Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

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Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by sir negsalot »

Obviously, within the limits of modern quizbowl, along with points per bonus, Powers per game is one of the most important stats to indicate the performance of teams. However, housewrites have been inconsistent with inclusion of powermarks. By playing without powermarks, a lot of information about the quality of teams is lost. I believe that in the upcoming year, an effort should be made to include powermarks universally, as there is no good reason for them to be absent. Having power a clue or 2 early or late does not significantly detract from the overall picture given by power stats, because if questions are properly pyramidal,then placing powermarks well is neither crucial nor difficult. Certainly, the marks should be placed in a thought-out way, not just by the physical position in the question, but the effort to produce them should not be so laborious as to preclude housewriters from adding them in. It really can take as little as 30 minutes to powermark a whole set, and having some powermarks,even if imperfect is greatly preferable to none at all. They are important in determining differences in tossup skill between both individuals and teams, and their consistent presence will make the stat easier to compare rankings on different sets across the country. I don't see any reason why there should be any more powermark-free sets when their inclusion is so easy to do and their presence is so beneficial. Thoughts?
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by jonpin »

no you're wrong
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Auroni »

There are solid arguments for powers being gimmicky and game-show-y. You are also severely underestimating the effort it takes to place them, especially when the set is nearing completion and everyone is tired from writing questions.
Last edited by Auroni on Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Smuttynose Island »

sir negsalot wrote: It really can take as little as 30 minutes to powermark a whole set
Having powermarked most of OLEFIN's history, I can tell you that this isn't true, atleast if you want to reward deep knowledge in a (potentially)* meaningful way, which is the main purpose of powermarking.

*I'd rather not get into how useful powermarks are in my post.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by sir negsalot »

If each writer powermarks his/her own questions, it can take 30 additional seconds. That person should be more intimately famliliar with the given topic
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by sir negsalot »

Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:There are solid arguments for powers being gimmicky and game-show-y. You are also severely underestimating the effort it takes to place them, especially when the set is nearing completion and everyone is tired from writing questions.
How else can more elite players who answer questions earlier be compared to one man team people who just clean up questions at the end?
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Important Bird Area »

sir negsalot wrote:If each writer powermarks his/her own questions, it can take 30 additional seconds. That person should be more intimately famliliar with the given topic
This probably isn't a good idea, because it means that powermarks can vary a lot from subject to subject. It is for this reason that NAQT always has its set editors do the power-marking.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Mewto55555 »

Also, I know this forum frowns upon math, but like, 30 seconds a tossup is 2 tossups a minute, which is a packet every ten minutes, which makes only 3 packets in 30 minutes.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Smuttynose Island »

sir negsalot wrote:If each writer powermarks his/her own questions, it can take 30 additional seconds. That person should be more intimately famliliar with the given topic
30 seconds/question * 1 minute/60 seconds * 250TU/set = 125 minutes != 30 minutes

That's over two hours that could be spent making sure that the questions themselves are better (or, to be more specific, about how long it takes for me to playtest the large subcategories (i.e. Am Lit, Am Hist., World Hist), which is much more valuable than powermarking) I'm telling you, from experience man, that powermarking, while not too difficult, takes much longer than you'd expect. It's also wrong to assume that the question writer will always be, or even usually, be more familiar with any given topic. Also, people have different senses of difficulty and it is the editors job to make sure that the powermarking is relatively uniform throughout a given subject, which is why relying on the question writer to powermark individual questions isn't really the way to go.

