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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by grapesmoker » Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:33 pm

I'd like to assume my mantle of Scary Mr. Internet Jerry for a moment, and bring everyone's attention to how Canada is a bizarre quizbowl backwater where ideas that are painfully commonsensical and have been universally used by normal tournaments for at least the last five years, if not more, repeatedly fail to take root. After seeing the questions from last year's VETO, I didn't think there was anything left to get wrong, but oh how wrong I was.

There is no reason for this to be the case. Please, Canadian teams, stop doing this; start doing things the normal way and playing normal tournaments. We'd love to see you down here in the not-quite-as-frozen north of New England, and I'm sure Minnesota and Chicago are equally welcoming. In return, many of us wouldn't mind a trip north of the border to play in something fun. As it stands, your weird system(s) serve only to isolate you from the larger circuit.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by adambishop » Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:19 am

Well, it's not like all we do in Canada is play VETO in the summer. I don't know what goes on in BC these days, but the Ontario circuit is pretty active in NAQT, and there is also Ontario Bowl which is edited (at least, more edited than VETO). There are lots of reasons why Canadian quiz bowl is the way it is, but this discussion always leads to the same snarky assholery about how much Canada sucks, so is it really any surprise if we seem reluctant to copy the latest American standards, no matter how much better they are?

The reasons are actually pretty simple; I think mostly it is because we live in a different country. It's the same reason anything else about Canada is different. The circuit is very small, the quiz bowl culture is not so deeply ingrained either in high school or university, and we don't spend our youth studying trivia to apply to exams (no AP tests, no SATs, etc). For most of us this is just a fun distraction, we just don't take it as seriously as you do. I know this leads to accusations that "fun" is actually "Funn", but if it was intense as the American circuit we just wouldn't have a Canadian circuit at all.

Obviously it is possible for Canadians to be good at quiz bowl, as there are numerous present and past examples (unless you reject those examples because they did not play current ACF), but unless all 8 teams or however many there are now suddenly start investing as much time on quiz bowl as you do, that will always be a rarity.

Still, I think things are getting better, at least in Ontario. They're just, well, different.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:51 am

I apologize for my initial confusion about the format of the finals itself.

I still disagree with any finals format which randomly double-counts a game, no matter how that game is chosen.

If you worry about burning packets, then find a way to maximize the amount of games teams play each other before worrying about the finals. This ensures a more fair result, and also gives every team more quizbowl on the dollar. The standard finals format in most good tournaments uses at most two packets, though a third may be used in tournaments that do not do statistical tiebreakers. If you have trouble with doing this, and aren't too scared of us Americans and our version of quizbowl, I'm sure people on this side of the border (myself included) would be more than happy to help out.

In response to Adam: your "different" form of quizbowl will never blend well with the circuit at large on this side of the border. The circuit in Canada is relatively small, obviously. Why not try to expand it? If this game is so fun, why not let more people in on it? Down here, us "snarky assholes" do what we can to spread our form of good quizbowl, and it's paid dividends. If you want hard proof, check out the threads concerning Chicago Open. There were several recent high school graduates and even players who will still be in high school next year.

If you're willing to back up your assertion that this game is so "fun", but don't want to come down and play against "snarky assholes", why not mirror a tournament? ACF Fall, EFT, or any of the other novice-level sets produced next year should be appropriate. It requires little effort, and I'm sure those in charge of writing/editing these events would be willing to provide questions.

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by adambishop » Wed Jul 23, 2008 9:44 am

There are fun parts of VETO that don't seem to match the American idea of fun, like Canadian questions, and the occasional multimedia bonus. Perhaps you are just opposed to those kinds of questions when they are poorly written and overused, but we don't like bad questions either...they just turn out that way from lack of experience, or whatever other reason. It's not that VETO is inherently fun, and I don't think anyone, at least in Ontario, would say that it is; we just like playing something in the summer. Mirroring a tournament is a good idea, and we have already talking about mirroring Chicago Open next summer.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by bsmith » Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:25 am

vetovian wrote:What aspect of curling's finals system makes it not good for quizbowl?
The Page system prolongs the playoffs and forces it to be performed only one game at a time (except the first round), making it suitable for TV, not for events where things can be run simultaneously. The two-game final system is still the way to go, and I am indifferent as to whether the better record or better head-to-head gets the advantage, as long as it is announced in advance.

Double RR ruins the head-to-head idea, though. Either one team won two games (and would be champion before a final match even started...?), or they are split 1-1, forcing it all to come down to one game regardless of the difference in record.
adambishop wrote:Well, it's not like all we do in Canada is play VETO in the summer.
For those who may not be aware, the following has been played on a regular basis in Ontario/Quebec:
*Ontario Bowl (packet sub in the fall)
*TRASH regionals
*NAQT SCT
*Hybrid Tournament (optional packet sub, but everyone does it to avoid paying money)
*VETO

On the plus side, Canada has not really gone down the path of CBI or NAQT's high school questions. On the bad side, we don't do much, whether because of financial constraints (I haven't heard of a Canadian club getting more than $500 total from their school other than Queen's), travel (inter-city travel outside of Toronto leaves much to be desired, and there aren't many older students for renting cars), or laziness (well, there are some clubs that do nothing but NAQT).

