On Leaving Tournaments Early

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On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:05 am

It seems that for as long as I've been playing -- from the 2008 Weekend of Quizbowl ending situation where Dorman had to catch a flight, through the 2010 ACF Fall Northeast site where a winner was improperly decided on head-to-head because a tied team had to leave before the final, through this year at the Columbia Oppen site and the MUT site at Rutgers -- there have been problems resulting from serious teams leaving tournaments before the end. It seems that the community has little idea how to deal with this situation properly. (This is a distinct phenomenon from teams that don't care or who don't know better leaving at lunchtime -- I'm talking here about teams who "had to catch a bus" etc. but are ostensibly serious repeat participants in tournaments from year to year.)

So here is some advice for teams who feel as though travel plans force them to leave tournaments early:

0) Don't leave tournaments early. It's disrespectful and unbecoming.
0a) If you absolutely must leave early, try your darndest to stay through as much of the tournament as you physically can. Keep in mind that your entry fee is the same either way, and that you will probably have a pretty serious negative effect on the schedule for everyone else when you go.
0b) Don't leave tournaments early for trivial reasons. Tournaments are a full-day endeavor, and if you'd rather be at a concert or whatever on the evening of a tournament date, just do that thing instead of signing up. (Or accept that you may not make it back in time. Life contains tradeoffs.)

1) Be realistic about when tournaments actually end when making travel plans. Hint: Most tournaments run well into the evening! Many tournaments are also just poorly run. Banking on the tournament running quickly is just poor strategy. If you're playing 10 to 12 rounds of regular quizbowl, you're almost certainly not getting out until 6:30 or 7 PM unless the staffer corps is really really demonstrably good. And that may last until later, like 8 or 9 PM, if there are more rounds or staff are slower. mACF hard tournaments usually run even longer because the extra length and difficulty do add time to the day.
1a) Be realistic about the travel time it takes to get to your mode of departure. Most college campuses are not immediately adjacent to a train station, and almost none are immediately adjacent to an airport. Then once you get to the station, be aware of how long it takes to check in, get your tickets, go through security, etc. etc., as it almost certainly adds significant time (and pushes your departure from the tournament even earlier). If it's foolhardy to expect a tournament to end before 6:30 or 7 PM, if that, it's probably ill-advised to buy a train ticket that leaves earlier than 9 or a plane ticket that leaves earlier than 10 PM, and even then you're running the risk that the tournament will go later than you expected. In most cases (i.e. for Saturday tournaments), it's easier to just find lodging somewhere near the tournament and head back in the morning.

2) Inform the tournament director before you arrive what your travel plans are if they are fixed (e.g. bus, train, plane) and not movable (e.g. car, walk, reschedule-able bus, reschedule-able train). This ensures that nobody feels robbed at the end of the day or has to scramble when your departure brings a shock to the schedule.
2a) If you have an actual emergency which requires your full team's departure, inform the TD that you're leaving as soon as is appropriate/practicable so they don't have to guess.

3) When you leave a tournament, you automatically forfeit all future games you might play during the day.
There has been a rash of "agree to play a final later"-style under-the-table agreements over the past year. This is utterly ridiculous and TDs need to put a stop to this behavior. There is only one way to make sense of what happens when a team fails to show up to their game: they lose that game. This is a basic principle in every competitive activity.
For example, Harvard left the Northeast site of George Oppen with one playoff game to go and one loss. What should have/what "actually" happened at that event is they forfeited their last playoff game, leaving them with a tied record going into a one-game final with the Alston/Adams team; their continued non-presence meant they then forfeited that one-game final, leaving the Alston/Adams team the automatic victors. There was no reason to play a final "online," because no such final could possibly have been needed. I obviously can't stop anyone playing "hypothetical" finals "for funsies," but it's insane to think that results played at home, in many cases after teams have an opportunity to read through the questions they haven't heard, ought to be taken seriously.
3a) Sometimes both teams "agree not to play a final," a situation which we need to ban or at least come up with a real procedure for dealing with. I would suggest that the team with the higher record wins automatically, or that the team with the higher (playoff) PPG wins outright. Regardless, if one team refuses or fails to play at the actual tournament against another team which is willing to play at the actual tournament, there's only one word for that situation, and it's "forfeit." Nothing else is fair.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:33 am

At Bulldogs over Broadway in either the fall of 2007 or spring of 2008, I was on a Harvard team that had made tight travel plans. We ended up qualifying for the final against a vastly superior Maryland team: there was no question that they would beat us head-to-head. We specifically asked if we could forfeit the final to Maryland and leave early.

Our request was denied: Maryland really wanted to play one more game, and the TD seemed to believe that there was no provision in the rules allowing for a forfeit. We ended up losing to Maryland by several hundred points (all I remember about the game is getting a tossup on "The British Naval Jack" - or possibly I negged a TU on the Canadian flag with British Naval Jack, I don't know but it was a tournament with weird questions is the point of this anecdote) and our travel plans worked out, if barely.

But since then, I've been an advocate of explicitly allowing teams to forfeit, at least in situations like the one above. Perhaps, allow them if the other team has already played whatever we agree on is the minimum number of games you need to play to feel you've gotten your money's worth (I hear 13 thrown around a lot for that). I fully agree with Matt that allowing tournaments to be determined later at off-site locations is ridiculous and shouldn't be allowed, but I think forfeits can be an efficient way to end tournaments sometimes. And Matt is also correct that betting on a tournament to be poorly run is a fantastic bet, one so good they wouldn't let you bet on it in Vegas.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Apr 13, 2015 10:36 am

I am more or less fine with teams explicitly forfeiting, and in fact believe that a team leaving early should be construed as an explicit declaration of forfeit of all future games one might play at that tournament. I can't really speak for the 2007 Yale team (and would I really want to?) but it seems silly to force teams to stay and risk their travel plans if said teams are already committed to stupid travel plans and are forthright/honest about it.

Nonetheless, the burden is on teams to not be stupid about travel plans so they won't have to forfeit any games.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by hydrocephalitic listlessness » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:13 am

Matthew J wrote:3) When you leave a tournament, you automatically forfeit all future games you might play during the day.
For example, Harvard left the Northeast site of George Oppen with one playoff game to go and one loss. What should have/what "actually" happened at that event is they forfeited their last playoff game, leaving them with a tied record going into a one-game final with the Alston/Adams team; their continued non-presence meant they then forfeited that one-game final, leaving the Alston/Adams team the automatic victors. There was no reason to play a final "online," because no such final could possibly have been needed. I obviously can't stop anyone playing "hypothetical" finals "for funsies," but it's insane to think that results played at home, in many cases after teams have an opportunity to read through the questions they haven't heard, ought to be taken seriously.
Yeah, we wouldn't have had a problem with that. I don't think anyone on our team really cares whether the online final was hypothetical or not—we did appreciate the opportunity to play the rounds against Will Alston's team, though.
Matthew J wrote: In most cases (i.e. for Saturday tournaments), it's easier to just find lodging somewhere near the tournament and head back in the morning.
Not really. Aside from the added cost, it's significantly more difficult to convince people to come to tournaments/avoid their scheduling conflicts if they're not going to make it back until Sunday afternoon.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Ras superfamily » Mon Apr 13, 2015 11:53 am

