PSA - Don't be a Luddite

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PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:15 pm

I have learned that some moderators at the WUSTL site of EFT this past Saturday complained about having to use online scoresheets / advanced stats. This was not entirely surprising, as I received a hostile reaction from some of these people last year in messages prior to the EFT mirror at WUSTL. This year, the complaints were directed through other people, and I hoped that the complainers weren't quite as ticked off. Disappointingly, this appears to not have been the case. In fact, I received reports from the ground that people who were disgruntled with stats displayed poor behavior partly on account of their frustrations during the tournaments, including the following:

1) Not awarding players power when they buzz well in power, despite being an experienced moderator (!) who has participated in tournaments for years (!!!)
2) Being in a bad mood all day and showing this while moderating for teams, many of which were presumably not experienced with quizbowl and thus may have been given poor impressions by irksome moderators

I'm not going to make the full case here for why online scoresheets are better - other folks can do that. If you want to make a reasoned case why you don't think the online scoresheets are better, that's fine too. What you shouldn't do is be a goddamn Luddite and take out your frustrations on teams playing the first non-novice tournament of the season!!! We aren't doing this to needlessly encumber you (there are logistical advantages to the scoresheets as well) - the stats help us assess over/underestimated difficulty (though they aren't our only criteria) and improve the tournament for future audiences, in addition to whetting the appetite of sabermetricians and providing people with cool information in general.

I trust that I won't hear similar complaints about bad behavior on account of tournament stats at other sites.

P.S. - This is not directed at New College (Florida) in any way - we didn't get advanced stats from that site due to inadequate communication, which I shall take responsibility for.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cheynem » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:41 pm

I basically agree with the substance of Will's post.

I do find that aspects of his post fall into a trend on this forum that I don't like, though. I don't think Will meant anything harmful, but here we have a fairly inflammatory post (in this case, basically accusing WUSTL of being unprofessional) substantiated through anonymous second-hand accounts. Who was complaining? What happened? These are pretty serious accusations--were the complainers (were these teams? the TD? other staffers?) justified? Were they exaggerated? Some of the behavior described, if true, is pretty unacceptable and shouldn't be simply dismissed with a "tsk tsk, don't do this." Perhaps Will and the WUTSTL team dealt with this internally afterwards, but then why throw these inflammatory accusations in a public forum?

This reminds me of a lot of post tournament discussions in which one poster assures the rest of us that he/she has "received lots of praise/criticism from people who don't post" or "I've heard lots of people saying _____" (but apparently not in this forum). As a person who has no access to social media or private e-mails or anything, I have a very hard time figuring out what is true or untrue when people post like this. I would prefer people to be more circumspect or more specific (I.e., in this above example, perhaps have the complainers post or getting approval to specifically say something like "Players from Team X specifically noted moderators' rude behavior").

Perhaps I'm too grumpy. I don't want to appear to be calling Will out specifically (lots of people, including me, do this). But I don't like this style of posting.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Mike Bentley » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:07 pm

A couple of points:

1. If you want TDs and/or moderators to do something differently than they normally do, it's a good idea to give them a heads up beforehand. No idea if that was done in this case, but putting myself in a moderator's shoes, it would be mildly annoying to learn the day-of the tournament that I need to do something I wasn't necessarily prepared for.

2. If people are resisting something, it would be good to at least understand what the complaints are. I haven't used the Ophir scoresheets (assuming these are the ones being referenced), but I vaguely remember moderators in tournaments using them sometimes being frustrated that they'd get stuck calculating. I also can't recall if there's documentation anywhere on how to get a tournament hooked up with them or how to use them. From a moderator's perspective, I could see why on their own a move to such scoresheets might be annoying because they're not personally seeing the benefits and might have to learn a new system.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:11 pm

Definitely not taking it personally, Mike! For what it's worth - nobody running the tournament was unprofessional, and I had no complaints about any of the moderators provided by WUSTL itself. Charles Hang in particular was very helpful, forthright, communicative, and supportive of our use of the scoresheets. This behavior was exhibited by outside moderator, and the complaints about using scoresheets came from multiple outside moderators, who I understand are very valuable to keeping the Missouri circuit running. The specific outside moderator who exhibited bad behavior this year made the same complaints last year. My sources did not wish to be disclosed.

I will note the following:

1) The scoresheets were provided in advance of the tournament and distributed to moderators
2) Documentation explaining how to use them was provided (and there is a moderator guide in each scoresheet as well!)

I am adopting this tone publicly because this isn't a first offense, this is a multiple-time offense by people who are experienced and should know better.
Last edited by Periplus of the Erythraean Sea on Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby dwd500 » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:52 pm

I complained after the first round. Compared to using StatsLive or something like Neg5 (which I still haven't done), digging around in a spreadsheet after trying to read at speed and keep a game from dragging is pretty tough. There were big gaps of time in that game just to accommodate my having to visually scan the spreadsheet and check the number from the packet.

After my fussing, I was given a scorekeeper, which made the day much easier. There were only so many scorekeepers around, so my complaining took one from somebody else. I know I made that reader's day much worse.

I'm getting older. My eyesight just ain't what it used to be. I set up 2 laptops to run this because I was going to be running the room solo, and knew that adjusting my eyes from my one laptop to the in-desk computer at WUSTL was going to take forever, and then drag the game past an acceptable level.

My problem is not with the program or the concept. I get what you're doing with the stats, and I can see the benefit, but it's a two-person job.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cheynem » Tue Oct 10, 2017 2:52 pm

That makes more sense, Will, and I'm glad you elaborated. From the perspective of somebody who had no idea what was going on, it sounded like you were suggesting the WUSTL team (maybe even the TD?) was being unprofessional. I'm glad that was not the case.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:11 pm

Based on this discussion, it is apparent that there may be some interface issues with the current stats setup and that - without trying to sound ageist - these may have a greater impact on older moderators for various reasons. These are valid and important criticisms. Ophir and I have discussed this and are very open to feedback as to how the system can be improved. I'd be more than talk privately about this!