I feel that adding another tournament would be a burden to many teams (ACF Fall was attempted in 2005 with great failure), so introducing EFT/ACF would likely be at the expense of Ontario Bowl. Considering that last year's Bowl had to be bailed out with last-minute questions from a UTC tournament (now we have learned from that mistake) and the editor is out of school, a change could happen. McMaster may be running whatever happens in the fall; I talked to their president about ACF Fall instead of Ontario Bowl.
dtaylor4 wrote:The circuit in Canada is relatively small, obviously. Why not try to expand it? If this game is so fun, why not let more people in on it?
The idea that Canadian teams aren't trying to expand is absurd. Every year since I started, either Ontario Bowl or the Hybrid Tournament has grown in size (which I consider to be a better barometer for the "Canadian" part of the circuit than SCT attendance). I have either assisted, resurrected, or outright started clubs at 6 schools, with another 2 hopefully on the way thanks to those graduating Lisgar kids. There will likely be a community college event next year in Quebec, which I believe would be the only one outside the South. And since it's such a struggle to convince freshmen that we don't play Reach, I have introduced high school NAQT events so that the transition to university quizbowl would be more familiar (and result in fewer dropouts).

I know that VETO looks like the same old people showing up and not changing, but the Western freshmen and the graduated Lisgar students were new faces that have at least some of the standards of "modern quizbowl".


ps: before I get ratted further, yes, that playoff vacancy filled by Tamara was a regrettable decision in retrospect and probably ruined Western's legitimate chances in that final game.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by dtaylor4 » Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:36 am

There are several events during the summer that you could mirror. From this summer alone, there was Sun'n'Fun, CO (and all its side events), and the upcoming VCU tournaments. On occasion, questions pertaining to Canada, as well as visual bonuses, appear in sets down here, but (this is my opinion) the key is in moderation. I've been to one tournament that explicitly wanted visual bonuses, and this tournament also required an "action bonus" (for those not in the know, this would be the 2007 edition of the Elvis Memorial at UW-Madison.)

You freely admit that most of the people who play VETO don't have much experience. So why would anyone in his/her right mind take out a significant chunk of oversight? Having an experienced editor (I will pass no judgment on the capabilities of anyone involved in VETO) edit a set and provide constructive feedback is one of the best ways to improve as a writer, and by extension as a player and contributor to the circuit, no matter what circuit you're in.

Ben: OK, so the circuit is growing, and some of them are exposed to more modern standards. Now is the best time to start them playing on tournaments (EFT, ACF Fall, etc.) that typify these modern standards. If you need money, run tournaments. Even if you get only 6-7 teams to show up, you're still making money. Depending on the distance, some teams from the US might be willing to take the trip up north to a) play on good questions and b) help support a growing circuit.

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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:44 am

Maybe a discussion of Canadian quizbowl should move to the Discussion forums, if the mods should choose to smile upon it. Anyway:
adambishop wrote:Well, it's not like all we do in Canada is play VETO in the summer. I don't know what goes on in BC these days, but the Ontario circuit is pretty active in NAQT, and there is also Ontario Bowl which is edited (at least, more edited than VETO).
I briefly perused the qb-canada group on Yahoo!, which I assume is an accurate reflection of the quizbowl action that goes on in Canada. What I saw was mostly posts about SCT and ICT, with the only other independent tournament announcements being VETO, something called Provincial Bowl (which is slated to happen in the fall if I'm not mistaken), Ontario Bowl, and the Ottawa Hybrid tournament. While this is surely better than no tournaments at all, it's well behind what's available to teams in every part of the US. There's no obvious reason why this should be so, as there are plenty of tournaments to be mirrored and so on.
There are lots of reasons why Canadian quiz bowl is the way it is, but this discussion always leads to the same snarky assholery about how much Canada sucks, so is it really any surprise if we seem reluctant to copy the latest American standards, no matter how much better they are?
So, your logic is "Some Americans have criticized us in the past and therefore I refuse to do the sensible thing because that's what Americans do?" Come on, that's the sort of reasoning I would expect from, well, an American.

Neither I nor anyone else that I know has anything against Canada. This isn't a nationalist dick-waving contest, it's a discussion of what makes for good quizbowl. As far as I'm concerned, Canada is the same country when it comes to QB, and if it's the case (as it is) that the American circuit has largely managed to standardize good QB, then I think you should make use of those standards, instead of pretending that Canada is so different that what works here couldn't possibly work there.