I hope the claim that all finals must be played on-site is based on the assumption that the tournament was being run fairly well and not extremely late into the night and that the final involved teams from multiple schools. I would find it strange if, for example, LASA A and B were forced to play off their 1 and 2 finishes at some tournament in the past that I don't remember off the top of my head or if our teams were forced to do so yesterday.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Adventure Temple Trail » Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:03 pm

Ras superfamily wrote:I hope the claim that all finals must be played on-site is based on the assumption that the tournament was being run fairly well and not extremely late into the night and that the final involved teams from multiple schools. I would find it strange if, for example, LASA A and B were forced to play off their 1 and 2 finishes at some tournament in the past that I don't remember off the top of my head or if our teams were forced to do so yesterday.
It was not based on any such assumption. If one team doesn't want to play the final that they've earned a spot in for whatever reason -- and lateness is one such reason -- it is my opinion that the only legitimate thing for them to do is forfeit.

I don't think there is currently any procedure or norm governing the situation where both teams are still present going into a final, and both refuse to play a final due to lateness or whatever. It's worth figuring out a consistent policy or procedure for the future. I am open to suggestions. It seems like the legitimation of any such policy opens the doors for browbeating ("you don't really want to be here for up to another hour just to try and win a disadvantaged final, do you??") which would be bad.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by jonah » Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:12 pm

Matthew J wrote:I don't think there is currently any procedure or norm governing the situation where both teams are still present going into a final, and both refuse to play a final due to lateness or whatever. It's worth figuring out a consistent policy or procedure for the future. I am open to suggestions. It seems like the legitimation of any such policy opens the doors for browbeating ("you don't really want to be here for up to another hour just to try and win a disadvantaged final, do you??") which would be bad.
Well, a double forfeit seems appropriate to me. That could force a tie with a lower team who wasn't even part of the finals calculus, which seems weird but also possibly reasonable.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:22 pm

If both teams forfeit the game we use to decide who wins the tournament, then I'm not sure either team deserves to win the tournament. Maybe the 3rd place team does, if they're willing to play the whole tournament, but I'm not committed to that. What I know is that we don't give out these tournament titles for funsies, there's a lot of hard work put into hosting an event to decide the best team attending on a certain day.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Ras superfamily » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:02 pm

Those responses sound pretty strange to me. If any browbeating actually occurs, it could still happen without a codified procedure to deal with these scenarios (e.g., "Why don't we just call it a forfeit for the disadvantaged team since neither of us really wants to play for another hour, right?").

I also don't see how the forced forfeiture of finals matches in normal circumstances with good scheduling practices would cause a tie with teams not involved in those finals. The standard two-team finals scenarios are two teams tied at some record at the top of the field or one team with an advantage. Consider an example of the first
Team A: 9-1
Team B: 9-1
Team C: 8-2
Giving losses to teams A and B still don't make their records equal to Team C's, and it doesn't even make sense to somehow compare a record with additional games to Team C's unless for some reason we just count the finals as normal playoff games, which would be pretty weird. You can obviously construct an example that shows it's even further from a tie in the latter case.

Also, just saying the 3rd place team somehow becomes the winner when two teams don't want to play a final late into the night makes no sense because the top two teams could just as easily agree to flip and coin and say one of the teams forfeited instead of agreeing to that strange rule, so that would never actually take effect.

There are situations where it might make sense to have some kind of actual rules in place, like for ACF Regionals or SCT, but real life happens and when you have people actually have to change their work schedules to even get through half of the playoffs at a tournament, it's pretty reasonable to be flexible about how placements are going to be decided, especially when it's so easy for the teams to figure that out the following day since they all live on the same campus.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by minusfive » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:03 pm

The problems I have with the reasoning that started this thread is the following:
1) Teams are PAYING to be there and play. They are PAYING CUSTOMERS. While remonstration is fine, it makes about as much sense as arguing with me to see the end of a terrible film.
2) No team has a "right" to compel another team to play. They have a right to questions, and to being read those questions (since they are PAYING CUSTOMERS), but not to play them against whomever they wish. The above anecdote of Bruce's is quite infuriating: if a team no longer wants to play, they don't. To quote Randy Marsh, "I thought we lived in America."
3) It's highly normative. You have a problem with me wanting to see a football game/concert (which may be a once-in-a-lifetime thing) or whatever instead of playing more quizbowl? Fine. But unless you're giving me a refund or requiring me to sign some contract saying I can't do this, I can do whatever I damn well please ("I thought we lived in America").
4) If we are balancing "hedons" and "anhedons," it makes ultimate sense for a team leaving early (who is ok with forfeiting) to do so. The other team expressly wins the tournament. Or, a third team, outside of the final, now gets an opportunity to play.
5) Travel plans are hard, man. Often, there isn't a good option for a team who is coming. Would you rather have a proviso on tournaments saying "unless there are ideal travel plans, don't come?"
6) And finally, since I could keep going but am getting hungry, quizbowl exists all around us. Literally. Our tournament schedule is (in the modern era) jam-packed, and even if it weren't I could do nothing all day but play quizbowl thanks to databases, protobowl, etc. That poor team deprived of an opponent won't be going hungry for questions or competitions at all.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by 1.82 » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:27 pm

minusfive wrote:The problems I have with the reasoning that started this thread is the following:
1) Teams are PAYING to be there and play. They are PAYING CUSTOMERS. While remonstration is fine, it makes about as much sense as arguing with me to see the end of a terrible film.
This analogy is straightforwardly disingenuous. If you walk out of a terrible film it does not affect the ability of others present to enjoy that film to the extent that they otherwise would.
minusfive wrote:2) No team has a "right" to compel another team to play. They have a right to questions, and to being read those questions (since they are PAYING CUSTOMERS), but not to play them against whomever they wish. The above anecdote of Bruce's is quite infuriating: if a team no longer wants to play, they don't. To quote Randy Marsh, "I thought we lived in America."
No, teams have a right to a tournament. If all they paid for was questions, they could just as well order them by mail, thereby saving themselves the inconvenience and the expense of waking up at ass o'clock to drive to the tournament site. Paying for a tournament means paying for competition.
minusfive wrote:3) It's highly normative. You have a problem with me wanting to see a football game/concert (which may be a once-in-a-lifetime thing) or whatever instead of playing more quizbowl? Fine. But unless you're giving me a refund or requiring me to sign some contract saying I can't do this, I can do whatever I damn well please ("I thought we lived in America").
Perhaps quizbowl is different in Canada (where, apparently, quizbowl tournaments have no competitive aspect and exist only for teams to be read questions by a moderator), but in America, agreeing to attend a tournament constitutes an agreement to stay at said tournament until it concludes, because competition is what a tournament is for.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Cheynem » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:33 pm

I'm pretty sure we can find some common sense boundary here.

