2012 SCT: Difficulty

Old college threads.

Re: Difficulty

Postby cornfused » Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:54 am

Superb_starling wrote:arguably the most stock clue ever

Either Grignard has just been clued as the son of a sailmaker or the definition of "stock" has changed.
Greg Peterson
Maine South HS '07
Lawrence University '11
User avatar
cornfused
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 2078
Joined: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:22 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Difficulty

Postby Inkana7 » Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:34 am

So, I've now seen DII from two perspectives, both as a player and as a club leader who has a lot of enthusiastic young players who played little, (if any!) tu/b quizbowl in high school.

I was pretty good in high school, no Matt Jackson, but pretty good, so I did very well on D2 SCT and had good teammates who also did well. We got 4th at ICT and had very competitive games with great teams and came back from 100+ points multiple times to either make it a close loss or win. It was good for me and my teammates, we had fun, did well, and this year we did well in DI and are looking forward to ICT. That's the point of D2! To ease people who are new to the college game into it. Jasper and I probably could have played DI and played well, but I really wouldn't take away my D2 experience because it was a blast; sometimes games filled with powers and 30s aren't the worst thing int he world.

Now this year, OSU doesn't have nearly the DII talent we had last year. But we do have oodles of kids who have found that they really love quizbowl despite not playing good quizbowl or much quizbowl at all in high school. These are the people who DII is really for. I would have been just fine without playing DII, I played ACF Nats a few weeks later. But I applaud NAQT for how they treated DII's difficulty this year, as it gave our DII players a lot of confidence and even more enthusiasm for the game and for improving. They didn't challenge for the championship, but they won games and scored lots of points. I have every faith that they'll improve over the next year and become constants when we go to tournaments, regardless of difficulty.

Marnold is 100% right when he says that DI is the focus, not DII. NAQT would be making a poor decision by making DII SCT harder instead of easier. If you want challenging tossups, that's what DII ICT is for, or go play DI SCT; it was pleasantly easy this year compared to last year. Don't complain on the boards about stock clues that aren't really stock clues and try to ruin DII for those who legitimately need it. NAQT did a great job with difficulty this year, and each and every member of the OSU club that played SCT had a great time.

btw, if Cup of Gold is stock, then I'm really glad that I graduated high school when I did.
Jarret Greene

South Range '10
Ohio State '14
User avatar
Inkana7
Amazon of buried jaguars
 
Posts: 612
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:03 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby Sun Devil Student » Wed Feb 08, 2012 3:34 pm

First, I want to agree with the apparent majority opinion that the D2 SCT is appropriately easy and that the eligibility system is imperfect but passable.

However, I disagree with attitudes like this one:
grapesmoker wrote:Why are people so desperate to invent solutions in search of problems? The current system works fine! It does its job of qualifying teams for the ICT, after which they can do things like go on to play DI like everyone else. But no, let's fuck everything up sideways because three people on the boards are dissatisfied with the difficulty level.

Just because the current system is not terrible does not mean that it's wrong to even think about the potential for improvement. Can we please recognize the difference between "trying to make an okay system even better" and "claiming that the current system is horrible when it's not"?

I offered an idea that could make those few dissatisfied people happy without negatively impacting anyone else. What exactly is wrong with that? If you want to argue why my proposal is logistically unworkable compared to the current system, fine. If you want to argue that my proposal is morally inferior to the current system, I'm happy to hear about it. But "the current system is good enough" should not be automatically a defense against all possible improvements.

Just as the "perfect is the enemy of the good," so "the good is the enemy of the great" - and we seem to have illustrated both phenomena in this thread.

marnold wrote:It should be shouted from the high heavens that D1 is what matters. D2 is great as a way of bringing people into the activity, but all this hand-wringing seems to think that it's an end-in-itself. It isn't. It barely matters, honestly, because the idea is you're supposed to do it it once (or LESS even [shockhorror]) and then move on to real quizbowl. In fact, I propose D2 be made continually easier until it's just 24 questions about George Washington and the Mona Lisa so people will take the hint and play D1.

Here's the problem. Many (I'd guess most) players, unlike you and I, lose their enjoyment of the game when 7 or 8 tossups go dead every round and the bonus conversion drops below about 8/30 (these are estimates based on my observation; the exact cutoffs may vary). And for a lot of players who do quizbowl as a recreational activity on the side and don't have a lot of time to study for it, D1 is "too hard" because it takes a considerable amount of work for a team to reach that level on D1 questions. These people, unfortunately, will never be good enough to really enjoy D1.

Some of you seem to think these people should be unwelcome in the quizbowl circuit. However, I think these casual teams still contribute to the community by being stepping-stone opponents for those D2 players who really do want to improve (and thus start out at novice level but over time get better and move on to D1), and if the "permanent D2 teams" are enjoying themselves and accepting of their place in the bottom half of the rankings, then that should be perfectly okay. Pushing them away from quizbowl with the demand of "enjoy D1-level questions or quit" (which is what you do by kicking them out of D2) is both unnecessarily unkind, and a loss to our community.

There is room for everyone in quizbowl. We should try to create maximum opportunity for everyone to enjoy it at their own preferred level of difficulty.
Kenneth Lan, ASU '11, '12, UIC '17
The University of Illinois at Chicago
-stranger in a strange land (2013-)
The Sonoran Desert quizbowl ecosystem
-activist/advocate (2010-2013)
The Arizona State University Quizbowl Club
-elder statesman (2011-2013)
-coach (2009-2011)
-club president (2008-2011)
-founder (2007-)
Sun Devil Student
torrent of sunbursts
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:05 am

Re: Difficulty

Postby DumbJaques » Wed Feb 08, 2012 4:43 pm

There is room for everyone in quizbowl. We should try to create maximum opportunity for everyone to enjoy it at their own preferred level of difficulty.


"Good luck."
-C. Webber
Chris Ray
University of Chicago
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE
User avatar
DumbJaques
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 2904
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: University of Maryland - CP

Re: Difficulty

Postby Susan » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:09 pm

The system that you described was baroque (I'm sure NAQT would be super-enthusiastic about comparing D-values for D2 teams qualifying on D2 questions to D-values for D2 teams qualifying on D1 question at every single site) and required people to self-identify as D2 players who were too good to play D2 vs. D2 players who were sufficiently mediocre to play D2 (self-selection and "gentlemans' agreements" and such have had a pretty spotty history in quizbowl and I suspect that this would work just as badly as previous examples have).

If there are really people out there who are afraid of playing D1 SCT because they're afraid of getting 8ppb, I hope it comforts them to realize that only one team (at least, out of all the teams that have stats up on NAQT's website so far) got less than 8ppb on this year's SCT, and that team was one dude playing solo who said that playing SCT was the best time he'd had playing quizbowl in a long time. I hope that, going forward, SCT (D1 and D2) remains at the substantially easier level it was this year, since one of the myriad benefits of that change is that it completely demolishes this "OMG 8PPB" line of argument. If there are really people there who are being told "play D1 SCT or quit", I hope that they're literate and have access to the internet, because there are more than a dozen other tournaments those people can play every year that are written at all levels of difficulty. Loss of access to D2 does not equal loss of access to quizbowl. But if those people are just going to quit playing quizbowl as soon as they can no longer play other novice teams because they can't handle losing to people who have put in more work than they have--and, yes, this is sometimes what people mean when they complain about having to play D1!--then, you know, fuck them. Those people aren't going to contribute to quizbowl, they aren't going to write packets for things, they're just going to be free riders and we should not accommodate them.
Susan
UChicago alum (AB 2003, PhD 2009)
Member, ACF
Susan
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 1681
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:43 am

Re: Difficulty

Postby setht » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:16 pm

Sun Devil Student wrote:I offered an idea that could make those few dissatisfied people happy without negatively impacting anyone else. What exactly is wrong with that? If you want to argue why my proposal is logistically unworkable compared to the current system, fine. If you want to argue that my proposal is morally inferior to the current system, I'm happy to hear about it. But "the current system is good enough" should not be automatically a defense against all possible improvements.


I think your suggestion from earlier in this thread is, in effect, logistically unworkable. The D-value system is an approximation to some ideal ranking of teams; I think it works well in general. The DI-to-DII and DII-to-DI conversion factors are an approximation to an approximation, and I'm not convinced they work nearly as well. They exist to deal with the (hopefully rare) cases when some team has to compete on the set from the other division due to circumstances beyond their control. The fact is that trying to compare teams across different sites is already a bit of a challenge; trying to compare teams across different sites that play very different sets, against teams that aren't competing for spots in the same division, is very messy.

The upper end of the NAQT difficulty scale goes IS sets, DII SCT, HSNCT, DII ICT, DI SCT, DI ICT (in increasing order of difficulty). So your proposal that DII-eligible teams be allowed to play DI SCT to qualify for DII ICT means allowing teams to qualify for a national tournament by playing a harder sectionals set. I think this could easily cause problems in correctly determining which teams should earn bids.

I can imagine that there exist teams for whom DII ICT and DI SCT are pretty much right at their level--presumably some of the teams at the top of DII ICT each year are in this group, for instance. I would also imagine that some decent fraction of those DII-eligible teams would be able to qualify for ICT as DI teams, if they chose to do so. Now, if a strong, DII-eligible team wants to make a run at the DII title, I don't begrudge them that at all, but I do think it would be a mistake to make big (and I think problematic) changes to the current system just so they can play an SCT set that they'll enjoy more. In other words: if a team chooses to prioritize competing at DII ICT over playing the most difficulty-appropriate SCT set, I think that's fine; but I also think that's something the team chooses, and not a problem for NAQT to solve.

Also, what Susan said while I was writing this.

-Seth
Seth Teitler
Formerly UC Berkeley and U. Chicago
Member and Chief Editor, NAQT
Emeritus member, ACF
setht
iceman of Andean tears
 
Posts: 998
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:41 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Difficulty

Postby grapesmoker » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:20 pm

Sun Devil Student wrote:Just because the current system is not terrible does not mean that it's wrong to even think about the potential for improvement. Can we please recognize the difference between "trying to make an okay system even better" and "claiming that the current system is horrible when it's not"?


