IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

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IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by jonah » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:44 pm

The steering committee is meeting a week from today: Sunday, February 8. As one of the non-coach liaisons to the committee, I would like to ask if anyone has requests for issues they'd like me (or either of the other liaisons, Neal Kfoury and Siva Sundaram, though I don't know whether Neal reads these boards) to bring up at the meeting.

The major issue that I plan to discuss right now is the finding of a vendor for next year's kickoff tournaments since Aegis won't be doing it. I plan to recommend HSAPQ (despite the lack of math), or alternatively NAQT, but if I'm forgetting about any good question vendors or if people's opinions/recommendations differ, let me know. Anything else?
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by BGSO » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:50 pm

Question: What can the IHSSBCA do that the IHSA cant and vice-versa?

3 part bonuses and abolition of math are the obvious, with IMO 3 parters coming before math.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by jonah » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:53 pm

The IHSSBCA can do anything with its own tournaments and nothing with the IHSA state series (and by extension, the rules that many other tournaments adopt), though I believe the IHSA recognizes the legitimacy of the IHSSBCA to some extent such that it would listen to IHSSBCA recommendations. Clearly "listen to" doesn't mean "implement". Also, not everyone in the IHSSBCA or even on the steering committee has the same opinion of what constitutes good quizbowl: some think that three-line tossups are two and a half lines too long, some think that computational math is an inextricable part of quizbowl, etc.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by JackGlerum » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:04 am

The Kickoff vendor is an important issue, but part of a bigger goal that you may want to elucidate on Sunday. To put it plainly, if normal 3-part bonuses do not become standard practice in the next year or two, bad stuff is probably gonna happen. I got homework to do right now but I'll try to expand on this later.

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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Feb 02, 2009 12:44 am

Jonah is correct. The people who can change the IHSA Rule Book are shown here and here, and the Rule Book gives the distribution and the bonus structure. I don't think that any of them will be at the IHSSBCA meeting, though Grierson and I will attend both the IHSSBCA and IHSA meetings, the latter as non-voting guests.

The idea to run Kickoffs this year using mACF style bonuses came about because of a discussion at the IHSA meeting, though the decision was made by the IHSSBCA. Similarly, discussions at IHSSBCA meetings can lead to topics being brought up at IHSA meetings. The IHSA group meets only once a year, typically in April.

Adding to what Jonah said, any IHSSBCA member is welcome at our annual meeting, which is the one next week. Our other three yearly meetings, two of which are virtual, are generally open only to Steering Committee members and now Liaisons. I'll add that the sooner agenda items are raised the better, since I can send out an update in the next day or two and give people a chance to think about them. Sometimes issues that are raised at the last second sound like they are not thought out thoroughly, whether or not that is actually the case. I welcome all emails and posts.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Wed Feb 04, 2009 8:05 pm

I strongly recommend HSAPQ for Kickoffs.
Other topics -
*Questions for Turnabouts should probably go to NAQT A-levels or IS sets.
*Revamping the question vendor page. Right now, Avery and Chip are on an equal footing with HSAPQ and NAQT. The Coaches' Association should do something to recognize good quality questions on that list. I doubt you'd be able to remove the bad quality vendors, but something like an "IHSSBCA recognized for excellence" stamp of approval for good writers.
*IHSSBCA webhosting for stats pages. The tourney central page has redirects to stats pages for finished tournaments, but sponsored webhosting may get more people to find out about SQBS and more participation in getting stats out there.
*Push pool play for afternoon playoffs at invitationals, as well as increases in the number of playoff teams.
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by jonah » Wed Feb 04, 2009 11:12 pm

I have added the question vendor and statistics hosting ideas to what I want to cover. The statistics hosting should be very easy and uncontroversial (I hope), and the question vendors idea fits in well with an idea I had yesterday, to designate tournaments that use high-quality pyramidal questions as such. The first idea regarding NAQT IS or IS-A sets is consistent with what I already plan to recommend, and the one about tournament afternoons is good but probably won't fit into this meeting. Thanks, Brad.

Jack, I'd still like to hear your further comments, and anyone else's too.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Tegan » Thu Feb 05, 2009 12:07 am

JackGlerum wrote:if normal 3-part bonuses do not become standard practice in the next year or two, bad stuff is probably gonna happen.
You should likely expand on this, because, as a member of the AdCo Board, I regret to say that the environment for change right now is not looking good.

One of the things I had hoped for is that there would not be a lot of discussion regarding this throughout the year ..... and that if anything negative did come up, it would die quickly. My sales job is a lot more difficult now. There is a plan in place which we will start acting on in March to try and convince those people who need to be convinced.

I would like to see a concerted and focused letter writing campaign to select people ..... It will be critical to involve as many former/current Class A and southern Illinois people (players and coaches) as possible. When the time is right, I will post important contact information. I am hoping that these people receiving a lot of mail all at once will find it very difficult to buck the tide, and will be more willing to listen to reason.

If you know people associated with Class A programs and/or central-southern Illinois programs, keep these people in mind, because when the time is right, we will need to ask them to step up to the plate and write a letter trying to convince the AdCo to support what we want.

