What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl today?

This is the holding pen for the best threads containing quiz bowl talk.

What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl today?

"Regular difficulty" is too hard
84
18%
Established editors of hard tournaments leaving the game
37
8%
College quizbowl is not demographically representative enough
50
11%
Lack of professionalism
41
9%
Too insular
100
22%
Payment for tournaments is too complex
3
1%
Lack of novice tournaments
29
6%
Questions are too long
10
2%
Clubs don't have enough money (i.e. can't go to local tournaments or nationals)
32
7%
Lack of outreach to new clubs and HS players entering college
75
16%
Other (please post)
4
1%
 
Total votes: 465

User avatar
ryanrosenberg
Auron
Posts: 1328
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 5:48 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois

What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl today?

Post by ryanrosenberg » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:53 pm

Partially inspired by Matt Bollinger's post in the scheduling committee thread, I thought it would be a useful exercise to solicit opinions on what the most important issues are facing college quizbowl.

For a long time, the major issues were format wars and question quality; the format wars are now largely over and we are in an unprecedented stretch of good questions. However, there are now a host of new issues that have come up, and there doesn't -- from my perspective -- seem to be a clear one that most people are focused on. Having this discussion will, I believe, allow the community to come to a better understanding of what needs to be improved in college quizbowl and allow for a more efficient allocation of resources towards fixing the problems the community decides to focus on.

I've listed some of the leading issues I've heard people express above, but if there is an issue not listed that you believe is important, please bring it up.
Last edited by ryanrosenberg on Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ryan Rosenberg
North Carolina '16 | Ardsley '12
PACE | ACF

User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1347
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by vinteuil » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:57 pm

It would be nice to be able to vary these responses by difficulty level. For instance: regular difficulty tournaments, with relatively few exceptions, are now pretty reasonably length-regulated. Open ones, not so much.
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6592
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Cheynem » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:02 pm

I think all of these things are problems to some extent. I voted for "professionalism," which I think addresses a variety of issues. I also voted for "other," referring to the lack of outreach.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
ryanrosenberg
Auron
Posts: 1328
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 5:48 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by ryanrosenberg » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:05 pm

Cheynem wrote:I also voted for "other," referring to the lack of outreach.
Outreach is an important issue that I missed in the initial list of issues. I've added it as a poll option and enabled the ability to change votes if voters want to go back and vote for it.

edit: ah, shoot, I forgot adding a poll option resets votes. Please re-vote!
Ryan Rosenberg
North Carolina '16 | Ardsley '12
PACE | ACF

User avatar
Benin Rebirth Party
Yuna
Posts: 783
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Farhaven, Ontario

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Benin Rebirth Party » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:11 pm

In Canada the biggest problem is lack of continuity in an institution once the most involved members graduate. We’ve lost a lot of clubs over the years and are on the verge of losing a few as well.
Joe Su
Lisgar 2012, McGill 2015, McGill 20--

FINALIST -- 2017 ILQBM MEME OF THE YEAR

User avatar
Sima Guang Hater
Auron
Posts: 1852
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:29 pm

The interim data suggests it might be time to discuss trending down regular difficulty to somewhere around EFT level.
Eric Mukherjee, MD PhD
Washburn Rural High School, 2005
Brown University, 2009
Medical Scientist Training Program, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 2018
Intern in Internal Medicine, Yale-Waterbury, 2018-9
Dermatology Resident, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2019-

Member Emeritus, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer, NAQT, NHBB, IQBT

"The next generation will always surpass the previous one. It's one of the never-ending cycles in life."

User avatar
Theodore
Wakka
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:40 pm
Location: State College, PA

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Theodore » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:44 pm

Issue #1 for me is still outreach. Quizbowl is a hard sell to anybody, and in my opinion, this is more true for university/collegiate students than high school students.

Some points I used to entice prospective HS QBers that aren't as effective to university students:
- makes you well-rounded and expands your interests, helping you find what you'd like to study in the future. This doesn't work as well on university students, as the nature of university programs are more focused, and relatively speaking, few students go on to more schooling.
- community involvement, leadership opportunities, and looks good on university applications. There is less press for successful university teams (a whole other issue in itself), and again, most undergrads don't go on to grad school, and QB is unlikely to help them with those applications. Could help with job apps though.
- fun way to spend lunch break; obviously, universities don't have a lunch break when everybody is free. Consequently, practices take place in the late evening when people are tired from a long day.

However, much more important than any of those points above is simply opportunity cost. It's hard to convince somebody they should go to a 1.5 hour practice each week (I'm sure most good schools practice more than this) and spend 7+ hours (assuming the tournament is hosted in your city) of approximately Saturday per month paying to play trivia, as opposed to spending time succeeding in your classes, working part-time, or doing something else. High school students simply have more free time. Also, I feel many new people don't get that it's the norm to practice/study for QB, which either deters them because extra studying, or makes them think they're not good enough for QB. And of course, nobody likes being told to study more.

The advantages of Quizbowl I stated earlier can also be gained from extracurriculars more relevant to your specific major.
Also, I believe that if you are motivated and dedicated enough to succeed at Quizbowl, you are probably motivated and dedicated enough to succeed in something more "bigger".

I wish I knew how to make collegiate QB more appealing. The reasons above is why I found outreach difficult, and as Joe alluded to, why it's hard to prevent Canadian teams from dying out.
One thing that could entice people in my opinion is writing questions. I personally find it just as fun as playing questions, and you get paid for it!
Ted (Ze Feng) Gan

Pennsylvania State University, 2021
Carleton University, 2019
Colonel By Secondary School, 2015

Former Executive Member of the Ontario Quizbowl Association (ONQBA), 2015-16
Former NAQT Writer, 2013-2016

User avatar
ErikC
Wakka
Posts: 186
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:44 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by ErikC » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:50 pm

I personally think that the current distribution and its biases neglects some areas and subjects that might engage players who have otherwise lost interest.

What these biases are and what the distribution should be discussed often, so it definitely feels like this is a constantly changing issue.
Last edited by ErikC on Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Erik Christensen
University of Waterloo - School of Planning Class of '18
I write trash
Defending VETO top scorer

User avatar
The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Tidus
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:51 pm

A few thoughts on difficulty and tournament formatting

Given the expansion of high school (and now middle school) pyramidal sets, the average time spent playing quiz bowl per college player has increased a lot over the past ten years. Aside from what that says about inclusivity in QB communities, it makes sense that the average question difficulty would increase naturally to fit this disparity. The only problem is, more people are playing pyramidal quiz bowl these days than ten years ago, so given a single tournament, question difficulty might never find a happy medium between an upper echelon of more familiar and studious teams and the vast majority of everyone else. Personally, I think lowering regular difficulty is a very good idea, because "regular" isn't just another benchmark unless we're explicitly willing to say pyramidal qb is only for people who study a lot.

Here's another idea. A lot of high school tournaments have two separate divisions: one regular division for about 75% of the entrants, and a stacked division for the nationally competitive teams. Would it be that far-fetched to adopt such brackets at tournaments meant to attract new teams like ACF fall or even a few larger sites of regionals? I'd be willing to say getting schooled by a stacked Chicago C/D or Berkeley B at an easier tournament would discourage more newcomers than inspiring them to study. I'd also be willing to bet that the subgroup who chose to study has shaped the difficulty curve of questions over the past decade a lot greater than people realize.
Adam Sperber
Hickman '10, Northwestern B '14

" 'Yay, more Adam Sperber' --Nobody " --Cody Voight

User avatar
jmarvin_
Lulu
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:52 pm
Location: chicago, il
Contact:

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by jmarvin_ » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:09 pm

merv1618 wrote:The only problem is, more people are playing pyramidal quiz bowl these days than ten years ago, so given a single tournament, question difficulty might never find a happy medium between an upper echelon of more familiar and studious teams and the vast majority of everyone else. Personally, I think lowering regular difficulty is a very good idea, because "regular" isn't just another benchmark unless we're explicitly willing to say pyramidal qb is only for people who study a lot.
On the contrary, I think the opposite of this effect often happens. You end up with high school stars entering as freshmen and sophomores who run absolutely wild on lower difficulties, since they've mastered the hard-high-school canon, but can't play so well on "regular" plus. The easier we make the tournaments, the easier we make it for star high school players to not actually do that much more studying and learning to succeed, shafting players with lots of real knowledge that didn't have the advantage of being on an elite high school team and knowing the canon inside and out.
john marvin
university of chicago - m.a. divinity, 2020
boston college - b.a. theology, 2018

User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1347
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by vinteuil » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:15 pm

I think there should be more regular-minus tournaments, and "regular" should be more carefully controlled (e.g. this year's Regionals, despite its brilliances, could have had much more tapering on the hard side of its distribution), but I don't think "regular" itself needs to change.
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

User avatar
Theodore
Wakka
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:40 pm
Location: State College, PA

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Theodore » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:20 pm

ErikC wrote:I personally think that the current distribution and its biases neglects some areas and subjects that might engage players who have otherwise lost interest.