Hey, maybe you can do us all a favor and go find the places where I (or anyone else) proscribed discussion or thinking about improving things? Because I have a pretty low tolerance for people inventing shit to attribute to me.

I offered an idea that could make those few dissatisfied people happy without negatively impacting anyone else. What exactly is wrong with that? If you want to argue why my proposal is logistically unworkable compared to the current system, fine. If you want to argue that my proposal is morally inferior to the current system, I'm happy to hear about it. But "the current system is good enough" should not be automatically a defense against all possible improvements.


Your system sucks, ok? It would result in massive confusion and headaches for all involved (so your contention about how it doesn't "negatively impact anyone else" is totally false, unless you assume that tournaments run themselves). It's not "morally inferior" (what?) it's just unwieldy and dumb and most importantly invents problems in order to solve them.

Here's a better system: if you think you are too good for DII, don't play it. Play DI. FIN.

Just as the "perfect is the enemy of the good," so "the good is the enemy of the great" - and we seem to have illustrated both phenomena in this thread.


No, look, you're still not getting this. In fact, very few of you are getting this. Let me lay it out for you:

It's fine to think of improvements and even advocate for a wholesale restructuring of the game, if you think that that's what it takes. I've been part of those discussions, and sometimes, yes, that really is the correct position. But that was many years ago when people still thought CBI was a legitimate purveyor of quizbowl. None of the people you're arguing with here are naive idiots who (in my mother's words) fell to earth from the moon; we're all people with a lot of experience in both the writing and the organizational aspects of quizbowl, some more than others. What that means is that the current system was actually formed over many iterations of these kinds of discussions, where thoughtful people would select meaningful, concrete changes to achieve, put them forward, and there'd be reasonable, incremental progress. Which is to say it wasn't pulled out of our asses yesterday. People have considered lots of different options and they've settled on this system not because it represents some sort of global optimum but because it achieves a stated purpose (let the majority of newcomers play apart from more experienced teams) in a reasonable way.

This is the part that you and Joseph and Harrison seem not to be able to grasp for some reason, and it gets tiresome to rehash these debates all the time (as does your particular "woe is me" perpetual victim routine, by the way). You guys are coming in and making all sorts of wacky assertions and restructuring proposals which are manifestly unnecessary and may actually be detrimental. You want all these changes (many of which you can't even articulate properly because you're not actually sure what it is you want) and you've got various stab-in-the-dark proposals and you're not going to be restrained by anything so sensible as people with cumulative decades of quizbowl experience telling you that we're at a happy medium and to let it go. Why? Why are you so fixated on this?


Here's the problem. Many (I'd guess most) players, unlike you and I, lose their enjoyment of the game when 7 or 8 tossups go dead every round and the bonus conversion drops below about 8/30 (these are estimates based on my observation; the exact cutoffs may vary). And for a lot of players who do quizbowl as a recreational activity on the side and don't have a lot of time to study for it, D1 is "too hard" because it takes a considerable amount of work for a team to reach that level on D1 questions. These people, unfortunately, will never be good enough to really enjoy D1.


Teams that never qualify for ICT won't have to move up. Look, the system works!

Some of you seem to think these people should be unwelcome in the quizbowl circuit. However, I think these casual teams still contribute to the community by being stepping-stone opponents for those D2 players who really do want to improve (and thus start out at novice level but over time get better and move on to D1), and if the "permanent D2 teams" are enjoying themselves and accepting of their place in the bottom half of the rankings, then that should be perfectly okay. Pushing them away from quizbowl with the demand of "enjoy D1-level questions or quit" (which is what you do by kicking them out of D2) is both unnecessarily unkind, and a loss to our community.


You can already be a permanent basement-dweller by not qualifying for ICT. The (entirely reasonable) assumption is that if you have qualified for the DII ICT, you can, in fact, hang with the better teams (or at least begin to work towards doing so), and so you're bounced out of DII. This is normal and fine! What are you complaining about?
Jerry Vinokurov
LJHS 2000
UC Berkeley '05
Brown '10
Carnegie Mellon staff
User avatar
grapesmoker
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 5792
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Difficulty

Postby grapesmoker » Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:25 pm

Susan wrote:But if those people are just going to quit playing quizbowl as soon as they can no longer play other novice teams because they can't handle losing to people who have put in more work than they have--and, yes, this is sometimes what people mean when they complain about having to play DI!--then, you know, fuck them. Those people aren't going to contribute to quizbowl, they aren't going to write packets for things, they're just going to be free riders and we should not accommodate them.


This is the truest thing. Look, like any pursuit, quizbowl requires work. Anyone can be a weekend warrior, and that's cool, but the community exists precisely because people are not weekend warriors, but rather because they enjoy the game and want to be good at it. If you just want to free-ride, you can, but no one is required to accommodate you, and you'll probably lose a lot of games. Them's the breaks.
Jerry Vinokurov
LJHS 2000
UC Berkeley '05
Brown '10
Carnegie Mellon staff
User avatar
grapesmoker
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 5792
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Difficulty

Postby Fond du lac operon » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:22 pm

grapesmoker wrote:No, look, you're still not getting this. In fact, very few of you are getting this. Let me lay it out for you:

It's fine to think of improvements and even advocate for a wholesale restructuring of the game, if you think that that's what it takes. I've been part of those discussions, and sometimes, yes, that really is the correct position. But that was many years ago when people still thought CBI was a legitimate purveyor of quizbowl. None of the people you're arguing with here are naive idiots who (in my mother's words) fell to earth from the moon; we're all people with a lot of experience in both the writing and the organizational aspects of quizbowl, some more than others. What that means is that the current system was actually formed over many iterations of these kinds of discussions, where thoughtful people would select meaningful, concrete changes to achieve, put them forward, and there'd be reasonable, incremental progress. Which is to say it wasn't pulled out of our asses yesterday. People have considered lots of different options and they've settled on this system not because it represents some sort of global optimum but because it achieves a stated purpose (let the majority of newcomers play apart from more experienced teams) in a reasonable way.

This is the part that you and Joseph and Harrison seem not to be able to grasp for some reason, and it gets tiresome to rehash these debates all the time (as does your particular "woe is me" perpetual victim routine, by the way). You guys are coming in and making all sorts of wacky assertions and restructuring proposals which are manifestly unnecessary and may actually be detrimental. You want all these changes (many of which you can't even articulate properly because you're not actually sure what it is you want) and you've got various stab-in-the-dark proposals and you're not going to be restrained by anything so sensible as people with cumulative decades of quizbowl experience telling you that we're at a happy medium and to let it go. Why? Why are you so fixated on this?



To be fair, I pretty much get this now, and I think if you actually read my last few posts you can see this. I didn't at first, true, but that's because a few people thought it would be more effective to come in and compare me to James Johnson and make ad hominem attacks rather than say "We've heard these arguments before, from X, Y, and Z, and they're wrong for reasons A, B, and C."

I still think that it might be better, if we're going to keep SCT DII at a lower average difficulty (or lower it further), to increase the variance of the difficulty of the questions, because there are going to be people playing DII who should be playing DI, and I don't think that making it better for them is entirely incompatible with making it fun for the total novice, lower-level DII teams. Yes, maybe I just fell from the quizbowl moon, but I've thought a lot about this shit w/r/t math competitions since high school, and at least in that arena, with a sufficiently large sample size, it's totally possible to end up with an approximation of a ranking at the top and still make it fun for people toward the bottom, and a proper gradation of difficulty is essential. Maybe quizbowl acts differently -- but I see no reason it should. In any case, I don't think this is any sort of "wholesale restructuring."
ONE-TIME HSQB BRACKET POOL CHAMPION Harrison Brown
Centennial HS (GA) '08
Alabama '13

"No idea what [he's] talking about."
User avatar
Fond du lac operon
mason high on your treacherous scaffolding
 
Posts: 222
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:02 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby grapesmoker » Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:49 pm

What is it like to be a Batman? wrote:To be fair, I pretty much get this now, and I think if you actually read my last few posts you can see this. I didn't at first, true, but that's because a few people thought it would be more effective to come in and compare me to James Johnson and make ad hominem attacks rather than say "We've heard these arguments before, from X, Y, and Z, and they're wrong for reasons A, B, and C."


Come on dude, no one made ad hominem attacks on you, and please, can we stop misusing that term? The problem is that when your first posts are something like "DII SCT is too easy, let's change everything," yes, people are going to think you're kind of nuts for suggesting that. I'm glad that you seem to have come to your senses, but can you see how having these kinds of discussions every year can get irritating? We wouldn't have to do this if people would just take a little bit of time to learn about why things are the way they are. Maybe we could have some sort of quizbowl Q&A thread where you can ask old people about the history of the game or something...

I still think that it might be better, if we're going to keep SCT DII at a lower average difficulty (or lower it further), to increase the variance of the difficulty of the questions, because there are going to be people playing DII who should be playing DI, and I don't think that making it better for them is entirely incompatible with making it fun for the total novice, lower-level DII teams. Yes, maybe I just fell from the quizbowl moon, but I've thought a lot about this shit w/r/t math competitions since high school, and at least in that arena, with a sufficiently large sample size, it's totally possible to end up with an approximation of a ranking at the top and still make it fun for people toward the bottom, and a proper gradation of difficulty is essential. Maybe quizbowl acts differently -- but I see no reason it should. In any case, I don't think this is any sort of "wholesale restructuring."


I don't know what to tell you about math competitions in high school, with which I have no experience, but I really don't see why we should worry about what goes on there. That's its own world and quizbowl is its own world with its own concerns; I'm no more inclined to cross-pollinate between those domains than I am to do the same with quizbowl and chess, so I don't think these analogies are useful. As for the rest, reports indicate that the difficulty of DII SCT is fine; perhaps it might be raised a bit next year, though I think a lot of difficulty perception is susceptible to noise fluctuations. Having large difficulty swings across a tournament is generally considered a bad idea because what'll happen is that you'll end up with those (let's say) 5 tossups going dead for everyone but the top teams, and that's worse than the top teams just answering everything earlier. Yes, there will be people who play DII who should have played DI, but play DII because they're eligible. So what? Why is this such a deep problem? They'll get their one year in and move on, just like everyone else did before them, and life will continue apace. This is what I mean when I talk about inventing problems to be solved: the system is already designed to move these people on up, so the absolute worst that can happen is that they play a single tournament once in their lifetime that is marginally easier than what their ideal difficulty level would be. In order to correct this total non-problem, people are proposing solutions that would almost certainly reduce the accessibility of the tournament and make it less fun for a whole lot of people; even if it didn't do that, it would be a huge organizational and writing hassle to do what you suggest.

