The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Elaborate on the merits of specific tournaments or have general theoretical discussion here.
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theMoMA
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The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by theMoMA » Tue Jul 26, 2016 3:57 pm

As Matt Jackson alluded to in the Chicago Open thread, quizbowl has been anchored on $120 as the base fee for events for the ten years or so that I've been involved. The fee should be higher, especially at open events, to compensate editors for their hard work. It seems a bit perverse to me that we're willing to spend hundreds of dollars traveling to tournaments, but balk when asked to pay an extra $5 or $10 per person for the entire reason we're traveling in the first place. No one who's spending hundreds of dollars on a plane ticket and hotel is going to be priced out by having to pay $40 instead of $30 for a full day's worth of entertainment.

At the higher levels, quizbowl is a labor of love. No one's going to get rich editing Chicago Open or a similar event. But when I edited, between travel, paying for food and soda for moderators, printing packets, and buying a traveling trophy for CO, I actually lost a fair amount of money. Now, not everyone is going to take on expenses of that type, but $120 is not enough money to compensate the editors of a tournament like CO. I think the base fee should be $160 for events of that type (un-mirror-able and labor-intensive tournaments like CO, Arrabal, etc.), and $140 for most regular-season events, with a corresponding rise in mirror fees as well (I'd like to see us move to something like $40-50 as the standard per-team mirror fee). CO could, and perhaps should, go up to something like $200, as long as the editors are willing to spend some of that money to get quality staffers.

High-level quizbowl writing is very difficult and specialized work. The few people who are able to do it should be paid better.
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Cheynem » Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:05 pm

I think I agree with Matt Jackson's point in the other thread. The base fee should be higher, but discounts for good packets should be higher as well (in packet submission tournaments). I think this is feasible for CO--it would seem unfair to charge people whose packets I barely had time to spend any work on the same amount that I charge people who submit useless junk.

I'd also kind of like to see somehow payment rewarding quality products. One of the challenges of comparing the quizbowl market to other forms of markets, is that there isn't the same form of economic competition and rewards. If I think this restaurant is charging too much for an inferior product, I can always go to another restaurant or hotel or use a different airline or whatever. I can't find another Chicago Open or ACF Nationals, and so we end up paying the same amount of money for a well written, meticulously planned tournament as we would for a slapdash, thrown together product. Now maybe this is the same as a movie theater--it costs the same to see an Oscar winner as it does to see Jack and Jill in the theaters, but I wonder if it's somehow possible to emulate the restaurant or hotel style of economic plan--we end up paying more for the better stuff. Maybe in some sort of weird future where payments are all done electronically you could have like a "tip" feature, where you can choose to pay an extra $5-$10 for tournaments that are well done (yeah, I know that's dumb but hopefully you see what I'm getting at here--people would be more inclined to pay more if they can be guaranteed better products).
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Excelsior (smack) » Tue Jul 26, 2016 4:28 pm

Cheynem wrote:Maybe in some sort of weird future where payments are all done electronically you could have like a "tip" feature, where you can choose to pay an extra $5-$10 for tournaments that are well done (yeah, I know that's dumb but hopefully you see what I'm getting at here--people would be more inclined to pay more if they can be guaranteed better products).
This is a good idea. In fact, this has already happened - the future is now! (Eric accepted payments for Lederberg 2 electronically [via Venmo], and since I enjoyed the tournament quite a bit, I "tipped" him [a paltry amount, in retrospect] in addition to remitting the entry fee.)
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Corry » Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:35 pm

Yeah, sure. To this day, I have no idea why high-difficulty tournaments charge the same $120 fee as ACF Fall, which takes a fraction of the time to edit.
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Cody » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:41 pm

I disagree.

It's possible that the base fee for tournaments needs to be raised but I don't truly believe that is the case outside of Chicago Open and ACF Nationals -- single site tournaments. Rather, mirror fees need to go up substantially and college teams need to be okay with making slightly less money from college tournaments.

Mirror fees for most tournaments should be $40 to $60 and the entry fee should not be raised by more than $20 on the high end (and I believe that should be $10).

VCU Open 2015 for instance would have been a good tournament for a $60 mirror fee whereas a tournament like EFT (and MUT) is a good candidate for a $35 mirror fee. It's about difficulty, the number of teams playing, and the number of packets.

(also $120 is no small amount of money for a lot of teams. It makes way more sense to shift the burden to hosts, especially when the profit margins right now are so big for them)
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Golran » Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:45 pm

Quite honestly, I'm a bit surprised how low tournament fees have been for quite some time, even for regular mid-season events, in comparison to other comparable activities. To put things in perspective, I recently officiated a number of local youth lacrosse tournament where teams (capped at around 20 kids - most were less, 10 play at a time) paid $1500 for 4 x 40 minute long games. Granted, these events require medical trainers and certified officials, but I can almost guarantee you that the writers and editors of a tournament set have put in more hours of work getting that particular set ready for play than the officials did preparing for that one tournament (dividing around 25 hours of annual association meetings and trainings across all the tournaments an official typically works).