EDIT: What other people said.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Whiter Hydra »

sir negsalot wrote:
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:There are solid arguments for powers being gimmicky and game-show-y. You are also severely underestimating the effort it takes to place them, especially when the set is nearing completion and everyone is tired from writing questions.
How else can more elite players who answer questions earlier be compared to one man team people who just clean up questions at the end?
Said elite players will buzz in first.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Edward Elric »

Mewto55555 wrote:Also, I know this forum frowns upon math, but like, 30 seconds a tossup is 2 tossups a minute, which is a packet every ten minutes, which makes only 3 packets in 30 minutes.
:mad: Remove your math from this thread, sir!
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by sir negsalot »

30 minutes would be the lower extreme I suppose. Even 2 or 3 hours would be a small time investment compared to the overall gain and overall time invested already. By consistency within a subject do you mean the physical location, or somewhere that would project to have a consistent percentage of power, which could vary in actual location?
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Smuttynose Island »

sir negsalot wrote:
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote:There are solid arguments for powers being gimmicky and game-show-y. You are also severely underestimating the effort it takes to place them, especially when the set is nearing completion and everyone is tired from writing questions.
How else can more elite players who answer questions earlier be compared to one man team people who just clean up questions at the end?
Making sure that people can compare individual players is significantly less important than making sure that you have a well-edited set with solid bonuses that all have easy/medium/hard parts that distinguish between the different teams (I hear that QB is a team sport these days) from across the country (This is completly ignoring the fact that your number one goal when it comes to producing sets is that they make sure the team with the most knowledge wins). The elite player should be 20ing and 30ing more bonuses with their deep knowledge than the surface knowledge player, thus resulting in a higher PPB for his team and more Ws.
sir negsalot wrote:30 minutes would be the lower extreme I suppose. Even 2 or 3 hours would be a small time investment compared to the overall gain and overall time invested already. By consistency within a subject do you mean the physical location, or somewhere that would project to have a consistent percentage of power, which could vary in actual location?
Consistent percentage of power. And no, the overall gain, when compared to that of more editing, is probably a ratio less than 1.

Edited to respond to intervening posts.
Last edited by Smuttynose Island on Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:21 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Excelsior (smack) »

There are solid arguments for powers being gimmicky and game-show-y.
So I understand that powermarking can take a long time and is not necessarily the most productive use of an editor's time, but what's so gimmicky about them? In particular, what makes powers but not negs a gimmick? Negs are, after all, almost (NSC excluded) omnipresent in quizbowl.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

It's always been my opinion that if you're not going to use negs in your tournament, powers don't need to be there either.

But if you are using negs (as the vast majority of competitions do, and just about every single one we attend all year), then power marks should be included as well. If you can take 5 away, you can also grant 5 extra.

Like already mentioned... if it's not gimmicky to take 5 points away from a team ("ha! that's what you get for being aggressive! that'll teach you to take a chance next time! as if the penalty of practically handing the other team the question isn't enough!"), then it's not gimmicky to add 5 more points for a great early buzz.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by sir negsalot »

Smuttynose Island wrote:
sir negsalot wrote:
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote: And no, the overall gain, when compared to that of more editing, is probably a ratio less than 1.
So then why do you or anyone include powers...?
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Excelsior (smack) »

List of villages in West Virginia wrote:Like already mentioned... if it's not gimmicky to take 5 points away from a team ("ha! that's what you get for being aggressive! that'll teach you to take a chance next time! as if the penalty of practically handing the other team the question isn't enough!"), then it's not gimmicky to add 5 more points for a great early buzz.
To add on to this, negs are, in a sense, a penalty for aggressive play that fails. As such, it seems perfectly reasonable (if not necessary) to award a bonus for aggressive play that succeeds.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Excelsior (smack) »

Also, even supposing that powermarking is something that may be infeasible for the first site at which a set is used, wouldn't it be nice if powers were to be added for delayed mirrors? I can't think of a set that has done this, despite there being a number of high school sets that have delayed mirrors and no powers in the initial run.