What these biases are and what the distribution should be discussed often, so it definitely feels like this is a constantly changing issue.
I agree that the distribution should be discussed. I have no idea where the distribution comes from e.g. I have never seen any written documentation of why the distribution is the way it is. Not that I have ideas on how to change the current distribution, but I would like to see the current distribution justified.

Perhaps something like those HSNCT surveys would be useful at more events. The questions that are like "would you like to see more or less of x category"
Ted (Ze Feng) Gan

Pennsylvania State University, 2021
Carleton University, 2019
Colonel By Secondary School, 2015

Former Executive Member of the Ontario Quizbowl Association (ONQBA), 2015-16
Former NAQT Writer, 2013-2016

User avatar
ryanrosenberg
Auron
Posts: 1328
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 5:48 pm
Location: Chicago, Illinois

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by ryanrosenberg » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:21 pm

vinteuil wrote:I think there should be more regular-minus tournaments, and "regular" should be more carefully controlled (e.g. this year's Regionals, despite its brilliances, could have had much more tapering on the hard side of its distribution), but I don't think "regular" itself needs to change.
If there are more regular-minus tournaments, then what's to stop us from calling what's now regular-minus "regular" (or "median", or "standard"), and rebranding Regionals/SCT as "qualifier" (or "regionals") difficulty?
Ryan Rosenberg
North Carolina '16 | Ardsley '12
PACE | ACF

User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1347
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by vinteuil » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:28 pm

Granny Soberer wrote:
vinteuil wrote:I think there should be more regular-minus tournaments, and "regular" should be more carefully controlled (e.g. this year's Regionals, despite its brilliances, could have had much more tapering on the hard side of its distribution), but I don't think "regular" itself needs to change.
If there are more regular-minus tournaments, then what's to stop us from calling what's now regular-minus "regular" (or "median", or "standard"), and rebranding Regionals/SCT as "qualifier" (or "regionals") difficulty?
Fair enough!
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

touchpack
Rikku
Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 12:25 am

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by touchpack » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:33 pm

Granny Soberer wrote:
vinteuil wrote:I think there should be more regular-minus tournaments, and "regular" should be more carefully controlled (e.g. this year's Regionals, despite its brilliances, could have had much more tapering on the hard side of its distribution), but I don't think "regular" itself needs to change.
If there are more regular-minus tournaments, then what's to stop us from calling what's now regular-minus "regular" (or "median", or "standard"), and rebranding Regionals/SCT as "qualifier" (or "regionals") difficulty?
I agree--it's time for collegiate quizbowl to tranisition to 4 difficulty levels. Many, many tournaments these days bill themselves as somewhere in between the levels and it makes understanding what difficulty a tournament is going to be more difficult than it needs to be. I think "standard" and "qualifier" are reasonable names for these intermediate difficulty levels, and there's no need to adjust the difficulty of novice or nationals.
Billy Busse
Illinois '14
President, ACF
Writer/Subject Editor/Set Editor, NAQT

User avatar
Unicolored Jay
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 781
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:28 pm
Location: Columbus, Ohio

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Unicolored Jay » Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:51 pm

FWIW I voted "regular difficulty is too hard," "too insular," and "lack of outreach."

When I was at UTK I made a conscious effort to call regular-difficulty tournaments "regionals difficulty" because I felt like the term "regular difficulty" might be confusing for people new to quizbowl. When combined with the the fact that often these tournaments overshoot their difficulty a bit, I don't think the term paints a particularly appealing picture. I think they can stand to be easier; a regular-minus tournament can still distinguish between top 25 teams.

Outreach was the biggest problem when reviving the UTK program, though. Not only was it difficult to find and retain interested people (and getting them to regularly attend practice), but it was also difficult to pass along some of the administrative and other non-actually-playing/practicing-quizbowl aspects of running a club to others too, since they aren't always interested in interacting with the broader community and the passion has to be there to make people willing to handle the more organizational tasks. Now that I'm not there anymore, the club has kind of fallen apart and hasn't been able to attend a tournament all year. Of course, all this may be because I wasn't able to make a good enough sales pitch about the club, but I think there is a lot of room for reaching out to people and clubs from universities and colleges that don't come out to play tournaments as often, talking to them to see how their experiences are like, personally inviting them to future tournaments, that sort of thing.

Cost was an option I thought about voting for - being able to secure funds in the first couple years of a club's existence might not be easy to do.
Jasper Lee
University of Tennessee
The Ohio State University '14
Solon High School '10

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region
Yuna
Posts: 970
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:50 am
Location: Columbia, SC

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:34 pm

I voted for a few things, but there are some nuances that I'd like to point out. Please note that I'm not blaming incoming high school quizbowlers for college quizbowl's ills with what I write below. I completely understand and there's nothing wrong with being the hypothetical folks I describe below. Anyhow....

Quizbowl at the high school level today is good at producing really good high school quizbowl players. No doubt the number of quality of high school quizbowl players and teams has expanded a lot over the years. However, although the number of great players seems to increase as time goes by, the number of leaders produced by high school quizbowl doesn't seem to grow at the same rate.

What I mean by leaders are people who are willing to join the college ranks and take on responsibility for starting teams, helping administer existing teams, and generally being the "glue" that keeps college quizbowl going (a la someone like Mike Bentley, congrats on the Carper Award!).

This is something I see a lot. A good H.S. player goes to a college that doesn't have a team and decides to quit quizbowl because of that. A good player goes to college but limits him/herself to just playing regular minus difficulty without giving regular and higher difficulty a fair chance. A good player on a good high school team that they were close to decides that they don't want to try playing with a new group of people in college. A good player on a high school team decides question writing isn't for them and leaves the game. A good H.S. player had a coach take care of the red tape at the high school level and wishes in vain for someone like that to materialize for their college team, which will never happen.

Don't get me wrong, I think that there is plenty college quizbowl can do to increase outreach, tweak question length and difficulty, boost professionalism, and address all of the other problems that have been mentioned. But sometimes I think people focus on the problems of the college game without noting that it goes both ways. This is cheesy as hell, but incoming high school players: you can be the change college quizbowl needs. The game has changed and will continue to change, but I'd challenge folks who are thinking of joining the college game to be bold and meet the game halfway.
Eric D.
University of South Carolina Alum

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6592
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Cheynem » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:50 pm

Eric makes excellent points. Certainly I think these things Ryan lists in the poll are something we all have a part in addressing.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

csheep
Wakka
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:16 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by csheep » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:17 pm

jmarvin_ wrote:
merv1618 wrote:The only problem is, more people are playing pyramidal quiz bowl these days than ten years ago, so given a single tournament, question difficulty might never find a happy medium between an upper echelon of more familiar and studious teams and the vast majority of everyone else. Personally, I think lowering regular difficulty is a very good idea, because "regular" isn't just another benchmark unless we're explicitly willing to say pyramidal qb is only for people who study a lot.
On the contrary, I think the opposite of this effect often happens. You end up with high school stars entering as freshmen and sophomores who run absolutely wild on lower difficulties, since they've mastered the hard-high-school canon, but can't play so well on "regular" plus. The easier we make the tournaments, the easier we make it for star high school players to not actually do that much more studying and learning to succeed, shafting players with lots of real knowledge that didn't have the advantage of being on an elite high school team and knowing the canon inside and out.
IMO more tournaments should be willing to stratify, or ban, experienced high school players, from college novice-oriented sets.
My personal experience from my vague recollections of my first year of playing quiz bowl, as a freshman, is that going to ostensibly novice-oriented tournaments, I encountered a lot of people who had the advantage of having played quiz bowl in high school doing exactly what you described. That was a minor but non-negligible reason for me not playing quiz bowl for the next two years. I'm naturally predisposed to/interested in quiz bowl so I sort of "came back" due to a fortuitous direct reach-out effort by some people at NYU, but most people probably would not be so easy to retain.

