Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Edward Powers » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:12 pm

Hopefully this is a clearer version of what I wrote above:

PACE would have reduced the number of PLATINUM Qualifiers for our field if we split the field. For example, if we had 16 expert teams and 10-12 Novice teams, it would not have added the two divisions together and awarded us with 7 Qualifiers for our field of 26-28. Instead, it would have only counted the 16 teams in the Expert Division and awarded us 25% of that number, or 4 Qualifiers. This was unacceptable to me, so I have decided not to split the field.

Nevertheless, I heard from 9 of the 12 schools directly, and all 9 answered clearly, thoughtfully and cooperatively, with 8 agreeing to the split and 1 team not agreeing, yet accepting the deicison of the others. I repsect eveyone who took the time to do this, and I am sure the other 3 schools who have not yet expressed an explicit opinion would have responded in a similar spirit. So, I want to thank everyone for trying to help me do my best by you, and I want everyone to know I heard what you said, loud and clear.

Nevertheless, I decided NOT to split the field, so we will maintain our 7 qualifiers but because I am going to create Preliminary brackets of 4 teams each, Prelims will be short, but once the smoke clears, the field will be split naturally, via competition, into its best and championship calibre teams and into its varying degrees of novices. This will allow 7-9 matches after the 3 matches in the Prelims, so in essence, we will create the split voted for by the vast majority while still allowing some early diversity between different calibre of teams and saving all of our qualifying spots. As TD I take full responsibilty for this decision, but I trust all can see it is based on a desire to honor both our best teams and their possible national aspirations and the needs of younger and less experienced teams for a a larger segment of their matches to be played against a range of teams not identical to them in ability, but which does allow for some serious competition within their varios ranges of ability. No one benefits when a national calibre team plays someone elses's C & D teams in 3 or 4 prelimiaries and inevitably blows them out them out by 500-600-700 point margins, so this method should limit these matches while still allowing young teams to play some of the best teams in the field and possibly upsetting them.

Of course I welcome any comments you might have.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby The Predictable Consequences » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:17 pm

Coach Powers, I think you're misinterpreting the PACE rules. They state that an average of the upper division size and whole field size will be used. In this case, (16+28)/2=22, which would lead to 6 qualifiers from the tournament. I don't know if this changes anything--it still will be slightly harder to qualify for NSC--but the difference isn't so drastic as 7 to 4.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Edward Powers » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:48 pm

Ryan,

If your interpretation is correct, then I have surely misinterpreted PACE's rules, and the situation, assuming you are correct, is that splitting the field might only incur a loss of one spot, from 7 to 6, in our Platinum certifications. I am not sure this will make a difference, because I do not want to create a soap opera here, and I think the four team Prelims can save all 7 spots and lead to an early split anyway. I do foresee one potential problem with a 4 team Prelim, which I need not discuss at this moment, but I also think there are potentially sound solutions to it, so for now we'll stick with this decision. If in the final analysis this is not what is best for the field as a whole, I will not be unwilling to re-visit the issue of a split field. But for now let's just allow some time to pass and also allow the final field numbers to be fully clarified, since both SHP & Kellenberg are still uncertain about B Teams coming, so until this is clearer, we can rest for several days and revisit the issue once again, if it makes sense to do so. If not, then not. Either way, thanks for what I hope is a more accurate intepretation of PACE's rule about splitting fields, for it can provide more options and ultimately help us end up with the best one to guide the tournament, which is my central goal here.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Great Bustard » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:27 pm

Edward Powers wrote:
Edward Powers wrote:
"...here is what I can do, since I also want to be fair to those schools that might wish for the playing field to change in some manner, and I can see three ways that this might be possible without creating a tempest in a teapot. All 3 methods require that the teams registered agree to one of the proposals I will now make:

Proposal 1: Keep things just as they are and let the 'change' occur naturally, during the competition known as the Prelims;

Proposal 2: This is the simpler of the remaining 2, involving no change in the question set, but simply a self-designated split in the field into an Expert division and a Novice Division, so that their opponents will be, from the very beginning of the day, on a more agreeably competitive level. Assuming teams would prefer to do this, this should not be too hard to do. Speaking hypothetically for purposes of illustration, perhaps 10 of the A teams and 6 of the B teams might self-select this Expert option? This would mean we would currently have an Expert division of 16 and a Novice division of let's say 11. I could of course add a comparable house team to the lower division and the split would be 16-12, an easy situation to bracket, and I would have no trouble doing this if the teams coming consented to do this. Perhaps the numbers might not be 16-12, but as long as there was a sensible and agreeable numerical split of some sort, this could be done.

