Non-students playing closed tournaments under false names

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Non-students playing closed tournaments under false names

Post by 1.82 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 8:46 pm

I'd like to gauge the community's opinion of this practice, since it is apparently an open secret that it is condoned in Southern California. At the UCLA mirror of Terrapin this year, for instance, half of the second-place UC San Diego A team was made of individuals who are not actually students at UC San Diego: in the official stats, the individual identified as "Isaac Biggerstaff" is actually Will Alston and "Klaus Fuchs" is actually Eddie Kim. Terrapin was announced as a closed tournament and no announcement was made that the UCLA site would be any different.

It should be noted that Will received special secret dispensation to play the tournament from the head editor of the set, Jordan Brownstein, although Eddie did not. It is unclear why this information was not made public. Perhaps there were other former quizbowl players in the Los Angeles area who might have been interested in playing a regular-difficulty open tournament, but since they were not friends with Jordan Brownstein they had no way of knowing that this was a possibility. This seems to run counter to the notion that information about quizbowl tournaments should be generally available, which is the reason (as I understand it) that tournament announcements are posted in a central location on this board.

One aspect of this that is odd to me is the secrecy involved. In theory, since at least one of them had permission from the head editor, Will and Eddie should have had no problem simply playing for UCSD A as Will Alston and Eddie Kim, and yet they tried to hide that fact. That led to this farcical exchange on the (currently not clear) Terrapin discussion thread:
Will Alston wrote:
I wrote:
Will Alston wrote: I buzzed on this question with [ANSWER NOT CLEAR] and was awarded points.
How did you receive points for a tournament you didn't play?
Practice!
In this situation, Will knew the answer to my question and I knew the answer to my question and yet he failed to state that answer, presumably for the same reason that he used a false name in the first place. In the absence of hard information, I can only speculate why he would want people not to know that he played a closed college tournament for a school he does not attend, but the evasiveness of his answer indicates that he feels in some way that what he did was unseemly.

Perhaps, on the other hand, this practice is not unseemly, and is in fact completely fine. If so, this opens up many new possibilities for quizbowl. Retired players have noted on this board the dearth of open college tournaments at easier difficulties than Nationals-level. Will and Eddie have found a way around this problem by simply pretending to be students. If other non-students follow in their footsteps, this would square the circle by opening up easier tournaments to a much wider audience while also retaining the veneer of the notion that collegiate quizbowl is an activity for college students. In that case, of course, the privilege of pretending to be a student would be available to and made public for everyone, whereas at the moment it is the exclusive province of those individuals who are in the know.

I have only been playing quizbowl for 2½ years, so forgive me if my naïveté or ignorance is the product of my inexperience, but during my time in quizbowl I have been led to believe that there are two types of collegiate tournaments: closed tournaments, which are only open to college (and sometimes high school) students, and open tournaments, which are open to all comers. It seems however, that there is in fact another sort of tournament, which is closed unless you know the right people. It seems that if such tournaments exist that the broader quizbowl community ought to know about it.

So, I'm looking for the input of the community here: is it fine for non-students to adopt a pseudonym in order to play closed tournaments? If so, should we encourage graduates who wish to stay involved in quizbowl to do this?
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Cody » Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:36 pm

Hot take: closed tournaments are closed and open tournaments are open.

If you need to play under a pseudonym or lie on the forums, ya dun goofed.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by cchiego » Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:48 pm

Cody wrote:Hot take: closed tournaments are closed and open tournaments are open.

If you need to play under a pseudonym or lie on the forums, ya dun goofed.
Or you could just play a high school tournament as a college. A high school tournament that's a 4.5 hour drive away.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by CPiGuy » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:01 pm

Cody wrote:Hot take: closed tournaments are closed and open tournaments are open.

If you need to play under a pseudonym or lie on the forums, ya dun goofed.
I'm quite new to quizbowl, but it seems like this is very correct, and it seems like being able to play a tournament by being friends with the editor is especially bad (although, as I said, I'm new to the activity, so I don't know whether such arrangements are common).
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Important Bird Area » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:04 pm

cchiego wrote:Or you could just play a high school tournament as a college. A high school tournament that's a 4.5 hour drive away.
This event was originally scheduled to have a college novice division as well, but not enough teams existed to do that. UCF was making the trip anyway (their more experienced players moderated and brought buzzers). (Note that this exhibition team brought the field size from 11 to 12.)
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Ike » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:29 pm

I'll let Jordan and Maryland step in here to give a full response to this, but Naveed this does seem needlessly aggressive. Will Alston got permission to play this tournament from Jordan at the UCLA site; I almost applied for the same thing because it's a Jordan Brownstein tournament. I certainly don't think there is any malfeasance on the part of Will and Eddie going on here. In any case, I definitely think that Maryland should have been more forthright about their open / closed policy. I guess what I'm saying is, the issue here is not "non-students took a pseudonym and secretly played a closed tournament, the quizbowl apocalypse is among us, anything goes!!!!!111" It's that Maryland failed to make it clear what the open / closed policy is to everyone, which is non-ideal.

I guess Will Alston's dick joke isn't funny either.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Jason Cheng » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:34 pm

Some clarification: Eddie Kim regularly plays with UCSD under the name Klaus Fuchs as a joke, and has been for the last two years, and I am not aware of any club in Southern California expressing negative feedback or unhappiness re: his attendance and membership on our rosters and within the circuit over these last two years. The pseudonym is not to keep his identity a secret, but rather because he/we find it amusing. (EDIT: To clarify, everyone in the circuit and I'm pretty sure most people who even pay attention to stats from SoCal nationally knows that Klaus Fuchs=Eddie Kim)

The same situation goes for Will Alston playing under the name Isaac Biggerstaff, wherein we mostly thought it was a funny name--I was unaware that people might think that we were trying to hide something. I was under the impression that Will getting permission from the head editor meant it would not be something we tried to bury from the public after the tournament, which we in fact didn't.

