INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post high school tournament announcements and results here, along with logistical information. Interest checks, opinions, and other in-depth discussion of tournaments should go in the forum below.
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INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Snoopy »

My team and I are excited to announce the creation of the American Quizbowl League, the newest national Quizbowl organization! The AQBL will be offering 65 Online Quizbowl tournaments in the 2020-2021 season, the last one being the all-new Online National Championship Tournament at the end of the year! We have created a new website at www.aqbleague.com with all the information you will need, as well as definitive editions of all the most important documents in Quizbowl. Be sure to take a look!
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by buffaloz1331 »

Is this real lol
Have you considered the implications of this on the broader quizbowl ecosystem? What does you presenting as an alternative to “good” quizbowl organizations mean for your organization? What is the impetus here? Who is writing this and what assurances do we have of question quality? I have a lot of questions, and very little faith at the moment. Also: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=24181
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Santa Claus »

Snoopy wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:30 pm We have created a new website at www.aqbleague.com with all the information you will need, as well as definitive editions of all the most important documents in Quizbowl
Putting all the other problems to the side for a moment, this claim seems eminently unreasonable. The correctness guidelines literally don't exist on the website. The provided rulesets claim the full rules are found on the website, but the "Rules Summary" and "Rulesets" pages are identical and neither go into great detail. The policies section lists, in its entirety: rules on eligibility, the discussion of politics (with a clearly mistaken reference to "rule x.x.x"), and tiebreakers. I've read the code of conduct and it is lacking in scope and detail (especially disappointing in light of the work that our community has invested in this goal in the past few weeks).

The PACE ruleset is 42 pages over two documents; NAQT's is 20+ over at least three. AQBL does not has the "definitive editions of all the most important documents in Quizbowl;" it does not even come close. It is not the "nation's number one name in online quizbowl tournaments" - searching it on Google yields the NAQT page and the design consultant who created the AQBL website's logo. Stop making these claims.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Gerald Ford's Economics »

Santa Claus wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:45 pm It is not the "nation's number one name in online quizbowl tournaments" - searching it on Google yields the NAQT page and the design consultant who created the AQBL website's logo. Stop making these claims.
I feel like going after advertising bluster isn't particularly relevant or important. The AQBL marketing itself as the "nation's number one name in online quiz bowl tournaments" is no different from an auto body shop advertising its mechanics as "the best in the business" or a Mexican restaurant proclaiming that it has the "world's greatest tacos."
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Snoopy »

Santa Claus wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:45 pm
Snoopy wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:30 pm We have created a new website at www.aqbleague.com with all the information you will need, as well as definitive editions of all the most important documents in Quizbowl
Putting all the other problems to the side for a moment, this claim seems eminently unreasonable. The correctness guidelines literally don't exist on the website.
They will be posted prior to the first event commencing.
Santa Claus wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:45 pm The provided rulesets claim the full rules are found on the website, but the "Rules Summary" and "Rulesets" pages are identical and neither go into great detail.
The rules are the first link on the page, right at the top, right under the header, in lettering stating "Ruleset A" and "Ruleset B".
Santa Claus wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:45 pm The policies section lists, in its entirety: rules on eligibility, the discussion of politics (with a clearly mistaken reference to "rule x.x.x"), and tiebreakers. I've read the code of conduct and it is lacking in scope and detail (especially disappointing in light of the work that our community has invested in this goal in the past few weeks).
Whoops, fixed that.
Santa Claus wrote: Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:45 pm The PACE ruleset is 42 pages over two documents; NAQT's is 20+ over at least three. AQBL does not has the "definitive editions of all the most important documents in Quizbowl;" it does not even come close. It is not the "nation's number one name in online quizbowl tournaments" - searching it on Google yields the NAQT page and the design consultant who created the AQBL website's logo. Stop making these claims.
Our rules are 12 pages. Both combined are 24. With the eligibility rules, the policies, the code of conduct, and the future correctness guidelines, this will rise to somewhere around PACE.

