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Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:36 pm
by Cheynem
Based on an interesting Discord conversation this afternoon, I think I believe that (college) quizbowl scheduling needs to be increasingly more crystallized, organized, and professionalized. I believe that barring an unprecedented level of cooperation, what this will require is an independent scheduling committee.

It is almost certainly too late to get this instituted for next year, but I would like for some serious thought to be had about establishing such an institution in the future. I will try and explain the principles of what I see for such a committee in a few bullet points:

1. The committee would consist of around 5-6 people, with attempts made at achieving a diversity of geography, experience, and involvement in the game. I am not really sure how you would elect the committee, but even something as simple as people writing an application and setting up a vote system through the forums might work. College teams would agree to respect the committee's decisions and abide by the schedule.

2. The committee would, with feedback taken from the public, announce the number of tournaments per year as well as allotting set difficulty levels (1 open, 2 novices, etc.) and the number of packet submission tournaments. Obviously, things like ICT, ACF Nationals, SCT, Regionals, and presumably Fall would have set places. I would imagine this would stay relatively the same year to year, but it could change based on public demand.

3. The committee would then invite in the year leading up to the formation of the schedule for people interested in running a tournament to send in applications, listing their intended difficulty, projected dates, and logistics (i.e., who is working on the set). This would be a relatively transparent process; the goal is not to screw teams from writing tournaments, but simply to achieve the best possible schedule. The committee could encourage writing teams to pick dates not otherwise being used, help connect incomplete writing teams, and otherwise ensure that as many people who submit applications get their projects on the books. The committee could also say things like "we are getting very few applications for a regular minus set in the spring, is anyone interested in doing this, we will help coordinate such projects."

4. At a certain point before the end of the school year (with some leeway, particularly for spring tournaments), the committee would close off the application process and then announce the schedule as soon as feasibly possible. Dates or date windows would also be set.

5. This would be recognized as THE official schedule for quizbowl. No other tournament in the academic year would be sanctioned, and teams that agreed to abide by the schedule's decision are basically pledging not to play other tournaments. This would not include trash, side events, or summer tournaments. Obviously you couldn't control what else got run where (or a team that like runs a "rogue" tournament on the date of a scheduled tournament should be condemned, much like if a team ran something against SCT nowadays), but we'd have some guidelines.

6. The committee would serve terms that were staggered to avoid having to change the entire committee every year or so many years.

7. The schedule created by the committee would be linked at hsquizbowl, so anyone interested in seeing the college schedule could click a link and see it, just like anyone interested in seeing the schedule for NCAA football or basketball could.

Obviously we'd need a lot of discussion about how to create a committee, what kind of schedule would be created, and if even such a project is feasible, but I think we should start talking now rather than later. Thoughts?

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:44 pm
by jonah
I don't know much of the details, but I'm pretty sure this (or something similar) was attempted about eight years ago. If I'm right, it might be instructive to figure out what went right (if anything) and wrong with that group, and why it's no longer around.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 3:55 pm
by vinteuil
To me this sounds like exactly the kind of thing I would expect to be the responsibility/prerogative of ACF. If ACF is currently unable to do this, and there turns out to be enough community leadership available to form this committee separately, then that sounds very seriously like ACF's problem, and I would suggest that ACF simply take on the proposed committee members.

I really don't think that having more national quizbowl organizations is better.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:06 pm
by ValenciaQBowl
So this is, in theory, a fine idea, though in practice I'm a bit leery of signing on to some group determining THE schedule for college quiz bowl. Not just to plead my special case, but I've been running Delta Burke since before many current players were born, and I remember some years ago when one pillar of the college quiz bowl community (now not really with us anymore, use your imagination/reasoning) suggested somewhat peremptorily that I move DB to mid-September, as it would be better there as a novice others could mirror. Obviously I wasn't interested and said so and nothing happened--what could? And I wouldn't care if DB somehow became "rogue," as I aim for a CC audience that barely frequents this board anyway.

But I have some concern that a group of plucky young writers at a fledgling program might want to write a tournament but then get told that they don't have enough experience yet, and thus are not 'sanctioned.' I don't like the idea that some body created here, on a message board, would have the 'power' to tell them they can't run a tournament. I'm sure such a board would actually be very supportive and open-minded, but y'all should at least have such examples in mind as you ponder this.

In any case, I'm not really a part of the four-year world, so have at it. But DB will always and forever be the second weekend of November, nanny-nanny-boo-boo.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:20 pm
by ThisIsMyUsername
"Committee": one of the most soul-crushing words in the English language. What exactly is the disaster that this bit of officialdom is supposed to avert? Who are the rebel writers in need of policing lest they carry out their dastardly schemes of producing tournaments that people don't want to play? And how did we conclude that what quizbowl needs more of is people performing unpaid organizational labor?
Cheynem wrote:The committee would, with feedback taken from the public, announce the number of tournaments per year as well as allotting set difficulty levels (1 open, 2 novices, etc.) and the number of packet submission tournaments. Obviously, things like ICT, ACF Nationals, SCT, Regionals, and presumably Fall would have set places. I would imagine this would stay relatively the same year to year, but it could change based on public demand.
If we did anything like this, I think it would be helpful to standardize minimums and maximums for this, rather than re-inventing the wheel each year.

Besides ACF Fall, Regionals, and Nats; and NAQT SCT and ICT, it would seem to me that the essentials are:

Fall Regular (e.g. Penn Bowl)
Fall Novice (e.g. Delta Burke)
Pre-Nats Open (e.g. George Oppen)
Post-Nats Spring Novice (e.g. MUT)

And the two possible add-ons are one more in fall or one more in spring, of which the fall one is occasionally an open, and both are either Regular or Regular+.

But again, I don't see why this conversation can't happen outside the apparatus of a committee. Or we could do an end-of-year poll perhaps, just to determine what people want from next year's lineup?
vinteuil wrote:To me this sounds like exactly the kind of thing I would expect to be the responsibility/prerogative of ACF. If ACF is currently unable to do this, and there turns out to be enough community leadership available to form this committee separately, then that sounds very seriously like ACF's problem, and I would suggest that ACF simply take on the proposed committee members.
What on earth? Why would the scheduling of a bunch of non-ACF-affiliated tournaments be "ACF's problem" or "exactly the kind of thing" one would expect to be their "responsibility"? This is bad from both angles: either the notion that ACF should have power over something other than ACF, or the notion that ACF should bear the burden of managing matters outside of ACF.
I really don't think that having more national quizbowl organizations is better.
Fully agreed here.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:23 pm
by Cheynem
ACF seems to have enough on its plate with ACF tournaments that a scheduling responsibility would probably be unrealistic. Besides, I think these concerns go beyond ACF; the tournaments such a committee would be reviewing would be beyond ACF tournaments.