Also - my post wasn't referring to Dennis, but I do appreciate his articulation of particular frustrations with the system.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby 1992 in spaceflight » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:47 am

I have no idea if I am the one you're referring to with your post, but the main gripe I have with the system is that it has the potential to massively delay the tournament (I took an extra few minutes a game just entering the buzz point, I believe). I do think it's a great idea-in fact, we were able to provide detailed feedback to WUSTL's freshman, which I think is awesome-but it really is a two-person job. My other main criticism is that you forced hosts to use this, as opposed to an online scorekeeping system every moderator and scorekeeper at the WUSTL site was very familiar with. Not every site is going to have the manpower to give every moderator a scorekeeper, and entering the buzzpoint requires using this to be a two-person job.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Wed Oct 11, 2017 1:25 am

1992 in spaceflight wrote:I have no idea if I am the one you're referring to with your post, but the main gripe I have with the system is that it has the potential to massively delay the tournament (I took an extra few minutes a game just entering the buzz point, I believe). I do think it's a great idea-in fact, we were able to provide detailed feedback to WUSTL's freshman, which I think is awesome-but it really is a two-person job. My other main criticism is that you forced hosts to use this, as opposed to an online scorekeeping system every moderator and scorekeeper at the WUSTL site was very familiar with. Not every site is going to have the manpower to give every moderator a scorekeeper, and entering the buzzpoint requires using this to be a two-person job.


Once you're used to it, I really don't think it takes that long - you just click on the word they buzzed on when they answer. Presumably you're on the website to see the packets already, so just tab right between the packet and the scoresheet in your browser. The extra effort to track buzzpoints consists entirely of clicking on a word then entering in one more number after you put in "10/15" and the bonus score - I can't imagine this to be more than a minute of extra time if you've got it down. It certainly takes some moderator practice and teaching people a few keyboard shortcuts, but I found I had no problems completing games at Yale in about 30 minutes - even between two completely novice teams - once I got into the flow of things.

This whole "two-person job" argument really doesn't make much sense to me. Games always go faster when you have both a reader and a scorekeeper. Maybe that's more pronounced here - but again, experienced mods seemed to not have problem getting through rounds in normal time frames, or at least keeping pace with some of the slower readers (who may have a second person).

EDIT: Upon some further thought, I might as well go ahead concede that using the system, on the whole, ends up taking more time than a standard electronic scoresheet (there are some small things like individual bonus part entry, and of course lots of small things add up over time). Perhaps scorekeepers are indeed more advisable for this system than others.

EDIT 2: We are working on some improvements to speed up buzzpoint entry for the next round of mirrors.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cody » Wed Oct 11, 2017 4:18 am

Actually, games do take much longer solo because you have to switch between 3 screens instead of 2. You can no longer fit tossups and bonues side-by-side (so the ideal workflow winds up being tossup tab, scoresheet, bonus tab -- not great).

Even without the screen complication, it is faster to keep score on paper because you are moving your hand to where it needs to go rather than using arrow keys.

So, yes, it is slower to use online scoresheets, it always will be slower due to immutable laws, and the necessary time is only increased by having to record buzzpoints. (having done it both ways, it is much faster to track buzzpoints on paper.)

That said, if the editing team says they want you to do keep score in this particular way to achieve some particular goal, who cares as long as it's within reason? Does WUSTL's online system track buzzpoints? No, which defeats the whole point of this endeavor and means you can't use it! This is categorically not a big deal, and hardly worth complaining about (much less being a dick to players about). Yes, it takes a little more time. For everyone.

(It is also definitely not a job that requires two people, anymore than running a room is a job that requires 2 people, which I can personally vouch for since I did it in full for some 7 of the 11 games I read at Maryland Fall.)
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Rococo A Go Go » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:33 am

I was informed a few hours ago that I was required to use this system tomorrow while staffing an EFT mirror by order of the head editor. I had never heard of it before this week and don’t have the time to really learn anything about it before tomorrow morning during the tournament. I believe others when they say this is a two person job for all but the most accomplished staffers, and I may not have a scorekeeper because nobody else wants to learn a new system on a few hours notice. I’ve been informed that perhaps some changes have been implemented to make it easier for one person to use, but again I haven’t used this system (and apparently no tournament has used the latest version?!)

Of course, the response to legitimate complaints has been a long thread calling somebody a Luddite. People are putting in work *for free* to allow this tournament to be mirrored widely, which means the editors can make money from the mirror fees. The complete lack of respect shown for these volunteers is not only evidenced by this petulant thread, but also the complete inability to give fair warning to people that they must learn new skills to volunteer for a tournament which mirrors your set.

At this point I don’t actually want to staff the EFT mirror tomorrow, and if I do so it will only be because I want the local circuit to have tournaments to play.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:48 am

Rococo a go go wrote:I’ve been informed that perhaps some changes have been implemented to make it easier for one person to use, but again I haven’t used this system (and apparently no tournament has used the latest version?!)


Gosh, I'm so sorry that we didn't have time to run a whole tournament in the middle of the week in order to test the updates that we made in response to (legitimate) critiques on the forums! Maybe we shouldn't make updates instead?

Rococo a go go wrote:People are putting in work *for free* to allow this tournament to be mirrored widely, which means the editors can make money from the mirror fees. The complete lack of respect shown for these volunteers is not only evidenced by this petulant thread, but also the complete inability to give fair warning to people that they must learn new skills to volunteer for a tournament which mirrors your set.


As the tournament producers, our job is to provide the tournament and set the conditions under which people can mirror it. It's not our prerogative to set the compensation of staffers, and I suspect if we tried to make that part of our requitements (you must pay staff X amount of money) then I bet we'd get way more backlash! The system takes like 10-15 minutes to learn how to use, at most, at most, though perhaps longer to master.

Once again - yes, the tone of the thread was hostile, but this was in large part because somebody was taking it out on the players, which is not okay.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Granny Soberer » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:50 am

If this is the same system that was used at Jordaens, I had no idea it was going to be used ahead of time and managed to pick it up nearly immediately. It's not like Will's asking people to construct IKEA furniture while moderating or anything.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Rococo A Go Go » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:57 am

If I staff this tournament, I will be learning it on the fly during games; albeit that is assuming the UofL wifi works well enough to do it.

This is all a colossal waste of time.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cody » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:00 pm

Rococo A Go Go wrote:I was informed a few hours ago that I was required to use this system tomorrow while staffing an EFT mirror by order of the head editor. I had never heard of it before this week and don’t have the time to really learn anything about it before tomorrow morning during the tournament. I believe others when they say this is a two person job for all but the most accomplished staffers, and I may not have a scorekeeper because nobody else wants to learn a new system on a few hours notice. I’ve been informed that perhaps some changes have been implemented to make it easier for one person to use, but again I haven’t used this system (and apparently no tournament has used the latest version?!)