Google has not yet crawled the site. It went public 6 hours ago.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by a named reaction »

According to conversations in the Quizbowl Discord, the editing team for this has refused to let Joe reveal their identities, which is an extremely concerning sign regarding the likely quality of these sets.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by bdavery »

As an indirect competitor, I say let capitalism/competition reign, and good luck!

Note that NAQT wouldn't be what it is today if its founders 25 years ago hadn't put a lot of time and effort (and probably, money) behind their belief that they could do better than existing quizbowl organizations. They succeed(ed) because they work(ed) hard and were (are) good at it.

Give other people the same opportunity before immediately criticizing. If it doesn't go well, capitalism says they'll either figure it out and make needed improvements-- or else. (And honestly, I wouldn't put my writers' names on here, either, because of all the virtue-signaling criticism they'd get.)
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Wartortullian »

bdavery wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:58 am As an indirect competitor, I say let capitalism/competition reign, and good luck!

Note that NAQT wouldn't be what it is today if its founders 25 years ago hadn't put a lot of time and effort (and probably, money) behind their belief that they could do better than existing quizbowl organizations. They succeed(ed) because they work(ed) hard and were (are) good at it.

Give other people the same opportunity before immediately criticizing. If it doesn't go well, capitalism says they'll either figure it out and make needed improvements-- or else. (And honestly, I wouldn't put my writers' names on here, either, because of all the virtue-signaling criticism they'd get.)
Ah yes, because capitalism totally implies that all agents have perfect information, are completely rational, and will act in their own self-interest. That assumption has never caused any problems, no sir!

Also, while I'm at it, let's not conflate private ownership of the means of production with the mere presence of a market. Market socialism exists too!
Last edited by Wartortullian on Mon Aug 03, 2020 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Ciorwrong »

a named reaction wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 9:59 am According to conversations in the Quizbowl Discord, the editing team for this has refused to let Joe reveal their identities, which is an extremely concerning sign regarding the likely quality of these sets.
Strongly agreed. Is there a reason this new quizbowl organization is flouting many of the established norms and processes that have become requisite for modern quizbowl? I would be incredibly hesitant to play any set with an unannounced editing team and I would discourage high school teams from doing so as well. People like Bryce Avery who say revealing editor names would cause "virtue signalling" are so off-base, it's not even worth responding to them.

Joe, have you at all considered whether your many tournaments will crowd out and hurt local circuits who rely on running their own tournaments to fund local tournament attendance? If so, how will you resolve this and what are the long term plans for integration of your league into the established high school quizbowl ecosystem? To be completely honest, this idea seems half-baked and out of the blue so I wish we could have seen some more info on this going in before you announced literally 65 tournaments. Is this supposed to be a direct competitor to NAQT or NHBB or what? If I'm a local host of a high school tournament, how am I going to compete with you running a tournament almost every weekend with presumably a national field? Are you, Joe Feldman, going to be the CEO on all matters for this organization? Do you have any other employees or assistants?

I feel like there are so many questions here, that the whole process and organization looks even more haphazard and ill-thought-out now than it did a few days ago.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Cheynem »

The reason people criticize Bryce Avery's writers and questions is not because of virtue signalling; it is because they are not good. I do not intend to criticize Joe's editors out of hand, but rather just like any business, you are interested in who is producing the product--do they have experience? At what levels?
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by sadieb328 »

I want to preface this post with a disclaimer that nothing in here is intended to attack Joe or AQBL (or anyone else associated with AQBL, either named or anonymous). I do not doubt their passion for quizbowl and their belief that they are doing a good thing by trying to start a new centralized organization. I am simply a very active member of the primary quizbowl Discord who participated in the discussion yesterday. Since our reaction to this news has already been brought up in this thread, I wanted to provide some context.

THE DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD OF NEW TEAM OUTREACH.

Nick Pruitt of Ridgewood HS, who is the AQBL director of outreach and also one of 3 people publicly associating themselves with AQBL right now (more on that later), said on the Discord yesterday that the point of the organization is to focus on new team outreach. I understand that this is a niche that can be filled, and I believe that all outreach is a noble goal. I also understand that the current public health situation will likely deal a devastating blow to outreach efforts for this year at least, and quite possibly the next several. Outreach through online quizbowl may be suboptimal, but it is what needs to be done.