I'm sure you've thought about some of these things, but I also suggest, respectfully, that you haven't really evaluated the cons of your proposal in perspective. My guess is that this is because you just don't know a whole lot about what it takes to produce and run tournaments and recruit people into the game and so on, so here are a lot of people who do know telling you why your ideas are not practical. There are real empirical concerns at stake here, no one is just telling you "no" for their own amusement.
Jerry Vinokurov
LJHS 2000
UC Berkeley '05
Brown '10
Carnegie Mellon staff
User avatar
grapesmoker
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 5792
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Difficulty

Postby Yellow-throated Honeyeater » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:21 pm

If you look at the SCT statistics, this tournament hit its target difficulty like few tournaments do. At the risk of sounding like somebody uninterested in improvement, I'll state that this is about as good as it gets.

If you look at the stats involving Alabama A, you find that a little fewer than half of the tossups they played were powered by either team (about 35% by them, about 10% by their opponents). Also, their PPB was about 24. Those numbers are high, as you would expect from a DI team playing DII. However, those numbers are not so high that people should worry that Alabama A wasted an entire day playing questions that are laughably easy for them. If all of the questions were way too easy, then what happened on the 50%+ tossups that got past power and the 50% of bonus hard parts that they missed? This wasn't an ideal situation--the ideal situation where they play SCT on DI questions probably will happen next year--but according to the stats it wasn't some abomination either.

As to teams being forced to play DI, keep in mind that the SCT DI set isn't all that difficult by historical standards. There probably are at least 50 high school students who would enjoy the DI set more than the DII set, and there are a lot of casual college players who would enjoy it as well.
David Reinstein, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014)
New Trier Coach (1994-2011); Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois); Writer for NAQT; co-TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity; PACE Member; former writer for CMST; former editor for IHSA
User avatar
Yellow-throated Honeyeater
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 3331
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:08 am
Location: Chicagoland

Re: Difficulty

Postby An Intergalactic Puzzlepalooza » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:25 pm

Mechanical Beasts wrote:We're not contesting the point that "it's okay to spend one year in D2." The argument we're making is that if you're good enough at quizbowl to say 'HOW DARE CUP OF GOLD BE A LEADIN' then you have graduated from D2. The people who need to have finely gradated games on D2 questions are not all buzzer-racing on every STOCK LEADIN, because if you're fighting to qualify to D2 ICT, you most likely don't know that tier of clues.


Funny story, as it turns out, even though I generally agree with you (Though I do think Marnold is contesting it being okay for people to spend a year in D2 if they're any good at all):

Assuming I'm understanding how to calculate the D-value correctly, Auburn's would currently be 325.26, currently placed 20th among all DII teams that have been posted here so far(Right between Harding A and Oklahoma State).

There are three teams with DII autobids below us, regions 3, 5, 6, and 13 aren't up yet, but each of them has their autobid. Regions 5 and 6's second place teams were ahead/probably are ahead of us, though region 3's did not seem likely to be. Then 6 CCCT teams get an invite.

So after those, we're the 35th team in line for an invite, or more specifically the 3rd team on the waitlist. My understanding is that enough teams will probably drop that I'm not worried about making it in, but still, I find it weird that though y'all are correct that generally D2 teams 28-36 and that general area won't know Cup of Gold and the like, it didn't hold up this year.

And anyhow, to respond to where the thread is now:

grapesmoker wrote:This is the part that you and Joseph and Harrison seem not to be able to grasp for some reason, and it gets tiresome to rehash these debates all the time (as does your particular "woe is me" perpetual victim routine, by the way). You guys are coming in and making all sorts of wacky assertions and restructuring proposals which are manifestly unnecessary and may actually be detrimental. You want all these changes (many of which you can't even articulate properly because you're not actually sure what it is you want) and you've got various stab-in-the-dark proposals and you're not going to be restrained by anything so sensible as people with cumulative decades of quizbowl experience telling you that we're at a happy medium and to let it go. Why? Why are you so fixated on this?

I'm going to refer back to what you said here:
grapesmoker wrote:I have a pretty low tolerance for people inventing shit to attribute to me.

The way I've been talking about things this whole time has been very deliberate to point out continually that the things I mentioned were nothing but little blips, and that overall the system is good. I've made no radically overhauling stab-in-the-dark proposal, and yet why not, accuse me of saying I'm advocating some massive overhaul to the system when I've said over and over that the system's fine, but that a few of the clues didn't help distinguish two teams' total knowledge because the set was written to be appropriately easy.

On a lighter, much less angry note, the ad hominem arguments to which Harrison refers:
Chris Ray wrote:some Alabama grad student's stock clue monocle

Matt Bollinger wrote:considering those few posers who will play the tournament

There were those 2, which were almost entirely directed at Harrison and served no logical purpose.

And then pretty much the entirety of Michael Arnold's post was an attack on people who dared to play D2 while knowing anything at all, which coincidentally, happens to include the people against whom he was arguing. This one wasn't so much ad hominem as just being "assholeishly endearing"

Andrew Watkins wrote:See, this is the James Johnson sentiment alive and well.

This one was technically making a legitimate argument, but instead just made everyone think about how dumb James Johnson's ideas were. It'd be approximately like comparing the average intelligent republican to Sarah Palin, and thus it aims to invalidate everything they say by someone they stand on the opposite end of the same room as.
Joseph Nation
Oak Mountain High School, '11.
Auburn '15
An Intergalactic Puzzlepalooza
potter wasted among his clays
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:18 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:40 pm

Stop with the whole "AN AD HOMINEM POST GOES LIKE THIS HURR DURR HURR DURR", "NO IT GOES LIKE THIS HURF DURF HURF DURF" thing.
Fred Morlan
University of Kentucky CoP, 20XX
hsqbrank manager, PACE member (former President and At Large member of Board), NAQT writer & subject editor, HSAPQ freelance writer, former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT Tournament Director
User avatar
Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 13103
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: Difficulty

Postby grapesmoker » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:44 pm

The way I've been talking about things this whole time has been very deliberate to point out continually that the things I mentioned were nothing but little blips, and that overall the system is good. I've made no radically overhauling stab-in-the-dark proposal, and yet why not, accuse me of saying I'm advocating some massive overhaul to the system when I've said over and over that the system's fine, but that a few of the clues didn't help distinguish two teams' total knowledge because the set was written to be appropriately easy.


I'm not keen for the metaposting discussion, but look at it in context: your sequence of posts basically reads like a litany of things you found problematic, and somewhere in there you sort of incidentally mention that yeah, actually the set was more or less ok, but then go on to list more things you thought were a problem. Sorry if that creates the impression that you think this set had problems! If I've unfairly lumped you in with people who think that SCT should be rejiggerred, then I apologize, but it sure sounded like that's what you wanted, because you said things like:

Superb_starling wrote:Independent of a DI field being forced to play DII, I also felt that the set was significantly too frequently stock and/or too easy.


I don't know how else to read that.
Jerry Vinokurov
LJHS 2000
UC Berkeley '05
Brown '10
Carnegie Mellon staff
User avatar
grapesmoker
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 5792
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Difficulty

Postby something similarly dumb » Wed Feb 08, 2012 7:46 pm

Fred wrote:Stop with the whole "AN AD HOMINEM POST GOES LIKE THIS HURR DURR HURR DURR", "NO IT GOES LIKE THIS HURF DURF HURF DURF" thing.

Ad Hominem Posts drive like this, but posts without personal attacks drive like THIS!
Isaac Hirsch
University of Maryland '14
Never Gonna Play Again
User avatar
something similarly dumb
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 1516
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 10:14 pm
Location: MD

Re: Difficulty

Postby An Intergalactic Puzzlepalooza » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:11 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
The way I've been talking about things this whole time has been very deliberate to point out continually that the things I mentioned were nothing but little blips, and that overall the system is good. I've made no radically overhauling stab-in-the-dark proposal, and yet why not, accuse me of saying I'm advocating some massive overhaul to the system when I've said over and over that the system's fine, but that a few of the clues didn't help distinguish two teams' total knowledge because the set was written to be appropriately easy.


I'm not keen for the metaposting discussion, but look at it in context: your sequence of posts basically reads like a litany of things you found problematic, and somewhere in there you sort of incidentally mention that yeah, actually the set was more or less ok, but then go on to list more things you thought were a problem. Sorry if that creates the impression that you think this set had problems! If I've unfairly lumped you in with people who think that SCT should be rejiggerred, then I apologize, but it sure sounded like that's what you wanted, because you said things like:

I thought I did a reasonably good job of pointing out I didn't think it was set wide, such as here:
I wrote:Jerry's phrasing of this was accurate; current D2 SCT did divide the good teams from the bad teams on average, and therefore the occasional flaws it did have are statistically insignificant. The current qualification system does work fine, and the general difficulty of this set was fine too for where D2 players should be.

And here:
I wrote:That is, we should be playing D2 for now, and so we would rather it be enjoyable and good competition. Overall, it was.


You pointed out the place in which I was most unclear about how this was not set-wide, in your post, and you're totally right.
grapesmoker wrote:
Superb_starling wrote:Independent of a DI field being forced to play DII, I also felt that the set was significantly too frequently stock and/or too easy.


I don't know how else to read that.

In retrospect, that does look a lot like a system wide allegation; when I wrote it, it read in my head as something more like "There seemed to be more places in the set than I would have liked where things like Cup of Gold happened." In which it says there was the occasional problem, but not anything wrong with the whole set. I think at that point I wasn't particularly concerned as to whether or not my posts were an indictment of the whole set but rather was more interested in pointing out those few escapes.

I wrote:It certainly was easy, per se, but seemed to be frequently reactionarily too easy.

