On talking about high schoolers

Elaborate on the merits of specific tournaments or have general theoretical discussion here.
Post Reply
User avatar
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
Chairman of Anti-Music Mafia Committee
Posts: 5607
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:46 pm
Location: Columbia, MO

On talking about high schoolers

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:46 pm

Do you know what is always absurdly inappropriate and will help make quizbowl a worse place? Being an adult in college or beyond who gets online and makes fun of the talents and/or appearance of high schoolers, especially ones who you actually do know in person.

The nature of quizbowl's online community has clearly blurred the lines between people in different age groups. It is so easy for middle and high schoolers to interact with college students, grad students, employees at major quizbowl organizations, teachers, without needing to go through parental or coach intermediaries. Many of these high schoolers are obviously smart enough to hold their own in an interesting conversation, and are made to feel welcome to insert themselves into board discussions, chatrooms, and social media. This might be fine and dandy, except that quizbowl is not an online community like reddit where you can anonymously flame and bully people who annoy you just because you think it's funny. We are real people, whose identities are publicly known, and who routinely run into each other in person, especially at events like the HSNCT. Not only are we real people, we are adults, often in positions of authority over these high schoolers we end up chatting with. To fail to recognize how inappropriate it is to treat high schoolers you actually know like you are an anonymous, cruel internet troll is to destroy the boundaries that are desperately needed in order to recognize that we are dealing with children who it is our responsibility to provide a safe environment for. When you stoop to the level of mocking the appearance or playing ability of a girl who is in the middle of attaining one of the rarest marks of excellence in the game, you've done irreparable harm to the future of the game and deserve to have your feet held to the flames.

NAQT also, as best as I can tell, made what I feel to be an understandable but not truly serious effort to respond to these incidences. I'm glad they will no longer use Periscope, but surely we deserve a fuller response than Jonah's brief apology. I believe if the most powerful organization in a game with a disgusting gender imbalance fails to prevent underaged girls in their event from being publicly degraded by observants, it is their responsibility to give a fuller accounting of who, what, how, and why, and possible consequences, to make it clear to other adults who blurred the line with high schoolers on the internet that that is not acceptable going forward. (In this case, I think the people involved should not be invited to staff NAQT events in the future until they produce apologies). There is nothing more vital to the future of quizbowl than to make it clear to high schoolers that they are safe around the adults in the game, which failed to happen.

The moment you leave high school, high schoolers are no longer your peer group, full stop. It is going to be incredibly difficult for some people to navigate the boundary between a healthy, productive encouragement of brilliant youths, and the slippery slope of thinking that because it's the internet, and they're smart, you can get away with treating them the way you treat your adult friends, or that you can treat them horribly with no consequences. There are years and years of this boundary being blurred, a culture which I am very much a product of and participated in. In many ways there were benefits to this culture, but we can now look back, reckon during moments like this with how we failed, see that there are ways to become more enlightened, and vow to do a better job in the future.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

Father Comstock
Lulu
Posts: 82
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:17 pm

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Father Comstock » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:12 pm

A lot of very good points are made in this post. I think it unfair to say that high schoolers are no longer in your peer group the minute you are in college. A lot of my very close friends from quiz bowl are high schoolers and I don't think there is a problem with that. But I guess I also have the decency to not make vulgar comments on a livestream.
Ben Anthony
Harrison High School '17, Purdue University '21
I made this as a freshman, I realize my name is stupid. I never even played Bioshock.

User avatar
Jeremy Gibbs Paradox
Rikku
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:54 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO
Contact:

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:24 am

Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote: NAQT also, as best as I can tell, made what I feel to be an understandable but not truly serious effort to respond to these incidences. I'm glad they will no longer use Periscope, but surely we deserve a fuller response than Jonah's brief apology. I believe if the most powerful organization in a game with a disgusting gender imbalance fails to prevent underaged girls in their event from being publicly degraded by observants, it is their responsibility to give a fuller accounting of who, what, how, and why, and possible consequences, to make it clear to other adults who blurred the line with high schoolers on the internet that that is not acceptable going forward. (In this case, I think the people involved should not be invited to staff NAQT events in the future until they produce apologies). There is nothing more vital to the future of quizbowl than to make it clear to high schoolers that they are safe around the adults in the game, which failed to happen.

