3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:08 am

Charles Martel wrote:Who would have guessed that a group of first-time writers and average quizbowlers couldn't write a set in 3 months? After 3 years of DAFT, RM/TP/Bellarmine/Wikipedia, and now this, I wonder if quizbowl will ever learn (a) how much effort and experience it takes to write a good set and (b) when and when not to trust sets.
This set was conceived somewhat differently from RM/TP or DAFT. I'll let Ridgewood expand on this later.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by ProfessorIanDuncan » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:09 am

I know that my following statement is going to be criticized but...
This was a summer tournament just for fun so having the packet isn't as big of a deal (realistically, no one will mirror this after Ryan's scathing review), and having the first writing experience be for a summer tournament before writing something that is going to be used in the actual season.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Cody » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:15 am

ProfessorIanDuncan wrote:I know that my following statement is going to be criticized but...
This was a summer tournament just for fun so having the packet isn't as big of a deal (realistically, no one will mirror this after Ryan's scathing review), and having the first writing experience be for a summer tournament before writing something that is going to be used in the actual season.
dude, English?
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:29 am

SirT wrote:
ProfessorIanDuncan wrote:I know that my following statement is going to be criticized but...
This was a summer tournament just for fun so having the packet isn't as big of a deal (realistically, no one will mirror this after Ryan's scathing review), and having the first writing experience be for a summer tournament before writing something that is going to be used in the actual season.
dude, English?
I think what he means to say is that this tournament was mostly just a thing to do for fun. And since this tournament was not serious, won't get mirrored, and gave good writing experience to a young group of people, it's not that big of a deal.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:39 am

something ambiguous wrote:
SirT wrote:
ProfessorIanDuncan wrote:I know that my following statement is going to be criticized but...
This was a summer tournament just for fun so having the packet isn't as big of a deal (realistically, no one will mirror this after Ryan's scathing review), and having the first writing experience be for a summer tournament before writing something that is going to be used in the actual season.
dude, English?
I think what he means to say is that this tournament was mostly just a thing to do for fun. And since this tournament was not serious, won't get mirrored, and gave good writing experience to a young group of people, it's not that big of a deal.
It was a big enough deal that every team paid $70 to attend. People complain about questions they have to pay to hear, and for good reason. If you buy lunch and it tastes like crap, how would you feel if the waiter said "your lunch isn't serious, won't be eaten again, and gave good cooking experience to our new chef"?
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:43 am

Sulawesi Myzomela wrote:
something ambiguous wrote:
SirT wrote:
ProfessorIanDuncan wrote:I know that my following statement is going to be criticized but...
This was a summer tournament just for fun so having the packet isn't as big of a deal (realistically, no one will mirror this after Ryan's scathing review), and having the first writing experience be for a summer tournament before writing something that is going to be used in the actual season.
dude, English?
I think what he means to say is that this tournament was mostly just a thing to do for fun. And since this tournament was not serious, won't get mirrored, and gave good writing experience to a young group of people, it's not that big of a deal.
It was a big enough deal that every team paid $70 to attend. People complain about questions they have to pay to hear, and for good reason. If you buy lunch and it tastes like crap, how would you feel if the waiter said "your lunch isn't serious, won't be eaten again, and gave good cooking experience to our new chef"?
I didn't say I agree with it, I was just clarifying. What you said though, is true.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:03 am

Here are final standings from today's final tournament at the RSI. The oddest part of the standings is that Hunter's sole loss came to Port Jefferson. My comments to follow. Also, I'll get to putting the standings up from Friday and Saturday tomorrow.

College Division
Upper Bracket (rebracket after Round 7, prelims included crossover game which did not count. Points do not include one game final.)

1. NYU (Doug Yetman, Yogesh Raut, Mirza Ahmed): 8-1, 3915 pts.
2. Washington Univ. (Richard Yu & Jon Pinyan): 8-1, 3845
3. Penn (James Lasker & David Xu): 5-4, 2855
4. Montgomery College (Dan Brezina): 2-6, 2150

NYU defeated Washington Univ. 405-300 in a one game final to win.

5. Lower Bracket (rebracket after Round 7, prelims & later rounds each included a crossover game which did not count)
6. Stony Brook (Robert Pond, Mike Bouklas, Ariel Yang, Naib Mobassir): 4-4, 2175
7. Case Western (Matt Hayes): 2-7, 1340
George Washington (Raynell Cooper): 1-8, 1705

High School Division
Upper Bracket (rebracket after Round 7, prelims included crossover game which did not count)
1. Hunter: 8-1, 3280 pts.
2. Hanover: 6-3, 2705
3. St. Joseph: 4-5, 2930
4. Irvington: 3-6, 2485

Hunter won outright.

Lower Bracket (rebracket after Round 7, prelims & later rounds each included a crossover game which did not count)
5. Great Neck South: 4-4, 2115 pts.
6. High Tech: 3-5, 1730
7. Port Jefferson: 2-6, 1265
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:57 am

First off, thanks to everyone who came to any or all of the tournaments over the past three days at the Ridgewood Summer Invitational. I had a great time over the weekend, and it seemed as if most people who attended did too. Thanks to everyone who came and helped out with staffing, thanks to Adam Silverman for contributing Saturday's ATTACK set, and thanks to everyone who assisted with the editing of today's set. Suffice to say that while this set was far from perfect, it took dozens of hours of editing from many people to bring it up to the level it was at. Thanks especially to Ben Zhang, who also wrote many questions, and to Kevin Zhou of High Tech and Nikhil Desai for their help in particular- it was greatly appreciated. Also, I heard that quite a bit of editing was going on in the wee hours of yesterday morning by people who weren't originally going to be in on the editing - I don't know who this encompasses, but if you were working on this, thanks very much for your help.
That said, just a word on the editing process here. I edited history, social science, geography, current events, and sports in the set and finished my editing on Thursday prior to the tournament. I probably spent an average of 4-5 hours a day from last Saturday to Thursday reworking these subjects- other areas were also parceled out a week ago, but it seemed as if getting late in the week, not all the other subjects had been edited to completion, to the point that when I went to print the set this morning, there were quite a number of tossups in other fields that had not been marked as edited. I do not want to name names here, since I don't know if some of the people had basically "subcontracted" out the editing, and then other people didn't come through or what, but I was a little upset to see that the set hadn't been edited in full. As for the subjects in my editing fields in particular, I apologize if some of the questions were subpar - I probably could have done more editing, but at a certain point, I needed to focus on the logistics of the tournament (which - excepting the fire alarm on Saturday - seemed to run very smoothly), not to mention my day job with NHBB.
That said, there are other housewrites that I've moderated at over the past two years that struck me at least as inferior to this. Like this set, those were never intended as mirrorable sets, but rather more as an exercise in team building - Ridgewood's team really wanted to do this. I encouraged them since not only (pace Schindler's post) would this motivate more Ridgewood team members to improve their skills, but also because the post-RSI plans for this set call for it to be reworked into a middle school set to be used at a tournament in Ridgewood next March. Contrary to high school, there are not sufficient numbers of middle school housewrites being written yet.
Obviously, numerous changes will need to be made before that set is ready as such, but on the other hand, there are also 8 months until then, and having this set as a basis will be far easier than writing from scratch. Some tossups and bonuses will obviously be removed, the distribution will be reworked, etc, but this can get done.
In terms of people wondering what they were going to get today, I didn't exactly hide that Ridgewood was writing the set, and everyone knows that there is a learning curve for writers, and housewrites of all sorts when held for the first time. If people who played the set feel strongly that they didn't like it, please let me know - especially if you have feedback on any individual questions. However, during the course of today, the only comments that I heard were some complaints from some of the college teams that the set was easy (though it was billed as high school difficulty, which it was in fact, so I'm not sure what to make of that).
Overall, though, both in terms of running a 3 day tournament in the summer (with different approaches to running a tournament each day - hey, if people wanted to play a near-universally lauded set, we gave them the chance yesterday with ATTACK too, don't forget) and having Ridgewood write their own set, this was rather ambitious.
For next year, I will not be able to devote anywhere near as much time as I did to this, (in particular, I am ruling myself out for all but the most basic editing, though I would still be interested in directing it) but in preparation for leaving NJ on a full time basis for the DC area, and taking a step back with my involvement with Ridgewood's team, I wanted to try this out.
Hopefully people enjoyed it, hopefully people can understand a bit more where my thinking was coming from in regards to this. Further comments and feedback are of course welcome and encouraged. On behalf of Team Ridgewood, thanks again to all who helped out with RSI!
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Mewto55555 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:49 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: I probably spent an average of 4-5 hours a day from last Saturday to Thursday reworking these subjects
As for the subjects in my editing fields in particular, I apologize if some of the questions were subpar - I probably could have done more editing, but at a certain point, I needed to focus on the logistics of the tournament (which - excepting the fire alarm on Saturday - seemed to run very smoothly), not to mention my day job with NHBB.


One of these things explains the other!