Proposal 3: I would seek another set of questions and in effect create 2 tournaments, if this were overwhelmingly preferred to either of the two proposals above, and provided I could get such a set on such short notice. (DO YOU HAVE THE NAME OF SUCH POTENTIAL SET?) Further, I would still compensate Dunbar at the rate Dunbar would have been compensated had no such split occurred, and, further, I would need to know that organizations like PACE and NAQT would still see this as a field of 26-28 or so teams overall, and not, let's say, a field of only 16 upper teams for the purposes of national qualifications. [u]Provided all of these criteria could be met, I would be willing to do this.
"

When I began this process over the past 24 hours, I did stipulate several key provisions, otherwise I would be unable, as a matter of principle, to change the tournament we are hosting in the ways some were hoping for. One of those provisions involved the issue of qualifications for PACE not being diminished for the field as a whole because we were trying to create a more enjoyable competitive situation for all involved by splitting the field as has been proposed above.

As it turns out, PACE will reduce the number of qualifying teams if we split. So, if we do not, with 26-27 teams currently registered in the field, a full 7 teams would qualify. if we split into, let's say, at 16 team upper bracket and a 10-12 lower bracket, our PACE qualifications would be reduced to 4 teams.

Since this is true, the field as a whole would be punished for choosing to create such a split, especially the best teams in the field. So, I conclude that our efforts to do what is probably best for the novice calibre teams in the field will end up punishing the very best teams in the field, so, as the TD for this tournament I cannot allow this to happen. So, I will figure out a different way to allow the best teams to compete for the 7 Platinum qualifiying spots that are available at this site, while simultaneously providing the most competitve play possible for the younger and inexperienced teams in the field.

What does this mean, practically? That we revert to Proposal One, but with the following 3 ideas to guide me as I do so:

First, we will not split the field. I will bracket the field as all TD's do, and as of now it seems it will be one larger field of 24-28 , and not two divisons of 12-14 each;

Second, it means I thank everyone who voted calmly and collegially today to split the field in judicious and fair ways for all involved, and you should know I appreciated the cooperation shown by all in this endeavor, and all should know that I heard what you preferred and will try to achieve it in a different way;

Third, I will bracket the preliminaries in multiples of 4, creating either 6 or 7 brackets. From these 6-7 brackets, the top 8-12 teams will move into the Championship brackets, having a chance to play 7-9 matches against comparable teams, while the remaining 12-18 teams will play consolation matches, also against more comparable teams.

This, I think, is a reasonable compromise which endeavors to meet the needs of all teams---both the best in the field and the novice type teams that will surely have better matches against teams more likely to be on their own level, and this strategem suggests that possibly 75% of the matches of both broad groups can be of this type.

To split the field knowing this will effectively punish the very best teams who might have registered precisely because of the Platinum qualification this tournament offers would, in effect, be prioritizing the experiences of the C & D teams,and many of the B teams, over their flagship A teams, and this is neither wise or fair either. So I think this solution, which maintains the highest number of qualfiying positions while promising a vast majority of competitive matches throughout the day, is the best available.

EDIT: My quotation above is not the normal "tan" color, making my comments on if difficult to differentiate from the quote itself. Does anyone have clue as to how I can change this to make the post easier to comprehend?
(Fixed!--the mgmt)


Ed, thanks so much for all your work here. I would strongly urge PACE though to reconsider its qualification procedures to take into account instances like this. Basically, everyone wanted a split field which would have provided more even matches throughout. The fact that PACE qualification was the only thing standing in the way of this conflicts with PACE goals to promote the growth and enjoyment of quizbowl, though Ed's reasoning is impeccable given the current situation, and I completely understand his decision.
Beyond that, it just occurred to me that on the subject of mirroring accessible sets, the Centennial set ought to be available, unless it's already been posted publicly. I know that's a moot point here, but perhaps this might make sense for future tournaments to have splits regarding divisions and mirrors? I like the idea not only of dividing up based on ability, but also by question set too.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby jonpin » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:01 pm

OK, I hadn't yet gotten to posting my opinion on this, which is "Why are we splitting fields?" Pre-disclaimer: I'm not trying to piss anyone off, and I wish not to make Ed think I'm questioning his judgment here, but I don't understand what splitting the tournament was supposed to accomplish and I don't think that the preliminary brackets of 4 idea is a good idea either. I'm making the rest of this post on the assumption that people want to split the field because DAFT is apparently a really hard set; if this is not right, please correct me.

The problem with a hard set isn't that a low-performing team will get stomped by the Hunters of the world, they will get stomped by the Hunters of the world regardless. And the solution to that isn't for them to pre-assign themselves to a lower bracket. The problem with a hard set is that games between middling teams end up 90-70 and won on the fact that the one bonus with two gettable parts was asked of his team, not her team. And the solution to that is stop writing tournaments that are too freaking hard and calling them "regular".

