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ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:39 pm
by Fuddle Duddle
May I ask how seeding was done for brackets? Our bracket seemed disproportionately hard, with four teams between 14.3 and 14.4 PPB in prelims.

EDIT: In terms of actual question content, I liked the history in general; one issue I recall having is that "empire" is a somewhat suspicious way to describe the pre-colonial Wolof.

Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:23 pm
by vinteuil
theMoMA wrote:
I also agree with Shah's point in that the room logisitcs and locations could have been made more clear, but this is at best a minor issue to me because most schools are more straight forward in their building design.
I agree with this, and I'm sorry we didn't foresee the issue with the labyrinthine MIT building layout before the tournament. It's very difficult to know exactly how a building looks if you don't have the resources to send a tournament director there ahead of time, but this is something we probably could've foreseen with a bit more thought, and the start of the tournament on Saturday would've likely been smoother had people been given maps of the buildings. (Unfortunately, we did try to get maps, but we weren't able to.)
An MIT club member told me that they, in fact, sent ACF floor plans of all the buildings beforehand.

In general, I thought the Saturday logistics were a real problem—being told that we were eating lunch so incredibly late to avoid waiting half an hour, and then waiting something like an hour and a half for tiebreakers wasn't my favorite thing in the world. (I am aware that I had a personal stake in playing more playoff rounds on Saturday.) In general, I thought that the tournament lost a lot of time around the margins—even the opening meeting seemed to go unusually long, with a number of extra speeches, somewhat extraneous rules explanations, and other delays.

EDIT: Logistics aside, I really liked this tournament! I would only complain that the middle parts of bonuses could be absolutely (and inconsistently) brutal, especially in history.

Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:33 pm
by Charbroil
I endorse everything in Jacob's post. That said, we did have fun at the tournament--thanks to all of the writers and editors for their hard work!

Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:34 pm
by theMoMA
An Economic Ignoramus wrote:May I ask how seeding was done for brackets? Our bracket seemed disproportionately hard, with four teams between 14.3 and 14.4 PPB in prelims.
We seeded this tournament based on multiple sources of information, but the primary ones were tournament rosters from the team registrations, the collegiate poll, A values, and in-season and previous-year stats at Regionals, Nationals, and other regular-difficulty (or higher) events.

I think the seeding was reasonably successful, but there were teams that over- and underperformed expectations (which, of course, is unavoidable, but it's something we hoped to minimize). For instance, all of our one seeds, and five of our six two seeds, advanced to the top playoff bracket.

Overall, the r^2 between seed and prelim scoring is 0.82, indicating that 82% of prelim scoring was predicted by our seeding. No team seeded 25th or better finished below 27th in scoring, and no team seeded 26th or lower finished higher than 26th in scoring.

Some brackets were tougher than others, that's for certain. It's very difficult to project how a team that is quite good on Regionals will scale to Nationals difficulty, and some of the teams did better than others in ways we didn't expect. We also had a difficult situation with WUSTL coming into the field late and commanding a relatively high seed but with relatively few options for where to put them, given packet and scheduling constraints. (This also resulted in the regrettable occurrence that McGill and WUSTL tied on record in the prelims, but the tiebreaker could not be played because both teams had written one or the other of the tiebreaker packets, something we didn't foresee with the late inclusion of WUSTL; I apologize again to both teams for not catching this.) Obviously, it's not ideal that it was tougher to make the second bracket in the brackets in which Yale and Berkeley A were the 1 seeds, but in some ways it's an unavoidable consequence of the fact that we simply can't project everyone perfectly, as much as we try.

Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:11 pm
by theMoMA
In general, I thought the Saturday logistics were a real problem—being told that we were eating lunch so incredibly late to avoid waiting half an hour, and then waiting something like an hour and a half for tiebreakers wasn't my favorite thing in the world. (I am aware that I had a personal stake in playing more playoff rounds on Saturday.) In general, I thought that the tournament lost a lot of time around the margins—even the opening meeting seemed to go unusually long, with a number of extra speeches, somewhat extraneous rules explanations, and other delays.
The logistics of the tournament did not go perfectly, but I want to make sure that everyone understands how challenging it is to direct a tournament when you're seeing the building for the first time on the weekend of the tournament, and to realize and appreciate just how well Sarah, Eliza, Rob, Andrew, Ryan, and everyone else on the staffing side dealt with the challenges that the site configuration and room issues presented.