.
THIS. I told NAQT ABOUT THIS WHEN IT HAPPENED. It seems to me you people have been too busy thinking up more worthless national titles than acting like proper stewards of the game. 7 months and there were tons of reprehensible shit said. Where's any action?
TINA! BRING ME THE AXE!!!!

Sean Phillips
Boonville HS 00
WUSTL 04
SLU Law 07
Member MOQBA 2008-present
Is it wrong I like Boonville most of those 3?:)

User avatar
Important Bird Area
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5324
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:33 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Contact:

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Dec 16, 2017 2:42 am

Shortly after the 2017 HSNCT, we became aware that some of the comments on the Periscope video of the finals were completely unacceptable. (This is why we have deleted the Periscope video, and will be switching to a different live-streaming solution for future NAQT events.)

NAQT does not know who posted those reprehensible comments on our Periscope video. If we can find out who this is, the individuals responsible for those comments will be permanently banned from staffing NAQT's national championships. Members of the community with convincing evidence about this incident (of the form "this person was responsible for this particular comment") are encouraged to contact me by email.
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

"I wish to make some kind of joke about Jeff's love of birds, but I always fear he'll turn them on me Hitchcock-style." -Fred

User avatar
Jeremy Gibbs Paradox
Rikku
Posts: 407
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 11:54 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO
Contact:

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Jeremy Gibbs Paradox » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:04 am

So basically you aren't and never have actively investigated but if someone wants to unburden their conscience you'll listen. Is that your position?
TINA! BRING ME THE AXE!!!!

Sean Phillips
Boonville HS 00
WUSTL 04
SLU Law 07
Member MOQBA 2008-present
Is it wrong I like Boonville most of those 3?:)

User avatar
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
Chairman of Anti-Music Mafia Committee
Posts: 5607
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:46 pm
Location: Columbia, MO

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sat Dec 16, 2017 11:42 am

Father Comstock wrote:A lot of very good points are made in this post. I think it unfair to say that high schoolers are no longer in your peer group the minute you are in college. A lot of my very close friends from quiz bowl are high schoolers and I don't think there is a problem with that. But I guess I also have the decency to not make vulgar comments on a livestream.
It's fine to maintain existing friendships with high schoolers, but they are not your peers. The whole point of my post is to alert you to this fact. When you start to know high schoolers through more adult capacities, then you are going to need to start really understanding that you can't interact with them the same way you would your close friends. Even among friends who you have known from high school, you are going to have some boundaries that you will need to be thinking about and renegotiating, probably in subtle ways. You simply cannot be a fully open friend about everything with high schoolers when you are an adult in a mentor role, or a role as an event organizer (and if you're actively befriending high schoolers you meet outside of these kinds of roles, why?).
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

User avatar
halle
Lulu
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:26 pm

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by halle » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:01 pm

Important Bird Area wrote:Shortly after the 2017 HSNCT, we became aware that some of the comments on the Periscope video of the finals were completely unacceptable. (This is why we have deleted the Periscope video
This seems like an odd and potentially harmful line of reasoning to me. An organization's first response to wrongdoing probably shouldn't be deleting any evidence that it occurred, effectively ensuring that the perpetrators face no consequences. In this case, it would've been possible to remove the public version of the stream without deleting it entirely, as far as I am aware. Doing this might have allowed the wrongdoers to be identified by their usernames and prevented from continuing their harmful behavior. Has anything like this been attempted, or is the plan to rely entirely on observers who happen to have record that some of these comments even existed in the first place?
Halle Friedman
Chicago 2020

User avatar
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
Chairman of Anti-Music Mafia Committee
Posts: 5607
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:46 pm
Location: Columbia, MO

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:25 am

Important Bird Area wrote:Shortly after the 2017 HSNCT, we became aware that some of the comments on the Periscope video of the finals were completely unacceptable. (This is why we have deleted the Periscope video, and will be switching to a different live-streaming solution for future NAQT events.)