Using PACE's qualification rules as the reason to make what I think is the right decision not to pre-split the field; and urging PACE to "reconsider its qualification procedures to take into account instances like this" are not good. What exactly counts as an instance like this? The fact that some of the teams are better than other teams? Seriously, David, if we split this field into two pieces and then use two different sets as you're suggesting, it's not one tournament anymore! A 28-team tournament where 12 teams are not eligible to win the tournament because they opt out of the top bracket, and play a completely different set of questions is, in fact, a 16-team tournament with a 12-team tournament occurring in the same building. If you don't use a different set, I still think they're separate tournaments, because they are, by the definition of separate, completely separate tournaments.

If both halves of the tournament would still be using the same overly hard set, all you've done is remove the few games where Newschool C gets beaten 300-40 and replaced them with extra rounds where Newschool C and Oldschool D play a 50-40 game.

The problem with several small preliminary brackets is that they are unbalanced. This was a complaint some people had with the PACE "10 groups of 6" format. You leave yourself open to having to be very careful about which 2 seed goes into the group with High Tech (a very good team), and which goes into the group with Hunter (a basically unbeatable team), especially depending on how the tournament goes from there.

To answer the question that had been posed: I don't vote for a split field, because it provides me with no way of having my lower teams compete with both the middle third and the lower third of the tournament. If you do go for a split, Bergen B and C in the lower division and Bergen A in the higher division.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Mike Bentley » Mon Dec 12, 2011 11:14 pm

Dripping Springs State Park wrote:Coach Powers, I think you're misinterpreting the PACE rules. They state that an average of the upper division size and whole field size will be used. In this case, (16+28)/2=22, which would lead to 6 qualifiers from the tournament. I don't know if this changes anything--it still will be slightly harder to qualify for NSC--but the difference isn't so drastic as 7 to 4.


I'll try to get a response to some of the other issues in this thread posted tomorrow or Wednesday, but let me quickly state that this is the correct interpretation of the rule about the field size used when determining how many teams qualify for the NSC.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby mtimmons » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:20 am

jonpin wrote:Using PACE's qualification rules as the reason to make what I think is the right decision not to pre-split the field; and urging PACE to "reconsider its qualification procedures to take into account instances like this" are not good. What exactly counts as an instance like this? The fact that some of the teams are better than other teams? Seriously, David, if we split this field into two pieces and then use two different sets as you're suggesting, it's not one tournament anymore! A 28-team tournament where 12 teams are not eligible to win the tournament because they opt out of the top bracket, and play a completely different set of questions is, in fact, a 16-team tournament with a 12-team tournament occurring in the same building. If you don't use a different set, I still think they're separate tournaments, because they are, by the definition of separate, completely separate tournaments.


If they are completely separate tournaments should the lower division qualify teams for nationals then?
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Edward Powers » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:54 am

Jon,

Your points are well taken, but to be fair to the whole process, I do not think you truly took into account the reports from Belividere North that triggered all of this. It was suggested that the Set difficulty was so great that the vast majority of teams ended the day completely discouraged. Is this our goal as ambassadors for quizbowl? And it is all well and good to argue that the solution is not to split the field, but rather to write more accessible sets, but how does that general argument help in this specific case, where I have to deal with the Set that I have, which apparently is even harder than was to be expected, even for a DAFT Set? Further, I NEVER arbitrarily said I would split the field. I merely informed my constituency of the issues and sought their preferences, stipulating as I did that if certain criteria were not met I could NOT split the field. One of those stipulations was that our PACE certifications remain the same if we were to split. And you are not naive---you know that NAQT does allow for two divisions and even two sets. Chatham right here in Jersey has run a very popular year end tournament which split the field in similar ways, lets say into 16 expert teams and 32 standard teams, yet NAQT treats it as a 48 team field. Further, Jeff Hoppes posted right here on this forum, in the middle of the discussion that was occurring about a possible split, informing us that NAQT ALWAYS combines the numbers of both divisions in order to avoid having Novice and JV type teams being compelled to become constant fodder for the better teams. Given this information from one of the most highly respected persons in the quizbowl world, I thought that perhaps PACE did something similar so I saw no harm in allowing the discussion to continue among those registered in the tournament, and, as you saw, only one of the eight or nine teams in the field that that posted here disagreed with the proposal of a split. Can we assume that you agree that it is not unreasonable to consult your field before making a significant change? Further, from the outset I requested that we not make this a tempest in a teapot, but rather that we deal with this issue in a collegial manner, and over a period of about 12 hours this was consistently done, by 8 or 9 schools of the 12 coming. Further, can we also agree that players and coaches know their own teams best? And, if so, and if they reflected on the reports from Belvidere North whch were the catalysts for this whole discussion, and if, upon such reflection, they wanted their more inexperienced or younger teams to have a better experience, what is wrong with that? And might it not also be fair to point out that your Hunter argument, well meaning though it might be, is also a Red Herring? Of course Hunter can, and not infrequently, defeat talented and sometimes even nationally ranked A teams by 500 or 600 points. But look at our field. There are minimally 8-12 talented to extremely talented A teams, and even several nationally ranked B teams, and not just Hunter A, that might also win by such absurd margins against weaker B-D teams. If you bracket teams in groups of 6 or 7 in the Prelims, each bracket might have 5-6 such matches. Is this really desireable? And, one of the constant themes on this board is outreach to newer players and creating competitve experiences for THEM. About 4 years ago, I brought a raw B team to a BCA tournament where they were clobbered in Prelims by almost everyone---so they ended in the last consolation bracket in the PM. At lunch the totality of their talk suggested that this was going to be their last tournament---they really wanted to go home. But in the afternoon they WON a couple of those 90-70 matches, and on the ride home you would have thought they won the tournament. The following two years the passions engendered that day by those couple of wins so encouraged those kids that they won the next two NJ State NAQT Championships and played competitively at both Nationals, while also creating a culture of hard work here that still serves my program well. So, I know from first hand expereince how important being able to compete is, even if its only a 90-70 win, and I would bet other players coming to this tournament could provide similar stories of their own. So, I took the issue of NOT discouraging kids as it was relayed to us from Belvidere quite seriously, as everything I have done since those reports reveals.

