The Barbarism of Monetization

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The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:22 pm

Today at 12:01PM EST, I was contacted by NAQT writer Ike Jose, who told me I need to "pay for ICT" because he believes I have a copy of the questions, and that I did not "appreciate" the work he had put into the set.

Initially, Ike accused a particular team of scanning and sending me the packets. This did not happen. I have also contacted NAQT with an order for the 2017 ICT, hoping for a copy as it is not available on their website (which I checked last week). In particular, I was threatened with:

1. Sanctions for me and my team for future NAQT events
2. Sanctions for me personally at Chicago Open 2017 (which Ike is head editing, and has no relationship to NAQT)

The team that Ike believed to have sent me the packets was threatened with similar censure. It was also demanded that private chat logs be made available to Ike so that he could send them to NAQT.

We, as a community, cannot and should not stand for an employee of a high-profile quizbowl organization randomly threatening paying customers (a set which includes me and everyone else threatened by Ike) based on no evidence or incorrect evidence. I will make this absolutely clear - the team Ike threatened did not send me a copy of 2017 ICT, and the fact that he was willing to level sanctions on them shows just how dangerous this kind of behavior is. We also cannot and should not stand for being coerced into waiving privacy rights under threat of being barred from future tournaments, as Ike is attempting to do by demanding chat logs from anyone who talks to me. This sets a very dangerous precedent; any NAQT participant in the future can be asked to similarly sign away their privacy under the threat of censure if this is allowed to happen.

NAQT can and should do something to rein in this kind of deranged behavior on the part of one of their employees/contract writers, and seriously consider the way that they relate to the community in the face of it.

EDIT: In the light of Jeff's post, I have edited this post to reflect the fact that Ike is not an NAQT member.
Last edited by Sima Guang Hater on Sun Sep 17, 2017 10:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby AKKOLADE » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:36 pm

lol wtf
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Important Bird Area » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:41 pm

For the record: Ike is not an NAQT member. While we appreciate the hundreds of questions Ike contributed to the 2017 ICT, he does not speak for NAQT. We did not have any knowledge of this situation until this morning, when Ike contacted me to express his concerns, and we did not ask Ike to convey any messages to third parties.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby AKKOLADE » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:43 pm

Is Ike even a Member rather than a Writer or Editor? He's not listed on NAQT's website's list of members.

I mean, even if he is, this is a terrible idea and a really bad way to do business, but assuming he's just doing this on his own, that's an extra level of dumb.

Edit: welp
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Geriatric trauma » Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:19 pm

if any1 haz ict packets pls send 2 cutieteen94@hotmail.com

More seriously, I'm pretty sure NAQT's writer contracts give them exclusive rights to the questions.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby mozzarella » Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:20 pm

The real crime is this guy has two first names. Save some from the rest of us.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Rococo A Go Go » Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:22 pm

The Quest for the Historical Mukherjesus wrote:scanning and sending me the packets.


Why would anybody spend their time doing this?
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Apr 16, 2017 4:51 pm

Granny Soberer wrote:if any1 haz ict packets pls send 2 cutieteen94@hotmail.com

More seriously, I'm pretty sure NAQT's writer contracts give them exclusive rights to the questions.


I don't think there's any moral content to NAQT's intellectual property rights over its questions that makes it okay to privatize their sets...like, the public question archive evens the playing field for competitors to study, for writers to learn, and for editors to check their clues against old tournaments. The ICT production process relies on those questions being available. So, enclosing this part of the commons parasitically drains resources from the rest of us, in addition to the other problems with adding microtransactions to quizbowl.

What that contract means is that NAQT currently has the power to do this - in response, I think we should resist these moves, hard.

I want people to get paid for writing questions but don't be cops, guys.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby CPiGuy » Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:15 pm

The King's Flight to the Scots wrote:
Granny Soberer wrote:if any1 haz ict packets pls send 2 cutieteen94@hotmail.com

More seriously, I'm pretty sure NAQT's writer contracts give them exclusive rights to the questions.


I don't think there's any moral content to NAQT's intellectual property rights over its questions that makes it okay to privatize their sets...like, the public question archive evens the playing field for competitors to study, for writers to learn, and for editors to check their clues against old tournaments. The ICT production process relies on those questions being available. So, enclosing this part of the commons parasitically drains resources from the rest of us, in addition to the other problems with adding microtransactions to quizbowl.

What that contract means is that NAQT currently has the power to do this - in response, I think we should resist these moves, hard.

I want people to get paid for writing questions but don't be cops, guys.


I don't think Eric's complaint is about NAQT's enforcement of its intellectual property rights, but rather about Ike (who, as a non-NAQT member, seemingly has no stake in the enforcement of NAQT's intellectual property rights, having already been paid for the many questions he's written) unilaterally levelling accusations against him and another team, threatening various penalties unrelated to NAQT, and demanding that he surrender various private conversation logs in order to disprove said allegations -- all of which seem like Bad Things. Obviously, I am in no way capable of passing judgement about whether those allegations are true / what should be done about them if so (although if what Eric said is true, that's a really bad look for Ike), but it doesn't seem like the complaint at hand is "NAQT should stop making people pay to look at their questions", and as such, when you say "we should resist these moves, hard", I don't think NAQT has made any "moves" or in fact changed their policies in any way -- it seems to have been, based on what people have said so far, entirely Ike's prerogative.

Having said that, I must say that I don't have that much of a problem with NAQT's business model. It's obviously different from how most question-set producers go about things, but a) NAQT's questions are substantially different in style and format from the majority of questions of comparable difficulty, and one could argue that as such, they have a greater interest in protecting their intellectual property, and b) people who play tournaments which use NAQT questions are entitled to a free copy of those questions, so it isn't as though the questions go into the Big Black Box of Hiding. The combination of these two points would seem to suggest that NAQT not publically and freely disseminating their questions is entirely defensible, even if one doesn't personally agree with it. In any event, that's my two cents.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Deviant Insider » Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:31 pm

There were threats of sanctions with respect to NAQT and Chicago Open. NAQT has distanced themselves from those threats.

Are the threats related to Chicago Open still in play? If so, what are the next steps that will be taken?
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:05 pm

Big Y wrote:Are the threats related to Chicago Open still in play? If so, what are the next steps that will be taken?


They are not. After talking to Ike, they were apparently made in anger.

NAQT's response is still forthcoming.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Geriatric trauma » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:10 pm

The King's Flight to the Scots wrote:
Granny Soberer wrote:if any1 haz ict packets pls send 2 cutieteen94@hotmail.com

More seriously, I'm pretty sure NAQT's writer contracts give them exclusive rights to the questions.