This was the better indication from that first post as to where I stood on the whole set, though frequently is a less accurate word for how I felt about it than occasionally. I thought exactly that it was easy, which is right where it needs to be, but that it overshot in some places.
Joseph Nation
Oak Mountain High School, '11.
Auburn '15
An Intergalactic Puzzlepalooza
potter wasted among his clays
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:18 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby grapesmoker » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:25 pm

Ok, so can we agree on the following set of propositions:

  • The DII SCT is designed to achieve certain limited goals, namely, allowing players new to quizbowl to compete amongst themselves rather than against more experienced teams.
  • It does so by lowering the difficulty of the questions, possibly to the point where the questions may end up being relatively easy for many of the teams that qualify for the ICT.
  • This is an acceptable compromise because otherwise the set would be much less accessible to inexperienced players overall, and also because players for whom DII is too easy will qualify and move on to DI anyway.
  • As a consequence of points 1-3, there isn't any necessity to change the structure of the tournament or any of the qualification rules.

This, I think, accurately represents the position that most people are trying to articulate (and of course I don't speak for NAQT or anyone other than myself so if Jeff, or anyone else, disagrees with this, I'm sure they'll say so). If we can agree on the above, then I think that will do a lot to put the intended purpose of this set, and the way it played, into perspective.
Jerry Vinokurov
LJHS 2000
UC Berkeley '05
Brown '10
Carnegie Mellon staff
User avatar
grapesmoker
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 5792
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Difficulty

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Wed Feb 08, 2012 8:29 pm

NAQT would endorse all four of Jerry's bullet points.
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communications 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
bird bird bird bird bird
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 3967
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:33 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Difficulty

Postby The Ununtiable Twine » Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:47 pm

Superb_starling wrote:
Chris Ray wrote:some Alabama grad student's stock clue monocle



Le Monocle de mon Oncle?
Jake Sundberg
Louisiana 2004-2010, 2014-20xx President Emeritus
Alabama 2010-2014, President Emeritus, unofficial advisor
Lederberg 2 Champion - slowly assembling a legitimate quadruple crown
2009 COTKU MVP
Archdemon of Quizbowl
User avatar
The Ununtiable Twine
Amazon of buried jaguars
 
Posts: 691
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:09 pm
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Difficulty

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:22 pm

Superb_starling wrote:
Andrew Watkins wrote:See, this is the James Johnson sentiment alive and well.

This one was technically making a legitimate argument, but instead just made everyone think about how dumb James Johnson's ideas were. It'd be approximately like comparing the average intelligent republican to Sarah Palin, and thus it aims to invalidate everything they say by someone they stand on the opposite end of the same room as.

Well, when James Johnson makes an internet forum career out of complaining about how it's impossible to compete with teams FULL of grad students, and then I come across a player incidentally from the same school complaining about a circumstance only mathematically possible if a team is at least somewhat FULL of grad students, both of whom are unaware of the fact that it's quite possible to compete with grad students, what can I do?
Andrew Watkins
User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby NickConderWKU » Wed Feb 08, 2012 11:37 pm

Mechanical Beasts wrote:
Superb_starling wrote:
Andrew Watkins wrote:See, this is the James Johnson sentiment alive and well.

This one was technically making a legitimate argument, but instead just made everyone think about how dumb James Johnson's ideas were. It'd be approximately like comparing the average intelligent republican to Sarah Palin, and thus it aims to invalidate everything they say by someone they stand on the opposite end of the same room as.

Well, when James Johnson makes an internet forum career out of complaining about how it's impossible to compete with teams FULL of grad students, and then I come across a player incidentally from the same school complaining about a circumstance only mathematically possible if a team is at least somewhat FULL of grad students, both of whom are unaware of the fact that it's quite possible to compete with grad students, what can I do?


Auburn and Alabama are two different schools.

Nobody arguing in this thread agrees with James Johnson, something I think is fairly clear by now. Alabama is a team chock full of grad students who competes at and/or hosts every pyramidal quizbowl tournament they can get ahold of, and Auburn is a new team that is quite active against tough competition.
User avatar
NickConderWKU
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 1834
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:08 am
Location: Bowling Green, KY

Re: Difficulty

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:10 am

The Hub (Gainesville, Florida) wrote:
Mechanical Beasts wrote:
Superb_starling wrote:
Andrew Watkins wrote:See, this is the James Johnson sentiment alive and well.

This one was technically making a legitimate argument, but instead just made everyone think about how dumb James Johnson's ideas were. It'd be approximately like comparing the average intelligent republican to Sarah Palin, and thus it aims to invalidate everything they say by someone they stand on the opposite end of the same room as.

Well, when James Johnson makes an internet forum career out of complaining about how it's impossible to compete with teams FULL of grad students, and then I come across a player incidentally from the same school complaining about a circumstance only mathematically possible if a team is at least somewhat FULL of grad students, both of whom are unaware of the fact that it's quite possible to compete with grad students, what can I do?


Auburn and Alabama are two different schools.

Nobody arguing in this thread agrees with James Johnson, something I think is fairly clear by now. Alabama is a team chock full of grad students who competes at and/or hosts every pyramidal quizbowl tournament they can get ahold of, and Auburn is a new team that is quite active against tough competition.

Yeah, I was conflating Joseph with Harrison in my head, apparently, but that was a pretty irrelevant side point.
Andrew Watkins
User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby Sun Devil Student » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:38 am

Susan wrote:(self-selection and "gentlemans' agreements" and such have had a pretty spotty history in quizbowl and I suspect that this would work just as badly as previous examples have).

My idea was mainly intended to remove the perverse incentive for good D2 players to not be "gentlemen" at SCT because that's their only way to play D2 ICT, which is of appropriate level for them. (Or, if you want to be cynical, it removes the only plausible excuse for good D2 players to play D2 SCT, thus forcing them to play D1 SCT to avoid having their honor questioned.) But I'm persuaded by Seth's argument:

setht wrote:
Sun Devil Student wrote:I offered an idea that could make those few dissatisfied people happy without negatively impacting anyone else. What exactly is wrong with that? If you want to argue why my proposal is logistically unworkable compared to the current system, fine. If you want to argue that my proposal is morally inferior to the current system, I'm happy to hear about it. But "the current system is good enough" should not be automatically a defense against all possible improvements.

I think your suggestion from earlier in this thread is, in effect, logistically unworkable. The D-value system is an approximation to some ideal ranking of teams; I think it works well in general. The DI-to-DII and DII-to-DI conversion factors are an approximation to an approximation, and I'm not convinced they work nearly as well. They exist to deal with the (hopefully rare) cases when some team has to compete on the set from the other division due to circumstances beyond their control. The fact is that trying to compare teams across different sites is already a bit of a challenge; trying to compare teams across different sites that play very different sets, against teams that aren't competing for spots in the same division, is very messy.

The upper end of the NAQT difficulty scale goes IS sets, DII SCT, HSNCT, DII ICT, DI SCT, DI ICT (in increasing order of difficulty). So your proposal that DII-eligible teams be allowed to play DI SCT to qualify for DII ICT means allowing teams to qualify for a national tournament by playing a harder sectionals set. I think this could easily cause problems in correctly determining which teams should earn bids.

I can imagine that there exist teams for whom DII ICT and DI SCT are pretty much right at their level--presumably some of the teams at the top of DII ICT each year are in this group, for instance. I would also imagine that some decent fraction of those DII-eligible teams would be able to qualify for ICT as DI teams, if they chose to do so. Now, if a strong, DII-eligible team wants to make a run at the DII title, I don't begrudge them that at all, but I do think it would be a mistake to make big (and I think problematic) changes to the current system just so they can play an SCT set that they'll enjoy more. In other words: if a team chooses to prioritize competing at DII ICT over playing the most difficulty-appropriate SCT set, I think that's fine; but I also think that's something the team chooses, and not a problem for NAQT to solve.

Seth, thank you for finally taking the time to explain why my idea was bad. When I wrote my preceding post, I was frustrated because everyone was completely ignoring my proposal without comment instead of actually engaging it and picking it apart with useful criticism. Obviously, the NAQT D-value conversion factors which I suggested expanding the use of are not as reliable as I had assumed them to be, and thanks to Seth, I now know something I did not before.

On that note,
grapesmoker wrote:Hey, maybe you can do us all a favor and go find the places where I (or anyone else) proscribed discussion or thinking about improving things? Because I have a pretty low tolerance for people inventing shit to attribute to me.

Jerry, I apologize for over-interpreting your accusation of solving non-existent problems as an indication that any suggested change was unwelcome. In the future, though, I would appreciate it if you (and/or everyone else more experienced than me, like Seth above) take the time to point out the reasons I'm wrong, because that's the only way new people like me can learn. There's lots of other discussions on this forum and I'm sure this won't be the last poor idea I propose, and those ideas should be refuted publicly instead of ignored, for the benefit of all the other new members of our community.

Also,
grapesmoker wrote:People have considered lots of different options and they've settled on this system not because it represents some sort of global optimum but because it achieves a stated purpose (let the majority of newcomers play apart from more experienced teams) in a reasonable way.

Since the current system is not globally optimal but rather is merely close enough to work most of the time, I think we should keep trying to approach that global optimum. Things like making the D1 set easier and having new graduate students start in D2 are some of the ways we're doing that. Letting D2 teams get D2 D-values on D1 questions has been rejected based on Seth's argument that it would decrease the quality of ranking for all the teams. But ideas that are not good today might work better in the future when the composition of teams nationwide changes (remember, graduate students used to start out in D1, etc). In order to get good ideas, you have to have a discussion that inevitably also produces bad ideas. All I'm asking is that someone who knows better, not necessarily Jerry all the time, but someone, take the time to educate less-experienced members of the community (like me) who are just trying to help. Again, Seth's post was very helpful in this particular thread.

grapesmoker wrote:You can already be a permanent basement-dweller by not qualifying for ICT. The (entirely reasonable) assumption is that if you have qualified for the DII ICT, you can, in fact, hang with the better teams (or at least begin to work towards doing so), and so you're bounced out of DII.

This is how the current system is intended, but it's not what actually happens. Some years, so many teams decline bids to D2 ICT that teams which normally shouldn't be promoted to D1 get promoted. This is an imperfection most people here accept because they place more value on having a full 32-team D2 ICT field than on perfect consistency in judging teams' readiness for D1 competition, but I suspect this may play a role in the disappearance of those Southeastern D1-promoted teams that you often talk about.