So, I understand and respect your arguments. But others have theirs as well, and in this case, given the reports from Belvidere North, I think it is fair to say that there is no simple RIGHT decision---hence my effort not to be a monarchical TD but one who wanted to bring teams into the discussion in an amicable way.

Turns out I misinterpreted PACE's rule---I had contacted Sarah Angelo and, through no fault of hers, I erroneously concluded that PACE's rule would in effect force us to lose 3 Platinum qualification spots, and so I put my foot down, because I would never want to punish the very best and flagship A teams in the field in order to accomodate their B-D teams, for then the competitive nature of what we do at the HIGHEST levels is undermined, and that could never be wise.

And of course you are correct to be concerned about 4 team brackets, but there are ways to avoid some of the inherent problems they pose, and you can bet that I am giving them all of the thought that I can. But when we assemble on Saturday and know our final numbers for certain, I am not averse to surveying people about the wisdom of a 4 team Prelim and the ensuing plans I have from there, for my ego is irrelevant here---if people have better ideas than mine, with modern computer technology I can create the wiser structure desired by the field as a whole in a mere 5-10 minutes, so I am not worried about this.

So, thanks for your concerns and thoughts. They are appreciated.

One last thing: I apologize to PACE for misunderstanding their rules about split fields. The silver lining may be that this mis-understanding helped me find a wiser solution. Perhaps...and I'll leave it at this, except to also thank Sarah Angelo, who, in the middle of her exams courteously took the time to explain PACE's position on split fields. She just did not know that I misunderstood, but how could she? So, thanks again, Sarah.
Last edited by Edward Powers on Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:24 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Great Bustard » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:14 am

jonpin wrote:Using PACE's qualification rules as the reason to make what I think is the right decision not to pre-split the field; and urging PACE to "reconsider its qualification procedures to take into account instances like this" are not good. What exactly counts as an instance like this? The fact that some of the teams are better than other teams? Seriously, David, if we split this field into two pieces and then use two different sets as you're suggesting, it's not one tournament anymore! A 28-team tournament where 12 teams are not eligible to win the tournament because they opt out of the top bracket, and play a completely different set of questions is, in fact, a 16-team tournament with a 12-team tournament occurring in the same building. If you don't use a different set, I still think they're separate tournaments, because they are, by the definition of separate, completely separate tournaments.


Having, effectively, two tournaments is not, in itself a bad thing. There may be a tradeoff in that teams in the middle of the pack are forced to pick whether they want to be in the bottom of the top half or the top of the bottom, of course, but the greater differentiation, imho, will still result in more quality matches, and more overall satisfaction. I fail to see how this is a bad thing. Now, regarding PACE, I think the rule has been qualified, but beyond that, this whole situation begs the question if a one-sizes-fits-all approach to Nationals qualification works. It's a point I'm pondering for NHBB, but at least NHBB has a much lower qualification standard (3-2) than PACE or NAQT. I know NAQT has often been generous with wild cards, what about PACE/NSC? Seems to me that the vast majority of top teams here in theory at least are NSC caliber teams.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby jonpin » Tue Dec 13, 2011 11:21 am

