ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows »

The Maryland Academic Quiz Team is pleased to announce Terrapin Open, an open tournament for spring 2020.


Difficulty

The target difficulty of Terrapin Open is halfway between ACF Regionals and ACF Nationals. This corresponds to 3½ dots on the scale used by the college quizbowl calendar.

A third of the tossup answerlines will be ACF Fall difficulty, a third of the tossup answerlines will be ACF Regionals difficulty, and no more than a third will be above ACF Regionals difficulty (with at most one CO-only answerline per category).

Note that this means Terrapin Open will be more difficult than 2019 Terrapin, and will be similar in difficulty to PIANO, its predecessor in the pre-nationals spring open slot.


Eligibility

This is an open tournament, meaning that there are no eligibility restrictions.


Editing

The editing team includes myself (Caleb Kendrick), Emmett Laurie, Graham Reid, Ewan MacAulay, Joelle Smart, Naveed Chowdhury, Ophir Lifshitz, and Ethan Strombeck. Questions will also be written by Anson Berns, Justin Hawkins, Kai Smith, and members of MAQT, including Vishwa Shanmugam, Jack Lewis, Alex Echikson, and Jakobi Deslouches.

This set will have 15 packets plus an extra packet of tiebreakers. Tossup length will be soft-capped at 8 lines (in 10-point Times New Roman after power-marking), and bonus length will be soft-capped at 7 cumulative lines.

The set is about 15% written as of August 15.


Distribution

4/4 Literature
1/1 American Literature
1/1 British Literature
1/1 European Literature
0.75/0.75 World Literature
0.25/0.25 Classical Literature

4/4 History
1/1 American History
1/1 European History (Post-Classical)
1/1 World History
1/1 Other History (Commonwealth, Ancient/Classical, Historiography/Archaeology)

4/4 Science
1/1 Biology
1/1 Chemistry
1/1 Physics
1/1 Other Science

3/3 Fine Arts
1/1 Painting and Sculpture
1/1 Classical Music
1/1 Other Fine Arts

1.5/1.5 Beliefs
1/1 Religion
0.5/0.5 Mythology

2.5/2.5 Thought & Other Academic
1/1 Philosophy
1/1 Social Science
0.5/0.5 Other Academic

1/1 Modern World (incorporating current events and geography)


Mirrors

Terrapin Open will be available for mirrors starting on February 22, 2020, and ending on March 29, 2020. The most preferred dates for mirrors are February 22, February 29, and March 7, before most schools go on spring break.

The mirror fee is $50 per team (including house teams).

We are seeking mirrors of Terrapin Open in the following regions (subject to change):

Updated as of 3/19/2020
Northeast: Brown 2/29
Mid-Atlantic: UMD 2/22
Southeast: Georgia Tech 2/22
California: Stanford 3/14 CANCELLED
Midwest: Purdue 3/14 CANCELLED
Canada: Toronto 3/22 CANCELLED
UK:
Online: 3/28 and 3/29

This post will be maintained with information about new mirrors, editors, progress updates, or any other changes.

EDIT: Naveed Chowdhury has joined the editing team as our religion and mythology editor.
EDIT 2: Kai Smith has joined the writing team.
Last edited by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows on Thu Mar 19, 2020 10:36 am, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Daedalus »

Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:40 pm
The target difficulty of Terrapin Open is halfway between ACF Regionals and ACF Nationals... no more than a third will be above ACF Regionals difficulty (with at most one CO-only answerline per category).
How can you write a Nats-minus tossup on a CO-only answerline?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Daedalus wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:50 pm
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:40 pm
The target difficulty of Terrapin Open is halfway between ACF Regionals and ACF Nationals... no more than a third will be above ACF Regionals difficulty (with at most one CO-only answerline per category).
How can you write a Nats-minus tossup on a CO-only answerline?
It's called VCUO 2015

(EDIT: to be clear not sure how I felt about the mega hard answers in that set, but it is doable within bounds)
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by ThisIsMyUsername »

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:40 am
Daedalus wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:50 pm
Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:
Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:40 pm
The target difficulty of Terrapin Open is halfway between ACF Regionals and ACF Nationals... no more than a third will be above ACF Regionals difficulty (with at most one CO-only answerline per category).
How can you write a Nats-minus tossup on a CO-only answerline?
It's called VCUO 2015

(EDIT: to be clear not sure how I felt about the mega hard answers in that set, but it is doable within bounds)
What is that tournament citation even supposed to mean?