NAQT does not know who posted those reprehensible comments on our Periscope video. If we can find out who this is, the individuals responsible for those comments will be permanently banned from staffing NAQT's national championships. Members of the community with convincing evidence about this incident (of the form "this person was responsible for this particular comment") are encouraged to contact me by email.
Sounds like this is a good place to start - http://www.hsquizbowl.org/forums/viewto ... 74#p338374
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

User avatar
Important Bird Area
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5324
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:33 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Contact:

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:43 pm

Update on this situation: in reaction to the comments made on the Periscope video, NAQT has banned one individual from staffing our national championships, and prepared a second ban should we discover the identity of a commenter who is presently pseudonymous.

Our thanks go out to the community members who were able to provide us with detailed information about the comments in question. We have reason to believe that the present state of our knowledge is incomplete. If anyone reading this has additional information available about offensive commentary made during the 2017 HSNCT finals, please contact me with details. (For clarity: what we're looking for here is specific text convincingly linked to the real names of specific people who wrote it.)
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

"I wish to make some kind of joke about Jeff's love of birds, but I always fear he'll turn them on me Hitchcock-style." -Fred

Susan
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 1799
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:43 am

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Susan » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:25 pm

Important Bird Area wrote:Update on this situation: in reaction to the comments made on the Periscope video, NAQT has banned one individual from staffing our national championships, and prepared a second ban should we discover the identity of a commenter who is presently pseudonymous.

Our thanks go out to the community members who were able to provide us with detailed information about the comments in question. We have reason to believe that the present state of our knowledge is incomplete. If anyone reading this has additional information available about offensive commentary made during the 2017 HSNCT finals, please contact me with details. (For clarity: what we're looking for here is specific text convincingly linked to the real names of specific people who wrote it.)
Does NAQT plan on sharing this information with the quizbowl community (or, more conservatively, with other organizations that run competitions for high-schoolers)? If the people involved have committed offenses that merit their banning from NAQT events, it seems like they probably ought not to be interacting with high schoolers in other formats as well (or, at least, that the people who administer those formats should have the information they need to decide whether to allow those people to staff their events). Quizbowl has a pretty rotten history of allowing players to engage in gross sexist behavior that really damages female players' experiences*, and--at least, while I was a player--that behavior was perpetuated in part because people didn't share the information they needed to share to protect players.

*And may well have a history of gross behavior that's made the game an unwelcoming place for people who don't identify as female--but I can speak most confidently about my own experience here.
Susan
UChicago alum (AB 2003, PhD 2009)
Member emerita, ACF

notchole
Lulu
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:13 pm

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by notchole » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:41 pm

So as the person to whom the sexist comments in question were directed, I just wanted to say I really appreciate NAQT’s response to this most recent pushback. It’s true that after the comments were posted, I wondered why more wasn’t done right away to address the issue. I also wondered why DCC made no comment (of which I am aware) about the fact that many of the remarks came from members of their current or past school community. Lots of family members were watching that livestream, including my grandmother and my six-year-old cousin. Our policy as a community for this behavior should be a zero-tolerance one. Not adding anything particularly new to this discourse, I realize, but it’s weird to have a very heated thread about you without commenting.
Chloe Levine
Hunter College High School (New York, NY) Quiz Bowl, Class of 2018
Captain and President, 2017-2018
Head Editor of Prison Bowl XI; Vice Head Editor of Prison Bowl X
Vice Captain, Vice President, and Member of HSNCT-Winning Team, 2016-2017; Treasurer, 2015-2016
(Harvard College, Class of 2022)

User avatar
Important Bird Area
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 5324
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:33 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Contact:

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Important Bird Area » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:45 pm

That's a very reasonable set of questions, Susan.