Chris, I hear what you're saying. I think Delta Burke is a great set that should get mirrored more often, and I'd be happy to include that as a regular spot on the committee's scheduling. I want to emphasize that the point of the committee is not to be some nefarious insidery organization that shuts down people who want to write tournaments. This is all about formalizing and professionalizing stuff that already happens in quizbowl. I think almost everybody wants to make sure there's a fair number of different difficulty level tournaments interspersed throughout the college season. The committee would try to match and assign open dates to interested teams, ensure we don't get things like no regular difficulty tournaments in the fall, and ensure that easy tournaments are spaced out throughout the year. This is basically what happens in quizbowl nowadays, except it's more ad hoc and in fact even more insidery because things seem predicated on "first team to make an announcement gets to claim a slot." Really, unless we see a gigantic preponderance of tournaments being announced, I do not anticipate few if any proposals for tournaments to be rejected out of hand with such a committee.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:33 pm
by Cheynem
Regarding John's points:

The committee is not meant to avert some great, obvious tragedy (I'm not that involved in college quizbowl this season, but the scheduling doesn't seem...too bad?), nor are there any crazed, feral writers meant to be policed. Instead, the goal is an attempt to create a more organized, professionalized system of scheduling, which barring some community consensus seems unlikely to happen without a central authority of sorts. We can replace the idea of "committee" with "a scheduling community," if you will, if we're hung up on that specific.

The impetus of my proposal came from talking from several people at a variety of schools, including some small programs. A few people noted that college quizbowl scheduling seemed somewhat ad hoc and in fact confusing, especially to new programs and teams. I was struck by the fact that you couldn't go anywhere and look at an easily identifiable "schedule for the year" (I realize that people have tried doing this over the years, especially in this sub-forum. I also note that a lot of times the collegiate announcement process seems substandard. People wonder if established tournaments are returning (is MUT going to return?). People make allusions to tournaments "in the works" ("Jordan and I are planning on a regular difficulty tournament for next January"). There's gentleman's agreements and a general acceptance of principles (only one open a year or so, basically), but nothing is set in stone. I think it would be nice if it would be.

In fact, John gets the ball rolling by posting strong principles for scheduling, saying minimums and maximums should be hashed out in advance. I agree! I think his ideas make a good deal of sense. As i said, I am willing to not let this be a "committee' per se, but ultimately some group has to officially decide on these principles. I'm skeptical a poll can really do that, but perhaps I am underestimating the community/forums' ability to work through these ideas.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:41 pm
by Jason Cheng
Are there really enough tournaments where having to pick out scheduling slots is a necessity? It felt like this year was missing a tournament or two. There are certainly few enough tournaments every year that, say, people thinking about hosting in SoCal can just talk to the other clubs in the region and pick a weekend in a 1-2 month window and it'll be fine (besides Regs and SCT and I guess Fall usually, which you've acknowledged are fixed dates anyway)--and this year especially, UC Irvine had pretty much all of the fall half of the year to find a working Penn Bowl date.

I guess I don't really see the problem that's being solved here, with the proposed solution being another organization of volunteers committing volunteer labor to something with tenuous problem-solving powers at best

EDIT: I originally wrote this before Mike clarified. I sort of see his point now, although in my (4ish years) experience organizing an isolated circuit of small programs, all these problems can be solved by one or two people being reasonably plugged in and in constant contact with the rest of the circuit talking out the slate of events for the year. I usually tried to encourage the other club leaders to be plugged in as well, but solving scheduling really only needed, like, one person to spread the news. I suppose a website with a formal list looks somewhat more professional than a Facebook group chat, though.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:44 pm
by Cheynem
Isn't "not enough tournaments" equally an issue which more organization could solve?

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:49 pm
by Jason Cheng
Cheynem wrote:Isn't "not enough tournaments" equally an issue which more organization could solve?
From what I can tell, the diminishing amount of regular tournaments come from a mix of announced tournaments disappearing, older writers/editors dialing back their commitments, and a lack of support and community encouragement for new writers. I'm not sure all of those are addressed by this specific proposed solution

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:16 pm
by Evan Lynch
I couldn't disagree with this more. Having to apply to a committee to have your tournament 'sanctioned' is probably the simplest way to put off a group of new writers. There's clearly a dearth of college quizbowl tournaments at the moment, and I'd like to encourage people to organise their own tournaments, but suggesting that people apply via a cabal is not really the way forward in my opinion. I feel like the appetite for more college tournaments is such that regardless of roughly the timeslot in the calendar a set tries to occupy, it will get played one way or another.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:01 pm
by wcheng
I agree with Chris and Evan with their concern about the "sanctioning" powers of this proposed committee. I could see how the presence of a committee might help prospective editors schedule and announce the year's tournaments in a more organized manner, and I believe that it could be helpful with matching up teams of prospective editors from different schools who might not be up to the task of editing an entire tournament by themselves. However, the idea of "sanctioning" and shaming "rogue" tournaments that don't follow the "official" schedule appalls me. I think that a committee with sanctioning powers would institutionalize the sometimes-hyperbolic "insider" nature of quizbowl organization in a very real way, by giving a group of quizbowl influentials to arbitrarily deny prospective editors the right to write a tournament if the committee members chose to do so. While I believe that most if not all quizbowl influentials have the good of the community in mind, I urge anyone who supports the idea of the committee to consider how it would appear to less-experienced, less-connected editors if they knew their proposed tournaments would immediately be condemned as "rogue" tournaments unless they are first "sanctioned" by some committee (whose members might be complete strangers to them)!