I don't think there's any moral content to NAQT's intellectual property rights over its questions that makes it okay to privatize their sets...like, the public question archive evens the playing field for competitors to study, for writers to learn, and for editors to check their clues against old tournaments. The ICT production process relies on those questions being available. So, enclosing this part of the commons parasitically drains resources from the rest of us, in addition to the other problems with adding microtransactions to quizbowl.

What that contract means is that NAQT currently has the power to do this - in response, I think we should resist these moves, hard.

I want people to get paid for writing questions but don't be cops, guys.


Oh yeah, I definitely agree with this -- my point was that the questions are NAQT's and not Ike Jose's.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby DumbJaques » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:32 pm

So, this is obviously reprehensible behavior that (I really hope) Ike will reflect on and correct. I think it would be a mistake for this thread to be a screed against a problematic action taken by one person (this point, though, would sure be helped by Ike showing up and briefly addressing the concerns). Not only is usually unhelpful to dogpile on individuals on message boards, but it also threatens to obscure a more general conversation that seems worth having.

[NOTE: The following applies only to NAQT's two collegiate tournament sets. I understand that there is far more of a profit issue (and perhaps other issues? Not sure) in making high school sets available, and do not think there's anything practically wrong with that setup.]

Specifically, the question is this: It is a near-universal norm in collegiate quizbowl to make sets available after competition. NAQT deviates from this norm. Is this ok, or is it something as a community (that is, us AND NAQT, collaborative) should find a better solution for? I'm going to argue "heck yes," for the following reasons:

1) The profit is (probably) small and the burden it creates is high, particularly in terms of perpetuating inequality in college QB.
So NAQT wants to make some money off of selling their sets, and I think this perfectly fine in principal (better than fine, it's great! People should be rewarded fairly for great work!). But at this point, I think we need to speak about the practical impact the policy has. First and foremost, this impact is that the teams who get the packets are the teams who can afford to pay for them. Now, they're relatively cheap (more on that in a minute), but still, college teams run on thin margins; the poorer teams are the ones who don't go and order ICT/SCT sets, which is (a marginal but not meaningless reason) that worse teams stay worse.\

More significant though is the paper vs. e-set issue (for instance, teams are given the hard copies of any set they play - of course, this doesn't help teams who don't qualify for ICT but want to get better, or teams who will be practicing for DI next year but only get the DII set). But the real problem here is that managing a bunch of hard copies is an increasingly bizarre thing for student groups to do. NAQT currently provides the only packet sets that need to be stored as hard copies, and the fact is that plenty of teams just don't do it.
Now, you could say "well fuck them then, they should!" Well, ok, but then you should realize that teams are not generally continuous entities; OSU, for instance, totally lost all of the NAQT sets they purchased under Jarret and co., and had exactly one copy of DII ICT and DII SCT when I got here in fall. This happened in just like, a year or two of shitty leadership. That's hardly rare in college qb. And this doesn't even address the numerous teams that start or restart programs at their schools - they're just shit out of luck unless they want to drop an increasing amount of money.

It is entirely for these practical reasons that even UChicago drastically preferred e-copies of the packets, even though we were happy to pay for them with our infinity dollars. It's just a huge pain in the ass to deal with the paper copies (and that's for quizbowl's most institutionally robust and consistent program!). And it's for that reason that most clubs led by community in-group members passed e-copies of the packets around, which prompted NAQT's amnesty email a few years back. And hey, look at that: Privileged members of the qb in-group are included and benefit, outsider programs are excluded and don't get to benefit. That sucks, and is reflective of a broader issue we have as an activity. We should change that.

2) There is a serious coercive effect to packet policing.
Ike's actions, while apparently way out of bounds in terms of his actual authority, are pretty much the direct and entirely predictable results of how NAQT handled the "packet amnesty" situation two years ago. While undoubtedly NAQT was acting out of what they felt was fair and reasonable (or even charitable), the form this took was disgracefully coercive. I literally have in my inbox ("I HAVE HERE IN MY HAND") an email from NAQT demanding that I name names of people who sent me illicit packets (or who may have received them from me), undoubtedly after my name was provided by someone facing similar threatening language. Failure to do so, I was told, would render me ineligible for the offered immunity - which is to say, I (like many of us) was being implicitly threatened with legal action.

This is bad. At the time, it was obvious to me that NAQT, being a generally sane and well-meaning group of people, had no plans to ever prosecute me or other such community members for illicit packet emailing. But that does not mean the threats have no effect - indeed, we're seeing in this very thread one of the negative second-order effects that kind of behavior has. My whole point here is that this sort of policing has a coercive effect on both the policer and the policed. NAQT doesn't want to be going after people, and we don't want to be antagonistically dodging them. It takes a community whose relationships have been largely congenial (and even markedly more so the last ~7 years or so), and makes it adversarial at best and totally fucked up at worst.

So, what is to be done?
I actually think the solution to both of these issues is quite simple. NAQT should not have to give up its compensation for copies of its two collegiate sets; it is a business, and can charge what it wants/thinks is fair/etc. Moreover, I totally agree that people who bust their ass should get more compensation than even they do now! (corporate sponsorship pls). But not allowing free e-copies of the packets is bad for the community, for the multiple reasons laid out above.

So, what about this: First, how much does NAQT make on selling the packets? I'd be shocked if it were that much, and would bet that I'd be perfectly happy with distributing that cost among the 32 teams that go to ICT. (I guess it's possible this isn't true... but at the very least, it would HAVE to be fairly trivial when distributed across SCT teams, right?). This would put the cost burden more on the teams that can most likely bear it, and off of those who could least likely bear it. Also, it's my understanding that the main moneymaker of college teams ordering packets comes from people ordering the "New Collegiate" package/intramural questions, which has almost no overlap with SCT/ICT.

If it somehow turns out that this would create an enormous financial burden, well, fine. But can we at least, for god's sake, allow teams to receive e-copies of packets they've paid for? Again, everyone already knows that the in-group will get these anyway, and I think we've seen it's bad for everyone to try like hell to police this. This would also prevent teams from losing their entire NAQT question cache (which was paid for legitimately at the time) because it has the bad luck of drawing shitty leadership for a year or two.

The only potential issue here is if there is some none-financial reasons NAQT doesn't want its packets up on databases, or only wants clubs to have them as opposed to private individuals. Can't imagine what that would be, but hey, cool - just keep the same procedure and allow e-copies to be distributed to authorized college programs. People are already getting illicit e-copies anyway, so you're not losing anything, and you're allowing clubs who would most be hurt by the current system to easily manage and freely acquire practice materials (also NAQT questions are quite useful for recruiting members/mixing up the feel of practice - another good reason to like NAQT).