In the majority of cases, tournaments are well run and teams that leave early probably goofed in planning early departures. In this case, then, yes, they should stop doing this, forfeit matches, etc.

In a few fringe cases, such as apparently yesterday's MUT, the tournament has effectively broken down to such a horrible level that there is no need to keep going. In this case, to suggest that Penn A and Penn B should have double forfeited, is ludicrous to me. In this case, I would say the length of the tournament has reached the point where no sane person could expect it to have taken. To use an analogy, if ACF Fall North suddenly ran all the way to 9 PM, I would not begrudge a team from Wisconsin wanting to leave early. They would probably forfeit matches, but it's to be expected.

I agree that at tournaments like SCT, ACF Regionals, and ACF Nationals (and really most tournaments), some sort of clear forfeiture policy must be in place. On the other hand, a rapidly falling apart MUT mirror is not one of those tournaments. I went to a Penn Bowl Trash one year (a fairly good one) and the two top teams chose not to play a final since we had to drive back to Minnesota that night; in low stakes environments like this, I think these types of sporting agreements are fine as long as there isn't brownbeatingness involved.

I agree that teams should not venture into tournaments as consumers. This has many unsavory implications--if you don't like the set, are you free to leave whenever? Will you ask for your money back?
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by sonstige » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:56 pm

Matthew J wrote: 1) Be realistic about when tournaments actually end when making travel plans. Hint: Most tournaments run well into the evening! Many tournaments are also just poorly run. Banking on the tournament running quickly is just poor strategy. If you're playing 10 to 12 rounds of regular quizbowl, you're almost certainly not getting out until 6:30 or 7 PM unless the staffer corps is really really demonstrably good. And that may last until later, like 8 or 9 PM, if there are more rounds or staff are slower. mACF hard tournaments usually run even longer because the extra length and difficulty do add time to the day.
1a) Be realistic about the travel time it takes to get to your mode of departure. Most college campuses are not immediately adjacent to a train station, and almost none are immediately adjacent to an airport. Then once you get to the station, be aware of how long it takes to check in, get your tickets, go through security, etc. etc., as it almost certainly adds significant time (and pushes your departure from the tournament even earlier). If it's foolhardy to expect a tournament to end before 6:30 or 7 PM, if that, it's probably ill-advised to buy a train ticket that leaves earlier than 9 or a plane ticket that leaves earlier than 10 PM, and even then you're running the risk that the tournament will go later than you expected. In most cases (i.e. for Saturday tournaments), it's easier to just find lodging somewhere near the tournament and head back in the morning.
As someone who has played Steinhice tournaments at UTC back in the day and who currently walks in the shadow of Borglum here in Orlando, I've seen both sides of the spectrum. Borglum tends to announce up front when his tournaments will end and, barring some sort of rare logistic hiccup, generally hits that target +/- 30 minutes. The UTC events, on the other hand, ended when they ended with no real feeling of obligation to speed things up (at least as I could tell). My UF team knew this and planned accordingly; a first-time attending team, on the other hand, probably wouldn't expect to play their last round of the day at 8 or 9 PM. If that team booked their hotel and transportation in advance, should they be faulted for assuming a tournament wouldn't get over until the 10 PM window?

I single UTC out here (and maybe I exaggerate; I'm going by memory, and possibly the tournaments only *felt* like they ended around 10 PM), but many of us have probably seen this before --- where a tournament drags due to any of a multitude of issues. I'd think going into the event, good practice would be that the TD establishes not only how many rounds teams will get, but a rough estimate when the tournament will end. I shouldn't have to guess whether I'll be there for 8 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours, etc.

I get erring on the side of conservatism and assuming the worse-case; but there are probably some teams who simply cannot cost- or schedule-wise afford to spend an extra night due to an irresponsibly and/or unexpectedly late end to a tournament. If those teams knew in advance they'd have to stay an extra night or risk leaving the tournament early, maybe they'd choose not to attend the event at all. Thus, I'd put the burden on the TD to establish a reasonable finish time up front, rather than leaving this open-ended.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by minusfive » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:58 pm

Governor General's Foot Guards wrote:This analogy is straightforwardly disingenuous. If you walk out of a terrible film it does not affect the ability of others present to enjoy that film to the extent that they otherwise would.
The analogy is apt in that even though another viewer *could* participate by themselves, they could loudly insist that the only reason they would enjoy the film is if someone watched it with them. In both cases, the person whose "enjoyment" is disrupted has the right to the opinion, but nothing more.
Governor General's Foot Guards wrote:No, teams have a right to a tournament. If all they paid for was questions, they could just as well order them by mail, thereby saving themselves the inconvenience and the expense of waking up at ass o'clock to drive to the tournament site. Paying for a tournament means paying for competition.
Even if that statement were true, the "right" is fulfilled by the tournament organizer, not the other team. Aside from obeying the rules of gameplay (which can include things like handshaking, etc), I don't "owe" the other team anything.
Governor General's Foot Guards wrote:Perhaps quizbowl is different in Canada (where, apparently, quizbowl tournaments have no competitive aspect and exist only for teams to be read questions by a moderator), but in America, agreeing to attend a tournament constitutes an agreement to stay at said tournament until it concludes, because competition is what a tournament is for.
Have fun arguing there's an implicit contract to stay to the end of the day (spoiler alert: there isn't).

I believe there was some talk a while back about how a tournament should not be charging money because of its poor quality: what is this if not a consumer discussion? And why am I not a consumer when I (at personal cost) consume?
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by sonstige » Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:06 pm

minusfive wrote: I believe there was some talk a while back about how a tournament should not be charging money because of its poor quality: what is this if not a consumer discussion? And why am I not a consumer when I (at personal cost) consume?
I think this lends to the idea of the TD saying the tournament will finish no later than a certain time, else the product (i.e. both the questions themselves and the delivery of those questions) can be challenged on the basis of poor quality.

While the TD can't control the quality of the questions necessarily, they can at least be held accountable for the logistics of the event. If they bumble their way through it and the tournament ends at some unreasonable time, this should not be on the burden of the teams attending.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Cheynem » Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:10 pm

The analogy between "watching a film by yourself" and "playing a game by yourself" is ridiculously flawed.

Look, this isn't that complicated. Don't leave tournaments early unless you absolutely have to. Try to do your best to make it so you don't have to leave early. You and your fellow teams can improve by this by showing up on time and not dragging out rounds. TD and staff, keep things running quickly so you can finish at a reasonable time. I agree that giving a schedule up front with a loose time of completion is good; ACF Nationals for instance is making it very clear that Saturday night will go late.