I regularly invite alumni and high school students in the area to play in collegiate events in Southern California, given our relative geographic and public isolation, as I feel it helps bolster the circuit in a pretty close-knit community that doesn't mind these things.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Bloodwych » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:36 pm

Ike wrote:It's that Maryland failed to make it clear what the open / closed policy is to everyone, which is non-ideal.
It is under the first heading in the Terrapin announcement.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Jem Casey » Fri Dec 16, 2016 10:55 pm

Ike wrote:I'll let Jordan and Maryland step in here to give a full response to this, but Naveed this does seem needlessly aggressive. Will Alston got permission to play this tournament from Jordan at the UCLA site; I almost applied for the same thing because it's a Jordan Brownstein tournament. I certainly don't think there is any malfeasance on the part of Will and Eddie going on here. In any case, I definitely think that Maryland should have been more forthright about their open / closed policy. I guess what I'm saying is, the issue here is not "non-students took a pseudonym and secretly played a closed tournament, the quizbowl apocalypse is among us, anything goes!!!!!111" It's that Maryland failed to make it clear what the open / closed policy is to everyone, which is non-ideal.
I allowed Will to play at UCLA because 1) as Jason has noted above, the SoCal circuit is fine with Eddie regularly playing for UCSD at non-open events, and 2) I was told that Berkeley A, the team whose standing in the tournament was most likely to be affected by Will's attendance, knew that he wanted to play and was fine with him doing so. If an ineligible player had asked to play at a larger, more competitive site where this sort of thing wasn't already a norm, the answer would have been no; the answer was, in fact, no for a similar request to play at the Maryland site. However, as Ike says, this all should have been discussed publicly; perhaps the UCLA site could have been announced as a quasi-open mirror. The fact that it wasn't is entirely my fault, and I apologize.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Vainamoinen » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:24 pm

I thought it was kind of strange (and not what I'm used to in the mid-atlantic). But getting a history buzz off of Will made it worth it.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by 1.82 » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:27 pm

Ike wrote:I'll let Jordan and Maryland step in here to give a full response to this, but Naveed this does seem needlessly aggressive. Will Alston got permission to play this tournament from Jordan at the UCLA site; I almost applied for the same thing because it's a Jordan Brownstein tournament. I certainly don't think there is any malfeasance on the part of Will and Eddie going on here. In any case, I definitely think that Maryland should have been more forthright about their open / closed policy. I guess what I'm saying is, the issue here is not "non-students took a pseudonym and secretly played a closed tournament, the quizbowl apocalypse is among us, anything goes!!!!!111" It's that Maryland failed to make it clear what the open / closed policy is to everyone, which is non-ideal.
I have a couple of questions to clarify your position. Should any individuals, regardless of their enrollment status, be allowed to secretly play any tournament (open or closed) under any name they desire? If not, where is the line?
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Jason Cheng » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:47 pm

I'd like to clarify again that nothing about the individual situations you described within SoCal was secret, and in the three years or so that I've been organizing/involved with the circuit, we've used the relaxation of eligibility rules for pretty much universal common good. Some examples:

-Berkeley A made the original decision to come down to SoCal and help our circuit out by providing better (very strong) competition because they knew Will would be competing.
-High school players sometimes join the field and occasionally college teams to fill out the field which A) helps hosts since SoCal fields are usually small and B) they get something out of it (i.e., compete at a real tournament on high level questions). I'm unaware of the situation at other clubs, but our club practices are also open to any high school player who wants to attend and are in fact regularly attended by local high schoolers for the same reason
-Lots of clubs in the region have trouble getting together full teams to compete because of drops, and therefore try to form a chimera at the last minute with another club so that at least one team will be attending, which helps our pretty starved fields

I understand that there are a lot of downsides to relaxing eligibility rules, but I think in general, it's happened over the last three years for the right reasons and has only helped the circuit grow from the dire state it was in back in 2014. I know that different circuits have different situations, so I'd like to reiterate that I wouldn't have encouraged this if I didn't think it would be a net good for the fields in our specific situation, and distance myself and the UCSD club from the ulterior/insidious motives you appeared to be ascribing to us in your posts. Will playing under a pseudonym was a joke that never should've left the drawing board, and I apologize for that, but neither his pseudonym and especially not Eddie's "Klaus Fuchs" alter ego were meant to keep any of what we were doing under wraps, and we've been very open about it for the last two years (Eddie having received permission to play from editors for literally every one of the very many non-open tournaments he's played with us).

We've also never relaxed eligibility rules or brought non-strictly eligible players to more official tournaments, such as the ACF events (Fall and Regs) and SCT.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:35 am

Our Lady Peace wrote:Should any individuals, regardless of their enrollment status, be allowed to secretly play any tournament (open or closed) under any name they desire? If not, where is the line?
I'm actually in support of this, (totally self-servingly) as someone about to graduate and probably have no enrollment status anywhere for the foreseeable future. People who've been around longer have more of a right to complain, but I'm not too enthused about only playing fairly difficult open tournaments or only Skype mirrors. My line is that it should never be permissible for ACF/NAQT tournaments, it should always be public information (so no pseudonyms, even if for funny reasons), and only at the dispensation of the TD(s). (I actually don't think permission is needed from every team attending, but that's in a world where TDs are properly discretionary and let teams know far ahead of time their intentions.)