So, that's what I'm calling for - let's have a conversation among the community and with NAQT, figure out what the costs/concerns are about going to some sort of free (or at the very least, e-copy) model for the two collegiate sets only, and see if we can figure out a solution that's better for the community. Both because it seems clearly better for the health/equity of the community as a whole, and because I don't believe Jeff Hoppes or R. Hentzel wants to be Joe McCarthy any more than Eric or I like being leaned on to snitch on our friends.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Auks Ran Ova » Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:45 pm

I endorse the above product and/or service.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Aaron's Rod » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:38 pm

Chris makes a ton of great points.

DumbJaques wrote:First and foremost, this impact is that the teams who get the packets are the teams who can afford to pay for them. Now, they're relatively cheap (more on that in a minute), but still, college teams run on thin margins; the poorer teams are the ones who don't go and order ICT/SCT sets, which is (a marginal but not meaningless reason) that worse teams stay worse. [...] And it's for that reason that most clubs led by community in-group members passed e-copies of the packets around, which prompted NAQT's amnesty email a few years back. And hey, look at that: Privileged members of the qb in-group are included and benefit, outsider programs are excluded and don't get to benefit. That sucks, and is reflective of a broader issue we have as an activity. We should change that.


As someone who has become more active in the quizbowl community after graduation, I was really surprised to find out within the past few months that packet trading was/is an open secret among many teams. I guess NAQT shouldn't care if the "illegal" packet exchange benefits some teams and not others, but in terms of a "community discussion" it's worth noting that an in-group is getting access to questions and an out-group isn't. Witch hunts like the ones Ike started are very unlikely to change that (not to mention being bad for all the reasons already mentioned). It's not as if getting access to more NAQT questions alone is going to make an "outsider" school a quizbowl powerhouse or anything. But people should consider the effects when you're both outside the loop enough that no one sends you packets, and you don't buy an SCT/ICT set in January just in case you don't have enough money to go to a spring undergrad tournament in April.

IMO, it's not unreasonable for NAQT's official stance to be that packet-sharing is bad, but I also think it's a complete waste of NAQT's time to track down when and where it's happening.

The other benefit of "e-packets," as Chris is calling them, is the ability to extract information from them. Even if you obtained paper copies in a totally legitimate way, looking up a certain question you heard is a huge pain. If you count individual bonus parts, there's ~1,400 answer lines in a single NAQT set. The ability to Ctrl+F through a document or folder to find something is invaluable for future study or writing.

Anecdotally, as of the last time I visited, Lawrence quizbowl has a cabinet in a chemistry classroom that no one has noticed that they've been using for the last >=6 years, and in that cabinet is a buzzer system and hundreds (if not thousands) of pages of NAQT sets that they've played over the years. Someone has to take all of those with them over school breaks, or put it storage somewhere. I dislike "it's [insert current year]" arguments, but really, in 2017 you should be able to have usable, digital copies of packets that you've paid to play, or for tournaments that you've staffed.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Benin Rebirth Party » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:36 pm

DumbJaques wrote:So, what about this: First, how much does NAQT make on selling the packets? I'd be shocked if it were that much, and would bet that I'd be perfectly happy with distributing that cost among the 32 teams that go to ICT. (I guess it's possible this isn't true... but at the very least, it would HAVE to be fairly trivial when distributed across SCT teams, right?). This would put the cost burden more on the teams that can most likely bear it, and off of those who could least likely bear it. Also, it's my understanding that the main moneymaker of college teams ordering packets comes from people ordering the "New Collegiate" package/intramural questions, which has almost no overlap with SCT/ICT.


I think this is a good idea.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby touchpack » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:45 pm

The King's Flight to the Scots wrote:
Granny Soberer wrote:if any1 haz ict packets pls send 2 cutieteen94@hotmail.com

More seriously, I'm pretty sure NAQT's writer contracts give them exclusive rights to the questions.


I don't think there's any moral content to NAQT's intellectual property rights over its questions that makes it okay to privatize their sets...like, the public question archive evens the playing field for competitors to study, for writers to learn, and for editors to check their clues against old tournaments. The ICT production process relies on those questions being available. So, enclosing this part of the commons parasitically drains resources from the rest of us, in addition to the other problems with adding microtransactions to quizbowl.


Posts like this one have contributed to an underlying narrative in this thread that it's "NAQT against the community," where NAQT are the "bad guys" and the community is the "good guys." This is bullshit and unfair.

NAQT is an enormous force of good in the quizbowl community. Every year, they churn out an enormous amount of questions played by middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students all across the country. They add a face of professionalism to quizbowl that is enormously helpful for outreach purposes--there are many schools in the country that only have access to NAQT tournaments or apyramidal bullshit, and the good work that NAQT puts in is convincing those teams to pick NAQT and pyramidal questions. Look at how the MSNCT and HSNCT fields expand year after year!

All of this is possible because NAQT relies on countless thousands of hours of labor around the year to churn out high quality set after high quality set. NAQT employs a number of full or part time workers to make this happen. While I'm not privy to the exact details of their finances, my understanding is that NAQT tends to pay enough to make a modest living. NAQT is not a conglomerate of cartoon villains, twirling their handlebar mustaches as they imagine how they can monetarily exploit the community--they're a group of people that are really, really passionate about quizbowl and are willing to devote their lives to it, even though it doesn't pay well compared to many more traditional careers.

Try to put yourself in their perspective: when people packet trade, it directly cuts into the livelihoods of those people. Hell, for many of you more-connected circuit members, you're directly cutting into the livelihoods of people that you otherwise consider friends. While everyone is focusing on the wrongs that NAQT committed in the past re: the amnesty situation and might commit in the future, everyone is ignoring the fact that, by illicitly trading NAQT packets, you are stealing money from people that you otherwise claim to respect. And I find it somewhat disturbing that no one has acknowledged that.


Now Chris raises some very good points regarding how the status quo is fucked and needs changing, how the collegiate circuit is different from the high school circuit, and how the fact that illicit e-trading on the collegiate circuit is (probably) going to happen no matter what. I think we can have a productive dialogue here! Perhaps the solution is to offer free e-packets for tournaments played, but to raise tournament entry fees to compensate for the money that NAQT would be losing. Perhaps there should be different rules for SCT/ICT compared to IS sets/HSNCT/NAQT's other packets. But the tone of this conversation should not be "the good community vs the evil NAQT." And if you are reading this and are currently engaging in illicit trading of NAQT packets, I would ask politely that you stop. Because it's wrong.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Cody » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:50 pm

I don't think anyone would argue that NAQT isn't a force for good in quizbowl. Posts criticizing NAQT for their behavior ("NAQT against the community") are usually solely about NAQT's college sets and the way they run SCT/ICT. This is distinct from any of their HS work. (Not that their college work isn't good; it is.)
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Cheynem » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:06 pm

i think both Chris and Billy have good points that aren't inherently against each other. I have about five thoughts:

1. I respect NAQT's right to make a profit off their sets, both high school and college. I don't think it's inherently problematic to try to put the kibosh on illicit packet trading. As opposed to other quizbowl companies, NAQT is more like a business.

