NAQT Consistency Bonus Program

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NAQT Consistency Bonus Program

Postby setht » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:31 pm

Hi all,

as Andrew noted over in this thread, in July NAQT began offering a "consistency bonus" to writers who reliably write questions each week. We're very pleased with the response to the program, so we plan to offer a similar program next year, and we thought we should let everyone know in hopes of attracting yet more consistent, high-quality writers. I want to caution that I will quote some numbers below that are specific to this year's iteration of the program; I hope we will be able to offer similar or even better terms next year, but it is possible we'll wind up needing to spend a bit less on these incentives next year.

There are two components to the consistency bonus program: an automatic bonus offered to every writer with no strings attached, which Andrew mentioned in the other thread; and a high-volume writing program that gives top writers a chance to earn job-level money writing questions (which comes with more of a commitment and a few [hopefully not too irritating] strings attached).

General consistency bonus

Writers who consistently write a certain number of questions each week earn a bonus on top of our usual writing rates, ranging up to an additional 40% per question. With our current pay rates, a writer can earn up to $10.15 per tossup. Note that this pay rate corresponds to a full 40% consistency bonus paid to a top-tier writer who writes a tossup at regular IS difficulty or higher (we pay a bit less for middle school and IS-A tossups, since they're shorter).

All NAQT writers are eligible for this bonus without having to do any additional work. No sign-up or other action is required—writers just write questions, and NAQT calculates the appropriate consistency bonus automatically. There's no commitment to write questions every week. Writers can not write anything for months, then start writing consistently and earn the bonus. I won't write out all the gory details of exactly how the consistency bonus is calculated, but a writer needs to write approximately X questions per week to earn a consistency bonus of X%. (Writers can peruse the gory details on NAQT's administrative site.)

High-volume writer bonus

In addition to the general consistency bonus offered to all our writers, we also implemented a souped-up program meant to give a few excellent writers the opportunity to make quizbowl writing a serious source of income. These high-volume writers, or HVWs, earn a consistency bonus of up to 70% in exchange for consistently writing (at least) about 50 questions per week*. This means the HVWs can earn up to $12.325 per tossup. There are some other perks and quirks of the program, but the broad-strokes picture is "write many questions, earn lots of money." Roughly speaking, we anticipate that HVWs can earn about $27,000 in a year, while writing about 3,000 questions. We assume writing this many questions would be roughly equivalent to a full-time job, but if someone wants to accept an HVW offer while also doing other work—and they can handle the workload without burning out—more power to them.

* We don't require 50 questions every week: a week with "too few questions" simply results in a smaller consistency bonus the next week; HVWs earn some "vacation passes" that can be used to avoid consistency bonus reductions; etc. The idea is that HVWs will write 50+ questions most weeks, but we understand there will be some gap weeks here and there. The main thing is that we do want HVWs to commit to producing 50+ questions most weeks; writers who want to aim for something more like 40 or fewer questions per week can earn the same consistency bonus through the general program.

Our HVWs this first year are Rob Carson, Mike Cheyne, Auroni Gupta, and Will Nediger. Danny Vopava recently accepted an offer to become our fifth HVW and will join us in a few weeks. If you have any questions about what it's like working as an HVW, please feel free to ask them—all four of our currently active HVWs have said they're happy to share their thoughts.

We don't anticipate taking on additional HVWs in the 2017-18 competition year, but we hope this information will be of interest to people in the 2018-19 season and beyond. If you are intrigued by the idea of writing quiz bowl questions full-time for a year (or longer!) after graduation, you may want to sign up as a (very part-time) writer at the next opportunity; we expect that most of our future HVWs will be chosen from existing writers who are familiar with NAQT's technical infrastructure, style, and difficulty guidelines, and who have demonstrated they can maintain high quality and consistency through the general program. If you're interested, we encourage you to: 1) let us know; 2) sign up to write for us (if you're not already signed up); 3) start writing questions so you can advance to the top writing tier (if you haven't already)—this will help signal to us that you're a good candidate, and it will help you hit the ground running with a higher pay rate if you are hired as an HVW.

If you have any questions or comments about the general program or the HVW program, please feel free to post here or email me.

Seth Teitler
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Re: NAQT Consistency Bonus Program

Postby Periplus of the Erythraean Sea » Thu Nov 09, 2017 12:22 pm

Just popping in to say, once again, that writing for NAQT is an awesome experience, and this has only made it even better. NAQT continues to take major strides towards the professionalization of quizbowl production, and making quizbowl writing a feasible primary or secondary/supplementary source of income for more people is a huge one.
Will Alston
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