I still vividly remember TDing Penn Bowl 2016 for the first time as a sophomore; I've told this to many other Penn quiz bowlers, but that weekend marked the worst experience I ever had at Penn. The stress of trying to get everything right combined with the subsequent fallout following the tournament caused me to nearly quit the activity that I loved so much, and getting lambasted in the forums afterward wasn't too fun either. Despite my efforts to cover all the bases before tournament, all the errors I made that day were still simple things that any beginner TD could have told you: marking which buzzer went to which room, shuffling readers for rounds, using SQBS proficiently enough so that rebracketing wouldn't take an hour, etc. Perhaps the better, more experienced TDs will scoff at this, but TDing a full college tournament without any hiccups or errors is an herculean task that requires an extreme attention to detail before, during, and after the tournament. To this day I am amazed at people who can run a perfect tournament with ease. I also agree that running tournaments nowadays is increasingly complicated thanks to issues that weren't relevant in the past such as increase in number of high schoolers playing college quiz bowl or the rise of electronic scorekeeping systems. Besides the somewhat troubling issue of uneven prelim brackets and the subsequent interaction with one of my teammates, none of the issues were egregious, and I would like to thank Harvard and Jonathan for hosting what was mostly a good tournament.UlyssesInvictus in another thread wrote: One thing I wish had been brought up is that more and more is increasingly being asked of tournament hosts over the years. I remember my days in high school when people would basically cobble together a tournament and call it a day if it didn't run more than an hour late. And every year, there seems to be an issue that, as TD, feels out of your control, but you just know people will blame you for anyways. A lot of the time, it is your fault, so you take it as a learning experience; but other times, people just seem happy to excoriate you for things that they, quite literally, weren't there for, and it can be extremely demoralizing to know that you're basically being tried in a court of public opinion for one particular day after you just spent the previous week skipping sleep so you could implement preventative measures for all those rare, unfortunate circumstances, only to have something no reasonable person could expect happen anyway.
That being said, the more I attend tournaments the more I notice that TD mistakes stem from same sources of error over and over again. While the community has more or less settled on a well-defined set of expectations applicable to all tournaments, a new TD less plugged into the forums/discord/whatever may not necessarily be aware of all of those things, especially if he or she is at an institution that does not regularly host events. The fact that the most popular form of response to a bad tournament is going on the forum and complaining about these well-tread mistakes in what is essentially a giant public echo chamber certainly isn't encouraging to new TDs either. While one could argue that all these forum replies could serve as a warning and lessons for the future generation, no TD is going to review a bunch of old tournament announcement and discussion threads for possible mistakes and prevention measures.
I think a community compiled guidebook or a checklist for TDs could be tremendously helpful; I don't now if something like this exists (looks like Fred tried to make one in 2013, but it fizzled out? also this: https://www.qbwiki.com/wiki/How_to_run_ ... tournament), but it might be a good investment of qb community's time to compile such a document as an "official" guide that could be referred to. I am honestly shocked that there are so many centralized resources for question writing, but nothing like this exists for running a tournament. Obviously it will be impossible to reach a consensus on all the issues, but a checklist of ranging from small ("ask for a team roster during registration so that you can seed teams properly for prelims") to large ("how to use SQBS" and "guarantee same number of games for all teams if possible") could be useful for both novice and experienced TDs. If a quiz bowl planning community being discussed in the other thread ever forms, it could send out such file to all TDs of college tournaments so that all the tournaments for the year will be standardized to a certain extent. A public google drive folder containing templates for emails + tournament checklists + example scoresheets + logistics info could go far, especially for new clubs starting out that are interested in hosting tournaments. If there is interest in starting something like this, I would be happy to pitch in what little resources and wisdom I have gained in running tournaments and look forward to learning from others.