Based on the hair and feathers that went flying earlier this year, I am sadly thinking there is not a good chance of this working. It would have been better to allow sleeping dogs to lie, and run a strong campaign that sticks to the overwhelming strength of our argument.

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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by rjaguar3 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:28 am

I can probably elaborate on why Illinois bonuses suck:

1. They unnecessarily slow the game down. As an example, we finished 5 rounds of 20/20 at Penn Bowl in about 3 hours. At Kaneland, teams only got 4 rounds of 20/20 in the same time (and this was in Mike Laudermith's and my room; the other rooms were at least 30 minutes slower), which translates to 20% fewer questions. At no Illinois tournament does a team play more than 9 rounds, which is common everywhere else. Yes, there are slow moderators, but the format is a major obstacle to playing more games. Since the games are so slow, it is also harder to add longer questions without significantly increasing the length of matches. I'm sorry, but 30/30 at State Finals in 75 minutes doesn't cut it.

2. They lend themselves to non-intermediacy (bonuses that are of an all-or-nothing nature, unlike bonuses that divide teams into 0-10-20-30 groups). I'll give an example in literature. Most 30-point lit bonuses are of the "title-character-author", "title-author-lesser-known title", or the like. Those bonuses are possible because the answers are given after each part. For example, I may not know that Okonkwo was a character in Things Fall Apart, but I could get 10 points for identifying the author of Things Fall Apart as Chinua Achebe.

What this leads to is the proliferation of all-or-nothing and binary-matching bonuses, even in otherwise good sets. A bonus in the 2006 NT Varsity asked teams to find the four nonreal sixth roots of 1, which is impossible to get only one, two, or three parts correct. Other overused bad bonuses like the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium conditions, the three kings of Israel and Judah, and books of the Lord of the Rings trilogy thrive in place of questions that award points based on differing levels of knowledge. Binary-matching bonuses are also a problem that Illinois format exacerbates. Since you can't meaningfully ask about one literary work (unless you ask REALLY specific questions that ensure that teams that have never read the work get 0), you get crap bonuses like "match the work to the author", which are far less informative and helpful to teams than real bonuses that give an indication of why the work is worth knowing about, why it is more than just another line on a list.

3. The bonus format entrenches bad question writers by locking out good packets written in the regular format. NAQT only provides one Illinois format set, an those questions are subpar compared to sets written for normal format. Aegis has been decreasing the number of sets it produces in the past few years. So, if you want to write an Illinois-format tournament on good questions, you have to either use one of those two providers or house-write at least the bonuses. This significantly limits the number of good tournaments teams can attend, leaving a vacuum for worthless, terrible tournaments on horrid questions, like Kaneland and Fremd. Changing the bonus format would essentially close the vacuum and significantly decrease the number of bad tournaments.

4. The Illinois bonus format encourages the worst kind of rules bloat and lawyering. In the past, coaches got moderators to disqualify a team from the bonus because #5 was chewing a pencil (I'm sure Mr. Price can attest to this in IESA). Even today, there are still strict rules on who can ask for a repeat, when teams can talk, when teams can write, and so on. It makes it harder for moderators to enforce timing as well. In ACF format it is easy to count to four, say "Captain!", then call time one second later. Illinois format's 30 second limit requires a stopwatch and someone else to time (unless you can keep track of 30 seconds on your fingers). It would be a lot simpler to go to ACF format for bonuses just to simplify the rules. As the Advisory Committee brought up last year, Illinois quizbowl has too many rules to keep track of.

EDIT: One more thing I forgot, Illinois scoring is whack-o. The fact that there is a card to help scorers score 3-, 4-, and 5-part bonuses is just a testament to the unnecessary complexity of the system. A simple 10 points per answer is far easier to score, especially for people who've never officiated at a match before.

Tell me what you think of this and how you think this could be improved.
Greg (Vanderbilt 2012, Wheaton North 2008)

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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by JackGlerum » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:35 am

This is stating the obvious to forum-goers, but no vendors write good Illinois (bonus) format questions. There were no good Illinois format house-writes this year and the only company who wrote pyramidal tossups for Illinois format tournament was Aegis, and they won't be doing that ever again.

I think I've said this before, but I've played 8 tournaments this year, none of which have been Illinois format. So obviously, there are good, pyramidal, normal bonus-using tournaments around. I remember a few weeks ago when we playtested Masonic at practice, and we skipped the math and read the bonuses individually (despite being Illinois format), because everyone (including the people who aren't into quizbowl as much as the A team folks) was angry at the monotonous pace of Illinois format. I think a similar reaction would happen at New Trier or Auburn, but not many other places.

I think we have made huge strides in the proliferation of good tournaments this year, which has been great. However, these events usually pit the top teams against each other, that's it. Thus, I think the next step is (at least try) to regulate 3 part, individually read bonuses.