(I'm sure Susan's point is also a contributing factor - some teams that could get 10PPB in D1 just don't love the game enough to keep losing the vast majority of their games - but the fact is, when the economy turns down and lots of teams decline D2 ICT bids, we're going to get more D1 teams that just aren't at the level. If it's bad enough, you'll get teams that even the reduced level of this year's D1 SCT can't accommodate, though certainly fewer such teams than there would have been last year. Those might be the teams/players that you see only playing ACF Fall and novice events etc.

The combination of these two things, I'll take a wild guess here, accounts for the Southeast's chronic shortage of D1 teams.)

Susan wrote:only one team (at least, out of all the teams that have stats up on NAQT's website so far) got less than 8ppb on this year's SCT

This is good, and if you can keep this up for a few years, along with high tossup conversion rates, a lot of those missing D1 teams might start coming back. I can say that the SCT site at ASU still had a considerable number of dead tossups but it was much better than years past, so the trend's in the right direction.

Susan wrote:Those people [free-riders] aren't going to contribute to quizbowl, they aren't going to write packets for things, they're just going to be free riders and we should not accommodate them.

Well, not quite. They are contributing money in lieu of packets and studying effort. It is not completely a waste of time to accommodate them, they pay for the activities of the more committed teams, and they're fun to have around at local/regional tournaments. From the point of view of a college team, most of the local high school teams are basically "free-riding," and I think collegiate "recreational" quizbowl is worthwhile for much of the same reason as high school quizbowl.

I think this has been quite a productive discussion and a useful one to me (and hopefully some others as well) - thanks everyone for taking the time!
Kenneth Lan, ASU '11, '12, UIC '17
The University of Illinois at Chicago
-stranger in a strange land (2013-)
The Sonoran Desert quizbowl ecosystem
-activist/advocate (2010-2013)
The Arizona State University Quizbowl Club
-elder statesman (2011-2013)
-coach (2009-2011)
-club president (2008-2011)
-founder (2007-)
Sun Devil Student
torrent of sunbursts
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:05 am

Re: Difficulty

Postby Fond du lac operon » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:42 am

Mechanical Beasts wrote:both of whom are unaware of the fact that it's quite possible to compete with grad students, what can I do?


Oh, believe me, I'm quite aware that it's possible to compete with grad students; I've beaten Mr. Sundberg in practice a few times. Also BARGE, but we don't talk about BARGE.
ONE-TIME HSQB BRACKET POOL CHAMPION Harrison Brown
Centennial HS (GA) '08
Alabama '13

"No idea what [he's] talking about."
User avatar
Fond du lac operon
mason high on your treacherous scaffolding
 
Posts: 222
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:02 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby An Intergalactic Puzzlepalooza » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:46 am

Mechanical Beasts wrote:
Superb_starling wrote:
Andrew Watkins wrote:See, this is the James Johnson sentiment alive and well.

This one was technically making a legitimate argument, but instead just made everyone think about how dumb James Johnson's ideas were. It'd be approximately like comparing the average intelligent republican to Sarah Palin, and thus it aims to invalidate everything they say by someone they stand on the opposite end of the same room as.

Well, when James Johnson makes an internet forum career out of complaining about how it's impossible to compete with teams FULL of grad students, and then I come across a player incidentally from the same school complaining about a circumstance only mathematically possible if a team is at least somewhat FULL of grad students, both of whom are unaware of the fact that it's quite possible to compete with grad students, what can I do?


Continuing the Me:James Johnson::Intelligent Republican:Sarah Palin analogy:

Just because at one point I made an argument that resembles his (Which I actually really didn't, because his argument was that all undergraduates can't compete, rather than us little freshman) makes me like him as much as making any random argument that abortion is bad makes an intelligent republican like Sarah Palin. It's the same fallacy that triggers Godwin's Law.

(And I'm from Auburn, not Alabama.)

That said, I don't think I'm very far off -- probably no more than a year -- from being able to compete consistently with Jake et al. either; Like I may have said before, that 520 point loss was statistically much further apart than we actually are from Alabama A(P/N and PPB spiked for them in that match, not to mention there was only one match where they powered more questions than that one IIRC), and I actually think we'd be better suited to play them on the D1 set than D2.

The entire idea that I don't think it's possible for us to compete with any grad students at all in the slightest stems mostly from a throwaway comment on the comparative ages of the two teams in an Alabama A v. Auburn match, which was by no means saying they were better because they're older, rather that it's reasonable for young teams to be allowed to spend time in D2, even if they're actually passably good. It was effectively a hyperbolic statement to respond to a hyperbolic statement and it got blown out of proportion because some idiot made arguments at one point in time that resembled mine very vaguely in structure even though he advocated something completely different, and fairly stupid. (Though I'm not going to lie, I want an ecosystem to press the buzzer for me too. Maybe then I'd stop hearing Sleeping Beauty in power and talking myself out of buzzing because it clearly must something other than the Tchaikovsky one).
Joseph Nation
Oak Mountain High School, '11.
Auburn '15
An Intergalactic Puzzlepalooza
potter wasted among his clays
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:18 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby grapesmoker » Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:55 am

Sun Devil Student wrote:Jerry, I apologize for over-interpreting your accusation of solving non-existent problems as an indication that any suggested change was unwelcome.


No, it was literally an accusation of solving non-existent problems!

Since the current system is not globally optimal but rather is merely close enough to work most of the time, I think we should keep trying to approach that global optimum. Things like making the D1 set easier and having new graduate students start in D2 are some of the ways we're doing that. Letting D2 teams get D2 D-values on D1 questions has been rejected based on Seth's argument that it would decrease the quality of ranking for all the teams. But ideas that are not good today might work better in the future when the composition of teams nationwide changes (remember, graduate students used to start out in D1, etc). In order to get good ideas, you have to have a discussion that inevitably also produces bad ideas. All I'm asking is that someone who knows better, not necessarily Jerry all the time, but someone, take the time to educate less-experienced members of the community (like me) who are just trying to help. Again, Seth's post was very helpful in this particular thread.


I'm not saying "don't have discussions" or whatever it is you think I'm trying to tell you. What I'm asking you is this: what specific problem are you trying to solve? The problem of easy DII questions? The problem of people playing DI who are not very good? I mean, the problem with this whole conversation (indeed, the problem with almost all quizbowl conversations) is that it's quite difficult to actually pin people down to what they want. It's not just some theoretical debate about global optima (a term I now regret using), it's that no one has actually put forth any reasonable description of what such an optimum would look like. Looking back at your previous two posts in this thread, I still have no idea what you're trying to achieve and why. All I know is that you made a suggestion that is practically unworkable and would probably be detrimental to the circuit in order to... do what? Fix what specific problem that you think exists here?

This is the problem with "just trying to help" when you don't know what it is that you're trying to do or why (or if you do know, you don't share it for some reason).

This is how the current system is intended, but it's not what actually happens. Some years, so many teams decline bids to D2 ICT that teams which normally shouldn't be promoted to D1 get promoted. This is an imperfection most people here accept because they place more value on having a full 32-team D2 ICT field than on perfect consistency in judging teams' readiness for D1 competition, but I suspect this may play a role in the disappearance of those Southeastern D1-promoted teams that you often talk about.


These are, for the most part, corner cases. Yes, it will happen that sometimes a team will qualify and be bumped up. Everyone knows this risk going in. I find it not-terribly-believable that the inability to play what is effectively, at best, two tournaments a year on DII questions against DII opposition is really what drives the disappearance of these teams. And if it does, if teams really go out of business because they can't play novice questions anymore on account of not being novices, then I'm ok with that! At some point, the hand holding has got to stop! Fortunately most teams make the transition pretty well, and we don't need to bend over backwards to accommodate those few that don't because they don't want to do things that other teams do like practice and attend collegiate tournaments.

The combination of these two things, I'll take a wild guess here, accounts for the Southeast's chronic shortage of D1 teams.


I just want to know if you have any familiarity with the southeast circuit at all. How does it come to pass that other schools all across the country somehow manage to make this transition and yet only one region remains outstanding?

Well, not quite. They are contributing money in lieu of packets and studying effort. It is not completely a waste of time to accommodate them, they pay for the activities of the more committed teams, and they're fun to have around at local/regional tournaments. From the point of view of a college team, most of the local high school teams are basically "free-riding," and I think collegiate "recreational" quizbowl is worthwhile for much of the same reason as high school quizbowl.


There's something that a lot of people in this discussion and in quizbowl in general don't understand: quizbowl's real currency is not money, it's time and effort. Quizbowl, at its core, is voluntaristic, because no one derives enough income from it to put in the kind of time and effort that most editors put in. Yeah, a team showed up and paid some money, that's great. However, if that team isn't attending tournaments regularly (which is how you improve) and hosting tournaments, then it's really not contributing very much to the circuit at all. Those $200 paid once a year or whatever it is to play SCT aren't doing anyone any favors; the influence of that money is so diluted that it barely matters. If you're not contributing to the health of the community by hosting and attending tournaments, you don't really have a voice, because no one needs your $200 divided among god knows how many editors so badly that they're going to change everything around for you. Teams that just do what you describe definitionally live at the margins of the game, and do so more or less by choice.
Jerry Vinokurov
LJHS 2000
UC Berkeley '05
Brown '10
Carnegie Mellon staff
User avatar
grapesmoker
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 5792
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Difficulty

Postby The Ununtiable Twine » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:24 am

Superb_starling wrote:That said, I don't think I'm very far off -- probably no more than a year -- from being able to compete consistently with Jake et al. either; Like I may have said before, that 520 point loss was statistically much further apart than we actually are from Alabama A(P/N and PPB spiked for them in that match, not to mention there was only one match where they powered more questions than that one IIRC), and I actually think we'd be better suited to play them on the D1 set than D2.