@Ed:
Yes, you are correct that I haven't paid as much attention to the Belvidere thread as you, so I defer to you and the Belviderians as to how out of whack this tournament is.
"Further, I NEVER arbitrarily said I would split the field. I merely informed my constituency of the issues and sought their preferences, stipulating as I did that if certain criteria were not met I could NOT split the field." I know that this wouldn't be a decision you took lightly, but it seemed like the decision was snowballing quickly, and I was trying to figure out what such a split would accomplish.
"Chatham right here in Jersey has run a very popular year end tournament which split the field in similar ways, lets say into 16 expert teams and 32 standard teams, yet NAQT treats it as a 48 team field." In looking at the situation here and for Delaware Fall which uses IS for varsity and A-set for JV, I see that my initial suspicions were wrong. Contrary to my expectation, the Freshman division counts towards the field size at Chatham. I find this to be silly.
"But in the afternoon they WON a couple of those 90-70 matches, and on the ride home you would have thought they won the tournament." I do not intend to imply that there is no merit in competitive games at the bottom end of a tournament. But I feel that a team which plays 8 straight games where half the tossups go dead is less likely to feel energized by the experience than a team which plays a few games above their weight but sees their opponents getting answers and then plays a few low-scoring games against equal opponents. I feel the former is more likely to say "This is silly, no one knows this stuff", whereas the latter will see that that isn't true.

Dave wrote:Now, regarding PACE, I think the rule has been qualified, but beyond that, this whole situation begs the question if a one-sizes-fits-all approach to Nationals qualification works. It's a point I'm pondering for NHBB, but at least NHBB has a much lower qualification standard (3-2) than PACE or NAQT. I know NAQT has often been generous with wild cards, what about PACE/NSC? Seems to me that the vast majority of top teams here in theory at least are NSC caliber teams.

I think very strongly that a one-size-fits-all approach to Nationals qualification is not wise. I feel PACE made a backward move in loosening the gold and platinum standards to remove quality of field and geographic concerns, with the result being that a team that finishes in the 80th percentile of a well-run tournament in a weak area has registration priority over a team that wins a tournament in a strong area that uses single-elimination or NAQT with math tossups. And, in fact, more than half the stated field has already filled before that latter team has had a chance to register at all. I don't know how exactly I want qualification to work for nationals, but I feel like the current system has some significant flaws.
As to the fact that there are many top teams here that are National contenders, I agree, but I feel like ensuring a certain level of qualification or number of bids isn't the primary goal of running a tournament, and shouldn't be a deal breaker in and of itself. And I say that as the coach of a good team that has yet to qualify for either national and is somewhat scrambling to do so. The NYC metro area is a killer circuit, but we've got a bunch of tournaments, and a decent number of NAQT tournaments (although the fact that two IS sets are burned on Bloomfield--which for the second straight year has scheduled opposite Prison Bowl--and Chatham--which is far too late for HSNCT qualification--does irritate me in a year like this). If my team gets six cracks at the top 20% of a tournament in this area (our standard tournament count through Prison Bowl) and can't make a single one, that means we're not going to be highly competitive at nationals.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Mike Bentley » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:07 pm

jonpin wrote:I think very strongly that a one-size-fits-all approach to Nationals qualification is not wise. I feel PACE made a backward move in loosening the gold and platinum standards to remove quality of field and geographic concerns, with the result being that a team that finishes in the 80th percentile of a well-run tournament in a weak area has registration priority over a team that wins a tournament in a strong area that uses single-elimination or NAQT with math tossups. And, in fact, more than half the stated field has already filled before that latter team has had a chance to register at all. I don't know how exactly I want qualification to work for nationals, but I feel like the current system has some significant flaws.


This change was based on a few factors.

First, we looked at past data for teams qualifying for the NSC and saw that effectively no team was prevented from attending because their spot was taken by other qualified teams. Instead, qualified teams generally did not attend the NSC because they did not have the finances, time or interest. As such, we reached the conclusion that increasing the number of teams that qualified for the NSC would generally not result in pushing out interested teams that would finish higher in the overall standings at the NSC. It is true that our field is already almost half full. However, please remember that we announced that we would consider expanding the field size if there was enough interest, and that last year we also saw a significant number of teams sign up in the early stages of the registration process before getting close to our announced field size and then gradually declining.

Second, the geographic and field strength restrictions meant that it was effectively impossible for well run tournaments in certain areas of the country to achieve gold or platinum status. Since one of the factors involved in awarding different certification levels to different tournaments is to encourage tournament directors and teams to host and attend the best run tournaments, not being able to reward well run tournaments in areas with weak quizbowl circuits was problematic.