I encouraged them since not only (pace Schindler's post) would this motivate more Ridgewood team members to improve their skills,
Pace your post, what you did was a fantastic job of teaching Ridgewood what not to do for a set! I'm sure Ben Zhang, who did far more work than you on your own set, will have more to say down-thread, but I can tell you, as someone who was up multiple nights helping re-write/playtest/other (doing what you as editor should have been doing, not what me as an observer trying to enjoy my summer vacation but wanting to spare your unknowing field from a total trainwreck should have been doing), from what I heard/saw, there was little guidance on how to write at all, and, until Ben stepped in, not an iota of competent editing talent. I say this not to impugn the Ridgewood kids, who, having been shanghaied into it and realizing at the last minute what trouble they were in, did a very good job trying to resurrect the set.

Anyway, regardless of how important your other duties are, (and this is a lesson that needs to be learned by all of the quizbowl community), you can't just shirk on some of them and then play the "I'm over-scheduled" card, when your own excess ambition led to that over-scheduling. If running both a well-run NHBB and a well-written housewrite is too much, then one needs to be set aside.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:02 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:I edited history, social science, geography, current events, and sports in the set and finished my editing on Thursday prior to the tournament. I probably spent an average of 4-5 hours a day from last Saturday to Thursday reworking these subjects-
Speaking as someone who's edited a lot of tournaments on a lot of different time scales, this is very little time to spend editing what amounts to a fourth of a full set of packets, especially when the base material you're given to work with has been written by (entirely well-meaning, but ultimately inexperienced) novices. Not to toot my own horn here, but I'd estimate that the time I spent editing for Minnesota Open and NSC runs into the hundreds of hours for each tournament, and that's working with submissions from some of the best writers around--questions by new writers take much more time to edit than questions by experienced writers. Editing a tournament, even a portion of one, is not something one can accomplish to any degree of quality by spending a cursory amount of time on it over the course of week.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Auroni » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:02 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:but also because the post-RSI plans for this set call for it to be reworked into a middle school set to be used at a tournament in Ridgewood next March. Contrary to high school, there are not sufficient numbers of middle school housewrites being written yet.
This is an exceptionally poor idea. For one, this set was barely pushed out on time with a plethora of outside help. You want to make a middle school tournament, where the difficulty is so restricted as to make each question much harder to finalize, leading the same team of writers, still not ready to produce a full set on their own? What demand is there for middle school tournaments than the two or three that are already out there? Shouldn't you be focusing on National History Bowl? You managed to worm your way out of editing this set by claiming that you were busy. Next year, you will be even more busy and have even less time to devote to frivolous adventures such as this.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:26 am

Sheesh, this is like watching sharks eat things.

On a non-Sunday related note. For Friday, packet submission was handled fairly poorly. I, unlike some, do think packet submission for high schoolers can work. However, all of them should have been play tested SOMEWHERE (hell, there's MORE than enough people on the Facebook page who Im sure would have loved to). Doing that alone will stop 80% of the problems from happening if whoever ran the playtest edited the set as people played it. Its obviously not an ideal solution, but it would have made it better than it was. The skype-play testing thing could have been done for the Sunday tournament as well. Also, an experienced team like Hunter or Ardsley's packet should have been in the tournament as a non-tie breaker over a packet from a team like Ranney's.

Minus the problems with Friday (There were still good rounds, Ours, Irvingtons, Kellenburgs, and GNS) this tournament was a lot of fun and I know the DCC crew enjoyed it. Our 11 hour drive was worth it and Im sure some of us will be coming back if it's held again next year.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:50 am

Obviously, I'm very grateful for all the help that people volunteered for this - part of this may be simply a difference of opinion regarding what constitutes an enjoyable tournament. To hold every tournament out there up to the standards of NSC or tournaments that are actively going to be seeking mirrors is unrealistic, and at some level, besides the point. I still have barely heard from anyone who actually played the set, mind you.
I'm sorry if in the process of spending well over 50 hours of my time putting together Sunday's tournament alone, some people were upset with the final product. Next year, we'll save everyone the trouble and just not run it if this is the response we get. Ridgewood wanted to hold a tournament where they wrote the questions, and they had a right to do that for the 14 teams that came, especially since (what seems to get lost in the shuffle here) is that in addition to the housewrite, we ran the first high school summer tournament in the area that I can ever think of on a set that was already highly-regarded. But that said, did I mention that people seemed to be having a good time throughout the day, and that over the course of the entire tournament, practically no one who actually chose to come and play the set criticized it beyond the fact that it was easy for some college teams? The only comment I heard was that one answer line seemed ill-conceived (Greek fire) which I would agree with. Maybe people were being polite, maybe people accepted this tournament for what it was, maybe some loved it, maybe some are writing a 30 page email to me saying why every question was, in their opinion, awful - I don't know...
I admire everyone's devotion to superior questions, but this was as much effort as I could reasonably devote to this. If, among people who played it, the consensus is that I would have been better off not having made the effort in the first place, fine, I'll take that to heart. But I'd really like to hear from them before making that decision.
Last edited by Great Bustard on Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:03 am

I think what people are actually saying is more along these lines: "While your effort is appreciated, this is an undertaking that takes more time than it seems like you were able to devote to it this year, and if you can't devote the necessary time to running it properly, it'd be a good idea to look into alternate methods of running it, or not running it at all and focusing your limited time on your manifold other efforts."
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:07 am

I suspect a lot of the people who are criticizing the set probably didn't go because they knew it wasn't going to be a very good set. If you're going to rely only on the opinions of people who showed up, you're going to have quite a bit of selection bias.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:24 am

Mewto55555 wrote:I'm sure Ben Zhang, who did far more work than you on your own set, will have more to say down-thread
Indeed. I have a lot to say about this set and how it was produced, and I have to admit, it was not a wholly pleasant experience.

I will start off with how and why I decided to get involved with this set. On June 25, I was contacted for advice about a mythology question, which I promptly gave feedback for. I offered to look over more mythology questions, and on June 26, I was informed that I was "gladly recruited" for this tournament. As I looked through the documents relevant to the set, it became immediately apparent that these Ridgewood kids were writing without any proper guidance. In particular, no one with any experience helped with setting up the answerline spreadsheet or advising the writers on what and what not to write on, so naturally, the distribution was rather disorganized and filled with trash and borderline subjects. It was clear at that point that I needed to do more than just look over the mythology, so I began cleaning up the spreadsheet and excising the most egregious answerlines, such as children's literature. Interestingly, I was told in the next few weeks that this set was first intended as a middle school set, which was then changed into a high school set for the purposes of the 3-day Ridgewood tournament, so I do not blame the writers at all for that. That being said, I decided to work on this tournament in full force out of obvious necessity (of course, it is not Ridgewood's fault for anything; they did the best they could under the circumstances).

Next, let me give some background information on this set that I digged up or was told. I decided to look at the revision history on each of the docs, and sure enough, they were all created on or around May 15. Now, that is about NINE WEEKS before the set is going to be used, and based on the current condition of the set, it was not nearly enough time. After I cleaned up the distribution, the set stood at approximately 60% done. Once questions were claimed and edited, they were placed in the main tossup or bonus doc, awaiting placement into a packet. I was told that David Madden would not even look at any of the documents (including packets and the spreadsheet) before the tournament was entirely written. Now, there was no systematic editing of questions, so questions sat in their original form until they were put in packets. Under this system, I was honestly surprised that things didn't turn out worse, given the lack of leadership and guidance. Things were finished on Friday night, just over a week before the set was going to be used. I wrote approximately 60 questions for this tournament, and I would say I spent at the very least 20 hours writing and organizing.

Here's a sample of what can happen if you have no guidance and a middle schooler is writing more questions than the majority of your team:

Many bonuses were poorly constructed, resulting in a lack of easy/medium/hard parts. In addition, a lot of bonuses seemed to have poorly selected clues or just not enough clues.
While I guess tossups were "pyramidal" in a sense, a lot of them had biography/useless clues, poor grammar, and myriad other problems. Also, some tossup answerlines were just bad and/or unworkable, resulting in many transparent or subpar questions.
In addition, formatting was wildly inconsistent, and it took a lot of effort to even partially correct while editing.
The worst part: some questions seemed to have wikiplagiarized clues or clues lifted directly from tossups in the Quizbowl Database.

However, this is to be expected from first-timers under circumstances like this. A lot of it could have been prevented by some basic preliminary advice, but that email was sent as the set was around 80% complete. Again, while the questions have left a lot to be desired, I do not blame Ridgewood for doing the best they could on their own.

Now, let me talk about the editing process. In the end, there were 4 editors: me, Nikhil Desai, David Madden, and Kevin Zhou. Madden divided the categories that each person would be editing into the following:

Me: RMP, visual art, biology, earth science, non-sports trash
Nikhil: literature, music
Madden: history, social science, geography, current events, sports trash.
Kevin: all the other science and math

If some categories consistently did not meet your expectations, now you know who to blame.

