A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

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A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:18 pm

Okay, so I figure I'll open a can of worms here. There's been some grousing lately about packet submission for ACF tournaments, and I think it should be settled, or at least talked about.

The arguments for mandatory packet submission (in its current form) seem to be as follows:
- Mandatory submission encourages people to learn and improve by writing questions.
- Mandatory submission allows editors to pick the highest-quality packets to be played, out of a list of 40 or more.
- New players are given a reprieve
- Beyond time in the circuit (the method currently used), there's no good way of deciding who should have to submit and who should be exempt

I'm sure very few would object to the third point--very few first- and second-year collegiate teams could put together a really stellar packet, and IMO, it is much more important to develop an appreciation for the game.

However, I know a lot of people have a problem with how unflinchingly the rule is applied. I hear every year that Canadian teams want to come to ACF Fall, but they don't want to have to write a packet. Their reasoning, it seems, goes like this:
- If I want to play, I have to write a packet.
- I realize that I don't write questions very well, so my packet will likely not be used.
- In the meantime, I have spent many hours writing questions.
- Since my time is valuable, I would rather not write (and consequently not play) than spend many hours writing a subpar packet that never will get used.

I sympathize more with the forst point of view than with the second (and I've written several unused packets in my day), but I am curious to hear from people who have chosen not to attend ACF tournaments because of the packet-writing restriction. Since the ultimate goal of ACF is
to provide regional and national tournaments for collegiate academic competition and oversee the continued development of the ACF format as defined in the official ACF rules.
it seems right to me to explore other options which both allow more teams to compete and also maintain the tournament quality to which we are accustomed.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by gyre and gimble » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:24 pm

I'll have more to add when I'm not busy editing the questions we're discussing, but I do want to point out that the primary reason packets that don't get used aren't used, as far as this year goes, is that people are submitting questions that are way too hard for Fall. If you want your packet to show up in the set, look through old incarnations of that set to get a sense of the difficulty, and then choose answers/clues that are difficulty-appropriate!
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by vcuEvan » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:35 pm

gyre and gimble wrote:I'll have more to add when I'm not busy editing the questions we're discussing, but I do want to point out that the primary reason packets that don't get used aren't used, as far as this year goes, is that people are submitting questions that are way too hard for Fall. If you want your packet to show up in the set, look through old incarnations of that set to get a sense of the difficulty, and then choose answers/clues that are difficulty-appropriate!
I've found that the biggest reason questions aren't used is that they're submitted late in the process. At that point most of the questions are written and a huge chunk of each submission is a repeat. If you're interested in seeing your packet used the best thing you can do under the current system is submit by the first deadline.

I can understand why people are frustrated when they spend a long time writing a packet that isn't used. I'd love to see some suggestions, especially ones that retain the benefits of the current system that Zach lays out.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:51 pm

Everyday we do things that will, in the end, have no effect. We buy insurance to cover accidents that will end up not happening to us. We stand in line to vote in elections, despite the fact that the election is unlikely to be decided by our one vote. We look both ways before crossing the street despite the fact that it's a low traffic one way street.

You should see packet submission in the same way. Yes, your question will probably not get used. In an ideal world, where lots of people sign up for ACF tournaments and each of them writes an excellent packet, most questions WILL NOT get used because it would be physically impossible to use all of them. But you do it because it's good for your own development, and because it's your civic duty to quizbowl.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Auroni » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:07 pm

Keep in mind that ACF Regionals still exists. When I edited Fall, we received over 50 submissions (and obviously couldn't use anywhere near all of them, given the answerspace of the low difficulty tournament). When I edited Regionals, it was between 25-30 and we used over 90% of them. If it's such a dealbreaker for you to not have your packet be used, then put some effort into an ACF Regionals submission and show up at your nearest site.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Windows ME » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:27 pm

Better idea: stop making excuses and write a packet if you want to play.

A huge advantage of packet writing requirements are that the only people who are required to do so are almost always those who are *aware that such a requirement exists* in the first place. If you want to play ACF Fall every year, you don't get to complain about packet deadlines knowing full well that you could submit 24/24 up to a year in advance. Yes, a year! That's a long time!

1) ACF tournaments are supposed to be of the absolute highest quality. For this to happen, a large amount of people submit a large amount of questions that get edited down. In other words, if you're knowingly not doing your part, you're a leech and you don't deserve anyone's sympathy.
2) You're completely new to quizbowl and have no idea how this packet writing thing works? Great. You're not required to submit one. Show up and have fun! I hope you get to experience many excellent years of top quality questions to play on and become a valued member of the community! You have everyone's appreciation if you do.
3) You were in the above situation exactly one year ago but now you have to submit a packet? Oh no, some amount of effort. Let's whine about it until it goes away. Didn't work? let's sit out and then whine again next year. Heaven forbid an activity that's completely student-run requires some amount of effort by the community to keep it afloat.

New plan: write some questions. See your game improve and see the quality of the set improve. Really worried about things not getting used? submit them earlier. Find the idea of writing a few questions absolutely nauseating? hey, there are plenty of tournaments that don't require you to submit anything. But if ACF Fall is your holy grail, sorry but you've got to earn your right to play it at some point.


The only place where I do have sympathy is for someone who has to write 24/24 by themselves to play a tournament. That can be exhausting and I can see how that would quickly demotivate someone purely out of fatigue.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Cheynem » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:30 pm

Perhaps some discussion of allowing half packets for shorthanded teams (whether literally shorthanded or lacking experienced writers, i.e. only one person on the team needs to write)? This happened a few times when I was on Minnesota's B team and either me or Bernadette were the only people who needed to write. Sometimes I sucked it up and wrote a packet by myself. Sometimes we received the blessing of the editors to only turn in a half packet or a science-less packet.

I would think of writing a packet in the same way as paying your fee.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:38 pm

Cheynem wrote:Perhaps some discussion of allowing half packets for shorthanded teams (whether literally shorthanded or lacking experienced writers, i.e. only one person on the team needs to write)? This happened a few times when I was on Minnesota's B team and either me or Bernadette were the only people who needed to write. Sometimes I sucked it up and wrote a packet by myself. Sometimes we received the blessing of the editors to only turn in a half packet or a science-less packet.
I'd modify this a little; I would suggest outright half-packets for everybody, but not dropping any aspect of the distribution (unless you're planning to pay the science editor more because invariably people won't write science)
Cheynem wrote:I would think of writing a packet in the same way as paying your fee.
Except writing a packet - especially if you're a new writer - is a much larger time commitment than paying a fee.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Cheynem » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:46 pm

Well some people might actually choose to write science--it depends on what you like to write and what you know. I would be okay with allowing a modified half packet that just shortens the distribution (so maybe you write the science you feel more comfortable doing?).