Of course, the response to legitimate complaints has been a long thread calling somebody a Luddite. People are putting in work *for free* to allow this tournament to be mirrored widely, which means the editors can make money from the mirror fees. The complete lack of respect shown for these volunteers is not only evidenced by this petulant thread, but also the complete inability to give fair warning to people that they must learn new skills to volunteer for a tournament which mirrors your set.

At this point I don’t actually want to staff the EFT mirror tomorrow, and if I do so it will only be because I want the local circuit to have tournaments to play.
The "new skills" required to use Ophir's scoresheet / system consist of being able to correctly recall which word was buzzed on, subsequently being able to click on the word which was buzzed on, and finally entering that number in an electronic scoresheet that works....exactly like a regular scoresheet, but with autosummation? Such wow, much hard.

Nothing about this is in any way difficult except that it takes a little more time per game. Have you ever clicked on a link and used a spreadsheet, or even filled in a form online? Congratu-fucking-lations, you're fully trained. Maybe now you can stop the histrionics and panic-mongering.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:04 pm

For the sake of those who are curious in Ophir's program, is there a working example we can look at it / interact with? Obviously, not EFT, but anything else?
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Rococo A Go Go » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:07 pm

Other people have already said this system sucks to use, but any complaint or concern whatsoever is met with over the top insults. Paired with being ordered to do learn a brand new system on absurdly short notice, it’s clear that people who are very technologically capable have no capacity for considering others’ user experience. It takes everyone different amounts of time to learn and prepare for big changes, time which I don’t have.

I’m out.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cody » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:22 pm

Rococo A Go Go wrote:Other people have already said this system sucks to use, but any complaint or concern whatsoever is met with over the top insults. Paired with being ordered to do learn a brand new system on absurdly short notice, it’s clear that people who are very technologically capable have no capacity for considering others’ user experience. It takes everyone different amounts of time to learn and prepare for big changes, time which I don’t have.

I’m out.
I don't have to care because I've used Ophir's "system" and my infinite technological capability informs me that no one capable of moderating or scorekeeping could have any trouble using it.

Ophir hasn't changed the world of quizbowl by forcing everyone to use, like, a fucking ribbon menu or something. You click on the word someone buzzed on and enter the number of that word into an electronic scoresheet. You did learn to click on something before you got to grad school, right?
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Rococo A Go Go » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:32 pm

Cody wrote:
Rococo A Go Go wrote:Other people have already said this system sucks to use, but any complaint or concern whatsoever is met with over the top insults. Paired with being ordered to do learn a brand new system on absurdly short notice, it’s clear that people who are very technologically capable have no capacity for considering others’ user experience. It takes everyone different amounts of time to learn and prepare for big changes, time which I don’t have.

I’m out.
I don't have to care because I've used Ophir's "system" and my infinite technological capability informs me that no one capable of moderating or scorekeeping could have any trouble using it.

Ophir hasn't changed the world of quizbowl by forcing everyone to use, like, a fucking ribbon menu or something. You click on the word someone buzzed on and enter the number of that word into an electronic scoresheet. You did learn to click on something before you got to grad school, right?


I’m sure you find it very easy and that is somewhat reassuring, but quizbowl is already enough of an anxiety inducing activity that it’s perfectly reasonable to be worried when you hear from other people that the system isn’t all that easy to use. Couple that with having it thrown at me 24 hours before the tournament, it does worry me. The knee-jerk dismissal of any worries, proceeding to basically call people stupid for having a different experience or worrying about others’ having those poor experiences is really annoying.

But anyway I’m going to staff tomorrow and maybe play part of the day on a house team. If I don’t like the new system I’ll probably stay quiet so as to not have secondhand info about my complaint referred to somebody who would call me a Luddite on the internet.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri Oct 13, 2017 12:39 pm

Rococo a Go Go wrote:The knee-jerk dismissal of any worries, proceeding to basically call people stupid for having a different experience or worrying about others’ having those poor experiences is really annoying.


Again, the reason I brought this up is because, from what I was told, somebody was being an ass with teams on account of complaints about the stats system, which is fucking unacceptable. Our goal is to provide a particular "introduction to college quizbowl" experience to new players, and to hear that moderator behavior might undermine this goal was distressing.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby theMoMA » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:00 pm

I don't think the core of Cody and Will's argument--that these scorekeeping methods are fairly easy to learn and use--is unreasonable; based on my experience, the system is easy to pick up, and while it does take some extra time for a single reader/scorekeeper to use, it's not terribly different from keeping score on your own using a sheet of paper. That said, many people are not as comfortable keeping score and reading at the same time as the luminaries in this thread, and the constant need to change between windows can be a challenge for anyone not used to it, for the reasons Cody said. Moderator experience and quality varies drastically by region and host, and expecting that an added wrinkle will cause no complications when some readers already have a hard time keeping up is not realistic. I have also seen automated scoresheets with calculation errors, or ones that mysteriously don't work on a particular person's computer; add the potential for spotty wifi into the mix and you can see that there are possible issues that might throw off even an experienced reader.

None of this is to say that online buzz-point scorekeeping is bad or not worth doing, but I'd advise editors who want this kind of scorekeeping done to let sites know well in advance and provide some materials for moderators who haven't used the system, and not to dismiss out of hand the possible issues that it could create. Springing it on them late, and subsequently lambasting them in forum posts dripping with vitriol, does not seem like a sound strategy for the widespread adoption of a new way of doing something, especially one that requires additional effort.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cheynem » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:10 pm

This thread has gotten awfully stupid. Here are four observations that I think can hold:

1. It is not unreasonable to ask staffers to keep score/stats a certain way, any more so than saying "we're only going to use laptops or online scoresheets" is not unreasonable. Suggesting you might not staff a tournament because of that is kind of overblown.

2. Ophir's system is pretty cool and while I question the need for some of this data (to be honest, a lot of times I feel like the data just ends up being "oooh I buzzed first") I think conversion data and identifying potential issues are important, admirable things.

3. It is not unreasonable to have concerns about using unfamiliar technology. I went to grad school, got a Phd in Suburban Studies, and I don't even know how to use a smart phone. Some people, myself included, occasionally get anxiety about staffing tournaments, especially if there are unfamiliar aspects (a clock, bouncebacks, big words). The insults thrown in this thread at someone who is concerned are not good in my opinion.

4. The TD should announce such staffing expectations in advance and block aside time to demonstrate how to use the system. As a teacher, I would occasionally run into students who did not have experience doing things I found very very familiar (such as doing web searches). I didn't berate them for this, but I also didn't simply let them not do that; rather I set aside time to painlessly teach them what I was looking for.