Third, determining which teams were "nationally competitive" was always tricky and subjective. Removing that requirement has allowed us to more objectively certify tournaments, and to certify them with less turnaround.

Overall there is a bit of a dichotomy between making sure that the best teams qualify for the NSC and encouraging the growth of quizbowl around the country by certifying well-run tournaments. We had a lot of internal discussion about the qualification procedures and I'm satisfied with the plan that we came up with, although we certainly welcome all feedback on the system for consideration in changing the qualification procedures next year.

Regarding the difference between the NAQT and PACE rule on how to calculate the number of teams that qualify when a tournament uses divisions, one thing that I will note is that PACE gold and platinum tournaments qualify a higher percentage of eligible teams than NAQT tournaments (20% or 25% compared to 15%). In this particular case, 7 teams would qualify under the NAQT rules and 6 teams would qualify under the PACE rules. If the tournament was skewed such that a larger number of teams were in the top bracket, then more teams would qualify compared to NAQT. This is not to offer a value judgment on the merits of the NAQT qualification system. Instead, I think it demonstrates that, in practice, the number of teams for a gold or platinum certified tournament that qualify for the NSC vs. the HNSCT are comparable depending on the percentage of teams in the top division.

I am sympathetic to the argument that, in certain cases, this divisions rule may encourage tournament directors to make decisions that do not make for the best tournament. I'm not exactly sure what the solution is here--I don't think it's necessarily to adopt the NAQT rule based on some of the arguments that Jon Pinyan made. If you do have feedback about how to improve this rule, please send me an e-mail at mbentleypace@gmail.com or post it here. We will incorporate this feedback into our discussion for changing the 2013 NSC qualification procedures next summer.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:11 am

Question: why is everyone suddenly freaking out that DAFT, a tournament which has varied from "fairly harder than average" to "notably harder than average" in its previous incarnations, and which was announced as going to be harder than average, was revealed to be "harder than average" in two posts following one of its mirrors?
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Matt Weiner » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:15 am

Fred wrote:Question: why is everyone suddenly freaking out that DAFT, a tournament which has varied from "fairly harder than average" to "notably harder than average" in its previous incarnations, and which was announced as going to be harder than average, was revealed to be "harder than average" in two posts following one of its mirrors?


I take it as a sign that certain groups/people/regions are finally waking up to the reality that writing sets for Top Teams and then using them at general-interest tournaments is not OK. In the past this would have been overlooked or defended more, now it isn't, which is good.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Black-throated Antshrike » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:15 am

edit: ninjad
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:18 am

Right. I guess I don't get why that realization just sank in with this, given that, again, DAFT has been hard in the past and was advertised as being hard this year. It's the week before the tournament. If you're holding a tournament and "introducing new teams to quiz bowl" is your goal, using one of the harder sets to be produced is probably not the best route to go with that.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Edward Powers » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:32 am

No one was freaking out. There was a cordial and amicable discussion about the desireability of splitting the field when reports came in from Belvidere North about the vast majority of teams there apparently leaving the tournament in a discouraged mood, seemingly because DAFT III was even harder than advertised, possibly harder than HFT. And, if you accept the premise that intelligent foresight is preferable to a discouraged and possibly toxic hindsight, a brief effort of about 24 hours was used to explore the wisdom and/or the desireability of splitting the field into Expert & Novice Divisions in order to prevent such a toxic outcome from occuring. And, I assume you would agree that consulting your field on such a change is a principle of both respect and courtesy. As it turned out, even the coaches and players in this experienced field thought it might be wiser to split the field, but, when it was pointed out that Platinum Qualifactions for PACE might be reduced significantly, the idea of splitting the field was vetoed, and no one has complained about that, or, if they have, they have not done it in public, here on these boards.

So, in effect, what really happened? A community of schools enrolled in a tournament engaged in a civilized and amicable discussion of how best to proceed when reports of the potentially exceptional difficulty of a set emerged from Belividere North. The responses of the members of that field were respectful and mature throughout. No one turned it into a soap opera, yet the field as a whole endeavored to exercise the skill of foresight a full week before the tournament in an effort to increase the possibilty that students playing in the tournament might have the best possible experience given the alleged difficulty of the set. When it seemed, however, that the national aspirations of the best teams in the field might be undermined to accomodate concerns for the less experienced or novice players in the field, yours truly, the TD, vetoed the idea of a split, believing that this would undermine and invert the competitive spirit of quizbowl at the highest levels. I did this out of repsect for those very best teams and for the competitve spirit of quizbowl in general. I also did this respecting the capacity of the members of my field to understand and honor the principle I employed in vetoing their overwhelming vote in favor of a split, and the maturity of their judgment and spirit has been confirmed---so far no one has complained about my exercise of this veto despite their 8-1 vote in favor of a split; the only partial complaint registered, I suppose, came from a thoughtful concern by Jon Pinyan after the fact that perhaps my announcement of having 4 team brackets for our Preliminary rounds might not be the wisest idea. Jon is an experienced and thoughtful member of the quizbowl community, and I respect his constructive criticism. He might in fact be correct, but I am not yet persuaded of that, but if it turns out that others in the field ultimately are, I have no problem in trying to design a wiser course, and given the thoughtfulness of the coaches and players in this field, I am sure no one would complain if we made an adjustment considered wiser by the the field as a whole. I certainly would not.