Of course, there will be boatloads of opposition, even from Chicagoland programs. When that infamous e-mail thread was active post-Davey & Goliath, the consensus among opposition coaches was that normal bonuses put too much emphasis on the individual, not the team. To quote two coaches,
As for why I don't care for the format, it is not Illinois format and I don't like upsetting my players with a format different than what they are and will be used to. I tell my players that "this one is for fun."
I know my opinion, and the opinion of many coaches I've talked to, is that the teams that prefer the format tend to be the stronger teams where knowledge is concentrated in one person or in everyone...I think the 10 second bonus format limits mental processing time, besides that those of us who teach know that writing and discussion increase recall tremendously, versus quick auditory cues is the absolutely worst way to recall information.
There have been coaches who have made concise arguments for Illinois format, but who admit that they may be converted if they are exposed to it more. There are also coaches who make thinly veiled "arguments" in which they basically say "we don't want to change". I honestly think both the former and latter coaches would eventually come around to the normal format if it is forced on them.

Now, what if this doesn't happen?

Statewide tournaments will use one liners. I guarantee Masonic will use a crappy vendor next year, and I suspect Kickoff will as well. That's not even taking IHSA State into account, which is a house waiting to crumble. I've heard that the "head editor" is a nun (confirm/deny).

To wrap up this rambling, if 3 part bonuses do not become the norm, like it is other places, we will remain in this current, static state of affairs in which the good teams go to good tournaments and the bad teams go to bad tournaments (some may say this is inevitable, but I think otherwise), with the season concluding with a mediocre, math laden, slow Illinois format tournament they call the State Championship. Not every team sets their goal for NSC. We can't change the fact that many people view IHSA stuff as the ultimate accomplishment, so I hold that the best way to fix the problem is to change the statewide format and I think it would be wise to bring it up at the upcoming steering meeting.

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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by jonah » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:14 am

Obviously you guys are preaching to the choir regarding bonus format, though it was great to see written out some of the thoughts that had been incoherently floating around in my head. So thanks for that. But can someone explain this email exchange I've heard occasional references to?
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by David Riley » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:21 am

Jack raises a good point. While there has been an increase in the number of good tournaments this year, the same ten teams or so come to all of them [with some notable exceptions, such as Richmond-Burton]. What else can we do to get other teams to embrace good quiz bowl?
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Tegan » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:25 am

JackGlerum wrote:I've heard that the "head editor" is a nun (confirm/deny).
Deny.

And, how did you become so privy to information that this system is on the verge of collapse? The IHSA in house writing is as far as I know still a go. Whether the quality of writing improves/stays the same/worsens is, as always, up to a certain level of interpretation.

Keep this in mind: if the IHSA in house writing were to disappear, the State series will be run on abyssmal questions.
JackGlerum wrote: with the season concluding with a mediocre, math laden, slow Illinois format tournament they call the State Championship.
Jack: while you and I agree with this, keep in mind that it was exactly this continuous ranting that sets off a lot of the people you and I need to change the minds of in order to instigate the changes we want. The post Davey and Goliath broohaha, unintentional as it was, may have buried us until at least 2011 when the AdCo changes over again. I have been spending time trying to put fires out. Despite what may be commonly accepted, some of those coaches actually do visit these boards, see the rants that people leave, and instead of convincing themselves that they should consider another option, they walk away thinking that they don't want to be working with disagreeable people like that. You and I may agree that this is not a great attitude to hold, but facts are facts: those attitudes exist, and, if you and I want change, those are the people we need to convert over. Simply writing them off and belittling them is counterproductive. As my uncle used to say: you can kill more stoolies with poisoned honey than with poisoned vinegar.

JackGlerum wrote:I hold that the best way to fix the problem is to change the statewide format.
Agreed (of course)
JackGlerum wrote:and I think it would be wise to bring it up at the upcoming steering meeting.
What the steering committee could do is sponsor more tournaments on good questions. As you noted, this year was a high water mark for good tournaments in Illinois. Change could be forced if such a huge percentage of tournaments were run on the new format, that IHSA State was forced into minority status, and people demanded that it change. That will be easier to do in the Chicago area, and harder to do in Central/Southern Illinois, but it could win over adherents that could push our cause over the top.

Aside from that, the IHSSBCA steering committee is somewhat less powerful. The president is traditionally invited to the AdCo meeting and they can introduce or discuss new items, argue for and against, but at the end of the day, they get no vote on the matter.

I am certainly not telling you what to do, Jack. However, I am asking you to consider an alternate approach.

I think Greg brought up some good points above: Focus on issues that are important to people who would be opposed: the new format saves time, it rewards more team work, it is easier on adult moderators (less rules), it is easier on players (less rules, less overall material to cover, improves the team overall). You and I may say that these are not the biggest reasons to change (the biggest reason to change is that the mACF format encourages better questions), but that is not going to be a tactic that works (they will come back and say "this favors elite teams", which is a bogus reason).

I think the biggest reason to change is this: teams who play this format get better and become the "elite teams". Teams who don't create and remain in a permanent underclass of teams. In fact, if we were all being selfish here and were only interested in making our own personal teams better, the status quo would be the best possible thing: the elite teams continue to play the better tournaments, and will continue to blow out the underachieving teams ..... in the past this would happen, but instead of happening 80% of the time, it will happen more like 99.99% of the time. The only way to bridge the gap is to start playing in the mACF format. In other words: opposing change is being in favor of keeping your team in a permanent underclass within quizbowl; a grossly illogical position to hold.