5. We all should keep in mind that we're on the same team here. Will wants a good tournament. I'm sure Nick does too. I think everyone in this thread could perhaps have dialed things back a bit. Nick's concerns are real and perhaps could have been expressed less dramatically ("I'm concerned I have to use a new system at short notice" is perfectly reasonable). People rebuking him make good points, but should be more sympathetic and not dramatic (for instance, I liked Ryan's post about "Don't worry, Nick, this isn't that complicated a system!"). Perhaps Will or someone could even offer to do a demo tutorial for Nick.

I don't normally subscribe to the idea that quizbowl is a toxic place, but these conversations don't help that counterargument. Can we do better?
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Aaron Manby (ironmaster) » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:18 pm

I felt the system was easy to learn and use at CO art and I think this a great system to use moving forward.

Advanced notice would have been nice for this even if it was using the spreadsheets and questions from a previous tournament just to get a hang of what's going on - especially if a site usually uses paper scoresheets. Staffers could have incompatible browsers/os/etc and it'd be good to either figure out what's wrong and fix it or say "hey my laptop can't use these scoresheets/packets does anyone have a laptop to spare" more than 24 hrs before the tournament.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Habitat_Against_Humanity » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:50 pm

One thing to bear in mind is that the ease at which software is learned doesn't translate into being able to use it quickly and efficiently (which is of course paramount to running an on-time, successful tournament). I'd like to think I understand both R syntax and regular expressions pretty well; however, I still find myself looking up documentation to "which argument goes where" when calling the gsub or grepl functions. I know exactly what the function does, I know exactly how it should be used, but I'm simply not that efficient at using it. Even though I really think these new stats-keeping protocols are going to revolutionize how we look at the game, I would say that running a hiccupless tournament overrides the need to collect buzzpoint data.

The obvious way to get good at using software is to practice using it, especially in low-stakes contexts. A tournament is not a low-stakes context and asking people to implement the new system without giving them a chance to look at it is just asking for trouble.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cheynem » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:12 pm

Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:"which argument goes where" when calling the gsub or grepl functions. I know exactly what the function does


But how are you with GJR-GARCH models?
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cody » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:48 pm

Let us consider the usual moderating flow: open a packet (PDF, DOCX) from a file browser, then open a second window so you can seamlessly switch between tossups and bonuses. To scorekeep, you...scorekeep.

Let us consider the usual moderating flow with Ophir's system: open a packet (HTML) from your web browser or your file browser, then open a second window (or tab) so you can seamlessly switch between tossups and bonuses. To record the buzzpoint, you click on a word and note the buzzpoint in a dedicated column in an electronic scoresheet. Other than that, to scorekeep, you...scorekeep.

Are there some actual issues or downsides to Ophir's system? Yes, and I laid them out in my first post in the thread. The other downside is that (as of a few weeks ago) there is not a method to stop people from reading the wrong packet (as there are with PDFs and DOCXs). On the plus side, you get advanced stats and there are no possible compatibility issues like there are with PDFs and DOCXs.

Ophir's system could not be easier to use. In fact, as a very qualified moderator and tournament director, I can tell you that Ophir's system is actually easier to use than PDFs or DOCXs because anyone who can use a web browser in 2017 understands how to open a second tab. Figuring out how to open a second window for PDFs and DOCXs is much more difficult, and has tripped up a lot of staffers over the years.

Yes, Ophir's system will take a little bit longer to use than if you didn't have to record buzzpoints. But the difference in time between moderating alone and moderating alone with Ophir's system and tracking buzzpoints is minimal, and does not represent a large addition of time to a tournament.

Everyone can -- and should -- stop wigging out about an inconsequential requirement on the part of EFT editors to use a...very easy-to-use system.

Update: I'm actually told that the updates include passworded packets AND no longer needing to type in the buzzpoint, meaning there are actually no downsides as compared to normally moderating alone. This means keeping advanced stats is now exactly as easy and fast as not keeping advanced stats, from a moderating perspective. Even better!
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cody » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:57 pm

Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:One thing to bear in mind is that the ease at which software is learned doesn't translate into being able to use it quickly and efficiently (which is of course paramount to running an on-time, successful tournament). I'd like to think I understand both R syntax and regular expressions pretty well; however, I still find myself looking up documentation to "which argument goes where" when calling the gsub or grepl functions. I know exactly what the function does, I know exactly how it should be used, but I'm simply not that efficient at using it. Even though I really think these new stats-keeping protocols are going to revolutionize how we look at the game, I would say that running a hiccupless tournament overrides the need to collect buzzpoint data.

The obvious way to get good at using software is to practice using it, especially in low-stakes contexts. A tournament is not a low-stakes context and asking people to implement the new system without giving them a chance to look at it is just asking for trouble.
You don't know a single thing about how Ophir's system might impact a tournament. As the most qualified tournament director in this thread, and as someone who has used Ophir's system, I do.

You know how you could run an on-time, successful tournament? Never break ties on a packet, only statistically. Never use a schedule that might give teams more games (3 brackets of 8 for 24 teams, instead of 4 brackets of 6 teams, going to playoffs taking 11 vs 10 rounds). I could go on about a number of other standard practices.

Somehow, we manage to do this things AND run on-time successful tournaments. Just as people already have and will continue to run on-time, successful tournaments using Ophir's system.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cheynem » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:11 pm

As you yourself indicate in your post, you're the most experienced tournament director (and arguably moderator?) in this thread, so while you are correct in the abstract sense of this system entails and the ease of using it, I don't think you have a good sense of the apprehensions people have regarding using it. As the thread indicates, people had some pretty real concerns--that doesn't excuse being unprofessional like the people in the first post--that I don't think should be cavalierly dismissed. I've never used the system; I assume it isn't that difficult to use and as a TD, wouldn't have a problem telling my staffers to use it.