Actually, I think the WAO model is pretty good, and I'd be happy if more tournaments like that were to happen in the future. Regular(+) difficulty, sensible packet submission model, designed for both the school circuit and open teams. I imagine the domineering superteam is certainly a perpetual, but is that actually likely to happen given most of the best players will be affiliated with schools already? (That might be an even better solution, to only allow open players to join-->school teams, instead of something where a solo school player ditches his affiliation to join a superteam. Don't know how you would measure that, though.)
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Eddie » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:13 am

Hi, everyone.

To clear up the situation, I did make sure to receive permission from both Jordan and Hidehiro (the TD) before playing the SoCal mirror of Terrapin, and I've been careful to receive similar forms of explicit clearance at every tournament I've played at under similar circumstances. In particular, I've repeatedly made it clear to NAQT, to ACF, on various forum posts, etc. that I'm not affiliated with UCSD in any official capacity, and I've not ever played for UCSD at an NAQT- or ACF-sanctioned event, or at any other tournament where I was denied such clearance. The choice of a pseudonym was simply to facilitate this distinction and distance my unofficial playing career from the official playing career of the real-life person known as "Eddie Kim." I've not intended this to be kept some nefarious secret, and in fact it's been disclosed numerous times in person, on the forums, on Facebook, and on the IRC. I do apologise for distressing you, Naveed, and if future head editors or tournament directors are uncomfortable with the usage of a pseudonym, I'll be more than happy to play under my real name.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Cheynem » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:38 am

I won't pretend to tell every circuit what to do. Certainly, at times Minnesota has used quasi-open tournaments at times. But I would say this should not be the norm for the following reasons:

1. It is very unfair to teams in the lower and mid standings, as it is another game in which they presumably have something of a disadvantage going up against an experienced team/person (obviously not all veteran players are really that good).

2. It adds to the perception that quizbowl is a non-professional, insular game.

3. It can hurt circuit growth for the above reasons.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by vcuEvan » Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:32 am

Did UCSD have 8 students attend, and relegate two of them to a two-man C team because Will and Eddie wanted to play with UCSD A? If so, that's kind of destructive to one of the prime purposes of closed tournaments, which is to provide an outlet for university clubs to play together. I support limited exceptions to closed tournaments in order to bolster fields, but that purpose could have been accomplished by having Will and Eddie play on a separate open team.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Ike » Sat Dec 17, 2016 12:03 pm

Now that we're done talking about Naveed Bork's quizbowl America, I do think that there are points of discussion that are worth talking about here: the presence of semi-closed tournaments in some regions. I agree with Mike Cheyne and Evan Adams on their points. Certainly if I were head editor, I would have ordered Will to play the set by himself unless there were some other compelling logistical reason for doing so (say it was a burden on staff or something.) I'm of the opinion that some sites should be semi-closed if it's good, or at the very least nondetrimental for the growth of the circuit and that this should not be the norm.

In particular, I think the point about insularity is very well-taken: it does look like Jordan allowed his best bud to play a tournament off in Los Angeles. So that should have been made public (and Jordan has already admitted to this.) Also, this doesn't seem like a policy that scales well with the number of players, that is, if 6-8 open team players who are reasonably good want to fly out to Los Angeles to play this tournament -- that doesn't seem good for the circuit at all, and I'd certainly nip that in the bud.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Cody » Sat Dec 17, 2016 1:53 pm

Naveed absolutely did the right thing here (and wrote up an excellent post) - I'm very surprised to see him being criticized for it. And I'm shocked to see him being attacked and even called "Naveed Bork". C'mon son.

I have many further thoughts about this that I will post at some point, but suffice it to say that I believe that anyone who supports the current state of affairs in SoCal is wrong. SoCal is not some special snowflake where the rules are upside down and 2+2=5. I am somewhat surprised to see so many people defending this (prolonged) state of affairs. And I am very surprised that so many tournaments have gone out of their way to enable it: shame on you.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Auroni » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:21 pm

Having been a tournament director for the SoCal college quizbowl circuit, and having at times directed both strict closed tournaments and "relaxed" closed tournaments, I can declare with authority that tournaments above EFT/MUT difficulty have at times been literally impossible to run without some loosening of eligibility restrictions. Maybe that's not the case now, but I'm not inclined to lose sleep over this sort of behavior happening, because I know that in the past it came down to "regular difficulty tournaments happening vs. no regular difficulty tournaments happening." I understand that that is not a viewpoint that people from the privileged Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, or Northeast circuits can always understand, however.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Cheynem » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:28 pm

I certainly can understand your point, Auroni, having run college tournaments in the hellhole that is Minnesota. We've occasionally allowed some hybrid or quasi-open teams before, especially in regards to harder tournaments.

On the other hand, the tournament in question featured 8 teams. If you took Will and Eddie out of the tournament (and i am not by fiat saying they should not have played), you would still have 8 teams--the UCSD A team would have been Robin and Jason as a two-person team, which is not that bad a team. This tournament was not in danger of having "no field" or "not happening." Now, allowing Will and Eddie to play definitely made the quality of the field better, which I guess is a different goal altogether.