The tiebreaks did take longer than they should have, and I apologize for that as well, and thank all the teams for their patience as we sorted it out. In the future, we may look to limit play-in tiebreakers to situations in which it affects championship contention, in recognition of the fact that they can lead to unforeseen delays.

I don't think it's spilling the beans to say that there is a strong movement within ACF move Nationals to a hotel site in the next few years. The issues with university rooms are long and vary from site to site, but the main ones are that, without a professional liaison whose job it is to make sure that the rooms are available and set up as promised, we're largely at the mercy of chance when we arrive at the site on Saturday morning. As the demand for Nationals grows and grows--this year's was the biggest ever!--this is becoming unsustainable. As we look to make quizbowl a more professionally run activity, we may grow out of the ability to rely on universities to provide space for our flagship Nationals event.

Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:27 pm
by theMoMA
vinteuil wrote:An MIT club member told me that they, in fact, sent ACF floor plans of all the buildings beforehand.
I want to amend my previous post. Bryce indeed was very helpful about getting us updated room information, including a map of some of the buildings and some of the floor plans, in late January, but I think this got lost in the shuffle right about when Eliza and Sarah started taking on expanded duties in planning the tournament. (The floor plan information was sent in an email to Cody and me, but for some reason not to Sarah, and I'm not sure if Sarah and Eliza ever received it, nor did I take note of the email, or the fact that Sarah hadn't received it, because I was only loosely involved with the logistics of the tournament.)

Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:31 pm
by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
Was it not feasible to send the TDs to MIT a couple days early and do some scouting on Thursday and spend Friday either trying to reorganize the rooms or else, if things were good, have a slightly more relaxed planning day with some free time to chill before the deluge?

I played 2009 nats and coached at that bad PACE, this wasn't on that level at all, but it really is striking how much slower nats always goes than ICT, actual game length aside. I wonder if teams would be willing to pay $20 more in return for ACF having better resources to send dedicated TDs to the site in advance (and do more work with school bureaucracies to try and get the facilities they realize they need).

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:31 pm
by theMoMA
I've split this post from the general discussion thread; please continue to talk about questions over there and logistics/seeding/other non-question issues here!

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:38 pm
by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
Do we know at this point what the list of schools with active teams who could actually host a 50 (or 60)-team national championship in 2 buildings with access to a major airport is?

Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:58 pm
by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light
theMoMA wrote:
vinteuil wrote:An MIT club member told me that they, in fact, sent ACF floor plans of all the buildings beforehand.
I want to amend my previous post. Bryce indeed was very helpful about getting us updated room information, including a map of some of the buildings and some of the floor plans, in late January, but I think this got lost in the shuffle right about when Eliza and Sarah started taking on expanded duties in planning the tournament. (The floor plan information was sent in an email to Cody and me, but for some reason not to Sarah, and I'm not sure if Sarah and Eliza ever received it, nor did I take note of the email, or the fact that Sarah hadn't received it, because I was only loosely involved with the logistics of the tournament.)
I can confirm that Eliza and I never got this email, which is Cody's bad rather than MIT's. Confusion over where rooms where located in relation to one another and the relatively large number of tiebreakers led to the delay at tiebreakers, which I apologize for. I stand by finishing the prelims and not deciding on a planned delay; I had some intensely negative experiences with that as a player and I hope you can understand the desire to avoid that situation.

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:20 pm
by Charbroil
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:Do we know at this point what the list of schools with active teams who could actually host a 50 (or 60)-team national championship in 2 buildings with access to a major airport is?
We have two buildings with 16 and 19 classrooms, respectively, though I don't think we've never tried to reserve over half of the rooms in the latter building. (The two buildings are about 10 minutes away from one another, so we usually just reserve three or four buildings in a cluster around the 16-classroom building, rather than splitting the tournament into two halves on opposite sides of campus.)