If a tournament is written well, its stated difficulty determines the ceiling of how hard the answerlines can be. If I'm writing a Regs-level tournament, I can include answerlines that would be appropriate at Regs, Fall, HS, etc.; but not answerlines that are "Nats-only." Something becomes "Nats-only" by virtue of the fact that it would produce an unacceptable buzz distribution at Regs (e.g. goes dead in too many rooms, has no one buzzing in the first half, etc.).

By definition, a "CO-only answerline" is appropriate only for...CO! So, that statement in the initial announcement is concerning because it raises two possibilities: Possibility #1 is that "Nats-minus" difficulty will be produced by averaging out questions of varying difficulty. That is what is generally referred to as "lack of difficulty control." Possibility #2 is that most of the tournament will be of well-controlled Nats-minus difficulty, but the remainder will be questions that the editors admit belong to a completely different tournament (jumping up from 3.5 dots to 5 dots).
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows »

To clarify, what we meant by there will be "at most one CO-only answerline per category," is that there will be at most one extremely novel, or non-canonical tossup per category. We think that other tournaments have done this successfully in the past (e.g., VCU Open 2015), and we think that their philosophy was well-justified (though others may disagree). In any event, we are not going to write a lot of tossups on crazy answerlines. We want this set to be accessible to teams of many different skill levels.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

Super excited to play this next semester! Are there any updates on sites - in particular, has the UMD site been confirmed for February 22nd?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by hornetvtol »

I'd be interested in an online mirror, if it's happening. Is there any info on this?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows »

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:20 pm
Super excited to play this next semester! Are there any updates on sites - in particular, has the UMD site been confirmed for February 22nd?
As of right now, no one has reached out to me about mirroring this set. If you're interested in hosting a mirror, please contact me ASAP. Unfortunately, UMD doesn't allow us to reserve rooms before the semester starts. So, we may be forced to change the date of the tournament, though I think that's unlikely.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows »

hornetvtol wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:23 pm
I'd be interested in an online mirror, if it's happening. Is there any info on this?
To encourage people to play this tournament in person, we are not currently planning on having an online mirror. However, starting next month, I plan on play-testing my categories. If you can't play the set in-person, but still want to hear the questions, you're welcome to help playtest.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Borrowing 100,000 Arrows »

We've added mirrors at Georgia Tech, and Columbia. We're still looking for mirror in California, and the Midwest. Please contact me if you're interested in hosting a mirror.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

I was informed today that Columbia apparently won't be allowed to host a mirror of this tournament anymore (contrary to earlier communication we had received) because we are "too close" to UMD. Considering that New York was previously the site of mirrors of CMST and George Oppen at the same time as those sets were mirrorred at UMD, and that most of the other major programs in the Northeast that can host college are doing so, we figured we would do the editors of Terrapin - who had not made any serious outreach effort to secure Northeast mirrors - a favor by offering to host their tournament at a site where a lot of teams would be able to attend. Apparently, though, New York is too close.

Personally, I am not sure why the proximity matters that much, given that you have the same pool of Northeast teams, none of whom have exhibited any sort of inclination that they would go to Maryland for a tournament (except...the New York based teams, and the proposed Terrapin mirror date clashes with some of our players' exam schedules). New York, however, has the major advantage of being a city where a sizeable number of former active players live, meaning that they'll more easily able to attend. For this tournament in particular, it's also near Rutgers, where several of the Terrapin writing staff attend school. New York thus seems like an advantageous site for an open tournament, and for this one in particular.

I respectfully request that the editors of this tournament reconsider this poor decision.

(EDIT to add a note that we've been talking to Harvard about resolving the proposed 2/29 MWT conflict)
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Mike Bentley »

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 8:00 pm
I was informed today that Columbia apparently won't be allowed to host a mirror of this tournament anymore (contrary to earlier communication we had received) because we are "too close" to UMD. Considering that New York was previously the site of mirrors of CMST and George Oppen at the same time as those sets were mirrorred at UMD, and that most of the other major programs in the Northeast that can host college are doing so, we figured we would do the editors of Terrapin - who had not made any serious outreach effort to secure Northeast mirrors - a favor by offering to host their tournament at a site where a lot of teams would be able to attend. Apparently, though, New York is too close.

Personally, I am not sure why the proximity matters that much, given that you have the same pool of Northeast teams, none of whom have exhibited any sort of inclination that they would go to Maryland for a tournament (except...the New York based teams, and the proposed Terrapin mirror date clashes with some of our players' exam schedules). New York, however, has the major advantage of being a city where a sizeable number of former active players live, meaning that they'll more easily able to attend. For this tournament in particular, it's also near Rutgers, where several of the Terrapin writing staff attend school. New York thus seems like an advantageous site for an open tournament, and for this one in particular.