2. I think teams who play the sets should receive an electronic copy if they wish, but perhaps with the caveat that they cannot distribute the set on their own (to non team members, say) without facing some degree of enforceable repercussions (is this possible?).

3. I think that after about five years (you can push this up if you want), packets should become open material without expectation of copyright. I can't believe NAQT is making too much money on five year old college materials. When I faced the amnesty charges, I will admit that the only sets I had that i didn't play were stuff like the 2005 and 2001 ICTs.

4. I think NAQT would be more willing to distribute packets electronically if people weren't distributing packets all over the place. Respecting copyright would be a good start. Even if you subscribe to the "have not" and "have much" theory of money, there are a LOT of free packets available (basically every non NAQT packet).

5. I agree with Billy that perhaps some degree of pricing adjustments might be a good idea.

I don't agree with Matt about the problems of microtransactions. It seems like we're taking a fundamentally different approach to the game (business or community).
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Benin Rebirth Party » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:54 pm

Cheynem wrote:4. I think NAQT would be more willing to distribute packets electronically if people weren't distributing packets all over the place. Respecting copyright would be a good start. Even if you subscribe to the "have not" and "have much" theory of money, there are a LOT of free packets available (basically every non NAQT packet).


NAQT is different enough from non-NAQT that I think a first timer practicing for SCT or ICT of either division should be able to have equal access to older packets regardless of whether they go to Chicago or the University of Nowhere. I would have much preferred to have read old Division 2 NAQT stuff than ACF Fall my first year of university NAQT.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Cheynem » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:07 pm

What I think could happen is that if you want old NAQT packets:

-you can buy them
-you can get them if you played the tournament
-you can get them under the "public access" theory (if they're 5+ years old)
-if you're a completely new team, perhaps NAQT could even send you a gift sampler package of a couple packets from various tournaments
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Rococo A Go Go » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:10 pm

The fairly distinct nature of NAQT questions means that, for the most part, other college sets are not completely ideal practice material for NAQT tournaments. The best way to prepare for SCT and ICT, in my experience, has always been to practice on old NAQT sets. At both programs I've been a part of, we have kept old packets from tournaments but also purchased sets we didn't play (or had lost) so we could practice on NAQT questions. This creates an expense that when I started playing quizbowl seemed like a lot, because we had to use scarce resources (which could be devoted to registration fees and travel expenses) to pay for practice materials or just do without NAQT packets. I think one year a club member purchased NAQT practice questions with their own money. Once our program started getting school funding, things were much easier and it did not seem like as big of a deal. But this does create a divide between teams with more resources and those who have fewer resources.

Perhaps that's fine, but what this ends up doing is creating a situation where finding packets through illicit means is tempting to some people in the quizbowl community. In some ways, NAQT has a monopoly on "NAQT-style practice questions" (not a perfect one, since there are things like FICHTE and Missouri Open...but those are rare) and a black market has formed to correct for the monopoly. The underground packet trade seems to rest upon who you know more than anything else though. I don't think it would be a major shock to say that Eric or Mike or maybe even myself would have an easier time acquiring old NAQT packets electronically than some random person starting a new team somewhere. While the idea of NAQT profiting off practice materials and keeping teams stratified based on ability to buy those materials kind of sucks, that is certainly less objectionable than the idea that knowing the right people can get you good practice materials and everybody else can just fuck off.

NAQT's initial solution to this problem has been to stomp out the black market through increasingly tough measures. I think this might prove to be a futile effort though, NAQT is not the DEA and even government agencies have an amusingly poor track record of stopping illicit sales. I think Mike's solution of simply releasing old questions to the public after a set time is probably fine; although I do admit it might cut into NAQT's profit margin some. I don't know how much money NAQT really makes off the sale of old college sets, but I'm not opposed to figuring out some way to offset those profit losses.

The status quo of a black market based on influence peddling, paired with NAQT's comical efforts to inflict punishment on the bastards selling old quizbowl questions like cocaine on Philadelphia street corners in the middle of the night, probably needs to go.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby cchiego » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:05 pm

The best solution here would really be just charging more up front in terms of entry fees (with of course considerable first-time team discounts) while posting more questions from previous years. SCT and ICT are both well-established, well-attended events. The service and product that NAQT provides is high enough to merit greater up-front payment and hopefully such payment would be put to good use too to continue the solid product as well as organizing, PR, and outreach. I don't know how high it could go, but it seems better to say, charge $180 a team at SCT and $500 at ICT while making the question archives open for say everything from 3 years on back (with the option to purchase more-current sets if you really want them ASAP).

In general though as more people move into trying to make a greater portion of their income from quizbowl and the overall demand for high-quality pyramidal questions continues to rise, there's going to be more friction between people holding the expectation that quizbowl is an activity where the writing and organizing is mostly done ad hoc by people with a great love for the game (and who don't expect to get that much $$) to those who have greater personal financial stakes in the business side of quizbowl. This change isn't necessarily a bad thing--in fact, it's much likely to be more stable in the long run--but it does mean higher expectations for both question providers and question consumers (i.e., if you didn't play a tournament, don't try to immediately acquire a copy of the questions without paying).
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby jonpin » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:21 pm

Aaron's Rod wrote:The other benefit of "e-packets," as Chris is calling them, is the ability to extract information from them. Even if you obtained paper copies in a totally legitimate way, looking up a certain question you heard is a huge pain. If you count individual bonus parts, there's ~1,400 answer lines in a single NAQT set. The ability to Ctrl+F through a document or folder to find something is invaluable for future study or writing.

Anecdotally, as of the last time I visited, Lawrence quizbowl has a cabinet in a chemistry classroom that no one has noticed that they've been using for the last >=6 years, and in that cabinet is a buzzer system and hundreds (if not thousands) of pages of NAQT sets that they've played over the years. Someone has to take all of those with them over school breaks, or put it storage somewhere. I dislike "it's [insert current year]" arguments, but really, in 2017 you should be able to have usable, digital copies of packets that you've paid to play, or for tournaments that you've staffed.