EDIT: how do I used edit button
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Smuttynose Island »

sir negsalot wrote:
Smuttynose Island wrote:
sir negsalot wrote:
Blanford's Fringe-fingered Lizard wrote: And no, the overall gain, when compared to that of more editing, is probably a ratio less than 1.
So then why do you or anyone include powers...?
They are gimmicky and many players think that they are fun (myself included). Quizbowl is also about having fun. I'd be much more receptive to an argument based on that than on trying to compare individual players.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by sir negsalot »

The fun is always inherently present :party: :party: :party: It needs no mention
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Telling people they should powermark their sets because it's better for people to use the sets as comparisons across the country is a worthless argument. I think that rankings of teams can be interesting and entertaining, but anybody thinking those rankings should dictate the way tournaments are run have it all backwards and don't understand the basics of what a tournament's goal is. Tournaments should never be beholden to rankings blogs, tournaments should only be beholden to their audience and the goals of their director. There is no possible way to argue that rankings threads should ever be anything other than totally deferential to the tournament hosts, and the moment a ranker tries to dictate their preferred formats to directors for the purpose of helping their rankings, that's the moment I am going to insist that rankings end.

There are good reasons to have some sets not use powermarks. Implementing powers of different kinds, or choosing to not implement them, all change the balance of the game in their own ways, which in my opinion forces players to keep on their toes, experiment with different styles of play, and can impact the results of a tournament in interesting ways. If your event uses 20-point PACE style powers and no negs (not to mention rebounding bonuses where you still get a chance to answer stuff after you neg), it's going to really reward teams that take a lot of risks. If your event uses no powers and uses negs (and especially with non-rebounding bonuses), it's going to really reward teams that are not as risky and instead buzz most often when they are confident they know the answer. If you use other variants that fall somewhere between those two extremes, you are going to tweak how a team's playing style can affect their performance. I can't fathom there being anything inherently wrong with any of these combinations, and I would posit that it indeed makes quizbowl more varied and enjoyable to have different formats used at different events to keep them a little more unique. I also think that by keeping it varied, you allow teams to learn more about how they need to improve and change their playing style if they realize they don't like something about how they play at some tournament that uses one of these variations on the 20/20 format, which can help serious teams learn how to play more effectively by the time nationals happens, especially since there is a national that doesn't have powers.

This doesn't even address the other reasons tournaments might choose not to use powers. In Missouri, the official state format has 10 point tossups, so we have always had some events (including the longest standing pyramidal event in the state at Wash U) use 10 point tossups in part because it's a bit closer to what some of these teams are used to. There are plenty of other circuits that are similar and which could derive some benefit from not using powers all the time in their expansion of good quizbowl. Also, call me old fashioned, but some tournaments like to establish traditions. At Mizzou, we run 3 tournaments a year and every time we run our fall tournament, we've used a modified version of the NAQT format, then everytime we run our December tournament we've run on the NSC format, then everytime we run our February tournament we've run it on strict ACF rules. I like the fact that each of these events is unique and has a small tradition to keep them from getting too monotonous to our audience, and I certainly have no plans to change our ACF format event because I think having it helps our local circuit and I could care less whether it offends the aesthetic sensibilities of Daniel Galitsky or Chrz, because there is nothing actually wrong with it.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Stained Diviner »

Excelsior (smack) wrote:
There are solid arguments for powers being gimmicky and game-show-y.
So I understand that powermarking can take a long time and is not necessarily the most productive use of an editor's time, but what's so gimmicky about them? In particular, what makes powers but not negs a gimmick? Negs are, after all, almost (NSC excluded) omnipresent in quizbowl.
Powers are sometimes considered gimmicky because they often do not play out the way they are theoretically supposed to. It's all well and good to say that you are going to give 15 for a real impressive buzz on the first line of a difficult question as opposed to 10 for buzzing on the giveaway, but placing powermarks is very subjective and most buzzes in matches between good teams are somewhere between those extremes. What actually happens in a match is that you get some buzzer races where a team gets 15 points, either because both teams are knowledgeable in that area or because the editor overestimated a clue, and some buzzes based on having deeper knowledge than anybody else in the match where a team gets 10 points.

In addition to that, when weaker teams play, the questions that get powered tend to lean towards pop culture, making those questions worth more than the academic questions, and you get an occasional question that skews to the location you are in (eg a Blagojevich tossup in Illinois), where everybody tries to buzz in on the first or second clue. Also, in addition to skewing matches in ways that have already been mentioned, powers favor specialists over generalists, which may or may not be a good thing.

