theMoMA wrote:If you replace 15% of the HSNCT distribution that's too hard to write at the regular level with trash (or any category that is not very academic), you're doing a disservice to all the teams at the bottom of the pile who qualify for HSNCT on the strength of their prowess in categories that will disappear at the HSNCT itself.
This already happens to some extent with the option of math calculation tossups in IS tournaments and their disuse as HSNCT. Mathcalc is by and large the worst-converted tossup topic and is replaced at HSNCT by roughly proportional amounts of every other category.
My experience is that it is quite rare for a "top 15%" team and a "top 16%" team to consistently be differentiated. Due to the vagaries of packets within sets and catching better teams playing poor/worse teams playing well, teams N and N+1 are rarely the same at two qualifying tournaments. Jeff's problem only exists for borderline teams that play one qualifying tournament; even then, the non-qualifying team would have good reason to apply for a wild card bid. There are a variety of reasons that a consistently-better team on IS questions performs worse on HSNCT questions that have nothing to do with differing distributions; perhaps a team's best player is not playing well that tournament, or draws a harder set of opponents via the card system, or the team's knowledge does not scale well with difficulty. Changing the distribution would not significantly affect a below .500 team's placement more than these already-extant factors already do. In short, I don't think that the reasons Jeff has put out for not implementing option 3 will affect more than a handful of teams that catch a bad break on the one NAQT tournament they play all year.
The IS distribution can be changed to guarantee 4/4 "academic" literature, 2/2 arts, and 1/1 social science per 24/24 by removing a total of 17/18 (just over 1/1 per packet!) from the traditional non-academic (PC, Mixed_Impure) and "overrepresented" (CE, Geography) categories and redistributing it. This means reducing the conversion rate of ~5% of the tossups by 15-20%. Maybe I'm doing horribly bad math but this translates to something like a 1% decrease in overall conversion rate. The only real conversion-based argument NAQT has for not doing this is that it's consistently exhausting the accessible arts/SS space and would thus see even lower conversion rates on those questions than it's already seeing. Furthermore, given the typically well-founded suspicion that the teams that are consistently not converting the arts/literature/SS questions are in general the teams that are not qualifying for HSNCT, there is no conversion-based reason at all to not do the equivalent of this at the HSNCT level.
I've run the numbers estimating the following: 5 academic literature tossups, 7 arts, and 5 SS added; 3 PC, 3 sports, 6 CE, 5 Geo deleted; all 17 added tossups have a 0% conversion rate and the other 343 a conversion rate equal to what Jeff posted in the other thread for their subject. The result is that the overall conversion rate would average 68.3% and the overall non-comp rate would average 69.4%. That's a 2.5% decrease in overall conversion rate and a 3.7% decrease in non-comp conversion. For an average 12-team tournament on 20/20 packets, that's a decrease of between 33 and 49 tossups answered over the entire tournament if NAQT were to replace 17 tossups in non-academic or overrepresented categories with completely unanswerable
tossups in underrepresented academic categories. (At a 50% conversion rate in the added tossups, it's a 0.1% decrease in overall rate and a 1.2% decrease in non-comp - between 1 and 16 tossups over the whole 12-team tournament.) This decrease does not appear to provide evidence that tweaking the distribution to provide 4/4 lit, 2/2 arts, and 1/1 SS per 24/24 would significantly affect overall conversion rates. I would highly encourage NAQT to run its own numbers regarding this, especially if/when it has HSNCT conversion data that Jeff has not made public, and come up with a compromise solution that increases the academic content of the game while not giving up much in the way of conversion.