Sure, maybe it is a larger time commitment, but it's still a fee; you want to play the tournament, you put in the time/pay the money. If you're a truly new writer, you don't have to write the packet anyway.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Susan » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:47 pm

So, these discussions are always weird for me because BACK IN MY DAY there were far fewer housewrites (and fewer new-player exceptions to writing for packet-sub tournaments); as a fairly unserious, not super-active player (quizbowl wasn't my main extracurricular for my first few years of undergrad), I wrote 4 quarter-packets my first year, the first one before I had ever attended a quizbowl tournament. However, I recognize that we are not living back in my day, and that a number of factors, including the rise of housewrites and the rise in community standards of questionwriting, have made the experience of writing packets more challenging for people.

I am not very enthusiastic about allowing experienced players to play without writing at all. Writing questions is a really important part of improving at quizbowl and learning new things, and it's also sort of everyone's community buy-in to the whole quizbowl enterprise. I think that if we start loosening up writing requirements, we will find ourselves with a dearth of qualified writers and editors at some point down the line, which will completely screw both collegiate and HS quizbowl (to a certain extent, I wonder whether we've been seeing this with science writers for some time; a small number of people seem to do a lot of the science editing for a lot of tournaments). I agree with Eric (on preview) that any half-packet scheme would have to stick to some sort of actual distribution, not just "write your favorite half of the packet".

I'm not opposed to making the writing requirements for Fall lighter; one possibility would be allowing half-packets (although I'd probably charge people an additional fee to submit a half packet instead of a full one). We've also talked about offering half-packet discounts for hosting Fall or Regionals, a proposal that was not met with boundless enthusiasm by the circuit. As another possibility, would the teams whose packets go largely unused find it helpful to receive some reasonably in-depth commentary on what they submitted, what worked, what didn't, and how to improve? I think for ACF to really be able to do a good job with this, we'd probably have to add a person or two to the editing team to take point on assembling feedback for the teams that wanted it, but I don't see why we couldn't try it if it would be helpful.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Cheynem » Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:50 pm

To elaborate on my "fee" idea, I just think that's a more palatable sounding concept for newer (or slightly newer) teams than the idea of community building or improvement, especially when it comes to Fall. Quizbowl does not run without packets, question writing increases community strength, and it increases your skills, definitely. I agree with that 100%. But at Fall, it's harder to make that sell because many packets don't get used and the quality of the submissions is not that good. So to me, framing it in the sense of "this is what you do in order to play a tournament, the same as bringing your own equipment for some sporting events," is what makes the most sense.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Masked Canadian History Bandit » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:08 pm

fourplustwo wrote:Better idea: stop making excuses and write a packet if you want to play.
In this specific case, no one should have any sympathy because it's been common knowledge on the Ontario circuit since at least May that Fall was going to happen at Mac.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Edmund » Wed Oct 23, 2013 6:40 pm

One nice consequence of the excess of packets is that some more experienced teams in the UK seem to have put extra effort into their Fall writing this year, with the hope of seeing their packet or even part of it make the final set. I have no idea with what success these efforts have been committed, but compared to last year it seems that at least some writers are thinking more, trying harder and planning earlier. Hopefully these positive traits and the general experience will then carry over to improve the packets submitted to other tournaments where these writers will certainly see their questions in play.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:14 pm

Bruce and Sinan basically state my views on this matter. I get sort of pissy when people complain about this, too, but I think it's important to consider the mindset of a third-year, casual player. To them, I imagine it is off-putting to see something they've spent 12-20 (?) hours on, go ununsed (and presumably unappreciated). They see their work as unimportant, but nonetheless mandatory. This prevents a number of Buffalo players (who otherwise enjoy playing and would be otherwise happy to pay the tournament fee) from playing at all. I can tell them to just write a damn packet, but that doesn't do any good; and I simply don't have the time to get them comfortable writing packets (beyond our semesterly writing workshops).

All that said, it's important to note that a lot of times, casual players might not know whether they're available 10 weeks in advance. So the prospect of writing some undetermined portion of a packet with some undetermined teammates is more ambiguity than many are comfortable with. Even our A team at Buffalo sometimes isn't ironed out until September. So while the "just write a damn packet" argument is unquestionably valid for teams everyone knows are around, it gets less workable when we start considering the less serious participants.
Edmund wrote:One nice consequence of the excess of packets is that some more experienced teams in the UK seem to have put extra effort into their Fall writing this year, with the hope of seeing their packet or even part of it make the final set.
This is the attitude that Matt, Joshi, John, and I took last year with our packet, and I would argue (a bit self-importantly), that it is a good attitude. We wanted it to be used, so we put a lot of work into it over the summer, and lo and behold! It got used!

I think Susan probably has the right idea here, though. Relaxing packet submission requirements for Fall may be the right way to get more people involved. Maybe even tack on an extra $25 or $50 for a half-packet.

One last thing: I do think the promise of feedback would help people at least feel noticed. Maybe say that everyone who submits and requests it by the -$25 gets feedback?

On a more humorous note (and perhaps opening myself to ridicule), people hate writing science?!
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Muriel Axon » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:15 am

Could we make it so that if a team reaches the +$50 deadline, they no longer have to write a packet, but must still pay the extra $50? Maybe not for Nats or even Regionals, but I think it should be okay for Fall because:
1. There's still a strong incentive not to wait that late, because $$$.
2. There are enough questions received by the +$50 deadline that packets submitted then probably won't be used anyway, and there's no point in keeping teams out for not writing a packet that won't be used.

The problem with this is that teams that are thinking of submitting for the +$25 deadline may decide it's not worth it to write a packet to save $25. I'm not sure how to resolve this problem - maybe keep the +$50 if you write a packet, and say teams must pay +$100 if they don't write a packet at all?
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Unicolored Jay » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:08 pm

This type of discussion seems to always pop up whenever ACF Fall comes around. I think the key difference between ACF Fall and other tournaments is that it's the biggest packet-sub tournament of the year, and as a result, lots more teams are submitting packets than at any other tournament throughout the year. I think teams should recognize that, given that nowadays that more than 50 packets are being submitted to Fall every year, that because of many additional factors like how early the submission was, the quality of the questions, repeats, and the limited answerline space compared to regular difficulty tournaments and above, that it's hard to have high expectations to see your packet getting used if like 30 others have been submitted before yours.