Another reason to call them gimmicky is that they add to the drama of a match while very rarely making a difference in terms of which team wins.

All that being said and done, I'm not really against powers--they make the activity more enjoyable for a lot of students, and that's a good thing. In fact, I think it's probably a good idea for tournaments catering to newer teams to have powers and not negs (assuming that the moderators aren't all new too). However, there are valid reasons for tournaments to not have powers beyond just the editing time argument, which in many cases is a good enough reason all by itself.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by theMoMA »

Powers are a stat that affects game strategy despite the fact that getting a bunch of powers is only incidental to winning games. Powers don't tell you very much about how likely one good team is to beat another. What you're really looking for are teams that are consistently buzzing early and not selling out to do so. Unfortunately, powers encourage lots of players to sell out and go for 15 instead of playing to beat the other team. And people seem to forget that the real measure of better teams is not PPG, or PPB, or powers. It's winning. The best teams do it because they know more and play smarter, and incidental to that, they tend to have great stats. But while great teams have great stats, great stats don't necessarily make great teams.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Cheynem »

Disclaimer: ME AM CRANKY OLD QUIZBOWLER

I don't really mind playing on powers, but in general I dislike putting powers in sets and I actually think they can be somewhat annoying. Basically in my brief experience powermarking sets, I am always bombarded with complaints about "Why is so and so in power?" That's really annoying. I also dislike having to decide just what is THE clue that should be worth 10 instead of 5. Sometimes I screw up in this regard (yes, I know that is shocking), and compounding the misplaced clue, I have now tacked on 5 points as well. Thus, close games place more weight on the person powermarking to get it right. And that's not always easy. I can know a lot about a topic and write a pyramidal tossup, but may not be able to properly estimate where a powermark should end.

In general, I've found that the more oddball the questions, tournament or format, the more I enjoy powers. For instance, at experimental tournaments, I would expect powers because part of the fun is nailing a superpower on a very hard thing before the giveaway. I've also come to accept NAQT's powermarks as part of their format. But I wouldn't want to see powers at ACF Nationals, I would be okay with it not appearing in many sets, and unless I am forced to do so (as with MO), I generally don't like powermarking.

This may be somewhat cumbersome, but I wonder if tracking "where" teams are buzzing may be an interesting way to compare as well (the old goldfish method).
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by sir negsalot »

College Park Spyders wrote: In Missouri, the official state format has 10 point tossups, so we have always had some events (including the longest standing pyramidal event in the state at Wash U) use 10 point tossups in part because it's a bit closer to what some of these teams are used to. There are plenty of other circuits that are similar and which could derive some benefit from not using powers all the time in their expansion of good quizbowl.
I understand that, and it makes sense, so where it is strongly preferred, tournaments don't necessarily have to use powers. Certainly there have been great packets that didn't have powers, Yale BHSAT comes to mind.

Suppose team 1 averages 20ppb and 400ppg while team 2 averages 20ppb also with 350ppg, but these teams come from different regions. Team 2 could easily be better if their region is stronger, so powers indicate skill in a way that is mostly independent of the skill of opponents. Obviously, if a isolated good team is playing only weaker teams, they might tone it down a bit and cruise to a win. Powers would give extra incentive for teams to do their best regardless of how strong the opponent is.

Powers are the best thing we have for now, until we have not just buzzers, but all-inclusive quizbowl machines that have morgan freeman's voice recording reading the questions, and a computer noting the exact word on which players buzz, compared across the nation.