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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by the return of AHAN » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:11 pm

rjaguar3 wrote: The Illinois bonus format encourages the worst kind of rules bloat and lawyering. In the past, coaches got moderators to disqualify a team from the bonus because #5 was chewing a pencil (I'm sure Mr. Price can attest to this in IESA). Even today, there are still strict rules on who can ask for a repeat, when teams can talk, when teams can write, and so on. It makes it harder for moderators to enforce timing as well. In ACF format it is easy to count to four, say "Captain!", then call time one second later. Illinois format's 30 second limit requires a stopwatch and someone else to time (unless you can keep track of 30 seconds on your fingers). It would be a lot simpler to go to ACF format for bonuses just to simplify the rules. As the Advisory Committee brought up last year, Illinois quizbowl has too many rules to keep track of.
I will testify. A year ago, my team was DQ'd on a bonus because a girl still had her pencil in her hand during a match at the Metcalf Sweetheart Tournament. She clearly felt terrible, but she smiled when, at the next break, I told her that was MY fault for not drilling that into her head at practice. This year, my new 6th graders have affectionately adopted the Eganism of "Drop the pencil like a diseased ferret" when time is called on a bonus. :lol: :lol: :lol: What can I say? I used that simile when teaching them about the rule 3 weeks ago and it stuck!!
Jeff Price
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Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:26 pm

Many years ago, a coach told me after a match that he had considered telling the moderator not to accept bonus answers from my team because they were holding their pencils after the moderator said Pencils Down. The coach also warned me that my team would be disqualified if they held their pencils at State.

My response was that my team, with those same exact players, had been to State the year before and had held their pencils and nobody cared because there was no rule against it nor had there ever been. Fortunately, I don't coach Illinois junior high.

More substance soon...
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by David Riley » Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:41 pm

Several years ago (2005, to be exact), my team was ruled incorrect on a spelling (groan) bonus when they had spelled the words correctly. The opposing team--who agreed--proceeded to spell the words and was also ruled incorrect. When the opposing coach and I both challenged her, we were told "they didn't say 'capital' (these were all proper nouns)". When we then responded that wasn't in the rules, she said "I've been moderating junior high...."

Fortunately for good quiz bowl everywhere, that tournament no longer exists.

And one more reason to hate Illinois rules. :twisted:
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:08 pm

Here is the actual agenda (slightly redacted). If somebody asks me to add the attachment, I'll add the attachment:
We will meet at Bloomington Jr High beginning at 10:00 on Sunday, February 8. A note will follow with details as far as which door to enter and which room we are in, but the address is 901 North Colton Avenue, Bloomington, IL 61701.

1. Hall of Fame Announcement & Rob Grierson Friend of Scholastic Bowl

2. Elections
The positions up this year are Ombudsman and Treasurer.

3. Constitution, Policies, and Calendar
We will discuss the attachment, which, if passed, will appear on our website as three separate documents. The purpose of the first one is to replace our original Constitution, clarifying how we make decisions. The purpose of the second one is to provide transparency and consistency for our policies. The purpose of the third one is to provide more structure and organization. Keep in mind that the Constitution will be difficult to change once passed, so we want to get it right. The policies and calendar will be easy to change once passed—we still want to get them right, but we can revisit them at any time.

4. Kickoff and Turnabout Questions
The Kickoff question provider, Aegis, is no longer interested in providing questions. We also are getting grumblings about our Turnabout question provider. Frankly, I don’t have a solution. Most of the question vendors I know of do not produce questions that are professional quality, and the few that I like do not write questions in the IHSA format or distribution. If you have any writer you want to promote, please email some samples my way or bring them to the meeting.
A. Do we want Kickoff and Turnabout tossups to be pyramidal, and is this something that can be up to the writer?
B. Do we want Kickoff and Turnabout bonuses to be IHSA style, and is this something that can be up to the writer?
C. Do we want to use the IHSA distribution, and is this something that can be up to the writer?
D. Should we encourage packet submission by giving away a free membership and/or Awards Dinner tickets to anybody who writes a satisfactory round? If so, how will we handle quality control?
E. Who will write the Kickoff and Turnabout questions for next year?
F. What should we be communicating with the IHSA and/or Masons about these issues?

Time permitting, we may also want to discuss whether or not we should have standards as to which question providers we have relationships with. We currently allow anybody who wants to advertise in our newsletter, list everybody we know of as question providers on our website, and give away questions from anybody who donates them at SchoBowlFest. Is this a good policy, and, if it is not, what would be a better alternative?

5. Members Only Section of Website
An idea that has been on the back-burner for a few years that we are now at a point to seriously consider is a members-only section of our website. We should discuss what would be on the Members Only Section and what would remain in the public section. Current items whose placement should be discussed: tournament calendar and results, past newsletters, member directory, and our Links page. New items to consider: discussion board, reorganized Handbook, and any other ideas. As a related issue, we should discuss whether our meeting agendas should be posted before our meetings. (NOTE: This may be amended, since there is some consideration of using a WordPress blog format for the Members Only Section.)