To get around this, I'd suggest starting on packets early (you can just write some questions ahead of time but not put them in a packet until you know for sure you're playing; I've done this a with a significant number of my submissions), and maybe try to go for creative answerlines or questions so that repeats with other packets won't be as big of an issue (don't make them too hard, though!). To make it so that Fall submissions aren't a huge wasted effort, I think having people give feedback would be great for those teams who want to know why their packet was or was not used. Half packets may be good, too, but there has to be a set of rules regarding that.

Regarding team lineups and such: I think what the best thing to do here is to first identify everyone who may be willing to play and needs to submit a packet, then try to form a team around that. Also, keep in mind that people who can't/don't play ACF Fall can still help write questions (OSU's done this before on a minimal level), and the team composition that you send to the tournament can be comprised of players who didn't write and just substituted in for someone who did write, but had to drop out, so long as they didn't submit questions for a different packet. So there is some flexibility there.
Muriel Axon wrote:Could we make it so that if a team reaches the +$50 deadline, they no longer have to write a packet, but must still pay the extra $50? Maybe not for Nats or even Regionals, but I think it should be okay for Fall because:
1. There's still a strong incentive not to wait that late, because $$$.
2. There are enough questions received by the +$50 deadline that packets submitted then probably won't be used anyway, and there's no point in keeping teams out for not writing a packet that won't be used.

The problem with this is that teams that are thinking of submitting for the +$25 deadline may decide it's not worth it to write a packet to save $25. I'm not sure how to resolve this problem - maybe keep the +$50 if you write a packet, and say teams must pay +$100 if they don't write a packet at all?
I feel like this could work, but if Team A submits a packet past the +$50 deadline and Team B does not, then Team A shouldn't have to pay as much as Team B to play the tournament. In any case, there should be a hard deadline for all submissions (i.e. after a certain day no packets may be submitted with late fees and all).
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Habitat_Against_Humanity » Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:29 pm

I feel like those who have to write packets are experienced enough in quizbowl to know that in the fall there is a tournament called "ACF Fall," which requires teams to write packets. Given that they know well ahead of time that this tournament exists and that writing questions can be a pain if you try to do them in a rush, perhaps they should consider writing a question now and then over the summer (or whenever else) that could be used later. Heck, writing 1/1 a month between May and September puts you almost all the way to a quarter of a packet. By the middle of my second year of collegiate quizbowl, I had a file of unused questions and lists of clues for unwritten questions that made writing packet assignments much easier when the time came to assemble packets. All I had to do was adjust them for difficulty and send them off. Basically, if you think you might play might play a tournament in the coming year, take a few minutes over the summer and just write some questions offhand.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:24 pm

I wrote to Stephen earlier this fall regarding the possibility of exempting CC teams from the packet submission requirement. Now I feel like I have to be careful here: I certainly don't want to perpetuate the idea that CC's are lesser QB entities/competitors, but I do think there are some "cultural" differences in our circuit that might make it logical to allow CC teams to pay more rather than write.

The main problem we see is that CC players are pretty much totally sheltered from packet writing, as there are zero packet-submission tournaments on the CC circuit. And for schools outside Valencia and Chipola,we don't even have coaches who have any serious question writing experience.

Now the important thing is that the vast majority of CC teams are indeed exempt already due to the "new player/club" exemption. But this year I've got four players around for their second or third year at Valencia, three of whom I won't allow to play Delta Burke due to my rule about only playing two years if one has been a top-ten scorer. So ACF Fall is really their last chance to all play together. But they're all employed, two of them full-time, and, frankly, they're lazy about question writing, too. I require my players to write 10/10 each fall and spring, and it's like pulling teeth to get half that.

It seems like a logical fix for all teams reluctant/unwilling to write is not to simply ban them from play but rather to charge them more--even a lot more. CC's, for instance, have pretty robust budgets. I'd happily pay double the full ACF Fall entry fee (maybe more!) if this team were allowed to play at the UF site. This would seem to help ACF and the host (more money!) as well as my players. But apparently this is not an option.

I understand the logic behind the ban: people want to play, and excluding them is a potential motivator. And I understand about training up new writers, but nearly none of the best CC players of the last decade have gone on to play at a four-year school (there are a couple notable exceptions, particularly at UCF). So I don't see a lot of point in excluding them considering they're probably not going to go on to another school and have to write (and if they do, well, they'll learn then).
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by TulaneKQB » Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:55 pm

Susan wrote:As another possibility, would the teams whose packets go largely unused find it helpful to receive some reasonably in-depth commentary on what they submitted, what worked, what didn't, and how to improve? I think for ACF to really be able to do a good job with this, we'd probably have to add a person or two to the editing team to take point on assembling feedback for the teams that wanted it, but I don't see why we couldn't try it if it would be helpful.
From a team with many inexperienced players who want to write better, I think that some kind of commentary from the editors would be extremely helpful. It wouldn't need to be anything too insightful--something as easy as "this question is too short" or "this question is too hard" would be fine--but something that I could take to them or the Tulane club president could take to them and say "it's not just me who doesn't like this question; here's what you can work on." I realize that editing these questions must be time-consuming, but I know the undergrads on a team like ours would appreciate it.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:04 pm

I guess I'll just start by noting that of all the problems quizbowl could have, "too many packets are getting submitted to tournaments with nationwide audiences" is a very good problem to have indeed. I think we're seeing this explosion of submitted packets to Fall (and, to a lesser extent, events such as ACF Regionals 2013 and VCU Closed - Auroni, take note that it is seeping up to regular tournaments too) because the number of teams that are seriously interested in, or committed to, mainstream college quizbowl has been growing a lot. (At least, the interest level among existing teams in mainstream tournaments has been growing). There's a huge increase in packet submissions at these events even since I started playing college events in 2010, and that's a sign that we as a community are bustling, with many teams of varying skill levels signing up across the country for big events.