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:52 pm
by A Very Long Math Tossup
Evan Lynch wrote:I couldn't disagree with this more. Having to apply to a committee to have your tournament 'sanctioned' is probably the simplest way to put off a group of new writers. There's clearly a dearth of college quizbowl tournaments at the moment, and I'd like to encourage people to organise their own tournaments, but suggesting that people apply via a cabal is not really the way forward in my opinion. I feel like the appetite for more college tournaments is such that regardless of roughly the timeslot in the calendar a set tries to occupy, it will get played one way or another.
These are all valid concerns, but If implemented correctly, I think this committee could actually be beneficial for new writers and editors. Currently, the path to writing a tournament is very nebulous (write some questions; hope that they're good; decide on a timerange and hope that no one else wants to write a comparable tournament then). The committee could mitigate this by:
  • Connecting new writers with experienced ones. Writing a tournament is something of a Catch-22 for teams disconnected from the main circuit. New teams may worry that they don't have enough writing experience to produce a satisfactory tournament, but there's no way to get this experience without writing (and getting feedback on) a lot of questions. This can be solved by bringing in outside editors, but that requires you to: (a) know people in the quizbowl community, or (b) cold-email strangers who you think would be good editors (and if you don't know anyone, you might not know who to contact). By removing this barrier, a committee could actually decrease quizbowl's insider bias.
  • Allowing multiple teams to collaborate. An entire tournament contains hundreds of questions, and the jump from submitting the occasional half-packet to writing and editing a full set is ...daunting, to say the least. If several teams express interest in writing part of a tournament, the committee could connect them with each other. This can also benefit individual writers on apathetic teams, as well as experienced teams who don't have time to produce an entire set.
  • Providing a clear path to a housewrite. The mere existence of a committee like this sends the following messages to teams: "You can write a tournament," and "If you're interested, here's who you should talk to." This could do a lot to encourage new writers, which is something that quizbowl desperately needs.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:10 pm
by Cheynem
I don't think my language really captured my vision for this project, and I apologize if it seemed too ominous or off-putting. What I'm suggesting the committee do is really professionalizing and reforming stuff that already happens all the time in quizbowl. I don't want them to issue sanctions against rogue tournaments or have them rule by fiat as some sort of smoke filled room. Rather, I see the committee's role as Matt describes above, as an institution that helps to organize and arrange the scheduling for each year--ensuring we have enough tournaments, encouraging collaborations, ensuring a diverse array of tournaments spread out throughout the year.

I don't want people thinking of the committee in this insidery, authoritarian way. One way to think of things might be to think of the committee as more of an advisory group that encourages collaboration and good organization. Let's say you are a new team interested in writing a tournament. If you need collaborators or assistance, the committee can help. If you need feedback on when to schedule, the committee can help. If the committee is saying "note that nobody has stepped up to do a novice tournament in the fall," that's a good signal to rally the troops for interested writers. I want this to be less about some group telling other people "no, you can't do this" and more about "how can we help your tournament become part of the best schedule for all." If you didn't want to think of the schedule in this "formal" way, maybe that would help perceptions (surely no one would object to an advisory group?), but I think there does need to be some "teeth" behind the proposals.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:34 pm
by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite
From my understanding, the "sanctioning" process is more to make sure that there aren't three different open tournaments announced for the academic year or something like that.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:45 pm
by Benin Rebirth Party
I agree more or less with the pro-committee side of this debate but I don’t get why ACF can’t rebrand and do all of this and be the main collegiate quizbowl umbrella organization.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Thu Mar 29, 2018 11:31 pm
by theMoMA
In previous conversations on similar measures, I suggested the following incentive-based approach to "approving" regular-season events: approved events would count toward regular-season statistics (win/loss, ppg, etc.) to be compiled by the overseeing body. This might provide a benefit to sanctioned events that would render the need for some kind of punishment unnecessary.

I understand some of the criticism here, but it seems to me that under the current system, no new teams are clamoring to make their writing efforts known. The possible exception is Berkeley--which, let's be honest, is one of the very best and deepest teams in the country, and is not exactly the kind of salt-of-the-earth new team that people seem to be talking about. Having a big meeting at the beginning of the year in which people prepare tournament proposals seems to me to only help aspiring individual writers latch onto editing teams looking to fill a void, or help teams whose members want to write an event together to submit their plans in time to find a spot on the calendar.

I guess my bottom line is something like this. It would be good if teams had fuller information earlier about what events were taking place and when. More broadly, it would be good if people took an active interest in steering the college game for its own benefit. If people are willing to step up and do that, despite their otherwise busy lives, I think we should figure out how to make it happen.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:23 am
by ThisIsMyUsername
I agree with all of the following premises: that there should be one place where one can see the schedule for the year, that this schedule might benefit from coming together via planning rather than happenstance, and that the process of organizing writing teams for tournaments could be more transparent. I just don't see how one gets from these premises to the stated conclusion that we need an official committee.

You are all currently posting in a sub-forum in which threads were set up to accomplish every single one of these tasks! There is a thread that includes what is supposed to be the schedule for the year. There is a thread in which people discuss which necessary tournament slots/functions are already filled and which ones need filling. And there is a thread in which people express interest in joining writing teams.

The problem is not that this resource doesn't exist. The problem appears to be that no one is using this resource. I would suggest two possible reasons: (1) For people used to doing such negotiations off-forums, it is much simpler to continue to do so; (2) No one has stepped up to maintain this subforum.

Given these difficulties, though, I would think that by far the more sensible approach would be to ask: "What changes can we make to the existing subforum, so that people are more inclined to use it?" rather than leaping to the conclusion that what we need is to invest power in some bureaucracy.

If someone has the stated responsibility for updating the post in which the year's schedule is listed, then it will be updated. If we want to move away from tournaments securing slots in a first-come-first-serve manner, we can attempt to establish this as a community norm; we don't need official regulations of this. When people post their tentative tournament announcements, other people (invested in a more communitarian process) can post in that thread saying: "Hey, we're trying to make this process more collective, do you mind also posting something in the general scheduling thread? Then we can discuss how this affects the yearly schedule from the get go."

In terms of interested parties joining tournament-writing teams, the main problem with the thread for that was that it consisted mainly of posts from isolated individuals saying "I want to write X," and hoping that some editor would read their post and take them up on this. Matchmaking is much easier if it flows in the other direction. If editors are open to mentoring a couple of younger writers, they can post in their tournament announcement something like "open for writers to apply for categories X, Y, and Z." Encouraging editors to make this more of a norm would be a good pipeline for younger writers.

Perhaps this is close to Mike's general vision. I can't tell. I'm fine with the idea that people stepping up to organize these things would increase the changes that they actually get done. But the crucial difference lies in the idea that those people have any sort of power, that anybody has the right to offer more than encouragement. And the idea of them adjudicating between two editing parties vying for the same slot strikes me as simply insane.

Phrases like "central authority" and "officially decide" are being bandied about. I'm curious, where do you guys imagine "authority" and "official" power come from? Whichever of you holds the deed to the right of individuals to write, edit, or host a tournament, please raise your hand. We can't transfer this power to a committee, because no one owns this. ACF, PACE, NAQT, etc. have the right to declare and enforce rules regarding their own tournaments, because the tournaments belong to and are run by them. Likewise, the forum administrators vis-a-vis the forum. But outside of that, none of us has the jurisdiction to sanction squat.

