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ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019 - University of Pennsylvania

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:23 pm
by Auroni
Hey everyone. This is the announcement thread for ACF Nationals 2019, which will take place on the weekend of April 13th at the University of Pennsylvania.

This tournament will be edited by Alex Damisch, Andrew Wang, Athena Kern, Andrew Hart, Ike Jose, Jason Cheng, JinAh Kim, Jordan Brownstein, Matt Bollinger, and myself as the head editor. I am very excited to work with this ensemble cast of both established and up-and-coming editors, who will breathe fresh life into the game's highest echelons while ensuring consistency, difficulty control, and polish.

This tournament will combine aspects of the previous two ACF Nationals, which will be reflected in the sections below.

Eligibility

Information on who is eligible to play ACF tournaments and details regarding packet submission can be found at the ACF Packet Submission Guidelines. (Note: because our distribution is different, do not follow the guidelines for the distribution that appear in this link)

Qualification

This tournament will use the A-value qualification system, an explanation of which can be found here. Hosts of ACF Regionals 2019 should send information about the teams that receive bids to our set email, acfnationals2019@gmail.com.

Packet Submission

To ensure a fair format and adequate tiebreakers, the editors are committing to writing 11 packets this year. We will produce an additional 9 packets based on submissions that will be used in the preliminary phase of the tournament.

Like the editors of last year's ACF Nationals, I'm hoping that I can coordinate with teams on their packets so that we get somewhere around 15 quality submissions. Please fill out this form if you would like to submit a packet.

Under this arrangement, packet submission will not be mandatory, but we're counting on teams capable of writing quality packets to work with us to ensure that we have enough submissions to edit the tournament. If we can't be sure that we'll have enough packets to make this work, we'll consider other options.

Fee Schedule

Base fee: $320
-$100 discount: Sunday, January 20
-$50 discount: Sunday, February 17
Buzzer discount: -$10 per working system
Staffer discount: -$100 for each staffer capable of reading a round in 35 minutes or less
Quality discount: -$50

I will work with teams to coordinate their submissions. We will continue to offer an additional $50 dollar discount to any team that writes at least 20/20 that doesn’t need any major editing (packets requiring relatively few changes to clues, answer lines, or grammar will qualify).

In the unlikely event that a team submits a packet but does not qualify for ACF Nationals, we will be in touch with you make sure that their school will receive whatever discount they earn as a discount at a future ACF tournament.

Field Size

The initial field cap will be 42 teams. Expansion up to 48 teams is very possible once we confirm staffers. Expansion beyond 48 teams may not be possible because of format, but if demand is high, we will explore our options.

If every team that played ACF Regionals, and thus has an A-value, is offered a spot in the Nationals field and there are still spots remaining, they will be filled first come, first served.

Please stay in touch with me or other ACF members if we are trying to verify your attendance at this event. We may be forced to drop teams from the field if they do not confirm their attendance in a timely manner.

Distribution

We've made minor changes to the distribution for this tournament; please see below for specifics.

5/5 Literature: This includes 1/1 American, 1/1 British, 1/1 European, 1/1 world, and 1/1 other (which can include any of the preceding categories). Vary your questions by time, place, and genre, and please make sure that drama, poetry, and short fiction are represented.

5/5 History: This includes 1/1 American, 2/2 European, 1/1 world, and 1/1 other (which can include any of the preceding categories or questions spanning multiple places). Please make sure that your questions aren’t all from the same time period or place and aren’t all one type of history (for instance, try not to submit 5/5 political history or 5/5 military history).

5/5 Science: This includes 1/1 biology, 1/1 chemistry, 1/1 physics, 1 math or computer science, 1 astronomy, earth science, or other science, and 1/1 other science (which can include any of the preceding categories).

3/3 Arts: 1/1 painting and sculpture (this encompasses drawing, painting, printmaking, illustration, ceramics, sculpture, and other small "handicrafts"). 1/1 classical music. 1 question on other visual arts (architecture, film, photography, performance art, installation art, non-Western artistic traditions that do not fall under "painting and sculpture," etc) and 1 question on other auditory arts (jazz, ballet, opera, musical theater, folk music, non-Western musical traditions, popular music from the early 20th century, etc) Vary by genre, place, and time period. If you are writing a packet and have any questions about whether a given topic is suitable for this distribution, please email me.