In this specific case, a tournament used a completely unjustifiable (that is, if your goal is to crown a legitimate champion) finals format. I mean, it's not like quizbowl playoffs were invented yesterday, it's pretty obvious to anyone who thinks about it that the advantaged playoff is the fairest finals format.
The reasons are actually pretty simple; I think mostly it is because we live in a different country.
Toronto is not so different from Boston.
It's the same reason anything else about Canada is different. The circuit is very small, the quiz bowl culture is not so deeply ingrained either in high school or university, and we don't spend our youth studying trivia to apply to exams (no AP tests, no SATs, etc).
Neither the AP tests nor the SATs are exams based on "trivia." I don't know where you got that idea. Anyway, your situation is in no way all that different from many parts of the United States (witness the horrible clusterfuck that is Missouri for example). That doesn't mean your collegiate circuit can't make use of the best that has been thought in quizbowl theory.
if it was intense as the American circuit we just wouldn't have a Canadian circuit at all.
You don't know this to be true. In fact, this is an argument that's been made many times before you and it's never been right. As quizbowl spreads, the intensity of the game at all levels increases; if you make intellectual demands of people, they will strive to live up to those demands.
Obviously it is possible for Canadians to be good at quiz bowl, as there are numerous present and past examples (unless you reject those examples because they did not play current ACF), but unless all 8 teams or however many there are now suddenly start investing as much time on quiz bowl as you do, that will always be a rarity.
Canadian teams had some pretty respectable finishes at ICT this year, so obviously I wouldn't reject that at all. I think everyone knows that I hold ICT in less regard than ACF Nationals for various reasons, but that's neither here nor there; of course I regard their performance as legitimate. And now consider what could be if the teams on the Canadian circuit made a concerted effort to be better, to host and attend and mirror better tournaments, and to stop justifying FUNN innovations (which is what's happening in this thread) on the spurious grounds that this somehow makes it more Canadian.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:48 am

adambishop wrote:Well, it's not like all we do in Canada is play VETO in the summer. I don't know what goes on in BC these days, but the Ontario circuit is pretty active in NAQT, and there is also Ontario Bowl which is edited (at least, more edited than VETO). There are lots of reasons why Canadian quiz bowl is the way it is, but this discussion always leads to the same snarky assholery about how much Canada sucks, so is it really any surprise if we seem reluctant to copy the latest American standards, no matter how much better they are?
I think this is far less of a America v. Canada thing and more of a bad quiz bowl thing. Falling back on the "if you criticize us you're a jerk" thing isn't going to help the discussion either.
The reasons are actually pretty simple; I think mostly it is because we live in a different country. It's the same reason anything else about Canada is different. The circuit is very small, the quiz bowl culture is not so deeply ingrained either in high school or university, and we don't spend our youth studying trivia to apply to exams (no AP tests, no SATs, etc). For most of us this is just a fun distraction, we just don't take it as seriously as you do. I know this leads to accusations that "fun" is actually "Funn", but if it was intense as the American circuit we just wouldn't have a Canadian circuit at all.
Okay, but how does "not taking it serious" recuse you from doing things like fairly determining tournament winners and producing half-decent questions? I'm not some high scoring player telling this to you. I'm someone who was able to go to one college tournament (where I scored two points per game! Two!), have not been able to attend any other events due to professional obligations (and trust me, there are at least ten tournaments I would have loved to be able to go to in the past) and am unlikely to go to a collegiate event for a few more months at least. Your scoring average doesn't have to be at x ppg to realize why these ideas are good and why they should be implemented.

Aside: SATs test math ability, reading comprehension and logic skills. No trivia. APs test knowledge of specific works/periods/etc., which is not really trivia but a test?
Obviously it is possible for Canadians to be good at quiz bowl, as there are numerous present and past examples (unless you reject those examples because they did not play current ACF), but unless all 8 teams or however many there are now suddenly start investing as much time on quiz bowl as you do, that will always be a rarity.
The issues discussed in this thread have nothing to do with talent, but quality of events. The reason VETO is often looked down upon is because experienced quiz bowlers find the questions of poor quality. It has nothing to do with the competition.

Will write more later...
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Jul 23, 2008 10:56 am

vetovian wrote:
dtaylor4 wrote:
vetovian wrote:What does CBI do that what I've posted appears to mimic?
It's not an exact mimic, but go look up CBI's "Final Four" system used at nationals.
Maybe the question "Why would you ever want to mimic CBI?" was intended to be ironic, but in case it wasn't, there's no getting around the fact that ACF, NAQT, and circuit quizbowl all mimic CBI in their basic format.
If you mean we all mimic CBI because we answer questions when playing on teams using buzzers, then it's okay to mimic other College Bowl things, that's pretty bad reasoning. Many changes have been made in the game since College Bowl started back in the '50s that have improved the game greatly, and College Bowl continued to do things that negatively affected quiz bowl until they suspended operations this year.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by AKKOLADE » Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:24 am

adambishop wrote:There are fun parts of VETO that don't seem to match the American idea of fun, like Canadian questions, and the occasional multimedia bonus.
I don't think anyone minds a Canadian specific distribution for Canadian-based tournaments; it seems pretty reasonable to me. Also, multimedia bonuses aren't really an issue. They're a little harder to write to be decent, but as long as they're still good, there isn't much of an issue there.