In the week before the tournament, we were on a pace to complete about 2 packets a day. However, that actually didn't happen for some people, and a lot of editing was caught up on Friday or Saturday. I must admit, it was rather difficult to edit, since more often than not, I would either replace a sizeable portion of the questions or completely rewrite it, in addition to checking any remaining parts for plagiarism if they sounded too familiar/good. Difficulty control was often on bottom of the list of things to do; only when a bonus was very noticeably easy/difficult would we focus on that aspect. Madden told us that packet 12 was not needed for the tournament, and that only the first half of packet 11 would be used, so we did not edit those. In addition, we often exchanged weak or poorly written tossups in earlier packets with better ones in packets 11 and 12. I give my sincerest apologies to WashU and NYU for the fact that they had to play those reject questions in the second half of the final. In addition, I did most of the powermarking, with the exception of some of Nikhil's questions which I expected he would put into the packets. Unfortunately, it sounded like he tired too much from editing (understandable; I slept for 12 hours after this), so some of the art and lit was not powermarked or edited. Esther Sun continued to work on the questions after both Nikhil and I were asleep. In all, I would estimate that I spent at least about 25-30 hours on the editing phase of this tournament, and was responsible for editing something under 120 questions.

Some things about editing: I asked Max Schindler to help me with art, since I knew that he was more knowledgeable than me about it. Tanay Kothari also helped with a couple of the later packets, and I playtested some questions to other people like Matt Jackson and Auroni Gupta.

As for Ridgewood, I would say that they deserve a second chance of sorts. While the set was obviously rather subpar, one can't help but notice the inexperience, lack of guidance, and lack of time that the writers faced. In addition, by writing this tournament, they will have gained valuable writing experience that will help them if they wish to contribute to a tournament in the future, especially since, to my knowledge, nobody on the team is graduating. However, as of now, I cannot say that they are ready to write a tournament by themselves. It is my understanding that while they wanted to write a tournament, this was probably not how they envisioned it or wanted it to result in.

I have to say that Ridgewood must look to this as a valuable learning experience, since there is a lot to be gleaned about what when right and what went wrong with this tournament. I would recommend that they read Ryan's post linking them to the various posts about writing, and I will probably send an email to all the writers summarizing this section and explaining how they can improve from this tournament. It is clear that since they did not receive guidance and advice while writing the tournament, they should at least be receiving it after, so that they can learn to write better questions in the future. And for the last time, no one should be blaming Ridgewood for this set or associating their name with how badly this set turned out to be.

I'll go ahead and wade into this morass for the rest of this post.
First,
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Like this set, those were never intended as mirrorable sets, but rather more as an exercise in team building - Ridgewood's team really wanted to do this. I encouraged them since not only (pace Schindler's post) would this motivate more Ridgewood team members to improve their skills, but also because the post-RSI plans for this set call for it to be reworked into a middle school set to be used at a tournament in Ridgewood next March. Contrary to high school, there are not sufficient numbers of middle school housewrites being written yet.
Obviously, numerous changes will need to be made before that set is ready as such, but on the other hand, there are also 8 months until then, and having this set as a basis will be far easier than writing from scratch. Some tossups and bonuses will obviously be removed, the distribution will be reworked, etc, but this can get done.
If this wasn't intended as a mirrorable set, why have it be used for a middle school tournament in the future? From what I can see, the amount of effort and time that would be needed to ensure the appropriateness of this set for middle school is not going to be worth it. Also, based on what I've heard while working on this set, Ridgewood didn't exactly want to do this (elaboration: they probably wanted a better-organized writing system).

Next,
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Next year, we'll save everyone the trouble and just not run it if this is the response we get.
This is only the response you will get if you keep doing what you're doing. If you can get Ridgewood to improve and work with other people, ensure that the writing process is organized and effective, and not repeat the horrors of this year's set, it might, just might, be worth it. However, given what has transpired in the past, I'm not so sure if this is something that needs to be attempted again.

So, to conclude: this set was pretty much a failure. I have kept a copy of this set before any edits were made and the only redeeming feature of the current set is that it is not as bad as it could have been. It is my impression that Ridgewood was somewhat forced into writing this, given that 1. they were told to do a middle school set at first and 2. they quickly realized that what they were doing was not going to work in the end. However, while they did have a very flawed writing system, it is my belief that they should be given a second chance in the future, especially given the circumstances that warranted the criticism of this set. I hope that this can be a learning experience for everyone involved, and that something like this should never happen again.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Dominator » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:36 am

From the day this tournament was announced, I pretty much assumed this is how it would turn out, as I'm sure many others did as well. If you want to run a tournament and write some questions, you don't need to write a whole tournament, especially when the leader of the project is notorious for over-committing and under-delivering. A much better alternative would have been to take an existing set and replace some of the questions with ones you wrote. That way, the burden of quantity (11 packets meaning at least 440 questions) does not trump the burden of quality. The writing experience is much better because people can take their time to do things right, and the tournament experience is much better for the players. This seems to me to be the very definition of win-win.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:55 am

Yeah, this set was from the beginning pitched as the social event of the summer season for the particular high school clique that finds "Saturday night Chip", "tinychat," and playing ACF Fall 2003 for the ninth time on #scobowl to be the pinnacles of "fun." Mix in a hilarious dose of the sort of peripheral college hangers-on who think playing easy high school questions is the bee's knees and of course you're going to get a lot of meaningless "this was fun therefore it doesn't matter that it was objectively awful" responses from the sort of people who desire to show up to this kind of tournament. I think the idea of not holding this tournament again because everyone who knows what he is talking about said it sucked is a great one and should be executed.

By the way, "the set wasn't INTENDED to be good": didn't work for TJ 2008, won't work now.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Cheynem » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:02 am

Nobody really seems to be objecting to the other two components of the three day tournament, which were in effect a guerrilla tournament and a mirror of an existing set. It sounds like the housewrite component was a disaster (and having seen about a packet's worth of questions, I'd concur), but if you want to do this next year, why not just stick with the guerilla/mirror components, charging appropriate prices for each? There's something to be said for casual summer play that can be accomplished cheaply and simply without marathon slog 'o doom housewrites written by confused high schoolers with little direction.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill » Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:41 am

Yeah, I have to say that the major reason I wanted to do this was for the JSO-esque Friday tournament, though Saturday was a nice bonus since I got to read a great set of packets for some great matches. The Sunday tournament could easily be done without. Maybe replace it with a day of side events, since people at JSO seemed to enjoy that last year, not to mention I would've killed to play YMIR in the air-conditioned classrooms.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by deserto » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:00 pm

From my limited conversations with/eavesdropping on people, more seemed upset and disappointed by Friday's packet-submission tournament than by Sunday's house-written one; that may be because people had very low expectations for Sunday's tournament to begin with (in which case, why did they even go?). Friday's tournament was plagued by extremely variable question difficulty and quality. Collin is right in that there were a number of well-written, fun-to-play packets in Friday's tourney. However, we, "Chimera," played DCC on a bio. bowl-heavy and generally poor packet and ended up winning, which could have upset the playoff arrangements. It seemed like how one fared in any given match depended to a very large extent on the quality of the packet one heard. I heard a number of criticisms of the packet my team wrote (although Connor Teevens's statement that my Eero Saarinen TU was inaccurate was patently wrong); no one on our team had written questions before, and I wanted to play Friday's tournament, so I had to write questions. I think the questions I wrote were good, but neither they nor any other of Friday's questions, as far as I could tell, received any editing at all. This led to repeats, to grammatical mistakes, to unclear questions. If Mr. Madden received up to $80 per team for a tournament using free questions, he should have made sure to reserve enough time to give them at least a cursory examination for repeats and the like.

I, like most others, greatly enjoyed Saturday's tournament. The questions were challenging and rewarding of true knowledge, and Adam Silverman certainly deserves commendation for writing nearly the entire set by himself. As has been noted, Sunday's questions suffered in a number of areas. Questions w/ incomplete sentences, whole clues missing, nebulous clues, and lacking pronunciation guides were abundant. I admire the Ridgewood team's drive to produce a whole set on their own, but they obviously did not receive the requisite instruction and guidance and time to write a complete, high-quality set; Esther said she wrote over fifty questions one day, which, whether due to necessity or desire or both, was sure to lead to oversights, which needed to be corrected by the editing team.
EDIT: evidently, I misremembered a comment Esther made to me on Friday evening. She did not write fifty questions in a day but went from 17 to 54 questions written over several days.

Another note: The staffers, mostly inexperienced, clearly did not receive enough, if any, training. A number of moderators were rather unfamiliar with the format and the rules, mispronounced a lot of terms or garbled their words, did not wait to accept bonus answers from the captain, etc. I'm used to these sorts of issues in Vermont and New Hampshire, but I was expecting to be read to by more competent, experienced moderators this weekend. (This is not a criticism of all the moderators or even most of them; some, inc. Sanjana and Justin, read quite well)

I will say that, despite my criticisms, which I believe to be valid and important, I enjoyed the RSI a lot on the whole. I met a lot of neat people (Zach, Esther, and Lexi, it was great playing with you on Friday) and had a mostly fun time with my team. Ridgewood's team did a remarkable job with the gargantuan task of writing Sunday's tournament, and I thank them for it. There were a lot of varied problems with these events that ought to be remedied before a second RSI happens, but I hope they are, because this event could be even more fun, attractive, and edifying.
Last edited by deserto on Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Sniper, No Sniping! » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:31 pm

I didn't go to this, but I almost did.