I voted "insular" and "lack of professionalism" FWIW. I think the forums are, as many have pointed out, very self-selecting in who participates and don't necessarily reflect the broader attitude. I didn't even know the forums existed until I left and then came back to quiz bowl, since I just relied on second-hand communications from club officers. I also think the lack of clear structures and a veneer of organizational professionalism in how most tournaments are run (abrupt endings, used book prizes, etc.) are less immediately appealing to entering freshman who might've had experience in high school with more ostensibly "professional" presentations like Science Bowl, etc.
Michael Zhuang
NYU '13

User avatar
The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Tidus
Posts: 713
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:43 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT) » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:28 pm

csheep wrote: IMO more tournaments should be willing to stratify, or ban, experienced high school players, from college novice-oriented sets.
My personal experience from my vague recollections of my first year of playing quiz bowl, as a freshman, is that going to ostensibly novice-oriented tournaments, I encountered a lot of people who had the advantage of having played quiz bowl in high school doing exactly what you described. That was a minor but non-negligible reason for me not playing quiz bowl for the next two years. I'm naturally predisposed to/interested in quiz bowl so I sort of "came back" due to a fortuitous direct reach-out effort by some people at NYU, but most people probably would not be so easy to retain.
ACF/early autumn novice did this and worked out well, but seems to have vanished over the past few years for some reason.
Adam Sperber
Hickman '10, Northwestern B '14

" 'Yay, more Adam Sperber' --Nobody " --Cody Voight

User avatar
A Very Long Math Tossup
Rikku
Posts: 270
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:02 pm
Location: Boulder, CO
Contact:

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by A Very Long Math Tossup » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:15 pm

csheep wrote:I voted "insular" and "lack of professionalism" FWIW. I think the forums are, as many have pointed out, very self-selecting in who participates and don't necessarily reflect the broader attitude. I didn't even know the forums existed until I left and then came back to quiz bowl, since I just relied on second-hand communications from club officers. I also think the lack of clear structures and a veneer of organizational professionalism in how most tournaments are run (abrupt endings, used book prizes, etc.) are less immediately appealing to entering freshman who might've had experience in high school with more ostensibly "professional" presentations like Science Bowl, etc.

While I agree that tournaments should try to appear more professional (short opening and closing speeches, small trophies, etc.), I hope you're not suggesting doing away with book prizes. It's a wonderful tradition, both due to the symbolism (knowledge is its own reward) and the fact that a book is just more fun than a medal that you'll put on a shelf and forget about.

Also, when we try to improve quizbowl's appearance, we should take care to avoid the overblown pageantry of, say, Science Olympiad.
Matt Mitchell
Colorado '20
Treasure Valley '16
QBNotify creator, Colorado Quiz Bowl founder, PACE member

csheep
Wakka
Posts: 112
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:16 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by csheep » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:31 pm

matt2718 wrote:
csheep wrote:I voted "insular" and "lack of professionalism" FWIW. I think the forums are, as many have pointed out, very self-selecting in who participates and don't necessarily reflect the broader attitude. I didn't even know the forums existed until I left and then came back to quiz bowl, since I just relied on second-hand communications from club officers. I also think the lack of clear structures and a veneer of organizational professionalism in how most tournaments are run (abrupt endings, used book prizes, etc.) are less immediately appealing to entering freshman who might've had experience in high school with more ostensibly "professional" presentations like Science Bowl, etc.

While I agree that tournaments should try to appear more professional (short opening and closing speeches, small trophies, etc.), I hope you're not suggesting doing away with book prizes. It's a wonderful tradition, both due to the symbolism (knowledge is its own reward) and the fact that a book is just more fun than a medal that you'll put on a shelf and forget about.

Also, when we try to improve quizbowl's appearance, we should take care to avoid the overblown pageantry of, say, Science Olympiad.
I was just spitballing and I have no personal opinion on book prizes, they can probably be retained pretty easily without causing offense. Your first statement, and your last (both bolded), are more in-line with what I was thinking.

Do people have strong opinions on new vs. used books?
Michael Zhuang
NYU '13

User avatar
UlyssesInvictus
Yuna
Posts: 818
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2011 7:38 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by UlyssesInvictus » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:22 pm

This has been suggested before, but I'd very much like to have more book prizes that reward things like "top scoring freshman" or "top scoring first time quizbowl performance" instead of 8 top scoring prizes. You'd have to do some data collection beforehand as TD, but in my experience these things just go so far toward keeping new players interested. I've also heard that some people don't like neg prizes, but I'm ambivalent about those, they can sometimes be too meme-y / political, but other times seem to have been received very humorously.

On another note, I wanted to point out how heartwarming it is to see >300 votes in the poll. I'm not sure if that's 300 or 100 people (*3 votes per person), but either way, given that even the biggest threads rarely break 20 different voices, it's nice to know even if people are lurking, they're still paying attention.
Raynor Kuang
quizdb.org
Harvard 2017, TJHSST 2013
I wrote GRAPHIC and FILM

User avatar
jmarvin_
Lulu
Posts: 76
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:52 pm
Location: chicago, il
Contact:

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by jmarvin_ » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:33 pm

UlyssesInvictus wrote:I've also heard that some people don't like neg prizes, but I'm ambivalent about those, they can sometimes be too meme-y / political, but other times seem to have been received very humorously.
I've always thought conditional neg prizes were a reasonable and fun thing to have, ie. if the player with the most negs is someone who otherwise played quite well and can be expected to take the prize with pride (like, say, Chris Ray), give it, and if the player with the most negs is some new player who stumbled or a sensitive good player who had a difficult day, just don't say anything. Of course, this would require not announcing whether there would be a neg prize in advance.
john marvin
university of chicago - m.a. divinity, 2020
boston college - b.a. theology, 2018

User avatar
1992 in spaceflight
Auron
Posts: 1303
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:11 pm
Location: St. Louis-area, MO

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:38 pm

jmarvin_ wrote:
UlyssesInvictus wrote:I've also heard that some people don't like neg prizes, but I'm ambivalent about those, they can sometimes be too meme-y / political, but other times seem to have been received very humorously.
I've always thought conditional neg prizes were a reasonable and fun thing to have, ie. if the player with the most negs is someone who otherwise played quite well and can be expected to take the prize with pride (like, say, Chris Ray), give it, and if the player with the most negs is some new player who stumbled or a sensitive good player who had a difficult day, just don't say anything. Of course, this would require not announcing whether there would be a neg prize in advance.
You should rarely announce a neg prize in advance (those who came to St. Louis Open last year will know that we announced it at the opening meeting, to I hope some amusement to everyone). Otherwise, there will be somebody who lets their play be dictated by the fact that there is a neg prize.
Jacob O'Rourke
Washington (MO) HS Assistant Coach (2014-Present); MOQBA Secretary (2015-Present)
Formerly: HSAPQ Host Contact; NASAT Outreach Coordinator (2016 and 2017); Kirksville HS Assistant Coach (2012-2014); Truman State '14; and Pacific High (MO) '10


"And here we are as on a darkling plain, Swept by confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night."
Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach.

User avatar
everdiso
Lulu
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:36 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by everdiso » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:53 pm

To further what Erik and Ted said, as a history player, one of my biggest concerns/things I don't like about quizbowl today is the overwhelming westernnes of history, where 75% of the category comes from a narrow sliver of the world. I don't know enough about other categories to comment on them, but the amount of interesting and important topics from outside the west that don't come up enough/at all really irks me, and I feel like this distro fails to reward a lot of important history knowledge in exchange for endless questions about American events and English kings.
Paul Kasiński
University of Toronto, 2019
President, University of Toronto Quizbowl
Reigning VETO champion

User avatar
Mike Bentley
Auron
Posts: 5809
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2006 11:03 pm
Location: Bellevue, WA
Contact:

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Mike Bentley » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:43 am

everdiso wrote:To further what Erik and Ted said, as a history player, one of my biggest concerns/things I don't like about quizbowl today is the overwhelming westernnes of history, where 75% of the category comes from a narrow sliver of the world. I don't know enough about other categories to comment on them, but the amount of interesting and important topics from outside the west that don't come up enough/at all really irks me, and I feel like this distro fails to reward a lot of important history knowledge in exchange for endless questions about American events and English kings.
It's been my observation that in the United States where a majority of quizbowl is written and played, the typical player has more of a grounding in American and European history than world history due to the time given to each subject in middle and high school. I suspect that at the college level this changes, but most people aren't required to take an extensive number of history classes so you're still largely working from this base of knowledge. Thus, with an expanded world history distribution I think it's going to be harder (but certainly not impossible) to keep answers accessible. I'd be interested in seeing tournaments try a gradual approach to changing up the history distribution, but I think there are some decent reasons as to why the balance between American, European and World is as it is for (largely) American audiences.
Mike Bentley
VP of Editing, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence
Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008

User avatar
Fuddle Duddle
Memerator
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:31 pm
Location: East Lansing, MI or Naperville, IL

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Fuddle Duddle » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:37 pm