But I also would: 1. communicate that to my staffers as soon as possible, 2. assure them that it's pretty easy and offer to demonstrate it, and 3. not insult people who seemed apprehensive about doing it.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cody » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:14 pm

As an addendum, many of you do not know Ophir, but not only is he an awesome dude, he is extremely good at creating useful and functional systems for quizbowl (and in general). I take personal affront at the idea that Ophir could create the dystopian hellscape of a system that some people in this thread have dreamed up. Much less that Ophir and a cabal of EFT editors would foist such a system on unsuspecting hosts! I mean, seriously, people? Everyone involved in EFT, as well as Ophir and hosts/moderators who managed this without taking out their frustrations on teams, are, what, complete idiots?
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby 1.82 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:38 pm

For anyone who doesn't know what the brouhaha here is about or would like to be acquainted with this system, here is a helpful short video that demonstrates in full how it works.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cody » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:10 pm

Cheynem wrote:As you yourself indicate in your post, you're the most experienced tournament director (and arguably moderator?) in this thread, so while you are correct in the abstract sense of this system entails and the ease of using it, I don't think you have a good sense of the apprehensions people have regarding using it. As the thread indicates, people had some pretty real concerns--that doesn't excuse being unprofessional like the people in the first post--that I don't think should be cavalierly dismissed. I've never used the system; I assume it isn't that difficult to use and as a TD, wouldn't have a problem telling my staffers to use it.

But I also would: 1. communicate that to my staffers as soon as possible, 2. assure them that it's pretty easy and offer to demonstrate it, and 3. not insult people who seemed apprehensive about doing it.
Part of being both an experienced TD and moderator is understanding what staffers normally struggle with and making things easy on them, or giving pre-emptive instructions to avoid issues. Staffers of any experience level elicit a measured response when they have concerns. But I give short shrift to experienced moderators, easily capable of staffing a room solo, posting histrionically about nonexistent shortcomings in Ophir's system.

There is no more reason to be apprehensive about using Ophir's system than there is to be apprehensive about reading round 12's passworded PDF after the previous 11 passworded PDFs opened properly. Even pre-update, Ophir's system took 15 seconds to explain. Click the word a player buzzed on and record the number that pops up. Use the electronic scoresheet as you'd use a normal one, but making use of it's builtin features to make things easier. (School and player drop-downs, both immediately intuitive and explained in seconds.) (Not sure when player drop-downs were added, before that it was slightly harder because player positions had to be noted temporarily separately. Still not difficult though.)

Think about reading a quizbowl packet for a minute. The only data advanced stats can record is where a buzz occurred and which bonus parts were gotten (something NAQT's scoresheets already do). There is no way to design a system for recording advanced stats that would be difficult to understand or use, unless someone were to intentionally do so!

Think about scorekeeping for a minute. You take down the team names, player names, and record points. Even if you've never done it electronically, it's immediately obvious how to do it.

The very fundamentals of quizbowl dictate that Ophir's system, and indeed any system for advanced stats, cannot possibly be *that hard* to learn or use correctly!
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Rococo A Go Go » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:05 pm

Here’s the progression of events in this situation:

1) Will started this thread publicly calling out WUSTL for rumors he had heard about their mirror, particularly castigating a moderator for being in a bad mood while volunteering. It’s at this point I learned of the existence of OphirStats and that Will had required WUSTL to use it, and that not all the staffers had been informed of this in advance.

2) David and Jacob, two people whose judgment I generally trust, post that they were frustrated about being required to use a new scorekeeping system on short notice. They expressed that in their experience it was difficult to do everything by themselves without slowing down a tournament, which may have caused some staffers to be in a bad mood.

3) Will announced that the system would be tweaked to make it easier to use, admitting that it wasn’t as easy to use as he’d thought.

4) Seeing the issues described by Jacob and David, and understanding Louisville might not have scorekeepers on Saturday, I was asked if we were being required to use OphirStats by Will. The TD responded that no requirement had been communicated to us, I put the whole thing out of my mind, and we prepared for a tournament in the normal fashion.

5) My dog woke me up at 5:30 this morning, and I noticed I had a message saying we were required to use OphirStats. It’s not super fun to learn with 27 hours notice that the thing I had stopped worrying about was actually going to happen. To me, a pattern emerged

A) EFT editors are waiting until too soon before an event to tell people they MUST learn a new system
B) The system is mostly fine to use, and indeed may be very easy to use, but it causes slight delays and is dependent on a good wireless connection. There is also a slight learning curve that may cause some frustration on short notice.
C) When people react poorly to being jerked around like this, the blame is heaped entirely on them in the form of callouts and name calling, even though the actions of the editors had a major role in their bad mood.

Seeing this pattern, I became very apprehensive about spending an entire Saturday volunteering for a mirror of a set whose editor treated staffers like this. I am not impugning OphirStats and I am glad it seems to be fairly easy to use according to Cody, whose expertise I trust. I also think it’s probably a great idea for improving stats and will improve the game in the long term.

I am primarily concerned with how this is being implemented, where the system is being mandated from the top down; a better practice would have been to inform hosts immediately of the potentials of this system and request they try it. Instead, hosts not only have a mandate but an issue with implementation led to a response from Will that I think could have best been handled privately and with more understanding.

Anyway, this argument is mostly over but I really hope quizbowl learns to be a little better about managing the experiences of volunteers whose labor allow the game to exist.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Cheynem » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:09 pm

Hey, you don't have to explain that the system is easy to use--I believe you. I also believe that Nick's post was kind of overblown. But a simple "hey this isn't that complicated, don't worry, here's a video explaining how this works" is, at least in my opinion, what was needed there. If I was staffing a tournament and the TD talked to me like how you talked to Nick, I would get pretty angry (EDIT: and I would be upset probably if I was the TD and a staffer talked to me as Nick originally did). That's my only point. I'm glad to see that we've calmed down and the last few posts are better.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:38 pm

It is not accurate to imply that staffers were blind to the use of the system, unless the tournament director failed to inform them of such. We sent out the scoresheets ahead of time.

I apologize to Nick for not adequately anticipating the difficulty of checking his email and reading documents on the internet for a couple of minutes.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby sephirothrr » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:10 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:It is not accurate to imply that staffers were blind to the use of the system, unless the tournament director failed to inform them of such. We sent out the scoresheets ahead of time.

I apologize to Nick for not adequately anticipating the difficulty of checking his email and reading documents on the internet for a couple of minutes.


Ok, this is extremely disingenuous. It's not really a secret that I'm the TD in question here, and I was the one who told my staffers that I hadn't been told anything specifically about buzzpoint tracking, which is true. The first moment that it was intimated to me that we had to use this stat system was at 1:14 AM today when I got the email, which is when I immediately spread that news to the staff - which corresponds to the mere 27 hour advance notice that Nick mentioned. I have no problem whatsoever with using this system, and in fact I even highly support it, but it's frustrating to watch people in this thread make baseless personal attacks like this without even trying to address actual concerns.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:42 pm

sephirothrr wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:It is not accurate to imply that staffers were blind to the use of the system, unless the tournament director failed to inform them of such. We sent out the scoresheets ahead of time.