I'm not convinced that a mere 50 dollars is a steep enough penalty to let a team buy out of writing. It's a pretty common personality type among quizbowlers that some people are quite lazy and would gladly pay money to not have to spend time writing - a tendency which gets compounded in situations where the club has money to do the paying instead of the person. This is why "submission-optional" tournaments such as Penn Bowl 2012 and Minnesota Open 2013 get very few outside submissions even upon promising discounts - the financial benefit to writing in a writing-optional situation just hasn't been stark enough to bring in submissions from people who would rather just pay the slightly raised fee. It seems like teams that want to opt out of writing should have to pay a significantly higher fee - something more like $250 or $300 per non-writing team - for that privilege, and even then, a large number of teams would exercise that privilege as often as possible, cutting down the number of passable submissions sharply. (This dynamic might also play out poorly within internal team discussion. Consider a situation where three members of Hypothetical College Y are fine with writing and could write a usable packet for an early deadline, saving their team lots of money, but the fourth simply refuses to write anything that he/she could pay her/his way out of.)

It seems like this discussion has come to more of a head with ACF Fall because recent Falls have sharply curtailed the combination of packets from multiple schools. Last year's Fall had zero combination of any sort. I'm not sure this has to be the case- even if packets contain huge clusters of repeats given the low difficulty, and it's easiest to just pick 16 packets to go to town on, it's not hard to just edit one school's packet and then slap another school's name on the file if there were five or six repeats between their submissions.

I'm very uncertain about the current state of the ongoing ACF feedback program and am somewhat wary that volunteers would actually put in the hours of work that it'd take to critique 40+ unused packets.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:14 pm

I think a fee of $250-300 for a non-writing team, as Matt suggested above, with a drop of about $150-200 for packet submission (based on deadlines, etc.) would create a good equilibrium. If the difference between submitting a packet by a "regular deadline" and not submitting at all was something like $200, then you're talking about $4-5/question, which is more than NAQT pays (I think!). As there are seemingly lots of folks willing to write for $3/question, it seems like editors could find folks to fill in for the few teams (I predict) who would choose to pay that much, or of course editors could write more themselves and pocket more cash.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Auroni » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:25 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote: The main problem we see is that CC players are pretty much totally sheltered from packet writing, as there are zero packet-submission tournaments on the CC circuit. And for schools outside Valencia and Chipola,we don't even have coaches who have any serious question writing experience.

Now the important thing is that the vast majority of CC teams are indeed exempt already due to the "new player/club" exemption. But this year I've got four players around for their second or third year at Valencia, three of whom I won't allow to play Delta Burke due to my rule about only playing two years if one has been a top-ten scorer. So ACF Fall is really their last chance to all play together. But they're all employed, two of them full-time, and, frankly, they're lazy about question writing, too. I require my players to write 10/10 each fall and spring, and it's like pulling teeth to get half that.
I have two responses:

1) We no longer exempt high school teams from having to submit packets solely based on the fact that they're in high school. I don't see the need to give any more special treatment to community college players than to high school students.

2) Everyone's busy. Several people who are going to be playing packet submission tournaments this coming year and aren't exempt for writing have some combination of a job, several jobs, heavy academic work, theses, etc. A lot of people are lazy, too, but there's no reason to reinforce and encourage that sort of behavior.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Susan » Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:26 pm

RyuAqua wrote: I'm very uncertain about the current state of the ongoing ACF feedback program and am somewhat wary that volunteers would actually put in the hours of work that it'd take to critique 40+ unused packets.
I share your concerns about the current ACF feedback program; what I had in mind was a little different. Most of the feedback would come from the editors, not from a third party as currently happens with ACF feedback. In my ACF editing experience, people have often gone through the packets or the answer spreadsheet and--minimally--tagged things as usable or not; I could see a feedback program requiring teams, at the time they submit their packets, to indicate that they want to receive feedback after the tournament. As they go through the packets, the editors can then just make a quick note after the questions they didn't use (e.g., "too hard", "no middle clues", etc.). The team would, minimally, get these comments back; I think it might be nice to also have a summary statement ("your packet did have strong points x, y, and z, but one problem you seemed to have was that your history questions were all too difficult/you submitted four poetry tossups/your tossups read like they were written by a team of Tonto, Tarzan, Animal, and Yoda"--obviously this would be phrased as kindly as possible). Generating feedback when editors are already required to examine the questions should be significantly easier than trying to rope people into helping out on an ad-hoc basis, and making it opt-in should keep it from being 40+ packets.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:02 pm

1) We no longer exempt high school teams from having to submit packets solely based on the fact that they're in high school. I don't see the need to give any more special treatment to community college players than to high school students.

2) Everyone's busy. Several people who are going to be playing packet submission tournaments this coming year and aren't exempt for writing have some combination of a job, several jobs, heavy academic work, theses, etc. A lot of people are lazy, too, but there's no reason to reinforce and encourage that sort of behavior.
Fair points, Auroni, and expected. I don't mean to suggest that no four-year players have the kinds of outside work or family requirements more common to CC students, nor that all CC students are so busy. But mine happen to be, and the bottom line is that they won't write (they say they will but through a combination of business and laziness, indeed not unique), and I'm too busy with Delta Burke to do it for them, so they can't play. And if that's ACF's way to go, that's fine. We don't play, and the hosts and ACF don't get money. I'm just not sure this is optimal for any of the parties involved.

Maybe this is a different way of framing the issue: if some players of any level (let's not limit this to some special pleading on my part for CC players) are clearly not going to write packets, who is harmed? If a clear case can be made that ACF Fall cannot run without nearly all teams required to write, then indeed things shouldn't change. If, on the other hand, more teams could opt out of writing but could play with hefty fees (how about $350?), would a few more teams who currently don't play, maybe a lot more, now participate, and would ACF and hosts make more money, while there are still enough packets since many teams wouldn't want to pay $350?

If the latter were to be true, then the only harm I can think of is that some players lose the opportunity to develop and improve as players, which would be their problem, I assume, not the community's, as there are obviously still plenty of folks seriously committed to writing and improving. Is it worth depriving ACF and hosts of lots of registration money in order to force players to write packets that aren't used, thus (partly) making some point about not encouraging sloth?