We have not historically published our banlist, and I do not anticipate that we would ever make the complete list publicly available to the community. I'll talk to NAQT's other officers about more limited solutions, such as "share relevant parts of our information with the organizers of other major high school events."
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communication and history subject editor, NAQT
Editor emeritus, ACF

"I wish to make some kind of joke about Jeff's love of birds, but I always fear he'll turn them on me Hitchcock-style." -Fred

eliza.grames
Wakka
Posts: 242
Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:43 pm

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by eliza.grames » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:45 pm

Susan wrote:
Important Bird Area wrote:Does NAQT plan on sharing this information with the quizbowl community (or, more conservatively, with other organizations that run competitions for high-schoolers)? If the people involved have committed offenses that merit their banning from NAQT events, it seems like they probably ought not to be interacting with high schoolers in other formats as well (or, at least, that the people who administer those formats should have the information they need to decide whether to allow those people to staff their events). Quizbowl has a pretty rotten history of allowing players to engage in gross sexist behavior that really damages female players' experiences*, and--at least, while I was a player--that behavior was perpetuated in part because people didn't share the information they needed to share to protect players.
So I don't have privy to the banned staffer list and am not affiliated with NAQT (now, anyways) so this isn't official information at all, but if it helps the community (and especially people who are running tournaments), my recollection is that the sexist remarks mentioned here were by Austin Foos. I double-checked with some friends who also watched the stream and they confirmed my memory of his comments is correct.

On another note, I totally agree with you about the "rotten history of allowing players to engage in gross sexist behavior" (I would also add racist and homophobic) and am all for actual consequences for players, staffers, coaches, etc... who engage in this type of behavior. Quite frankly, I'm fed up with the normalization of sexist comments and behavior. Like, do ya'll really want to have people who have a history of being racist, sexist, white supremacist, homophobic, etc... staffing, writing, and TDing your tournaments? This doesn't affect just women/queers/minorities - it's a systemic problem. Here is a small sampling of anonymous messages sent to me after I got really pissed at Will Alston for being a sexist piece of shit:

-- "I'm not really a member of any stigmatized group and he [Will Alston] makes me not want to do things like volunteer for National tournaments."
-- "Will's a complete fuck"
-- "I know you've already gotten this, but I support you. And Walston is a sexist piece of shit, can confirm."
-- "I'm glad someone took on the 'there aren't more women in qb because guys don't shampoo' line. I wasn't going to myself, BUT SOMEONE NEEDED TO."
-- nothing quotable without identifying, but female who quit quizbowl after being catcalled at two HSNCTs in a row

There are others that are similar, but like, I'm lazy about scrolling through messages and typing. I would also like to point out that NOT ONE of these people publicly raised any concerns. I don't mean to fault them at all and I genuinely appreciate these people; my point is merely that concerns about sexism in quiz bowl are rarely addressed openly and most people gripe about them in private and then decide it is someone else's problem so nothing ever gets done. More recently, I was told by one person who sent me a private message (but said nothing publicly) to agree that he would publicly voice concerns if national organizations did something because otherwise what is the point.

I'm extremely glad NAQT took some action against Austin (at least, I presume it was him). I'm also really glad about their new policy/system that Emily Pike emailed me about which allows people to report sexual harassment or discrimination in person at tournaments to dedicated people who are safe, friendly, and understanding. This kind of system actually provides a way for people to do something about these problems and is an actionable solution to problems of sexism/racism/whatever in quizbowl. I really, really want to commend NAQT for doing something as soon as they were alerted to problems of potential misconduct; it was literally less than 24 hours after I messaged some concerns before they came up with this plan. PACE and ACF - expect emails from me soon suggesting you also enact policies that punish staffers/players who make sexist remarks or make people in the community feel uncomfortable and/or unwelcome.
Eliza Grames
University of Minnesota '13
University of Connecticut '21

User avatar
Sima Guang Hater
Auron
Posts: 1802
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:43 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Sima Guang Hater » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:46 am