If questions are properly pyramidal, why does it matter the exact clue on which power ends, as the general essence of getting the question early is what matters. What if there was a format with no negs, 10s, and 10+'s, meaning "powers" are tracked but no additional points are given for them. Would that be an interesting solution?
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Cheynem »

It seems like the major reason you want to see power marks is to more easily compare the skill of teams from differing regions. This does not seem like a good enough reason to force powermarking on the masses much like the hated Jay's Treaty was forced upon the American people.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Cody »

sir negsalot wrote:If questions are properly pyramidal, why does it matter the exact clue on which power ends, as the general essence of getting the question early is what matters.
At this point, I can only believe that this entire thread is some sort of satire.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Cheynem »

It's about as funny a satire as Gore Vidal's Visit to a Small Planet.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by eliza.grames »

Excelsior (smack) wrote:Also, even supposing that powermarking is something that may be infeasible for the first site at which a set is used, wouldn't it be nice if powers were to be added for delayed mirrors? I can't think of a set that has done this, despite there being a number of high school sets that have delayed mirrors and no powers in the initial run.
For high school sets, would it be a terrible idea to read the set to some average collegiate freshmen/sophomore players and powermark it based on where they buzz in? This wouldn't take much extra time if teams are going to read through sets anyways for fun or to check for typos and other errors.

I think that while powermarks aren't really necessary (and can even be problematic) in collegiate sets, it's a generally good idea to put them in high school sets used at invitationals because it makes it more fun and encourages high school players to actually have more than just basic knowledge of a subject.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by jonpin »

Man, I was committed to letting "no you're wrong" sit there as my only contribution to this thread, but I just can't do it.
sir negsalot wrote:If questions are properly pyramidal, why does it matter the exact clue on which power ends, as the general essence of getting the question early is what matters. What if there was a format with no negs, 10s, and 10+'s, meaning "powers" are tracked but no additional points are given for them. Would that be an interesting solution?
Have you ever been in the tab room of a tournament? As stat boy for probably a dozen or more tournaments, I can tell you that scorekeepers (not all, but enough) will hand in indecipherable gibberish at any tournament from regular-season high school events all the way up to national championships, and whether you ask them to crosscheck their own numbers or just literally put a mark in a box for each right answer. Asking them to keep track of "unpowers" is just... no.
eliza.grames wrote:For high school sets, would it be a terrible idea to read the set to some average collegiate freshmen/sophomore players and powermark it based on where they buzz in? This wouldn't take much extra time if teams are going to read through sets anyways for fun or to check for typos and other errors.
Eh. Small sample size would tend to compound the "I know this so it's easy" effect.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Coldblueberry »

To save time and power mark in less than 30 seconds: Instead of making it subjective, why not just set a universal clue number?
For example, "place a power mark before the 4th clue"

From 2008 HSAPQ NSC 2
-One neurometabolic disorder resulting from a mutation in these structures is called Leigh's disease, and a malfunction in them can also result in Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy. These structures contain channel proteins called porins, and they release (*POWER*) cytochrome C during apoptosis. They contain two membranes, with folds in the inner one called cristae. These organelles may have originated as endosymbiotic prokaryotes, and they possess their own DNA. For 10 points, name these organelles that produce energy in animal cells.
ANSWER: mitochondria [accept mitochondrion]
-In a flashback, the protagonist of this novel reflects on meeting the Russian journalist Karkov while dining at Gaylord's. The protagonist tries to communicate with General Golz, but is forced to act ahead of schedule after the last stand and death of El Sordo. (*POWER*) Eladio, Fernando, and Agustin are all part of the central group, which is led by Pablo. Pablo steals some detonators, forcing the protagonist to use grenades to complete his objective. For 10 points, name this Hemingway novel in which Robert Jordan blows up a bridge in Spain.
ANSWER: For Whom the Bell Tolls

***What counts as a clue should be more strictly defined by someone else who is more smart. I have an idea though: In Lit/FA/SS/RMP author questions, count the one-line plot/description of a work as one clue and its actual title as another***

-This author wrote a short story in which the title character sees himself being buried alive, only to escape and find his wife remarried a few weeks later, "The Death of Olivier Becaille." This author wrote novels about a woman who drives Georges Hugon to suicide and about (*POWER*)Etienne Lantier, who survives the collapse of a mine. His novel Nana is part of his cycle of twenty-one novels called Les Rougon- Macquart. For 10 points, name this French author and founder of naturalism, the author of Germinal and a letter protesting the Dreyfus affair, J'Accuse!
ANSWER: Emile Zola