In addition to harming the ability to coherently study packets you have rights to, the lack of electronic copies and the ability to ctrl-F search them hampers question discussion which (for high school sets) is already kneecapped by the fact that a tournament my team plays in October can't be publicly discussed until July (and then only if we ask nicely). So then if I want to make a point about a certain question, I need to dig through hundreds of pages to find it by hand.
This is why, by the way, such a large chunk of the HSNCT discussion threads always seem to be "Can you post the question on [topic]?" Because a team only gets one hard-copy of the questions, which probably goes to the coach, so even if a player has in their notes "Oh, round 9 tossup 14 on Cyrus the Great seemed weird", they are unlikely to be able to look that up on their own time.
This also means that the old sets are essentially wasted for study material over the summer. My team will have one copy of the 2017 HSNCT and come late June, my choices are (a) stick it in storage, (b) give it to one player and tell the others "sorry", (c) give it to one player and try to organize some sort of chain letter system so everyone can have two weeks with the set for study. Note that (b) and (c) carry the added benefit of me praying that come September the papers still exist and are returned to me.

There's also the added cost of running a tournament because of NAQT's no-electronic-copies policy. There's the dead-weight cost of paying for printing and shipping, money that leaves the quiz bowl community forever into the hands of Fedex. For many, there's the cost of making copies of hundreds of pages. And even for those fortunate as me whose schools allow infinite copying without financial cost, there's still the environmental cost of all that extra paper being used, which hosts don't have the option to avoid, and the time that copying takes as well.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby CPiGuy » Mon Apr 17, 2017 11:50 pm

jonpin wrote: a tournament my team plays in October can't be publicly discussed until July (and then only if we ask nicely).


It seems that this could easily be avoided, independent of all the other concerns, by setting up private discussion forums for various NAQT sets (for example, an IS-166 Private Discussion Forum), just like is done for SCT and ICT (which I was able to discuss online before the set was clear) -- they might not be "public", but you could discuss them both with the writers and with others who played the same set. Is there any reason why this hasn't been done?
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Cody » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:26 am

jonpin wrote:There's also the added cost of running a tournament because of NAQT's no-electronic-copies policy. There's the dead-weight cost of paying for printing and shipping, money that leaves the quiz bowl community forever into the hands of Fedex. For many, there's the cost of making copies of hundreds of pages. And even for those fortunate as me whose schools allow infinite copying without financial cost, there's still the environmental cost of all that extra paper being used, which hosts don't have the option to avoid, and the time that copying takes as well.
Quoting for truth. Additionally, it is a huge logistical hassle where typically there is none -- boxes must be lugged, moderators must be implored to not destroy packets and to reassemble them correctly, sets must be compiled (hopefully into folders) at the end of the tournament (when there's already a huge time crunch). I've had to devise a whole system to get this to go smoothly! I'm not going to stop running NAQT tournaments, but being forced to run paper tournaments sucks.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby cchiego » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:33 am

CPiGuy wrote:
jonpin wrote: a tournament my team plays in October can't be publicly discussed until July (and then only if we ask nicely).


It seems that this could easily be avoided, independent of all the other concerns, by setting up private discussion forums for various NAQT sets (for example, an IS-166 Private Discussion Forum), just like is done for SCT and ICT (which I was able to discuss online before the set was clear) -- they might not be "public", but you could discuss them both with the writers and with others who played the same set. Is there any reason why this hasn't been done?


I'm guessing because this would take a ton of time to moderate and check the credentials of all the accounts requesting access to ensure that they actually played the set. It's probably easier with nationals, but also a pain too for the mods.

The problem right now, illustrated by packet-trading that resulted in cheating scandals in the not-so-distant past, is that there are more and more uses of the same questions around the country resulting in greater challenges for question security. The fewer packets floating around out there electronically and in paper copies, the lower the likelihood security gets breached by the bad apples out there. Short of going to some kind of SAT-style "all uses of this set must be on X day" (which would be a complete logistical nightmare), I'd be curious about ways to help abate the electronic cheating potential while also making these tournaments more user-friendly.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Aaron's Rod » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:09 am

cchiego wrote:The problem right now, illustrated by packet-trading that resulted in cheating scandals in the not-so-distant past, is that there are more and more uses of the same questions around the country resulting in greater challenges for question security. The fewer packets floating around out there electronically and in paper copies, the lower the likelihood security gets breached by the bad apples out there. Short of going to some kind of SAT-style "all uses of this set must be on X day" (which would be a complete logistical nightmare), I'd be curious about ways to help abate the electronic cheating potential while also making these tournaments more user-friendly.

This is why this is sort of a uniquely collegiate issue–-surely the comparatively small number of tournaments that use SCT questions not on that day can find another set next, or in other, years?
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Charbroil » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:15 am

A couple of people have mentioned having to buy copies of old sets their teams played that got misplaced. Does NAQT not provide replacement copies for free? I'm just wondering since my high school team forgot to pick up its copy of the 2009 HSNCT set at the tournament itself, and when I asked about it a few months later, NAQT was kind enough to send me a copy for just the $10 shipping fee. Also, when we bought the NAQT frequency lists for the WUSTL team last year, Chad looked first to see if we'd already bought them in the past, which seems to imply that we would have gotten it for free (or at least, at a discount) if we'd already purchased it before.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby The Ununtiable Twine » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:19 am

Charbroil wrote:A couple of people have mentioned having to buy copies of old sets their teams played that got misplaced. Does NAQT not provide replacement copies for free? I'm just wondering since my high school team forgot to pick up its copy of the 2009 HSNCT set at the tournament itself, and when I asked about it a few months later, NAQT was kind enough to send me a copy for just the $10 shipping fee. Also, when we bought the NAQT frequency lists for the WUSTL team last year, Chad looked first to see if we'd already bought it in the past, which seems to imply that we would have gotten it for free (or at least, at a discount) if we'd already purchased it before.

If my memory isn't failing me, I'm fairly certain this has been the policy for quite some time.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:25 am

Aaron's Rod wrote:
cchiego wrote:The problem right now, illustrated by packet-trading that resulted in cheating scandals in the not-so-distant past, is that there are more and more uses of the same questions around the country resulting in greater challenges for question security. The fewer packets floating around out there electronically and in paper copies, the lower the likelihood security gets breached by the bad apples out there. Short of going to some kind of SAT-style "all uses of this set must be on X day" (which would be a complete logistical nightmare), I'd be curious about ways to help abate the electronic cheating potential while also making these tournaments more user-friendly.

This is why this is sort of a uniquely collegiate issue–-surely the comparatively small number of tournaments that use SCT questions not on that day can find another set next, or in other, years?