1/1 Religion (please try to write interesting questions exploring the culture, practices, texts, and study of the world's major belief systems or of well-known historical or ethnic groups)

1/1 Philosophy

1/1 Social Science (this encompasses both hard, ie economics, linguistics, psychology, anthropology, political science, or other social science that is rooted mainly in empirical, scientific methods, ideally topics that are still relevant in their fields today, and "soft thought," such as cultural criticism, theory, and texts or people of interest primarily for historical reasons rather than current relevance)

1.5/1.5 Mythology/Current Events/Geography: 1 mythology question drawing from myths from the world's major mythological systems, or relating to "legends" that are more cultural than classical (such as American lore, European folktales, or similar stories that are less likely to show up in the canonical "mythology" category), or about mythography. 1 current events question describing interesting and relevant contemporary issues without devolving into a list of politicians and political parties or focusing on flavor-of-the-day stories. 1 geography question incorporating cultural and environmental clues instead of purely discussing physical features.

1.5/1.5 Other Academic: at least 1/1 of this category must be dedicated to questions that don't fit other categories or blend clues from varying categories. Disciplines that could be represented in this category include, but are by no means limited to, environmental art, library science, urban studies, and culinary arts. Clues that place academic topics in a popular-culture context are welcome in this category, if done sparingly and well (but please keep in mind that ACF Nationals does not have question on purely popular culture). Please email me if you have any questions or ideas for how to satisfy this requirement. The remaining question may be an "extra" of prior categories.

As overriding principles, please vary your questions by time, place, and subject matter, so that there aren't strange clusters of related questions in your packets; please think twice before submitting tossups on very difficult answer lines; and please try to write your questions on simple answers, using interesting clues, rather than writing on complex answer lines that may confuse readers or players and lead to protests.

Difficulty

In emulation of the difficulty of ACF Nationals 2017, we aim to ensure that scaled down versions of at least 60% of the tossup answers (including ones that are "common link") in each packet could appear as tossups at regular difficulty college tournaments or below. A simple way to ensure that more of your submission gets used is to keep this metric in mind when writing.

How to submit your packet

All packets should be sent to acfnationals2019@gmail.com. If you have any questions about packet writing, you can send them to that email address as well.

This announcement will be edited as the logistics are finalized.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/20-21/19

Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:48 pm
by vinteuil
Have those organizing nationals considered that placing it on both Easter and the first two days of Passover will have adverse effects on attendance and competitiveness?

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/27-28/2019

Posted: Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:56 pm
by cwasims
I'll also note that the revised later date will make it much easier for Canadians to attend given that it is pretty much after our April exam season finishes. The earlier date in past years has been a barrier for several people who've wanted to attend Nationals.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:52 pm
by Auroni
After internal discussions, we have moved the date of Nationals one final time to the weekend of April 13th and 14th to make it easier for us to recruit the highest quality staff. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:56 pm
by Cheynem
TAKE THAT, CANADA!

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2018 8:13 pm
by otsasonr
Auroni wrote:After internal discussions, we have moved the date of Nationals one final time to the weekend of April 13th and 14th to make it easier for us to recruit the highest quality staff. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Could we get a more substantial explanation of the logic for the shift than a citation of "internal discussions" and staff availability? Obviously, the staffing requirements are a patently reasonable justification for setting the date for a tournament of the scale of ACF Nationals, but considering the also reasonable justification for the later date raised by Chris earlier, I think it would be fair to expand on the decision making process a bit more. In particular, what facts about the late April date make it significantly more difficult to staff the tournament? How did you counterbalance this against the possible impact on teams? What attempts, if any, were made to poll the community (of both staffers and teams) about their preferences and constraints?

I know these decisions are difficult to make, and I do not fault anyone for not having a rigorous analytic hierarchy model or anything, but greater transparency is, I believe, always worthwhile in these situations.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:03 pm
by vinteuil
Auroni wrote:After internal discussions, we have moved the date of Nationals one final time to the weekend of April 13th and 14th to make it easier for us to recruit the highest quality staff. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Do you mind sharing more about this decision process? I'm having a hard time believing that it was possible to contact even the cream of the ACF staffing pool that quickly, and there are obviously reasons why this date is problematic for some schools (Canada) and people (those observing Palm Sunday).