*So, "title character sees himself being buried...few weeks later" is one clue and "The Death of Olivier Becaille" is another*


NOTE: This power marking method will not work as well as a full-on analysis of power placement for each question, but can save time and effort so that tournaments can provide the extra "fun" (that some people on this thread have mentioned) more easily.
Also, since clue number may vary greatly within a tournament set, some sort of proportion could be set up.
EX. before the last of the top 1/3 clues, rounding up. So with 9 clues, apply a power mark before the third.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Cody »

Coldblueberry wrote:To save time and power mark in less than 30 seconds: Instead of making it subjective, why not just set a universal clue number?
This would lead to very uneven powermarks across and in categories, the effects of which are mentioned in another post in this thread.
Last edited by Cody on Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by QuizbowlTribune »

All Sets Should Be Powermarked, Superpowermarked, Negmarked, Periodmarked, and Narrowmarked
By Andrew Gregory

When I am poring over stats from across the country, I find it hard to compare teams from regions of varying strength. I can’t help but thinking that if formats were standardized to always include a few simple formatting guidelines, national comparisons would be much easier. Take powermarking, for example. If all questions had powers, we could see just how good teams were, because powers are unbiased indicators of skill, never arbitrarily placed, and teams do not compete for powers. If every question had powers, we could see a team’s ability reflected in its number of 15s.

Of course, that’s not the only thing that needs to be mandatory. Superpowermarking is another way of seeing how good a team is. Teams that consistently get 20s are better than teams that consistently only get 15s. In addition, negmarking would be a useful clue to see how and where teams neg. They would be deducted 5 points for negging early in the tossup, 10 points for a little later, and 15 points if they are near the end. Periodmarking, placing a mark after every sentence to see what sentence a team got a tossup on, would be invaluable to ranking teams. Another practice I wish was more widely used is that of narrowmarking, marking every identifying pronoun to signify the “narrowing down” of potential answers in the listeners’ head. If all of these marks were made mandatory, rankings and comparisons would be a breeze. All told, implementing these marks into a set would take about 10 minutes.
I realize this may sound overwhelming, so here’s an example tossup:

This man(@) punished residents of Dover for rebelling against his(@) half-brother Eustace (***) of Bolougne(#), and he(@) succeeded his(@) other half-brother Harthacanute(##)(**) to the throne of England[1]. He(@) was the son of Emma(*) of Normandy, and his(@) father was Aelthered(###) the Unready[2]. Upon his(@) death, the successor he nominated, Harold Godwinson, was defeated at the Battle of Hastings(####)[3]. For ten points, name this last Anglo-Saxon king of England(@), canonized a century after his(@) death[4].
ANSWER: King or Saint Edward the Confessor

Clearly we can see this is the wave of the future. I eagerly anticipate seeing these marks in action next season.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Coldblueberry »

SirT wrote:
Coldblueberry wrote:To save time and power mark in less than 30 seconds: Instead of making it subjective, why not just set a universal clue number?
This would lead to very uneven powermarks across and in categories, the effects of which are mentioned in another post in this thread.
So would a "subjective" assessment unless you want multiple people (with really good knowledge of the canon) to spend a lot of time marking every question. The method I suggested is definitely not perfect, but it saves time and effort, some of the major drawbacks of powers that people have mentioned.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Cody »

Coldblueberry wrote:
SirT wrote:
Coldblueberry wrote:To save time and power mark in less than 30 seconds: Instead of making it subjective, why not just set a universal clue number?
This would lead to very uneven powermarks across and in categories, the effects of which are mentioned in another post in this thread.
So would a "subjective" assessment unless you want to spend a lot of time from multiple people.
The effect would me much less so than any proposed automatic scheme. Also, exactly.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by sir negsalot »