While I'm not privy to information about NAQT's finances, the cost of producing a set of questions is not exactly low when you pay your writers and editors pretty well on a per-question basis (as NAQT does), as opposed to dividing up a pool of revenue (as most college housewrites do) - so, being able to get more revenue out of these tournaments really matters. As Billy correctly mentions, the livelihoods of several people who are very devoted to quizbowl depend on the income that NAQT receives.

From a player (and coach) perspective, sets like D2 SCT/ICT are much closer approximants to the typical HSNCT experience than your average IS-set, and are therefore very valuable tournament experiences/practice material for high schools. As many others have correctly noted in this thread, the experience of playing a timed match on NAQT questions is distinctly different from an untimed match on seven line mACF questions. Also, frankly the question quality of NAQT sets tends to be (on average) higher than most mACF sets, especially those below HSNCT difficulty, and this is in no small part to NAQT's much more refined editing process, carried out by much more experienced hands.

I have some thoughts on the professionalism/college vs. high school distinction, and may post later when they are more coherent.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby The King's Flight to the Scots » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:24 am

For what it's worth, my position on this issue is basically identical to Chris Ray's: willing to pay a premium for ICT attendance, much more skeptical and critical of monetizing packet sets in this way for the reasons Chris lays out.

My position on NAQT generally is that they do a lot of good and aren't depraved or anything but we should be wary and ready to resist decisions they make as a powerful organization that hurt the rest of us. I've invested a lot of sweat and toil into this game too, especially over the past year. I'm speaking as a stakeholder in the quizbowl community - which is importantly NOT just a business - not some envious moocher trying to take down the job-creators.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Aaron's Rod » Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:37 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Aaron's Rod wrote:
cchiego wrote:The problem right now, illustrated by packet-trading that resulted in cheating scandals in the not-so-distant past, is that there are more and more uses of the same questions around the country resulting in greater challenges for question security. The fewer packets floating around out there electronically and in paper copies, the lower the likelihood security gets breached by the bad apples out there. Short of going to some kind of SAT-style "all uses of this set must be on X day" (which would be a complete logistical nightmare), I'd be curious about ways to help abate the electronic cheating potential while also making these tournaments more user-friendly.

This is why this is sort of a uniquely collegiate issue–-surely the comparatively small number of tournaments that use SCT questions not on that day can find another set next, or in other, years?


While I'm not privy to information about NAQT's finances, the cost of producing a set of questions is not exactly low when you pay your writers and editors pretty well on a per-question basis (as NAQT does), as opposed to dividing up a pool of revenue (as most college housewrites do) - so, being able to get more revenue out of these tournaments really matters. As Billy correctly mentions, the livelihoods of several people who are very devoted to quizbowl depend on the income that NAQT receives.

From a player (and coach) perspective, sets like D2 SCT/ICT are much closer approximants to the typical HSNCT experience than your average IS-set, and are therefore very valuable tournament experiences/practice material for high schools. As many others have correctly noted in this thread, the experience of playing a timed match on NAQT questions is distinctly different from an untimed match on seven line mACF questions. Also, frankly the question quality of NAQT sets tends to be (on average) higher than most mACF sets, especially those below HSNCT difficulty, and this is in no small part to NAQT's much more refined editing process, carried out by much more experienced hands.


I wasn't implying that NAQT should necessarily produce another set for that purpose. Many of these tournaments using SCT look like they're annual events, and it seems like this year there were plenty of high-quality housewrites/other non-NAQT sets (I'm thinking of Terrapin, Crime, etc.) that a conscientious TD could use, if they knew well in advance they wouldn't be able to use SCT. But I agree that the quality control at NAQT is desirable to a TD, and NAQT obviously wants to make money off of people playing their questions. There's not much of a financial incentive for NAQT to only allow SCT to be played that day, but I think it's logistically feasible. There wouldn't be that many other events left high and dry.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Important Bird Area » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:30 pm

CPiGuy wrote:
jonpin wrote: a tournament my team plays in October can't be publicly discussed until July (and then only if we ask nicely).


It seems that this could easily be avoided, independent of all the other concerns, by setting up private discussion forums for various NAQT sets (for example, an IS-166 Private Discussion Forum), just like is done for SCT and ICT (which I was able to discuss online before the set was clear) -- they might not be "public", but you could discuss them both with the writers and with others who played the same set. Is there any reason why this hasn't been done?


For the record, we don't consider it viable to have specific private forums for each individual regular-season set. Picking a set at random from this year: 1,595 teams played IS #159A this year, which is a total of about 8,000 individual players. The number of requests to administer would be overwhelming (consider this volume for all ten regular-season NAQT high school sets; and high school private forums would be more difficult to administer than the existing forums for SCT and ICT, because there are large numbers of tournaments with delayed results or with no individual stats at all).
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:00 pm

touchpack wrote:
MattBo wrote:I don't think there's any moral content to NAQT's intellectual property rights over its questions that makes it okay to privatize their sets...like, the public question archive evens the playing field for competitors to study, for writers to learn, and for editors to check their clues against old tournaments. The ICT production process relies on those questions being available. So, enclosing this part of the commons parasitically drains resources from the rest of us, in addition to the other problems with adding microtransactions to quizbowl.


Posts like this one have contributed to an underlying narrative in this thread that it's "NAQT against the community," where NAQT are the "bad guys" and the community is the "good guys." This is bullshit and unfair.


In no sense did Matt or anyone else in this thread cast NAQT as evil and against the community. That's you reading too deeply into the responses. Everyone's criticizing one (1) sub-optimal NAQT practice.

touchpack wrote:NAQT is an enormous force of good in the quizbowl community. Every year, they churn out an enormous amount of questions played by middle schoolers, high schoolers, and college students all across the country. They add a face of professionalism to quizbowl that is enormously helpful for outreach purposes--there are many schools in the country that only have access to NAQT tournaments or apyramidal bullshit, and the good work that NAQT puts in is convincing those teams to pick NAQT and pyramidal questions. Look at how the MSNCT and HSNCT fields expand year after year!


No one's impugning this either.

touchpack wrote:All of this is possible because NAQT relies on countless thousands of hours of labor around the year to churn out high quality set after high quality set. NAQT employs a number of full or part time workers to make this happen. While I'm not privy to the exact details of their finances, my understanding is that NAQT tends to pay enough to make a modest living. NAQT is not a conglomerate of cartoon villains, twirling their handlebar mustaches as they imagine how they can monetarily exploit the community--they're a group of people that are really, really passionate about quizbowl and are willing to devote their lives to it, even though it doesn't pay well compared to many more traditional careers.