I was interested in coming to this with another of my team members (because then I'd have a legal adult with me), but a combination of flight ticket price shock (yeah, this happens when the tournament is only announced a month out) and personal low confidence in 2/3 of the tournament's sets nixed that. I also sort of thought "there is no discounts for teams of two" was a load of :capybara: and it would've been selfish and unfair if I just told my teammate "don't touch a buzzer or you'll cost me more money" . Admittedly, what interested me in this was both the fact I could play against teams from out of my area and the amount of competition over three days would be worth it. That, and the fact I figured Newark, NJ would be a neat place for me to wear my L.A. Kings Stanley Cup t-shirt, but that's neither here nor there. The fact is, the competition is what really interested me.

Its no surprise Friday's set would've sucked, again, this tournament was advertised pretty late, the majority of the field probably didn't have much writing experience at all but yet they still had to write a packet for Friday. To make matters worse, you gave them a character limit and set the difficulty as "HSNCT level". Some of these people (Irvington, Ridgewood, e.g.) have never been to HSNCT before, how are they going to know what that level is?

Saturday's set - ATTACK, that was a good choice, you chose a set that was still available and was very well-received that was written by an excellent high school player.

Sunday's set - It's good that the team (or you, I'm not sure whose idea this was) wanted to write something. But the fact is, they haven't been to a a national competition that isn't History Bowl, they're a young but aspiring program. Contrary to what is the case at Maggie Walker, TJ and Hunter, the fact is Ridgewood doesn't have a program that has any experience of writing a tournament, so they don't know what a whole twelve round (plus whatever), 20/20 (plus tiebreakers) tournament actually entails. It seems evident they didn't have anyone to really guide them with writing this, editing this, etc. In my opinion from what I've seen, they weren't in a position to write this tournament given the time frame (come on... 50 questions in one day?) and the fact that they are alright at quiz bowl in the grand scheme of things tells me that they didn't have much of a chance of this set being that good unless there was a better structure, better organization and just more practicality.


I feel bad for the Ridgewood team because I can imagine they worked hard on this and they gave all they could to make this weekend fire on all cylinders, and yet when its all said and done, because the team's name is attached to this, it ends up looking bad on the team. Yeah, they probably did get sold down the river on this.

Look at this through a deeper sense; you had a DCC contingency in attendance, you had people from across the eastern seaboard in attendance. I'm not sure what everyone's expectations were for this event. Obviously, you should probably pay more attention to what the people who travelled from further away for this. See what they say and get an understanding of how this tournament compared to what they expected, rather than hearing the "oh this was jolly good fun because of the socialization" blabber that came from the local teams. Even though I didn't go, I would've been terribly irritated if I spent my money going to New Jersey playing on these apparently terrible questions.

I think its a general consensus that you're trying to do a lot for quiz bowl, Mr. Madden, and we appreciate that. But its also a consensus that you're flying too close to the sun with these huge projects that don't follow through in the end.

In my opinion, this whole project could work again next year, but it'd have to take someone who isn't as pre-occupied with ACE, NHBB, etc like you to maintain quality control in the writing. I'll still be interested in this next year (should it happen) if you make the tournament comprise entirely of sets that have reputations (I think feasibly you could've done Ohio State/VCU if you asked them for Sunday early enough before it got archived) or if Ridgewood's next writing project gets constructive help and experience and there's people who can let us know how it's going.

Quality control, that's pretty important.

EDIT: As to what Matt said, yeah, your teams product should be more than "it wasn't intended to be mirrored, ergo it shouldn't be the highest quality possible" if people travelled to play it. In the future, I would suggest perhaps listing some discounts for travel if your goal is to get as many people as possible from across this country to it.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:48 pm

Here are the standings for Saturday. Teams were done by high school affiliation - with the exception of the two Hunter teams who played up, all "Expert" teams had someone who had graduated from said high school in spring 2011 or earlier on them.

Expert - Format was full round robin - no playoff games were played.
1. DCC: 11-0, 5080 pts
2. Hunter A: 10-1, 5650
3. Ardsley: 8-3, 4390
4. Kellenberg: 6-5, 3930
5. Hunter B: 6-5, 3645
6. Great Neck South: 6-5, 3265
7. Richard Montgomery: 6-5, 2835
8. Irvington: 5-6, 2985
9. Walt Whitman: 5-6, 2850
10. Kate Smith DAR: 2-9, 1400
11. Bergen Academies: 1-10, 1965
12. Ward Melville: 0-11, 1280

Standard - Format was full round robin through Round 7 - then rebracket w/ 3 more games against teams in bracket.
Upper Bracket
1. Hanover: 9-1, 3740 pts.
2. St. Joseph: 6-4, 3370
3. High Tech: 6-4, 2875
4. Oakland Mills: 5-5, 2635

Lower Bracket
5. Bergen Academies: 7-3, 2710
6. Great Neck South: 5-5, 2190
7. Ridgewood: 2-8, 2040
8. Valley Stream: 0-10, 1445
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:57 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Congratulations to DCC (Expert Divisions) and to Hanover (Standard Division) for their victories on Day 2 of the Ridgewood Summer Invitational. Runners up were Hunter A in the Expert (the DCC / Hunter match went to a tiebreak - Collin Parks powered a history question for the win)
I didn't understand this until just now, apparently, when you posted the final standings and I was pretty confused. At first I thought this means that Collin Parks won the finals this way. But the standings belie this. So in the expert division, you didn't play a final/ didn't require that a team clear the field by two games to avoid a final, so a team with 60ppg more but that lost a match that went to a tiebreaker came in second. Okay...
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Kilroy Was Here » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:27 pm

Mechanical Beasts wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Congratulations to DCC (Expert Divisions) and to Hanover (Standard Division) for their victories on Day 2 of the Ridgewood Summer Invitational. Runners up were Hunter A in the Expert (the DCC / Hunter match went to a tiebreak - Collin Parks powered a history question for the win)
I didn't understand this until just now, apparently, when you posted the final standings and I was pretty confused. At first I thought this means that Collin Parks won the finals this way. But the standings belie this. So in the expert division, you didn't play a final/ didn't require that a team clear the field by two games to avoid a final, so a team with 60ppg more but that lost a match that went to a tiebreaker came in second. Okay...
If I remember correctly, this was done because ATTACK was only 12 rounds and one of the rounds had to be used Friday because some of the packets that got submitted were so bad.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:32 pm

So, after playing this, here is what I have to say...

Regarding Friday's tournament, while I certainly think it was a good idea (packet submission => teams get to gain experience writing without a big "quantity" issue, packets if done right could/often did lean towards a slightly more fun/creative bent due to the nature of the tournament, etc...) it certainly could have been handled better, and a not-horribly-large amount of editing could have saved it. As Collin said, indeed, some packets were better than others, though this did not change how they were used (Hunter produced a pretty good packet, but it was only used in a tiebreaker), and some packets even went unused. I think that if questions were edited just a little bit (e.g making sure there are fewer than 4 bonuses on the same Japanese author, changing a few things here and there), and certain packets which were largely unused were used and others were left unused (like Ranney's packet, which had a number of serious issues), the tournament could have been fine. For example, Collin mentioned Irvington's packet as being one of the better ones, but after seeing it played there were definitely a couple of bad ideas that should have been edited out, and the proposed "have someone run through the set on Skype or something and edit it then" would have probably been ample to bring the set to a higher and suitable standard in the time available.

On Saturday, I don't really have many complaints about the set and I don't think too many people do. I think I remember a small handful of imperfect things that probably could have been improved, but really it was just a good set, and Saturday went well (though it would have been good if one of the ATTACK packets hadn't been used on Friday, allowing a final to be played if necessary). I think the only complaint our team had was that charging for breakfast and charging above retail on pizza felt unnecessary when the entrance fee was already towards the higher end.

As for Sunday...well, for one, I like Robert Pond's idea of making this a side-event day, that would have been great (and also far more appropriate for college teams). I agree with the general consensus that Ridgewood's team members shouldn't be blamed, if anything they should be commended at doing the best they could and producing a set which, well, to put it simply, could have been worse. The issues with the set, as have has been mentioned, were largely in the realm of transparency and difficulty. Power marks were incredibly inconsistent, and I can't even count how many buzzes I had through buzzing quickly simply by looking through the question and frauding or because some incredibly famous clue was dropped in the first sentence. In addition, there were some bonuses that were easy-easy-medium, some that were easy-easy-incredibly hard, and even some where it felt like a challenge to be able to scrounge up 10 points. As has been said, with the time schedule and less than ample editing, this was to be expected, but at least I think the set was at the point where people could still enjoy playing on it despite its flaws, and I do thank everyone who put in the effort to bring it to where it was - I don't doubt that the pre-edited set that Ben says he has a copy of would have been worse and more frustrating to play.