When two teams want to host a tournament at the same time, they tend to work it out between them. We can encourage teams to make these discussions more public, so members of the community can openly weigh the effects of these decisions upon the tournament ecosystem. But we can't dictate anything. If the two teams genuinely can't agree as to who should cede their claim to a slot (despite community input), and they both try to host, you are all free to decide which tournament you prefer, and to go to that one and not the other.
Aaron Manby (ironmaster) wrote: I don’t get why ACF can’t rebrand and do all of this and be the main collegiate quizbowl umbrella organization.
You must be quite confused in general, then, by how infrequently private organizations spontaneously decide to regulate an entire sector over which they have zero authority.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:55 am
by Cheynem
What John describes is not overly different from what I was trying to describe. As I said, I don't want to get hung up on the idea that this is some sort of regulating or sanction-imposing body, and if I muddied the water with poor choices of words in the first post, I'm sorry. You can even think of this as what John suggests--the committee would be a group of people who can maintain and organize this sub-forum--to assist in finding collaboration, to create a schedule of proposed tournaments, and do some work in ensuring the schedule is balanced and consistent.

In terms of power, you're correct that this group would not have official power in the same way that ACF controls ACF tournaments. The idea would be that hopefully as a community we would agree to follow what this committee/scheduling sub-forum creates. This is not that bizarre a statement; we are basically doing that on a very informal level on the forums now (i.e., someone posts an announcement and that claims a schedule)--what the group would do is to just make this process more organized.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:04 am
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
I'm inclined to the belief that running a "rogue" tournament against something more established like SCT is its own punishment: people won't go to your event and you will have wasted your time.

Further, I refuse to believe that any rogue quizbowl organizations are out there thinking "he he he, I am going to destroy ACF by running my random housewrite the same weekend as ACF Regionals!" More likely, the hypothetical "rogue housewrite" editors want their tournament to attract as many people as possible, and thus desire to conflict with as few things as possible.

My hypothesis therefore is that if you simply make it easier for folks to find out the dates of existing, established tournaments, novice editors will use this information to schedule their tournaments on weekends where conflict is minimized. And if this fails, somebody like Mike Cheyne could email them and say, informally, "Hey, it's very exciting that you guys want to write your own tournament, but your date is also the date of some other important tournament. I think you'll get a bigger crowd if you schedule your tournament for one of these other dates. Also, let me know if you have any questions about writing or editing your own tournament!"

hsquizbowl.org itself has a database of upcoming tournaments. It's a good start.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:08 am
by Skepticism and Animal Feed
Separately, I'd love to see ACF evolve into some kind of governing body for college quizbowl, but that's not what ACF is built to do. ACF is PACE with more writing commitments and less professionalism - it's an organization that produces three tournaments a year and (grudgingly) maintains a set of rules intended for its own tournaments that other people use because of the scarcity of other rule sets. ACF members are recruited for their skills at writing and editing questions and these skills do not inherently overlap with governance skills, or even logistical skills. You can probably mentally supply other important skills that they do not overlap with.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:01 pm
by The King's Flight to the Scots
I would just say that making sure two tournaments don't occupy the same weekend isn't really the most important application for this committee. As various people have pointed out, the two writing teams involved should be able to sort that out between themselves, and we've never had that specific problem (that I remember) in recent memory. I do think this committee could play an important role in regulating and reducing set difficulty over the season. During scheduling reform a few years ago, an important principle people agreed upon (and I still agree with) was that, excluding nationals, each semester should have at most one hard tournament. In the past we've tried more informal ways to cajole people into line with that goal, but they haven't worked. It turned out that even when most of the online community says "You shouldn't write that extra hard tournament," it's very easy for some team to ignore the protest and just write that "Regionals+" event anyway. Since plenty of teams will end up going to whatever tournament is written on a given weekend, it's hard for me to imagine how spontaneous free association, without coordinated action, will keep people from writing whatever they want to the detriment of community goals.

I don't really share the fear that five people we know and appoint will become a suffocating bureaucracy. It's a fair question of what "teeth" to give this committee, which we would have to deliberate over to make it effective but not tyrannical. But I can think of several penalties a central planning body could impose on offenders, including fines, "suspensions" from one regular season event run by people who support the project, etc. It would require buy-in from the majority of writing teams and would have to be democratically administrated, but it could definitely be more effective than the finger-wagging of past seasons.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:06 pm
by vinteuil
The King's Flight to the Scots wrote:But I can think of several penalties a central planning body could impose on offenders, including fines, "suspensions" from one regular season event run by people who support the project, etc.
What criteria would you put in place for enforcement? If, say, an editing team is adamant that their tournament is "regular difficulty," how would you propose to "prove" that it's not in order to impose a fine (!!) upon them?

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:16 pm
by The King's Flight to the Scots
vinteuil wrote:
The King's Flight to the Scots wrote:But I can think of several penalties a central planning body could impose on offenders, including fines, "suspensions" from one regular season event run by people who support the project, etc.
What criteria would you put in place for enforcement? If, say, an editing team is adamant that their tournament is "regular difficulty," how would you propose to "prove" that it's not in order to impose a fine (!!) upon them?
The final decision would be up to the committee we elect, which would be receptive to public outcry in case of an unfair judgment, because all its powers rely on other teams going along with the concept. But honestly I don't think it's impossible to say "ACF Regionals 2017 is regular difficulty and This Tournament is a Crime is not" based on a combination of the eye test and observed stats.

My issue is just that past discussions of scheduling reform have really faltered when someone just does whatever they want. Maybe there are other ways of addressing that issue, I don't know - Mike's vision of the committee, fwiw, seems milder than my suggestions. Social sanction just doesn't seem very effective though.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:27 pm
by vinteuil
The King's Flight to the Scots wrote:
vinteuil wrote:
The King's Flight to the Scots wrote:But I can think of several penalties a central planning body could impose on offenders, including fines, "suspensions" from one regular season event run by people who support the project, etc.
What criteria would you put in place for enforcement? If, say, an editing team is adamant that their tournament is "regular difficulty," how would you propose to "prove" that it's not in order to impose a fine (!!) upon them?
The final decision would be up to the committee we elect, which would be receptive to public outcry in case of an unfair judgment, because all its powers rely on other teams going along with the concept. But honestly I don't think it's impossible to say "ACF Regionals 2017 is regular difficulty and This Tournament is a Crime is not" based on a combination of the eye test and observed stats.
Is TTIAC really the case you're thinking of? I assumed you were talking about, e.g. WAO, a regular+ tournament in a year with regular+ Penn Bowl and nationals+ TTIAC. Suppose the editors had insisted it was regular difficulty. Then what? Or suppose they thought it was regular difficulty when they were producing it, but later acknowledged their mistake?