The problem with pyramidal quizbowl outreach in general (and especially to new teams with little experience with pyramidal quizbowl) is that quizbowl is a game with highly technical and specific terminology. It all seems so natural to us, since we’re involved! But go ask some random person on the street what the difference between HS nats and college novice difficulty is and they’ll likely look at you like you’re crazy. The AQBL site has a glossary of quizbowl terms, but does not attempt to define set difficulty levels— since, as we all know, there is widely-used terminology, and it’s still unclear whether or not AQBL sets will use bonuses (which, again, as we all know, are an integral part of pyramidal play.)


(To be fair, Joe did say on the Discord that he will point out the rough equivalency of Easy/Moderate/Difficult to the standard regs scale and use both terms.)

This may sound nitpicky, but to me it seems like a microcosm of a larger problem. Bad or dishonest outreach can turn otherwise interested teams off of the game entirely.

Let’s return to Nick’s claim that AQBL is primarily an outreach organization. PACE and NAQT are the current two biggest names in high school quizbowl. Both of them have easily accessible modules on their site for information about quizbowl as a game and advice on starting a team (here’s NAQT’s, and here’s PACE’s.) There are also countless forums posts about this subject, which are harder to find for a layperson but of course do exist. While one can argue that compiling lists of resources for new teams does not an outreach strategy make, AQBL doesn’t seem to be doing anything different in this regard.

Another concern is the overcrowding in the space. Joe’s plan is to have AQBL produce nine sets (he says two are already completed and four are contracted out to others by commission.) Arthur’s “On the Abundance of High School Sets During the Pandemic” post from late June explains this better than I can. AQBL seems to be positioning itself as an alternative to the likely-to-be-chaotic quizbowl scene in the fall, while also contributing to an overabundance problem.

In this sense, the only way an organization like AQBL has a viable online tournament plan is by siphoning attention away from established sets and organizations. There are always risks to being the guinea pigs for a new organization. James Malouf put it well on the Discord yesterday:
“[My] biggest concern is a tournament explicitly intended for teams new to pyramidal quizbowl that (1) doesn't accurately represent what most pyramidal quizbowl is like and (2) is written and operated by people with minimal experience and therefore is likely to be a disaster that turns new teams off of pyramidal quizbowl entirely.”
THE MONOPOLIZATION OF ONLINE QUIZBOWL.

I’m going to preface this with a personal story. I’m the VP of William & Mary Quizbowl. Back in April, Joe Feldman ran an online mirror of our HS+ housewrite, James Blair Bowl. The feedback we received from him re: the quality of our set was not positive. Imagine our surprise when Joe emailed us not long after, asking for exclusive rights to host online mirrors of next year’s edition of James Blair Bowl. We discussed it, figured that it could guarantee us a little income in an uncertain time, and said we would be open to it. We never heard back.

I’m also an editor for the forthcoming MOQBA Novice set, unrelated to my duties at W&M, and our head editor Jacob O’Rourke received the same email from Joe. The writers and editors discussed it and declined. Through conversation with others in the aftermath of those events, I discovered that Joe Feldman likely reached out to most, if not all, of the high school sets announced for the 2020-21 season, with the same email asking for exclusive online mirror rights.

This also spurred Arjun’s “Quizbowl Monopolization and its Problems” post from early June. At the time, his concerns were largely written off. I fear that with the founding of AQBL they have come to pass.

Here is the first paragraph of the “About the AQBL” page:
The American Quizbowl League (AQBL) is the nation’s number one name in online quizbowl tournaments. We paved the way in hosting online events in response to the pandemic-driven cancellation of all in-person quizbowl events. Our experience and innovation in planning nationwide online tournaments gives us the skills to make this upcoming season a success.
I do not intend this as a personal attack, but I feel obligated to point it out: it concerns me that Joe seems to have pivoted exclusively into online tournaments just before the other quizbowl organizations realized that next season will be primarily online. (Or, to put it less kindly, I'll paraphrase myself from the Discord discussion yesterday: asking for online mirror rights for all of next year's announced high school sets does not make one a pioneer of online quizbowl.)