In any case, this question is mostly academic to me; Valencia won't have teams at ACF Fall, and I'm sure it will go on fine without us. We'll see if I can get this year's group to churn something out for 2014.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Cheynem » Thu Oct 24, 2013 7:46 pm

Chris, in theory I like your idea, but in principle I fear that this will reward lazy teams with hefty coffers of money and continue to punish teams that have trouble writing AND don't have the money to pay the fine.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:24 pm

Would it be possible to change the requirement to "schools/people that have attended X number of tournaments in the past year/two years" instead of "people that have attended college tournaments before time Y"? I feel like this will make sure that "good" teams that aren't discouraged by packet writing will still submit, while teams that only go to a few easier tournaments per year or from circuits with not a lot of quizbowl aren't totally discouraged by "Hey, this is one of the few tournaments I go to all year and I have to do so much work for it - for nothing!" Yeah, schools like Stanford and Alberta with active, strong teams but fewer tournaments to attend might get off easy, but we could have an exception based on ACF Nationals results. It's discriminatory, but if it keeps the circuit humming then I'm okay with it, and I don't see major damage occurring if a team's packet wouldn't be used anyways.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:27 am

gamegeek2 wrote:Would it be possible to change the requirement to "schools/people that have attended X number of tournaments in the past year/two years" instead of "people that have attended college tournaments before time Y"?
Yes, let's incentivize not playing tournaments. I'm sure that will work out well for the circuit at large. Which brings me to Chris' post: The point of ACF Fall submission rules seems to not be "we need every team to write packets so the tournament can happen" but rather stems from the idea that ACF Fall is an introduction to the world of college quizbowl not just in playing, but in how the system and the circuit actually work. ACF Fall is fundamentally a Teaching Tournament, both in the sense of "this is how college quizbowl is played" and in the sense that, among other things, teams learn things like "you have been around for over two years; if you want to keep playing quizbowl you have to pull your weight and contribute, and if you don't, you won't be playing this tournament." Once you start telling teams they don't have to write for fall, it is only a matter of time before the idea of writing for regionals, nationals, or whatever other packet submission events happen to be scheduled that year starts to draw the same complaints writing for fall does now, even though those tournaments often don't have submissions to spare. ACF Fall exists as a gateway to the circuit at large. As such, it serves as the means by which most players get their ideas about what is and is not allowed in college quizbowl. People for the most part conform to the absolute baseline expectations you set; if you successfully create a culture where the fundamental expectation is that "you have to write a packet and submit it by this date, no excuses," most of the time that packet will make its way in.

Also, while I don't advocate writing intentionally terrible questions just to dash off a packet that is clearly unusable, the most important part of packet submission is that a complete packet gets turned in by the due date*. Under the current system, there is little incentive to write pristine packets that are works of quizbowl art. Write the question as well as you can with a reasonable amount of time and effort and move on. Literally what I do when I write a question for a submission packet is set a timer and work until it goes off and then just put finishing touches on so it makes sense.

*One thing I think it would be cool if it made a big comeback is the discounts for the best packets that used to be given out. That would give teams a good incentive to write better submissions, which helps reduce workload on editors.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by fett0001 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:24 am

Off topic a little bit, but how long do you set that timer for, George?
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Fri Oct 25, 2013 3:49 am

fett0001 wrote:Off topic a little bit, but how long do you set that timer for, George?
It varies from question to question based on how well I know a topic and what the difficulty is.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by grapesmoker » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:00 am

George has eloquently captured my own feelings regarding packet submission, so I'll just say that I endorse his interpretation of what the ACF Fall writing requirement is intended to accomplish. One other thing I will say is that, as someone who has been tracking ACF tournaments in his official capacity as treasurer, I have a pretty good window on tournament participation; what I see through that window is that registration is up almost 30% (!) over last year (144 teams vs. 186 this year, so far). That's not just growth, it's explosive growth, and surely of all the problems quizbowl could have, this one would be even lower on the priority scale than "too many packets."

ACF Fall has become a very popular tournament over the years. Some of that is due to growth in the college circuit, with lots of new teams springing up where there didn't used to be any. Some more of that is really good high school teams playing ACF Fall as preparation for high school national tournaments; this is the second year we're running a high school-only ACF Fall site, and it's got a lot of teams, more than a few of the college sites. We definitely need to put more effort into getting out commentary on packets and so on, and I'm sure that'll be part of our internal discussions as we move forward. But I think the notion that packet-writing is an impediment to tournament attendance doesn't really stand up to empirical scrutiny.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:21 am

Well, to go ahead and really beat this dead horse, I completely understand that the rationale for requiring "experienced" players to write packets is to inculcate the habits of good QB and prepare teams for writing Regionals and Nats packets. I also understand that it might be bad to allow richer programs to slack off work to others.

So going back to my first post in this thread (my special pleading for those poor CC players, essentially), very, very few CC players are going on to play at four-year schools (hell, with my players, it's amazing how many aren't going on to four-year schools at all). Thus, they're never going to write a Regionals packet anyway. This was my point in suggesting an opt-out there. However, I'm sure the case can be made that if those players are required to write a packet, maybe they'll learn from it and like it and be more likely to play at a university, too. History tells me that's not true, but I understand the hope. Anyway, I've made my case and of course am fine with no changes to the policy.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:27 pm

grapesmoker wrote:as someone who has been tracking ACF tournaments in his official capacity as treasurer, I have a pretty good window on tournament participation; what I see through that window is that registration is up almost 30% (!) over last year (144 teams vs. 186 this year, so far).
This is something I didn't realize, and I guess it changes my opinion a little bit.

Perhaps the issue is, in fact, an issue of social responsibility--and people just need to buck the hell up and--that's right--write a damn packet. That said, I do think it's sort of silly to stick a one-man team (or a team with only one packet-mandatory player) with a whole packet, and there could be a little flexibility.

Perhaps "how to get people at your school to write packets" would be a good topic for the round-table discussions?
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by tiwonge » Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:52 pm

Tale of Mac Datho's Pachycephalosaur wrote:Perhaps the issue is, in fact, an issue of social responsibility--and people just need to buck the hell up and--that's right--write a damn packet. That said, I do think it's sort of silly to stick a one-man team (or a team with only one packet-mandatory player) with a whole packet, and there could be a little flexibility.
I think there is some flexibility, but people may have to request exemptions. I think that the College of Idaho, while they ultimately did not attend last year, got an exemption from writing a packet despite a technical need to do so. Cases like this (a single person with limited (but some) quiz bowl experience at a brand new school in a weak circuit) might deserve exemptions.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by evilmonkey » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:33 pm

grapesmoker wrote:George has eloquently captured my own feelings regarding packet submission, so I'll just say that I endorse his interpretation of what the ACF Fall writing requirement is intended to accomplish. One other thing I will say is that, as someone who has been tracking ACF tournaments in his official capacity as treasurer, I have a pretty good window on tournament participation; what I see through that window is that registration is up almost 30% (!) over last year (144 teams vs. 186 this year, so far). That's not just growth, it's explosive growth, and surely of all the problems quizbowl could have, this one would be even lower on the priority scale than "too many packets."