From what I see in practice, we don't really drop off from the D1 sets to the D2 sets. I'm not saying we would power 10 a game or have 26 PPB for a tournament or anything ridiculous like that, but we consistently put up 20-23 PPB per packet when we (the usual suspects + Harrison) play unread D1 SCT packets in practice (later rounds from previous SCTs). We had Harrison play D2 because the region couldn't get enough four teams together for a separate sectional. Since the field was doomed to be combined, we figured we should give ourselves the best possible chance to qualify a D1 and D2 team for ICT. In addition, this helped to boost the field strength enough to where hopefully you guys can snag a berth at ICT, too. If we had played a combined field with Harrison playing on A, I think the overall field strength would have gone down a bit. I felt the fact that we played on D2 questions gave teams a better chance to beat us than they would on regular difficulty because of extremely famous stock clues being dropped in the first line, and other non-issues that occur at tournaments like the DII SCT.

It's also important to note that we've played both regular/regular+ events that we've attended this year shorthanded two players, and we often play shorthanded due to Dargan's law school commitments. Our team makeup is such that if we play without a player, we lose our ability to control certain categories, resulting in the PPB and TU/game being quite a bit lower than it normally is in practice. If you would like to compete with us on a regular basis (and I surely hope you want to) you'll have to continue to put the time into improving and you'll also have to have two solid players (whether they be specialists or generalists is up to you) play beside you and Joey. Hopefully you can find some talented players on campus that can help you to compete with the top teams in the region or maybe you can have current members develop into these players.
Jake Sundberg
Louisiana 2004-2010, 2014-20xx President Emeritus
Alabama 2010-2014, President Emeritus, unofficial advisor
Lederberg 2 Champion - slowly assembling a legitimate quadruple crown
2009 COTKU MVP
Archdemon of Quizbowl
User avatar
The Ununtiable Twine
Amazon of buried jaguars
 
Posts: 691
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2007 11:09 pm
Location: Lafayette, LA

Re: Difficulty

Postby Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Thu Feb 09, 2012 9:26 am

Superb_starling wrote:The tense is key in understanding what I meant on this part; We are not, in the present, ready to compete with teams who combine for more years of college quiz bowl experience than number of years I've been alive. We will be, and we're moving towards this, but for now, we belong in DII, if just for this year, because we still have freshman problems, and we just frankly haven't had enough time. We aren't going to hide from established programs, per se, but it makes no sense for us to try and play against teams currently well over our head as we work to become better.

Joey and I are actually split as to whether or not we should play D1 or D2 next year, and I'm the one arguing that next year we should play D1, independent of whether or not we qualify for ICT. But this year, we simply aren't good enough to go and try and compete with the D1 teams in our region, as evidenced by our results against the two D1 teams at our site.


I've seen Auburn play. You guys are good and should play in as many tournaments as you possibly can regardless of whether or not you'll have to play against some (presently) better teams. With very few exceptions, the best college players and teams have lost badly to more experienced teams at some point. And frankly, it's hard to think of too many really good teams that actively avoided good competition in their freshman and sophomore years. The best players and teams get motivated by those losses and, through the magic of spite, eventually devour the souls of the teams that once tormented them. In all seriousness, you can get a lot out of playing teams that are better than you, and it is satisfying to beat the teams that once beat you. Play in as many tournaments as you can, and this will happen sooner than you think.
Last edited by Ethnic history of the Vilnius region on Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Eric D.
University of South Carolina Alum
User avatar
Ethnic history of the Vilnius region
iceman of Andean tears
 
Posts: 845
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:50 am
Location: Columbia, SC

Re: Difficulty

Postby Susan » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:43 pm

Jerry wrote:There's something that a lot of people in this discussion and in quizbowl in general don't understand: quizbowl's real currency is not money, it's time and effort. Quizbowl, at its core, is voluntaristic, because no one derives enough income from it to put in the kind of time and effort that most editors put in. Yeah, a team showed up and paid some money, that's great. However, if that team isn't attending tournaments regularly (which is how you improve) and hosting tournaments, then it's really not contributing very much to the circuit at all. Those $200 paid once a year or whatever it is to play SCT aren't doing anyone any favors; the influence of that money is so diluted that it barely matters. If you're not contributing to the health of the community by hosting and attending tournaments, you don't really have a voice, because no one needs your $200 divided among god knows how many editors so badly that they're going to change everything around for you. Teams that just do what you describe definitionally live at the margins of the game, and do so more or less by choice.


I can't echo what Jerry's said here strongly enough (though I'd add "writing packets" as another key factor in circuit participation). The idea of "recreational" participation in quizbowl (I think this is a problematic term, since quizbowl is a recreational activity for people who take it seriously as well, but all of the other terms I can think of at the moment are pejorative so "recreational" in scare quotes it'll be) works on a micro level but not a macro level, I think. Clubs can benefit from the presence of "recreational" players, even if those players aren't really interested in attending a lot of tournaments or working to get better--maybe these players help out when the club's hosting tournaments, or help fill out an undermanned team now and again, or maybe they're fun to hang out with and that keeps people coming to practice--but the circuit does not benefit from teams that don't attend tournaments regularly, host tournaments, and write packets. And even at the club-player level, a more active/engaged player is always superior to a "recreational" player because they contribute more to the team (everything the "recreational" player does, plus writing packets, working to get better and promoting tournament attendance/hosting). I continue to think that any efforts to appease players/teams who don't contribute to the circuit are ultimately not a good use of the circuit's resources.
Susan
UChicago alum (AB 2003, PhD 2009)
Member, ACF
Susan
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 1681
Joined: Fri Aug 15, 2003 12:43 am

Re: Difficulty

Postby Sun Devil Student » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:30 am

grapesmoker wrote:what specific problem are you trying to solve?

The problem of super-good D2 players having to endure a too-easy D2 SCT question set in order to be able to compete at D2 ICT. (I understand that you don't consider this to be a problem, but I was responding to the fact that other people perceived it to be. Anything that has a "national championship" will get importance attached to it, even if it's something that shouldn't, like D2 - and you see enough value in having D2 ICT to tolerate the side effects, right?)

Susan wrote:I continue to think that any efforts to appease players/teams who don't contribute to the circuit are ultimately not a good use of the circuit's resources.

The D2 players who complained about the D2 SCT being too easy are probably pretty good contributors in terms of packet writing and such. There may be better ways to appease them than what I suggested (or maybe on this point there isn't any good way) but at least we tried.

grapesmoker wrote:I just want to know if you have any familiarity with the southeast circuit at all. How does it come to pass that other schools all across the country somehow manage to make this transition and yet only one region remains outstanding?

No, I meant what I said about taking a wild guess - I live in the southwest, not the southeast. In my own experience, my team (ASU) has lost many potentially good players because of the high level of time commitment required to enjoy regular-difficulty (or D1-level), and I speculate that this same effect occurs with other novice teams around the country, including the Southeast. I was hoping an actual Southeasterner might be able to confirm or deny this from their own observations on the ground. Fortunately, ASU had enough new recruits initially that the small fraction who stuck it out were still enough to make a viable organization, but at smaller schools I can see how organizations might end up being too small to sustain themselves.

Susan wrote:"writing packets" as another key factor in circuit participation

Writing packets is exactly what makes ACF tournaments smaller than NAQT tournaments. Sure the ACF circuit does not need to accommodate the non-contributing teams or let them have a voice, but I don't know if NAQT should take the same attitude, as those teams are a significant part of NAQT's audience (though not ACF's). One tournament a year isn't much, but it's still better than nothing. (And the ACF circuit does require a lot more time and effort to sustain because it has several tournaments per year, while NAQT has only the one regional and one national at the college level.)
Kenneth Lan, ASU '11, '12, UIC '17
The University of Illinois at Chicago
-stranger in a strange land (2013-)
The Sonoran Desert quizbowl ecosystem
-activist/advocate (2010-2013)
The Arizona State University Quizbowl Club
-elder statesman (2011-2013)
-coach (2009-2011)
-club president (2008-2011)
-founder (2007-)
Sun Devil Student
torrent of sunbursts
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:05 am

Re: Difficulty

Postby grapesmoker » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:28 am

Sun Devil Student wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:what specific problem are you trying to solve?

The problem of super-good D2 players having to endure a too-easy D2 SCT question set in order to be able to compete at D2 ICT. (I understand that you don't consider this to be a problem, but I was responding to the fact that other people perceived it to be. Anything that has a "national championship" will get importance attached to it, even if it's something that shouldn't, like D2 - and you see enough value in having D2 ICT to tolerate the side effects, right?)


So on the heels of this, do you agree or disagree with the bullet-points I outlined above? It's in line with NAQT's thinking on the matter, and it seems like I've been able to persuade the other few people in the thread who saw this as problematic (I think).

Larger point being: just because a few people say something is problematic, doesn't mean it is. You really do have to view the thing in a larger context, which is where I'm coming from.

Writing packets is exactly what makes ACF tournaments smaller than NAQT tournaments. Sure the ACF circuit does not need to accommodate the non-contributing teams or let them have a voice, but I don't know if NAQT should take the same attitude, as those teams are a significant part of NAQT's audience (though not ACF's). One tournament a year isn't much, but it's still better than nothing. (And the ACF circuit does require a lot more time and effort to sustain because it has several tournaments per year, while NAQT has only the one regional and one national at the college level.)


Writing packets is how you stay engaged with the circuit. NAQT runs two college tournaments per year. If you have any interest in being part of the college quizbowl circuit, you attend tournaments and most of them require packet submission. NAQT is not some kind of separate entity that exists above and beyond the regular circuit. Of course a team can only play the few NAQT tournaments each year and do nothing but, but that's not conducive to circuit-building, which is something that's in the mutual interests of both NAQT and other circuit teams. So the answer here is that even if NAQT could somehow accommodate people who want to live in DII perpetually (at the same time as accommodating people who find it too easy?) it still shouldn't do that because it hampers circuit development, producing teams who don't really go on to contribute in a meaningful way.
Jerry Vinokurov
LJHS 2000
UC Berkeley '05
Brown '10
Carnegie Mellon staff
User avatar
grapesmoker
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 5792
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:23 pm
Location: Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Difficulty

Postby Mechanical Beasts » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:45 am

Sun Devil Student wrote:
Susan wrote:I continue to think that any efforts to appease players/teams who don't contribute to the circuit are ultimately not a good use of the circuit's resources.

The D2 players who complained about the D2 SCT being too easy are probably pretty good contributors in terms of packet writing and such. There may be better ways to appease them than what I suggested (or maybe on this point there isn't any good way) but at least we tried.