Bottom line? We had a mature discussion, we have resolved it, not eveyone is happy about everything---what's new?--- but it seems no one is radically dissatisfied, and certainly no one is "freaking out"----that depiction would be a serious distortion of what occured here. In fact, I would suggest that what occurred here is a model of what should have occurred, and it illustrates why we have, why we need, and why we appreciate this forum---it allows members of the community to try and think through what is best for an activity we all love, especially when we have time to act and improve what might otherwise become a seriously negative experience. We may not always agree, but we can disagree amicably and thoughtfully as we endeavor to be ambassadors for this enjoyable and competitive activity for all involved, but especally for the young people in our care who depend upon us to be as prudent as we can. And, ultimately, the proof is in the pudding. This more experienced field might end up enjoying this DAFT Set very much---I certainly hope this is the case---but the truth is that I do not know. But if it turns out that this set is even harder than advertised, at least no one can say they were not forewarned, and this in itself will probably be enough to avoid the foolish vituperation and ad hominem atttacks that sometimes can occur if people are surprised and discouraged by a set, which can never be healthy for the community as a whole. So, I think this effort to think before we act is a win-win, and we need not apologize for trying to exercise some foresight to help make this the best experience possible for the young people who will be guests at our mirror of DAFT III this weekend.
Last edited by Edward Powers on Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:48 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Edward Powers » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:32 am

Edit: See post above, which somehow was duplicated here, so I deleted it.

In the meantime, Coach Zinsmeister, HELLO!!!!!

I know you must be busy, but could you let me know as soon as you can what your final registration intentions are? Will SHP be bringing one team or two?

Thanks!
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby SHP Pirate » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:26 pm

ED!!! Contrary to rumours, I am alive and well. SHP, due to an unprecedented lack of team support and interest, will only be bringing one team. I will call your cell this afternoon. Mea maxima culpa, amice!
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Great Bustard » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:34 pm

Ed, Ridgewood has 12-13 kids who want to go, so that's definitely 3 teams. That opens it up for Millburn C - so I figure you'll then look to get to reach 28? Do you have house teams, or what's the plan then? Also, we'll have 2 buzzers, not 6.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Edward Powers » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:19 am

I would love to say yes immediately, but since some moderators have dropped out at this late date, for now I think it wisest to cap the field at 24 so I can staff this event as it should be staffed. However, I will place Ridgewood C on my waiting list along with Millburn C, and if there is any way I can wisely add both teams, I certainly will, but for now I cannot guarantee this. Give me 24-36 hours or so and I should have a definitve answer. OK?
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Edward Powers » Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:01 pm

I have good news for Millburn & Ridgewood: I have added your C teams to the field, along with two SJHS House teams to bring our final field number to 28. The field is now closed.

Additionally, since some have asked, please make your checks payable to: "Saint Joseph High School". Sorry for forgetting to communicate this.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Sniper, No Sniping! » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:55 pm

I'm looking at the preliminary stats; not to much surprise, you see considerably high conversion rates for the teams that I'm assuming would have gone into the theoretical "experts" division if such a split actually came to fruition. How is the set being received at your mirror, Mr. Powers?
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby jonpin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:16 pm

My god. Nothing in this area can stop Hunter except Hunter. I wasn't there, but I haven't seen a school collaboratively devastate a tournament so hard since Dunbar went undefeated against non-Dunbar teams at a WUHSAC mid-decade.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Edward Powers » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:46 pm

It certainly was interesting. But in the final analysis, only GDS threatened the Hunter juggernaut in any way, tying in a circle of death with Hunter B & C in their Pushkin bracket, if my memory serves me correctly. GDS defeated Hunter C, C then defeated Hunter B, who in turn defeated GDS. Since we only had 12 packets it was agreed that Hunter B would earn the Top seed from the bracket based on superior PPB, and GDS & Hunter C played a FULL packet tie breaker, which Hunter C won, guaranteeing Hunter 3 teams in the Final Four, joined by Wissahickon. In the ensuing cross-bracket finals, Hunter A defeated Hunter C, while Hunter B defeated Wissahickon, so it came down to the the winner take all final. It was tied 285-285 after 18 Toss-Ups, then Hunter B powered 19 and 20'd the bonus, so B led 320-285 with one TU to go---which B dramatically powered while 20ing the final bonus to account for the final score, while Hunter C took care of Wissahickon to finish 3rd. GDS won the next cross bracket of 4 to finish 5th, followed by High Tech at 6th, Charter A at 7th and Bergen A finsihed 8th. And the Top 7 teams earned Platinum Qualification to PACE's NSC, so I imagine Hunter will be joyously registering its 3 outstandng qualifiers within the next 24 hours, if in fact they have not already done so!