I respectfully request that the editors of this tournament reconsider this poor decision.

(EDIT to add a note that we've been talking to Harvard about resolving the proposed 2/29 MWT conflict)
Pretty bummed to hear this as I had already committed to the NYC site and date. I was linking this with some other stuff in New York at the same time so I can deal. But still pretty annoying and depending on dates of other sites may mean I can't make the tournament.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

This strikes me as a particularly bad decision on the part of the TO editors. Had they not granted the mirror in the first place, that would be understandable, but revoking someone's mirror after you've already granted it and announced it -- which has presumably caused people to make travel plans for it, including from Seattle (!) -- is not great. I understand the editors may have had legitimate concerns, but they probably should have voiced those concerns before they gave sufficient approval that Will felt empowered to announce a mirror (something I assume Will wouldn't do rashly -- he has a pretty good track record for being professional about these things.)

I'm legitimately curious, since I haven't been around quizbowl for *that* long and have been party to "insider information" for even less time -- is "revoking a mirror well after it's been granted and announced" something that has, like, any precedent? I don't think I've ever heard of such a thing happening.

Given my track record of having Opinions on open mirror sites, I want to make it clear that I'm not trying to wade into the "field strength"/"which site is better" argument, just expressing my opinion that you shouldn't revoke mirrors that you've granted and publicly announced without some sort of compelling new information, which doesn't appear to be the case here.

TO doesn't currently have a Midwest mirror, and if I were a Midwest team interested in hosting (which, for the record, Michigan is not -- not because of this but because we're already hosting five events next semester), this would make me extremely leery about doing so as long as there were other sets I could host instead. I encourage the TO editors to rethink this.
Last edited by CPiGuy on Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Wartortullian »

I heartily endorse everything that Conor, Mike, and Will have said. In addition, the lack of any site announcements outside the east coast is pretty damn annoying when the first mirror is in less than 2 months (though as Conor said, I wouldn't blame midwest hosts for being hesitant when the Columbia mirror was so mishandled). Not that northeasterners would understand, but some of us need to buy plane tickets.
Last edited by Wartortullian on Tue Dec 24, 2019 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by vcpavao »

Is the main site prepared to host all the teams that were planning on going to Columbia, in addition to everyone going to Maryland? I hope you're not going to cap the number of teams and have a bunch of interested players not able to play, after revoking this mirror.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Banana Stand »

I will most likely not be playing this set if this Columbia mirror is cancelled, which is a shame since I’m sure it will be a great set. While I wouldn’t advocate for a mirror to remain simply because of my own self-interest, I’ve yet to see a good rationale for its cancellation and doubt there is one beyond “well maybe there’s one team that might’ve come to UMD if the Columbia mirror didn’t exist” or “old leadership didn’t pay us so now we’re holding new leadership’s feet to the fire, even though WAlston is one of the most reliable people with payments in quizbowl.” This is also an extremely bad look when editors have admitted to not doing active outreach for mirrors and no Midwest site has been announced. Rethink this.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Jack »

Although today I can't say whether or not Princeton will play this tournament, it is definitely a lot less likely that we will play (at College Park) if the Columbia mirror really is cancelled.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Deepika Goes From Ranbir To Ranveer »

Rethink this.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by csheep »

No idea why the "NYC vs. Maryland/adjacent area" issue seems to always pop up in relation to spring opens considering the multiple precedent cases demonstrating that 1. Many NE teams will simply not attend if there's no NYC/further north mirror 2. NYC and Mid-Atlantic mirrors do not cannibalize each other in a meaningful way (a small handful of teams?) and definitely maximizes the number of teams playing the tournament, which is to everyone's benefit.

Let the Columbia mirror happen.
Last edited by csheep on Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

Two things:

a) I edited my initial post to tone down some of the more egregious invective. I don't think the TO editors were acting maliciously or in bad faith, and they don't deserve to get "what the fuck"-ed or accused of "remarkable feats of malfeasance". My apologies for detracting from the actual substance of the point I was trying to get across.

b) I'm going to add my voice to the chorus of "I would be able to play a Columbia mirror but not a Maryland mirror" -- in the event that the Midwest mirror is on a bad date or is announced too late (since I have to book spring break flights and two of the three preferred dates coincide with our spring break, while the third coincides with our preferred date to host our February HS tournament, although that could change), I would likely play the NYC mirror of this on my way home from Michigan. (I'd obviously prefer that a Midwest mirror happen and be announced soon, of course.)
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by grapesmoker »

Emerging for a brief moment from my eternal slumber, I would like to say: this fucking sucks.