Mike Bentley wrote:
everdiso wrote:To further what Erik and Ted said, as a history player, one of my biggest concerns/things I don't like about quizbowl today is the overwhelming westernnes of history, where 75% of the category comes from a narrow sliver of the world. I don't know enough about other categories to comment on them, but the amount of interesting and important topics from outside the west that don't come up enough/at all really irks me, and I feel like this distro fails to reward a lot of important history knowledge in exchange for endless questions about American events and English kings.
It's been my observation that in the United States where a majority of quizbowl is written and played, the typical player has more of a grounding in American and European history than world history due to the time given to each subject in middle and high school. I suspect that at the college level this changes, but most people aren't required to take an extensive number of history classes so you're still largely working from this base of knowledge. Thus, with an expanded world history distribution I think it's going to be harder (but certainly not impossible) to keep answers accessible. I'd be interested in seeing tournaments try a gradual approach to changing up the history distribution, but I think there are some decent reasons as to why the balance between American, European and World is as it is for (largely) American audiences.
For high school, you're correct. The distribution should reflect the fact that most reasonably academically-minded high schoolers at schools that offer at least some AP classes will have had one class in each of World, US, and European history. In my opinion, though, there's no reason to continue that in the collegiate game, where AP classes govern what people are able to learn a lot less. The incremental approach you advocate is one of the big reasons why I made the tweaks I did to the Spartan Housewrite history distribution; if it's demonstrated that 1.5/1.5 World History is practicable without difficulty creep, hopefully the Western bias that Paul addresses will correct itself to some extent.
Jakob Myers
MSU '21, Naperville North (IL) '17
"No one has ever organized a greater effort to get people interested in pretending to play quiz bowl"
-Ankit Aggarwal

User avatar
Cheynem
Sin
Posts: 6592
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 11:19 am
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Cheynem » Sat Mar 31, 2018 12:58 pm

While I think distributional changes are important to talk about and would love to do so (perhaps in another thread), I do question if they are the most pressing concerns in college quizbowl today. This is not an attempt to disparage the people who brought that up, but rather an attempt to dig deeper into what they mean--I don't think very many college quizbowlers show up to a tournament, decide that 1/1 world history isn't enough, and walk off, but perhaps you're right that aspects of the distribution are unappealing--can we expound on this?
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

User avatar
Theodore
Wakka
Posts: 120
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:40 pm
Location: State College, PA

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Theodore » Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:18 pm

Cheynem wrote:While I think distributional changes are important to talk about and would love to do so (perhaps in another thread), I do question if they are the most pressing concerns in college quizbowl today. This is not an attempt to disparage the people who brought that up, but rather an attempt to dig deeper into what they mean--I don't think very many college quizbowlers show up to a tournament, decide that 1/1 world history isn't enough, and walk off, but perhaps you're right that aspects of the distribution are unappealing--can we expound on this?
I was one who brought up discussing the distribution, and to clarify, I agree that it's not one of the most pressing concerns, at least not directly. I don't see discussing the distribution as a way to fix our other issues; I just feel it's something worth discussing, and it may possibly lead to something that will help solve our other issues.

I don't have any concrete ideas/plans on how I think the distribution should be/change. I just want to hear what others think of the distribution, and how it was established (e.g. origins; changes throughout Quizbowl history; I can't find information like this on the QBWiki or other sources). I don't think that somebody woke up one day deciding there should be 4/4 literature, 4/4 history, 4/4 science, etc and it was just accepted and never challenged. Even if that was the case, I would like to hear people's thoughts as to why they have agreed with this for the past few years or so.

If we're talking about how distribution directly affects outreach/retention: not much in my opinion. I agree that small sub-distribution changes aren't a big deal to new people. In my opinion, the distribution alone isn't what turns people off (although you will always have people who only want to play pop culture questions), but more so distribution combined with question length. If say I don't like questions in x category, I'm okay with zoning out for a bit, but listening to 8 lines of it make the game feel less fun.
Ted (Ze Feng) Gan

Pennsylvania State University, 2021
Carleton University, 2019
Colonel By Secondary School, 2015

Former Executive Member of the Ontario Quizbowl Association (ONQBA), 2015-16
Former NAQT Writer, 2013-2016

User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1347
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by vinteuil » Sat Mar 31, 2018 1:34 pm

Cheynem wrote:I don't think very many college quizbowlers show up to a tournament, decide that 1/1 world history isn't enough, and walk off, but perhaps you're right that aspects of the distribution are unappealing--can we expound on this?
I do, however, suspect that many economics and psychology majors (which is probably half or more of any given student body) do decide quizbowl isn't for them upon finding out that their subject gets, like, 1/7th of the amount of space that Western painting from ca. 1200 [EDIT: let's be real, 1300] onward does.
Last edited by vinteuil on Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

User avatar
i never see pigeons in wheeling
Rikku
Posts: 395
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 3:57 am

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling » Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:17 pm

vinteuil wrote:
Cheynem wrote:I don't think very many college quizbowlers show up to a tournament, decide that 1/1 world history isn't enough, and walk off, but perhaps you're right that aspects of the distribution are unappealing--can we expound on this?
I do, however, suspect that many economics and psychology majors (which is probably half or more of any given student body) do decide quizbowl isn't for them upon finding out that their subject gets, like, 1/7th of the amount of space that Western painting from ca. 1200 onward does.
Yes, it is very true that the amount of social science would have to be drastically increased to give fair representation to what tons of students study. It seems more like quiz bowl seems to be more grounded in what the general intellectually curious population seems to be aware of (i.e. what society seems to seem rhe important liberal arts) rather than what students are actually majoring in. Do note that business, though not an academic field in the “liberal arts” sense, is hardly represented at all in quiz bowl despite comprising a large chunk of the student population, and while I don’t quite agree with mandating business questions in the general distribution, it is a point that must be accounted for if we’re talking about quiz bowl reflecting what people in college “actually study” (apart from like occasional Stanislavsky questions, the things people learn in a theater major are very rarely represented).
Ankit
Cal '16
Bellarmine College Preparatory '12

User avatar
ErikC
Wakka
Posts: 186
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:44 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by ErikC » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:26 pm

i never see pigeons in wheeling wrote: Do note that business, though not an academic field in the “liberal arts” sense, is hardly represented at all in quiz bowl despite comprising a large chunk of the student population, and while I don’t quite agree with mandating business questions in the general distribution, it is a point that must be accounted for if we’re talking about quiz bowl reflecting what people in college “actually study” (apart from like occasional Stanislavsky questions, the things people learn in a theater major are very rarely represented).
From what I've learned from talking who did BBA programs, they looked at case studies quite a bit past first year. These case studies are often famous companies that would make fine answerlines. I think plenty of people would welcome more questions like Mike Bentley's series of tech/business events, which could also help some engineers who learn about the practices used in the workplace. Regarding theater majors, I think a bit more clues regarding the ideas behind drama would be nice - more questions about Brecht could clue about the ideas behind Epic Theatre, for example.
vinteuil wrote:I do, however, suspect that many economics and psychology majors (which is probably half or more of any given student body) do decide quizbowl isn't for them upon finding out that their subject gets, like, 1/7th of the amount of space that Western painting from ca. 1200 onward does.
While most quizbowl players generally like things outside of what they study, I'd agree with this point. It would help new players if just by attending a year of classes they would already have knowledge base to answer some questions beyond the more standardized curriculum of what they learned in high school.
Erik Christensen
University of Waterloo - School of Planning Class of '18
I write trash
Defending VETO top scorer

User avatar
bmcke
Wakka
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:47 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by bmcke » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:32 pm

College quizbowl is really bloated with grad students, old open players, and players who are undergrads but are already quizbowl veterans. Most of these people are great volunteers and are really nice people, but I worry that they take up a lot of oxygen at every event and club meeting. I would love if more tournaments got enough teams that they could split into two divisions. I think high school quizbowl works so well, in part, because the top players all have to leave in a few years.
Brendan McKendy
University of Ottawa 2011
Ontario QBA 2019

User avatar
The Stately Rhododendron
Rikku
Posts: 450
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:18 pm
Location: Heart's in the woods

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by The Stately Rhododendron » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:22 pm

How "difficulty" works in quizbowl is very different from how it is supposed to work. I think people think of difficulty like a pyramid - where as difficulty goes up, questions are gettable by less and less of those playing. How that works in practice is that the difficulty of questions is measured in relation to what the writer knows about "gettability" in quizbowl (this is the canon). This means that for the player without the insularity that we call "knowing the canon," regular difficulty tournaments and regular-plus tournaments can be equally incomprehensible. The most pressing concern, then, should be destroying the idea of "the canon" when writing sets. "The canon" has become a crutch that we lean on instead of experimenting with the distro or asking about unfamiliar topics. We throw those options out and insist that "the canon" judges all. Unfortunately, the canon only reflects back on itself - the canon is the canon is the canon. It is not an imaginary list of topics but a blob of word processors in a hall of mirrors. (this makes it quite easy for anyone who's read some ANT to get good quickly, once they are able to describe the various things in relation to each other, questions reveal themselves). If people think quizbowl should reference general knowledge - that's cool! if people think it should reference academic knowledge - that's also cool. As it is now, it predominantly references general qb knowledge (general qnowledge) and academic qb knowledge (academic qnowledge). That is to say, we play qnowledge bowl.
IKD
Yale 18
Oakland Mills 14
"I am the NAQT beast I worship."