6. Hall of Fame Veterans Committee
Our current system works by selecting four people each year as voted on by coaches who each have at least five years of experience. The concern with this system is that people are voting for the people they know, and coaches who retired recently are better known than ones who were important twenty or thirty years ago. Some people have proposed a change to the selection process which would lead to more people being selected who were important in the more distant past.
The idea is that the Veterans Committee would use a similar procedure, but it would only consider people who were significant in Illinois Scholastic Bowl at least twenty years ago, and the committee would only consist of people who started coaching at least twenty years ago. People who retired in the last twenty years would still be eligible for selection by this process as long as their contributions were significant even if you ignore the last twenty years. The Veterans Committee would be given one of the four spots. The regular committee would still consider everybody, and if the same person was chosen by both committees in a given year, then we would just induct the top four from the regular committee.

7. Grant Applications
I purposely am placing this at the end so that people have the option of leaving early if they don’t want to read through the applications in advance, though we can discuss any issues regarding grants as a committee before we get down to the actual proposals. We received nine applications asking for a total of $3100. We have enough money to fully fund these applications, but it is still important to look them over to decide if they are worthwhile and what conditions should be attached to the money. Even if there is unfinished business, I will cut off the rest of the meeting at 2:30 so that we can do so.
I'll add that webhosting stats is not something that needs to be discussed. A few years ago, at the beginning of the season, I sent out a message to all tournament hosts telling them that we would be happy to webhost their stats. I did not get any takers. If somebody sends me stats and asks me to post them, I will post them.
David Reinstein
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by the return of AHAN » Thu Feb 05, 2009 2:58 pm

David Riley wrote:Several years ago (2005, to be exact), my team was ruled incorrect on a spelling (groan) bonus when they had spelled the words correctly. The opposing team--who agreed--proceeded to spell the words and was also ruled incorrect. When the opposing coach and I both challenged her, we were told "they didn't say 'capital' (these were all proper nouns)". When we then responded that wasn't in the rules, she said "I've been moderating junior high...."

Fortunately for good quiz bowl everywhere, that tournament no longer exists.

And one more reason to hate Illinois rules. :twisted:
Capitalization was written out of the IESA rules 6 or 7 years ago... New this year; answers to math questions can be given as improper fractions and in terms of pi! :party:
We're making progress. I swear.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:14 pm

The Agenda wrote: A. Do we want Kickoff and Turnabout tossups to be pyramidal, and is this something that can be up to the writer?
B. Do we want Kickoff and Turnabout bonuses to be IHSA style, and is this something that can be up to the writer?
C. Do we want to use the IHSA distribution, and is this something that can be up to the writer?
D. Should we encourage packet submission by giving away a free membership and/or Awards Dinner tickets to anybody who writes a satisfactory round? If so, how will we handle quality control?
E. Who will write the Kickoff and Turnabout questions for next year?
F. What should we be communicating with the IHSA and/or Masons about these issues?
The wording here frightens me a little. Pyramidality should not be up for debate, nor should it be left to the writer. The IHSSBCA has the responsibility to support good quizbowl, not to debate whether good quizbowl should be allowed. The current level of support for mACF bonuses probably warrants debate, as does a change from IHSA distribution for Kickoff/Turnabout, because it is possible for a question set to be relatively good and use those things, but pyramidality should not even be on the table. At this point, it should just be assumed.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by mlaird » Thu Feb 05, 2009 3:44 pm

styxman wrote:The wording here frightens me a little. Pyramidality should not be up for debate, nor should it be left to the writer. The IHSSBCA has the responsibility to support good quizbowl, not to debate whether good quizbowl should be allowed. The current level of support for mACF bonuses probably warrants debate, as does a change from IHSA distribution for Kickoff/Turnabout, because it is possible for a question set to be relatively good and use those things, but pyramidality should not even be on the table. At this point, it should just be assumed.
Unfortunately, it was my idea to put it up for debate after the results at your Kickoff over in Sterling. With the backlash from the teams there, I felt that as a Statewide organization, we really needed to get the inputs of everyone on this. While I have very little doubt that the people who are against pyramidality who are on the Steering Committee will be proven the minority (Christianson and Lee?), I still feel like they deserve to have their opinions heard, and they need to find realize that they really don't have argumentative ground to stand on here. I am very interested to see what happens when HSAPQ is recommended for Kickoffs next year. I assume Sterling will not be hosting it again, given Cheryl's comments after this year.

P.S. I'm putting together an easy to follow flowchart / Word document of the email thread that has been referred to in this forum many-a-time. If you are interested in seeing it, email me at mlaird1 -at- gmail -dot- com.

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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by mlaird » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:15 pm

Also, I think Quizbowl's warring factions are a lot like this:


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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Captain Sinico » Thu Feb 05, 2009 6:45 pm

I hope that, if the IHSSBCA's constituents are issuing the call for stuff like non-pyramidal questions, everyone sees that as a clear-cut case in which the IHSSBCA ought to guide its members (away from their destructive and aberrant) views, rather than be guided by them and much less rather than allow them to dictate both the agenda and outcome.