I don't know anyone at UMD and I'm not going to speculate on anyone's motives, but to announce a mirror, have people make plans to attend, and then retract it (and without actually coming in personally to explain yourself) is really shitty. It's not like you didn't know the distance between NYC and College Park when you put the plan together! There are probably a few teams that might be drawn away from going to Maryland by the prospect of a New York site, but the most likely scenario is what's apparently happening at Princeton, where people will just not go to a Maryland tournament but would go to an NYC one. As someone who has made the drive from New England down to Maryland many times in his quizbowl career, I have to say that I entirely understand these people and frankly asking the Atlantic seaboard to trek 8 or more hours south in the winter/early spring is a bad idea that is likely to get you at most one or two teams.

I'm a decrepit old who would very much enjoy playing this at Columbia so I can get rekt by kids half my age and then go home to my family in the evening, but obviously no one should make tournament plans with my attendance in mind. What you should be taking into account is that over the last five or six years, NYC has become a fairly considerable quizbowl hub, and it makes sense to respect that when planning tournament mirrors. If this tournament were never slated for mirroring in New York, that would have been a mistake, but taking away that mirror under the illusion that it's going to drive teams to Maryland is an even bigger mistake. I strongly encourage the Maryland club to reevaluate its position here and bring back the NYC site.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Noble Rot »

I’m posting an apology and explanation, prepared with other Terrapin Open contributors.

We apologize for changing plans after we initially approved the mirror. We promise that in the future we will go through our internal process before making communications to prevent this problem from happening again. We would like to clarify exactly what happened, as we believe Will’s account is an incomplete description of what happened.

Caleb, the head editor, approved the requested Columbia mirror without consulting the other Terrapin Open contributors. None of us were aware of the request or the approval until the mirror was publicly announced, first by Caleb, then via Will’s mirror announcement. At that point, several contributors raised concerns about Columbia mirroring Terrapin Open.
  1. Columbia repeatedly failed to pay for previous tournaments (both UMD’s and others’) in a timely manner. Notably, Columbia did not pay UMD for mirroring 2017 Maryland Fall for over a year, and Columbia’s payments for attending past UMD-hosted tournaments were also significantly delayed. Although these issues occurred under a previous club administration (at one point, Columbia didn’t even invoice hosts or try to get paid for their own set,) we’re not convinced that Columbia’s tendency for overly delayed payment has changed at all. From what we know, Columbia hasn’t even paid EFT yet this year, even though it was led by a Columbia member.
  2. Columbia’s recent EFT mirror was run poorly. Players complained that it ran very late and that most moderators were solo and were not trained or competent enough. (Columbia fielding four house teams may have been a factor in that.) Since the few experienced moderators and the TD from the EFT mirror would likely be playing Terrapin Open, we are concerned that the quality of a Columbia mirror of Terrapin Open will be even worse. Although fewer staff are required to run Terrapin Open, adding the two moderators from Rutgers as mentioned is probably not enough. Columbia also repeatedly had trouble following basic directions provided for running the tournament, not to mention some trouble with reservations, schedules, and protests.
  3. Columbia repeatedly acted in self-interest (such as fielding four Columbia house teams while hosting 24 teams for EFT, soliciting to reschedule or re-host tournaments because some Columbia players don’t want to play quizbowl on consecutive weekends or because a Columbia A team member has a midterm, and so on.) While these recent actions are not wrong in and of themselves, we were troubled by this pattern and concerned that it would undermine our potential dealings with Columbia.
    Our concerns were reinforced when, as we were preparing our response during a busy time of year, Will threatened, among other things, to steal our question set by turning our other hosts and the crowd against us and force the Columbia mirror to happen, and claimed that his underhanded scheme was “more than fair.” This reaction went too far and is in incredibly bad faith (and this is not the first time he reacted to a reconsideration in this way), and only confirms our decision that working with Columbia to host Terrapin Open is a poor choice.
  4. A Columbia site of Terrapin Open would greatly decrease the size of the field at the main site, such that the UMD club will likely lose money compared to if it didn’t exist (since mirror fees would not cover the gap.) Activity in the Mid-Atlantic circuit has fallen in recent years: since 2016 “Stanford Housewrite,” difficult open tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic have not attracted more than 3 teams from local schools. At the recent 10-team mirror of Fall Open at UVA, more than half of the field consisted of teams from Liberty, UNC, and VCU, the first two of whom don’t often come to Maryland, and last of whom doesn’t often come for open tournaments. Of the remaining teams: because most of the Terrapin Open contributors are from UMD, from a school near UMD, or would have been free agents, we anticipate an even smaller Mid-Atlantic field than usual for the UMD site of Terrapin Open. Therefore, we prefer a Northeast site closer to Boston, with teams on the closer-to-UMD side of New York preferring UMD’s site.
After these points were raised, the Terrapin Open contributors started an internal discussion about the Columbia mirror. I emailed Will early Saturday morning, informing him that we prematurely approved the Columbia mirror and that we were reconsidering (without including all the reasoning above, as I thought it wouldn’t accomplish anything, but which I now realize was a mistake.) Will responded to the email saying he understood. After further internal debate, we decided not to have a Columbia mirror. We’re sorry for neglecting to announce that decision promptly, as we thought it would be best to tell Will directly and not embarrass Columbia. After Caleb communicated our decision to Will, Will made the post above.