ACF Fall has become a very popular tournament over the years. Some of that is due to growth in the college circuit, with lots of new teams springing up where there didn't used to be any. Some more of that is really good high school teams playing ACF Fall as preparation for high school national tournaments; this is the second year we're running a high school-only ACF Fall site, and it's got a lot of teams, more than a few of the college sites. We definitely need to put more effort into getting out commentary on packets and so on, and I'm sure that'll be part of our internal discussions as we move forward. But I think the notion that packet-writing is an impediment to tournament attendance doesn't really stand up to empirical scrutiny.

2011: 154 teams, 62 packets, 18 high schools, 5 high school packets
2012: 144 teams, 58 packets, 11 high schools, 6 high school packets
2013: 190(+) teams, 66 packets (through +25 deadline), 41 high schools, 9 high school packets

This means that from last year to this, there were 16 additional college teams - 30, after accounting for the fact that the UK is not holding ACF Fall this year. 18 of those college teams are Texas/Louisiana/Florida, which were not served by a regional last year, and 14 additional teams are attending the Great Lakes Regional, which has been moved from Pittsburgh (on the edge of the region) to Columbus (closer to the center of the region). That isn't explosive growth, Jerry; and while it isn't evidence that packet-writing is an impediment to tournament attendance, it doesn't provide strong evidence refuting that case.

That said - I'm against ACF Fall doing anything approximating the elimination of packet writing. It is, as George said, a great way to teach teams that they should write a packet in order to play. However, I fear that when teams have packets that go unused, they are being taught to expect that their questions will not be used - and they then wonder why they should have to do this meaningless activity repeatedly. I would, therefore, advocate for half-packets rather than full packets, just for ACF Fall; and for mandatory feedback for packets written primarily by freshmen/sophomores/juniors.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Red Panda Cub » Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:40 pm

evilmonkey wrote:the fact that the UK is not holding ACF Fall this year.
Not quite:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=14749
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Galadedrid Damodred » Mon Oct 28, 2013 7:59 pm

On half-packets:

I think that changing the requirement to half-packets across the board is a bad idea. Less experienced players generally want to write questions that are the easiest for them to write, i.e. questions for categories in which they have the most knowledge or where it is not too hard to research a specific topic. At the ACF Fall level, pretty much anyone can write a handful of literature questions. Simply leaf through your copies of several works you have already read and arrange clues from hardest to easiest. On the other hand, relatively few people enter into quizbowl with enough pre-existing philosophy knowledge that they can just dash off, say, a tossup on Wittgenstein. The scenario I envision is that some categories will have a plethora of submitted questions, while others will have a dearth of them. Not only does this make it harder on the editors, but it also does not promote the idea of "learning by writing" that should be a positive consequence of participating in packet-submission tournaments.

That said, how about scaling the number of questions that have to be submitted according to the number of players who cause the team to have to write a packet? So for example, you might require teams with just 1 such person to write 12/12, teams with 2 to write 18/18, and teams with 3 or 4 to write 24/24. There are enough of the latter sort of team that the issues I described above would be largely mitigated.

On higher fees for teams that do not submit questions:

I am strongly opposed to this idea, for reasons that have already been stated by Matt, George, and others. It just seems like a way for teams with more money to buy their way out of doing work.

On editorial feedback for submitted packets:

I think this is a great idea. It would require a lot more work on the part of the editing team, but you can always just recruit more editors. I don't see this argument applying to regular difficulty and above, since if you are playing those tournaments, you should generally understand what constitutes good or bad questions. However, ACF Fall is the first packet-submission tournament for many quizbowlers, most of whom would presumably like to know how to improve their question writing and why their "name these medieval Chinese dynasties" bonuses keep getting rejected. As mentioned upthread, feedback does not need to be incredibly detailed; slight embellishments of the usual internal editors' notes should do the trick.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:14 pm

Galadedrid Damodred wrote:On half-packets:

I think that changing the requirement to half-packets across the board is a bad idea. Less experienced players generally want to write questions that are the easiest for them to write, i.e. questions for categories in which they have the most knowledge or where it is not too hard to research a specific topic. At the ACF Fall level, pretty much anyone can write a handful of literature questions. Simply leaf through your copies of several works you have already read and arrange clues from hardest to easiest. On the other hand, relatively few people enter into quizbowl with enough pre-existing philosophy knowledge that they can just dash off, say, a tossup on Wittgenstein. The scenario I envision is that some categories will have a plethora of submitted questions, while others will have a dearth of them. Not only does this make it harder on the editors, but it also does not promote the idea of "learning by writing" that should be a positive consequence of participating in packet-submission tournaments.
Presumably, any such half-packet plan would involve editors determining what an acceptable "half-packet" consists of (likely through cutting the distribution in half and/or assigning teams specific halves of the distribution), rather than allowing teams to write whatever they feel like--as you describe, the latter would obviously lead to wildly imbalanced submissions.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Victor Prieto » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:24 pm

Galadedrid Damodred wrote:On half-packets:

I think that changing the requirement to half-packets across the board is a bad idea. Less experienced players generally want to write questions that are the easiest for them to write, i.e. questions for categories in which they have the most knowledge or where it is not too hard to research a specific topic.
I'm pretty much in the "suck it up and write a whole packet" boat, too. It's good for you, and it's good for the community.