So, in short:

Friday: ok, could have been made a lot better through a recognizably small number of fixes
Saturday: Pretty much no complaints regarding the actual tournament other than that that 12th packet could have helped
Sunday: kudos to Ridgewood for trying, doing their best, and hopefully having enough experience for the future, but this year this should have either been given a lot more time to be written well, or should have/could have been replaced by a side-event day or something.
Last edited by Scaled Flowerpiercer on Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by karav0 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:59 pm

First, on behalf of the rest of the team, I have to thank all of those who were in attendance this weekend. They lent their support by enduring a three-day event that, to quite a few, can’t exactly be described as optimal (if not for the love of quiz bowl). As a team we salute the players who suffered the heat, the moderator inexperience, and varying question quality over the past three days.

We sincerely and graciously thank all those who helped pull this burdened effort along—Kevin Zhou, Ben Zhang, Nikhil Desai, Maximilian Schindler, Ankit Aggarwal, Matt Jackson, Charlie Dees, Ryan Rosenberg, and the many unnamed others of the quizbowl (and #quizbowl) community who stepped in quite literally at the last hour(s) to make something out of nothing. We must learn from this experience, especially considering recent discussion on these forums on how to not have things go like this.

As a team, we feel it is necessary to explain the background of this troublesomely conflict-ridden tournament. About nine weeks prior to the event near the beginning of May, Coach Madden informed us that Ridgewood would possibly be holding a housewritten summer tournament, with an intended difficulty pegged at the middle school level.

We began writing independent of any sort of central leadership of any quiz bowl “authority”. Initially we had a disorganized spreadsheet, but much of the basic stuff—knowing / sticking to an intended difficulty, selecting clues and answer lines, or having a set editing squad—was nonexistent. There was no system of preliminary editing, or formatting guidelines, or answer organization by subject. And it was not until the 28th did Esther send out an email codifying formatting as explained by Ben Zhang (http://pastebin.com/rNfPLQvb). Tossups and bonuses were claimed guerilla-style and people wrote about what they felt like writing. Of course there was no procedure to screen these newly written questions.

And so clunked along the writing process. About six weeks in, Ben Zhang “stepped in” (rather, sucked in by a sense of pity for our questions) and began to provide much-lacking and much-needed leadership. He was first to organize our Google docs and provide a question spreadsheet with a much better layout. This was when it became much more evident that the question distribution would have to be rebalanced. He pruned unacceptable questions and answer lines; about this was the time our work started to take some semblance of a canonical high school set. More people were called in / sucked in, nominally to shore up our ramshackle tenets of good quiz bowl in our set. Writing was completed near June 30th, and editing seemed helplessly delayed by a preponderance of things like biography “cloos,” irrelevant information, lack of concision, wikiplagiarism, to name a few. The master question spreadsheet was not opened by our coach until July 1. As first time writers, we wrote without a consistent understanding of difficulty and relevant clue pyramidality. It did not help that many questions had to be completely rewritten. Editing was “completed” hours before the tournament.

Would additional time have benefited us? Marginally, perhaps. For reasons expounded in Max’s thread viewtopic.php?f=117&t=13255, additional time would not have been necessarily correlated with a marginal increase in question quality. For awhile we were interested in writing a set, but, personally, I do not believe we were prepared to write this quickly, not to mention the looming pressure of the deadline set by our coach. We were rapidly disillusioned as questions trickled in, that not enough questions were being written, that there was not enough knowledge and experience within our own team to edit our questions, that the set would quite realistically be a disaster (only made narrowly less worse so by the help of so many others). Given that the tournament was announced (and attendance was solicited) before anyone on the team had begun writing, we were left in a position that required us to fulfill unrealistic writing commitments, and there was nothing that we as a team could do about it. We believe everyone initially involved in this project operated under the false premise that it could be completed adequately in nine weeks.

Future iterations will be planned much, much, much farther in advance, and if plans and a date are confirmed, we intend to solicit help from outside editors. We will look to collaboration, which will not serve as an excuse for poor editing, so long as we can find a way to have editors commit to actively advancing the set. In the words of another quiz bowl player, it does not have to be terrible if we can be systematic and have guidance from someone experienced.

Signed,
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by roey » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:59 pm

Ok so, it appears that many people have been having issues with our set, so I'd like to defend our efforts. I'll acknowledge, it was our first time writing a set, and I know that first time sets usually have at least a few errors. But listen, this was meant to be a very casual, fun tournament, and people should have expected that there would be some errors, especially with so little time to edit. We had sent in a revised set that removed the most blatant errors, but understandably, the revised version's changes were not included because we had submitted that just a few days before. People should calm down and stop trashing this tournament and just give constructive criticism. Ridgewood should be lauded for putting in the effort to write a set, and instead of just bashing it, people here on the forums should give suggestions on where to specifically improve. I understand people complaining about paying so much for Sunday, but Friday seemed to be meant as a fun experience, which it was for us, and all of the sets met the basic requirements. (At least they weren't :chip: )

Concerning our packet, we tried for the first time to write, and it might not have been the best idea trying an actual tournament as our first try, but we had to beat a deadline, and we wanted to do it for fun. Some people here though appear to just like complaining, and I understand, since out packet was different, but some of the complaining seems to just be because teams who expect to win ended up losing on our packet.

However, I was glad to receive feedback from other competitors with more experience, and we will certainly work to improve on it in the future. I think though that we could have used some editing, but with so little time to write and submit the packet, problems like this should be expected. Even though everyone seems to hate our packet, I still stand by it and think we did a decent job with so little time and experience. Sure, the tournament could have been managed a little better, but we had a lot of fun meeting people and playing quiz bowl, and thanks to Ridgewood for arranging this!

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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Charles Martel » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:07 pm

No one is criticizing the job you did writing. Personally, I expect absolutely nothing of novice writers. I am surprised this tournament was completed in time. It seems like the mistakes that were made were (a) deciding to have only novice writers write a set in 3 months, (b) not giving them enough guidance, (c) charging teams lots of money for that Sunday that you should have known wouldn't be good, and (d) teams deciding to pay lots of money for that Sunday that they should have known wouldn't be good.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:09 pm

roey wrote:Ok so, it appears that many people have been having issues with our set, so I'd like to defend our efforts. I'll acknowledge, it was our first time writing a set, and I know that first time sets usually have at least a few errors. But listen, this was meant to be a very casual, fun tournament, and people should have expected that there would be some errors, especially with so little time to edit. We had sent in a revised set that removed the most blatant errors, but understandably, the revised version's changes were not included because we had submitted that just a few days before. People should calm down and stop trashing this tournament and just give constructive criticism. Ridgewood should be lauded for putting in the effort to write a set, and instead of just bashing it, people here on the forums should give suggestions on where to specifically improve. I understand people complaining about paying so much for Sunday, but Friday seemed to be meant as a fun experience, which it was for us, and all of the sets met the basic requirements. (At least they weren't :chip: )

Concerning our packet, we tried for the first time to write, and it might not have been the best idea trying an actual tournament as our first try, but we had to beat a deadline, and we wanted to do it for fun. Some people here though appear to just like complaining, and I understand, since out packet was different, but some of the complaining seems to just be because teams who expect to win ended up losing on our packet.

However, I was glad to receive feedback from other competitors with more experience, and we will certainly work to improve on it in the future. I think though that we could have used some editing, but with so little time to write and submit the packet, problems like this should be expected. Even though everyone seems to hate our packet, I still stand by it and think we did a decent job with so little time and experience. Sure, the tournament could have been managed a little better, but we had a lot of fun meeting people and playing quiz bowl, and thanks to Ridgewood for arranging this!
To be honest, your packet wasn't awful, but certainly in its unedited form it was sub-par, especially the high amount of "history of science"-y science and some overly hard things; I don't think anyone is particularly angry at you, but I do think that you and most people at the tournament would agree that your packet was imperfect, and it might have been better if either it had received some major editing or, if that could not be achieved, then at the tournament it could have been read to fewer teams (e.g it and Hunter's packet having reversed roles, your packet being in a tiebreaker and Hunter's in a round everyone played).
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Matt Weiner » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:22 pm

So, some quick notes on "fun" and "casual" tournaments:

Lots of people find different things fun. Some people find Chicago Open fun. Some people find HSNCT fun. Some people find Chip Beall fun. Some people's ideal of fun is to dispense with buzzers entirely and play Trivial Pursuit or sit around a table talking about how great someone's performance on Jeopardy! was. Some people couldn't be more bored with anything resembling question-and-answer competition and will go play skeeball to have fun.

No one can legitimately accuse any other person of being dishonest when they claim to have "had fun" at something, so we have no choice but to take their word for it.