We realize that revoking a mirror is a shoddy thing to do, but having the majority of our contributors on board trumped an agreement to host that we had only known about for less than 24 hours. We tried to fix our mistake quickly, before anyone experienced material consequences. We’re very sorry for the mistakes that led to our having to revoke the Columbia mirror, and understand your frustration with the situation.

We were seriously considering reinstating the Columbia mirror, perhaps under some conditions or expectations, given the understandable backlash to our decision, but since we learned that Will threatened to steal our question set, we decided that we are unwilling to do so.

Given that this tournament is an important source of funding for our club, and given the very low revenue of difficult open tournaments, without which it makes no sense to produce the tournament at all, I believe we are justified in protecting our interests, making sure all of our outside contributors get paid on a reasonable timescale, and also protecting the interests of teams wanting to travel short or long distances to play a well-run difficult tournament.

Again, we are very sorry to renege on an agreement. We apologize to Will, the Columbia club, Mike, Jerry, Jack, and anyone else affected by this. This was something that should never have happened, and we are actively taking steps to prevent any similar situations from occurring in the future.

We welcome the interest in Terrapin Open from players in the Northeast. Of course we still plan to have a mirror of Terrapin Open in the Northeast (we are currently working with Brown to set up a mirror) and in the other announced regions. If you are interested in mirroring Terrapin Open, please get in touch with us by emailing me at [email protected].
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

The only compromise which I think is reasonable and workable at this point is to have the tournament hosted at another school in New York. Hosting in a city other than New York is, for reasons explained above, an incredibly stupid decision.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

This is an incredibly poor justification for reneging on an established agreement, and your post is essentially 90% deflection and 10% apology. Not to mention that Will trying to turn the crowd against UMD isn't "stealing" the tournament in any sense.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

I feel like it's worth stating publicly that I did float the idea of forming some sort of solidarity pact with other mirror sites to either not mirror the tournament, or to get the question set (with the intention of paying Maryland were we to make such an acquisition). This was not exactly sightly behavior on my part, but I wanted to preserve the opportunity of people who had already committed to playing in NYC to play. I hope the editors feel good about their decision to fuck people out of the ability to play this tournament on bizarre personal grounds, extremely poor logistical arguments, and the apparently inability of the Maryland treasurer to send a W-9 form to Columbia to receive payment for past events.

I look forward to playing this tournament at Brown, if it happens there.
Last edited by naan/steak-holding toll on Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by vinteuil »

I don’t want to wade into the particular dispute here, but this should be an object lesson for every future head editor: delegate the responsibility of soliciting mirrors to somebody who is willing to do so. It’s a lot of work! And it’s an absolutely vital task—the fact that there’s still no midwest mirror of this set is just bonkers.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by benmillerbenmiller »

Speaking for Chicago's leadership team, I want to express how extremely frustrating this whole mirror situation has been for us. Winter quarter is an exceedingly busy time of the year that requires us to book hotels and flights months in advance. The uncertainty surrounding Terrapin Open sites has prevented us from doing that. There is no midwestern mirror announced and as far as I know there is not one in the works. We were pondering attending the UMD site, but since their date can't be confirmed for another month it is very difficult to commit to it.

On Friday, I was elated to hear about Columbia's mirror of TO. February 29 is the date we prefer, and New York is a fun, convenient place to play that will attract the sort of field that is worth flying for. With Tim, Matthew, and Christine, I spent a considerable amount of time researching and sketching out travel plans for both TO and other events that are dependent on playing that day. We were consquently upset to see that mirror revoked on Saturday, which as others have pointed out is a completely bonkers thing to do.

I appreciate Maryland's detailed response, but I don't find it particularly compelling. As we all know, the current Columbia leadership is distinct from previous iterations of their team. Whatever minor hiccups happened at Columbia's mirror of EFT, the idea that Will is likely to lead a poorly-run mirror that could end in UMD being stiffed is hard to believe. I trust that his track record of logistical successes would carry over to this event.