In my opinion, I think this tournament crossed the line in allowing a very good player to come in from a different location altogether and play the tournament on a college team.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Auroni » Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:39 pm

There are two goals, I guess: Make a tournament happen at all, and make the field reasonably healthy and competitive. I am fully in support of bending eligibility restrictions about the former, and lean toward supporting the latter. (I have no doubts that the UCSD A team with Will and Eddie enticed Berkeley to come, by the way, a historically unlikely proposition even though they are in the same state). If having excellent (but not broken) players like Will and Eddie in the field of the tournament motivates the circuit as a whole to get better at the game, then that outweighs any loss to professionalism incurred by not having a 100% closed tournament. In other words, pick your battles.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:35 pm

Auroni has suggested SoCal tournaments are occasionally "literally impossible to run" without loosening of eligibility restrictions, and that we should consider bending eligibility rules even when they are not literally impossible to run, if it necessary to make the field "competitive." I don't know enough about the SoCal circuit to comment on the accuracy of this assessment. But as someone who spent a year on the UK circuit, I am entirely sympathetic to Auroni's claim that there are regions that require occasional open tournament at regular difficulty, in order for regular difficulty to be kept alive there. And I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with prioritizing the health of a circuit (mirror-wise) over the closed-ness of the circuit.

But none of these are arguments in any shape or form for why we should allow what Naveed titled this thread for--"non-students playing closed tournaments under false names"! I don't understand those of you who find it unreasonable that Naveed finds this practice shady, when Will Alston not only played this tournament under a pseudonym, but literally lied about doing so on the forums when asked about it. That's sure acting like this is shady! (There is great irony in Ike's nonsensically calling Naveed a Bork-like figure, while others in this thread implicitly support making establishing eligibility a back-alley procedure!)

I think this doesn't merely "look bad." It is a bad practice, plain and simple. Geographically-contained circuits may enjoy a certain circumstantial "privilege" (as Auroni calls it). But at least this is an impartial and transparent problem. Getting a rule covertly bent on your behalf by a head editor is also a form "privilege," but a far more pernicious one, since it is based on an arbitrary and opaque standard.

If certain circuits need to apply to run open mirrors of otherwise-closed tournaments, in the interests of regional health, they should do so and we should be willing to grant such mirrors to help such circuits. But these mirrors should be publicly announced as open. If they are not open, they should be announced as closed (and closed should mean closed!). If semi-open mirrors really need to exist, for whatever reason, (and I am entirely unconvinced that they do, and have seen no arguments in this thread for them) the standard for eligibility should be entirely publicly transparent and leave as little to the personal arbitration of the editors as is possible.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Ike » Sat Dec 17, 2016 3:48 pm

The problem with the title of the thread is that, despite what the title suggests, no one is doing this, because the tournament wasn't closed to begin with! And it certainly isn't as apocalyptic or slippery slopey as Naveed's post suggests. What obviously happened here was that Will got permission from the head editor. Even if someone had nefariously played at a closed site under a pseudonym, it'd be an isolated incident -- we'd flame that shithead until he'd be too ashamed to show his face, and take rather simple measures to prevent this.

In Naveed's defense, I understand the impulse to call out Will Alston for being a total liar. But, that does seem to me incidental to the main purpose of this thread. If this thread were titled "Liar Alert!" or something that's actually correct, then I think Naveed would be right here. That being said, it really doesn't look like to me Will Alston did anything wrong other than outright lie in a discussion forum. Irritating, stupid, and bullshit, yes, but it certainly doesn't presage the scenario described in a thread of this title.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by lumosityfan » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:04 pm

Ike wrote:The problem with the title of the thread is that, despite what the title suggests, no one is doing this, because the tournament wasn't closed to begin with!
Um, actually, the "Eligibility" section of the Terrapin announcement clearly said that the tournament was closed. "Anyone who is eligible under ACF rules, in addition to high schoolers, can play this tournament with other students from their affiliated institution." That means that anyone can play as long as that student is with the students from the school that they're enrolled in. First of all, Will Alston wasn't even a student to begin with, so automatically he's ineligible. Secondly, that means that even if he was still enrolled in Dartmouth for some reason, then he could only play with people from Dartmouth. There's nothing wrong with him bringing his own school to Southern California (as unlikely as that would be) to play in SoCal. However, going down to SoCal and being allowed to play the tournament when the tournament's clearly closed and he's no longer a student.

Secondly, I just like to point out that it's not just that this is an isolated incident that people are not happy about this. I agree with John that doing things like this is extremely bad. It may not look that bad from the outside. Oh, it's just some guy who's very experienced who wants to help us out. But the problem is first of all, you blatantly violated the eligibility rules. Secondly, that could cause a string of other incidents like this where people who want to play can say "Well, if he can do it, so can I!" And yes, I understand that Will and Eddie are well-established in the game of quizbowl and its community. But we as a community want to make sure that no other similar incidents happen, and allowing this to happen could give an excuse to other people down the road that could make things even more complicated.