We've also never had to change rooms at the last minute in the ~8 years I've been involved in staffing and directing tournaments at WUSTL, at least as far as I know.

We also did bid to host ACF Nationals this year, and we (tentatively) plan to do so again next year.

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:37 pm
by CPiGuy
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:Do we know at this point what the list of schools with active teams who could actually host a 50 (or 60)-team national championship in 2 buildings with access to a major airport is?
Michigan could probably do so in Mason Hall alone, with the large Angell Hall auditoriums for meetings and finals. We've hosted 30-team high school tournaments on one floor of Mason, and the second floor has about the same number of rooms. Ann Arbor obviously doesn't have an airport, but there's a cheap and reliable shuttle from DTW.

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:02 pm
by cornfused
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:Do we know at this point what the list of schools with active teams who could actually host a 50 (or 60)-team national championship in 2 buildings with access to a major airport is?
I think Northwestern could handle this in Kresge, Fisk/Locy, and University, using the giant auditorium in Fisk for the opening meeting. Access to ORD is easy. We're not a large club yet, though.

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:12 pm
by Cheynem
I would really push for a hotel if that doesn't make the costs rise in Looten Plunder esque fashion. Not only are they easy to get around and lack many of the logistical issues even very good universities have, but they also make life so much easier for (traveling) staffers.

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:20 pm
by Aaron's Rod
I thought that the ideas that a) you could get away with Saturday leftovers for Sunday breakfast, and b) the tournament would finish so early on Sunday that you wouldn't have to feed staffers were both wildly unrealistic expectations. I don't necessarily mind having to get my own food, but I do mind that the staff got in early on Sunday and had to wait around so long on Sunday for food that didn't appear until rounds were about to start, which could have been avoided with better planning/foresight. (Not to mention the assertion that expecting to end at 2:30 PM means you shouldn't have to feed staffers! I'm not a "lunch at noon/after round 5" scrub, but let's be reasonable here.)
cornfused wrote:
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:Do we know at this point what the list of schools with active teams who could actually host a 50 (or 60)-team national championship in 2 buildings with access to a major airport is?
I think Northwestern could handle this in Kresge, Fisk/Locy, and University, using the giant auditorium in Fisk for the opening meeting. Access to ORD is easy. We're not a large club yet, though.
While we're on the subject, I do think that the decent-sized pool of competent staffers in the Chicago area could make up for that. But in general, I'd be in favor of a hotel.

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 6:45 pm
by Benin Rebirth Party
theMoMA wrote:
An Economic Ignoramus wrote:May I ask how seeding was done for brackets? Our bracket seemed disproportionately hard, with four teams between 14.3 and 14.4 PPB in prelims.
Is ICT taken into account? It doesn't make sense for MSU and Florida to have been underseeded at both of these tournaments (especially since Florida gained a very good player for Nationals).

I thought my bracket was disproportionately hard as well, but I understand WUSTL had to have been put somewhere so that there wasn't a packet issue. None of (Chicago B, WUSTL, Oxford, or McGill) should have been slotted as a maximum of 25th place at this tournament even before it began. And all three non-WUSTL teams were a couple of hairs away from being in that spot.

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:43 pm
by TaylorH
The only gripe I had with this otherwise great tournament was the sloppiness of some of the individual scorekeeping. Going back through the posted stats and comparing them to the stats we kept for ourselves, our team noticed many errors in individual attribution of gets and negs. A misattributed toss up here and there is obviously not a big deal, but one round had 4 gets and negs attributed to the wrong players on our team. I think it would be prudent at a non-timed tournament like this one for the scorekeeper to confirm with the team after the bonus is finished who converted the toss up or who negged if they are unsure. I also noticed that the gets attribution tended to be more wrong in the rooms where the teams were lined up normal to the direction the reader/scorekeeper were facing, suggesting it may be easier to keep up with who got what if the teams directly face the moderator/scorekeeper, though I recognize this is dependent on the game room.