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:34 pm
by Cheynem
I don't think I would really advocate for "actual" sanctions of the kind Matt describes. In a way, I think establishing some norms (many of which have been implied or accepted but have never really been formalized) might be helpful in the first place:

-how many tournaments per year should there be?
-what should the difficulty range of these tournaments be?
-when should they be held?
-for that matter, we could also talk about what we really mean when we talk about difficulty (i.e., is "regular plus" an useful way of thinking about difficulty? for that matter, is the concept of "regular" difficulty?)

What a "committee" might be helpful in doing is to simply formalize the answers to these questions, drawing upon a discussion involving as many stakeholders as possible, and then using these principles to help create a schedule that best serves the game.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:43 pm
by Sima Guang Hater
As one of the original people in the conversation, let me outline the problems I saw and what I wanted to accomplish with this.

This year, there were not enough regular difficulty tournaments in the fall, huge gaps between tournaments in the spring, tournaments that were confusingly named (CMST is the name of a middle school tournament), and some tournaments that were not mirrored widely enough (not to mention the dust-up that Penn Bowl had with its midwest mirrors and that random Northeastern tournament that got announced and then disappeared). The goal I wanted to set for a given competition year is 4 easy (NAQT Novice to MUT), 5-6 regular (including SCT/Regionals), 2 nationals (ACF and ICT), and 1 open tournament, each with geographically diverse mirrors that were well-attended.

A centralized group that comes up with a schedule (and posts it in a single, easily-accessible place, complete with dates and difficulties of each tournament), places tournaments upon it, and negotiates with teams about difficulty, timing, and mirror sites would remove this burden upon the community as a whole. Furthermore, such a body would be able to find deficiencies in the schedule easily, whether they be a lack of mirrors in particular regions (which they could then solicit mirrors for) or an unacceptable gap in the schedule (that they could then solicit volunteers to edit something to fill that gap). I think formalizing and centralizing this process is an excellent step towards streamlining schedule formation, and need not be antagonistic - I'm not advocating teams formally apply for permits or approval, simply that they announce their desire to run a tournament, and the committee could negotiate with them for a date (similarly to what already happens on the boards, but rather than simply announcing into the ether, they can also go to a centralized body). Eventually, I would also want to see this body sanctioned to do outreach, but that's a separate story.

As for enforcement, I don't think fines are necessary. When someone breaks a quizbowl social norm (Marshall purposefully writing shitty questions, Nick Jensen and Cameron Orth leaving nationals early), they are ridiculed and ostracized for it. I would hope that eventually a random team announcing an Open tournament and placing it on the schedule without any regard towards what's best for the larger community will face similar consequences.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:44 pm
by theMoMA
I don't necessarily disagree with the thrust of John's argument, and perhaps he indeed comes around to a synthesis between his and Mike's perspectives himself, but it seems to me that the fact that we have this subforum, and the fact that this subforum has not been particularly effective as a one-stop shop for arranging (and viewing) the harmonized college tournament schedule, is itself an argument for some kind of central administration. Indeed, the only time I can recall this subforum achieving a bare minimum of its goals was when someone diligent was steering it to that end. If nothing else, it would be nice to have someone fill that role again. I can say from experience that it's not feasible for one person to do it into perpetuity, and I expect most people will want diversity in geographic perspectives from any sort of centralization push, which leads me to conclude that it would be best if a collective with some kind of organizational structure ensuring its own perpetuation would be best. Like it or not, that means some kind of committee.

Whether or not that committee had some kind of sanctioning mechanism isn't, to me, the most important part of the argument. As I said above, I think that a central body could, if it provided enough of a benefit to the community, operate only on the threat of excluding derogating tournaments and parties from the collective benefit, as opposed to wielding the power to sanction. But that might be getting afield of the immediate concern, which is basically that someone should be in place to open this forum for a discussion each year (ideally multiple someones). If we could achieve that, we'd have a better idea of who was writing what and when, we could spot gaps in the calendar (hmm, there seem to be very few regular-difficulty events in the fall this year) and discuss how to close them, and we could do a much better job pairing new writers with editing teams seeking contributors.

Over time, I could see this growing into a real organization from a mostly informal collection of individuals who jumpstart the annual calendar discussion. One model might be this. Affiliated programs pay a small annual dues, which compensates the members of the organization for their time and provides an operating budget. The members manage an official collegiate quizbowl calendar and try to harmonize tournament dates in a yearly scheduling discussion. Throughout the year, some of the members serve as a resource for editing teams looking to host their events throughout the country, if they need help with that kind of coordination; others serve community functions such as compiling records and statistics and conducting the collegiate poll. Perhaps the organization begins to give out end-of-season awards. Maybe some of the members do historical research on quizbowl and compile "official" records from back in the day. As individuals drift away from the game, the organization can assume stewardship of various databases and online properties (such as this forum, even), ensuring that they remain community resources even as their creators or stewards become detached.

I don't think this looks like tyranny. Rather, I think it's a set of benefits and goals that no one individual can accomplish, but that a collection of individuals, set forth in the right direction, can achieve over time.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:51 pm
by ThisIsMyUsername
The King's Flight to the Scots wrote: It turned out that even when most of the online community says "You shouldn't write that extra hard tournament," it's very easy for some team to ignore the protest and just write that "Regionals+" event anyway. Since plenty of teams will end up going to whatever tournament is written on a given weekend, it's hard for me to imagine how spontaneous free association, without coordinated action, will keep people from writing whatever they want to the detriment of community goals.
How are players being ensnared into going to this tournament? Who's editing it: Svengali? Are we really such lemmings that we see an announced tournament that's too hard but nonetheless feel obliged by groupthink to unwillingly hurl ourselves off the difficulty cliff?

I was alive for the worst years of tournament glut--when there were more tournaments than most sane people want to go to. Sometimes we didn't want to go to a tournament. Maybe the tournament was the wrong difficulty, maybe we didn't like the editors' style, maybe we were just tired. What we did next may shock some of you: we didn't go to the tournament!

The idea that the community's interests are better served by what a committee says than by what the members of the community actually voluntarily choose to do is deeply suspicious.
I don't really share the fear that five people we know and appoint will become a suffocating bureaucracy. It's a fair question of what "teeth" to give this committee, which we would have to deliberate over to make it effective but not tyrannical. But I can think of several penalties a central planning body could impose on offenders, including fines, "suspensions" from one regular season event run by people who support the project, etc. It would require buy-in from the majority of writing teams and would have to be democratically administrated, but it could definitely be more effective than the finger-wagging of past seasons.
Geez, how could any of us have ever thought that this would turn "suffocating" or "tyrannical," when this has descended to discussing imposing economic sanctions and bans on non-compliant players, within just 24 hours of this being proposed?

To get us back to one of the main points being discussed here: has it ever actually happened that two editing teams picked the same date, and then decided to engage in a Mexican standoff rather than either side agreeing to change its date? If not, why are we dreaming up Draconian punitivie measures?