Also, I find the "tournament should not be charging money" analogy to be dumb as well. If you don't want to pay it, don't play it. I had someone demand their money back because they didn't like my CO History event, which I found fairly offensive, not because my questions are impeccable, but because that's not how quizbowl works.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by jonah » Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:15 pm

Cheynem wrote:In a few fringe cases, such as apparently yesterday's MUT, the tournament has effectively broken down to such a horrible level that there is no need to keep going. In this case, to suggest that Penn A and Penn B should have double forfeited, is ludicrous to me. In this case, I would say the length of the tournament has reached the point where no sane person could expect it to have taken. To use an analogy, if ACF Fall North suddenly ran all the way to 9 PM, I would not begrudge a team from Wisconsin wanting to leave early. They would probably forfeit matches, but it's to be expected.
To be clear, I was not proposing that as a solution for the Rutgers MUT mirror, but rather as a potential generic solution to the problem of both teams in a final being unwilling to play in "normal" situations. Normal expectations are, as you say, off the table when the quality of a tournament goes below a certain point.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:29 pm

I agree with Jonah that strange situations where a tournament falls apart should be excluded from a discussion of regular practices. But in the many, many cases where this happens at a relatively normal tournament:

I'm seeing two schools of thought on how a tournament should operate and be treated by participants:

One side believes that a tournament is a series of matches and/or amount of time spent playing quizbowl on a particularl day, and that the overall tournament picture is secondary to appeasing a team's desire for the specific amount of time they would like to spend on quizbowl. If a team reaches their desired number of matches and/or time spent at the tournament site, their current scores should stand and any additional matches needed to truly determine their placement should be decided on another day when the team(s) would prefer to continue playing quizbowl.

The other side believes that a tournament is a competitive event meant to take place at a designated time in a designated place, and that individual matches are merely parts of the tournament meant to achieve the ultimate goal of awarding a championship and ranking the rest of the field accordingly. The tournament is an event and the champion should be decided at the end of the day after all portions of the event have concluded. Teams who do not complete all portions of the event forfeit their right to compete for the championship upon withdrawing from the tournament.

This forum has had many discussions about how the quizbowl community does not take itself particularly seriously, and how this leads to us to appear as not serious and unimportant to participants and outsiders alike. This hurts the cause for publicity, funding, and general respect from the public. It also become an internal cultural problem that causes people to flake out on attending tournaments with their team for nearly any reason, staffers simply not showing up when needed at tournaments, and question writers bailing out on sets. I believe that if quizbowl is to be taken seriously, the latter model of tournament experience is more universally accepted across most types of competition and will therefore garner more respect from both participants and outsiders.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:01 pm

minusfive wrote:The problems I have with the reasoning that started this thread is the following:
1) Teams are PAYING to be there and play. They are PAYING CUSTOMERS. While remonstration is fine, it makes about as much sense as arguing with me to see the end of a terrible film.
2) No team has a "right" to compel another team to play. They have a right to questions, and to being read those questions (since they are PAYING CUSTOMERS), but not to play them against whomever they wish. The above anecdote of Bruce's is quite infuriating: if a team no longer wants to play, they don't. To quote Randy Marsh, "I thought we lived in America."
3) It's highly normative. You have a problem with me wanting to see a football game/concert (which may be a once-in-a-lifetime thing) or whatever instead of playing more quizbowl? Fine. But unless you're giving me a refund or requiring me to sign some contract saying I can't do this, I can do whatever I damn well please ("I thought we lived in America").
4) If we are balancing "hedons" and "anhedons," it makes ultimate sense for a team leaving early (who is ok with forfeiting) to do so. The other team expressly wins the tournament. Or, a third team, outside of the final, now gets an opportunity to play.
5) Travel plans are hard, man. Often, there isn't a good option for a team who is coming. Would you rather have a proviso on tournaments saying "unless there are ideal travel plans, don't come?"
6) And finally, since I could keep going but am getting hungry, quizbowl exists all around us. Literally. Our tournament schedule is (in the modern era) jam-packed, and even if it weren't I could do nothing all day but play quizbowl thanks to databases, protobowl, etc. That poor team deprived of an opponent won't be going hungry for questions or competitions at all.
I don't know if I'm prepared to go quite as far as Matt J in prescribing penalties for leaving early, but this is just straight-up missing the point. I have zero sympathy for people who try to rules-lawyer their way out of what I think are fairly reasonable community norms, which is what you're doing here. We're asking players to be reasonable about not ruining the tournament experience for others for the same reason that we ask tournament directors not to do a shitty job running their tournaments: because it's harmful to the game and generates ill will. If you commit to attending a tournament, it is tacitly expected of you that you have, barring utter collapse, committed to seeing the whole process through. To reduce community norms to their merely transactional elements ("I paid for this tournament, I can do whatever I want!") is to ignore entirely what actually makes quizbowl run, as a community project.

This, by the way, is the second time in a short period that you have posted something that basically endorses a severely counterproductive attitude towards quizbowl. I have to ask: why are you so motivated to undermine the whole idea of reasonable standards of behavior at tournaments? I can't tell if this is just some kind of contrarian pose or what, but it does seem to be a pattern with you.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by minusfive » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:23 pm

grapesmoker wrote:This, by the way, is the second time in a short period that you have posted something that basically endorses a severely counterproductive attitude towards quizbowl. I have to ask: why are you so motivated to undermine the whole idea of reasonable standards of behavior at tournaments? I can't tell if this is just some kind of contrarian pose or what, but it does seem to be a pattern with you.
I mean, I would hope my ideas would be evaluated on their content, not that I'm the one having/saying them. To my mind, my position here isn't that contrary; I certainly don't have a record of leaving tournaments early and leaving a hole in the schedule (I think once, in 10 years, for a tournament where most people had already bailed?) nor do I intend to in the near future.

I have a very different experience from some others in the quizbowl community, perhaps (since in Canada many tournaments require participants pay out of their own pocket, and I also travel to tournaments with touristy things other than the actual tournament in mind) but I think my status as contrarian may be a bit tenuous. In either case, I respect the other side of the argument, but strongly disagree.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Muriel Axon » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:32 pm

I hope we can all distinguish between "legal rights" and "community norms." You have the legal right to leave a tournament whenever you want, but if you keep leaving unreasonably early, I wouldn't let your team register!
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by TheRhymeMinister » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:44 pm

grapesmoker wrote:This, by the way, is the second time in a short period that you have posted something that basically endorses a severely counterproductive attitude towards quizbowl. I have to ask: why are you so motivated to undermine the whole idea of reasonable standards of behavior at tournaments? I can't tell if this is just some kind of contrarian pose or what, but it does seem to be a pattern with you.
Welcome to the HSQB Forums, where arguing against prevailing opinions means you're labeled an underminer and a contrarian.