Apart from this minor issue, I though the tournament was very well run on the part of the staffers and logistics people. Thanks to everyone who made this such an excellent tournament!

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:11 am
by AGoodMan
TaylorH wrote:The only gripe I had with this otherwise great tournament was the sloppiness of some of the individual scorekeeping. Going back through the posted stats and comparing them to the stats we kept for ourselves, our team noticed many errors in individual attribution of gets and negs. A misattributed toss up here and there is obviously not a big deal, but one round had 4 gets and negs attributed to the wrong players on our team. I think it would be prudent at a non-timed tournament like this one for the scorekeeper to confirm with the team after the bonus is finished who converted the toss up or who negged if they are unsure. I also noticed that the the gets attribution tended to be more wrong in the rooms where the teams were lined up normal to the direction the reader/scorekeeper were facing, suggesting it may be easier to keep up with who got what if the teams directly face the moderator/scorekeeper, though I recognize this is dependent on the game room.

Apart from this minor issue, I though the tournament was very well run on the part of the staffers and logistics people. Thanks to everyone who made this such an excellent tournament!
Second this - I think I was awarded a couple ghost negs as well. Not a huge deal, but still something nonetheless.

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:21 am
by tabstop
TaylorH wrote:The only gripe I had with this otherwise great tournament was the sloppiness of some of the individual scorekeeping. Going back through the posted stats and comparing them to the stats we kept for ourselves, our team noticed many errors in individual attribution of gets and negs. A misattributed toss up here and there is obviously not a big deal, but one round had 4 gets and negs attributed to the wrong players on our team. I think it would be prudent at a non-timed tournament like this one for the scorekeeper to confirm with the team after the bonus is finished who converted the toss up or who negged if they are unsure. I also noticed that the gets attribution tended to be more wrong in the rooms where the teams were lined up normal to the direction the reader/scorekeeper were facing, suggesting it may be easier to keep up with who got what if the teams directly face the moderator/scorekeeper, though I recognize this is dependent on the game room.

Apart from this minor issue, I though the tournament was very well run on the part of the staffers and logistics people. Thanks to everyone who made this such an excellent tournament!
But also: there were two of us who entered 400 games this weekend, so there's no reason we couldn't have screwed up too! If you have discrepancies, go ahead and send them in -- if the scoresheet agrees with you then we'll get that fixed in the SQBS. (This way the time I just spent sorting all the scoresheets by round won't go to waste!)

Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:18 pm
by theMoMA
Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) wrote:Was it not feasible to send the TDs to MIT a couple days early and do some scouting on Thursday and spend Friday either trying to reorganize the rooms or else, if things were good, have a slightly more relaxed planning day with some free time to chill before the deluge?
Sending a tournament director to the site ahead of time is a good policy that, unfortunately, we haven't had the resources or foresight to implement. In particular, it's tough to ask someone to take off a day or two of work to get this taken care of, but it's something I hope that future head editors and tournament directors discuss and figure out how to make happen.

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:29 pm
by theMoMA
Benin Rebirth Party wrote:Is ICT taken into account? It doesn't make sense for MSU and Florida to have been underseeded at both of these tournaments (especially since Florida gained a very good player for Nationals).
We did not have enough lead time to take ICT into account, unfortunately (and with the differences in format, I'm not sure if ICT is necessarily a major predictor of ACF performance).

Re: ACF Nationals discussion

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 4:06 pm
by Sam
vinteuil wrote: In general, I thought the Saturday logistics were a real problem—being told that we were eating lunch so incredibly late to avoid waiting half an hour, and then waiting something like an hour and a half for tiebreakers wasn't my favorite thing in the world. (I am aware that I had a personal stake in playing more playoff rounds on Saturday.) In general, I thought that the tournament lost a lot of time around the margins—even the opening meeting seemed to go unusually long, with a number of extra speeches, somewhat extraneous rules explanations, and other delays.
I was also annoyed that we had to wait for tiebreakers, but the decision to have prelims before lunch seems like the correct one. I'm not really sure how, in the counterfactual scenario where we have lunch at a normal time, then a few more rounds of preliminary rounds, then re-bracketing, the whole thing takes less time than it actually did (holding constant things like rooms moving around, the architect of MIT's bizarre and anti-rationalist philosophy of enumerating, etc.)