For the above reasons, the fact that someone "had fun" at a tournament is rarely if ever a meaningful defense to claims that a tournament massively :capybara: . It's also, in almost every case, the first refuge of people who get overly defensive about their terrible questions. Most people don't have a lot invested in quizbowl and will "have fun" doing anything on a weekend morning that doesn't involve working in a coal mine. So what? Through the years, we've heard about how much fun College Bowl was, how much fun VETO is, and how great it is to spend $3000 attending the NAC so that we can determine the National Champion of Having Fun. When you invoke "people had fun at my tournament/on my packet" you're all but saying "I have no intention of conforming to objectively correct principles of good question writing in the future and am going to keep on pumping out this awful product and covering up my doing so with evasive, fallacious rhetoric. PYRAMIDAL PYRAMIDAL TINYCHAT."

Similarly, I don't believe the alleged distinction between "casual" and "non-casual" (formal? black tie? monogamous?) tournaments exists anywhere but in flailing attempts to defend bad questions. All quizbowl tournaments work on pretty much the same stakes--you pay some non-trivial but non-crippling amount of money to play somewhere between 8 and 18 rounds of questions, and if you win, maybe you get a small trophy or a book. The goal of all of them is the virtue of competition (perhaps even including the elusive "fun.") There isn't some other kind of tournament out there where this setup is drastically changed to be less "casual." There is no reason why whatever a "casual" tournament is cannot and should not have good questions, especially if the organizer of said tournament claims to have put fifty hours into its editing and shanghaied teenagers from across the country to do more work still. In fact, since there was much greater time, effort, and money put into attending Ridgewood than is put into attending most non-national tournaments, one ought to expect that it will be far less "casual" in terms of the quality and value returned to those making that investment.

Quizbowl needs to run on good questions. To produce good questions, you need good writers and good editors. To make good writers and good editors, you need to expose players exclusively to good questions as a model, set realistic goals for your product, and not get defensive and make excuses when it is pointed out that you have not yet achieved your goals. Nothing in this paragraph should be controversial. If you disagree with something here, you are way off the correct path and should re-evaluate either your interpretation of the purpose of quizbowl or your own ability to take criticism.

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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:28 pm

Here are the full standings for Friday. We had 11 teams; they were split into a group of 5 and a group of 6. Both groups played a full round robin over the first 5 rounds. The top two teams, middle two teams, and bottom two teams in the group of 6 and bottom team in the group of 1 then played 3 more games against each other. The bottom division had two official games in the rebracket and then a scrimmage during the bye, whose results are not shown here. At the end of the prelims, there was a 3 way tie between Chimera, DCC, and Irvington which was won by DCC in a playoff with all teams playing at once. Scores for playoff game not included here - DCC won by about 100 over Irvington - Chimera was much farther back. For this tournament, prelim results did not carry over due to the fact that not all teams played each other in the prelims (meaning that records were in large part a function of seeding, at least initially).

Prelims
Group A
1. Hunter: 5-0, 2245 pts.
2. Ardsley: 4-1, 1090
3. Brezina: 3-2, 1425
4. Great Neck South: 2-3, 1025
5. Stony Brook: 1-4, 1065
6. Long Island: 0-5, 285

Group B
1. Kellenberg: 4-0, 1250
2. DCC: 2-2, 1160
2. Irvington: 2-2, 575
2. Chimera: 2-2, 875
5. Ranney: 0-4, 695

Rebracketed Rounds / Final Standings
Top Bracket -
1. DCC: 3-0, 1085
2. Hunter: 2-1, 1095
3. Kellenberg: 1-2, 955
4. Ardsley: 0-3, 280

Middle Bracket
5. Great Neck South: 3-0, 780
6. Chimera: 1-2, 735
7. Irvington: 1-2, 650
8. Brezina: 1-2, 540

Bottom Bracket
9. Ranney: 2-0, 680
10. Long Island: 1-1, 205
11. Stony Brook: 0-2, 340
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:31 pm

something ambiguous wrote:
Mechanical Beasts wrote:
nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:Congratulations to DCC (Expert Divisions) and to Hanover (Standard Division) for their victories on Day 2 of the Ridgewood Summer Invitational. Runners up were Hunter A in the Expert (the DCC / Hunter match went to a tiebreak - Collin Parks powered a history question for the win)
I didn't understand this until just now, apparently, when you posted the final standings and I was pretty confused. At first I thought this means that Collin Parks won the finals this way. But the standings belie this. So in the expert division, you didn't play a final/ didn't require that a team clear the field by two games to avoid a final, so a team with 60ppg more but that lost a match that went to a tiebreaker came in second. Okay...
If I remember correctly, this was done because ATTACK was only 12 rounds and one of the rounds had to be used Friday because some of the packets that got submitted were so bad.
Using the ATTACK round on Friday had nothing to do with the quality of packets - it was done because that way all teams were able to play a playoff round at the same time, since obviously no one attending had submitted that packet.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:33 pm

Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote: Regarding Friday's tournament ... As Collin said, indeed, some packets were better than others, though this did not change how they were used (Hunter produced a pretty good packet, but it was only used in a tiebreaker), and some packets even went unused.
This is not true - all packets were used over the course of the tournament, just in different brackets. For example, Ardsley's packet was not played in the upper bracket during the playoffs, since Ardsley was in the Upper Bracket. I believe the Upper Bracket during that round ran on Great Neck South's packet.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by mhayes » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:43 pm

The problems with Sunday's set have been largely discussed already, so I don't have much more to add in that regard. I will say that even though this was an easy tournament, many of the questions suffered from clues that were misplaced, and I think that the comments about the inconsistency of bonus difficulty were spot-on.

As others have said, many of these issues should be expected of first-time writers. I believe that the experience of writing a tournament and listening to feedback will ultimately be invaluable, as it will help mold Ridgewood's players into solid question writers. I firmly believe that this group is capable of producing a quality set, but the aforementioned issues must first be addressed.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:45 pm

Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote:So, after playing this, here is what I have to say...

On Saturday, I don't really have many complaints about the set and I don't think too many people do. I think I remember a small handful of imperfect things that probably could have been improved, but really it was just a good set, and Saturday went well (though it would have been good if one of the ATTACK packets hadn't been used on Friday, allowing a final to be played if necessary). I think the only complaint our team had was that charging for breakfast and charging above retail on pizza felt unnecessary when the entrance fee was already towards the higher end.
Continuing clearing up misperceptions...

We would have needed 2 more ATTACK packets to run a standard advantaged final, i.e. 13 packets, and the set was only 12. The fact that one got used on Friday was immaterial. I would have like to have been able to run an advantaged final on Saturday, so that Hunter and DCC got an additional shot at each other, but that was impossible, since we had 11 prelim packets. Obviously, there could have been a different way of bracketing, but I think running the full round robin was the best way to go here, since any other setup would have required many teams playing each other twice in the prelims or some crossover with the standard division which didn't make sense.
Also, regarding breakfast, I don't think providing breakfast free of charge is necessarily standard practice. We've never done it at NHBB (with maybe one or two exceptions across over 100 tournaments), and no one has really objected, and I've been at numerous other tournaments where that's not the norm either. As for the pizza, $3 a slice may have sounded expensive, but the pizza itself was over $2 a slice, and with tip, it ran close to $2.50, which is what we then charged on Sunday. Again, I don't think selling food as a fundraiser is a problem either, and I've seen this done at many other tournaments too, but the upshot was that (perhaps as a function of that...), we ended up losing over $100 based on uneaten pizzas. Hence my checking with everyone on Sunday - live and learn there, I guess.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by The Fifth Dimension » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:58 pm

Speaking as someone who co-wrote the infamous Ranney packet I did take the criticism as it came. My friend Roey asked around during the competition regarding the packet and people bothered to give us constructive criticism, which is what we want. Unfortunately, when it comes down to discussion of packets, most of the comments appear to be derisive and merely social commentary. While I can applaud such sharp wit, all it does is simply mock. Now, I'm not going to get angry at such derisive comments because this is life and this happens. However, these comments can be ignored since they just promote an opinion. I will be open to any and all criticism regarding the writing of the packets, because being a first-time writer I know that I will not get it right the first time. Such is the way with many things; I'm pretty sure that when people attempt to do something that is new to them, they will err the first or even the second time. However, that is what happens when you ask a bunch of people to housewrite packets; there will always be a disparity in packet quality. That much has to be understood.

I'm not going to say that the Ranney packet was perfect, far from it. There were some holes and faults in the packet and that disgruntled people. I know that ours was not the best packet. I also further know that any good competition requires good packets. That was our intent when Roey and I wrote the Ranney packet to begin with. I will not go on the defensive and lose my mind because people say our packet was trash. That's fine if you do that. However, if you say such things without telling us what the problem is, then all we will get out of it is, "It's a bad packet. The end." Part of the idea of quizbowl, I believe, is not only playing but also interaction. That involves exchanging of ideas. The people that gave us criticism at the tournament are people that were helpful and understanding of our position, and were willing to point out he weaknesses of the packet. That is what we want, and that provides a good model for later, as Matt said in his post.