If a team doesn't want to stay at a tournament, or if they don't want to keep playing in a tournament that's going to go until all hours of the night, everyone is far better off if they leave. The solution isn't to punish teams who leave early; the solution is for TDs to have reasonable expectations about when tournaments will end and communicate those predictions with teams interested in attending.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:51 pm

minusfive wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:This, by the way, is the second time in a short period that you have posted something that basically endorses a severely counterproductive attitude towards quizbowl. I have to ask: why are you so motivated to undermine the whole idea of reasonable standards of behavior at tournaments? I can't tell if this is just some kind of contrarian pose or what, but it does seem to be a pattern with you.
I mean, I would hope my ideas would be evaluated on their content, not that I'm the one having/saying them. To my mind, my position here isn't that contrary; I certainly don't have a record of leaving tournaments early and leaving a hole in the schedule (I think once, in 10 years, for a tournament where most people had already bailed?) nor do I intend to in the near future.
Which makes it all the more puzzling that you repeatedly choose to endorse bad behavior at tournaments. It's not that your ideas are bad because they're yours; rather, it's puzzling that you repeatedly choose to advance a certain flavor of bad idea, which badness is independent of it being proposed by you.
I have a very different experience from some others in the quizbowl community, perhaps (since in Canada many tournaments require participants pay out of their own pocket, and I also travel to tournaments with touristy things other than the actual tournament in mind) but I think my status as contrarian may be a bit tenuous. In either case, I respect the other side of the argument, but strongly disagree.
That's pretty much the experience of probably half of college quizbowl players. Being Canadian has nothing to do with it.

I bang on this drum a lot, but I think it's really important to understand that being a functional community is predicated at least partially if not totally on following certain community norms. Our norms are not difficult: they ask you to behave in a generally respectful manner towards your fellow competitors and tournament staff. Leaving a tournament early undermines that respect, regardless of whether or not anyone has the legal power to prevent you from doing so. Of course there are exceptions: genuine emergencies, tournament collapse disorder, etc. that may necessitate having to take off early. Those are understandable. Wanting to catch a slightly earlier train or see a movie or a show is not a good reason. It shows that you value your convenience over the time and energy of competitors, editors, and staff, and that's just fucking rude. Don't be rude!
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:54 pm

TheRhymeMinister wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:This, by the way, is the second time in a short period that you have posted something that basically endorses a severely counterproductive attitude towards quizbowl. I have to ask: why are you so motivated to undermine the whole idea of reasonable standards of behavior at tournaments? I can't tell if this is just some kind of contrarian pose or what, but it does seem to be a pattern with you.
Welcome to the HSQB Forums, where arguing against prevailing opinions means you're labeled an underminer and a contrarian.
Arguing against prevailing opinion is literally the definition of contrarianism.
If a team doesn't want to stay at a tournament, or if they don't want to keep playing in a tournament that's going to go until all hours of the night, everyone is far better off if they leave. The solution isn't to punish teams who leave early; the solution is for TDs to have reasonable expectations about when tournaments will end and communicate those predictions with teams interested in attending.
Most tournaments do not flame out in a glorious blaze of incompetence, running into "all hours of the night;" they merely run somewhat later than the advertised time because that's how quizbowl is.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Rococo A Go Go » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:55 pm

TheRhymeMinister wrote:The solution isn't to punish teams who leave early; the solution is for TDs to have reasonable expectations about when tournaments will end and communicate those predictions with teams interested in attending.
The problem with reasonable expectations is that plenty of teams show up to tournaments with their own expectations for when things should end, and sometimes those expectations are unreasonable themselves. Nobody is rigorously opposed to letting teams bail from a shitfest when Round 8 starts at 11 PM or whatever, but teams who show up to tournaments with plans to leave by 5 shouldn't act all surprised when there's a final at 4:50 and they can't play it.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Taper or die. Can you do any less? » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:10 pm

grapesmoker wrote:Most tournaments do not flame out in a glorious blaze of incompetence, running into "all hours of the night;" they merely run somewhat later than the advertised time because that's how quizbowl is.
This is incredibly stupid. Then we should be advertising a different time. A system of "we'll probably be done by X - but really you should know better and expect to be done two hours later" is dumb. I'll acknowledge, though, that the nature of QuizBowl does make tournament durations wildly variable (depending on the number of tiebreakers and final rounds, the strength of the field (which I've found significantly affects average round length), etc.) But that's not an argument against announcing more accurate end times if you strongly suspect that your advertised time is optimistic to the point of foolishness.

Having said that, I am in agreement with the "prevailing opinion" here. Don't make travel plans for an hour after the advertised time*. Don't leave because you don't really feel like playing the last few rounds**. Don't leave because the questions aren't of as high quality a standard as you'd have liked***. Don't leave because the TD's taste in music offends you****.

*Unless you absolutely have to because of school or staying in the host city an extra night costs you an additional $2 million or something.
**Unless you're seriously medically ill or something.
***Unless they're, like, VETO 2009 bad or something.
****Unless they're, like, Linkin Park fans or something.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by TheRhymeMinister » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:15 pm

Yawar Fiesta wrote:The problem with reasonable expectations is that plenty of teams show up to tournaments with their own expectations for when things should end, and sometimes those expectations are unreasonable themselves. Nobody is rigorously opposed to letting teams bail from a shitfest when Round 8 starts at 11 PM or whatever, but teams who show up to tournaments with plans to leave by 5 shouldn't act all surprised when there's a final at 4:50 and they can't play it.
If a team is told well before the tournament that finals will start around 5pm and they leave at 4:50pm, that's the team's fault. If a team goes to a tournament with no knowledge whatsoever about when the tournament is supposed to end and have to leave at 4:50pm, then that's the TDs fault. Running efficient tournaments relies on good communication with teams before, during, and after tournaments; this is the responsibility of the TD.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by sonstige » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:18 pm

Maybe a naive question (and maybe for a different thread): is there a penalty system for TDs who run poor events?

I'd guess that the biggest consequences he/she may face are a) being called-out on the forums, b) increasing the risk that some teams may not attend future events hosted by that TD, and c) increasing the risk of not being granted the chance to host a future mirror.

Of course, there's also the risk of teams leaving early at said poor event, should the issue be lateness of that event to some unreasonable time (whatever that is, as is being discussed).

There are also obviously any number of other things that are within the control and planning of the TD that could go wrong; yet, if we're holding teams to a certain standard at events, why can't the events themselves also be held to a certain standard?

Not that I expect Mirror at Site A to be equivalent logistically as the same Mirror at Site B --- variations in staffers, distance between rooms, and other things complicate this. But if the quality of an event at a certain site is so much below what is reasonable (and this is a debatable standard), what penalizes that site for running that event so poorly? Or, what incentivizes the other sites for not running the same event poorly, perhaps?

Maybe an apples vs. oranges type of analogy, but if ACF incentivizes teams that submit flawless and early-submitted packets and penalizes flawed and late-submitted packets --- why can't that sort of approach be extended to the execution of the tournaments themselves?
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:22 pm

The grandmother is {wise, dead}. wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:Most tournaments do not flame out in a glorious blaze of incompetence, running into "all hours of the night;" they merely run somewhat later than the advertised time because that's how quizbowl is.
This is incredibly stupid. Then we should be advertising a different time. A system of "we'll probably be done by X - but really you should know better and expect to be done two hours later" is dumb. I'll acknowledge, though, that the nature of QuizBowl does make tournament durations wildly variable (depending on the number of tiebreakers and final rounds, the strength of the field (which I've found significantly affects average round length), etc.)
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:24 pm

sonstige wrote:Maybe an apples vs. oranges type of analogy, but if ACF incentivizes teams that submit flawless and early-submitted packets and penalizes flawed and late-submitted packets --- why can't that sort of approach be extended to the execution of the tournaments themselves?
It is. If ACF is told that a host has done a terrible job of hosting, we will likely not award that host another tournament unless they can convince us that they've changed their ways. That said, we centrally edit packets but we don't centrally plan tournaments other than Nationals, and rigidly enforcing tournament finish times or whatever is not really something we're well-equipped to do.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by theMoMA » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:31 pm

Regardless of what a TD says, anyone with the tiniest modicum of experience in the game knows that quizbowl tournaments often last longer than advertised for myriad reasons (that are often nobody's fault!). The problem is usually not that the people who volunteer their weekends to direct and staff tournaments have the gall to quote possible end times despite very real possibility of delays that everyone should know about anyway. More often, the problem is people who take a 5pm anticipated end time as gospel and book 7pm flights despite knowing full well that any number of issues can waylay a tournament, then act put upon when other people dare to question the reasonableness of their travel decisions.