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:19 pm
by Cody
I did not make the final decision for the date of ACF Nationals, but April 27-28 is the date of NHBB Nationals. NHBB Nationals monopolizes a lot of staff. Unless interest in ACF Nationals inexplicably collapses, it's reasonable to plan to accommodate even more than the 47 teams from last year. That would be very difficult while competing with NHBB.

The cream of the ACF Nationals staffing pool is a very small portion of the staff needed to run ACF Nationals smoothly. (I also think it's unreasonable to expect a straw poll of potential staffers to return useful, or any, results at this juncture.)

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:24 pm
by vinteuil
Cody wrote:I did not make the final decision for the date of ACF Nationals, but April 27-28 is the date of NHBB Nationals. NHBB Nationals monopolizes a lot of staff.
I supposed I'd be interested in seeing exactly how much overlap there is between the two staffer bases; I'd heard talk that it wasn't as big as one might expect (partly because a large number of Nationals-staffer types have disavowed NHBB).

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:33 pm
by CPiGuy
vinteuil wrote:
Auroni wrote:After internal discussions, we have moved the date of Nationals one final time to the weekend of April 13th and 14th to make it easier for us to recruit the highest quality staff. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Do you mind sharing more about this decision process? I'm having a hard time believing that it was possible to contact even the cream of the ACF staffing pool that quickly, and there are obviously reasons why this date is problematic for some schools (Canada) and people (those observing Palm Sunday).
The set of people observing Palm Sunday is likely smaller than the set of people observing Easter itself or the set of people observing Passover.

also, fwiw, Michigan is actually out of session before the 27th/28th, and I imagine a number of schools would be in the middle of their finals week, which might also depress interest.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:07 pm
by High Dependency Unit
vinteuil wrote:
Cody wrote:I did not make the final decision for the date of ACF Nationals, but April 27-28 is the date of NHBB Nationals. NHBB Nationals monopolizes a lot of staff.
I supposed I'd be interested in seeing exactly how much overlap there is between the two staffer bases; I'd heard talk that it wasn't as big as one might expect (partly because a large number of Nationals-staffer types have disavowed NHBB).
I haven't been to ACF Nationals so I can't say who staffs that, but Jacob's almost certainly correct on this one. That being said, schools having finals at the end of April is probably a bigger issue than Palm Sunday or NHBB nationals staff overlap.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:09 am
by vinteuil
vinteuil wrote:
Auroni wrote:After internal discussions, we have moved the date of Nationals one final time to the weekend of April 13th and 14th to make it easier for us to recruit the highest quality staff. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Do you mind sharing more about this decision process? I'm having a hard time believing that it was possible to contact even the cream of the ACF staffing pool that quickly, and there are obviously reasons why this date is problematic for...those observing Palm Sunday.
It's been pointed out to me that this post probably isn't explicit enough—Palm Sunday isn't a "bad" date for an organist to take off from church, it's a "you'd get fired for asking to take it off" date.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:17 am
by Cheynem
Is there a large number of quizbowl players/staffers who work as professional organists at churches? (At my church, the organist is a volunteer who is just a church member, so you wouldn't "get fired" for asking to take Palm Sunday off--I'm aware this is different in other churches)

To be clear, I'm sympathetic to people who can't take this day off. Palm Sunday is important to me, too, and I would be reluctant to take this day off. However, I feel like especially at this time of year, you are always going to run into dates that certain people can't take off or would have a hard time getting the time off.

I also note that I haven't been at ACF Nationals in years and am unlikely to be there this year, so my opinion isn't important.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:26 am
by vinteuil
Sure, I can be more explicit in that I'm a church organist.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:23 pm
by 1.82
I'll repost in this space what I said privately, since I think it's relevant here. I understand and respect the desire of ACF to finalize a date for Nationals as soon as possible in order to facilitate the placement of bids and the like. That said, it's still August and most universities aren't even in session yet, so I don't think that we're running up against a hard deadline to announce a date for Nationals.