Try to put yourself in their perspective: when people packet trade, it directly cuts into the livelihoods of those people. Hell, for many of you more-connected circuit members, you're directly cutting into the livelihoods of people that you otherwise consider friends. While everyone is focusing on the wrongs that NAQT committed in the past re: the amnesty situation and might commit in the future, everyone is ignoring the fact that, by illicitly trading NAQT packets, you are stealing money from people that you otherwise claim to respect. And I find it somewhat disturbing that no one has acknowledged that.


The only reason anyone can make any kind of reasonable living off of NAQT in the first place is the collegiate quizbowl community itself and the norms therein.

[*] Collegiate quizbowlers are largely responsible for writing for PACE and HSAPQ, both organizations that at one point paid $5 per question and still make their questions available for free, which forces NAQT to keep their rates high to be competitive.
[*] The "commons" of freely-available packets that Matt alludes to above is what even makes it /possible/ for NAQT to write a high quality ICT every year.
[*] Tools like quinterest and Jerry's database, developed for no money by quizbowlers, make searching and analyzing that set of freely-available quizbowl packets easier.
[*] Websites like this one and Harry White's search function, also developed for free, makes gathering statistics easier for proper seeding at national tournaments like ICT.
[*] The outreach work that organizations like GPQB and MOQBA do, largely on their own time and own dime, creates new markets for NAQT and their questions, without NAQT having to spend a single penny on marketing in these regions.
[*] And last but not least, it's collegiate quizbowlers that pay the entry fee for ICT every year, and are the ones frustrated by NAQT's policies chaining all of us to unwieldy, unsearchable, and fenced-off college packets

Furthermore, the idea that "illicitly" trading packets is somehow depriving people of their livelihoods seems analogous to saying that opening a legal marijuana dispensary is putting DEA agents out of a job - it's a self-created problem. Everyone is more than happy to pay a higher entry fee to compensate the writers for their hard work, if need be, and now that ICT is actually well-written, teams are clamoring to go. Heck, this year we even wanted to expand the field! All we're asking is that NAQT recognize that its relationship with collegiate quizbowlers is fundamentally different from that of high school quizbowl, and act accordingly.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby vinteuil » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:31 pm

Maybe this isn't a question that's reasonable for NAQT to answer publicly, but how exactly do they envision SCT/ICT within their line of products? I've always had the impression that ICT was more or less a loss leader for NAQT, something that the company wants to be able to provide, and that they (rightly) think adds prestige to their high school competitions, but not exactly a huge money-maker. (An argument, I guess, for making the sets public after some amount of time.) But I could be wrong—can NAQT imagine a future, for instance, in which they produce multiple SCT-like sets? (For as loose a construal of "like" as you want.)
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby grapesmoker » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:07 pm

I don't think that NAQT's decision to fence off their packets is a great one (by my lights they should just price all of this into the tournament entry fees and give the packets away) but at the same time, it's theirs to make and we should respect it. ICT is just one tournament; there are literally hundreds of tournaments available in the public domain, and if ICT isn't one of them, that's ok.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby setht » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:00 pm

DumbJaques wrote:let's have a conversation among the community and with NAQT, figure out what the costs/concerns are about going to some sort of free (or at the very least, e-copy) model for the two collegiate sets only, and see if we can figure out a solution that's better for the community.


What I am about to say I say on my own behalf; it is NOT an official proposal from NAQT; and while I currently think it's a good deal, it is very possible that someone will point out something important that I haven't thought of, and I'll wind up not supporting this proposal (including voting against it if it comes to a vote within NAQT). There are a lot of possible variations and tweaks; to avoid posting a tome I haven't tried to list them, nor have I bothered explaining my reasoning behind various parts of the proposal. If there's anything that needs explanation, or if people want to talk over various tweaks, I am happy to discuss further. (But I might be a bit slow in responding.)

I propose:

-teams who attend SCT/ICT receive paper copies at the tournament (if they want them)

-NAQT posts the SCT and ICT sets publicly, for free, in early June

-SCT and ICT entry fees are bumped up to compensate for projected loss of revenue (these bumps are independent of other possible bumps due to changes in format and/or general trends of rising prices)

-the college community commits to the idea that NAQT packet-theft is not okay, and thus gets on board with the idea of actively helping to police it


To be absolutely clear, that last point means "naming names," if it comes down to it. I know very well that we are a community and that the most likely scenario is that people will find out about packet theft being committed by a friend (or at least a well-wisher). In most circumstances I think it's absolutely fine to start out by trying to talk things over with a packet thief; telling them they have to get in touch with NAQT and pay for the set(s) they stole, etc. That is, I don't think the response to every instance of packet theft has to start with reporting to NAQT. (Some sample circumstances where I think "report immediately to NAQT" is the correct response: someone acquiring or sending packets for purposes of cheating; someone trying to sell our questions in their own name.)

It also means helping institute "no packet theft!" as a quizbowl norm—if someone posts on hsqb saying "I don't think it's right that NAQT gets to charge money for practice questions; who's with me?!" I want to see quizbowl luminaries showing up and saying "hey, we as a community have decided that this is in fact okay; we are not with you; if you try to steal packets, we will condemn your actions and report you."


Another possibly tricky point: I worry that the third item (entry fee bumps) might cause problems. The projected loss of revenue is not just what we currently make on practice question sales of SCT and ICT—for instance, I think it's likely that if we post DII SCT, we will lose a chunk of IS set practice question sales. And while I suspect our SCT/ICT practice question sales don't bring in all that much revenue, I also suspect that our IS set practice question sales bring in a lot of money. It might well be the case that the projected entry fee hike would be too high for college teams to stomach.


Based on various comments in this thread, I hope this proposal (or some variant of it) is in fact appealing to people. If I've misread what people have said and this proposal seems like a non-starter, I apologize.

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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby CPiGuy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:28 pm

setht wrote:-NAQT posts the SCT and ICT sets publicly, for free, in early June


Would you also post sets from prior years, or would you only start with this year?

setht wrote:The projected loss of revenue is not just what we currently make on practice question sales of SCT and ICT—for instance, I think it's likely that if we post DII SCT, we will lose a chunk of IS set practice question sales. And while I suspect our SCT/ICT practice question sales don't bring in all that much revenue, I also suspect that our IS set practice question sales bring in a lot of money. It might well be the case that the projected entry fee hike would be too high for college teams to stomach.


In the case where releasing ICT would cause almost no drop in revenue, while releasing SCT would cause a large drop in revenue, would you consider releasing only ICT?