Finally, I understand that the people running the Terrapin mirror in SoCal wanted to help out the circuit. Fine, and that's a great goal. We do need more teams in not just SoCal, but quizbowl in general. But we don't need to bend the eligibility rules to do so, especially because it'll look very bad on your part for letting people that clearly should not have been allowed to play. What you could have done instead is try to recruit more teams. But bending the eligibility rules is not the right way to guy in my opinion unless you're just going to let anyone who wants to compete compete. In addition, doing things like this seems elitist and honestly too insular for people like me who may be relatively new to the game. It'll reek of favoritism for incidents to happen like this and if we want to continue growing quizbowl, we should strive to stop as many actions as possible to occur that'll seem favoritist or elitist. This is one of them
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by jonpin » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:05 pm

Ike wrote:The problem with the title of the thread is that, despite what the title suggests, no one is doing this, because the tournament wasn't closed to begin with!
The Terrapin announcement:
Jem Casey wrote:Eligibility

Anyone who is eligible under ACF rules, in addition to high schoolers, can play this tournament with other students from their affiliated institution.
That certainly seems to be a closed tournament. It doesn't even say "If you're not eligible under ACF rules, contact the editor for a possible exemption." One can defend what's happened here as something beneficial to the mirror or to the California circuit, etc., but from a neutral perspective, it seems like someone who is not and has never been affiliated with UCSD played a tournament which was publicly announced as restricted to actual students, and did it under a fake name.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:05 pm

Ike wrote:The problem with the title of the thread is that, despite what the title suggests, no one is doing this, because the tournament wasn't closed to begin with!
Where are you getting this from? Here is the entirety of the eligibility portion of the announcement:
Eligibility

Anyone who is eligible under ACF rules, in addition to high schoolers, can play this tournament with other students from their affiliated institution.
Sure sounds closed to me...
Ike wrote: And it certainly isn't as apocalyptic or slippery slopey as Naveed's post suggests. What obviously happened here was that Will got permission from the head editor. Even if someone had nefariously played at a closed site under a pseudonym, it'd be an isolated incident -- we'd flame that shithead until he'd be too ashamed to show his face, and take rather simple measures to prevent this.
It's not "apocalyptic," sure (and nothing about Naveed's post suggests that it is). But if you don't think that the clearly non-isolated practice of ineligible students applying for and receiving private special dispensation to play closed tournaments is a slippery slope (or toxic to the very idea of closed tournaments), then I question your definitions of slipperiness and/or slope.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Ike » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:08 pm

Jordan explained the true eligibility rules, as obviously, those eligibility rules you all have quoted are incorrect since Jordan stepped on here to explain them! If there's any fault it would be on Jordan, since it's his tournament and he gave Will permission to play it!
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Ike » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:09 pm

ThisIsMyUsername wrote: It's not "apocalyptic," sure (and nothing about Naveed's post suggests that it is). But if you don't think that the clearly non-isolated practice of ineligible students applying for and receiving private special dispensation to play closed tournaments is a slippery slope (or toxic to the very idea of closed tournaments), then I question your definitions of slipperiness and/or slope.
I do think it's toxic in some situations, but isn't the real problem here that Jordan / Maryland gave permission to Will to play it in the first place? Not that Will used a pseudonym?
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Cheynem » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:10 pm

This is silly--how was anyone supposed to read Jordan's mind to know what the "actual" rules were?
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Ike » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:19 pm

Cheynem wrote:This is silly--how was anyone supposed to read Jordan's mind to know what the "actual" rules were?
Yes, I agree this is silly. And I do think it's bad that not everyone knew what was going on. But since it was Jordan's tournament it's pretty obvious he gets to set the rules of qualification (ie whether it's an open or closed or semi-closed tournament.) But when Naveed says
"Will and Eddie have found a way around this problem by simply pretending to be students."
- no that's, wrong! I'm willing to lay dollars to donuts that if Jordan had said "no, you guys can't play" then Will and Eddie would not have played.

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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Jason Cheng » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:23 pm

vcuEvan wrote:Did UCSD have 8 students attend, and relegate two of them to a two-man C team because Will and Eddie wanted to play with UCSD A? If so, that's kind of destructive to one of the prime purposes of closed tournaments, which is to provide an outlet for university clubs to play together. I support limited exceptions to closed tournaments in order to bolster fields, but that purpose could have been accomplished by having Will and Eddie play on a separate open team.
This was actually because we had a last-minute drop from people who were originally slated to play on UCSD C and we were unable to find a replacement. The remaining two members (of whom I'm glad they agreed to come anyway knowing their team would be incomplete) knew about rosters far in advance. Auroni is correct in guessing that Berkeley A agreed to come down largely because of the prospect of playing against UCSD A+Will (given that Eddie had obtained permission to play with us at multiple tournaments before and we told them nothing would change about that), and I felt it would be a bigger disrespect to suddenly change that arrangement.
Cody wrote:Naveed absolutely did the right thing here (and wrote up an excellent post) - I'm very surprised to see him being criticized for it. And I'm shocked to see him being attacked and even called "Naveed Bork". C'mon son.

I have many further thoughts about this that I will post at some point, but suffice it to say that I believe that anyone who supports the current state of affairs in SoCal is wrong. SoCal is not some special snowflake where the rules are upside down and 2+2=5. I am somewhat surprised to see so many people defending this (prolonged) state of affairs. And I am very surprised that so many tournaments have gone out of their way to enable it: shame on you.
ThisIsMyUsername wrote: But none of these are arguments in any shape or form for why we should allow what Naveed titled this thread for--"non-students playing closed tournaments under false names"! I don't understand those of you who find it unreasonable that Naveed finds this practice shady, when Will Alston not only played this tournament under a pseudonym, but literally lied about doing so on the forums when asked about it. That's sure acting like this is shady! (There is great irony in Ike's nonsensically calling Naveed a Bork-like figure, while others in this thread implicitly support making establishing eligibility a back-alley procedure!)

I think this doesn't merely "look bad." It is a bad practice, plain and simple. Geographically-contained circuits may enjoy a certain circumstantial "privilege" (as Auroni calls it). But at least this is an impartial and transparent problem. Getting a rule covertly bent on your behalf by a head editor is also a form "privilege," but a far more pernicious one, since it is based on an arbitrary and opaque standard.