Multimedia toss-ups, though... not so cool.
adambishop wrote:Perhaps you are just opposed to those kinds of questions when they are poorly written and overused, but we don't like bad questions either...they just turn out that way from lack of experience, or whatever other reason. It's not that VETO is inherently fun, and I don't think anyone, at least in Ontario, would say that it is; we just like playing something in the summer. Mirroring a tournament is a good idea, and we have already talking about mirroring Chicago Open next summer.
Well, there's plenty of people to talk with about improving your question quality. When I recruited people to help me out with GARBAGE by acting as editors, I was able to find a good number of people willing to help. Perhaps the next VETO group can do something similar? There's no guarantee that you will get help (schedules and such are always a nice x-factor), but you can guarantee that you won't get help if you don't pursue it.

It's really good to hear a CO mirror is being pursued; I hope it takes root and that it's enjoyed.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by millionwaves » Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:55 pm

I'm producing a quizbowl tournament that we're planning to hold on November 15 as the Illinois Open. If a Canadian team wants to run a tournament on those questions, I'd be perfectly willing to slash my rates, even down to not charging for the questions. If you're a Canadian team and you want to spread harder-than-regular-season, ACF format quizbowl with no more than a standard American amount of Canadian content and no multimedia questions for free, look me up.

The caveat to this is that there is a team in Massachusetts with a prior claim. If I only get interest from a host that would draw teams away from their site, I'm afraid I'll have to withdraw this offer.
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Re: ANNOUNCEMENT: VETO in Vancouver and Toronto, 7/19/2008

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:00 pm

For heaven's sake, noone expects Canada to turn into a booming qb metropolis overnight and host tourneys like ACF Nats and Chi Open with astounding success. We're asking that you stop continually clinging to ideas that everyone in the civilized qb world agrees are bad (regardless of what country they happen to live in). It's so unnecessary, given that a number of tourneys like EFT and ACF Fall and other novice accessible events can be easily mirrored, instead of continuing to run the same slate of tourneys that are guaranteed to turn out badly.

Judging from this thread, the various reasons put forth for not adopting this strategy include:
(1) visual bonuses are the coolest and all Canadians would walk off fjords like lemmings in their absence
(2) our ideas are Canadian, and hence, by definition, good
(3) nothing is really good or bad in the end, just different
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by Matt Weiner » Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:03 pm

This is the same place these discussions have ended up for the eight years I've been involved: "Stop telling us to use good questions and run good tournaments, you Yankee imperialists; bad quizbowl is part of our independent Canadian culture, blah blah universal health care." It's stupid. There's nothing political about what you're doing; writing terrible questions, ignoring distributions, ending tournaments after seven rounds, and intentionally coming up with the most unfair playoff formats possible is bad quizbowl, and it would be bad quizbowl regardless of what country it happened in.

The final score at VETO was 95 to 75. If this VETO was anything like the other 15 Canada-produced question sets I've seen, the reason was because nearly all of the questions were on niche things the packet writer recently encountered in a class, and increasingly obscure Canadian literature and pop music which nobody, even in Canada, seems to care about, with no regard given to whether the teams could actually answer the questions. If 95 to 75 scores are acceptable to you, then you definitely could have just used the Chicago Open set--the finals teams would have scored about the same, and they would have done so on infinitely better questions (and had 19 rounds of them to play a proper tournament on).

We've been through this "hybrid/NAQT/trash/high school tournaments are fun, academic tournaments are not fun" bullshit before with any number of American regions who eventually learned that they were wrong. Why not spare yourself the strife and the bad arguments and just cut to the point where everyone plays good quizbowl and enjoys it more a few years ahead of schedule? If it's difficult to travel between cities, why waste your precious opportunities to do so on bad tournaments? If you don't care about trivia (and why should anyone care about trivia?) then why keep running tournaments which emphasize trivia instead of real academic material?

We are not re-enacting the War of 1812 here. No one is trying to conquer Canada. Historical accident has made it such that American quizbowl, at this point in time, is way better than Canadian quizbowl, so by virtue of that, and not for any other reason, you should listen to us. You can keep doing all your unique Canadian things when the quizbowl tournament is over. Fair?
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:08 pm

Darn it, my post just missed Trygve's split-off. Can someone migrate my post over here, so we can pile on the official "Yankee Jingos piling on peaceful fun-loving Canadians" parade?
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by millionwaves » Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:09 pm

Ryan Westbrook wrote:Darn it, my post just missed Trygve's split-off. Can someone migrate my post over here, so we can pile on the official "Yankee Jingos piling on peaceful fun-loving Canadians" parade?
Sure.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by grapesmoker » Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:11 pm

In addition to Trygve's generous offer of an Illinois Open mirror, I want to make a similar offer for EFT. We'd be happy to have Canadian teams mirror this tournament and we're very flexible about the mirror price. I think this tournament will be very appropriate for most Canadian teams, although it will not have the Canadian content of something like VETO.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:14 pm

Matt Weiner wrote:No one is trying to conquer Canada.
Speak for yourself, man.