eliza.grames wrote:Here is a small sampling of anonymous messages sent to me after I got really pissed at Will Alston for being a sexist piece of shit:
-- "I'm not really a member of any stigmatized group and he [Will Alston] makes me not want to do things like volunteer for National tournaments."
-- "Will's a complete fuck"
-- "I know you've already gotten this, but I support you. And Walston is a sexist piece of shit, can confirm."
anonymous people in quizbowl to me and Will wrote: -- wtf eliza grames
-- dude I’m so sorry for how Eliza and some other anonymous members of the community are treating you [Will Alston].
-- I wish there was a rule against blatant straw-manning on the forums so that we wouldn’t have Eliza and Matt and whoever peddling their hyperbolic ****
-- Yeah it seems like... really clear harassment
-- eliza has a list of names of people who hate will alston but he won't say who; seems like mccarthyism
-- right thats what kinda got to me: nothing in the thread was super objectionable (besides charlie dees being cringy, but it wasnt egregious) until eliza came along; and of course her support was also a bunch of other people snapping their fingers in the background like she was doing some sorta slam poem
See? I can do it too.
eliza.grames wrote: -- "I'm glad someone took on the 'there aren't more women in qb because guys don't shampoo' line. I wasn't going to myself, BUT SOMEONE NEEDED TO."
Jinah Kim, in the other thread wrote: She [freshman teammate earlier quoted], Jaimie, and I all pretty much agree that the idea of joining a club full of extremely unkempt and poorly-dressed men is off-putting. I personally view it as a signaling thing; generally speaking, places dominated by men who appear to have taken no pains with their appearance are also places where women are regarded as outsiders. As someone who started playing quizbowl in college, I highly doubt I would have continued with the game if my teammates had been extremely messy or unkempt, not because I play quizbowl to ogle men with nice haircuts, but because having bad hair is tends to be part of a general package of not giving a shit how you come across to other people, which usually results in pretty obnoxious behavior (and is generally a luxury only afforded to men). Obviously, this does not mean that we think well-dressed men treat women well, and poorly-dressed men treat women poorly, or that having a bad haircut is some kind of grave moral sin
Alex Damisch, in the other thread wrote: Yeah, I don't think that's what Will was getting at. For all the discomfort of being the only, or one of the only, people in the room in a certain category (gender, sexuality, I'll assume also race, etc.) it increases my discomfort if the other people also look like they just crawled out of a hole.
I'm deeply disturbed that a person purporting to extol inclusion has repeatedly targeted a single member of the community for perceived sexism across two different threads, has been talked down in one of them, and yet continues to do it, citing shadowy anonymous figures who agree with them. I'm all for creating an atmosphere of inclusion for everyone (including banning people for harassment, catcalling, and sexism), but its not clear to me that that's what Will was doing in the other thread. Why is he still being targeted?

There's a deeply pernicious part of this whole idea of publically shaming people for perceived slights. It's 100% clear to anyone that banning people for catcalling or sexual comments in a livestream makes sense. But repeatedly attacking people or censuring people for wrongthink is not the direction we should be taking.

NOTE: On the advisement of a person I respect, I edited out a private messenger conversation out of this post, lest we detract from more important issues.
Last edited by Sima Guang Hater on Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:08 am, edited 6 times in total.
Eric Mukherjee, MD PhD
Washburn Rural High School, 2005
Brown University, 2009
Medical Scientist Training Program, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, 2018
Intern in Internal Medicine, Yale-Waterbury, 2018-9
Dermatology Resident, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 2019-

Member Emeritus, ACF
Member, PACE
Writer, NAQT, NHBB, IQBT

"The next generation will always surpass the previous one. It's one of the never-ending cycles in life."

User avatar
Aaron's Rod
Sec. of Cursed Images, Chicago SJW Cabal
Posts: 409
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:29 pm

Re: On talking about high schoolers

Post by Aaron's Rod » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:05 am

Here's a bright idea: If you have an issue with seeing someone at a tournament, especially a nationals, please go through the appropriate channels** so that the organizations can adjudicate the issue themselves. How about we have no show trials of anybody?

**EDIT: Not actually speaking for PACE at the moment, but if you have concerns you'd like to bring to PACE, here's all of the board members' contact info and mine. We do have some policies on in-game misconduct in the gameplay rules that I don't think really capture the full scope of this issue. But we have a meeting coming up, and I'd hope we can add this to the agenda.

(Edited lots of other times because I hate phpBB tags.)
Alex D.
Lawrence B.A., B.Mus. '16 // DePaul M.S. '18
Treasurer & Misconduct Form Rep, ACF // Member, PACE // Writer, NAQT

Post Reply