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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by the return of AHAN » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:52 pm

FYI,
Good news! KP of Fremd passed out copies of NAQT sets and seemed to endorse their use as future conference questions.
Bad news... He ALSO told us of a petition circulating south of I-80 where they're intend to lobby AGAINST mACF formatted bonuses. He seemed to endorse this petition as a good thing, that things are moving towards 3-part 30-point bonuses too fast and that this process needs to be slowed down.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:54 pm

That might be one of the more moronic things I've ever heard, change for good is happening too fast!
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by BGSO » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:56 pm

Woody Paige wrote:FYI,
Good news! KP of Fremd passed out copies of NAQT sets and seemed to endorse their use as future conference questions.
Bad news... He ALSO told us of a petition circulating south of I-80 where they're intend to lobby AGAINST mACF formatted bonuses. He seemed to endorse this petition as a good thing, that things are moving towards 3-part 30-point bonuses too fast and that this process needs to be slowed down.
hmmm...when I've been talking about NAQT with him he made no mention of this developement... :w-hat:?
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by JackGlerum » Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:57 pm

Woody Paige wrote:a petition circulating south of I-80 where they're intend to lobby AGAINST mACF formatted bonuses
This will not end well.

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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Feb 05, 2009 10:35 pm

If it's any consolation, the only time I started a petition against IHSA policies, it led to my AD getting a phone call telling him to do a better job of controlling his Scholastic Bowl Coach and, after he said that that was not part of his job, me getting a phone call telling me that I had no idea what I was talking about.

There was also the time (at a past job) that a student started a petition to have me fired but gave up an hour later having only collected his own signature.

This will not end well because, as we learned from Laird's comic, Scholastic Bowl arguments don't end. :aaa: At least, I think that's what we learned.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by ktour84 » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:28 pm

Speaking as an alum of a class A school from Northern Illinois and an occasional contributor to IL high school quizbowl, I think going away from mACF style questions would be a huge step backwards. I can remember some of what passed for bonuses, especially in science. I don't want a return to "name the periodic elements symbols that spell chocolate" type questions because they don't reward real knowledge, just guess work. I'd be glad to help support any effort to prove that mACF style questions work.

As for the IHSA tournament, I have heard that they (the IHSA) may be changing formats for the 2010 state tournament. Because this is a public forum, that's all I will say for now. I'll answer more direct questions via email (kelly.tourdot@gmail.com) but not publicly.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Matt Weiner » Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:37 pm

styxman wrote:The IHSSBCA has the responsibility to support good quizbowl, not to debate whether good quizbowl should be allowed.
I think this guy is on to something.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Tegan » Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:09 am

Woody Paige wrote:Bad news... He ALSO told us of a petition circulating south of I-80 where they're intend to lobby AGAINST mACF formatted bonuses. He seemed to endorse this petition as a good thing, that things are moving towards 3-part 30-point bonuses too fast and that this process needs to be slowed down.
This is exactly what I was afraid of. I can only hope that this does not get going to well, but I am seriously afraid that this is going to end up in some sort of dumb stalemate ..... and if these folks get even 20-30 signatures it will enbolden them to keep things the way they are.

It seems like plan B for 2011 is going to have to be planned for more seriously.

I also would like to suggest that coaches who are against bad quizbowl are going to really have to start putting money where there mouths are: if there is a tournament using bad questions, quoting Nancy Reagan, "Just say no". This may also mean that you are going to have to push for more good tournaments to start.

Really a damn shame it had to go this way.

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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by jonah » Sun Feb 08, 2009 8:09 pm

Brief summary: the steering committee approved running next year's Kickoffs on a HSAPQ set, with bonuses bouncing back, and with tossups worth 15 points (because some people were annoyed that suddenly 30 bonus points were available per tossup instead of 20 and insisted on compensating). Turnabout will be done on questions submitted by blacklisted teams; Matt Laird is head-editing that, and will be assisted by me, Brad, and Kristin. Turnabouts will be in IHSA format/distribution (but 20 questions per round).

That discussion took the bulk of the meeting. Most of the rest of the time was spent discussing grants. I'd really like to recap some of that discussion, but I don't know whether it's appropriate, so I won't unless I hear otherwise.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Charley Pride » Sun Feb 08, 2009 10:14 pm

jonah wrote:Brief summary: the steering committee approved running next year's Kickoffs on a HSAPQ set, with bonuses bouncing back, and with tossups worth 15 points (because some people were annoyed that suddenly 30 bonus points were available per tossup instead of 20 and insisted on compensating).

I'm pretty happy about the HSAPQ news, but I don't know what to make of the 15-point tossups. It's kind of dumb, I guess. So every tossup is a power...It doesn't even make sense.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by mlaird » Mon Feb 09, 2009 1:20 am

jonah wrote:Turnabout will be done on questions submitted by blacklisted teams; Matt Laird is head-editing that, and will be assisted by me, Brad, and Kristin. Turnabouts will be in IHSA format/distribution (but 20 questions per round).
I feel the need to elucidate upon this, since we're doing something that is, really, unprecedented in Illinois. We wanted Turnabouts to be a high quality writer. There was some trepidation over straying from the IHSA distribution (the bonus format wasn't the contentious issue here); specifically, computational math. We threw out a few options and discussed where future vendors who might write to IHSA format might come from. We discussed a number of things, and eventually we decided that a "house-written" tournament might be best. When we realized that the number of people who wrote quality questions and would be willing to help write an IHSA format tournament were few, and that left a smattering of woefully inexperienced writers, we decided to turn the tables.