Absolutely true, but it misses the point. I think Kyle mentioned upthread that the convenience of DII SCT is that once you're really too good at it, your eligibility to play it dries right up, and then you play the tournament designed for people who might complain if they had to play D2. The only people who really need appeasing, like what you propose, are people who want to play questions easier than DI indefinitely. Those are, almost 100% of the time, non-contributing players.
Andrew Watkins
User avatar
Mechanical Beasts
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 5673
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2006 10:50 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby Sun Devil Student » Fri Feb 10, 2012 1:39 pm

grapesmoker wrote:
  • The DII SCT is designed to achieve certain limited goals, namely, allowing players new to quizbowl to compete amongst themselves rather than against more experienced teams.
  • It does so by lowering the difficulty of the questions, possibly to the point where the questions may end up being relatively easy for many of the teams that qualify for the ICT.
  • This is an acceptable compromise because otherwise the set would be much less accessible to inexperienced players overall, and also because players for whom DII is too easy will qualify and move on to DI anyway.

I see nothing wrong with this, but I'm not a "good D2 player" so they're really the ones who should agree with this - if most of them do, it's all good.

grapesmoker wrote:
  • As a consequence of points 1-3, there isn't any necessity to change the structure of the tournament or any of the qualification rules.

I think this conclusion is contingent on the assumption that the lowered D1 SCT difficulty is now low enough to catch the vast majority of teams which previously failed to make the jump from D2 SCT, so I'll say "agree" for now but we should watch what happens for the next few years. I'd be interested to see if this results in an explosion of new D1 teams, which would be great. (It might help even more if ACF Regionals difficulty was also lowered to match the new D1 SCT level but this again is for you to judge.)

Mechanical Beasts wrote:people who want to play questions easier than DI indefinitely. Those are, almost 100% of the time, non-contributing players.

This description is true of the vast majority of high school players nationwide. High school teams occasionally have a temporary bump in competitiveness because one or two very enthusiastic individuals pass through and then return to average high school level when those players graduate. Why treat college D2 teams any differently? The difference I suppose is that high schools have multiple NAQT IS-tournaments (or equivalents) to go to, which helps make them more like year-round organizations, while a permanent college D2 team has only one D2 SCT per year. Suppose there were two D2 SCTs every semester, or ACF Fall's that required a half-packet submission instead of a full packet each? But that's probably beyond the scope of this thread.
Kenneth Lan, ASU '11, '12, UIC '17
The University of Illinois at Chicago
-stranger in a strange land (2013-)
The Sonoran Desert quizbowl ecosystem
-activist/advocate (2010-2013)
The Arizona State University Quizbowl Club
-elder statesman (2011-2013)
-coach (2009-2011)
-club president (2008-2011)
-founder (2007-)
Sun Devil Student
torrent of sunbursts
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:05 am

Re: Difficulty

Postby dtaylor4 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 2:30 pm

Your point about high school teams means jack. Individuals lose D2 eligibility, not programs.
Donald Taylor
Springfield, IL (no affiliation)
Illinois '09 BS Accountancy/'10 Master of Accounting Science
Freelance writer, staffer, stats guru, TD

Where is Christchurch? That's in Queensland
Where is Palmerston North? That's in New South Wales
User avatar
dtaylor4
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 3637
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 11:43 am
Location: Springfield, IL

Re: Difficulty

Postby cvdwightw » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:04 pm

Kenneth, Kenneth, Kenneth!

I cannot tell you how to post, but:

1. Making D2 SCT harder in order to please a small minority of community members of generally little influence, thus alienating new teams and new programs, is a surefire way for NAQT to torpedo its business strategy.
2. Allowing players to decide whether or not they are eligible to play D2 not only goes against NAQT's stated goals for D2 but is also a surefire way for NAQT to torpedo its business strategy.
3. Reallocating limited writing and editing resources from tournaments that generally make NAQT money to tournaments that fail to solve nonexistent problems is a surefire way for NAQT to torpedo its business strategy.
4. NAQT torpedoing its business strategy is generally acknowledged to be a bad thing for the quizbowl community by everyone in the community except Brian Rostron and currently-nonexistent gimmick account BrianRostronProxy.
5. Incorrectly using untruths to support positions you have not defined will usually fail to convince a company to torpedo its business strategy.
6. Asserting that a company requires the assent of people who no longer hold your position to determine its goals and the methods by which it achieves its goals will usually fail to convince a company to torpedo its business strategy.
7. I do not think that NAQT will torpedo its business strategy.
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry
User avatar
cvdwightw
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 3403
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Southern CA

Re: Difficulty

Postby DumbJaques » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:14 pm

Superb_starling wrote:
On a lighter, much less angry note, the ad hominem arguments to which Harrison refers:
Chris Ray wrote:some Alabama grad student's stock clue monocle


There were those 2, which were almost entirely directed at Harrison and served no logical purpose.


Perhaps this phrase implies something different to you than it does for other people, but this in fact was not an ad hominem argument. It was also like, not at all directed "almost entirely" at Harrison, because it is a caricature of a hypothetical Alabama grad student, and to my knowledge Harrison is both tangible and an undergrad. This image was meant to evoke the comically significant degree to which we all should not give a fuck about whether a grad student playing DII questions finds them too easy, at least as far as changing DII difficulty is concerned. I continue to find the arguments raised by both you and Harrison underwhelming, repetitive, and somewhat frustratingly intractable (contrary to what you've professed, I really don't see where you've departed from the central thesis here). I'm not making any value judgments about people who play DII generally or you guys in particular, and don't appreciate being lumped in as such.

Also the reason I brought up James Johnson was to make fun of James Johnson for being an idiot, something I'd anticipated a member of the Alabama team would actually appreciate. I in fact consider it a very positive thing that (the limited merits of this argument aside), members of James Johnson's former team are just a year later advocating for the SCT-playing grad student's cause. It's still like, a really bad argument and everything, and at this point I'm really pleading with you to consider that we don't need to alter DII's difficulty just because one lit question had an easy leadin* or whatever. But nobody here is behaving like James Johnson, and I don't think anyone was seriously suggesting otherwise.

*The idea that "Cup of Gold" is somehow the "most famous leadin ever" or something is, incidentally, patently absurd. So it was (maybe?) used as an example on one of several question writing guides? That's not really relevant, and really I'm surprised nobody has yet pointed out that the example wasn't even used that way. It wasn't meant to tell writers "don't use 'Cup of Gold' early because it's famous," but rather "don't start your tossup with the title of some dude's first work, because that's bad, trivial, and list-y." Even if all this weren't true, I don't get why people are so apt to generalize an entire set or the entire experience of teams 25-32, etc. etc. based on one clue from one tossup.
Chris Ray
University of Chicago
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE
User avatar
DumbJaques
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 2904
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: University of Maryland - CP

Re: Difficulty

Postby jmannor2 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:44 pm

For anyone partaking in this thread, please base what Joseph says on Joseph, and not on Auburn quiz bowl as a whole.
Joey Mannor
DAR High School '11
Auburn '15
User avatar
jmannor2
mason high on your treacherous scaffolding
 
Posts: 144
Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 1:09 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby Sun Devil Student » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:01 am

Dwight, all of your points appear to be valid (disclaimer: I don't know who Brian Rostron is, so I can't judge him), and I would never knowingly try to persuade NAQT to torpedo its business strategy (nor would anyone other than your mystery friend, probably). (I never advocated making D2 SCT harder, either - my idea which turned out to be statistically unsound was intended to remove the good D2 players from the D2 SCT field, rather than make D2 SCT harder.) However, it should be obvious that I didn't know NAQT's business strategy would be ruined by producing a couple additional D2 SCT sets every year. (Nor did I know the opposite; I figured NAQT, or someone like Dwight who knows their business better, would give a definite answer.) Actually, it would be instructive to know the average cost of producing one IS set vs. one D2 SCT set (or a D1 SCT set, for that matter) and the typical revenue from each set, but I'd understand if NAQT doesn't want to reveal these things to competitors. Maybe the HSNCT set could be used for delayed collegiate mirrors in the fall semester or something. In any case, I'm sure NAQT will produce whatever is feasible for them and we'll make good use of it.
Kenneth Lan, ASU '11, '12, UIC '17
The University of Illinois at Chicago
-stranger in a strange land (2013-)
The Sonoran Desert quizbowl ecosystem
-activist/advocate (2010-2013)
The Arizona State University Quizbowl Club
-elder statesman (2011-2013)
-coach (2009-2011)
-club president (2008-2011)
-founder (2007-)
Sun Devil Student
torrent of sunbursts
 
Posts: 299
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:05 am

Re: Difficulty

Postby bird bird bird bird bird » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:06 am

I won't put price tags on these, but it should be reasonably obvious that:

-SCT costs more to produce than an IS set (if nothing else, it contains more questions)

-SCT is played by fewer teams than most IS sets

Note that in the distant past (2000 and earlier) NAQT did produce an additional college set for use in the fall.
Jeff Hoppes
President, Northern California Quiz Bowl Alliance
former HSQB Chief Admin (2012-13)
VP for Communications 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
bird bird bird bird bird
Forums Staff: Administrator
 
Posts: 3967
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2003 3:33 pm
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Difficulty

Postby NickConderWKU » Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:25 am

Every year from now on, we're going to have similar discussions pop up after every SCT about the transition from D2 to D1, and will focus on the general attitude of a lot of teams that keep playing D2 and consequently often leave D1 fields shorthanded. A lot of good (D2 eligible) players pour out of high school every year now, and the expanding circuit will mean that it's harder and harder to get a D2 ICT bid. As long as it's out there and they're eligible to get it, a lot of people are always going to chase the white whale of a D2 ICT bid instead of going D1, because the idea of playing in a national tournament is very appealing to them for a variety of reasons. While this is not good for the circuit overall, the attitude will not go away overnight. I don't know what the answer is, or even if it is something that can (or should?) be solved. Forcing players out of D2 with stricter eligibility standards or an increase in the size of the D2 ICT field would generally get more people out of D2, but there's obviously no guarantee that would get them to play D1.

bt_green_warbler wrote:Note that in the distant past (2000 and earlier) NAQT did produce an additional college set for use in the fall.