LOGISTICS: SWALLOWING THE WHOLE THING AND HOPING YOU DON’T CHOKE.

AQBL seems to have taken it upon itself to not only host a regular season, but also a national tournament. I do not need to tell anyone on this forum that running one tournament is a difficult job, especially an online tournament over Discord. Even if AQBL outsources the actual day-of logistics to site-specific TDs, as well as some of the writing, it is still an enormous amount of logistic work and, as I’ll discuss in a second, I’m not sure that the AQBL staff is experienced enough to do this effectively.

AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE: INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF MYSTERY. (or; DO YOU EVEN HAVE A CORPORATE STRUCTURE, THOUGH?)

PACE and NAQT are the current two biggest names in high school quizbowl. In terms of business structures, PACE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit; NAQT is an LLC. There is no information available on the website about the business structure of AQBL.

I don’t have much of a mind for business law or finances, but more concerning to me as a member of the quizbowl community is the lack of transparency about who is involved in the organization. Joe claimed yesterday that there are about 30 people involved in AQBL. There are only three names listed (Joe, Nick, and Aalok) on the website’s contact page, and I don’t see anyone else publicly claiming to be a part of this.

When pressed about this on the Discord yesterday, Joe said that many people involved are preferring to remain anonymous, and that he can answer questions about the corporate structure “in the future.” When pressed again, his defensive response was to ask why people needed to know the intricacies of his corporate structure. The response was immediate and uniform: transparency. If you’re going to be a national quizbowl organization, you should be accountable to the people in the national quizbowl community.

Joe then responded by saying that he was waiting for consent from writers and editors before making their names public. However, most of the quiz bowlers I know would likely agree that agreeing to write for or edit a set means that you’re agreeing to have your name publicized as a writer/editor of that specific set. It’s simple accountability, and I imagine that quizbowl clubs would like to know who’s writing and editing the set they’re playing. If the focus is on outreach, new teams might appreciate the assurance from experienced teams that they’re playing a high-quality set.

The resistance to naming editors is incredibly suspect, and makes me more than a little suspicious that the writing team is not experienced. It is no fault of their own— quizbowl writing and editing is a skill that must be developed! There’s nothing wrong with writing low-quality tournaments; failure is the best teacher. The concern comes from AQBL positioning itself as a one-stop shop for all online quizbowl game and outreach needs. A new organization has much more to prove than an organization that’s been around for 20-30 years like NAQT.

(Again, I must give credit where credit is due: Joe has said that he will release sample questions from packets down the road, but to me this seems like another example of disorganization and less-than-ideal practice on a corporate level.)

To quote Carolyn Meng from the Discord discussion yesterday:
“[You] made an organization, without deciding how it'll be run, and the structure, and without the transparency of who is producing your product?"
TL;DR.

AQBL is, on its face, not a terrible idea. As I’ve said, I believe that new team outreach is always a noble goal. My concern is with the sheer amount of work that must go into this, the fact that it will disrupt the quizbowl ecosystem at a very volatile time, and the lack of transparency about who is involved in these efforts.

I said as much in the Discord yesterday: AQBL's resistance to answering or publicly naming the people associated with them gives me serious pause. An outreach organization (i.e. an organization where the definition is to be a public face educating the community) whose members are mostly anonymous is, frankly, oxymoronic.

In my humble and completely unsolicited opinion (because what else is the internet for?) AQBL should strongly consider reforming itself as a consulting organization. By doing that they can focus on new team outreach while doing less of the heavy-lifting logistics work, because they will be working with (instead of competing against) national quizbowl orgs with proven track records like PACE and NAQT. Or, alternately, reform into an organization of set editors- and writers-for-hire, which might require some more logistics work but not as much as the sheer amount of work— a group of 30 people (who are allegedly mostly high schoolers) writing nine sets in a year.

I have great respect for Joe Feldman for taking on a Herculean task, but I just do not see the need for another national quizbowl organization.
Last edited by sadieb328 on Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by touchpack »

I see that, at least for the first event of the year, AQBL is running a set that was produced by high schoolers and middle schoolers. I don't know who the regular writers will be (though Sadie suggests there is speculation that they will be largely high schoolers). I have concerns with a for-profit quizbowl company using the labor of minors to produce questions.

I am not a lawyer, but I do know that the Fair Labor Standards Act establishes many rules covering what is and is not permissible when employing children. This page has a good summary. In addition, I know that one of the laws requires employers to obtain certificates from either the DOL, the school, or both, for each minor. This page has a good summary of how those laws differ from state-to-state, which I imagine is very relevant for an organization that may be employing minors from all around the country. It would be awful for the community to have an organization do a bunch of outreach, then financially collapse due to violations of federal/state labor law. That would send a message to all those new schools that quizbowl is a horrifically unprofessional/unregulated activity that they should steer clear from and could damage the growth of the activity.

Now, if you've already spoken to a lawyer and have plans/procedures set in place to ensure that AQBL is going to be compliant with all federal and state child labor protections, I apologize. I'm just thinking of a certain other person who, a few years ago, started a quizbowl company with lots of ambition/grand ideas and schemes for tournaments, and then proceeded to treat his employees awfully/unfairly as a result. I don't want to see the same thing happen here.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by High Dependency Unit »

For what it's worth, I am writing (most of)/editing AQBL's October set, and while there are a lot of questions left to write, it should be a very good set. I'm also penciled in to do a Feb. or March set.

This is independent of writing/editing positions Joe may have been advertising, so I can't really comment on what that team looks like, though it does mean they have two fewer sets to write.

Joe and I don't agree on everything, but he's very invested in the success of AQBL and their tournaments this spring have been reasonably good, to my knowledge. I'm interested in seeing how things play out while fulfilling my writing commitments, and will form more of an opinion once I'm not financially entangled.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Ciorwrong »

Sadie and Billy posted a lot of extremely valid concerns.

I'll go a step further than Sadie. So far, this seems like an unmitigated disaster that will permanently turn off new teams from pyramidal online quizbowl. This slapshod "company" seems like a complete joke to anyone who has thought about these things for more than about 30 seconds. It's an obvious way to try to undercut established circuits, teams and organizations during this global pandemic. Why would any rational person think an anonymous writing corp could prepare nine sets when we do not even know the experience level or identities of such writers? If I were a paying customer of these questions, I would want public assurances on set progress (screenshots of question progress checklists), playtesting and quality checks, and sample questions especially because this AQBL has almost no track record. This whole thing seems incredibly dubious at best. It does not pass the smell test and frankly seems like the type of company a 16-year-old with no business experience would dream up.

I look forward to hearing Joe Feldman's explicit response to the many concerns raised above. It's incredibly disappointing to see that he has been defensive or secretive about the structure of his organization. As Billy Busse raises, how do we know you aren't the next iteration of an online Dave Madden? Little has been done to assuage these concerns raised by experienced people within the community.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Snoopy »

While the other concerns in this thread will be addressed, I would like to take a moment to emphasize that we are in compliance with all labor laws of the United States.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Snoopy wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:38 pm While the other concerns in this thread will be addressed, I would like to take a moment to emphasize that we are in compliance with all labor laws of the United States.
[citation needed]

Take your time with addressing these concerns; they're all valid and they are, broadly speaking, echoes of concerns that people have had with your events and procedures in the past. You've got things you need to fix here. The quizbowl community is, broadly speaking, supportive of those who work with people in a common direction. You've seen this on a number of past instances in which you've announced something and, through discussion, landed on a better procedure than you originally announced. It's easy to view such events as initial failures, but it's also inaccurate and counter-productive; there's nothing wrong with being wrong but changing your mind, and doing something well at the end is generally worth the work it takes to get there.

I ramble through all this because I want to clearly state two things, at least one of which you already know.
1. There is an opportunity for someone to help the community a great deal by organizing and coordinating online quizbowl in 2020-21.
2. This community will not quietly tolerate a middleman extracting rent by doing that organization badly.