Turnabouts will be run very similar to a packet submission tournament, and the teams who are writing the questions will be volunteers from the fifty teams on the IHSSBCA's blacklist for these tournaments. Teams will be invited to produce a packet of 20/20 IHSA format which will be edited by the aforementioned editors.

We don't have specifics regarding guidelines or anything else yet, but we have some ideas for them. Expect to see a thread in here about it soon.

An ideal world might also see me, or other writers with experience, maybe spending an afternoon with teams that have volunteered to write a set of questions (at a practice or something), running a sort of question writing bootcamp. This is an idea, and I don't know how realistic it is yet.

Let me know your thoughts; I know I'm pretty excited about this opportunity. It encourages teams to write, which will hopefully lead to more house-writes in Illinois, and will ideally provide some good questions for a tournament that has traditionally had bad ones.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by harpersferry » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:19 pm

I'd like to say that I support said Turnabout idea. Increase writing capacity of the top teams, give weaker teams more exposure. If it works, it'll be brilliant.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Feb 09, 2009 7:26 pm

I would definitely warn against the "blacklisted" teams from succumbing to the fallacy of "I know it, so it must be easy" and then writing on all kinds of inappropriate things given the field. If you can ensure this won't happen in the vast majority of the packets you're given to edit (and can feasibly combine the ones that dont work out with good packets and significantly fix them) then I think this idea is really cool.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by STPickrell » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:56 am

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:I would definitely warn against the "blacklisted" teams from succumbing to the fallacy of "I know it, so it must be easy" and then writing on all kinds of inappropriate things given the field. If you can ensure this won't happen in the vast majority of the packets you're given to edit (and can feasibly combine the ones that dont work out with good packets and significantly fix them) then I think this idea is really cool.
Agreed with Charlie here. Could someone experienced serve as 'Tribune of the People' and veto overly difficult questions?
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Deviant Insider » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:32 am

Charlie and Shawn are absolutely correct. We will put out a question writing guide, something Matt has experience with, and we will have editors making sure that we get good questions out of this. Most of the questions will be written by people who have never written questions before, and several of us have enough experience to realize that you don't just put out a call for questions and have perfect sets appear in your Inbox (though anybody who wants to disprove this assertion is free to email me or Matt).
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by David Riley » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:45 am

Even if someone takes on that role, it is going to be difficult.....because of how our schools are funded, there tend to be "haves" and "have nots", even among the Turnabout teams. Then, most of the blacklisted teams come from the Chicago suburban area and a large number of those students for various reasons are going to have no idea what the curricula is like in the rest of the state. I know I couldn't take on this role.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by BGSO » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:36 pm

Well then the question once again arises on whether or not the turnabouts should be two completely different sets of questions? It seems to be an option, however won't that just continue to increase the disparities between the top and bottom teams (this is relative of course)?
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by jonah » Tue Feb 10, 2009 12:46 pm

BGSO wrote:Well then the question once again arises on whether or not the turnabouts should be two completely different sets of questions? It seems to be an option, however won't that just continue to increase the disparities between the top and bottom teams (this is relative of course)?
It's not really an option. Firstly, how are we going to precisely divide schools into two categories based on wealth? There's no way to do it without unnecessarily pissing off a bunch of people. Also, I'm fairly sure we're going to be struggling to get enough submissions for one set, let alone two.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by at your pleasure » Tue Feb 10, 2009 5:53 pm

Well then the question once again arises on whether or not the turnabouts should be two completely different sets of questions?
Considering the fact that bifuricated sets tend not to work all that well, I would be inclined just to use one set. I would not worry too much about curriculum disparities, since it is reasonable to presume that quizbowlers will be interested in aquiring outside knowledege.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Dresden_The_BIG_JERK » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:05 pm

Isn't the whole point of the tournabouts to expose less successful teams to the canon at a piece they're more likely to be competitive in? I understand that there's a line of what's appropriate and not, but watering down the questions too much seems kind of antithetical to the whole purpose.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Matt Weiner » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:07 pm

Dresden The Moderator wrote:Isn't the whole point of the tournabouts to expose less successful teams to the canon at a piece they're more likely to be competitive in? I understand that there's a line of what's appropriate and not, but watering down the questions too much seems kind of antithetical to the whole purpose.
A literature tossup on "Russia" that mentions plot elements from "Fathers and Sons" is just as much "exposing teams to the canon" as a tossup on "Fathers and Sons" would be, and achieves the goal of higher question conversion. There is no conflict between writing easy questions and writing good, academic questions with solid clues.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:48 pm

mlaird wrote:
jonah wrote:Turnabout will be done on questions submitted by blacklisted teams; Matt Laird is head-editing that, and will be assisted by me, Brad, and Kristin. Turnabouts will be in IHSA format/distribution (but 20 questions per round).
Turnabouts will be run very similar to a packet submission tournament, and the teams who are writing the questions will be volunteers from the fifty teams on the IHSSBCA's blacklist for these tournaments. Teams will be invited to produce a packet of 20/20 IHSA format which will be edited by the aforementioned editors.