I think it would be good if NAQT did something like this is in the future, mainly because the NAQT brand is easily the most recognizable name in pyramidal quizbowl at both the collegiate and high school levels (a lot of people still refer to good quizbowl as "NAQT format") and would draw in some teams simply because of that. It might help keep teams from falling into the trap of only playing SCT (and maybe ICT) every year, because every time a team goes to any quizbowl tournament they can run into teams that post on this board and go to a lot of events, and it gives everyone more opportunities to encourage those newer or less active teams to become more particpatory members of the community.
User avatar
NickConderWKU
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 1834
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:08 am
Location: Bowling Green, KY

Re: Difficulty

Postby Ethnic history of the Vilnius region » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:07 am

Sun Devil Student wrote:
grapesmoker wrote:I just want to know if you have any familiarity with the southeast circuit at all. How does it come to pass that other schools all across the country somehow manage to make this transition and yet only one region remains outstanding?

No, I meant what I said about taking a wild guess - I live in the southwest, not the southeast. In my own experience, my team (ASU) has lost many potentially good players because of the high level of time commitment required to enjoy regular-difficulty (or D1-level), and I speculate that this same effect occurs with other novice teams around the country, including the Southeast. I was hoping an actual Southeasterner might be able to confirm or deny this from their own observations on the ground. Fortunately, ASU had enough new recruits initially that the small fraction who stuck it out were still enough to make a viable organization, but at smaller schools I can see how organizations might end up being too small to sustain themselves.


I'll bite. First of all, I think Jerry is a bit off in framing the lack of transition to DI as a Southeast-only issue. Looking across the country, I’m not overly impressed with the size of the other DI fields either. There seem to be several other combined fields and no DI field had more than 7 teams. Also, it should be noted that certifiable Southeast schools Vandy and GT played in the Blacksburg sectional. And Florida hosted SCT, thus depriving that sectional of one of its very best DI teams. And the only reason South Carolina didn't play in the SCT is the most mundane reason in the world: money, or lack thereof. Given our limited funds, we decided to put our resources towards ACF-style events for 2011-2012. So let’s don’t crap on the Southeast’s DI attendance too hard. The Southeast certainly wasn't lighting things up with DI attendance this year, but I think most teams in the country would get their competition's worth going against the best DI teams in the region.

Anyway, there will always be teams that don't have the commitment to keep going past DII, and it takes work to get good at DI. Writing packets is a chore and it definitely causes teams to skip tournaments and quit playing. But there's no easy way to do it. If you want to play DI, you have to sacrifice time to write packets and be willing to play against the best teams.
Eric D.
University of South Carolina Alum
User avatar
Ethnic history of the Vilnius region
iceman of Andean tears
 
Posts: 845
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2004 12:50 am
Location: Columbia, SC

Re: Difficulty

Postby setht » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:47 am

The Hub (Gainesville, Florida) wrote:Every year from now on, we're going to have similar discussions pop up after every SCT about the transition from D2 to D1, and will focus on the general attitude of a lot of teams that keep playing D2 and consequently often leave D1 fields shorthanded. A lot of good (D2 eligible) players pour out of high school every year now, and the expanding circuit will mean that it's harder and harder to get a D2 ICT bid. As long as it's out there and they're eligible to get it, a lot of people are always going to chase the white whale of a D2 ICT bid instead of going D1, because the idea of playing in a national tournament is very appealing to them for a variety of reasons. While this is not good for the circuit overall, the attitude will not go away overnight. I don't know what the answer is, or even if it is something that can (or should?) be solved. Forcing players out of D2 with stricter eligibility standards or an increase in the size of the D2 ICT field would generally get more people out of D2, but there's obviously no guarantee that would get them to play D1.


I think the answer is something like continuing to produce future SCT sets in the mold of this year's kinder, gentler set, expanding the DII ICT field when it seems warranted, then expanding the DI ICT field when it seems warranted--I'm imagining that DII will grow first, then the number of DI teams at SCT will expand slowly, then at some point it will make sense to expand the DI ICT field as well. I think having DI SCT sets (like this year's) that are not much harder than a DII ICT set will also help ease the transition for people that lose DII eligibility.

-Seth
Seth Teitler
Formerly UC Berkeley and U. Chicago
Member and Chief Editor, NAQT
Emeritus member, ACF
setht
iceman of Andean tears
 
Posts: 998
Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 2:41 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Difficulty

Postby An Intergalactic Puzzlepalooza » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:26 pm

DumbJaques wrote:
Superb_starling wrote:
On a lighter, much less angry note, the ad hominem arguments to which Harrison refers:
Chris Ray wrote:some Alabama grad student's stock clue monocle


There were those 2, which were almost entirely directed at Harrison and served no logical purpose.


Perhaps this phrase implies something different to you than it does for other people, but this in fact was not an ad hominem argument. It was also like, not at all directed "almost entirely" at Harrison, because it is a caricature of a hypothetical Alabama grad student, and to my knowledge Harrison is both tangible and an undergrad.

Last I checked, that phrase refers to a specific grad student already in sight, not a hypothetical one we haven't heard about... Who else are we supposed to assume "some Alabama grad student" is other than the Alabama student (At that, one easily mistakeable for a grad student) currently in the discussion? Harrison seemed about as convinced that this was talking about him as I was, when he pointed out that he was an undergrad. This just seems to be backpedaling to cover your rear, though I concede in advance that it is pretty hard to convey the intent of posts through the internet as Jerry pointed out earlier with one of my statements. Also, it does make it a lot more likely in my mind that you were speaking in hypotheticals if you did know he's an undergrad. That said, when you start out the post by twisting an idiom into its negative, usually it makes the rest of the post seem a lot more angry.
DumbJaques wrote:Also the reason I brought up James Johnson was to make fun of James Johnson for being an idiot, something I'd anticipated a member of the Alabama team would actually appreciate.I in fact consider it a very positive thing that (the limited merits of this argument aside), members of James Johnson's former team are just a year later advocating for the SCT-playing grad student's cause.

Yeah, your reference to James Johnson was fine in my mind because it wasn't comparing our arguments to his. It was the later comparisons that were the more iffy ones.
DumbJaques wrote:It's still like, a really bad argument and everything, and at this point I'm really pleading with you to consider that we don't need to alter DII's difficulty just because one lit question had an easy leadin* or whatever. But nobody here is behaving like James Johnson, and I don't think anyone was seriously suggesting otherwise.
DumbJaques wrote:This image was meant to evoke the comically significant degree to which we all should not give a fuck about whether a grad student playing DII questions finds them too easy, at least as far as changing DII difficulty is concerned. I continue to find the arguments raised by both you and Harrison underwhelming, repetitive, and somewhat frustratingly intractable (contrary to what you've professed, I really don't see where you've departed from the central thesis here). I'm not making any value judgments about people who play DII generally or you guys in particular, and don't appreciate being lumped in as such.

These two seem to contradict each other... You don't see how I'm departing from the central thesis, even though I've said over and over that I don't think the difficulty is anything other than where it should be on average, yet you recognize that I'm talking about specific tossups rather than the whole set. I don't know, maybe you missed a lot of stuff as this developed, but the four bullet points Jerry gave are all accurate in my mind, and I thought I had made that well known.

As for Cup of Gold, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/quizbowl/ ... 1026?var=1 is the best place I can find that actually justifies that Cup of Gold has been discussed outside of the context of something that has actually been written as a question. Honestly, I wasn't so much worried about that one as a few of the others, but it was one of the three that came up in my head first.
Joseph Nation
Oak Mountain High School, '11.
Auburn '15
An Intergalactic Puzzlepalooza
potter wasted among his clays
 
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Sep 11, 2010 10:18 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby Inkana7 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:24 pm

oh dear god
Jarret Greene

South Range '10
Ohio State '14
User avatar
Inkana7
Amazon of buried jaguars
 
Posts: 612
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 5:03 pm

Re: Difficulty

Postby Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:29 pm

Speaking as an administrator of this forum, I am going to start handing out bans to anyone who continues the discussion of discussion in this thread. This forum is for the discussion of SCT, not Jerry's super sick burn or whatever the hell is being yakked about.
Fred Morlan
University of Kentucky CoP, 20XX
hsqbrank manager, PACE member (former President and At Large member of Board), NAQT writer & subject editor, HSAPQ freelance writer, former hsqb Administrator/Chief Administrator, 2012 NASAT Tournament Director
User avatar
Dr. Loki Skylizard, Thoracic Surgeon
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 13103
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2003 8:08 am

Re: Difficulty

Postby cvdwightw » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:31 pm

One objective quantification of difficulty across SCTs is the median D-value; that is, how many points would the median team in the field put up if it were playing a hypothetical average team?

DI
2010: 162.770
2011: 164.566
2012: 213.191

DII (not including CCCT teams)
2010: 177.813
2011: 157.147
2012: 216.087

Say what you want about teams and players getting better, but I don't think the variation in player ability can explain by itself a 40-60 point increase in the median team's ability to score points at SCT.
Dwight Wynne
socalquizbowl.org
UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

"If you were my teammate, I would have tossed your ass out the door so fast you'd be emitting Cerenkov radiation, but I'm not classy like Dwight." --Jerry
User avatar
cvdwightw
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 3403
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Southern CA

Re: Difficulty

Postby ValenciaQBowl » Mon Feb 27, 2012 6:04 pm

Ah, it's always fun to finally come into these discussions after all the bile has been spilled! Though I know everyone but the CC folk have moved on by now, I do want to note that the DII SCT was used for the CCCT this weekend and my Valencia players complained more about how easy some of the powers were than otherwise, but generally loved the set. And even as far as their complaining, Andrew Hart's post way upthread sums up my feelings: it's okay for a handful of questions to perhaps be too generous with a power--take your 15 and move on.

As a moderator, I'll note that I didn't notice anything that seemed too hard or absurdly easy, and it may be the best NAQT set I've seen for good CC teams. And they played well for the teams to whom I read.
Chris Borglum
Valencia College Grand Poobah
User avatar
ValenciaQBowl
groom of totemic guanacos
 
Posts: 1942
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: Orlando, Florida

Previous

Return to College area archives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests