Seeking Collaborators for 2019 EFT

Elaborate on the merits of specific tournaments or have general theoretical discussion here.
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Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
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Seeking Collaborators for 2019 EFT

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:06 am

Hi folks,

I'm planning to head edit EFT again next year and am looking for people interested in contributing. Interested writers should be willing to:

- Commit to at least 30 questions
- Commit to a highly aggressive production schedule, including possibility of losing monetary reward from the set for not keeping with the production schedule

I'm also interested in finding a science editor to work with - in particular I would like to work with a less experienced science editor and collaborate with outside advisors to train new talent
Will Alston
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Re: Seeking Collaborators for 2019 EFT

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:53 am

Sup
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Re: Seeking Collaborators for 2019 EFT

Post by Cheynem » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:39 am

Could you perhaps give some broad idea on dates?
Mike Cheyne
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Re: Seeking Collaborators for 2019 EFT

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:47 am

I expect this set to be at least 25% complete by the end of April 2019, at least 50% complete by the end of June 2019, and entirely complete by the end of August 2019. All writers will be expected to have completed the same proportions of their committed questions by the stated times or will face financial penalties (aka I take some of your money and distribute it amongst the other writers, and if you don't catch up I fire you, take half your money, and use the proceeds to pay a bonus to the replacement who signs on) unless a good reason is given. Writers will also be expected to respond to editorial comments within two weeks unless a good reason is given.

I state this publicly because of my increasing frustration with the tendency of quizbowl tournaments to be completed last minute, which I believe massively lowers the quality of tournaments - particularly one such as EFT which needs careful calibration to perform its function effectively.

EDIT: the stated penalties were originally too harsh; upon further reflection, I've revised the penalty for totally flubbing out to "half your money."
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Cody
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Re: Seeking Collaborators for 2019 EFT

Post by Cody » Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:29 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:47 am
I expect this set to be at least 25% complete by the end of April 2019, at least 50% complete by the end of June 2019, and entirely complete by the end of August 2019. All writers will be expected to have completed the same proportions of their committed questions by the stated times or will face financial penalties (aka I take some of your money and distribute it amongst the other writers, and if you don't catch up I fire you, take all your money, and use the proceeds to pay a bonus to the replacement who signs on) unless a good reason is given. Writers will also be expected to respond to editorial comments within two weeks unless a good reason is given.

I state this publicly because of my increasing frustration with the tendency of quizbowl tournaments to be completed last minute, which I believe massively lowers the quality of tournaments - particularly one such as EFT which needs careful calibration to perform its function effectively.
Am I reading this correctly -- you're threatening not to pay people, at all, for the questions they wrote?
Cody Voight, VCU ‘14. I wrote lots of science and am an electrical engineer.
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Re: Seeking Collaborators for 2019 EFT

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Mon Oct 08, 2018 1:37 pm

Cody wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 12:29 pm
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:47 am
I expect this set to be at least 25% complete by the end of April 2019, at least 50% complete by the end of June 2019, and entirely complete by the end of August 2019. All writers will be expected to have completed the same proportions of their committed questions by the stated times or will face financial penalties (aka I take some of your money and distribute it amongst the other writers, and if you don't catch up I fire you, take all your money, and use the proceeds to pay a bonus to the replacement who signs on) unless a good reason is given. Writers will also be expected to respond to editorial comments within two weeks unless a good reason is given.

I state this publicly because of my increasing frustration with the tendency of quizbowl tournaments to be completed last minute, which I believe massively lowers the quality of tournaments - particularly one such as EFT which needs careful calibration to perform its function effectively.
Am I reading this correctly -- you're threatening not to pay people, at all, for the questions they wrote?
Upon further reflection, that's probably a bit too harsh, so I've edited my post. That being said, the payout for previous editions of EFT came in to the $7-10 per question range, so I think a pretty severe financial penalty for flaking is fair.

I'll quote a previous post I made on this subject, to provide some more context for my harsh attitude. That being said, with a year's additional experience, I think the points I've mentioned here can apply to many experienced writers as well:
As an editor, I fully support trying to train new writers and editors, and would like to think that I've taken on several projects that have done exactly that. I find that I have two major functional issues with new writers - indeed dealing with these has caused me to re-evaluate whether I want to take on significant numbers of new writers on projects in the future, unless there are changes in patterns of behavior. These are:

1) Going AWOL. I find that, much more than with experienced writers, I have to harangue new writers to stay on focus and produce questions. This is far from true for all new writers (indeed, those I don't have to bother are lifesavers!) but writing questions isn't doing homework - somebody has to do the work even if you don't turn it in. That means the editor makes up, usually at the last minute, for work that you don't do, which is incredibly disrespectful to do to someone who helps you get a foot in the door.
2) Completely ignoring comments and feedback. In several different writing projects, I've left comments on new writer questions and they have gone unaddressed for weeks or even months. This tells an editor that you don't care, aren't paying attention, or are just too lazy to respond, which aren't signals that editors would like to work with you again.

To some extent, these are inevitable consequences of quizbowl editing (outside of HSAPQ, NAQT, etc.) not exactly being academics or a job, and thus not really being top priority in people's lives. That said, these behaviors have real consequences and cause editors many, many, many hours of headaches - especially when things get to a last-minute crunch and subpar questions need to be rewritten almost entirely from scratch. To my understanding, this is in no small part why PADAWAN was not repeated as an experiment - the padawans frequently just didn't do their jobs!

There's nothing wrong with not knowing how to clue questions well, or how to appropriately assess difficulty - these are all learnable skills and come with time. Even the most experienced editors miss the mark frequently on this. What's frustrating is when you fail to meet even the most basic expectations that would get you fired from a real job, i.e. not doing your work (and failing to communicate ahead of time any difficulties you have) etc. When new writers insist they are eager to work on a project, and yet fail to demonstrate even the most basic level of commitment required for almost any assignment - or, indeed, respect for the people they're working under - then it's little wonder people have second thoughts.
This is an open call for writers, and I'm going to be very up-front about what my expectations are.
Will Alston
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Re: Seeking Collaborators for 2019 EFT

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:58 am

At this point we're most interested in folks writing history and science, particularly the latter.
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Re: Seeking Collaborators for 2019 EFT

Post by Cheynem » Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:39 pm

Are you going to have people sign up to be on the bailout brigade?

I'm not trying to be snarky--I wonder how many tournaments would be better if instead of issuing a blanket call for help, they had a few people who knew that in cases of emergencies they could be called upon (of course, they might also flake too).
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

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Re: Seeking Collaborators for 2019 EFT

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Oct 09, 2018 1:00 pm

Cheynem wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:39 pm
Are you going to have people sign up to be on the bailout brigade?

I'm not trying to be snarky--I wonder how many tournaments would be better if instead of issuing a blanket call for help, they had a few people who knew that in cases of emergencies they could be called upon (of course, they might also flake too).
Mike brings up a good point - indeed, the goal of the aggressive production schedule and associated policies is to pre-empt the need for a bailout brigade! I can only hope that we are so successful.

Also, we're set on writers for everything except science. If you would like to write science, but aren't sure how ready you are to edit things, Eric Mukherjee has volunteered to contribute and also to help mentor whoever signs on.

EDIT: Science is now taken care of. We've got enough writers now; I'll email them shortly.
Will Alston
Bethesda Chevy Chase HS '12, Dartmouth '16, Columbia Business School '21
NAQT Writer and Subject Editor

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