I apologize to Nick for not adequately anticipating the difficulty of checking his email and reading documents on the internet for a couple of minutes.


Ok, this is extremely disingenuous. It's not really a secret that I'm the TD in question here, and I was the one who told my staffers that I hadn't been told anything specifically about buzzpoint tracking, which is true. The first moment that it was intimated to me that we had to use this stat system was at 1:14 AM today when I got the email, which is when I immediately spread that news to the staff - which corresponds to the mere 27 hour advance notice that Nick mentioned. I have no problem whatsoever with using this system, and in fact I even highly support it, but it's frustrating to watch people in this thread make baseless personal attacks like this without even trying to address actual concerns.


To clear things up - none of this was directed at Rama, who to my understanding has been very forthright in his communications with moderators - as evidenced by his (apparent) immediate forwarding of an email I sent him (and the other directors for this weekend's sites). My response was directed at this -

Rococo a go go wrote:1) Will started this thread publicly calling out WUSTL for rumors he had heard about their mirror, particularly castigating a moderator for being in a bad mood while volunteering. It’s at this point I learned of the existence of OphirStats and that Will had required WUSTL to use it, and that not all the staffers had been informed of this in advance.


- reading it as implying that I had not informed WUSTL about advanced stats. Charles messaged me some number of days in advance about whether they were being used, to which I replied in the affirmative. The scoresheets were sent out later than ideal. In response, we sent out scoresheets Thursday with a more full explanation, and have provided a demo video as well (as Naveed kindly linked to above) and technical improvements.

Multiple people have pointed out that this is a reason to be more forthright, anticipatory, and open with communication in the future. I'll take that as a lesson learned for simply announcing in emails (when people are granted mirrors) that we're expecting a different stats system to be used. I did not anticipate this to be as much of an issue as it is.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Habitat_Against_Humanity » Sat Oct 14, 2017 1:46 am

Cody wrote:
Habitat_Against_Humanity wrote:One thing to bear in mind is that the ease at which software is learned doesn't translate into being able to use it quickly and efficiently (which is of course paramount to running an on-time, successful tournament). I'd like to think I understand both R syntax and regular expressions pretty well; however, I still find myself looking up documentation to "which argument goes where" when calling the gsub or grepl functions. I know exactly what the function does, I know exactly how it should be used, but I'm simply not that efficient at using it. Even though I really think these new stats-keeping protocols are going to revolutionize how we look at the game, I would say that running a hiccupless tournament overrides the need to collect buzzpoint data.

The obvious way to get good at using software is to practice using it, especially in low-stakes contexts. A tournament is not a low-stakes context and asking people to implement the new system without giving them a chance to look at it is just asking for trouble.
You don't know a single thing about how Ophir's system might impact a tournament. As the most qualified tournament director in this thread, and as someone who has used Ophir's system, I do.

You know how you could run an on-time, successful tournament? Never break ties on a packet, only statistically. Never use a schedule that might give teams more games (3 brackets of 8 for 24 teams, instead of 4 brackets of 6 teams, going to playoffs taking 11 vs 10 rounds). I could go on about a number of other standard practices.

Somehow, we manage to do this things AND run on-time successful tournaments. Just as people already have and will continue to run on-time, successful tournaments using Ophir's system.




Look dude, I'm not impugning you (in fact, I generally agree with on almost everything you post) or Ophir (who was a big help for me when I wanted to find questions to build a categorizer on). Like I said, I'm incredibly excited to see how this new data can enhance question discussion/critiques. I don't know where you're getting this idea that people are pissed at Ophir.

Congrats, you've run a bunch of tournaments and I respect your opinions and advice (truly). FWIW, I'd consider the standard tournament practices you talk about at the end, well, part of a standard tournament*. Introducing new features, software, whatever, are by definition, not standard. Just showing someone how to use the program less than 36 hours or whatever it was before a tournament isn't any sort of guarantee that they're going to be speedy enough with it to prevent problems. I'm sure it's as exactly as easy to use as you say it is, however I don't necessarily believe that ease-of-use translates automatically into no-problems statistics happyland on its first use.

There have been a few helpful suggestions on this thread. Raynor asked the correct question about where to learn this new tool and Naveed obliged, giving the youtube link. That's helpful. Will acknowledged that he should inform people of the new stats tools more quickly ahead of time. That's helpful. Saying I "don't know a single thing" is not. Like Mike, I don't think quiz bowl is a toxic place, but when someone you've said at most a dozen words to plays that card, damn dude.

*Thought before posting: The stuff you describe, the scheduling, tiebreaking, etc is usually decided by the TD, not the moderator in the room. We are all intimately familiar with moderator variability, so I don't think it's that much of a stretch to assume that there is indeed a non-zero percentage of moderators who will struggle in one way or another when something out of the ordinary is tossed their way.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:38 am

Just want to give my experience with this thing. I haven't read the whole thread: I just want to explain how it went with me and Bryn in our room.

I got to the site at Georgia Tech this morning and was told we'd be using a new electronic system. That was my first notice that we'd be doing this at the GT site. Apparently an e-mail was sent out around 8:00 the night before, but I was on the road and not checking my messages. I generally assume all moderator instructions are given out at least 24 hours in advance of the tournament, which seems reasonable, barring emergencies. To be fair, GT didn't seem to have much advance notice themselves.

We only brought my laptop since we didn't think it would be a two person job. Fortunately, GT had working computers in their rooms, so we were able to access what we needed.

Bryn and I had about 15 minutes to learn the system. The scorekeeping was easy, but the instructions didn't explain buzz points in a way that I could really figure out. They said:

"If tracking buzz points: When a player buzzes on a tossup, click on the word that the player buzzed on in the packet (see Packet instructions below). There are at most two buzzes per tossup.
If you started reading part of a word, it counts as having read the entire word.
Don't bother clicking on words that are just pronunciation guides or punctuation.
(In rare situations, both teams may buzz on the same word. Just click both that word and the next word. If both teams buzz on the last word, just click the last word once.)
After the end of the match, click the "Copy buzz points" button in the packet. On the right side of the scoresheet, paste the copied data into the proper location. (This button may not work right now in Firefox, but it will be fixed shortly.)"

When I clicked on words, nothing happened. So I just read the neg words and buzz words to Bryn for her to type. Bryn recently had a stroke, but was fortunately able to type in the words (it was good speech therapy, if anything). I guess there was a quicker way to do this, but I just never figured it out from the instructions given.