As for the tournament as a whole, there were few complaints about the difficulty of the set. The Top 5 or 6 teams exceeded 20 PPB, 2 or 3 more exceeded 17 or 18. The middle 10-12 teams in the field were in the 10-14 PPB or so range and had some enjoyable and competitive matches, while the bottom 8-9 teams did struggle statistically, but there were many matches within this group which came down to the final question or two, so most teams seemed to enjoy this part of it even though they were sometimes overmatched by the set. In short, this group seemed both resilient and spirited, so this was great to see.

So, on the whole, we are pleased. I can only think of two negatives of which I am aware, but live and learn. First, in the first round a full 6 buzzer sets failed within the first 10 minutes, and in one room 3 sets failed back to back to back. ( Teams really should test their buzzers before bringing them to a tournament!!!) But once this was resolved, this problem went away. Second, rebracketing after 4 rounds took a little longer than it should have. But that too is something to learn from. The good thing about it was that the rebracketing stopped some of the more egregious 400 point plus drubbings that some of the best teams were delivering to the very inexperienced C & D teams in attendance..

And many thanks---to my students, adult helpers, & NHS volunteeres! My alumni were also invaluable, as was the Father's Club, who provided a sumptuous breakfast for all and cooked lunch for about 90% of the teams in attendance. Finally, thanks to Mike Zinsmeister of SHP, who once againn came to our aid in helping us upload all the stats in such a timely fashion. We could not have done this without him.

So, thanks to all once again, and congrats to all the teams, but especially to our National Qualifiers!

EDIT: For those who do not know, STATS are up on the Quizbowl Resource Database. Sorry I forgot to mention this.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby anderson » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:47 pm

Hi,

Thanks to Mr. Powers for a well-run tournament!

I want to apologize again (and explain to everyone else why we have a 0 against GNS A) for our brainlessness after the prelims. We were sorta confused because our moderator told us to go to the cafeteria after round 3 for a lunch break, so we decided to go eat at the nearby steakhouse. We then returned to realize that it actually wasn't lunchtime and that we forfeited that game. It was entirely our fault that we didn't think about the schedule more carefully, and I apologize to Great Neck South for the missed game. :sad:

As for the set itself, the questions were mostly pretty good, though there was a noticeable problem with bonus consistency. I do realize that it is impossible to have a uniform difficulty level and that almost every tournament gets criticized for this too, but there were an unusually large number of bonuses that were just too hard. There were also 5 or so repeats and multiple grammar/spelling errors, although in the end, I felt this set was enjoyable and fun, with lots of well-written tossups. There were just many more "groaner" moments than usual.

Overall, it was an awesome day, and there were plenty of strong teams in the field with some very intense matches. I'll also state the obvious: Hunter is very very good.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Goole by-election, 1971 » Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:51 pm

Considering Hunter split their A team for this tournament..... those are some insane stats.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Great Bustard » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:06 am

What's insane is that the four members of their A team all had within 4 ppg of each other. That consistency is freaky. And freakishly good.
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby Great Bustard » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:12 am

Also, a big thanks to Ed and St. Joe's for running what sounds like it was an outstanding tournament. Ridgewood was raving about their experience on our Facebook page this evening. Finally, if I may, I am so proud of Ridgewood for negotiating the train trip on their own and making the effort to turn out 3 teams with very little logistical help from me and none from the school. Love the enthusiasm!
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby JHill49 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:05 am

Sorry for bumping this topic, but we found some buzzers that do not belong to us in one of our buzzer sets. It is a linked series of 5 buzzers. We also found a power cord. I will post some pictures so that the buzzers can be identified. I apologize for the fact that the pictures are very large.

Contact Mr. Powers if you are missing buzzers that look like the ones in the pictures.

Image
Last edited by The Motley Eye on Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Cut this down to one image to keep from breaking things
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Re: Saint Joe's Mirror of DAFT III, December 17th, 2011

Postby urbanpf » Wed Jan 11, 2012 6:18 pm

Those buzzers belong to Millburn - were not returned to box on 12/17 (we should
have checked but did not). Will contact Mr. Powers about this.

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