The proposed Brown mirror, whichever date it might be, is not a workable alternative for us. There are very few nonstop flights between Chicago Midway and Providence, and those that exist are at strange times and high prices.

Right now, we would like a workable TO mirror, ideally on February 29, to be announced and confirmed. Columbia seems like a great place for such a mirror to be held, but if a midwest or California option can be arranged, that works too. I know this is the holiday season and everyone is busy, but we would appreciate if this could be sorted out so we can make necessary preparations for the next two months.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by CPiGuy »

benmillerbenmiller wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:10 pm
There are very few nonstop flights between Chicago Midway and Providence, and those that exist are at strange times and high prices.
If you or anyone else is considering flying to play this in Providence, I strongly recommend flying in to Boston. There are many MBTA commuter rail trains daily between South Station (easily reachable from Logan Airport) and downtown Providence. Fares are about $10 each way.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Jack »

Noble Rot wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 12:49 pm
We were seriously considering reinstating the Columbia mirror, perhaps under some conditions or expectations, given the understandable backlash to our decision, but since we learned that Will threatened to steal our question set, we decided that we are unwilling to do so.

Given that this tournament is an important source of funding for our club, and given the very low revenue of difficult open tournaments, without which it makes no sense to produce the tournament at all, I believe we are justified in protecting our interests, making sure all of our outside contributors get paid on a reasonable timescale, and also protecting the interests of teams wanting to travel short or long distances to play a well-run difficult tournament.
I appreciate the quick response from UMD, especially given the hubbub of the holidays.

Could you please explain the thinking behind the first point? Why does it make sense to effectively punish all the people interested in the Columbia mirror because the TD said he was going to "steal our question set" (what does that even mean?). Furthermore, could the UMD team not have reached out to teams in the area like Penn, Princeton, Rutgers, Delaware, known open players, etc., and asked if they would come to the UMD mirror without assuming? I cannot speak for other teams, obviously, but I'm pretty sure it's easier to get to Columbia from most of these schools than it is getting to College Park, at least in terms of accessibility of public transit. At the very least, the editors could have gauged interest on the two fields from teams, open and collegiate, in the area -- and evidently across the country -- before claiming that cancelling the Columbia mirror would mean significantly more money brought in. In UMD's defense, it definitely would have made sense beforehand (i.e. a month or two ago) to claim that a Columbia site will lower the money they will bring in, but given the lack of other mirrors and the seemingly high interest in the Columbia site, it seems unclear to what extent that is true anymore. I get that the editors probably want the UMD site to be as large as possible, and given the information that you posted about dwindling open mirror fields, I doubly empathize, but it still seems like there are compelling reasons to reopen the Columbia mirror. However, given that you said you were considering reinstating the Columbia field, but didn't solely because of some private communication between you and the TD, it seems like there is some level of understanding by the editors that the Columbia mirror would help a lot of people out.

Perhaps a workable solution, especially if the tournament isn't held in the Midwest, would be to just raise mirror fees, potentially significantly, at the Columbia site, if it would mean that a lot more people get to play the tournament. Columbia would still be making more money than they would had they not hosted at all, and it might close the financial gap for the editors.

Also, FWIW, the Columbia EFT mirror was sloppy but not terrible (was UMD even at this mirror?). Scorekeepers being slow was the biggest issue, but since it's an open tournament and fewer Columbia players would play on house teams, I doubt that will be a problem next time. Will also was very apologetic and explanatory about some personal issues he had going on days before the tournament in the opening meeting, so I don't think it's fair to look at EFT from the outside and chalk Columbia up as some terrible host. Princeton has also had payment issues in the past from Columbia, but this was with different people, so I don't know if that criticism even applies anymore.

EDIT: I want to add that having the only mirror at UMD isn't an absolute dealbreaker for Princeton or anything. I was just originally trying to voice disappointment that the Columbia mirror was cancelled, and now my befuddlement at the official response and justification.
Last edited by Jack on Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by csheep »

The justifications given by the TO editors for not reinstating the mirror are strikingly thin. We can discard the stuff done by prior Columbia administrations, and we can likely also disregard a large portion of the EFT-related grievances given the very different nature of a 24-field college tournament vs. a hard open tournament. Using the above points as part of a long "sorry not sorry" post feels like grasping at straws.

The most cogent point remains the one around quibbling over revenue and field sizes at Maryland. However, relying on a hard open tournament to drive club funding seems to be a poor strategy, given there are so many better ways to raise funds. From an editors' perspective, it's generally in your interests to maximize the number of teams playing across different fields.

