Neg Control

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Neg Control

Postby Antonio777100 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:17 pm

Looking back on our results for the Columbia Fall and Winter tournaments, I noticed that we tended to neg 2-4 times a game. I wanted to know if anyone has any suggestions for cutting down on negs or being more sure of an answer before buzzing in.
http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournament ... detail/#t6
http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournament ... etail/#t12
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Re: Neg Control

Postby bretthogan43 » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:27 pm

My advice to you (and your team) is to wait until you hear a term or phrase in the question that you can closely associate with what you think the answer might be.

If you can at least make a highly educated and accurate guess, then don't fault yourself too much for negging something. It's always an "I can get this next time" type of deal.

That said, it's not necessarily the best strategy to make guessing the bulk of your gameplay.

Hope I helped!
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Re: Neg Control

Postby Pallas's cat » Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:12 pm

One tip I've heard is waiting to buzz in until one clue after you first think you know the answer. Of course, there are times when this might not work as well (for example, the other team could end up beating you to the buzzer).
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Re: Neg Control

Postby El Salvadoreno » Wed Jan 18, 2017 7:01 am

j.wu wrote:(for example, the other team could end up beating you to the buzzer).


To this point, at what point are you negging to little? At what point should you play agressively and how much caution should you throw to the wind when you do?
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Re: Neg Control

Postby ashwin99 » Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:03 am

I think you should see if your aggressiveness "works" per se. If your aggressiveness makes you neg 4 times per round but then totally beat the other teams on the other 16 tossups in the game, then I think that's okay. But if you start losing games because you're too aggressive and don't get enough tossups to make up for it, then you should be less aggressive.
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Re: Neg Control

Postby schen » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:02 pm

The easiest kinds of negs to cut down are those that you make outside of your category, assuming that you play on a team where multiple people cover different things. Prioritize not locking your teammates out on things that they know, and you can focus on nailing tossups in your category and not locking yourself out of those.
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Re: Neg Control

Postby An Economic Ignoramus » Thu Jan 19, 2017 11:47 am

Antonio777100 wrote:Looking back on our results for the Columbia Fall and Winter tournaments, I noticed that we tended to neg 2-4 times a game. I wanted to know if anyone has any suggestions for cutting down on negs or being more sure of an answer before buzzing in.
http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournament ... detail/#t6
http://www.hsquizbowl.org/db/tournament ... etail/#t12

There's a certain calculus involved in this. Buzzing on a clue you don't have ironclad knowledge of requires a lot of risk assessment. Factors include how good the other team is at that subject, what you assess your chances of being right at, how much you're ahead or behind by, and whether your teammates can pick up the buzz if you don't. In this way, a good or bad number of negs is heavily context-based. I suggest less of a narrow focus on less negging than a broader one on mastering this calculus. This can be pretty easily done in practice, and it's probably the single factor that's helped me improve the most. Proto/quizbug, skype leagues, and reading packets on your own time are also really helpful.
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Re: Neg Control

Postby An Economic Ignoramus » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:56 pm

viewtopic.php?f=117&t=14251

Apparently someone already made a thread about this.
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Re: Neg Control

Postby Cheynem » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:27 pm

Saying "I negged a lot in a game" is merely a statement of fact; it's like saying "Vizquel made two errors" or "Brady threw two picks." Obviously in an ideal world none of these things would happen, but to determine how bad they are, you have to look at what actually happened.

Errors in baseball are bad, but one way to greatly reduce errors is to always play extremely conservatively. If I were a second baseman, I could greatly reduce errors by never going for a double play. This would be awful. One way to greatly reduce interceptions is to always hand the ball off or throw very short passes. This would also be awful.

I've had some of my best tournaments when occasionally you hit a game where you misremember a clue or run afoul of a stringent answerline. So in a game where you basically played well you ended up with multiple negs. On the other hand, the easiest way to reduce negs is to never buzz at all.

Thus, what you should do is actually look at the negs and think about why they happened. Were they "bad negs"? What was the context of the game?
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Re: Neg Control

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Wed Jan 25, 2017 4:07 pm

I've found that the decisive factors in controlling my negs have been the following:

1) Getting adequate sleep
2) Approaching the game with a calm mental state

#1 is easier said than done, but it really does matter. The most egregious examples from my own playing career are probably College History Bowl 2014 and Chicago Open 2016 - I played both on no sleep and ended up with lots of unnecessary negs that cost my team games we should/could definitely have won due to not thinking properly, which was doubtless partly due to exhaustion.

#2 is a far harder, and a lot more personal. Frankly, I find that I've played way better since this past year's CO by adopting a more relaxed attitude and not striving for the absolute best possible performance out of some need to "prove myself" or what-have-you, and trusting my evolving game instincts, intuition, and knowledge. Ironically, this has led to me putting up much better performances, both in terms of power numbers and neg numbers - I had a pretty good power rate on LISTORY, and I got more 15s than 10s at a regular tournament for the first time at this year's Terrapin (in addition to pulling a bunch of bonus parts in categories I don't usually play on). I'm hoping to continue this trend at future tournaments.
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Re: Neg Control

Postby bolshevik » Thu Mar 30, 2017 11:59 pm

I'm going to revive this thread with some advice I heard from a Missouri quizbowl sage: a good goal to aim for is for your neg to power ratio to be at or under 1:1, and your neg to total questions answered in tournament ratio should be at or under 1:3. It's definitely a solid baseline, at least.
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Re: Neg Control

Postby Antonio777100 » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:13 pm

I now realize that the most important aspect of playing quizbowl is learning new information. Instead of just taking random guesses on questions, we need to make sure we have enough solid knowledge on a topic to make at least an educated guess. I think that this can be done by encouraging my teammates to study and research the answers, people, and terms that come up over and over again.
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