User avatar
cchiego
Yuna
Posts: 804
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:14 pm
Contact:

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by cchiego » Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:58 pm

bmcke wrote:College quizbowl is really bloated with grad students, old open players, and players who are undergrads but are already quizbowl veterans. Most of these people are great volunteers and are really nice people, but I worry that they take up a lot of oxygen at every event and club meeting. I would love if more tournaments got enough teams that they could split into two divisions. I think high school quizbowl works so well, in part, because the top players all have to leave in a few years.
The problem with quizbowl isn't that there are "elites" in quizbowl. In fact, many successful teams are run by those very people you denounce--grad students, older players, and experienced undergrads who have years of TDing, question-writing, and other logistical experience. These people do a huge amount of the volunteer/poorly compensated work work that makes college quizbowl work, especially given the lack of coaching or general administrative support at the college level (without the incredibly valuable contribution of coaches, the high school circuit would be substantially smaller and more erratic than it is now--similar to the college circuit).

The issue comes with "elitism," which is probably the contributing factor behind the insularity, perceptions of high difficulty, and lack of outreach concerns that are currently topping the poll in this thread. Essentially, this involves an obsession with the best players, the hardest questions, and a focus on more arcane aspects like small changes to the distribution (prime example: some posts in this thread) rather than some of the more fundamental issues or basic learning experiences with the game. By itself, none of these things are bad--people would rather discuss the stars rather than the journeymen on a sports team, distributional changes are crucial issues that deserve discussion in the right places, and high-level quizbowl should be challenging lest we go back to the CBI era. But combined, all of these can lead to an impression of insularity and a type of groupthink among the people who do a lot of the work in helping the game run that everyone else is/ought to be as intrinsically motivated or concerned about the "purity of the game" (what does that even mean?) as them.

More fundamentally, I think one of the best ways to address all these concerns is to get more students playing quizbowl and active in the quizbowl community at the high school level. We need quizbowlers who are good at PR, who can run tournaments well, who are willing to come out and read at local events a few times a year, and who are willing to help better the game in general. The best source of college quizbowlers is still high school quizbowlers and the more we can expand that pool of people the better the college circuit will be. We need more of these people at the college level more than we need more top players (although the editor crisis is probably underappreciated; editing is difficult, undercompensated work that's absolutely critical to a good set) right now. College quizbowl should not be an archipelago of institutions separate from the local high school circuits and the more college teams can get involved in their local high school circuits and work to expand them the healthier the college game will ultimately get.
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
Greater Pennsylvania QuizBowl
http://gpqb.wordpress.com

User avatar
1992 in spaceflight
Auron
Posts: 1303
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:11 pm
Location: St. Louis-area, MO

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by 1992 in spaceflight » Sat Mar 31, 2018 6:13 pm

As many other posters have mentioned or made an inference to, the lack of new collegiate teams in most areas (teams like Swarthmore and Bowdoin are nice exceptions to this!). I think this is related to the lack of outreach option, but I'd like to hear what other people think as well.
Jacob O'Rourke
Washington (MO) HS Assistant Coach (2014-Present); MOQBA Secretary (2015-Present)
Formerly: HSAPQ Host Contact; NASAT Outreach Coordinator (2016 and 2017); Kirksville HS Assistant Coach (2012-2014); Truman State '14; and Pacific High (MO) '10


"And here we are as on a darkling plain, Swept by confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night."
Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach.

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region
Yuna
Posts: 970
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:50 am
Location: Columbia, SC

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Sat Mar 31, 2018 7:09 pm

1992 in spaceflight wrote:As many other posters have mentioned or made an inference to, the lack of new collegiate teams in most areas (teams like Swarthmore and Bowdoin are nice exceptions to this!). I think this is related to the lack of outreach option, but I'd like to hear what other people think as well.
Outreach helps to some extent. This seems to be what the Early Autumn Novice Tournament's goal was about 7-8 years ago. It was an attempt to attract new teams to the circuit by directly contacting schools that didn't have existing teams via things like their student unions and seeing if they'd want to send a group to play in a novice event. That endeavor had mixed success. It's just really, really hard for outsiders to help start a team at a college that doesn't already have a team.

The main problem I see is what Chris Chiego referred to in terms of the college game needing a lot more role players. Good and great high school players are a dime a dozen. High schoolers willing to go to a college without a team and do the work needed to start a team (and sustain existing teams) are a much more precious commodity.

edit: Regarding grad student presence in the college game, it should be noted that, if we took the grad students out of the game cold turkey today, there's no more college quizbowl.
Eric D.
University of South Carolina Alum

User avatar
1.82
Rikku
Posts: 303
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 9:35 pm
Location: Atlanta area
Contact:

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by 1.82 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:51 pm

cchiego wrote:More fundamentally, I think one of the best ways to address all these concerns is to get more students playing quizbowl and active in the quizbowl community at the high school level. We need quizbowlers who are good at PR, who can run tournaments well, who are willing to come out and read at local events a few times a year, and who are willing to help better the game in general. The best source of college quizbowlers is still high school quizbowlers and the more we can expand that pool of people the better the college circuit will be. We need more of these people at the college level more than we need more top players (although the editor crisis is probably underappreciated; editing is difficult, undercompensated work that's absolutely critical to a good set) right now. College quizbowl should not be an archipelago of institutions separate from the local high school circuits and the more college teams can get involved in their local high school circuits and work to expand them the healthier the college game will ultimately get.
This is obviously something that helps, but as it is college quizbowl isn't maximizing the value of the existing pool of college players. Consider last year's rising freshmen contact list. Look at the number of colleges that are represented, and consider that the vast majority of them don't have quizbowl teams. If you're graduating from high school and you might be interested in playing quizbowl at the next level but your school doesn't have a team, what do you do? If you're active on these boards, you set up a team and attend local tournaments, although you'll probably have to do it all by yourself. If, like the vast majority of high schoolers, you're not active on these boards, then where would you even begin? Right now, college quizbowl is squandering almost every graduating high school senior who doesn't go to a school that already has an existing program.

In order for high school quizbowl to serve as a pathway to college quizbowl, the college community needs to do more to support new clubs. This means helping new college students who are interested in forming new clubs, but it also means encouraging graduating high school seniors to form clubs at their colleges and connecting students heading to the same college so that they can play quizbowl together. It would be great if there were a nationwide outreach effort to facilitate this, but in the meantime a lot can be done locally. At high school tournaments late in the year, college clubs can and should be finding out where seniors are going and getting their contact information; that way, they can help new freshmen set up clubs at their school and invite them to tournaments.
Naveed Chowdhury
Maryland '16
Georgia Tech '17

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region
Yuna
Posts: 970
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:50 am
Location: Columbia, SC

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:17 pm

1.82 wrote: At high school tournaments late in the year, college clubs can and should be finding out where seniors are going and getting their contact information; that way, they can help new freshmen set up clubs at their school and invite them to tournaments.
Yeah, this is a good idea. I always give a plug for playing college quizbowl at tournaments I direct and give a pamphlet about college quizbowl (with my contact info) to players who attend our tournaments. It's nice to see students who have attended our high school events continue in college at USC and a few other schools. For example, College of Charleston revived their team this year, which had a good showing at NAQT SCT.

That said, there are a lot of great high school players who definitely know about the college circuit but decide not to start a team or join the teams that already exist. I've tried to coax many such players to give it a try, with mixed success. I'll keep trying, though. Let's all try.
Eric D.
University of South Carolina Alum

User avatar
cchiego
Yuna
Posts: 804
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 7:14 pm
Contact:

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by cchiego » Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:41 pm

1.82 wrote: This is obviously something that helps, but as it is college quizbowl isn't maximizing the value of the existing pool of college players. Consider last year's rising freshmen contact list. Look at the number of colleges that are represented, and consider that the vast majority of them don't have quizbowl teams. If you're graduating from high school and you might be interested in playing quizbowl at the next level but your school doesn't have a team, what do you do? If you're active on these boards, you set up a team and attend local tournaments, although you'll probably have to do it all by yourself. If, like the vast majority of high schoolers, you're not active on these boards, then where would you even begin? Right now, college quizbowl is squandering almost every graduating high school senior who doesn't go to a school that already has an existing program.