We don't have specifics regarding guidelines or anything else yet, but we have some ideas for them. Expect to see a thread in here about it soon.

An ideal world might also see me, or other writers with experience, maybe spending an afternoon with teams that have volunteered to write a set of questions (at a practice or something), running a sort of question writing bootcamp. This is an idea, and I don't know how realistic it is yet.

Let me know your thoughts; I know I'm pretty excited about this opportunity. It encourages teams to write, which will hopefully lead to more house-writes in Illinois, and will ideally provide some good questions for a tournament that has traditionally had bad ones.
I hate to be the skeptic, but I am not sure that you will be able to get enough packets. The sad fact is that a majority of teams will not be willing to spend the team that it takes to produce a good packet. I would be stunned if Buffalo Grove produced one next year and I think many of the other (are we black listed yet?) schools are in the same boat. I hope that I am wrong, but I think that I am right. I do not know if a monetary reward could be provided to these schools, but I think it should be if we want to get enough packets.

I would also like to once again say that I think that an ACE scholarship should be given to the winner of Turnabouts. Many teams in Illinois have smart students and are simply unaware if the larger quizbowl world. I think that it makes sense to expose the best of these teams to this world, and if these questions are good enough, that is exactly what giving the scholarships would do. I know it costs money and I am aware that people can apply for grants now. That said, there is a good chance that talented kids from non-traditional powers do not read the IHSSBCA website, and these grants do not help them.
HSAPQ
Awesome news. The set at NIU was nearly perfect and I think it will be accessible for everyone from Stevenson to Buffalo Grove B.
stats
Is there some way that stats could be kept for Kickoffs and Turnabouts?


Also, David Garb recently found a rule that I think should be changed. It deals with All-State and reads as such:
13. In addition to being able to nominate up to three students from his/her own school, a coach can nominate
one student from another school if that school has fewer than two nominees. If a school is not represented at
the seeding meeting, then no players from that school will be allowed to advance to consideration for All-
State honors.
This rule seems pretty stupid to me, as it punishing students for the actions of their coaches. Last year, our coach did not make it to the sectional meeting, as we had an MSL competition on that date that ran long due to snow (if I recall correctly). Our captain was certainly an All-State caliber player and both David and I were pretty stunned when he did not make it. If this is indeed why he failed to make it, it is pretty unfortunate. How was it our captain's fault that our coach did not attend? When honoring players, the IHSSBCA should do all it can to make sure they honor the best individuals, instead of punishing certain individuals for actions that they had no control over. I wish that we had found this before the meeting, but either way this rule needs to go.
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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by mlaird » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:05 pm

BG MSL Champs wrote: I do not know if a monetary reward could be provided to these schools, but I think it should be if we want to get enough packets.
We plan on offering a monetary reward ($25 for a packet, I believe, though this could probably be changed if it needs to be). It won't make much of a difference, but it is a little thank you for the team to acknowledge them. Their name would also be on the top of their packet, of course.
BG MSL Champs wrote:I would also like to once again say that I think that an ACE scholarship should be given to the winner of Turnabouts.
Agree, but there are obviously logistical issues that would have to be figured out before this could happen.
BG MSL Champs wrote:Is there some way that stats could be kept for Kickoffs and Turnabouts?
This is really up to the host. It can certainly be urged, and an effort can be made to find someone who would be willing to go to each tournament and run the computer, but at most places, this means moderators would need scorekeepers. I know this is the norm at Sterling (which probably won't host again after this year), but it isn't at WN. I would like to see it in order to compare them as well, but I don't know how realistic it is.
BG MSL Champs wrote:Also, David Garb recently found a rule that I think should be changed. It deals with All-State and reads as such:...
This rule usually is not an issue, though if the coach thinks that an All-State caliber player got slighted in the voting, they could make an appeal to me. Your coach could not have known if Bulmash did or didn't make the cut for All-State voting, since he wasn't there, so it really is a moot point.

Even though I'm the All-State guy, I'm not really sure if this rule applies to players who are nominated by other coaches when coaches don't bother to show up, or if it would even apply in this case. If he was voted one of the top six in the Sectional, I would have probably allowed him to be All-State eligible, given the extenuating circumstances. Why on earth would there be an MSL meet on the Seeding Meeting date, anyways?

EDIT: Now that I look at it, Bulmash was indeed voted on by the All-State selectors, he did not receive enough favorable votes, however.

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Re: IHSSBCA Steering Committee meeting

Post by the return of AHAN » Tue Feb 10, 2009 11:05 pm

mlaird wrote:Why on earth would there be an MSL meet on the Seeding Meeting date, anyways?
There wasn't. I believe Mr. Bergeron is mistaken as MSL meets are always on Thursdays, and that snowy meet date from last year was the day after the seeding meeting.
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