And if this someday happened, one of two things would result: (1) The tournament that the majority wants would draw almost all of the teams, and the other tournament would fold from lack of interest. (2) The second tournament would draw a sizeable minority share, and the decision of that sizeable minority to attend this tournament rather than the other would be proof that the committee's decision would have been a tyranny of the majority--that is, the unjustified suppression of the possibility of an alternative choice that the minority really wants.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:54 pm
by The King's Flight to the Scots
I'm happy to back down on the fines point if people think it's beyond the pale, and I agree that Eric and Mike's suggestions would be a positive improvement. To Jacob: I guess I agree that the WAO case might be controversial, but I don't think anyone (including you or the editors) seems to really dispute that it's "Regionals+" - the point about a team intending to produce a regular set, and ending up producing something that everyone agrees is not regular, seems rarer to me than a team deliberately producing a regular+ set.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:58 pm
by Cheynem
I still believe that the point of the "committee" was not to solve the specific nuts and bolts type problems John is talking about (I'm not really worried about two tournaments on the same day, which he correctly points out doesn't happen), and simply to do things we all want to see happen:

-create a consistent, more formalized schedule that is easily accessible
-work to ensure a more regular schedule for quizbowl that sets up a fair allotment of different difficulty tournaments

John is correct that in the old days, the rule of the "marketplace of ideas" prevailed in quizbowl and that people simply didn't go to the tournaments they didn't want to go to. My feeling is that while this might be fine for some teams, particularly those in the "know," such a system would be very confusing and problematic for a number of teams, especially newer teams. Scheduling reform would be helpful to ensure a more organized system.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:02 pm
by The King's Flight to the Scots
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
The King's Flight to the Scots wrote: It turned out that even when most of the online community says "You shouldn't write that extra hard tournament," it's very easy for some team to ignore the protest and just write that "Regionals+" event anyway. Since plenty of teams will end up going to whatever tournament is written on a given weekend, it's hard for me to imagine how spontaneous free association, without coordinated action, will keep people from writing whatever they want to the detriment of community goals.
How are players being ensnared into going to this tournament? Who's editing it: Svengali? Are we really such lemmings that we see an announced tournament that's too hard but nonetheless feel obliged by groupthink to unwillingly hurl ourselves off the difficulty cliff?

I was alive for the worst years of tournament glut--when there were more tournaments than most sane people want to go to. Sometimes we didn't want to go to a tournament. Maybe the tournament was the wrong difficulty, maybe we didn't like the editors' style, maybe we were just tired. What we did next may shock some of you: we didn't go to the tournament!

The idea that the community's interests are better served by what a committee says than by what the members of the community actually voluntarily choose to do is deeply suspicious.
I just vehemently disagree that people's occasional, individual choices not to attend some tournament on a weekend amounts to some kind of real deterrent for people from producing bad tournaments. People who want to win Nationals attend tournaments they're unenthused about all the time because they're what's there, and it seems totally fantastic to think some kind of laissez-faire regime, where the signal "This is a bad tournament" is by your own admission indistinguishable from the signal "My team was kinda tired and/or busy," will actually serve as some invisible hand incentivizing better production.

As for the rest of your post, yes, I did suggest (offhandedly) a fine (!!) on people for doing something bad, which would not be dissimilar from the fines editors impose on people who submit shoddy or late packets. Other people have still decided that that's a bridge too far, and nobody seems to be in the mood for doing it. That's the benefit of a democratic and open process over one where some unaccountable individual or team just does whatever they want.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:04 pm
by ThisIsMyUsername
theMoMA wrote: One model might be this. Affiliated programs pay a small annual dues, which compensates the members of the organization for their time and provides an operating budget. The members manage an official collegiate quizbowl calendar and try to harmonize tournament dates in a yearly scheduling discussion. Throughout the year, some of the members serve as a resource for editing teams looking to host their events throughout the country, if they need help with that kind of coordination; others serve community functions such as compiling records and statistics and conducting the collegiate poll. Perhaps the organization begins to give out end-of-season awards. Maybe some of the members do historical research on quizbowl and compile "official" records from back in the day. As individuals drift away from the game, the organization can assume stewardship of various databases and online properties (such as this forum, even), ensuring that they remain community resources even as their creators or stewards become detached.

I don't think this looks like tyranny. Rather, I think it's a set of benefits and goals that no one individual can accomplish, but that a collection of individuals, set forth in the right direction, can achieve over time.
I may be a current member of Chicago's team, with its Scrooge McDuck-like store of cash. But I remember full well what it was like to be a part of Yale's team, back when we had to pay for tons of our expenses out of pocket. Making quizbowl more expensive for anyone should be the last thing on our minds, especially when it sounds like we're paying people to notice schedule gaps that everyone can see, resolve date conflicts that already get resolved, do upkeep of records that are sitting motionless rather than trying to escape our database, moderate a forum that has never lacked for moderators, and generally prod people to come with the kinds of solutions that they appear to be coming up with anyway.

If you're trying to attract new teams, maybe adding another burden to their budget in order to secure nebulous benefits that they don't actually reap is not the best tactic?

Honestly, can someone please name some concrete rather than vague, abstract thing that this would achieve that is not within our grasp already? All of these so far sound like marginally better-executed versions of what we already do.

Also, an operating budget...for what? In the world in which we're paying people for this organizational labor, what are the additional costs of doing any of the other things you listed?

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:08 pm
by ThisIsMyUsername
The King's Flight to the Scots wrote: It seems totally fantastic to think some kind of laissez-faire regime, where the signal "This is a bad tournament" is by your own admission indistinguishable from the signal "My team was kinda tired and/or busy," will actually serve as some invisible hand incentivizing better production.
If only we additionally had some kind of online discussion forum where people could publically say whether they thought a tournament was bad or declined to show up for other reasons...
Other people have still decided that that's a bridge too far, and nobody seems to be in the mood for doing it. That's the benefit of a democratic and open process over one where some unaccountable individual or team just does whatever they want.
Yes, and we came to this agreement through discussing it among ourselves, and seeing what the community sentiment is, rather than needing some authority on high intervening! I'm not the one advocating for a less democratic or open process. You are, by virtue of suggesting that a subset of the community should have the power to override what the community as a whole wants to do.

I am suggesting a bottom-up process. You are suggesting a top-down process.