I have no reason to believe you've got #2 in mind. I won't even say that your proposals and actions imply that you do. All I want to say is that it's a LOT of work to avoid #2, and I wish you the best as you do that work.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by A Dim-Witted Saboteur »

Snoopy wrote: Mon Aug 03, 2020 5:38 pm While the other concerns in this thread will be addressed, I would like to take a moment to emphasize that we are in compliance with all labor laws of the United States.
My "in compliance with all labor laws of the United states" shirt has people asking a lot of questions already answered by my shirt
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Snoopy »

I appreciate the thoughts and concerns in this thread, and I am happy to address them.

I am deeply passionate about quiz bowl and have been part of the community for close to a decade: it’s important to me that we not only survive these times, but thrive. My reason for making this organization is to do exactly that - to give teams a chance to play and grow even though everything is uncertain. Like Nick was saying the other day, one of our primary goals is outreach. However, we also have more goals than that: we want to provide an excellent diversion during these strange times and give Quizbowl some stability, at least for this year (we all now have a full season of high school events).

We do not want to and will not destroy local leagues, crowd out good tournaments, milk the situation, or make a million bucks. We aren’t looking to be an alternative to the Quizbowl scene so much as complement it; while we have a lot of events, I’m not expecting teams to attend them all, and there are a lot more teams in the United States than can feasibly attend my events. We are also hosting half our events on Sunday to keep quite a few Saturdays free, and we made our Nationals late so all the other ones do not have to worry about a date conflict and we can complement them as well. Nobody knows what will happen next year, but you can be certain now that a full season is available for anyone who wants to play it.

Regarding our sets, our September set is ERIS; our October set is to be written by Mike Borecki; our November set is the first one we will write ourselves. Our December and February sets are commissioned as well (and we are always looking for more commissions from experienced teams). This leaves five sets for us to write, which are well on their way to early completion.

We are fully Pyramidal. We have an excellent team of editors and writers; the samples will be coming very soon, and I will post a link to them when they do; I would encourage lots of suggestions. They did not want to reveal themselves, not because they lack confidence in their work, but primarily since they do not want to be flamed or get in trouble for working on this project, and I respect that. I completely understand why you want to know who my editing team is, but since they don’t want their names revealed, I will let their work speak for itself while I take the arrows since, well, the buck stops with me.

If you have issues with my questions, please let me know and I will certainly relay any concerns to my entire team. I want the questions to be as good as possible. I did not sit through four years of the NAC in high school only to turn around and start one myself. If it ever seems like we are headed in that direction, I hope you all don’t hesitate to call us out. As well, if you really want to make sure the questions are excellent, we still could use some extra hands, and we always welcome experience and improvement.

Sadie, as for the difficulty level concerns: I’ll add the regular terms to the website and tell teams how they are equivalent, while providing clear examples of questions; but, I will retain my terms for outreach purposes, since as you mentioned, quizbowl terminology is highly technical and very specific. New teams would have no idea what “regs+” is, but when they see “Difficult” or “Easy” or “Moderate”, they expect exactly that. I’d like this to be clear for newcomers as well as those more experienced.

We have novice/new school divisions at all our events, and I am going to take the time to ensure that the staff is particularly well-trained specifically for new teams (if you have any suggestions for that, I would love to hear them). We have had quite a number of teams at our events last Spring that were new to Pyramidal; nearly all of them loved it, some of them did quite well, and all of them expressed interest in returning to our events this season.

As for the sets, I asked most sets with the expectation that most of them would decline. This was seen as an attempt to monopolize Quizbowl, but I was doing no such thing and it was not my intention. A number of sets made contracts with me, and I scheduled the season around them. As of now, all but one of those sets have withdrawn from our agreement.

As for James Blair Bowl specifically, I apologize for any miscommunication, and I will be contacting you soon to discuss further.

More generally, in terms of concerns about whether we can handle it: we can. We have learned from the LIQBA’s spring events and improved our processes greatly, but we can always use whatever additional hands we can get, and we would love to have you. Most of these concerns are completely valid, and we will continue to improve and address them. If you would like to help us (and get paid for your trouble), we always want to learn, and we would love to have your help.

But if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it well. This includes the AQBL; we want to give you a stable season, train the next generation of writers, and give everyone a nice outlet during the pandemic, and that’s exactly what we’ll do.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Carlos Be »

Snoopy wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:47 pm I will retain my terms for outreach purposes, since as you mentioned, quizbowl terminology is highly technical and very specific. New teams would have no idea what “regs+” is, but when they see “Difficult” or “Easy” or “Moderate”, they expect exactly that.
"Regs+" is a silly term, but I think the meaning of "Hard" or "Hard High School" is clear. The term "Hard" has been used in some set announcements and on QuizDB, so I think it is preferable to "Difficult."
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by jonpin »

Something I'm frustrated by, which I think I brought up a few months ago when LIQBA started announcing their spring online series, is the registration fee. Much like what has happened with NHBB regional tournaments, you're charging a registration fee which is very similar to the going rate and offering us half a tournament. In the case of NHBB, most teams at regional sites play 5 or 6 games. In the case of AQBL, these tournaments are tossups only (at least the first three are). It is not reasonable to charge full price for a partial product.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Berniecrat »

jonpin wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:38 pm Something I'm frustrated by, which I think I brought up a few months ago when LIQBA started announcing their spring online series, is the registration fee. Much like what has happened with NHBB regional tournaments, you're charging a registration fee which is very similar to the going rate and offering us half a tournament. In the case of NHBB, most teams at regional sites play 5 or 6 games. In the case of AQBL, these tournaments are tossups only (at least the first three are). It is not reasonable to charge full price for a partial product.
When this has been brought up before, people have brought up two things as part of the justification: compensating writers and editors better for questions (which is good obviously - I want to be clear that I am not attacking this) and purchasing trophies for the winning teams.

Let's take the example of a set that is completely written by the AQBL (so not ERIS or any other set that is being commissioned out). Each set will have 8 mirrors, with each tournament having the maximum of 36 teams. Let's assume that a total of 160 teams plays this Set X. With a tournament fee of $75 per team, this brings in $12,000 for the AQBL.

Each set has 12-13 packets according to Mr. Feldman. These packets are 21/0 for tossups only, so 21*13 means that there are 273 questions written. Writers are supposedly paid $5 per question (even though the site says $4), so that would mean $1365 goes to the writers. There is no listed payment for editors other than that compensation is "negotiated." If we assume editors receive the same $5 per question, that means another $1365 goes to the editors. $2730 is thus taken up by paying for the set.

With 160 teams, this likely means 160 staffers assuming 1 moderator and 1 scorekeeper for every 2 teams. Staffers are paid $20 per tournament, so this takes up $3200. Tournament Directors are paid $200 per tournament, so with 8 tournaments that is another $1600. $4800 is taken up by staffers.

Trophies are given to the top 3 teams and top scorer at each tournament. For 8 sites, this adds up to 32 trophies. I am unsure about where they get their trophies from and will not try to guess at how much that costs.*

After all that, I got a rough number $12,000 - $2730 - $4800 = $4,470 in profit, excluding how much is spent on trophies

My rough number has a number of problems - We don't know how big the fields will be they could definitely be smaller or bigger, AQBL doesn't list scorekeeper as a position on their website so its unclear if that is a paid position that exists (meaning the profits they are making are bigger than I put), the fact that editor compensation is "negotiated" means we don't really know how much payment goes for editors, and we of course don't know how much is being spent on prizes or going to other non tournament related costs (like paying for the website or helping finance new or struggling programs cover tournament fees).