Seriously, though, I'd like to extend the same offer. If you want to host a mirror of the T-Party (~ 12/6) or the Harvard International (~ 4/12) (holy shit now it is even more international suck it), you can. We'd want to charge something for both, especially the latter since we're writing the whole damn thing, but, like Trygve, I'm all too willing to slash the ordinary mirroring rates substantially. (Presumably, you're not going to pull teams away from the tournament's main site, so we'll lose nothing.)

So look: now you have two fall/winter and one spring tournament total, all of which will kick some serious ass. You could also try mirroring EFT and Fall. That's five great tournaments. I'm sure there are willing hosts.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by NoahMinkCHS » Wed Jul 23, 2008 3:48 pm

Since travel/finances are apparently a burden, have any potential hosts considered holding, say, Ontario Bowl on Saturday followed by, say, a mirror of a US tournament on Sunday? This has been done successfully south of the border (see: Shorter College's NAQT IS/ACF Fall weekend from 2007) and gives teams more bang for their travel buck. And if you're able to swing free or low-cost questions to mirror (which it sounds like here), you could even charge a greatly-reduced rate to teams doing both events (to encourage people to stay for both events).

And, if you're really ambitious, you could (with the original host's permission) see about replacing some of the US-centric politics/history/pop culture questions with Canadian content (though, obviously, well-written Can-con).

This would be known as "giving good quizbowl a chance". And it sounds like a win-win to me.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by vetovian » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:29 am

I'd encourage people who are interested in VETO's history to look at the reports I've written every year (for the Vancouver site) since the first one in 1999. These reports are linked from the CAQL results page.
dtaylor4 wrote:You freely admit that most of the people who play VETO don't have much experience. So why would anyone in his/her right mind take out a significant chunk of oversight? Having an experienced editor (I will pass no judgment on the capabilities of anyone involved in VETO) edit a set and provide constructive feedback is one of the best ways to improve as a writer, and by extension as a player and contributor to the circuit, no matter what circuit you're in.
leftsaidfred wrote:Well, there's plenty of people to talk with about improving your question quality. When I recruited people to help me out with GARBAGE by acting as editors, I was able to find a good number of people willing to help. Perhaps the next VETO group can do something similar? There's no guarantee that you will get help (schedules and such are always a nice x-factor), but you can guarantee that you won't get help if you don't pursue it.
NoahMinkCHS wrote:And, if you're really ambitious, you could (with the original host's permission) see about replacing some of the US-centric politics/history/pop culture questions with Canadian content (though, obviously, well-written Can-con).

This would be known as "giving good quizbowl a chance". And it sounds like a win-win to me.
VETO began as the first quizbowl tournament in Canada west of Ontario. It's always been a guerrilla tournament, but for the first three years, we used packets donated by other tournaments -- the Terrier Tussle the first year, then NAQT the next two years -- and each team supplemented its packet with a few Canadian questions. By 2002, we decided to remove these "training wheels" and make each team write a whole packet. I freely admit that VETO questions since then would have been more enjoyable to play on if most of them had continued to be from more experienced sources, rather than from among ourselves only. But "more enjoyable to play on" is not the only consideration here. We also want to develop our own question writing and avoid being dependent on others (and not just for nationalistic reasons). However, there is probably a good case to be made that guerrilla tournaments should only be for teams of experienced writers, not for people who don't participate in any other quizbowl activity between one VETO and the next, as is the case for some of our players. If we don't have a guerrilla format and if we don't get most of our questions from some other source, the natural thing would be to have an edited packet-submission tournament. This would require an editor. Back in March, I asked the QB-CANADA list for anyone who might be interested in editing VETO this year, but nobody came forward.

More generally, about "the Canadian circuit": there are actually two very distinct Canadian circuits. One is the Ontario/Quebec circuit, which is now thriving, with a whole bunch of teams. The other is the British Columbia circuit, which now consists of UBC, SFU, and a University of Victoria team of one person. These teams are all located very close to the border, but NAQT's "Pacific Northwest" sectionals haven't had any American teams in at least five years. The University of Washington and University of Oregon are no longer active.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by adambishop » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:35 am

Okay, I would like to apologize to everyone for jumping out swinging, and assuming everyone is just anti-Canada...I guess I am used to the less-friendly environment of IRC in previous years when this same discussion used to come up (over and over and over, as Matt noted). It is frustrating that quiz bowl has barely progressed at all here while it has gone so far in the US, and I am being overzealous in trying to find reasons for that.

It's nice to see all the suggestions for mirrors throughout the year; I'm not in charge of anything anymore and I don't think Ben is either, but we'll pass them along. Thank you.