Anyway, the scorekeeping template was super easy to use. I'm sure the buzz points are easy to use as well, but the instructions didn't make a ton of sense to me or Bryn. The video makes it look like things get highlighted when you put the cursor over a word, but that wasn't happening on my computer. Did I open it wrong?

Anyway, that was our experience. I'd love to use this in the future, but as a moderator it would be rad to know that we're going to use these programs in advance of the tournament so I can acclimate to using it. Troubleshooting instructions for things like, "Why won't words highlight when my cursor is over them" would be good as well. At the end of the day, I guess Bryn and I did what we needed to do and delays were pretty minimal in our room. I'm all about using new technology and am willing to do my part to learn the technology to help quizbowl improve. But a little more advance notice would be appreciated next time. Thanks!
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby hftf » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:55 am

Hi Eric,

I would like to thank you for staffing the EFT mirror at Georgia Tech. I really appreciate the moderators and volunteers at all tournament sites, especially for putting up with an unusual scorekeeping system. Of course, you and Bryn have always been excellent moderators.

I hope I didn't make it uncomfortable or a burden to moderate. I completely agree with you that it would have been much better to provide more advance notice, as well as a demo for moderators to fiddle around with to get familiar with the scorekeeping system – something I would have been able to prepare with more time to work with. It's good to hear that the standard scorekeeping part of the system was super easy to use. I, and probably most moderators, wouldn't have bothered to deal with the buzz points if I couldn't manage to make them work – but it was good, quick thinking on your part to write down the actual words instead! When I get a chance, I'll go back and reconstruct the word numbers, since I won't let this creative and resourceful solution go to waste.

I also want to thank you for posting about your experience and concerns with the scorekeeping system. It was very helpful and also very fairly written. I have tried to correct all the problems before Sunday's mirrors.

At the Virginia site, one of the scorekeepers who was paired with a moderator also ended up using the room's computer equipment. I checked in with him after round 1, and he reported that the buzz points were not working. I was able to solve the problem by opening the packet in a different browser.

It sounds like this could have been the same issue you had. I am sorry for the confusing instructions, and even though I tried to emphasize using an up-to-date browser in several places, it's my fault for not clarifying what to do when it doesn't work as expected.

I've made some updates to the instructions document. For example, you suggested that "troubleshooting instructions" should be included. I've started on this by adding the following text to the "Packet instructions" section:

It should be possible to click on the words in a tossup to toggle them on (highlighted with a light blue background) or off. It should also be possible to then click the "Copy all buzz points" button and be able to paste a list of numbers corresponding to the clicked words. Make sure that these two pieces of functionality work in your browser; if not, try using a different browser, or send me an email.

I had an overwhelming Saturday: after spending all of Friday night making last-minute changes and recording a new demonstration video, driving for seven hours total and picking up and dropping off both players and staffers at their homes, suddenly losing my voice in round 2 and stepping into some TD roles when the TD had to replace me, teaching the scorekeeping system at the opening staff meeting and helping figure out SQBS problems with the statsperson, checking in on rooms to make sure there were no problems, trying to coordinate and communicate with 6 different sites, and responding to the huge demand from players to see the detailed stats at the end of the day while I was still driving home in the same traffic, I almost wanted to give up and yield to a long, badly needed rest.

It made me feel better to get up early on Sunday and read your post and have a good idea of what improvements I could make in a couple of hours before the next group of mirrors got started.

Much thanks again,
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Rococo A Go Go » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:38 am

I used this system yesterday and would like to share my experience:

I got to the tournament site shortly before most teams arrived, and Ramapriya walked me through the scoresheet and showed the staff the instructional video. Once I actually got into my room and started reading, it worked well enough. I did have to figure a few things out through practice (like remembering to click on buzzpoints) but overall nothing was really difficult to do. I was doing everything myself, but I’ve done that on paper before so maybe this wouldn’t be much slower...

Then everything started lagging.

The issue turns out to be with my laptop, which is a cheap Dell notebook. Google Docs tends to lag significantly on my computer, and this system appears to be built off Google spreadsheets. I don’t know if my laptop is special in terms of being slower than other machines, but it’s relatively new and fairly lightly used. I think the lesson might be to use a real laptop! Combined with me figuring a few things out, the first two rounds each took me an absurd 50 minutes to get through. This felt like a disaster and I was almost ready to go home in shame. Round 3 was a bit better, and by Round 4 I had a system down and was on track to finish a round in about 40 minutes. And then, my browser crashed in the middle of the second half. I think I need a new computer.

By this time I had slowed down the tournament and everyone was pretty frustrated. Ramapriya tweaked the schedule and UofL played in my room for rounds 5-7. A player kept score and I focused on reading, and everything sped up to 30-35 minutes per round (I think in the last round we came in at 29 minutes even). I had already worked it out to where I would be on the House team for rounds 8-10 while other UofL players took a round to moderate. They seemed to do okay, although they were using my computer and the browser crashed again at the end of the last round, and some buzzpoint data was lost.

So what are the takeaways to me?

1) This is a good system. It can always get better but Ophir is very responsive. I expect in 3 years that some form of this system will be the norm in quizbowl. I would encourage people to learn it now during their practices or on their own if possible. That being said, it might not be to a point where it should be mandatory unless everyone can be assured a good computer and strong internet connection.

2) If you are staffing a tournament using this system, make sure your computer can handle it. If it’s old and/or runs slow, you may have some issues. TDs should have backup plans for when technology fails.

3) I still think more headsup would have been nice. Learning how to do things mid-tournament is not ideal, and while it might not cause a disaster, I’m saying this out of a desire for tournaments to be well run.

4) This isn’t a system unable to be used by only one person, but it is best when you have two people in a room.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Sun Oct 15, 2017 10:27 am

I'm glad some input was helpful. I just downloaded chrome, and it works like a charm now; don't know why I didn't think of doing that. Thanks for putting in the work to make this program happen. Several teams at the site expressed enthusiasm about the possibilities of recording the buzz points. As a coach of sorts, I think that will be very useful as well. I do want to stress again that we thought it was pretty easy to use, and I'm definitely one of the least tech savvy people around.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby UlyssesInvictus » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:27 am

The tutorial video on this makes this look really cool -- thanks for making this, Ophir! (And to everyone else who helped test it in the dry run.)