If certain circuits need to apply to run open mirrors of otherwise-closed tournaments, in the interests of regional health, they should do so and we should be willing to grant such mirrors to help such circuits. But these mirrors should be publicly announced as open. If they are not open, they should be announced as closed (and closed should mean closed!). If semi-open mirrors really need to exist, for whatever reason, (and I am entirely unconvinced that they do, and have seen no arguments in this thread for them) the standard for eligibility should be entirely publicly transparent and leave as little to the personal arbitration of the editors as is possible.
I'd like to refer again to my two previous posts in this thread (which also give arguments in favor of semi-open mirrors when strictly necessary) stating that we made no effort to keep this secret and have in fact been fully open about the practice for the last two years we've been doing it with the circuit. If it needs to be stated again, Naveed's posts are inaccurate and we have not been secretly playing non-eligible players without informing the circuit and the tournament directors and and getting permission from the editing teams in advance, ill-advised jokes on the forums in discussions aside.

Neither, then, did Eddie nor will "pretend to be students."

Other schools in SoCal also frequently form chimera teams in order to attend tournaments when they have neither the ability nor the manpower to play on closed teams, with USC, UCLA, CSUN, and UCI having done so in several of the last eight or so tournaments. This is a very open process in our circuit, and has been for quite some time--again, I'm unaware of anybody in the circuit expressing distaste about chimera teams.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by ThisIsMyUsername » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:26 pm

Ike wrote:
Cheynem wrote:This is silly--how was anyone supposed to read Jordan's mind to know what the "actual" rules were?
Yes, I agree this is silly. And I do think it's bad that not everyone knew what was going on. But since it was Jordan's tournament it's pretty obvious he gets to set the rules of qualification (ie whether it's an open or closed or semi-closed tournament.)
Then, why on earth are you taking the ridiculously intentionalist position that non-public rules that contradict the public rules, and which are stated after the tournament is over are the "true eligibility rules"?
Ike wrote:
ThisIsMyUsername wrote: It's not "apocalyptic," sure (and nothing about Naveed's post suggests that it is). But if you don't think that the clearly non-isolated practice of ineligible students applying for and receiving private special dispensation to play closed tournaments is a slippery slope (or toxic to the very idea of closed tournaments), then I question your definitions of slipperiness and/or slope.
I do think it's toxic in some situations, but isn't the real problem here that Jordan / Maryland gave permission to Will to play it in the first place? Not that Will used a pseudonym?
Yes, of course it is! I explicitly say so in the last paragraph of both of my posts in this thread, including in literally the exact paragraph that you've quoted here! And yet you've dodged this point in each reply you've made.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Cheynem » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:31 pm

Is there the possibility that this frequent practice of chimera teams may play a role in the retardation of a circuit? I feel like if in Minnesota, we allowed like Rob Carson to just jump onto, say, St. Olaf's team because that would entice Northwestern to come out and play, that seems to create an insular feeling that might not generate other local teams into playing. To be clear, I am not saying there is anything nefarious about Will or Eddie playing or that it isn't okay in some cases (various retired Minnesotans have played tournaments at times), but that at some point the circuit must be what it is.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Jason Cheng » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:31 pm

lumosityfan wrote:
Finally, I understand that the people running the Terrapin mirror in SoCal wanted to help out the circuit. Fine, and that's a great goal. We do need more teams in not just SoCal, but quizbowl in general. But we don't need to bend the eligibility rules to do so, especially because it'll look very bad on your part for letting people that clearly should not have been allowed to play. What you could have done instead is try to recruit more teams.
We do, in fact, do this. I've been trying my best to organize and expand the collegiate SoCal circuit for all of the three and a half years I've been a part of it, and in that time period we've had UCLA, USC, and UCI all rejoin the ranks of active quizbowl (and briefly Cal State Northridge), as opposed to when I came in my first year and the only clubs left standing were UCSD, Claremont, and Caltech. A lot of this is in no small part because I've made many exceptions for the newer, smaller teams such as allowing them to play with each other on chimeras, giving them discounts (I charge only the mirror fee sometimes for particularly hard-up teams), matchmaking them on carpools to San Diego, etc.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by lumosityfan » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:47 pm

I think the issue is not so much that Jordan allowed Will to compete and Jason OK'd it as well, but that it was not very transparent that fact. If Jordan had changed the eligibility rules on the announcement to reflect that, then ok. That'd be ok, because it was clearly stated that those exceptions were ok. But just deciding to just willy-nilly decide to let people onboard a tournament (and I know it's not, but this could set a precedent for other similar incidents) when you have a clearly stated eligibility policy that contradicts the decision is NOT ok.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Cold Stone Steve Austin » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:48 pm

As the TD of the tournament, I'd like to give my recollection of this incident, mostly pertaining to Will.

November 14 (5 days before the tournament): UCSD had already signed up 3 teams. Will Alston messages me on Facebook, asking how many rounds there will be, and expresses his wish to "get a lot of games against Berkeley." At the time, I misinterpreted this statement, and I didn't infer that Will was going to play and that he was going to play for UCSD.

November 19 (day of the tournament), 7 AM: Will messages me asking what building the tournament would be held in. I reply asking why he was coming, and he replies that he was playing for UCSD and got permission from Jordan. I was a bit surprised at this point but didn't stop Will from playing, not because of the enticement of Berkeley issue but mostly because I didn't want to upset anyone, I didn't want to negate Jordan's permission, and it didn't seem detrimental to the field at the time.