With that in mind, I think that it'd be in the best interests of the community to have an open discussion of the date for ACF Nationals, so that everyone can lay out the advantages and disadvantages of particular dates, as opposed to the current situation where two date changes have already been announced by changing the title of this thread. ACF members aren't the only people with an interest in finding the optimal date for ACF Nationals, and as far as I know there are no trade secrets that require the discussion to be held behind closed doors.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:49 pm
by The Bold Ideas of Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
vinteuil wrote: It's been pointed out to me that this post probably isn't explicit enough—Palm Sunday isn't a "bad" date for an organist to take off from church, it's a "you'd get fired for asking to take it off" date.
Having spent nonzero time in multiple church choirs, I can second this and any other urgencies about organist jobs and schedules.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:48 pm
by Cody
vinteuil wrote:
Cody wrote:I did not make the final decision for the date of ACF Nationals, but April 27-28 is the date of NHBB Nationals. NHBB Nationals monopolizes a lot of staff.
I supposed I'd be interested in seeing exactly how much overlap there is between the two staffer bases; I'd heard talk that it wasn't as big as one might expect (partly because a large number of Nationals-staffer types have disavowed NHBB).
I would judge that the majority of staffers required to run a 47-team (or more) national tournament have no vested interest in ACF over any other organization, including NHBB. To a lesser or greater extent (depending on where ACF Nationals is held), I would personally expect a conflict with NHBB to harm the staff recruitment process, and know it would make at least one desirable host site unfeasible.

The unfortunate fact is that ACF Nationals is generally constrained by a combination of two major religious holidays, ICT, and two huge high school nationals (one, this year). This makes it difficult to definitively point to a date as the best for everyone.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2018 10:09 am
by Auroni
I have disseminated a survey to potential teams and staffers about the date of this year's ACF Nationals. If you or a member of your club didn't receive the link to it, but you'd like to weigh in, please PM or email me.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:51 pm
by Auroni
30 schools and 35 staffers have filled out the survey. Both groups overwhelmingly prefer the currently announced weekend of April 13-14, 2019 (14 out of 20 schools, and 11 out of 16 staffers who indicated a particular date preference). Based on this data, the tournament will still be run at the indicated date.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 9:05 pm
by Auroni
Of the six bids that we have received for ACF Nationals host site, we have selected the University of Pennsylvania.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019 - University of Pennsylvania

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:09 pm
by 1.82
Will ACF disclose the other five sites that submitted bids? If ACF feels the need to keep this information secret from the public, what is the reasoning?

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019 - University of Pennsylvania

Posted: Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:03 pm
by ryanrosenberg
Hi everyone! I'm happy to announce that I'll be serving as tournament director for ACF Nationals this year. I hope to continue ACF's tradition of putting on a rigorous, fun, and rewarding national championship.

Due to an unfortunate timing error, Penn will not be able to confirm their room reservations for Nationals until mid-January. It is still exceedingly likely that we will be able to host Nationals at Penn; however, in the interest of caution, we have secured the University of Minnesota as a backup host site. I'd like to thank the Penn and Minnesota teams for working with us on this, and ask that teams not book travel or lodging in Philadelphia or the Twin Cities until we have confirmed rooms.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019 - University of Pennsylvania

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:58 am
by Auroni
As an update, I have created a form to coordinate the optional packet submission. Additionally, all inquiries about ACF Nationals 2019 can be sent to our email address, acfnationals2019@gmail.com.

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019 - University of Pennsylvania

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:52 pm
by UlyssesInvictus
If we're considering staffing, how should we make ourselves available for this?

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019 - University of Pennsylvania

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:51 pm
by Auks Ran Ova
Send an email to both me and the ACF Nationals email address Auroni just gave with the subject line "ACF Nationals staffing".

Re: ACF Nationals 2019 - 4/13-14/2019 - University of Pennsylvania

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:14 pm
by ryanrosenberg
The rooms for this tournament have been confirmed at Penn. Teams should feel free to book travel, and we'll be sending out a staffing call shortly. We look forward to seeing you in April in Philadelphia!