Has there been any post / releases on this for public use? Or if it's not ready for public use yet, any estimates on how long that would be? I'd love to see how I could get this implemented at tournaments I'm involved in running.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Jason Cheng » Sun Oct 15, 2017 8:20 pm

After playing at, listening to a bunch of complaints about, and then getting shanghai'd into helping out with the UCSD EFT 2 site yesterday, I can't say the system is particularly hard to use even for staffers who didn't bother reading any of the instructions given to them (which I guarantee is most of them, after doing the stats just now and having to look through everything)--most of the staffers had prior experience using a similar Google Drive scorekeeping system that Jonathan Luck's been intermittently working on for UCSD over the last couple years, but the fact remains that the layout looks close enough to a normal pen and paper scoresheet that learning curves shouldn't be a problem.

The only real issues I had to fix/work around were failures to fill out the tossups heard cells, which is always a problem with scoresheets regardless of platform, and failures to track buzzpoints, which will presumably be solved at future events using Ophir's buzzpoint tracking system when the four minute long instructional video is circulated among all the staffers of a field more than 12-24 hours in advance, so that they'll actually watch it (although now that I think about it, the video could also just be shown to staffers in the morning all at once before they're given room assignments).

EDIT: A majority of the rooms at UCSD were also staffed by solo moderators for much of the day (staffers volunteering in shifts), and the tournament managed to finish 11 rounds+lunch a little before 6 PM despite starting at around 9:30 AM due to late arrivals, so I'm inclined to think that buzzpoint tracking+scorekeeping using this system is at least a feasible one-person job.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby RexSueciae » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:24 pm

Jason Cheng wrote:(although now that I think about it, the video could also just be shown to staffers in the morning all at once before they're given room assignments).

That's what we did! Although to be fair, the UVA site had both Ophir and, like, most of the writing/editing staff personally present.

Allow me to add my voice to the general sentiment that this system was really cool to use.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Philipp Moog » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:29 pm

We just used the electronic scoring system at Stanford's mirror today. We had some logistical setbacks in the morning that really slowed us down, and the overhead of having to fill out team rosters and stuff didn't necessarily help. But, after everything got settled, it worked really well.

I personally didn't have any time to learn about how to use the system at all, so I was literally learning everything on the fly. Other than shooting Will a quick message on how to input the buzzpoints (which, by the way, is incredibly easy to do once you know how), I was able to pick it up fine. None of the other staffers seemed to have any problems with it either, or at least they didn't complain to me or ask me any questions about it. Also, the orange cells really helped improve my work flow (since I always seem to accidentally fill things out on the wrong lines with paper score sheets).

Overall, I was a fan of this system, and I greatly appreciate all the work that went into it (Thanks Ophir!).
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby JKHtay » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:21 pm

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote:Just want to give my experience with this thing. I haven't read the whole thread: I just want to explain how it went with me and Bryn in our room.

I got to the site at Georgia Tech this morning and was told we'd be using a new electronic system. That was my first notice that we'd be doing this at the GT site. Apparently an e-mail was sent out around 8:00 the night before, but I was on the road and not checking my messages. I generally assume all moderator instructions are given out at least 24 hours in advance of the tournament, which seems reasonable, barring emergencies. To be fair, GT didn't seem to have much advance notice themselves.


We were alerted of the system at 1AM Friday morning, and given more clear instructions at around 8PM, at which point I sent the necessary information out. It wasn't immediately clear to me that we were required to use them. While I should have forwarded this information immediately, it would have been nice to give TDs more than a day's worth of advance notice. GT teammembers who read liked the system and I really liked the meta scoresheet that allowed me to track everyone's progress during the tournament, thanks Ophir!

Ethnic history of the Vilnius region wrote:I'm all about using new technology and am willing to do my part to learn the technology to help quizbowl improve. But a little more advance notice would be appreciated next time. Thanks!

Amen.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:37 am

A full set of instructions was sent that Thursday night. The update sent Friday night consisted of packet passwords and an additional instructional video.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Sima Guang Hater » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:50 am

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:A full set of instructions was sent that Thursday night. The update sent Friday night consisted of packet passwords and an additional instructional video.


Unfortunately I dont think that's soon enough. If I were hosting a tournament I'd want to know before even signing up to mirror that I was obligated to use newfangled stats
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:22 pm

Sima Guang Hater wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:A full set of instructions was sent that Thursday night. The update sent Friday night consisted of packet passwords and an additional instructional video.


Unfortunately I dont think that's soon enough. If I were hosting a tournament I'd want to know before even signing up to mirror that I was obligated to use newfangled stats


This has become evident throughout this discussion, and I plan to be far more up-front about this in the future.
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Re: PSA - Don't be a Luddite

Postby CPiGuy » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:33 pm

Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:
Sima Guang Hater wrote:
Periplus of the Erythraean Sea wrote:A full set of instructions was sent that Thursday night. The update sent Friday night consisted of packet passwords and an additional instructional video.


Unfortunately I dont think that's soon enough. If I were hosting a tournament I'd want to know before even signing up to mirror that I was obligated to use newfangled stats


This has become evident throughout this discussion, and I plan to be far more up-front about this in the future.


I'm going to second this assertion. Any tournament which is going to use this stats system needs to make it clear to prospective hosts, before those hosts commit to holding a site of the tournament, that this stats system is going to be in use, and that it will likely require that rounds are staffed either by a) one highly experienced reader, or b) a reader and scorekeeper. This is the only way to ensure that hosts are able to provide enough staff to guarantee that people playing the set have a good experience.

Regarding this point: some people in this thread have made the argument that you don't need two people to moderate and use Ophirstats. Those people are, by and large, extremely good and extremely experienced moderators. This is not a slight against them in any way, and obviously it would be great if every moderator were as skilled as those people. However, for most tournaments, it's entirely unrealistic to expect hosts to be able to provide a full array of moderators with this skill level. As an illustrative anecdote, I read two rounds of today's mirror of EFT with a scorekeeper. I am far from the best or most experienced reader who was staffing, and my scorekeeper had never used any sort of online scoresheet before. However, we were able to finish both of those rounds in 30-35 minutes. For comparison, almost every round in which there was only one staffer took 40-50 minutes, even with staff who had a lot of experience and had even used Ophirstats before!

I think that advanced stats are a fantastic thing for quizbowl, and I'm looking forward to the day when every tournament uses them. However, that will come with a change in the amount of staff required, and it's important to keep that in mind so that people can still have a good experience playing the sets, not just looking at stats after the fact.
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