EDIT: My usual mélange of typos

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:10 pm
by Cheynem
It's somewhat disingenuous to say that the scheduling work could be done by anyone and is already being done: this subforum isn't really managed by anyone and is far from a very active place, nobody has produced a formal schedule for the year that is easily accessible from the main page, and nobody has bothered to set up a standard list of number of tournaments/difficulty. Obviously anybody could do this, but nobody has and unless someone is formally tasked with doing this, I don't think anyone will. I'm not certain we need to set up a formal method of payment in the vein that Andrew discusses, but certainly some compensation would be appreciated.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:13 pm
by Victor Prieto
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:You are all currently posting in a sub-forum in which threads were set up to accomplish every single one of these tasks! There is a thread that includes what is supposed to be the schedule for the year. There is a thread in which people discuss which necessary tournament slots/functions are already filled and which ones need filling. And there is a thread in which people express interest in joining writing teams.

The problem is not that this resource doesn't exist. The problem appears to be that no one is using this resource. I would suggest two possible reasons: (1) For people used to doing such negotiations off-forums, it is much simpler to continue to do so; (2) No one has stepped up to maintain this subforum.

Given these difficulties, though, I would think that by far the more sensible approach would be to ask: "What changes can we make to the existing subforum, so that people are more inclined to use it?" rather than leaping to the conclusion that what we need is to invest power in some bureaucracy.
not a complete solution

I suggest moving renaming this subforum "Scheduling" or something along those lines, and moving it from Collegiate Discussion to Collegiate Announcements. The "Mirror requests" subforum for the regular season tournaments in the high school section seems to work pretty well at organizing set usage across multiple regions. Of course, not everything about organizing mirrors of high school sets can be applied to college sets, but that doesn't mean we can't apply some of them. This subforum would be almost entirely comprised of global announcements, changing the onus being on one person to maintain a "planning and discussion" post to each head editor maintaining their own global announcement.

This could induce a radical restructuring of the collegiate schedule in isolated regions like California or the UK. These regions could not be constrained to use housewrites on specific weekends, but instead schedule tournaments on housewrites whenever they want throughout the year. To some extent, this already happens, but this reorganization could change people's perspective on the way they view their local tournament schedule.

This subforum could also be used for polls gauging public interest in the optimal number and difficulty of sets for the upcoming year (not the perfect environment for a poll, but better than nothing).

p.s. it took me thirty minutes to write this post and like so much happened

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:15 pm
by ThisIsMyUsername
Cheynem wrote:It's somewhat disingenuous to say that the scheduling work could be done by anyone and is already being done: this subforum isn't really managed by anyone and is far from a very active place, nobody has produced a formal schedule for the year that is easily accessible from the main page, and nobody has bothered to set up a standard list of number of tournaments/difficulty. Obviously anybody could do this, but nobody has and unless someone is formally tasked with doing this, I don't think anyone will. I'm not certain we need to set up a formal method of payment in the vein that Andrew discusses, but certainly some compensation would be appreciated.
As long as the things listed (producing a formal schedule, set up a standard list of tournaments/difficulty) is the full extent of this, I will do this for free for next academic year, if people decide they want this. If no one is willing to step and do this aftewards, then I really don't know what this community has come to. This is so much easier than most of the other stuff we do for free in this game.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:19 pm
by The King's Flight to the Scots
ThisIsMyUsername wrote:
The King's Flight to the Scots wrote: It seems totally fantastic to think some kind of laissez-faire regime, where the signal "This is a bad tournament" is by your own admission indistinguishable from the signal "My team was kinda tired and/or busy," will actually serve as some invisible hand incentivizing better production.
If only we additionally had some kind of online discussion forum where people could publically say whether they thought a tournament was bad or declined to show up for other reasons...
To what extent does anyone actually do this, without any form of institutional continuity in place? And to bring in a problem we're discussing, would individual in-the-know forum readers actually decline to go to a hard event that's competently written? It seems like the problem we wanted to address is exactly that having too many hard events is bad for the whole of the community rather than the consumers on here.
Other people have still decided that that's a bridge too far, and nobody seems to be in the mood for doing it. That's the benefit of a democratic and open process over one where some unaccountable individual or team just does whatever they want.
Yes, and we came to this agreement through discussing it among ourselves, and seeing what the community sentiment is, rather than needing some authority on high intervening! I'm not the one advocating for a less democratic or open process. You are, by virtue of suggesting that a subset of the community should have the power to override what the community as a whole wants to do.

My most extreme suggestion, which I am happy to back down from, was that a subset of the community should have precedented powers to govern what the community as a whole wants to do, rather than just letting individual defectors derail the plan at will. I definitely disagree that an anarchic system requiring total, spontaneous consensus is "more democratic" than one where people talk and come to a decision that is then codified by an agent.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:21 pm
by The King's Flight to the Scots
If we can assent to actually producing one schedule with directives that we discuss and agree upon that seems like progress to me, fwiw.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:55 pm
by vinteuil
Victor Prieto wrote:\
I suggest moving renaming this subforum "Scheduling" or something along those lines, and moving it from Collegiate Discussion to Collegiate Announcements. The "Mirror requests" subforum for the regular season tournaments in the high school section seems to work pretty well at organizing set usage across multiple regions. Of course, not everything about organizing mirrors of high school sets can be applied to college sets, but that doesn't mean we can't apply some of them. This subforum would be almost entirely comprised of global announcements, changing the onus being on one person to maintain a "planning and discussion" post to each head editor maintaining their own global announcement.
Definitely agree, if absolutely nothing else, that having a subforum for global announcements of regular-season tournaments (and maybe a separate one for summer/side events) is a really, really good idea.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:22 pm
by theMoMA
To be clear, I was not suggesting a formal, dues-paying structure be imposed from the get go. Rather, that is one possible mechanism for, as I said, a more informal association of committed individuals to coalesce into an actual organization, which would occur over time and with the advice and consent of the involved teams and people. Paraphrasing what I said before, the short-term goal should be to find people who are interested in doing small tasks, like managing this subforum. But in the longer term, and as the game expands, that could evolve into a wider-reaching mission, and if it does, it would be unfair to assume that people will do it for free or without a budget, hence the funding proposal.

Whether things move that way depends on a lot of factors, including whether the game becomes more financially secure in ways that would enable people to make money off of their work (which is, by the way, part and parcel of "professionalism"--something that people seem to forget when imputing that label on the various organizations that depend mostly on the charity of their members right now). Perhaps a more minimal footprint will be better for the game; perhaps the game won't ever grow enough to render a funded central organization feasible. But I think it's good to aspire to these kinds of things, because, you know, it would be nice if quizbowlers could provide all these nice benefits to the community and receive fair compensation for doing so.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:28 pm
by bradleykirksey
Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote:I'm inclined to the belief that running a "rogue" tournament against something more established like SCT is its own punishment: people won't go to your event and you will have wasted your time.