Oh - to respond to Matt, the final score was 95-75 in Vancouver. The scores when we used the same packet in Toronto were 170-100 and 275-60 (the second-lowest average score). I recall that tossups ranged from Harmodius and Aristogeiton, to a question about the kidneys that mentioned nephrology in the first line - obviously, there are still problems with clue placement and uniform difficulty. But the "niche crap" problem wasn't there this year, I don't think (if it ever really was). The stats, at least in Toronto, seem to support this. You can see for yourself when the packets are uploaded, I guess, but we're getting better at that.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by vetovian » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:36 am

I still want to discuss this playoff format we used for VETO. Jerry calls it "a completely unjustifiable (that is, if your goal is to crown a legitimate champion) finals format" and says that "it's pretty obvious to anyone who thinks about it that the advantaged playoff is the fairest finals format", where (I assume) he means that the advantage should be given to the team with the better win-loss record, instead of to the team that had won the earlier game in the round-robin. As someone who's thought about it, I'll respond that I still don't see how it's "obvious" that our choice was less fair than the suggested alternative, let alone being "completely unjustifiable". And "intentionally coming up with the most unfair playoff formats possible"? Do you really believe that, Matt?

Essentially people are saying that in this particular tournament, with these particular round-robin results, if we were going to have up to two rounds of finals then the only way that UBC B should have been legitimately declared champion would be if it played B2B a total of three times and won all three times. Seriously: If you were B2B, would you feel unfairly deprived of the championship because you weren't given a third opportunity to try to beat a team that you'd already played twice and that had beaten you both times? It's true that B2B's record was 6-0 against the teams ranked #3 and lower, while UBC B's record against those teams was 4-2, but UBC B showed it could already pull off two "upsets" against B2B. And it's undisputed that these should be considered the top two teams.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by evilmonkey » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:48 am

vetovian wrote:As someone who's thought about it, I'll respond that I still don't see how it's "obvious" that our choice was less fair than the suggested alternative, let alone being "completely unjustifiable".
...
Seriously: If you were B2B, would you feel unfairly deprived of the championship because you weren't given a third opportunity to try to beat a team that you'd already played twice and that had beaten you both times?
Although my 1/50th of a dollar doesn't matter much, I have to agree with vetovian (whose initial post with signature was left in the original thread), inasmuch that he has a perfectly defensible system. This isn't to say I believe its necessarily better (I prefer the other way, but that may be just based on what I'm used to). However, it seems that he has set up a playoff system and given legitimate reasons for it. [/end 2cents]
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by dtaylor4 » Thu Jul 24, 2008 3:56 am

vetovian wrote:I still want to discuss this playoff format we used for VETO. Jerry calls it "a completely unjustifiable (that is, if your goal is to crown a legitimate champion) finals format" and says that "it's pretty obvious to anyone who thinks about it that the advantaged playoff is the fairest finals format", where (I assume) he means that the advantage should be given to the team with the better win-loss record, instead of to the team that had won the earlier game in the round-robin. As someone who's thought about it, I'll respond that I still don't see how it's "obvious" that our choice was less fair than the suggested alternative, let alone being "completely unjustifiable". And "intentionally coming up with the most unfair playoff formats possible"? Do you really believe that, Matt?

Essentially people are saying that in this particular tournament, with these particular round-robin results, if we were going to have up to two rounds of finals then the only way that UBC B should have been legitimately declared champion would be if it played B2B a total of three times and won all three times. Seriously: If you were B2B, would you feel unfairly deprived of the championship because you weren't given a third opportunity to try to beat a team that you'd already played twice and that had beaten you both times? It's true that B2B's record was 6-0 against the teams ranked #3 and lower, while UBC B's record against those teams was 4-2, but UBC B showed it could already pull off two "upsets" against B2B. And it's undisputed that these should be considered the top two teams.
So you're going to discount every other game that the two teams played against other teams? You're still double-counting random games, which has no place in a fair system.

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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by cvdwightw » Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:04 am

vetovian wrote:Essentially people are saying that in this particular tournament, with these particular round-robin results, if we were going to have up to two rounds of finals then the only way that UBC B should have been legitimately declared champion would be if it played B2B a total of three times and won all three times. Seriously: If you were B2B, would you feel unfairly deprived of the championship because you weren't given a third opportunity to try to beat a team that you'd already played twice and that had beaten you both times? It's true that B2B's record was 6-0 against the teams ranked #3 and lower, while UBC B's record against those teams was 4-2, but UBC B showed it could already pull off two "upsets" against B2B. And it's undisputed that these should be considered the top two teams.
There are two separate issues, the one that you are focusing on and the one that "everyone else" is focusing on. If we focus on "your" side, then we come to your conclusion - that the team that wins the head to head should win. If we focus on "everyone else's" side, then we come to our conclusion. The argument that I am trying to make is that your conclusion is a reasonable one from the false premise that the only way a team can be considered to be "better" than another team is by beating them in a head-to-head matchup.

In your mind, whoever wins more games between the top 2 teams should be declared the winner. A team should not have to beat another team three times to win a tournament if beating them twice assures them the head-to-head victory.

In our minds, this is unfair because (after determining the top two teams) all other games played by the two teams are not counted, only the one game played between the two teams. In other words, UBC B's losses magically disappear because they had the good fortune of losing to teams that were not in the final. By giving the team with the better record the advantage, you are rewarding that team for having performed better in the round-robin.