None of the above is as pertinent, however, as the issue that a mirror was - reasonably assumed by Will - to have been granted to Columbia, officially announced, and then revoked. At this point, as a relative outsider to the whole situation, the response by the TO editors makes it feel like the whole situation has devolved largely to a personal gripe between Maryland and Will/Columbia. The result seems to be an incontrovertibly negative net effect on quizbowl at large.

(As a side note, as one of the moderators at said EFT tournament, I want to echo the previous comment that it was sloppy but far from terrible, and certainly poor rationale for withholding a mirror. It further reinforces my belief that much of this drama is in fact disingenuous post facto justification that is tertiary to the main point of "Maryland might lose a couple teams' worth of revenue" and/or personal grievances between the two parties.)

It also bears repeating that we are only a couple months away from the first mirrors of the tournament and almost nothing has been set in stone - such as a confirmed date for the main UMD site or any signs that mirrors in the Northeast, Midwest, etc. are close to emerging. Under such circumstances, it shouldn't be surprising that an announced site with a committed date at a central/accessible location that has a strong track record of hosting open tournaments would've been met with great enthusiasm. Nor should be surprising that the unilateral revocation of said site would be greeted with disappointment and justified outrage. To publicly double down on this error is astonishingly short-sighted. I urge the editors to once again reconsider this decision.
Last edited by csheep on Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by vinteuil »

If Maryland is so concerned about revenue, then why haven't they more proactively sought out mirrors in other regions?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Aaron's Rod »

Just want to add that if TO announced February 22nd as their preferred date, then they should make every effort to host their (especially flagship) mirrors on that date, given how incredibly crowded the spring schedule is this year.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by grapesmoker »

My friends, this is thin gruel indeed. I understand that one can be frustrated with slow payments or even whatever stunt Will pulled, but that seems like hardly the sort of thing that should lead you to revoke a mirror that you've already granted. So setting that aside as not really a serious reason, I'm going to focus on this:
A Columbia site of Terrapin Open would greatly decrease the size of the field at the main site, such that the UMD club will likely lose money compared to if it didn’t exist (since mirror fees would not cover the gap.) Activity in the Mid-Atlantic circuit has fallen in recent years: since 2016 “Stanford Housewrite,” difficult open tournaments in the Mid-Atlantic have not attracted more than 3 teams from local schools. At the recent 10-team mirror of Fall Open at UVA, more than half of the field consisted of teams from Liberty, UNC, and VCU, the first two of whom don’t often come to Maryland, and last of whom doesn’t often come for open tournaments. Of the remaining teams: because most of the Terrapin Open contributors are from UMD, from a school near UMD, or would have been free agents, we anticipate an even smaller Mid-Atlantic field than usual for the UMD site of Terrapin Open. Therefore, we prefer a Northeast site closer to Boston, with teams on the closer-to-UMD side of New York preferring UMD’s site.
I don't understand this line of reasoning at all. All of the teams mentioned above are teams that are closer to Maryland by far than to NYC and so would not be coming to a Columbia mirror anyway. This leads me to believe that you are counting on teams that would have gone to Columbia to come to College Park but as far as I can tell there is no evidence that you would actually get those teams, or even that such teams exist. NYC is a great site for teams that have limited ability to travel because it's relatively inexpensive to fly to (c.f. the UChicago situation above) and also because there is cheap public transit available that allows teams from the surrounding regions to travel there. A Yale or a Penn can get on the train and be at Columbia two hours later, which makes day trips to play a tournament a viable proposition; this is decidedly not the case for those teams traveling to Maryland. Most teams do not have graduate students with cars who are willing to drive them 4 hours or more to get to a tournament, which means that those teams just aren't going to come to Maryland at all.

Consider the alternative of a Northeast site. First, hosting it in Providence makes it much harder to get to for anyone traveling from outside the immediate Northeast region (source: lived in Providence for 5 years). So those teams are gone. Gone also are the open dinosaur teams like my own, since no one I know is going to take a day trip to Brown for this. Again, those aren't teams that are coming to UMD instead, those are teams that now no longer exist. Any NYC-area team is either going to make the trip up to Brown by train or just not going to play at all; those are also not teams that are "lost" to the main Maryland site in any meaningful sense because they were never going to come to Maryland in the first place. Obviously any teams from the Boston area are just coming to Brown and were never going to travel 10 hours to Maryland either. So what teams are you actually attracting by canceling an NYC mirror? It would have to be a team that a) is located somewhere between New York and College Park, b) is interested in playing open tournaments, and c) is relatively insensitive to travel modes because it can afford to drive down to Maryland if a New York site doesn't exist. Do such teams even exist? So far we've heard from Princeton, who said that they're much less likely to attend a Maryland site, and apparently a number of Rutgers people are on the writing team, which suggests that you're not getting a major contingent from there either. Even Penn's trip to NYC is half the time or less of the equivalent trip to College Park, although I will arguendo grant the possibility that you might get several teams from Penn. I'm not sure who else you're counting on; my brief search for teams in the mid-Atlantic doesn't turn up anyone else who would be genuinely lured to an NYC site from UMD.