Travel plans like that, which run counter to common quizbowl experience, are in fact unreasonable. And because leaving tournaments early makes you a jerk, and because unreasonable travel plans might force you to leave early, making unreasonable travel plans leaves you running a very strong risk of being a jerk. Don't do it!
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:17 pm

Cheynem wrote:Also, I find the "tournament should not be charging money" analogy to be dumb as well. If you don't want to pay it, don't play it. I had someone demand their money back because they didn't like my CO History event, which I found fairly offensive, not because my questions are impeccable, but because that's not how quizbowl works.
Also because that person was Marshall, who has a patently ridiculous view of how the world works in most senses.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:33 pm

There's two competing interests outlined in this thread. Matt appears to be calling for people to take tournaments [very] seriously, and to not leave early at any cost, up to an including the point of lodging there until Sunday morning. Will H-M and Saajid have pointed out, rightly, that people have other things to do, and that in a normal tournament situation (eg finishing around 6 or so), it is perfectly reasonable to make dinner plans or have something to do on Saturday night and/or Sunday morning, especially if the tournament is close by. There's obviously a wide range of tournament end times, from "heat death of the Universe" (Rutgers) to "the beginning and end of this tournament are only separated by a spacelike interval in all reference frames" (VCU). I agree with pretty much everything Jerry has said - TDs should announce a reasonable end time, teams should budget extra time for transport (2 hours for train, 3 hours for flights works generally well), and everyone should show up in the morning on time.

I think there's an aspect of this entire discussion that's being missed, especially by Matt's post at the beginning. The fact remains that if we want to make quizbowl palatable to a wider audience of weekend warrior types (which it's clear that we want to do), one aspect will have to be making it less, for lack of a better term, hardcore. Given that point, I think Matt's demand that teams stay even if the tournament is literally running hours late and falling apart is ridiculous, and I think the idea that two teams that don't want to play a final but are forced to is also ridiculous (though that's easily fixed by coinflip as Saajid pointed out). It's worth keeping in mind the mentality of the not-as-committed 5-20 ppg-type player who is scared off by things like having to stay until 10PM on a Saturday, lodge overnight after a tournament, etc, because quite frankly there's no reason these people can't participate as well (obviously this mentality goes out for things like Nationals, in which you will listen to 10 lines of clues in every tossup for two days and you will fucking like it).
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:36 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:
Cheynem wrote:Also, I find the "tournament should not be charging money" analogy to be dumb as well. If you don't want to pay it, don't play it. I had someone demand their money back because they didn't like my CO History event, which I found fairly offensive, not because my questions are impeccable, but because that's not how quizbowl works.
Also because that person was Marshall, who has a patently ridiculous view of how the world works in most senses.
For the record, that private conversation pertained to my allegation that the rules were not followed, not that the questions were bad. But thanks for the subtweet, guys!
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by sonstige » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:41 pm

I should clarify that I only mentioned ACF as an example for its policy on packet submission. Really, what I'm trying to say is if a TD botches a tournament is there a precedent for implementing a "you screwed up this tournament" penalty, such as an added mirror fee?

In other words, if Sites A and B host a mirror and Site A's version is executed horribly while Site B's goes along fine, can the tournament's originating organization penalize Site A for not delivering the (relatively) same experience as Site B was able to do?

Or is the most significant penalty as said, being the risk of not getting to host a future event?

That's really my main concern here. Having tournaments run extraordinarily late is no fun, especially if you could have gone to a different site, played the same number of rounds, and gotten out of there some number of hours earlier. I think having a control in place that says, "If you're going to mirror our event, these are our expectations (including finishing by some advertised time that makes sense for your site), else expect X penalty" may be useful (or not, for various reasons I haven't considered).

To use ACF (again!) as my example: the guarantee of 10-rounds minimum is great. The issue I have is some Site A may get through 10-rounds in 12 hours while some other Site B does this in 8. There could be a good number of reasons A is much slower than B; yet if I attended A thinking I was going to get the same experience as B, I may end up having to leave A early. Some would argue that my leaving early would make me at fault, and not Site A, even though had I attended B I would have played all my rounds.

So what penalizes A (or incentivizes B) in this case --- or is it just as was said: how the event goes directly influences the ability to host future events? Or would the penalty / incentive be at the discretion of the tournament's originating organization?
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:46 pm

sonstige wrote:In other words, if Sites A and B host a mirror and Site A's version is executed horribly while Site B's goes along fine, can the tournament's originating organization penalize Site A for not delivering the (relatively) same experience as Site B was able to do?
This isn't me speaking for any quizbowl organization that I'm associated with, but I think teams have the right to refuse to pay under extreme circumstances (if the set was good, they can simply pay the mirror fee directly to the editors). For instance, one year we refunded several teams their entry fee for Penn Bowl Trash because the set wasn't written, and the team in fact lost 1.5K on that tournament because of the cost of reserving rooms.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 13, 2015 5:50 pm

sonstige wrote:I should clarify that I only mentioned ACF as an example for its policy on packet submission. Really, what I'm trying to say is if a TD botches a tournament is there a precedent for implementing a "you screwed up this tournament" penalty, such as an added mirror fee?

In other words, if Sites A and B host a mirror and Site A's version is executed horribly while Site B's goes along fine, can the tournament's originating organization penalize Site A for not delivering the (relatively) same experience as Site B was able to do?
This represents an entanglement of concerns that it would be best to keep separate. I think it's best and most fair to keep packet penalties confined to packet-writing and logistical issues confined to logistical concerns.
Or is the most significant penalty as said, being the risk of not getting to host a future event?
That is the risk, yes.
To use ACF (again!) as my example: the guarantee of 10-rounds minimum is great. The issue I have is some Site A may get through 10-rounds in 12 hours while some other Site B does this in 8. There could be a good number of reasons A is much slower than B; yet if I attended A thinking I was going to get the same experience as B, I may end up having to leave A early. Some would argue that my leaving early would make me at fault, and not Site A, even though had I attended B I would have played all my rounds.