If I were B2B, I would not feel unfairly deprived of the championship "because [I wasn't] given a third opportunity to try to beat a team" that I had already lost to twice. However, I would feel unfairly deprived of the championship because a record-wise inferior team was rewarded more for its performance in the round robin than a record-wise superior team.

Let me introduce the notion of a direct claim to superiority: I am better than you because I have beaten you; and an indirect claim to superiority: I have beaten someone (...who has beaten someone, who has beaten someone...) who has beaten you, and therefore by being directly superior to someone (...who is directly superior to someone,...) who is directly superior to you, I am superior to you. Furthermore, let us take as a given that the "better" team (which should get the advantage) is the team which has the "better" claim(s) to superiority.

Therefore, the question becomes in this muck of transitivity whether to reward one direct claim to superiority or two indirect claims to superiority; in any case the team with fewer losses will always have "more" claims to superiority than the team with more losses.

Let me further clarify what I mean by an "indirect claim": I can claim, via the ridiculous travesty of transitivity, that I am superior to a team that is directly superior to you. No matter how many ways I can prove being superior to that team, it still counts as one claim. So, if there are two teams (other than me) directly superior to you and I am directly or indirectly superior to both of them, then I have two indirect claims to superiority over you; if there are six teams (other than me) directly superior to you and I am directly or indirectly superior to only three of them, then I have three indirect claims to superiority.

You argue that the "quality" of a claim is the most salient feature on which to base a decision, in that a direct claim is worth 1 and an indirect claim worth 0. In other words, if you did not beat your opponent, your claim to being superior to that opponent is worthless.

I and every other non-Canadian in this thread (except for Bryce, apparently) argue for the equality of a direct and an indirect claim, and thus that the "quantity" of claims is more important than their individual "qualities". Therefore, yes, UBC B would necessarily have to beat B2B three times to assert three claims to superiority and thus beat B2B's two claims.

In general, it is thought that we rank teams by number of wins (and therefore the number of "direct claims to superiority"). I argue that this is not actually what happens. Rather, we rank by "most total claims to superiority", which is equivalent to fewest losses. If I am undefeated, then no one has a claim to being superior to me; the number of wins I have is irrelevant. If I only have one loss, then every other team in the tournament has at most one claim (direct or indirect) to superiority over me, whereas I can claim superiority to every other team in the tournament in one or more ways (unless an undefeated team exists), and therefore since I can claim superiority in more ways I must be better than those teams.

I argue that B2B can still make a valid case that, at 1-2 against UBC B, it is superior to UBC B, because it still has more claims to superiority over UBC B (one direct, two indirect) than UBC B has over B2B (two direct), and furthermore that it is necessarily MORE valid than UBC's case that it would have more claims to superiority over B2B (two) than B2B could possibly have over UBC, because the latter method necessarily disregards games while the former method incorporates all games played.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by cvdwightw » Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:39 am

evilmonkey wrote:Although my 1/50th of a dollar doesn't matter much, I have to agree with vetovian (whose initial post with signature was left in the original thread), inasmuch that he has a perfectly defensible system. This isn't to say I believe its necessarily better (I prefer the other way, but that may be just based on what I'm used to). However, it seems that he has set up a playoff system and given legitimate reasons for it. [/end 2cents]
Bryce,

I agree that the system is "perfectly defensible"; however, this defense rests heavily on what I believe to be a flawed assumption - namely, that only beating an opponent gives any legitimate claim to being "better". Suppose that the following happens:

Maryland beats Brown, Stanford, loses to Chicago.
Chicago beats Maryland, loses to Brown and Stanford.
Brown and Stanford both beat Chicago but lose to several other non-contending teams such that both have 4+ losses.

Claiming that Maryland is superior to Chicago involves: Maryland is superior to more teams than Chicago is; therefore Maryland is better than Chicago. This is the standard justification for the advantage going to Maryland.
Claiming that Chicago is superior to Maryland involves: Chicago is better than every team in the field save Brown and Stanford by virtue of beating them; since Maryland is among those teams which Chicago is better than, Chicago is superior to Maryland. This is apparently Peter's justification for the advantage going to (in this case) Chicago.

However, the second claim purposefully ignores that by its own logic Chicago is not better than Brown or Stanford, and therefore since either Brown or Stanford can claim to be better than the "best team in the tournament", clearly one of those teams is the best team in the tournament (though we know this is not the case since Maryland is better than both of those teams). In other words, by ignoring this transitivity nonsense in determining the best team in the tournament, the second claim necessarily must fall victim to it as we can prove by the same logic that a team (which is not the best team in the tournament) is better than the best team in the tournament; the second claim purports to get around this problem by ignoring the fact that Chicago-Brown and Chicago-Stanford were ever played, which goes against the basic principle of good quizbowl that every game should count (and count equally).