Overall I thought logistics were handled well. Sending a map, or even a link to a map, would certainly be helpful. Even campuses that are not MIT can be confusing to navigate, as the buildings are often scattered in a mostly pedestrian zone and don't always have identifiable street addresses. Ignoring how long the tiebreakers took, it was also unclear ex ante who was eligible for a tiebreaker and who wasn't. I know some Minnesotans were unhappy they didn't get a chance to break a tie with a game when other teams did; I know less about the specifics so I'll leave it to one of them to explain if they wish to.

But as I said, overall I was impressed with the staff. There were a few mistakes that were exacerbated by a confusing layout, and I suspect that had those same mistakes been made in a hotel like the one NAQT uses for ICT, they would have gone unnoticed.

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:21 pm
by Viridian
While I was generally pleased with how the tournament ran, I also do agree that the tiebreaker system was flawed - but in more ways than just one. In our prelim bracket, we finished tied with Kentucky and a staffer told us that we would be contacted to play a tiebreaker match midway through lunch. We never got that notification and no tiebreaker match was played, placing us in the fourth bracket when we could've been placed into the third. When I consulted a staffer about this (upon returning to the auditorium), he said that our tie was broken based on PPG (as with other teams that weren't in the first or second bracket). While I was initially confused about this, I was fine with it until I found out that other teams seeded similarly to us (with 6th-7th spots in the prelims brackets) had the opportunity to play a tiebreaker match. While I do understand that the TD(s) wanted to align with the schedule as closely as possible (especially with the logistics of running A LOT of tiebreakers), I feel like consistency is an issue that needs to be addressed. Especially in the future, if some ties need to be broken, I believe it should be done by playing as many tiebreakers as needed, or breaking them by either PPG/PPB, but not both.
In any case, I would like to thank the staffers who made this day possible, and I look forward to playing next year's rendition of ACF Nationals!
EDIT: didn't see Sam's spiel on this but oh well

Re: ACF Nationals logistics and seeding discussion

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:28 pm
by Galstaff, Sorceror of Light
Viridian wrote:While I was generally pleased with how the tournament ran, I also do agree that the tiebreaker system was flawed - but in more ways than just one. In our prelim bracket, we finished tied with Kentucky and a staffer told us that we would be contacted to play a tiebreaker match midway through lunch. We never got that notification and no tiebreaker match was played, placing us in the fourth bracket when we could've been placed into the third. When I consulted a staffer about this (upon returning to the auditorium), he said that our tie was broken based on PPG (as with other teams that weren't in the first or second bracket). While I was initially confused about this, I was fine with it until I found out that other teams seeded similarly to us (with 6th-7th spots in the prelims brackets) had the opportunity to play a tiebreaker match. While I do understand that the TD(s) wanted to align with the schedule as closely as possible (especially with the logistics of running A LOT of tiebreakers), I feel like consistency is an issue that needs to be addressed. Especially in the future, if some ties need to be broken, I believe it should be done by playing as many tiebreakers as needed, or breaking them by either PPG/PPB, but not both.
In any case, I would like to thank the staffers who made this day possible, and I look forward to playing next year's rendition of ACF Nationals!
EDIT: didn't see Sam's spiel on this but oh well
Unfortunately Ryan missed you guys when he was checking for tiebreaker matches, and by the time you guys brought it to our attention, it was too late to play the game. You should not have been told that was our standard procedure for 3rd/4th bracket this year, and I think that may've been a misunderstanding. Because of the wording of Andrew's post about tournament format, it was our intent to play all of those matches. Your situation resulted from an accidental oversight, not a planned inconsistency, and I'm terribly sorry we missed you and Kentucky until it was too late.