Around 8 AM: I get to the control room where Will is waiting, and he tells me that he would probably be on UCSD C and that he wanted to play under the pseudonym Isaac Biggerstaff. I didn't think much of it at the time since I didn't think that a pseudonym would seem deceptive, though I did anticipate that others would ask who Isaac on the stats was. By the time the tournament was about to start, I found out that Will would be playing on the A team.

Also, I did not know that Rahul Keyal was going to play for Berkeley until the tournament date (until the tournament, the Berkeley roster I had had only three people and no one sent any corrections) but I allowed it for much of the same reasons.

As for the Eddie issue, I don't recall Eddie explicitly asking me if he could play for UCSD A at Terrapin but at this point it's been de facto accepted that Eddie can play for UCSD at non-NAQT/ACF tournaments, since he's a valuable member of the club and excluding him from tournaments or forcing him to play solo would be detrimental to the circuit. The more important lesson to take away from this is that we needed to be better at communicating with the TD and to the community at large about what was going on. At this point I'm not ready to make any public judgments about whether the current state of affairs in Southern California quizbowl is what we should be doing.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Jason Cheng » Sat Dec 17, 2016 4:56 pm

I'm surprised to learn of this confusion, Hidehiro, and I definitely should've been less laissez-faire about letting people handle communication about their attendance and letting people say things because I found them amusing--I apologize for the miscommunication. If you want to talk about anything else, I'd be happy to discuss with you in our currently ongoing discussion about the subject in our group chat.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:14 pm

Ike wrote: But when Naveed says
"Will and Eddie have found a way around this problem by simply pretending to be students."
- no that's, wrong! I'm willing to lay dollars to donuts that if Jordan had said "no, you guys can't play" then Will and Eddie would not have played.

Ike
This is accurate. I was given permission to play at UCLA, which was a possibility that had been under discussion with the UCSD team for some time. I enjoyed playing this tournament, and my teammates enjoyed it as well. Also, if I were pretending to be a student, I would have chosen a far less farcical name for myself in the stats! Had I been told to play solo, or to play with Eddie, or anything of that sort, I would have happily done so.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by gettysburg11 » Sat Dec 17, 2016 6:42 pm

Cheynem wrote:I won't pretend to tell every circuit what to do. Certainly, at times Minnesota has used quasi-open tournaments at times. But I would say this should not be the norm for the following reasons:

1. It is very unfair to teams in the lower and mid standings, as it is another game in which they presumably have something of a disadvantage going up against an experienced team/person (obviously not all veteran players are really that good).

2. It adds to the perception that quizbowl is a non-professional, insular game.

3. It can hurt circuit growth for the above reasons.
As a member of a currently mid-lower level team, I solidly agree with the arguments of this post. The idea that only Berkeley was consulted on this matter furthers the perception that quizbowl primarily caters to the top teams while not taking others as seriously.

I understand the whole idea about needing more people to fill fields, and while I still cannot say I'm in favor of the idea, if it is really a necessity to run tournaments this way, then that needs to be made absolutely clear publicly so that everyone knows what's going on. This appearance of secrecy, intentional or not, looks very, very bad to outside observers.

Again, I would prefer overall if this practice were discontinued. But if it has to continue, transparency is key.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Vainamoinen » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:11 am

I don't intend to say anything too contentious about a circuit I just joined, but I feel like offering my two cents. I was pretty surprised when I saw Will Alston there in the morning and thought he was just there to help out or something (no one asked Caltech about him playing for UCSD, but oh well not good enough yet). I was surprised to see him walk in with UCSD A for our game in the first round, a game we ended up losing 330-295. I'm not going to claim we would have won this game if he hadn't been on their team, but it was pretty frustrating at the time to think our loss didn't come to a legitimate team.

I didn't know that Eddie wasn't actually a current student at UCSD; and apparently neither did the rest of my team. That being said, I'm new to this circuit so it makes sense that I would't necessarily be aware. My point though, is that it wasn't really as common of knowledge as it's being made to be upthread.

The biggest issue with this, in my opinion, is that higher tournament finishes provide more ammunition for going to administrations to get money. I am definitely not claiming that we'd have had different results against UCSD sans Eddie throughout the season, but the whole thing is admittedly kind of strange to me. I feel like there should at least be a few tournaments besides ACF/NAQT events that are treated as actually closed, but more than anything I just wish this all had been more out in the open. And to the Will thing, I do feel like this might be a case of elites in the game operating above everyone else.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by rahulkeyal » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:32 am

While I imagine the majority of people likely didn't care about me joining Berkeley A for the UCLA Terrapin mirror, I apologize that this knowledge wasn't passed on to Hidehiro and the like earlier to the start of the tournament.