Edit: and if you were going to only post ICT, would you distribute digital copies of SCT to every team that played it?
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Cheynem » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:46 pm

If the SCT/ICT packets are being posted publicly in June, what would the crackdown on packet theft target--people distributing the sets prior to June? Or would they be more against the distribution of high school packets? In both cases, I think the crackdown is acceptable--teams should be able to wait until June to get the sets (or earlier, if they played the sets), and I think the distribution of high school packets illegally is problematic (again, I would probably put some grace period for absurdly out of date sets--the goofy reading of the 2001 HSNCT can probably go unmolested).
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby setht » Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:57 pm

CPiGuy wrote:
setht wrote:-NAQT posts the SCT and ICT sets publicly, for free, in early June


Would you also post sets from prior years, or would you only start with this year?


I'm not sure. Posting sets from prior years magnifies the projected revenue losses, which might be a major problem.

CPiGuy wrote:
setht wrote:The projected loss of revenue is not just what we currently make on practice question sales of SCT and ICT—for instance, I think it's likely that if we post DII SCT, we will lose a chunk of IS set practice question sales. And while I suspect our SCT/ICT practice question sales don't bring in all that much revenue, I also suspect that our IS set practice question sales bring in a lot of money. It might well be the case that the projected entry fee hike would be too high for college teams to stomach.


In the case where releasing ICT would cause almost no drop in revenue, while releasing SCT would cause a large drop in revenue, would you consider releasing only ICT?

Edit: and if you were going to only post ICT, would you distribute digital copies of SCT to every team that played it?


I'm open to considering all sorts of things—releasing only ICT, distributing digital copies but not openly releasing one or both sets, etc. However, if we go with digital distribution rather than open release because the entry fee hikes are prohibitive, then of course people would need to not send around the digital copies; those digital copies would be part of the community-wide effort to enforce the "do not steal these packets" norm; if we found that people had gone ahead and sent around a bunch of digital copies I imagine we would consider the covenant broken and go back to all paper copies all the time; etc.


Cheynem wrote:If the SCT/ICT packets are being posted publicly in June, what would the crackdown on packet theft target--people distributing the sets prior to June? Or would they be more against the distribution of high school packets? In both cases, I think the crackdown is acceptable--teams should be able to wait until June to get the sets (or earlier, if they played the sets), and I think the distribution of high school packets illegally is problematic (again, I would probably put some grace period for absurdly out of date sets--the goofy reading of the 2001 HSNCT can probably go unmolested).


Sorry, I wasn't very clear about this. I primarily have in mind that the community would help monitor and enforce "no packet theft!" with regards to MS/HS packets (but also the Collegiate Novice sets—so, everything but the SCT and ICT sets). However, it's important to note that there are tournaments that use the SCT and ICT sets after the SCT and ICT main events run. (Including a national championship!) So while I imagine we wouldn't be too worried about person A sending an "early copy" of the set to person B if B has no connection to any of those events, we definitely would not be okay with the same thing happening if B is going to play (or coach a team playing, or whatever) one of the later events using a given set.

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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby grapesmoker » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:04 pm

I'm not a fan of people acting as vigilante enforcers; as this thread's genesis indicates, turning this into an interpersonal issue is a recipe for having people fight each other. I think this is something that needs to be handled on an institutional level, and while I do encourage everyone to respect NAQT's intellectual property, I think it's rather too much to turn us all into an anti-packet-trading police force. My feeling is that we would all be a lot happier if we agree that not trading NAQT packets should be a norm and that we're not going to abet packet trading in this way. Having the community frown on this stuff should be enough of a deterrent, but having individual people snitching on each other is going to end very poorly.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Cheynem » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:06 pm

I think we can all honestly say that anyone sending packets to people who are going to play a tournament on those packets is awful and deserves to be ratted out.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby grapesmoker » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:11 pm

Cheynem wrote:I think we can all honestly say that anyone sending packets to people who are going to play a tournament on those packets is awful and deserves to be ratted out.


Right, I'm ok with that. My problem is more like having people rat out individual college players who got hold of an ICT they shouldn't have got hold of.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby CPiGuy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:00 pm

setht wrote:
CPiGuy wrote:However, it's important to note that there are tournaments that use the SCT and ICT sets after the SCT and ICT main events run. (Including a national championship!)


What national championship is this?
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Ewan MacAulay » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:29 pm

CPiGuy wrote:
setht wrote:
CPiGuy wrote:However, it's important to note that there are tournaments that use the SCT and ICT sets after the SCT and ICT main events run. (Including a national championship!)


What national championship is this?


British nationals are run off SCT D1 in May
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby CPiGuy » Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:52 pm

Ewan MacAulay wrote:
CPiGuy wrote:
setht wrote:
CPiGuy wrote:However, it's important to note that there are tournaments that use the SCT and ICT sets after the SCT and ICT main events run. (Including a national championship!)


What national championship is this?


British nationals are run off SCT D1 in May


Oh, that makes sense. For whatever reason, I just kind of assumed that the British site of ACF Regionals was your de facto national championship.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby Ike » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:56 pm

Hey it has been some time, and I have finally been able to process this thread. I overreacted initially in my confrontation with Eric, but I was understandably very angry about the theft of a product that I put hundreds of hours into. I certainly let things get too personal, but I think my concern over the theft of packets is legitimately grounded.

I don't have much to add on this subject right now, but I would like to emphasize NAQT workers and members are not parasites; they're still in quizbowl because they love it. Even though I disagree with multiple parts of NAQT policy, I want to ask that we as a community respect their intellectual property, especially since much of it is made by people who once were players like us and who now tirelessly work for the game.

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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby The King's Flight to the Scots » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:08 pm

A couple points I wanted to address:

-A lot of people are saying that I called NAQT and its writers were "parasites." I don't think that - and in the context of the post I'm talking about the character of a specific policy - but I still should have found more careful words to phrase it.

-NAQT's corporate structure, with full-time members and rigorous editing practices, provides a level of consistency and professionalism that's basically unachievable under other writing conditions. In turn, this expands quizbowl into places it hasn't reached before, providing all of us with new players and new money.

-NAQT's process seems to be a major way for younger players to practice writing and see their questions used and edited. They're the only quizbowl institution that's really durable enough to provide year-round opportunities and feedback for writers who aren't already known as editors. These writers are then prepared to edit and submit packets to mACF events.

-NAQT supplements or constitutes the income of many quizbowlers, including close friends of mine.
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Re: The Barbarism of Monetization

Postby setht » Mon May 01, 2017 8:39 am

DumbJaques wrote:let's have a conversation among the community and with NAQT, figure out what the costs/concerns are about going to some sort of free (or at the very least, e-copy) model for the two collegiate sets only, and see if we can figure out a solution that's better for the community.


I wanted to check back in on this—did anyone want to discuss this matter further (whether or not my proposal seems worth consideration)?

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