Arguing for a standard packet format v1

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Arguing for a standard packet format v1

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Fri Oct 06, 2017 11:57 am

As referenced in this post, I'm doing a lot of work parsing packets into machine readable format for QuizDB.

This is much easier when packets follow a standard format, so I'd like to here argue for a QB Standard Packet Markup (or whatever you want to call it). The following proposal is largely inspired by ACF's format, and is designed to be the best mix of human readable, machine readable, pretty, and easy to generate. It's really only concerned with the larger format, though I'll likely come back later and make proposals for things as specific as powermarks, prompts, and pronunciation guides.

Without further ado, here's a general "visual" guide to what I'm looking for:

====

[Any intro fluff you like, such as round #, tournament name, authors, etc.]

1. Question text, in a single paragraph block if using Word or similar formats, or a single line if using simple text formats.
ANSWER: the answer goes here

2. We number each question using the format "#. ", where there's the number of the question, a period, then whitespace, before the question begins anew.
ANSWER: another answer

3. Every answer must appear in a separate line and be prefaced with "ANSWER: ", including the colon and the whitespace. The usage of all caps is preferred, but optional.
ANSWER: yet another answer

[...]

21. Tiebreaker questions also follow this format, regardless of whether a header is applied beforehand to separate the tiebreakers (such as a line reading "Tiebreakers" or splitting the tiebreaker questions to a new page.
ANSWER: tiebreaker answer

BONUSES

1. Whether or not the bonuses appear on a new page, a "BONUSES" header must be used to separate the bonuses. For 10 points each:
[10] This allows easy discovery of the bonuses even if the number of tossups varies from tournament to tournament.
ANSWER: a bonus part answer
[10] Note that the leadin again follows the "#. " format, but resets at 1 for the bonuses (though this isn't required).
ANSWER: another bonus part answer
[10] Bonus parts themselves should begin with the "[10] " format, which uses square brackets and a point value. Use of whitespace and a consistent 10 points bonus part system is preferred, but optional.
ANSWER: a third bonus part answer

2. Note that the "For 10 points each: " suffix for leadins is not actually required, and that writers are free to choose whatever they like. For 10 points each:
[10] This is since, at all times, the point value should actually be read from the square bracket format instead.
ANSWER: bonus part answer
[10] Also note that we continue with the single line "ANSWER: " format from tossups.
ANSWER: more bonuses
[10] And that's about it!
ANSWER: yay!

[...]

21. Some last comments, for 10 points each:
[10] Author and category tags should a[*]ppear either at the end of the answerline, or in a new line after the answerline. The former is preferred, and the usage of such tags itself is preferred, but optional.
ANSWER: For example, you can do this, but putting the tags after the question (as below) is preferred: <Raynor><Literature>
[10] No content should appear in the packet after all questions.
ANSWER: foobar
[10] And that really is about it, now!
ANSWER: yay!
<Raynor><Literature>

====

To tl;dr the important stuff:
  • Preface tossup texts and bonus leadins with "#. "
  • Preface tossup and bonus answers with "ANSWER: "
  • Preface bonus parts with "[10] "
  • Use a "BONUSES" header to note the beginning of bonuses.
====

As you can tell, this is pretty close, if not identical, to what ACF and most housewrites use already, with some rare exceptions. I'd like to keep it that way, but also formalize the format, especially for new writers wondering what a packet should look like.

To repeat myself, I'd also like to come back to superpowers, powers, pronunciation guides, and prompts in the future, but I'll save that for the v2 of this post.

Anyways: thoughts? Use cases I'm obviously missing? Things that are just a hassle for writers?
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Re: Arguing for a standard packet format v1

Postby alexdz » Fri Oct 06, 2017 1:18 pm

1. Does content in headers/footers screw anything up for you? Such as tournament name, packet numbers, copyright information, etc? My presumption is no, but thought maybe that would be important to address.

2. I've occasionally seen tournaments use short blocks of text like "Note to moderator: blah blah blah." before a question to help clarify what's happening. If such a thing is needed, should it come before or after the "#." and does it require any special punctuation/formatting? I'm thinking specifically of cases where this content isn't easily transferable to pronunciation guides or answer line miscellany, though in many cases the information may be better suited for such places. (I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but maybe something on a current events question clarifying when the tossup was written?)
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Re: Arguing for a standard packet format v1

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:02 pm

alexdz wrote:1. Does content in headers/footers screw anything up for you? Such as tournament name, packet numbers, copyright information, etc? My presumption is no, but thought maybe that would be important to address.

2. I've occasionally seen tournaments use short blocks of text like "Note to moderator: blah blah blah." before a question to help clarify what's happening. If such a thing is needed, should it come before or after the "#." and does it require any special punctuation/formatting? I'm thinking specifically of cases where this content isn't easily transferable to pronunciation guides or answer line miscellany, though in many cases the information may be better suited for such places. (I can't think of an example off the top of my head, but maybe something on a current events question clarifying when the tossup was written?)


1. Probably not. I've already managed to parse some packets that have headers/footers without much trouble, but I think it depends on the exact implementation the writers use. I'm not super inclined to care about it too much, because I don't want to be restrictive.

2. It should come after the "#." because I'd consider part of the question. It might be useful to add special formatting, if readers ever want to be formatted to skip those notes, but that's thinking really far ahead in the future given the rarity of those notes. At the beginning of the question where they usually are is probably the best place right now.
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Re: Arguing for a standard packet format v1

Postby acz13 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:40 pm

What if you just made a standard quiz bowl packet writer with a standardized YAML format or something

Half the quiz bowl packet PDFs/DOCXs are super bland anyway :lol:
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