In order for high school quizbowl to serve as a pathway to college quizbowl, the college community needs to do more to support new clubs. This means helping new college students who are interested in forming new clubs, but it also means encouraging graduating high school seniors to form clubs at their colleges and connecting students heading to the same college so that they can play quizbowl together. It would be great if there were a nationwide outreach effort to facilitate this, but in the meantime a lot can be done locally. At high school tournaments late in the year, college clubs can and should be finding out where seniors are going and getting their contact information; that way, they can help new freshmen set up clubs at their school and invite them to tournaments.
I endorse this entire post. The main structural issue though is how can the college community support clubs at universities without an existing club. It seems odd to say, send a couple of quizbowlers from nearby colleges to help run an activities fair, but as it stands now this is something an interested team founder would usually have to face alone. Add to this the usual lack of funding (or even recognition until a certain membership is achieved) for new teams and the increasingly byzantine process of getting approval for various types of funding via the university bureaucracy and you have a recipe for only the most dedicated people often trying to start a team in the first place. And a decent number of graduating high schoolers that I've emailed in the past about starting a team at a local college have simply said they don't want to do it in the first place (or they go on to found things like a "protobowl team" or a trash-captured club), so you can't really do much there.

That said, perhaps organizing an online symposium of "best practices" from people like Jasper, Ryan at Gettysburg, Rebecca at Swarthmore, Michael at Bowdoin, and the folks at Augustana College (owners of one of the best quizbowl twitter feeds @augiequizbowl) etc. who have struck out on their own and founded new teams would be useful, especially if the results of it are synthesized and publicized beyond just a HSQB forum thread. I would be willing to do this and to run a panel at HSNCT about starting a college club based on the insights from it (all the national championships are right now huge missed opportunities to offer short workshops and such to coaches and players about these kinds of issues). But at a more basic level, it really seems like we need to do a better job connecting graduating high schoolers with each other and with potential mentors in the community.

This mentorship aspect is key and doable given quizbowl's current resources. Basically, I envision something like finding incoming freshmen from the contact list (ideally early in the summer; the NAQT entering freshmen list is often not released until just before the end of summer for understandable reasons), matching them with both a local community mentor who can help get plugged into the local circuit and/or with some kind of experienced college logistical mentor to help navigate the bureaucracy and the logistics of setting up a club. It might also help to implement some kind of "community bridge" program for teams that are particularly senior-heavy and might lose most of their institutional knowledge with graduation; contact with a few local mentors could really help ensure that the club doesn't miss out on prime recruitment season in the fall and fall apart.

I do think that this is where a strong HS circuit can then helpfully overlap with a stronger college circuit, with experienced HS coaches working with college programs to schedule and run tournaments and staffers freely moving between helping out at HS events and college events (since finding staffers for a badly needed fund-raising tournament can often be tough for new, small teams). A good example of this might be the Southwest VA/Northeast TN circuit, which has gotten several new teams at both the college and HS level started and seems to be stable and growing. The PA-specific quizbowl Discord has also been very useful for sharing logistical tips as well as practice/improvement tips, publicizing staffing opportunities, and generally encouraging high school seniors and college freshmen to stay involved at all levels while matching more experienced members of the community with these kinds of opportunities. There are already, of course, many of these kinds of informal networks and mentors already out there, but perhaps putting out a call for more of them might be helpful and bring out more people in more regions.

The other issue is providing competitive opportunities to new college teams. This is an age-old question to some extent and can be particularly tough in smaller circuits where it would be hard to have split DI/DII divisions at most tournaments. That said, I think again more regional organization and mentorship can help so that we don't end up with things like a bunch of new teams in Arkansas playing ACF Regionals in their first year of existence instead of a more difficulty-appropriate tournament.
Chris C.
UGA '09, UCSD '12, UPenn '19
Greater Pennsylvania QuizBowl
http://gpqb.wordpress.com

Kevin
Wakka
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2003 8:13 pm
Location: Metairie, Louisiana

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Kevin » Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:47 am

First of all, I want to mention that most of my involvement with college quiz bowl since 2009 has been quite peripheral--lurking on these forums and playing a few open tournaments. I'm approaching this thread mostly as a high school teacher and quiz bowl coach (also, FWIW, I've spent seven years teaching at all-girls high schools).

I think that the last few posts have, quite rightly, hit upon the biggest issue: getting more high school players to play in college. While there is plenty of room for high school quiz bowl to grow, it's clearly far larger than college quiz bowl (which makes sense, given the vastly larger number of high schools in the US compared to universities). A huge number of high school players don't end up playing in college, for various reasons. Of the players I've coached, I don't think a single one has played in college. One of the best players I've coached attends a university with a team, but she said she wanted to focus on some other hobbies when she went to college.

I want to point out that I don't think this problem is by any means unique to quiz bowl. I know a lot of students who could've played intercollegiate sports in college, but many chose not to. I'd also bet that a lot of girls who are on dance teams and have been taking dance lessons since they were 2 aren't going to dance after they graduate high school. If the kids doing high school theatre don't major in theatre, they may never perform again. I think we should realize that a drop in participation from HS to college is unavoidable.

I think there are at least two separate issues here: how do we get people to play at colleges that already have teams, and how do we help people start teams at colleges that don't have them?

For the first issue, I know there's the contact list. And people have mentioned promoting college quiz bowl at some high school tournaments. If you're a college team, I certainly hope you are hosting high school tournaments (or staffing at other high school tournaments). While I know that running a tournament can be stressful, hopefully the high school players will see college teams enjoying putting on a tournament and view college quiz bowl in a positive light.

Second, if some of those high school players end up enrolling in your college, I would personally invite them to a practice. I know this might be tough to do (since you may not know exactly who is enrolled, especially at a big school), but I think it's better to be more personal instead of just posting a few flyers. As a high school coach, I go through the list of new students and look for anyone whose name pops up on any middle school results, then have my current players get in touch with them to invite them to join the team.

A lot of other ideas have already been mentioned. Separate practices for stronger and weaker members so that freshmen aren't getting stomped on by grad students. Be careful that regular difficulty doesn't get too hard. Add an easier tournament in the spring. I think these are all good ideas.

The issue of starting teams is obviously more challenging. Every college has all sorts of different rules, policies, and bureaucratic headaches. While there are commonalities, it's almost impossible to come up with suggestions that will work for everyone. One of the things that's tough is that there's no organization that's expressly dedicated to outreach at the college level (along the lines of PACE's outreach program for high schools). Another challenge (already mentioned) is that there is typically very little in the way of coaching or advising, so students have to shoulder the burden of all the logistics work. It also means that established teams may fall apart when a core group of students graduates. I saw teams from Ole Miss and Mississippi State fairly frequently when I played in grad school; MSU hosted several tournaments. I don't think either of those teams has been active for years. I have no doubt there are a lot of ex-quiz bowlers who work at universities, and could potentially be a big asset in navigating that particular school's bureaucracy. I wonder what support the quiz bowl community could offer to people in that position.
Kevin Marshall
Coach, Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans, LA (2014-present)
Coach, Chapelle HS, Metairie, LA (2011-2014)
player and/or secretary and/or captain, Tulane Quiz Bowl (2007-2009)

Couch's Kingbird
Wakka
Posts: 115
Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:11 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by Couch's Kingbird » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:01 pm

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote: Quizbowl at the high school level today is good at producing really good high school quizbowl players. No doubt the number of quality of high school quizbowl players and teams has expanded a lot over the years. However, although the number of great players seems to increase as time goes by, the number of leaders produced by high school quizbowl doesn't seem to grow at the same rate.