Further, I refuse to believe that any rogue quizbowl organizations are out there thinking "he he he, I am going to destroy ACF by running my random housewrite the same weekend as ACF Regionals!" More likely, the hypothetical "rogue housewrite" editors want their tournament to attract as many people as possible, and thus desire to conflict with as few things as possible.

My hypothesis therefore is that if you simply make it easier for folks to find out the dates of existing, established tournaments, novice editors will use this information to schedule their tournaments on weekends where conflict is minimized. And if this fails, somebody like Mike Cheyne could email them and say, informally, "Hey, it's very exciting that you guys want to write your own tournament, but your date is also the date of some other important tournament. I think you'll get a bigger crowd if you schedule your tournament for one of these other dates. Also, let me know if you have any questions about writing or editing your own tournament!"

hsquizbowl.org itself has a database of upcoming tournaments. It's a good start.
This seems like it would have every single benefit that a committee would have while not stifling new writers/editors (which I'm being led to believe is the single biggest problem) all without additional energy and titles. No one in their right mind is going to spend a hundred hours writing a set to try to lure 2 teams away from SCT.

Can't we just do this?

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:33 pm
by Cheynem
I mean this is basically what I was advocating for in much less formal language--someone/group who maintained a schedule and took steps to ensure the schedule was balanced and made sense.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:10 pm
by a bird
In the thread about the ideal schedule some people discussed utility of having a novice difficulty tournament early in the spring semester. I personally agree with Eric Wolfsberg, and think that a tournament like this should probably exist in every major circuit.
Milhouse wrote:I'm not sure this is actually precedented, but I think it would be nice to have a novice/Fall-or-below (that is, not MUT-like) tournament in the Spring, since some schools have Spring activities fairs that can bring in brand-new people then.
Furthermore, I think having a Delta Burke mirror fill this role (as Chandler West suggested in the other thread) is probably more useful than having a Delta Burke mirror in November or December. Whether or not a tournament like this is a real need is open for debate, but I'm going to use it as an example of how a scheduling committee could help solve a real problem.

If we had a central schedule (e.g. created by a committee), we could have a standard winter/early spring novice slot. Under the current model, many regions don't have a winter/early spring novice event at all, despite viable question sets existing. This year hosts had the option of Delta Burke and FST, but many regions still didn't have a spring novice tournament. Having a more formal process or committee to build the schedule would help such an even become a reality almost all regions; maybe the committee would help line up hosts and do outreach (this would be more viable in the model Andrew Hart proposed where teams pay dues of some sort). This is a minor point, but dates could probably be changed to better meet the needs of specific regions (in this case, perhaps not in cases like SCT and Regionals). This seems highly preferable to our current situation where two sets (Delta Burke and FST) are available, but neither is too widely mirrored.

Perhaps some members of the community think the current system meets the real needs of the circuit well (or well enough), but this seems like an example where the current model is not allocating resources efficiently and is not meeting the needs of the circuit.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:26 pm
by A Very Long Math Tossup
As far as fees go (if it's even necessary), I'm kind of hesitant about telling new schools "if you want to try quizbowl, you have to start paying membership dues." It might be better to tack a couple dollars onto the mirror fees for independently written tournaments.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 3:30 pm
by UlyssesInvictus
Instead of fees, how do people feel about a "commitment" to staff a tournament? Right now, in the Northeast at least, there's a lot of under-the-table horse trading to figure out who has to host what. Some regularized "you staff this, we staff this" system would simultaneously act as a quid pro quo for attending tournaments, and also flush out that process of assigning staffing duties into the open. If this were to be regularized, I'm sure there could also be some system for recruiting staffers to hosts who otherwise lack resources.

This is for the Northeast though; I'm not sure how this would work in regions with sparser potential hosts where many of the yearly tournaments often depend on a single or few reliable hosts.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:08 pm
by vinteuil
A Very Long Math Tossup wrote:As far as fees go (if it's even necessary), I'm kind of hesitant about telling new schools "if you want to try quizbowl, you have to start paying membership dues." It might be better to tack a couple dollars onto the mirror fees for independently written tournaments.
Or to waive the dues for programs in their first X years of existence?

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:52 pm
by theMoMA
Although I'm probably more strongly of the opinion than most that quizbowl should aspire to pay everyone for their valuable work, the discussion of fees is really putting the cart before the horse; I apologize for opening that can of worms, on the quickly disproven assumption that the phrase "over time, I could see this growing..." would clearly indicate to people that I did not mean that committee dunners would soon arrive on the doorstop of Dickety Doo U demanding their annual dues. The issue right now is whether people will agree to relinquish some just a tiny bit of autonomy, in simply acknowledging the presence of a benevolent coordinator for the collegiate schedule, to help achieve a better and more coordinated calendar for everyone. (I do find it a bit amusing that the prevailing wisdom of the thread seems to be "we don't want no stinkin' committee, just someone who will manage this forum and help resolve conflicts and coordinate efforts," when that is about the most dramatic thing that anyone is proposing in the short to medium range.)

If the community, perhaps following a few large programs that lead the way, eventually comes together and figures out a way to invest such a system with more authority and structure (and ideally, remuneration), in a way that respects the historic norms of the game and its scheduling while improving on the relative anarchy of the current system, I hope everyone can agree that it would be a good thing. But in the meantime, I'd hope we can come to a more immediate agreement that, if a gently guiding hand can be found to push us toward that higher place, we should gladly accept all the help we can get.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Mon Apr 02, 2018 11:28 pm
by Benin Rebirth Party
A central committee could also be useful as a source not just for matching writers and editors but also more involved collegiate writer/editor training. The committee could work with other companies to help produce questions for NSC or NASAT if these novice collegiate writers would rather be playing a medium level difficulty tournament. This can address some of the problems raised in the pressing problems thread about how people from Dickety Doo U can get involved in the community.

Re: Quizbowl Needs a Scheduling Committee

Posted: Fri Jun 08, 2018 6:23 pm
by swimmerstar
vinteuil wrote:
Victor Prieto wrote:\
I suggest moving renaming this subforum "Scheduling" or something along those lines, and moving it from Collegiate Discussion to Collegiate Announcements. The "Mirror requests" subforum for the regular season tournaments in the high school section seems to work pretty well at organizing set usage across multiple regions. Of course, not everything about organizing mirrors of high school sets can be applied to college sets, but that doesn't mean we can't apply some of them. This subforum would be almost entirely comprised of global announcements, changing the onus being on one person to maintain a "planning and discussion" post to each head editor maintaining their own global announcement.
Definitely agree, if absolutely nothing else, that having a subforum for global announcements of regular-season tournaments (and maybe a separate one for summer/side events) is a really, really good idea.
Is anyone doing this for next season?