But at the same time (not to defend bad questions but to defend inevitability) not everyone is perfect and not everyone will get it right the first time. This is why in most quizbowl competitions entire packets are written from the same people rather than a hodgepodge or potpourri of different packets. I mean, every single quizbowl competition I attended, packets were streamlined. Then again, I suppose it depends on where you go for tournaments. If most of you guys end up going to tournaments which have the same format as Ridgewood's and you had a better experience, then more power to you. However, there will always be people that just need practice and experience, and I think that if you don't get it right the first time, then I feel you should not be immediately categorized as "unable to take criticism." That is all I have to say.

I also want to add that even though there was packet disparity, I still had an overall great time at Ridgewood too. Ranney WILL take into consideration whatever criticism other people here can dish out. We're not sensitive, and I certainly am not. The Hunter moderators went to great lengths to tell me what I did wrong in the packet, and I took what they said to heart.

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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Great Bustard » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:12 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:and shanghaied teenagers from across the country to do more work still. .
This is simply not true, and I strongly object to this (and the many other inaccurate) characterization(s) about the tournament. No one was shanghaied here at all - people offered to help, and we were then glad to take them up on the offer. Nobody was coerced at all. Likewise, what I've learned here (among other things) is that if (and that's a huge if, since I myself have better things to be working on, and while happy to direct will not edit in the future myself) some sort of a Ridgewood housewrite coalesces again in the future, we will look way in advance to finding experienced editors, and will be happy as well to compensate them for their efforts. As is, those who helped out on this will get a thank you gift for their efforts, which were very much appreciated.
But I will also add that if people agree to write questions or edit questions, it makes it much harder on the editors/head editor if people don't follow through, or leave things to the 11th hour. That happened quite a bit here, both in the editing and the writing, and the set suffered for it.
Beyond that, a good idea in the future for all housewrites (beyond playtesting the questions) might be to post a representative sample of 3-5 tossups & bonuses on the forums so that people know what they are getting into. I agree with Matt that quizbowl needs objective standards, but not every quizbowl tournament needs (or should) of course appeal to the same audience. That goes for difficulty, distribution, set caliber, etc. Personally, if another area team wanted to host an open housewrite over the summer that had about 30 people all told come and play at it, and had the caliber of questions that RSI Sunday did, I would have gladly gone, played, had fun, and offered constructive criticism. Maybe that's just me, but I think there are other people who would also share that approach. If the field may have had some selection bias there, so what? Doesn't every tournament? I'm sorry if this set didn't meet people's expectations, but again, this set was comparable with other housewrites that I've seen which were written by teams either writing their first pyramidal tournament. The way I see it, the more important issue is accurately conveying the expectations for the tournament, especially for new writers.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:54 pm

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote:
Scaled Flowerpiercer wrote: Regarding Friday's tournament ... As Collin said, indeed, some packets were better than others, though this did not change how they were used (Hunter produced a pretty good packet, but it was only used in a tiebreaker), and some packets even went unused.
This is not true - all packets were used over the course of the tournament, just in different brackets. For example, Ardsley's packet was not played in the upper bracket during the playoffs, since Ardsley was in the Upper Bracket. I believe the Upper Bracket during that round ran on Great Neck South's packet.
As far as I know, my team's packet was only used in one game (it was either Round 8 or Round 9, Pinyan read it, and DCC heard it- I can't remember the other team involved). That's not the kind of usage I was looking for. I was hoping I'd get some critique on the packet my team submitted, and I only managed to get some serious notes yesterday on Skype (namely, that some of the answer choices were stupid hard, and a few of the tossups had serious problems with clue use and order).
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Charles Martel » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:25 pm

When you do packet submission, the most useful feedback isn't supposed to come from the other teams. It should be coming from the editors who edit the packets submitted and give you feedback. There should be disparity in packet quality of submitted packets, but there shouldn't be that much disparity in terms of packet quality of packets actually used at the tournament.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:26 pm

Charles Martel wrote:When you do packet submission, the most useful feedback isn't supposed to come from the other teams. It should be coming from the editors who edit the packets submitted and give you feedback. There should be disparity in packet quality of submitted packets, but there shouldn't be that much disparity in terms of packet quality of packets actually used at the tournament.
And that's why it's a bad idea to have both packet sub and a housewrite going on in the same weekend!
Edit: seriously, doing both and not one or the other pretty much ensures that both will end up badly.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by foxydude » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:07 pm

You know something is up when powermarks extend to the 2nd to last clue.

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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Angry Babies in Love » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:32 pm

As someone with minimal writing experience, there's really not much I can add to discussion about the question quality Sunday--I agree with mostly everything and appreciate the post made by Kara et al. explaining things. 9 weeks it not enough time to produce a set, even with experience. I made a rather questionable decision spending $35 of my own money (not to mention transportation costs, food, etc) on a set that I knew wasn't going to be exceptional.

Regarding something upthread: This is the first tournament I've been to that charged for breakfast, it's either free or non-existent. Not that you shouldn't charge or whatever, it's your tournament, that might explain any excess.

The idea of the event was good, the ATTACK set was excellent, and I had quite a bit of fun. But Sunday was a disappointment and hopefully a great learning experience for everyone involved. I would love to see another tournament next year in the summer that isn't of Chicago Open-difficulty and I'd like to think that sentiment is felt by others in the community but it would have to look a whole hell of a lot different.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Urech hydantoin synthesis » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:36 pm

foxydude wrote:You know something is up when powermarks extend to the 2nd to last clue.
I apologize for that- there were just some tossups that I felt deserved a late power, since the original post said "moderate high school difficulty", even though this set overshot it in general. However, powermarking was not very high on the priority list, since there were a lot of problems greater than inconsistent/late powermarks.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Redgrass1 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:01 pm

Someone lost a blackberry (playbook?) in my house. I couldn't go in it because it had a password on it. It's in a black case that says blackberry on it along with ear buds.

Also, the nozzles on the air pump are gone, whoever was staying in my house if you know where they went please message me.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:46 pm

Christ, I Know wrote:
foxydude wrote:You know something is up when powermarks extend to the 2nd to last clue.
I apologize for that- there were just some tossups that I felt deserved a late power, since the original post said "moderate high school difficulty", even though this set overshot it in general. However, powermarking was not very high on the priority list, since there were a lot of problems greater than inconsistent/late powermarks.
Sometimes this is okay. (For example, it's not uncommon when I powermark a NAQT set, and we're hitting fairly good power rates around 20-25% with that scheme.)
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by jonpin » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:16 pm

Alright, so I've got a moderate amount to say (not nearly the same as post NHBB, but enough for me to want to take some time to put it in sentences and paragraphs), but I'm starting off with one piece of advice for David Madden:

Do one thing.

I'm not even saying "Do one thing well", I'm saying "Do one thing". Because when you (and I mean the generic 'you' here) do ten things, you don't do any of them particularly well. In retrospect, a far better plan would've been to merge Friday and Sunday's events. Teams would submit a packet, and Ridgewood would write about 4 packets that could be used for finals and to replace repeats. That way, the writing gets done faster, and people have more time to do editing. Then Friday night could've been side-event night if people wanted.
Instead, we had a mediocre Sunday set, and a Friday set where (at least some, but I think all) packets were not looked at before they were read. Some topics came up maybe 4 or 5 times over the course of the weekend. A few Friday packets weren't randomized, so that one led off with 4/4 lit, then 3/5 history, then the science, then the social science, and so forth. I don't think that's the fault of the people who turned in the packets, especially teams that submitted a week ago and expected someone to look at their packet. What IS the fault of the packet writers was the terrible prose, and the occasional ridiculous answer lines. Did anyone at all successfully convert "Study after Velazquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X"? The point of the "canon" isn't that "this is a list of things you can ask questions on, everything else is off limits", the point is that there are well-known things, and there are things that are way too obscure to ask about, let alone tossup. As to the prose, I think a useful suggestion to teams that haven't done much writing is to take your packet, which you're about to submit, and read it out loud. Better yet, get someone who didn't write any of the questions (and therefore isn't just reading from memory) to read it out loud. If you stumble over phrases, if you've got extra words, if you've got severe mechanical errors, you can catch them, and fix them rather than leaving that for the moderator to do on the fly.
Also, I mentioned it in person, and I don't really mean to harp on it, but the people who submitted packets to Friday are all in at least high school, and should not need me to post this.

I don't have anything near enough experience to accurately discuss the amount of work that goes into writing and editing a tournament, but people who I trust tell me it's a :capybara: of a lot more than what went into this thing. What sucks is that by having the kids write so much and not looking at it until it's all written, they've gotten themselves into some terrible habits which need to be broken quickly.