So what penalizes A (or incentivizes B) in this case --- or is it just as was said: how the event goes directly influences the ability to host future events? Or would the penalty / incentive be at the discretion of the tournament's originating organization?
There's nothing we can really do about that. I mean, you're right: different sites are going to run at different speeds. What we want from hosts is to guarantee what we think is a reasonable minimum, because beyond that there isn't a whole lot we can do.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by ValenciaQBowl » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:14 pm

I would like to echo the middle path being advocated by many in this discussion. As they've all said in different ways, the easy point of consensus is for everyone to be basically considerate: understand and plan based on the fact that frequently tournaments run late, do all you can as a TD to avoid that, but don't flip out if your hideously late-running competition leads to some people wanting to bail, etc.

In particular, this point by Eric struck me as important:
The fact remains that if we want to make quizbowl palatable to a wider audience of weekend warrior types (which it's clear that we want to do), one aspect will have to be making it less, for lack of a better term, hardcore.
As a player who has enjoyed some 16-hour days in Cobb Hall in summers past, I don't mind a lot of quiz bowl, but as a guy who runs lots of tournaments for CC teams run by fully adult (ie, married with kids) coaches who are not players themselves, I try to pare down Valencia tournaments. I don't expect everyone to live up to my ideas of a good tournament experience.

For our recent MUT mirror, though I knew playing more playoff rounds would offer a more thorough chance of differentiating the teams and please lots of the players, I also knew that most teams had 2.5+-hour drives and those coaches wanted to salvage some family time, so I limited us to nine rounds. If we tried to play 12+ hours, we would have tons of folks leave early or just not come. Even as it was one (for our circuit) hardcore team asked if they could leave after seven rounds, and though they offered to stay to provide competition, I told them it was fine; their playoff placement didn't affect the top bracket, and we got a spoiler team of coaches to sit in. Nobody was scolded or publicly shamed, and as far as I can tell, everyone left happy.

The hardcore know what tournaments are hardcore, but it's valuable to have some lighter options--people just have to be upfront and honest and then do their best to meet expectations.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Steeve Ho You Fat » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:25 pm

I don't agree with everything that Jordan said and obviously don't like it when people leave tournaments early for dumb reasons, but at the risk of hijacking the thread, I'm rather disturbed by the backlash against his describing tournaments as products, delivered by a vendor to customers. One of the things that I emphasized when I started running tournaments at Michigan State was that the people attending the tournament were our club's customers, and were paying us money expecting a certain quality of product in return; we should be careful to treat them as customers and ensure that the aspects of the product we control (logistics, fairness of format, basically everything except question quality) met that standard. Think of "registering for a tournament" as implicitly agreeing to a contract with the host where you show up on time and pay your fee and the host runs a tournament on a reasonable, fair schedule. If things get a little behind, it's not a big deal, but if the host is Rutgers/terrible host of the month, then they've failed to uphold their part of the bargain and you're free to leave/not pay your fees if it's that bad. Hosts viewing themselves as vendors also helps to increase the much-desired professionalism among staff, after all, they're now de facto at work and expected to dress and act like normal people do at work.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Cheynem » Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:28 pm

I agree with what Joe is saying to be sure about professionalism and responsibility. Perhaps this is the educator in me, but I was objecting to the consumer analogies because in my experience such analogies tend to lead to a "consumer is always right" mantra--for example, the attitude that because students are paying for the class, they don't have to show up or can leave early or do whatever. This type of attitude is harmful for quizbowl for obvious reasons. Joe is correct that thinking of the quizbowl experience as a contract in which the teams expect service as consumers but also provide work of their own (as quizbowl is an unique game in which one is a consumer and a competitor) is a good way of thinking about it.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by sonstige » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:00 pm

That's why I prefaced my analogy (which is admittedly a stretch) as being essentially apples and oranges --- but the fact that a late submitted packet can suffer financial recourse in my mind *may* be extendable to a late-finishing tournament. Or: if a packet's delivery can have a no-penalty deadline, why can't a tournament's completion time?

What I'm hearing is that an unreasonably late-finishing tournament may open up that site to scrutiny on its ability to host a future event and/or that in some particularly awful (and hopefully rare) cases, teams can opt to pay the originating organization directly as opposed to the mirroring host. These seem like fair means of addressing this (again, barring going so far as issuing a "you screwed up hosting the tournament" fee).
ValenciaQBowl wrote:people just have to be upfront and honest and then do their best to meet expectations.
I think this says a lot; as long as teams (and staffers, even) know going into the event what the schedule looks like and when things will more or less wrap up, people can plan around this. If a team schedules a flight / train / Megabus / whatever too close to (or even before!) a tournament's projected conclusion (even if they allow themselves some buffer for misc. quizbowl delays), yeah --- in most cases, that team probably should not receive much sympathy for their lack of planning.

Yet if the TD either doesn't say when the tournament will end (and the tournament runs unreasonably late), or does and grossly fails to meet that projected end time, and travel plans are affected --- I think this is where the focus should be less on the teams leaving "early" and more on the TDs for dropping the ball.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:11 pm

ValenciaQBowl wrote: As a player who has enjoyed some 16-hour days in Cobb Hall in summers past, I don't mind a lot of quiz bowl, but as a guy who runs lots of tournaments for CC teams run by fully adult (ie, married with kids) coaches who are not players themselves, I try to pare down Valencia tournaments. I don't expect everyone to live up to my ideas of a good tournament experience.

For our recent MUT mirror, though I knew playing more playoff rounds would offer a more thorough chance of differentiating the teams and please lots of the players, I also knew that most teams had 2.5+-hour drives and those coaches wanted to salvage some family time, so I limited us to nine rounds. If we tried to play 12+ hours, we would have tons of folks leave early or just not come. Even as it was one (for our circuit) hardcore team asked if they could leave after seven rounds, and though they offered to stay to provide competition, I told them it was fine; their playoff placement didn't affect the top bracket, and we got a spoiler team of coaches to sit in. Nobody was scolded or publicly shamed, and as far as I can tell, everyone left happy.

The hardcore know what tournaments are hardcore, but it's valuable to have some lighter options--people just have to be upfront and honest and then do their best to meet expectations.
As a player who will hopefully spend more 16-hour days in Cobb Hall and various Hyatts and Hiltons around the continent as either a player or staffer, I also don't mind a lot of quizbowl. If I was playing Chris' 9 round MUT, I would be kind of sad about only playing for 9 rounds, but that's what the circuit is like. But I would respect that the general field at this point would only play 9 rounds, and try to help build a culture in which more people were happy to play longer tournaments. Obviously, ACF Regionals and NAQT SCT cannot be restricted by circuit norms, but a generic tournament that tailors to a lot of teams should try to attract as many teams as possible, even if it means not running a 'normal' qb schedule but something shorter.
minusfive wrote: That poor team deprived of an opponent won't be going hungry for questions or competitions at all.
Umm, I'm pretty sure teams attend tournaments not because they're interested in questions. The whole purpose of attending a tournament is to compete with other teams. I'm paying to hear the questions, and to compete to show off what I do/don't know. If I wanted the questions, I'd just wait for them to show up on the database.