*I personally think most teams would prefer reduced tournament fees to prizes, but if the AQBL absolutely thinks prizes will help with outreach (since I guess administrations want some proof of success for teams in order to fund them), I think these prizes look quite elegant (https://www.crownawards.com/Gateway_Sky ... 1PGY%22%7D), and when ordered in bulk of 200 or more, which is what the AQBL would need presumably for 65 tournaments (!), come at a price of $30 per award at the largest size. 30*32 is $960, so the AQBL would still have plenty of the $4,470 left in profits, meaning they'd have more room to reduce tournament fees.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by theking259 »

Snoopy wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:47 pm We are fully Pyramidal. We have an excellent team of editors and writers; the samples will be coming very soon, and I will post a link to them when they do; I would encourage lots of suggestions. They did not want to reveal themselves, not because they lack confidence in their work, but primarily since they do not want to be flamed or get in trouble for working on this project, and I respect that. I completely understand why you want to know who my editing team is, but since they don’t want their names revealed, I will let their work speak for itself while I take the arrows since, well, the buck stops with me.
Can you expand on what you mean by "get in trouble for working on this project"? My only concern here is ensuring that the editors are accountable for any past and future actions in the community. What steps and precautions are taken in order to ensure that someone who has engaged in misconduct with the community was not hired since the public doesn't know the identities of the editors? To be clear, I'm not accusing anyone of having engaged in misconduct in the organization. I just would like some transparency on that process.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Votre Kickstarter Est Nul »

theking259 wrote: Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:29 am
Snoopy wrote: Tue Aug 04, 2020 12:47 pm We are fully Pyramidal. We have an excellent team of editors and writers; the samples will be coming very soon, and I will post a link to them when they do; I would encourage lots of suggestions. They did not want to reveal themselves, not because they lack confidence in their work, but primarily since they do not want to be flamed or get in trouble for working on this project, and I respect that. I completely understand why you want to know who my editing team is, but since they don’t want their names revealed, I will let their work speak for itself while I take the arrows since, well, the buck stops with me.
Can you expand on what you mean by "get in trouble for working on this project"? My only concern here is ensuring that the editors are accountable for any past and future actions in the community. What steps and precautions are taken in order to ensure that someone who has engaged in misconduct with the community was not hired since the public doesn't know the identities of the editors? To be clear, I'm not accusing anyone of having engaged in misconduct in the organization. I just would like some transparency on that process.
To piggyback on this: Mike Borecki has noted publicly his involvement with this project. Because he has put a ton of admirable work over the years into building a team at Bowdoin and helped with sets in the past, I think the community would readily accept any good faith effort he puts forth. The issue, in his instance, would be if he deliberately mailed it in, not if he accidentally misplaced a clue in packet 7 tossup 14 on [insert science topic]. I would hope that your editors realize this. Editors make mistakes frequently (I have limited experience but have absolutely done this). By remaining anonymous, however, it can give the impression that, possibly, editors are seeking a job that would allow them to make some money and face no public scrutiny.

To repeat stuff I said on discord, in line with things Sadie was saying, your editors are one of the few ways the community at large has of providing influence on your overall project. If members of our community are involved with your project and don't perform to community standards for good faith reasons, the community can be here to help. But if you are the only public facing person accountable for question quality, then the quality of your organization's questions is entirely up to how seriously you respond to community feedback. Again, I have no reason to believe you won't take feedback seriously. But if there are no editors to converse with as well, then the chances of what Sadie described as bad outreach seems to me to increase substantially.
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Re: INTRODUCING THE AMERICAN QUIZBOWL LEAGUE

Post by Berniecrat »

Sorry for continuing to post without giving Mr. Feldman a chance to respond to other stuff brought up, but I wanted to bring up one concern in the Discord about THE AQBL that I think got lost in the flood of messages. A big part of AQBL's mission is expanding outreach, by developing detailed contacts list or specifically recruiting teams that haven't played pyramidal quizbowl to tournaments (like I think Russellville at Scottie Online). The specific concern was about when AQBL does their outreach, do they do so specifically for AQBL tournaments or do they try to make teams aware of actual quizbowl as well, such as helping them find about other housewrites, NAQT, or PACE. Basically, the concern was whether AQBL was positioning itself as an introduction to good quizbowl rather than trying to act as a competitor.

If you aren't able to send the specific recruiting messages you email out to these teams (for professional secrets or some other concerns I don't know), could you at least try to describe how you aim to help teams transition to real quizbowl rather than merely try to recruit these teams for AQBL tournaments only?
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