As a member of the SoCal community who attends a fair amount of college tournaments, I've only received great treatment from UCSD, and I think that the work they've done has really benefitted highschools and colleges of SoCal alike. I only really have had one issue (quite minor in the grand scheme of things) in the circuit, where our team (Westview) had wanted to team alongside a student from a separate high school (Rancho Bernardo) at the 2015 MUT mirror as the tournament was challenging and two of our team members couldn't attend, however we were restricted from doing so by the tournament organizers (if I remember correctly, Auroni and Jason) due to the tournament being labeled "closed." Despite this, UCSD was still able to team with Eddie. I'm not sure if these two scenarios should be treated the exact same, however at the time it did seem off to me. While we were only able to play with two members at the tournament, Jason ended up offering us a heft team discount, one of the many kind accommodations that he has made for high schools in SoCal.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Lo, a momentary rabbit-stage » Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:39 am

as a semi-retired SoCal qb player, I can confidently assert that a large portion of the memories I have of quizbowl are not from playing on teams associated with my schools but instead with interteam/circuit bonding - whether that was in mixed highschool/college tournaments, weekly ucsd practices that consisted of high schoolers as well as people from other colleges or non-students, or chimera teams. I think that these practices - regardless of if they deviate from some larger goal of quizbowl purity and fairness - serve a hugely important role in the building of the SoCal circuit, and it seems highly hypocritical for you all to be accepting the idea that "SoCal isn't a 'special snowflake'" given the constant assertions that SoCal is a completely insular region of quizbowl. Jason has done huge work in building the QB community in SoCal and many of the critiques of these policies seem rather insignificant in light of the multiple testimonies from SoCal players that these policies are and were /necessary/ for the growth of the circuit.

I didn't play this tournament, but I went as a visitor specifically to catch up with my friends from ucsd/berkeley/Eddie. If these policies were not allowed, Eddie may have come to mod, I almost certainly would not have met and hung out with will, and berkeley wouldn't even be there. Obviously, the goal of quizbowl is not for me to be able to see multiple friends in one place, but my point is that these policies explicitly allow for the kind of community building that is and has been integral to preserving and expanding our community. I think we're all in agreement that there was an issue of transparency here, and I'm sympathetic to the idea that these kinds of allowments sometimes tend to take only the interests of top teams in mind. However, extending these specific critiques to disallowing any bending of the rules would pretty deeply disrupt the growth and operation of the SoCal circuit imo.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by 1.82 » Sun Dec 18, 2016 4:13 am

So, the Caltech club registered for the closed tournament in question (presumably paying real US currency for the privilege) with the expectation that they would be playing teams composed, like their own team, of real students enrolled at the university in question. Then, having paid to play this closed tournament against other college teams, they instead faced a team with noted non-students Will Alston and Eddie Kim.

On the other hand, some people got to see their buddies from San Diego, which certainly couldn't have happened without this sort of flagrant violation of the norms of quizbowl, and who can really put a value on that?
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Nine-Tenths Ideas » Sun Dec 18, 2016 6:21 am

My only real thought here is that I'm disappointed I didn't know SoCal tournaments are semi-open. I live here now! Hit me up, who wants 9 ppg?
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Kouign Amann » Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:16 am

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Ike wrote: But when Naveed says
"Will and Eddie have found a way around this problem by simply pretending to be students."
- no that's, wrong! I'm willing to lay dollars to donuts that if Jordan had said "no, you guys can't play" then Will and Eddie would not have played.

Ike
This is accurate. I was given permission to play at UCLA, which was a possibility that had been under discussion with the UCSD team for some time. I enjoyed playing this tournament, and my teammates enjoyed it as well. Also, if I were pretending to be a student, I would have chosen a far less farcical name for myself in the stats! Had I been told to play solo, or to play with Eddie, or anything of that sort, I would have happily done so.
If this is all so easy and innocent and just a big misunderstanding about different circuit norms, then why lie when asked about it the first time? That's the thing I haven't been able to understand yet.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:36 am

Out of curiosity - who moderated this tournament? Was it current UCLA students, non-students, or a mix?
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Cheynem » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:59 am

You can maintain the circuit community by having people who are not eligible to play tournaments staff, assist, or even just show up after the tournament to hang out. This is nothing personal against Jason (whom I have never met), Eddie (who is a very good guy and valuable quizbowl writer), and Will (who is inimitable). In some cases, as I said, semi-open tournaments may be appropriate. But the big problem here is a lack of transparency and an appeal to "common knowledge" when it clearly wasn't common knowledge by every team present and maybe even the TD.

After I retired from Minnesota, I staffed many tournaments at the university. I maintained a sense of community with my friends and Carsten. I don't think you need to play a tournament in order to maintain that sense.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Dominator » Sun Dec 18, 2016 11:26 am

Nine-Tenths Ideas wrote:My only real thought here is that I'm disappointed I didn't know SoCal tournaments are semi-open. I live here now! Hit me up, who wants 9 ppg?
This. We can team up, but I can't guarantee 9 ppg.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Cold Stone Steve Austin » Sun Dec 18, 2016 12:07 pm

Irreligion in Bangladesh wrote:Out of curiosity - who moderated this tournament? Was it current UCLA students, non-students, or a mix?
All the moderators were UCLA students.
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Re: Non-students playing closed tournaments under false name

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Sun Dec 18, 2016 1:58 pm

Kouign Amann wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Ike wrote: But when Naveed says
"Will and Eddie have found a way around this problem by simply pretending to be students."
- no that's, wrong! I'm willing to lay dollars to donuts that if Jordan had said "no, you guys can't play" then Will and Eddie would not have played.

Ike
This is accurate. I was given permission to play at UCLA, which was a possibility that had been under discussion with the UCSD team for some time. I enjoyed playing this tournament, and my teammates enjoyed it as well. Also, if I were pretending to be a student, I would have chosen a far less farcical name for myself in the stats! Had I been told to play solo, or to play with Eddie, or anything of that sort, I would have happily done so.
If this is all so easy and innocent and just a big misunderstanding about different circuit norms, then why lie when asked about it the first time? That's the thing I haven't been able to understand yet.
It was an ill conceived joke premised on the notion that Naveed was already aware what was going on.
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