I suspect that, at best, the choice between having and not having a New York mirror is financially neutral and that the decision to cancel the Columbia site is not justified on monetary grounds. All this seems to do is to annoy a bunch of teams that were counting on having a mirror nearby and who will just end up not playing the tournament at all. I strongly urge you to reconsider this decision.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Mike Bentley »

I'd personally be willing to pay a higher fee so that more can go towards a mirror fee given that quiz bowl tournaments are generally pretty underpriced for open teams given th amount of work that goes into writing and editing.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by grapesmoker »

Mike Bentley wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 8:56 pm
I'd personally be willing to pay a higher fee so that more can go towards a mirror fee given that quiz bowl tournaments are generally pretty underpriced for open teams given th amount of work that goes into writing and editing.
Same. I'm very inelastic with respect to time but very elastic with respect to money.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by csheep »

grapesmoker wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:17 pm
Mike Bentley wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 8:56 pm
I'd personally be willing to pay a higher fee so that more can go towards a mirror fee given that quiz bowl tournaments are generally pretty underpriced for open teams given th amount of work that goes into writing and editing.
Same. I'm very inelastic with respect to time but very elastic with respect to money.
Thirded.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Noble Rot »

Edit: We have added a mirror at Stanford, and confirmed that the UMD site will host on February 22nd. An announcement for the latter will be up shortly.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Cheynem »

Since we're rapidly approaching February and a lot of the best Midwestern teams/players chose to go to Brown or Maryland, I am going to assume there will be no Midwestern mirror. This is pretty galling--I can appreciate wanting to have the best possible field at Maryland (or Brown), but a lot of us in the Midwest just don't have the time/money/resources to fly all over the country to play a tournament, especially if we're not a top player (and for all the talk earlier in the year about minimizing flights to play quizbowl, not having as many sites as possible seems to produce the opposite effect).

I don't believe the TO people were intentionally trying to screw the Midwest or not have a mirror. For all I know, no one in the Midwest could host. Maybe a mirror will still develop (even though we're almost a month and a week away!). But this is extremely disappointing and at least from my perspective and historical experience, something that can usually be remedied by direct inquiries for hosts.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Smuttynose Island »

Borrowing 100,000 Arrows wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:00 pm
hornetvtol wrote:
Sun Dec 15, 2019 8:23 pm
I'd be interested in an online mirror, if it's happening. Is there any info on this?
To encourage people to play this tournament in person, we are not currently planning on having an online mirror. However, starting next month, I plan on play-testing my categories. If you can't play the set in-person, but still want to hear the questions, you're welcome to help playtest.
If there is no Midwestern mirror of TO, will the TO logistics team reconsider their plans to not host an online mirror? Perhaps given the, in general, poorly executed mirror logistics, there ought to be an online mirror regardless?
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Noble Rot »

We have added mirrors at Brown, Purdue, and Toronto. The announcement has been updated to reflect this, and links have been provided to all announcements that are currently up.

I apologize for the delay on the announcement of the midwestern site - it's entirely my fault.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Sima Guang Hater »

So is there going to be an online mirror of this or no, because I'd like to play this set live but no weekend is particularly good.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by a named reaction »

In light of the two physical mirrors of this set that have been cancelled, I hope that this set's editors organize or allow others to organize an online mirror.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Noble Rot »

Sima Guang Hater wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:05 am
So is there going to be an online mirror of this or no, because I'd like to play this set live but no weekend is particularly good.
Milhouse wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:43 pm
In light of the two physical mirrors of this set that have been cancelled, I hope that this set's editors organize or allow others to organize an online mirror.
We will be holding an online mirror of Terrapin Open - if you are interested in playing, please vote in the date poll here. The poll will end next Tuesday night.

Edit: The announcement for the online discord mirror is up and can be found here.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: Terrapin Open (Spring 2020)

Post by Noble Rot »

We will be holding one further online mirror of Terrapin Open for the United Kingdom this weekend, after which the set will be cleared for public discussion and uploaded to the database.
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