What I mean by leaders are people who are willing to join the college ranks and take on responsibility for starting teams, helping administer existing teams, and generally being the "glue" that keeps college quizbowl going (a la someone like Mike Bentley, congrats on the Carper Award!).
I’m a current high school quiz bowl player, probably one of the “good players” that Eric mentioned in his post, and I’ll probably be going to a school which has no team (not set in stone yet; if I go there I hope to start one). While I refrained from voting in the poll (since I’m not in college yet) I’d like to respond to some of his points because I believe they don’t accurately reflect what “good high schoolers” prioritize and do for their team.
Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote: This is something I see a lot. A good H.S. player goes to a college that doesn't have a team and decides to quit quizbowl because of that. A good player goes to college but limits him/herself to just playing regular minus difficulty without giving regular and higher difficulty a fair chance. A good player on a good high school team that they were close to decides that they don't want to try playing with a new group of people in college. A good player on a high school team decides question writing isn't for them and leaves the game. A good H.S. player had a coach take care of the red tape at the high school level and wishes in vain for someone like that to materialize for their college team, which will never happen.
I’m interested to see the reasons why high schoolers quit quiz bowl once they get into college (I’d be more than willing to create a poll or the like asking people why). For the sake of brevity I’ll address two of the points Eric made. Firstly, I’ve personally never heard that “college quiz bowl is too hard” be a reason for “good,” involved players to quit. To scale and play well at Nationals, we (as in good high school players) practice on hard questions. Simple as that- there’s no way else we can scale. The players I know practice on questions ranging from sets ranging from ACF Fall to EFT to MUT. And in general, many do appreciate the challenge that comes from playing harder questions- that comes from learning new cool facts that might come up at only higher levels and not at HS standard difficulty.

Secondly, this is a perception I’ve gradually noticed while lurking around- that high schoolers have a coach which do everything for them, and high schoolers are somehow not as capable of running their team. The vast majority of teams I know are very student oriented out of necessity- coaches often don’t have the time to devote to “take care of red tape” and logistics or the like. On Darien for instance, the players often are the ones to fill in trip paperwork, make sure all of the players fill in permission slips and the like, register for tournaments, organize transportation to tournaments, etc.- our adviser does help with logistics (stuff like booking hotel rooms and flights), but is mainly there because our school requires a teacher to attend tournaments with the team. In short: yes, high schoolers do know how to run a team and often do run teams independently (for all extents and purposes), and the perception that high schoolers lack the ability to manage a team logistically is counterproductive at best.

In terms of high school to college quiz bowl retention, there’ll always be people that quit because they are burned out, want to explore something new, and other personal reasons- they drift away from the game and IMO that is ok (and should be). The biggest reason I’ve heard cited for quitting before college, however, is the insular and even toxic nature of the college quiz bowl circuit. I experienced this first hand at my first college tournament, when someone interrupted the opening meeting to ask a question (a fair point but rudely brought up) and was promptly called a “douche” by other moderators. I've also heard that the Quiz Bowl Discord can be particularly off-putting; there's also often a reason why I advise my teammates to be cautious about what they read on the forums. This environment is very off putting, and I know many players don’t want to join a college quiz bowl team because they understandably wish to avoid a community which may not welcome them, and may even be antagonistic or toxic.
Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote: I think people focus on the problems of the college game without noting that it goes both ways. This is cheesy as hell, but incoming high school players: you can be the change college quizbowl needs. The game has changed and will continue to change, but I'd challenge folks who are thinking of joining the college game to be bold and meet the game halfway.
I’m all for this, but I’ve felt that it can be difficult to get involved in the community. A big part of my own high school quiz bowl experience was trying to “break into” the circuit- early on I noticed that respect and the ability to become an influential figure came from becoming a good/great player, from being a “threat” on the local circuit, etc; the best players are the most well-known and command respect, but as a result it was difficult to get involved and connected with others. The college community seems similar, if not worse; there’s a circle of very, very established players that tend to do a lot in terms of running tournaments, writing sets, etc. This goes hand in hand with the insularity the poll mentions.

From the perspective of a high schooler: once we enter college we are once again the bottom of the pecking ladder. After all, we’re freshmen. We’re less acquainted with the mechanisms of the college circuit. And we’re likely (understandably) less trusted with stuff like running tournaments, writing questions, editing, etc. But at the same time, there’s this perception of high schoolers that Eric’s post (even if unintentionally) highlights- that somehow high schoolers are not “leaders.” That somehow we are disconnected from the community, that we don’t learn or care about how to run a team or a tournament, that we are unwilling to push ourselves to play harder questions or take steps to be more involved in the community.

I’m one of those high schoolers who want to make a change, but with that perception and the insularity it’s hard to see how I can get more involved and truly make a difference. I’ve seen the many positive sides of college quiz bowl and appreciate the love of the game quiz bowlers share, but I’ve also been dismayed by the insularity and sometimes disorganization of the circuit (for instance, of the high school level tournaments I’ve been to, many of the worst run have been by college teams). From the view of an outsider: College players, especially the established ones, need to be more open to what “outsiders” like high schoolers/college freshmen notice about the community, as well as be more willing to allow those players to become more involved at every level of the community- even if they’re new or not necessarily the strongest player on their team.
Julia Tong
Darien 2014-2018; Co-Captain 2015-2018
Barnard 2018-2022 (VP Columbia Quiz Bowl)
Member of the Connecticut Quiz Bowl Alliance: ctquizbowl.org

User avatar
ErikC
Wakka
Posts: 186
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:44 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by ErikC » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:35 pm

Couch's Kingbird wrote:I’m all for this, but I’ve felt that it can be difficult to get involved in the community. A big part of my own high school quiz bowl experience was trying to “break into” the circuit- early on I noticed that respect and the ability to become an influential figure came from becoming a good/great player, from being a “threat” on the local circuit, etc; the best players are the most well-known and command respect, but as a result it was difficult to get involved and connected with others. The college community seems similar, if not worse; there’s a circle of very, very established players that tend to do a lot in terms of running tournaments, writing sets, etc. This goes hand in hand with the insularity the poll mentions.
While I agree with you that there is a fair amount of good players that tend to ignore other aspects of the community, I think part of this is the perception you might get from the forums or the Discord (which we are still figuring out). From my experience, a large part of the community likes meeting new people and connecting - not everyone is or wants to be a Quizbowl Figure or a star player. Even within clubs at individual universities you will find all sorts of people, though if you are starting a new club you're only going to start with casual players at first. Getting new players to get involved with the community can be difficult, but you'll have the chance when some people start taking the game more seriously than just attending practice.
Couch's Kingbird wrote:From the view of an outsider: College players, especially the established ones, need to be more open to what “outsiders” like high schoolers/college freshmen notice about the community, as well as be more willing to allow those players to become more involved at every level of the community- even if they’re new or not necessarily the strongest player on their team.
I do think this could be better done, especially at a higher level. Prior conversations about better ways of introducing to people to writing have identified that we currently don't do a good job of this. To that I'd like to add that I think, as with most social circles, some people have more clout in qb; I've noticed some people's posts here can be ignored if they are from a new player or an unfamiliar person. This seems to be getting better on the Discord, as more people are posting and participating in good conversations.
Last edited by ErikC on Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Erik Christensen
University of Waterloo - School of Planning Class of '18
I write trash
Defending VETO top scorer

User avatar
CPiGuy
Tidus
Posts: 623
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:19 pm
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by CPiGuy » Mon Apr 02, 2018 6:39 pm

Couch's Kingbird wrote:I’m interested to see the reasons why high schoolers quit quiz bowl once they get into college (I’d be more than willing to create a poll or the like asking people why).
I think the biggest reason is just that in high school it's a lot easier to do a lot more things -- for example in high school I played three sports and did debate, math team, chess, and science bowl. I'm doing exactly one of those things in college (if you count science bowl -> quiz bowl). So, if you have someone who say ran cross-country and did QB in college, they might decide that XC is more important to them. To some extent, this is a problem faced by literally every activity that you can do at both HS and college levels.
Couch's Kingbird wrote:I experienced this first hand at my first college tournament, when someone interrupted the opening meeting to ask a question (a fair point but rudely brought up) and was promptly called a “douche” by other moderators.
This specific sort of behavior is in fact extremely unusual, and you should know that it was met with widespread condemnation in the Discord (and on these forums!), including from many highly-established community members. Please don't take that incident as reflective of collegiate quizbowl community norms as a whole.
Couch's Kingbird wrote:I've also heard that the Quiz Bowl Discord can be particularly off-putting; there's also often a reason why I advise my teammates to be cautious about what they read on the forums. This environment is very off putting, and I know many players don’t want to join a college quiz bowl team because they understandably wish to avoid a community which may not welcome them, and may even be antagonistic or toxic.
Personally, I think the discord is a great place, and the user who's been most associated with toxicity is no longer an active participant. I encourage people to actually join the discord before making judgements about it -- it's really nice to have a place to talk about quizbowl (and non-quizbowl things) with quizbowlers without the formality and everyone-will-see-this-immediately-ness, if that makes sense, of the forums.
Conor Thompson
Bangor HS (Maine) '16
Michigan '20

User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1347
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by vinteuil » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:05 pm

Couch's Kingbird wrote:From the perspective of a high schooler: once we enter college we are once again the bottom of the pecking ladder. After all, we’re freshmen. We’re less acquainted with the mechanisms of the college circuit. And we’re likely (understandably) less trusted with stuff like running tournaments, writing questions, editing, etc. But at the same time, there’s this perception of high schoolers that Eric’s post (even if unintentionally) highlights- that somehow high schoolers are not “leaders.” That somehow we are disconnected from the community, that we don’t learn or care about how to run a team or a tournament, that we are unwilling to push ourselves to play harder questions or take steps to be more involved in the community.