Also, are there measures in place at ACF Nationals in case a team were to stop showing up?
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by jonpin » Mon Apr 13, 2015 7:43 pm

The Last 20 Stanley Cup Winners wrote:Umm, I'm pretty sure teams attend tournaments not because they're interested in questions. The whole purpose of attending a tournament is to compete with other teams. I'm paying to hear the questions, and to compete to show off what I do/don't know. If I wanted the questions, I'd just wait for them to show up on the database.

Also, are there measures in place at ACF Nationals in case a team were to stop showing up?
The very nature of teams not being at a tournament renders them impervious to, or at least unfazed by, any punitive measures taken against them at the tournament. Last year, Dartmouth didn't show for Sunday because 2/3 of them decided to :capybara: out and, since both of them never played quiz bowl again, there weren't any real consequences other than forfeiture of games (top bracket games, no less!) and public shaming. I think it's just not possible to do anything else.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Cody » Mon Apr 13, 2015 8:04 pm

The problem with teams leaving tournaments early is that it creates a lot of problems for hosts and other teams—it's very hard to design a schedule around a team leaving and makes it much harder to ensure that all teams get the correct number of games (for example, VCU typically promises 9 games for high school tournaments and 10 games for college tournaments). This is complicated even more when TDs don't know of this ahead of time.

I do think it's fair to say that, outside of extreme circumstances, teams signing up for a tournament are implicitly promising they will play out the schedule provided by the hosts, as that is part of what they are paying the hosts for. What constitutes extreme circumstances is of course up for discussion, but tournaments do tend to take a significant amount of time and that's something teams need to plan for (though contra Matt Jackson I won't go so far as to say that teams should be making Saturday tournaments overnighters unless they live a serious distance away).

On the flip side, Joe Nutter is correct that hosts are serving customers and—if hosts wish to get return business—they need to run good tournaments and be generous / accurate with their time estimates. Teams can vote with their wallet and should do so, whether they have concerns with the host quality or the set quality.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by grapesmoker » Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:32 pm

Steeve Ho You Fat wrote:I don't agree with everything that Jordan said and obviously don't like it when people leave tournaments early for dumb reasons, but at the risk of hijacking the thread, I'm rather disturbed by the backlash against his describing tournaments as products, delivered by a vendor to customers. One of the things that I emphasized when I started running tournaments at Michigan State was that the people attending the tournament were our club's customers, and were paying us money expecting a certain quality of product in return; we should be careful to treat them as customers and ensure that the aspects of the product we control (logistics, fairness of format, basically everything except question quality) met that standard. Think of "registering for a tournament" as implicitly agreeing to a contract with the host where you show up on time and pay your fee and the host runs a tournament on a reasonable, fair schedule. If things get a little behind, it's not a big deal, but if the host is Rutgers/terrible host of the month, then they've failed to uphold their part of the bargain and you're free to leave/not pay your fees if it's that bad. Hosts viewing themselves as vendors also helps to increase the much-desired professionalism among staff, after all, they're now de facto at work and expected to dress and act like normal people do at work.
The point is that the customer-seller relationship is not exhaustive of everything that is part of the quizbowl experience. I'll have more on this after Nationals.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Tees-Exe Line » Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:42 am

grapesmoker wrote:
Steeve Ho You Fat wrote:I don't agree with everything that Jordan said and obviously don't like it when people leave tournaments early for dumb reasons, but at the risk of hijacking the thread, I'm rather disturbed by the backlash against his describing tournaments as products, delivered by a vendor to customers. One of the things that I emphasized when I started running tournaments at Michigan State was that the people attending the tournament were our club's customers, and were paying us money expecting a certain quality of product in return; we should be careful to treat them as customers and ensure that the aspects of the product we control (logistics, fairness of format, basically everything except question quality) met that standard. Think of "registering for a tournament" as implicitly agreeing to a contract with the host where you show up on time and pay your fee and the host runs a tournament on a reasonable, fair schedule. If things get a little behind, it's not a big deal, but if the host is Rutgers/terrible host of the month, then they've failed to uphold their part of the bargain and you're free to leave/not pay your fees if it's that bad. Hosts viewing themselves as vendors also helps to increase the much-desired professionalism among staff, after all, they're now de facto at work and expected to dress and act like normal people do at work.
The point is that the customer-seller relationship is not exhaustive of everything that is part of the quizbowl experience. I'll have more on this after Nationals.
I think we can all agree that quizbowl is best modeled as a Shapley-Shubik Assignment Game and act accordingly.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:46 am

I think tournament attendance is kind of a two way street. Unless something pops up, you should stay for the entirety of a tournament. But if a tournament runs well beyond the schedule that was promised, then teams are not obligated to stay.
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Re: On Leaving Tournaments Early

Post by Joshua Rutsky » Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:01 am

I feel a little out of place commenting here, since I am a high school coach, but this discussion interests me because we see a lot of the same issues crop up at the high school level with teams leaving early for various reasons or not showing up at all.

One question I have is whether the phenomenon of "overrun" tournaments--events that run well past the scheduled time or have excessive delays--has to do with the significant expansion of quizbowl overall and the possibility that as more teams and events appear, it is growing harder to staff a really large event with top-notch staffers? For example, we host a major tourney for the state here in Alabama each year that draws a very large field. Even with my fairly extensive network of folks here in state, staffing a tournament that has 15+ active rooms is asking for a problem. Finding that many experienced readers who can both keep the pace up and read clearly and accurately for more than six hours is probably asking way too much. This year, we had our largest tournament ever, and while it went well, some pools finished nearly an hour ahead of others. As a TD, this was unacceptable to me, and when I sat down to figure out what went wrong, it was clear to me that I had just reached the size boundary of what a reasonable event should be.

It's hard for TDs who are trying to promote good quizbowl, as I am, and recruit new players and teams actively (we comp all new squads upon request, for example), to make the decision to close a field at an event when so many teams look to it as the best opportunity to play. Pride makes you think "oh, we can take a couple more teams", but then you have a moderator call in sick, and something else goes wrong, and the next thing you know, you're short-handed. Next year, we're going to have a hard cap on our field and stick with it, because to us, quality matters. Moral: KNOW YOUR LIMITS. Make a list of your staff before you even announce your event. Then subtract two people from it, and calculate how many teams you can reasonably host based on that number. Better that you have a smaller field done well than a larger tourney done poorly.

All that said, I still find it incredible that teams feel free to depart without notice or on a whim from a tourney. Imagine if a major league franchise decided "That's it, these officials are awful, or we're having a bad day. We're going to forfeit the second half and go home." I know, it isn't the best analogy, because quizbowl doesn't have spectators paying to see the event, but if you've ever been a fan holding a ticket for a late season game in the NBA or NFL and sat there watching scrubs play because the teams were "resting" the stars for the playoff run, you probably felt cheated by the experience. Yes, it is their right to do so, and there may even be good reasons for doing so, but that doesn't mean that it makes for a positive experience for everyone involved. We now have a policy in place that we will not accept entries for next year's event from teams that leave our event early or that fail to appear, barring special circumstances.
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