Logistically, this was the most organized any Madden tournament I've ever attended has been (excluding the middle school state bee which had a total of 24 students). In all honesty, Friday might've been better with single-elimination playoffs (and consolations so everyone got a bunch of games in) to make sure we moved a little more quickly and got out in a timely fashion. Saturday, it would've been nice to have a final. A possible format could've been 2x6 -> 2x6 and then a two-game final as needed, but once the ATTACK Final-2 was used*, that was no longer viable.
As to the Sunday final, I'd heard people mention "10 1/2 packets" as being available, which is why before Round 10, I specifically asked Madden if there was a packet available for the final. I then specifically, repeatedly asked if there was a full packet or just a half-packet, and I was told there was a full packet. So the excuses that "We never expected to go past tossup 10 in that packet" are crap; just tell me that when I ask, and there's no problem! On the whole, powers were generous, but we were playing below our ability level, so that's not a surprise. I'd probably just as soon recommend not worrying about power-marking. I know people love hearing (and I love saying) "FIFTEEEEEEN", but I'd guess there were very few games actually decided by powers, and placing them is a tricky art.

Yes, I had fun all three days (moderating Friday, getting destroyed Saturday, and coattail-riding Sunday), but everyone has more fun when questions are better.
Last but not least, if you were paying ~$20/pizza, you were getting ripped the hell off. There's any number of local places that will charge $12 or so, and some may offer a discount for bulk orders.

*-FYI, ATTACK Final-2 had tossups and bonuses misnumbered. That should probably be fixed at some point if it's still being used.
Jon Pinyan
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Mewto55555 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:34 am

nationalhistorybeeandbowl wrote: But I will also add that if people agree to write questions or edit questions, it makes it much harder on the editors/head editor if people don't follow through, or leave things to the 11th hour. That happened quite a bit here, both in the editing and the writing, and the set suffered for it.
Yeah, not doing a good enough job or spending enough time editing is a terrible thing, a terrible thing you are clearly intimately familiar and well-practiced in, Mr. Madden, judging by what happened with this set!

Before I get into this post though, I am actually genuinely curious: What would you have done if Ben and Nikhil et al. (see: Maddenical thinking) hadn't come in to save the day, and you had been forced to run the crap that was originally there? I can only conclude, judging from your reactions up-thread, that you would have defended an inferior product just as staunchly, and perhaps persisted with this ridiculous notion of converting it back into a middle school set. I only hope I am mistaken in my conclusions.

So where to begin? I guess we'll start where the blame for this terrible set begins and ends: with you, Mr. Madden. We cannot be surprised at, nor dismayed with, the dozens of questions produced by the middle schooler who writes with little or no guidance which turn out to be not-up-to-snuff. We cannot judge harshly Esther Sun, who, having never done such a thing before, attempted to set up a spreadsheet for recording answer choices, which was woefully inadequate for the intended purpose. We CANNOT have the gall to call out those who, out of feelings of pity for those about to be afflicted with this set, volunteered to do some small part to remedy the situation, only to come up short of your outrageous expectations.

Instead, the buck stops with you, the nominal head-editor, who rushed his students into writing a set with no guidance or tutelage, who refused to so much as glance at the answer spreadsheet, who thus far on this thread has done nothing but try to shrug off the blame which rightly belongs firmly affixed to his shoulders.

Who am I to make this post? I seem to be the only one to work on this set willing to -- the poor students at Ridgewood are unfortunately still dependent on you and cannot risk your disfavor, nor can Ben, who probably has the logical fear that he will be screwed out of his just compensation should he cross you (speaking of which, I really hope the money from this endeavor goes primarily in the Ridgewood quizbowl team's account, with some nice kick-backs to Ben and Nikhil and Kevin who cleaned up your mess, not into the Madden-has-exotic-vacation-in-the-name-of-"outreach"-fund).

I don't know about the at-tournament logistics as well as I probably should to critique them, but what I've heard were mostly nightmarish stories of price-gouging on basic foodstuffs (have you considered that you might sell more pizza it the price wasn't exorbitantly high?) and crazy ideas for how to run a tournament, including three-way tiebreaks and not having enough packets to run a final, failures to properly reserve rooms requiring your slaves to run around rectifying your mistakes, and much more. However, people seem to have covered this very well earlier in this thread, so I will not digress further.

But the set itself! Oy! What in the world were you thinking on Friday? A bunch of high schoolers submitting packets, which you don't even look over? No blind packets at all in case of a tie, except by borrowing from Saturday's set so you didn't have to write any tiebreaks? NEWSFLASH, MR. MADDEN, THAT'S NOT WHAT A PACKET-SUBMISSION EVENT IS. People were paying $10+ apiece with the expectation that their packets, and those of the other teams, would be cleaned up and repeat-free.

Saturday, I'm told the set was fantastic, though I am rather amused you still managed to muck it up by devising a schedule that precluded a final or any tie-breaking games to be played.

Sunday's set, on the other hand...left a lot to be desired. Ben Zhang truly performed a Herculean task these past weeks, and I sure hope he was lauded at the tournament sufficiently for it -- the set would be completely worthless had his humanity and pity not prevailed. When Ben approached me to help, I was of course confused -- why in the world would a set be less than half-done with two weeks to go, and why in the world would Ben be fixing it instead of the head-editor? The head-editor was you, Mr. Madden. It was not Ben Zhang. Ben Zhang does not go to Ridgewood. Ben Zhang did not owe you or Ridgewood anything.

And yet Ben head-edited the set. Ben was up into the wee hours of the morning, play-testing and replacing a majority of the set. Ben wrote impromptu guides and taught your team how to write quizbowl questions. Other people helped (I dropped in and dissected the answer spreadsheet for them, explaining what questions wouldn't work and what is trash and what is fine arts, and re-wrote a few tossups at request, Nikhil and Kevin, and a few unnamed others did stuff as well).

But where were you through all this, Mr. Madden? You claim to have been working on "logistics", but that's laughable -- logistics aren't so complicated as to prevent you from having time to edit! Clearly you weren't too busy to volunteer to edit another tournament, while you were completely shirking your responsibilities on this one!

In March of last year, I was faced with a somewhat pitiful LIST set that needed to get done. With only a few weeks before print-time, the set was not even close to where it needed to be. So what I do? I did what every head-editor should do in this situation: I realized the responsibility lay with me, and I spent as much time on it as I needed to get a good set. Nothing has made me laugh harder in recent memory than your self-righteous indignant assertion that you had spent multiple hours a day for a week editing, and then your expectation that we would be awed and back off. Well guess what, Mr. Madden. We're the indignant ones, and we're sure as hell not awed. Thirty hours is chump change compared to what's needed for a set; Ben alone put in 30 hours over any given four-day period the week before the set needed to be done. Please, stop pretending you saved the set, and it's everyone else's fault that it totally sucked. It's your fault.

Please, for the love of quizbowl, just stop! History bowl was a fiasco, and the year of Madden-making-everything-better has just begun with this whopping start. You clearly are not capable of editing a good set without help, and you clearly are not capable of running a good tournament without help, and this problem only intensifies when you let your attention begin to wander to your pet projects! Spend a year or two focusing entirely on NHBB and make it the best event it could be.

Don't try to convert this ill-conceived tournament into an un-needed, unwanted middle school housewrite. Stop deluding yourself into believing that you are God's gift to quizbowl. Stop working the Ridgewood kids as slaves, and stop dragging their name through the mud with your hare-brained schemes.They're better than that, even if you aren't.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by conquerer7 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:19 am

/ducks under flaming arrows and tossed farm animals

I edited chem/physics/math, didn't come on Sunday, and didn't even bother looking at anything non-science, so I doubt I'm qualified to say anything about the set as a whole.

Once this furor dies down, I would appreciate if somebody could go through what I edited and give criticism (especially math and non-modern physics, and hopefully not in the same form as the brutal SUB-OPTIMAL critique of IMSANITY) since I'm relatively new to this quizbowl thing. I apologize for the quite a few questions that are weird; those include especially ones we were moving around on the last night and I hadn't anticipated having to edit, and a few chem ones I overhauled without having any deep knowledge in chemistry. I feel guilty since I volunteered to edit just for fun, anticipating that it'd be played mostly by local teams, and people ended up coming from out of state!

Several people deserve to be celebrated: Esther and Justin wrote the great majority of the science (dunno about other subjects) and Ben edited over 5 for every one of mine. Though I don't claim the set (or more specifically the science, since that's all I read), I think it turned out almost as well as possible given the circumstances.
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Re: 3 Day Ridgewood Summer Invitational: July 6-8, Ridgewood, NJ

Post by Scaled Flowerpiercer » Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:28 am

conquerer7 wrote: Once this furor dies down, I would appreciate if somebody could go through what I edited and give criticism (especially math and non-modern physics, and hopefully not in the same form as the brutal SUB-OPTIMAL critique of IMSANITY
I could probably give you some critiques on a lot of the science if given access to the questions as I am somewhat knowledgeable in those areas and I remember a lot of the issues I encountered when playing with the set and could probably deliver most of the critique by memory. Of course if this is still going to be made into a middle school set it will neither be as public (or as brutal) as the one to which you refer.
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