I’m one of those high schoolers who want to make a change, but with that perception and the insularity it’s hard to see how I can get more involved and truly make a difference. I’ve seen the many positive sides of college quiz bowl and appreciate the love of the game quiz bowlers share, but I’ve also been dismayed by the insularity and sometimes disorganization of the circuit (for instance, of the high school level tournaments I’ve been to, many of the worst run have been by college teams). From the view of an outsider: College players, especially the established ones, need to be more open to what “outsiders” like high schoolers/college freshmen notice about the community, as well as be more willing to allow those players to become more involved at every level of the community- even if they’re new or not necessarily the strongest player on their team.
I completely agree with this, especially considering that, after seeing 5 years of Yale students casually saying "yeah we should really get something together for CT HS QB," Julia actually made it happen.

Disorganized college-run high shcool tournaments are a huge minus for recruitment. I get that we want to keep quizbowl casual, but it usually just looks like a bunch of bro-y buds who don't take QB or other people seriously—not exactly a good look for potentially interested players.
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

User avatar
DogeofVenice
Lulu
Posts: 19
Joined: Mon May 29, 2017 11:59 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by DogeofVenice » Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:38 pm

change stephen eltinge's wrote: Disorganized college-run high school tournaments are a huge minus for recruitment. I get that we want to keep quizbowl casual, but it usually just looks like a bunch of bro-y buds who don't take QB or other people seriously—not exactly a good look for potentially interested players.
This might be a quick tangent, but I cannot agree more with this. I can't speak for the entire country, but over the last four years, I have seen a precipitous decline in the quality in college-led tournaments in our area (PHSAT, the NHBB A set usually hosted at Princeton, and especially the Columbia Cup.) Now, I don't want to discount the many people that are working hard on these events, but it seems increasingly like they are only able to salvage these tournaments from the brink of disaster. A good example is the absolute mess that was the lead-up to Columbia Spring and Columbia Spring itself this year. Not even counting the numerous problems that this decline is causing on tournament days for high schoolers, it also just makes these teams look completely unorganized. Personally, one of the reasons I didn't want to do college qb until late this year was that it looked like an absolute shitshow, from what little I saw. With some time and going to a few college tournaments,(which in my experience always seen to end in college kids yelling at high schoolers but that's for another discussion) I've changed my mind, but that's only because of an experience most high school players will never be able to get.
Douglas Simons

National History Bee JV Champion '16
High Tech '18, Captain '17-'18
NYU '22

User avatar
theMoMA
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5686
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2006 2:00 am

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by theMoMA » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:47 pm

Quizbowl is, as everyone knows, an insular community. People have build up relationships with teammates and friends (and enemies) at other schools. If you've been around for over a decade, you know many people quite well, and you know their opinions and are comfortable sharing yours with them.

The thing to keep in mind about quizbowl is that, despite its undeniable social insularity, there are few barriers to making your presence known through your work. Writing, editing, and organizing quizbowl tournaments is, for the most part, not even developed enough to be called a meritocracy, because there's more work than there are people who want to do it. Just showing up with a willingness to contribute is enough to get your name on people's minds.

I understand that it's daunting for any freshman to walk into the insular college quizbowl community with aspirations of being competitive or doing good work because, as underclassmen long ago, that's what my teammates and I did. When Rob and I arrived at Minnesota in the fall of 2006, and Gautam and Bernadette matriculated the next year, the school's reputation mostly hung on its noted CBI partisanship (which, I realize, is a reference possibly lost on the incoming freshmen of today, and that's for the best). By the time Brendan transferred in 2008, we were an established program.

Part of what allowed us to do that was various stars aligning: the fact that we were all on roughly the same graduation timeline, and had similar goals, meant that we had likeminded friends close by to provide a base of support; the fact that Minnesota's team was well supported by the administration meant that we had the resources to travel to and host tournaments; and the fact that the club's leadership was mostly graduating before us meant that we had an opportunity to take control of the program and steer it in the direction we wanted. I admit that I don't know how things would've gone for me personally, or for the club in general, without those factors coming together. Perhaps we simply found a fortunate situation that allowed join the broader quizbowl community when many underclassmen, because of stubborn club leadership or isolation at an unestablished school, cannot. All that is to say that I can't sit here and say with certainty that anyone willing to roll their sleeves up and get to work will find the opportunity to do so (or any reward in taking the opportunities that present themselves).

With that said, my sincere advice to anyone who finds the game insular, but nevertheless wants to make themselves known, is to figure out what you want to accomplish and be ready to do the work needed to get there. If that means being competitive, doing the work means not just improving your own game, but seeking out like-minded teammates and figuring out a way to make your team a healthy and fun place for them. If that means taking leadership positions or editing tournaments, I speak from a wealth of experience when I say that this always starts (and very often ends) with showing a strong interest and committing yourself to getting the job done once you get it. If that simply means having fun or having friends of your own, start with developing your relationships with your teammates and branch out to finding out about the lives and interests of the members of the community you encounter and become friends with. Although some situations are more advantageous than others, I think that if you really want to enter the community, you can find a way to do so, and I again speak from experience when I say that you'll make many friends along the way, to the extent that perhaps the next crop of freshmen might be intimidated by your own insularity.
Andrew Hart
Minnesota alum

User avatar
vinteuil
Auron
Posts: 1347
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:31 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by vinteuil » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:04 pm

theMoMA wrote:The thing to keep in mind about quizbowl is that, despite its undeniable social insularity, there are few barriers to making your presence known through your work. Writing, editing, and organizing quizbowl tournaments is, for the most part, not even developed enough to be called a meritocracy, because there's more work than there are people who want to do it. Just showing up with a willingness to contribute is enough to get your name on people's minds.
I have to admit I've been a little shocked recently to see some people questioning whether they'd be welcomed as a volunteer organizer or writer. For anyone who's in that boat: how can the quizbowl community do a better job of communicating that we desperately need as many competent and interested people as possible on board doing "behind-the-scenes" things?
Jacob Reed
Chicago ~'25
Yale '17, '19
East Chapel Hill '13
"...distant bayings from...the musicological mafia"―Denis Stevens

jacke
Lulu
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:07 pm

Re: What is the most pressing concern in college quizbowl to

Post by jacke » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:13 pm

DogeofVenice wrote:This might be a quick tangent, but I cannot agree more with this. I can't speak for the entire country, but over the last four years, I have seen a precipitous decline in the quality in college-led tournaments in our area (PHSAT, the NHBB A set usually hosted at Princeton, and especially the Columbia Cup.) Now, I don't want to discount the many people that are working hard on these events, but it seems increasingly like they are only able to salvage these tournaments from the brink of disaster. A good example is the absolute mess that was the lead-up to Columbia Spring and Columbia Spring itself this year. Not even counting the numerous problems that this decline is causing on tournament days for high schoolers, it also just makes these teams look completely unorganized. Personally, one of the reasons I didn't want to do college qb until late this year was that it looked like an absolute shitshow, from what little I saw. With some time and going to a few college tournaments,(which in my experience always seen to end in college kids yelling at high schoolers but that's for another discussion) I've changed my mind, but that's only because of an experience most high school players will never be able to get.
To respond to this tangent (and perhaps address some other issues being discussed in this thread), I can personally vouch that, at a minimum, Princeton is well aware of our inconsistent and low-quality tournaments in the past (and is aware of the hiccups at PHSAT this year), and, though I can't speak for everyone or the club itself, I can attest that we will take steps to improve the tournament experience for HSers. Next year, we're going to take steps to increase the outreach we do and better our tournament quality and polish. Steps like this will hopefully address some of the points raised in this thread and encourage continued participation at college. I certainly think that a more professional appearance of collegiate quiz bowl (rather than jerry-rigged tournament planning by a group of clueless college kids) will make it more appealing, especially for those who aren't as embedded in the community.

(I also would like to point out that NHBB events held at Princeton's campus are in no way organized and/or run by the team-- at least, this year's wasn't, anyway. We just reserve the rooms on behalf of NHBB.)
Jack E.
Bermudian Springs HS
Princeton University '21, Club president

Locked