Here's a question: why does NAQT SCT/ICT consistently attract more teams than ACF Regionals/Nationals? Is it because of packet submissions? NAQT is definitely more expensive than ACF, yet that doesn't seem to preclude people from playing. NAQT brought in roughly double the amount of teams that ACF did in 2013, and I think ICT had teams on the waitlist, too. I mean, all I'm going on are the numbers for one year. Is there another fundamental difference between the two that I am missing?
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:24 pm

evilmonkey wrote:
2011: 154 teams, 62 packets, 18 high schools, 5 high school packets
2012: 144 teams, 58 packets, 11 high schools, 6 high school packets
2013: 190(+) teams, 66 packets (through +25 deadline), 41 high schools, 9 high school packets

This means that from last year to this, there were 16 additional college teams - 30, after accounting for the fact that the UK is not holding ACF Fall this year.
It's already been pointed out that the UK is in fact holding an ACF Fall this year, which site will feature 11 teams, as of my last count.
18 of those college teams are Texas/Louisiana/Florida, which were not served by a regional last year
So, there's demand for a tournament in those regions and we're meeting that demand. I'm not sure how that doesn't qualify as "growth."
and 14 additional teams are attending the Great Lakes Regional, which has been moved from Pittsburgh (on the edge of the region) to Columbus (closer to the center of the region).
Again, so what? Some of those teams are established clubs (Chicago) and some of them are new teams that have not been to anything at all (Kenyon). Last year Chicago went to Wisconsin instead of Pittsburgh, which makes plenty of sense for them, as did a number of other teams. Just because the geographic distribution of teams has changed does not erase the gains in participation.
That isn't explosive growth, Jerry; and while it isn't evidence that packet-writing is an impediment to tournament attendance, it doesn't provide strong evidence refuting that case.
Yes, actually, I would argue that an increase of 50 teams year-to-year, regardless of how accomplished, is pretty damn explosive. I'm not sure why you're doing selective arithmetic to try and exclude some of those teams from counting, when obviously raw participation is way up. As far as packets go, keep in mind that high schools are now on par with college teams in terms of having to write packets, so a bunch of those LASA teams and so on are writing packets.
That said - I'm against ACF Fall doing anything approximating the elimination of packet writing. It is, as George said, a great way to teach teams that they should write a packet in order to play. However, I fear that when teams have packets that go unused, they are being taught to expect that their questions will not be used - and they then wonder why they should have to do this meaningless activity repeatedly. I would, therefore, advocate for half-packets rather than full packets, just for ACF Fall; and for mandatory feedback for packets written primarily by freshmen/sophomores/juniors.
I think there are a few different directions that one could go with regard to packet writing, and this is certainly one of them. I personally don't think that the activity of writing packets is "meaningless" at all; we try to be pretty explicit when it comes to explaining the benefits of packet writing. Even if your questions don't get used, which they might not, it's still valuable as both an actual writing exercise and an acculturation into how quizbowl works. What's more, we're not talking here about some gargantuan amount of work; a team of 4 can easily polish off a packet within a week, and it's not like you don't know that ACF Fall is coming.

This discussion happens every so often, and my sense is that many people who participate in it don't really have any experience as editors. Editing a tournament is, in general, pretty hard. Editors will grasp at anything that makes their lives easier, and having everyone who is eligible write a full packet is one way of doing that. If you allow half-packets, now you have to direct teams as to which half, and you're potentially missing out on usable questions because you picked the wrong half or something. It's actually a lot of additional work for the editing team, work which, frankly, I don't think they need to do in order to cut someone's writing requirements from 6/6 to 3/3.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Oct 28, 2013 8:34 pm

Wasabi wrote: Here's a question: why does NAQT SCT/ICT consistently attract more teams than ACF Regionals/Nationals? Is it because of packet submissions? NAQT is definitely more expensive than ACF, yet that doesn't seem to preclude people from playing. NAQT brought in roughly double the amount of teams that ACF did in 2013, and I think ICT had teams on the waitlist, too. I mean, all I'm going on are the numbers for one year. Is there another fundamental difference between the two that I am missing?
I think there are a number of reasons. One reason is that we haven't really done the outreach that NAQT has been able to do. High school students play NAQT for pretty much their entire quizbowl career, so NAQT is a known name to them when they get to college. Packet writing is probably a barrier for some of those teams, although I suspect (but have not checked) that every DI team would be required to write. SCT makes it pretty easy to show up for one tournament a year, play, and go home, without putting in too much effort. However, I'm happy to say that cursory examination suggests that a lot of those SCT DII teams are showing up at ACF Fall this year. A lot of them are not, but maybe they would if we were better at reaching out to them, and certainly I would hope that they have a great experience and decide to come out to Regionals and Nationals.

edit: also keep in mind that until this year NAQT had a partnership going with ACUI that probably got a lot of teams out that we don't reach because they're only dimly aware, if at all, of the circuit as such.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by evilmonkey » Mon Oct 28, 2013 11:22 pm

Yes, actually, I would argue that an increase of 50 teams year-to-year, regardless of how accomplished, is pretty damn explosive. I'm not sure why you're doing selective arithmetic to try and exclude some of those teams from counting, when obviously raw participation is way up. As far as packets go, keep in mind that high schools are now on par with college teams in terms of having to write packets, so a bunch of those LASA teams and so on are writing packets.
I shouldn't have said that the growth wasn't occurring. The claim I was interested in was that the "explosive growth" of ACF Fall is evidence that packet-writing isn't impeding anyone from playing.

The point I meant to elucidate was that *18/24 Texas teams, 7/9 Florida teams, and probably half of the teams playing in the Great Lakes site did not write a packet. Neither did most of the high schools in the Illinois site. Those schools make up most of the growth in ACF Fall this year.

*All of those numbers are estimates, based on the packets submitted up to the +$25 deadline.

I can't actually make a statement one way or the other on your claim, because I don't have the list of packets submitted by the +$50 deadline. I don't have an agenda, I just felt like the data you were using didn't support the claim you were making. I did misinterpret what data I collected, however.

I personally don't think that the activity of writing packets is "meaningless" at all; we try to be pretty explicit when it comes to explaining the benefits of packet writing. Even if your questions don't get used, which they might not, it's still valuable as both an actual writing exercise and an acculturation into how quizbowl works.
I don't think it is "meaningless" either. The fact that one of my school's teams is submitting a packet without being required to should tell you the message I'm sending about packet writing. (I'm only not playing because I'll be in Maryland for a wedding).

I'm telling you how other people, who are not me, on my teams, have actually reacted in the past to their questions not being used.
What's more, we're not talking here about some gargantuan amount of work; a team of 4 can easily polish off a packet within a week
...
I don't think they need to do in order to cut someone's writing requirements from 6/6 to 3/3.
What I think you're not taking into account is that it can be damn hard to convince 3 other people who don't have to write, and who aren't good at it, to help you submit a packet. Or, in some cases, getting someone who has to write to come to a tournament, when it is the only one of four that semester that requires packet submission.

When you're not great at quizbowl even after two years, and are slow at writing questions, and you're looking at writing 24/24 largely by yourself, yea, it is a gargantuan task, and you'd be cutting that task from 24/24 to 12/12; or that 12/12 to 6/6.