The first claim, on the other hand, ignores the fact that Chicago is better than Maryland by having beaten it, because regardless of the outcome of that match Maryland would still be superior to more teams than Chicago.

I resolve this apparent paradox by introducing the "quantity of claims", in which I argue that Maryland is better than Chicago in more ways than Chicago is better than Maryland, and therefore Maryland is better. This resolves all transitivity nonsense because it takes all of it into account. For each "transitive" argument that Chicago can make, Maryland can counter that argument with one of its own, but Maryland can make a "transitive" argument that Chicago cannot counter (because it will have exhausted all of its previous counters either attacking Maryland or defending against Maryland's arguments). To wit, Chicago can begin by claiming it is better than Maryland. Maryland can then counter by claiming that Brown is superior to Chicago and Maryland is superior to Brown, so Maryland is better than Chicago. When Maryland then claims the same thing using Stanford, Chicago has no response left - and thus Maryland wins the argument.

Furthermore, in computing this analysis, no games will count for nothing. Each team will be accountable for each loss. So, Maryland is accountable for its loss to Chicago; however, Chicago's losses to Brown and Stanford are no longer meaningless. I argue that this resolves the problems with both the first claim (where Maryland's loss to Chicago is ultimately meaningless) and the second claim (where Chicago's losses to Brown and Stanford mean nothing because it beat Maryland in the only game that counted).

Under this view, then, Maryland must necessarily earn the one-game advantage because it has more arguments to being the better team. While the first and second claims are equally invalid because they both arbitrarily discount games, finding a fair solution to this problem necessitates that the advantage goes to Maryland.
Dwight Wynne
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:42 am

cvdwightw wrote:Furthermore, in computing this analysis, no games will count for nothing. Each team will be accountable for each loss.
Now that you've presented a rigorous analysis, I can throw out my vague heuristic argument as to why it's bad for only head to head to matter in advantaging. If the one finals team takes its only loss from its opponent, but its opponent loses twice to teams not in the finals, the opponent is seeded, essentially, as the best team in the tournament, despite being inferior to the two teams it lost to. That's bad, but what's extra important is that losses to poor teams indicate that you're, like, capable of playing poorly. It's less a question of "sure, you guys DID do better against the bad teams here, but we did better against the good teams" and more "dude, you guys did worse against the bad teams." What's worse: losing once to the second best team in the tournament, or losing once each to the worst two?

The latter, I'd say, is pretty decisively worse--though of course that's not necessarily the case here, and I don't mean to insult the non-finalist teams that beat the top seed. But this is an especially dangerous strategy because of the variable packet difficulty (and, presumably, quality) at this tournament.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by bsmith » Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:51 am

adambishop wrote:Oh - to respond to Matt, the final score was 95-75 in Vancouver. The scores when we used the same packet in Toronto were 170-100 and 275-60 (the second-lowest average score). I recall that tossups ranged from Harmodius and Aristogeiton, to a question about the kidneys that mentioned nephrology in the first line - obviously, there are still problems with clue placement and uniform difficulty. But the "niche crap" problem wasn't there this year, I don't think (if it ever really was). The stats, at least in Toronto, seem to support this. You can see for yourself when the packets are uploaded, I guess, but we're getting better at that.
That 95-75 score was ridiculous. Vancouver had 5 packets to choose from for their final: Toronto A & B, Western, Lisgar #2, and Queen's. A Toronto pack would have been more reliable based on reputation (although Toronto B ended up giving away bonus points without effort). The teams in BC were also weaker. Take the example of the Ottawa packet, used in the RR on both sides. The round reports say the Ottawa packet had 20 more PPG per team in Ontario despite being played only by the bottom 4 teams (while in BC it was played by all but the middle 2). Yes, there was a tossup on a Toronto company, but I don't think that made the difference. It is probable that if Toronto A or Western were on that pack, it would be considered farcically easy.

I think Ontario did better with a B2B final (the "visual tossup" was someone holding up a picture depicting a scene from history and reading an otherwise normal tossup) than BC did with a Queen's final, even though we were essentially forced to use B2B after Peter's pack never showed up (I don't know why the directors in Toronto chose to eat up more questions by playing each semifinal with different packets).

If more Vancouver players are curious how their pack fared in Ontario, I added on the packet stats for the games Ottawa played (UBC C, Oregon, and B2B) into the Toronto round report.
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by Mechanical Beasts » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:13 am

Even if you want to keep a guerilla format in most respects, and do no editing of submitted packets, I think this demonstrates a massive advantage to having an editor. That way, at least, repeats can be removed before the tournament (since you don't seem to be committed to never removing them at all) and the editor can write a final's packet or two. Hell, have an editor per site and then they can write two. This way there's no debate over "do we use this team's submitted packet of unpredictable quality, subdistribution, and appropriate answer selection... or THIS one?"
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Re: Canadian Quizbowl

Post by No Rules Westbrook » Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:40 am

I'm pretty sure this thread doesn't need mathematical proofs, game theory, and formal logic - just like nothing involving quizbowl does.
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