s favourite film from the 1940s goes dead, or a bonus on “name these kickers from a defunct football team” is followed by “name three kings of England” for the other team.
I don't think the Canadian players who submit the worst packets for these events aren't doing so maliciously. The majority of these bad questions come from writers who simply don't have enough question writing experience to craft good questions. It's very easy for an inexperienced writer to misjudge difficulty based on what they know well (if I suck and I know this, EVERYONE must know this) and don't know well (I've never heard of this, it must be hard).
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:03 pm

I mean, I understand that engraving your name on the trophy is a thing that's done in some competitive activities; it's just that no one has ever expressed any strong preferences for such a thing. Having a traveling trophy is suboptimal because it means that a school that wishes to exhibit said trophy can only do so as long as they possess it. If people really wanted to, I guess we could order a trophy with an extra little plaque thingy on it, but those are nonstandard and might cost more.

Now I feel like the idiot dying on a pointless hill, but I really do think we do a pretty decent job with the trophies for Nationals, except that one time I fucked up and put the wrong thing on the plaques. The trophies do a serviceable job of conveying the very important message of "I won a national quizbowl tournament," which is what they're made for. But let me address a different point, which is that somehow having a bowl or whatever is going to get quizbowl "taken more seriously." I have no idea where people get these ideas or on what evidence they're based, but let me assure you that a bowl on which your name can be engraved is not going to do a damn thing for quizbowl. It's just not something that matters at all in overall public perception. In general, every once in a while someone will make a very weird declaration to the effect that "if only quizbowl did X then people would take it seriously," and it all sounds like a great deal of magical thinking to me. There are things we do to get people to take us seriously, but they are things like being a competent organization, running good tournaments, and writing good questions. Everything else is a sideshow.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by Banned Tiny Toon Adventures Episode » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:08 pm

Man like you can complain about ACF's trophiesnow but this year's are a step up from 2013's which literally say "first place overall" and don't even tell you they're for ACF Nationals (does not make for good club recruiting material)
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:26 pm

Black Miao wrote:Man like you can complain about ACF's trophiesnow but this year's are a step up from 2013's which literally say "first place overall" and don't even tell you they're for ACF Nationals (does not make for good club recruiting material)
Hey, you won... something!

Sorry about that.
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Re: "This Things I Believe"

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:32 pm

Black Miao wrote:Man like you can complain about ACF's trophiesnow but this year's are a step up from 2013's which literally say "first place overall" and don't even tell you they're for ACF Nationals (does not make for good club recruiting material)
DII or not DII, that is the question
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