A more usual scenario, that has happened multiple times with me in the past, is that I've divvied up the packets; and then someone decides not to write their questions without telling me, leaving me scrambling to cover their 6/6 last minute, when I've already budgeted that time for schoolwork.
, and it's not like you don't know that ACF Fall is coming.
For the record, given that ACF Fall didn't happen last year in our region, and it wasn't a sure thing until fairly late this year - no, we don't know that ACF Fall is coming.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:29 am

Hey, I realize there are a bunch of reasons for why packets don't get written. I just don't think these reasons are very good. The basic fact remains that writing a packets is, in the grand scheme of things, a relatively small amount of work. Even if you're an inexperienced writer, the concept of finding clues and putting them together in a pyramidal order is not really that complicated of a process. You give it your best shot and the editors will take care of the rest. Yes, that means that some of your questions are not going to be used; I don't think that's such a horrid thing. It's not because we don't value your contributions, it's because editors are in constant triage mode and have to make decisions that will lead to the tournament getting done on time. Next year, hopefully, your team will be the one that writes a good packet and your questions will be used.

As far as packet writing keeping people out, I don't see how that chain of causation would work for most teams. Most experienced teams have no trouble getting packets together. Most teams that would have these problems are actually not required to write. There might be a few teams on the margins of course, and there's of course the fact that we don't know the "natural" attrition rate, so it's hard to figure out why club X is no longer playing when they played last year. But again, the problem with all the "solutions" to the issue of packet writing is that they dump extra work on the editors. And that's bad. Because packet writing is a way to distribute a large amount of work across multiple people in such a way that no one has to do an excessive amount of it. All the alternatives seem to me to be putting more onus on the editors, which centralizes a large amount of work on a group of people who already have enough to do.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:23 pm

As a current ACF Fall editor, it seems to me that the way to resolve this would be to group the massive number of packet submissions we receive into a consolidated final packet of 3-4 submissions. It would give us much more flexibility, reduce the number of replacements we have to write, and throw a bone to the teams feeling left out by not having their submissions even considered. We can still choose to write the vast majority or even the entire final packet based on the "good" packets we receive. Plus, this system would give teams a greater incentive to write questions that are actually good, as good questions from those packets are much more likely to make it into the final set than under the current system.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:27 pm

List of Fighting Spirit characters wrote:As a current ACF Fall editor, it seems to me that the way to resolve this would be to group the massive number of packet submissions we receive into a consolidated final packet of 3-4 submissions. It would give us much more flexibility, reduce the number of replacements we have to write, and throw a bone to the teams feeling left out by not having their submissions even considered. We can still choose to write the vast majority or even the entire final packet based on the "good" packets we receive. Plus, this system would give teams a greater incentive to write questions that are actually good, as good questions from those packets are much more likely to make it into the final set than under the current system.
Isn't that what you should be doing anyway? That's usually how these things work.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by fett0001 » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:34 pm

Last year, packets weren't combined/merged/whatever the term is'd.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Susan » Tue Oct 29, 2013 2:48 pm

It takes a bit more thought to combine packets* than it does to just use the top N, but it's a better thing to do.

*Although it actually takes less thought to do this for Fall, where you can easily avoid any potential bye/packet-use issues by only combining packets from teams you know are playing at different sites, than it does at Nationals, which has always (or perhaps almost always?) featured combined packets.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:48 am

grapesmoker wrote:
List of Fighting Spirit characters wrote:As a current ACF Fall editor, it seems to me that the way to resolve this would be to group the massive number of packet submissions we receive into a consolidated final packet of 3-4 submissions. It would give us much more flexibility, reduce the number of replacements we have to write, and throw a bone to the teams feeling left out by not having their submissions even considered. We can still choose to write the vast majority or even the entire final packet based on the "good" packets we receive. Plus, this system would give teams a greater incentive to write questions that are actually good, as good questions from those packets are much more likely to make it into the final set than under the current system.
Isn't that what you should be doing anyway? That's usually how these things work.
When I edited WIT, Auroni combined all the packets we received. At least for this year's edition of ACF Fall, only two of the final packets will be combination packets, whereas 15 of the final packets are exclusively the submission of one team.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Golran » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:24 am

Something that I was thinking of would be to have an expanded editing team and create two sets from the packets, creating an ACF Fall I and ACF Fall II like a month apart that teams would only need to submit the one packet for the ACF Fall I deadlines in order to play both tournaments. You're getting more than enough packets for two tournaments (and repeats are OK across tournaments, right?) and running a second tournament will earn the editors/ACF more money, as well as creating another easier tournament which younger or less skilled players would appreciate. This way, we'd also avoid the problem of people feeling discouraged when their questions aren't used.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by Corry » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:32 am

Golran wrote:Something that I was thinking of would be to have an expanded editing team and create two sets from the packets, creating an ACF Fall I and ACF Fall II like a month apart that teams would only need to submit the one packet for the ACF Fall I deadlines in order to play both tournaments. You're getting more than enough packets for two tournaments (and repeats are OK across tournaments, right?) and running a second tournament will earn the editors/ACF more money, as well as creating another easier tournament which younger or less skilled players would appreciate. This way, we'd also avoid the problem of people feeling discouraged when their questions aren't used.
I would love this. Mostly because I really want someone to actually use the history questions I wrote.
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Re: A serious discussion of ACF packet submission

Post by grapesmoker » Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:28 pm

List of Fighting Spirit characters wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:
List of Fighting Spirit characters wrote:As a current ACF Fall editor, it seems to me that the way to resolve this would be to group the massive number of packet submissions we receive into a consolidated final packet of 3-4 submissions. It would give us much more flexibility, reduce the number of replacements we have to write, and throw a bone to the teams feeling left out by not having their submissions even considered. We can still choose to write the vast majority or even the entire final packet based on the "good" packets we receive. Plus, this system would give teams a greater incentive to write questions that are actually good, as good questions from those packets are much more likely to make it into the final set than under the current system.
Isn't that what you should be doing anyway? That's usually how these things work.
When I edited WIT, Auroni combined all the packets we received. At least for this year's edition of ACF Fall, only two of the final packets will be combination packets, whereas 15 of the final packets are exclusively the submission of one team.
Not that I'm telling you guys what to do, but this is quite surprising to me. In general, packet combination has been the norm for most tournaments, but I assume if you're doing it this way you have good reasons for it.
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