I suppose that the fields themselves are more expensive to rent than rooms in a school, but that wouldn't make up for around a $200 difference per team (figuring make 5 teams from 20 kids @ $300 per team). I know y'all aren't the biggest fans of sports analogies, but I would argue that writing or editing a quiz bowl tournament takes a significant amount of work and time, and you're making somewhere around $10-$15 per hour doing it if you're going fast. On the other hand, youth sports officials, who play an arguably similar role to the games as a quizbowl moderator, get paid around $50-$60 per hour in my area. Now, I'm not arguing that writers/editors should be paid that highly, but to keep the top tier of writers in the game, whose only connection is writing and maybe playing an occasional open, their compensation needs to increase.
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Cody » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:30 am

No one at the regular difficulty level and up averages $10-$15 an hour -- and they would likely barely hit the low end of that even if fees were doubled, for most tournaments.

College teams are largely either self-funded or can only request so much money from their administration. I strongly doubt the feasibility of $10-$15 / hour of work at the regular difficulty level, anytime soon.
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Cheynem » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:18 pm

BTW, this is neither here nor there, but it is wrong in saying that ACF Fall takes a "fraction" of time to edit than CO. It is a lot of work in writing easy questions.
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Corry » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:13 pm

Cheynem wrote:BTW, this is neither here nor there, but it is wrong in saying that ACF Fall takes a "fraction" of time to edit than CO. It is a lot of work in writing easy questions.
From my own observations having written/edited thousands of questions for NAQT, it takes about half as much time to write easy questions (ie IS-sets) as it takes to write hard questions (ie ICT). I wasn't aware that this was a controversial stance.
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:45 pm

Corry wrote:
Cheynem wrote:BTW, this is neither here nor there, but it is wrong in saying that ACF Fall takes a "fraction" of time to edit than CO. It is a lot of work in writing easy questions.
From my own observations having written/edited thousands of questions for NAQT, it takes about half as much time to write easy questions (ie IS-sets) as it takes to write hard questions (ie ICT). I wasn't aware that this was a controversial stance.
I'll completely agree with Corry here. In my experience, writing individual questions for ACF Fall packets has taken about one third to one half the time the of writing submissions for ACF Regionals, ACF Nationals, or Chicago Open.
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Cheynem » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:55 pm

Yeah, I mean certainly writing individual questions for very easy tournaments is shorter than like a Nats or CO. But the editing at least in my opinion is still a lot of work--you really have to be careful about things like length caps, difficulty restrictions, answer selection. My basic point was that we shouldn't shortchange compensating the editors of good easy sets even if it seems like "less work."
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:04 pm

Also, easier sets are arguably more important to the well-being of the circuit.
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:07 pm

Cheynem wrote:Yeah, I mean certainly writing individual questions for very easy tournaments is shorter than like a Nats or CO. But the editing at least in my opinion is still a lot of work--you really have to be careful about things like length caps, difficulty restrictions, answer selection. My basic point was that we shouldn't shortchange compensating the editors of good easy sets even if it seems like "less work."
I hate to sound condescending here, but a major component of labor pricing is how much time it takes to complete a task. Regardless of the mental capacity/challenge level, it just straight-up takes more time to create hard questions than easy ones, and so the people involved should be compensated more for putting more hours in.
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:33 pm

Look I'm sure there are challenging things about editing hard tournaments and challenging things about editing easy tournaments. As somebody who exclusively edited hard tournaments, I would rather go to the dentist once a day for an entire week than edit an easy tournament like ACF Fall. Perhaps it takes less time to write an easy question than a hard question, but with ACF Fall you are also dealing with a ton more submissions, much lower quality submissions, and a difficulty limit that can be suffocating to an editorial mind that's more focused on new clues and new answer spaces. In my mind, there's definitely things about editing easy tournaments where, if I edited them, I would demand more money for having to put up with. The cost of screwing up is much worse: a bad Chicago Open just gets you condemned on the internet by people who will be playing the next Chicago Open anyway, a bad ACF Fall might drive an entire year's worth of new people away from quizbowl.

I think the OP here probably said "maybe don't increase all tournament fees, but at least hard tournament fees" as a way of limiting uproar from the general public: the OP reasoned that people would take less offense to "let's raise fees on a small subset" than they would to "let's raise fees everywhere". I think Mike Cheyne has a valid point when he says, hey, easy tournament editors deserve a raise too.
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Re: The base fee for college qb tournaments should be higher

Post by theMoMA » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:25 pm

I would like to see the regular base fee raised to $140 for most sets, and up to $200 for harder sets. The reason I think harder sets should be more expensive is because they are a lot of work (probably more work than easier sets, although Bruce's point is well-taken), but more importantly, because there is very little mirror demand for those sets, so the primary tournament fees are likely going to be the editors' only revenue. For something like MUT, for example, there is a high demand for mirrors, and a lot of the revenue from the set comes from other sites than the primary one. There are rarely CO mirrors, and most people coming to that tournament are already spending a couple hundred bucks on transportation and lodging, so they shouldn't be put off if they're asked to spend another few bucks on the reason they're traveling in the first place.
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