SirT wrote:
sir negsalot wrote:If questions are properly pyramidal, why does it matter the exact clue on which power ends, as the general essence of getting the question early is what matters.
At this point, I can only believe that this entire thread is some sort of satire.
It's not as though powermarks would ever be placed perfectly anyway, even in NAQT of HSAPQ. How can they ever be more than a general notion? Care to elaborate?
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by MLafer »

If BeeS was finished, this thread never would have happened
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

I'm skeptical about whether a rational player would actually want to play "riskier" to get more powers. Five points is ultimately not that much, and a neg is the most horrible thing you can do because you are giving the other team 15 free points (relatively speaking) plus their bonus conversion. Maybe at the high school level, where you can more easily narrow the possible answers down to two things, players might do this, but I can't imagine a serious college player in an important game wildly guessing to get those extra five points. And even without powers, there is always an incentive to gamble in quizbowl by guessing at strategic points in a tossup.

I like powers, and I think there is an argument for their inclusion in good quizbowl. Not because they help the rankings, but because they reward people for particularly deep and real knowledge. The best argument against powers is that they are unfair because power-marking is unlikely to be the same across categories (e.g., the science editor might be more generous with powers than the literature editor, giving an unfair advantage to science players). But this problem can be solved with the right editorial staff and structure.

I think very little of the "powers are gimmicky" argument, which is smacks of the "bad quizbowl likes x, therefore x is bad quizbowl" fallacy. Bad quizbowl may like powers because they are "exciting", but there are good quizbowl-based arguments for powers too, so you won't get anywhere in the fight against powers just by associating them with bad quizbowl.

Of course, I'm also a highly specialized player who greatly benefits from powers when they are available, so take everything I say with a grain of salt.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Cheynem wrote:Disclaimer: ME AM CRANKY OLD QUIZBOWLER

I don't really mind playing on powers, but in general I dislike putting powers in sets and I actually think they can be somewhat annoying. Basically in my brief experience powermarking sets, I am always bombarded with complaints about "Why is so and so in power?" That's really annoying. I also dislike having to decide just what is THE clue that should be worth 10 instead of 5. Sometimes I screw up in this regard (yes, I know that is shocking), and compounding the misplaced clue, I have now tacked on 5 points as well. Thus, close games place more weight on the person powermarking to get it right. And that's not always easy. I can know a lot about a topic and write a pyramidal tossup, but may not be able to properly estimate where a powermark should end.

In general, I've found that the more oddball the questions, tournament or format, the more I enjoy powers. For instance, at experimental tournaments, I would expect powers because part of the fun is nailing a superpower on a very hard thing before the giveaway. I've also come to accept NAQT's powermarks as part of their format. But I wouldn't want to see powers at ACF Nationals, I would be okay with it not appearing in many sets, and unless I am forced to do so (as with MO), I generally don't like powermarking.

This may be somewhat cumbersome, but I wonder if tracking "where" teams are buzzing may be an interesting way to compare as well (the old goldfish method).
If we are going to use "people are going to say stupid and annoying **** on the internet" as an excuse to not do something in quizbowl, then we might as well pack up the buzzers and all play Twister instead.

Even without powers, you see tons of people making "why was this clue so early?" posts. Jeff Hoppes deserves some kind of medal for helping to crush this manner of posting. It is with great delight that I watch threads where Hoppes responds to these people with stats showing that there were not, in fact, too many early buzzes on those questions, and seeing complete silence from the complainer in response.
Last edited by Skepticism and Animal Feed on Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Matt Weiner »

While I am perhaps the chief opponent of "HEY GUYS I BUZZED EARLY SOMEONE FIX THIS" I would like to note that the stats in that NAQT thread seem to be coming from one or two tournaments of unknown provenance. Small sample size doesn't prove much.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird »

Every time you get a question right, you get 3 more opportunities to pile on points. Powers are completely optional, and if the TD deems them it not important, it's not important. Superpowers with no negs rewards guessing. We only run tournaments with powers because I think the power/neg ratio is an interesting statistic.

The quality of information on a team is based truly on wins and losses. If powers are so important then every tournament should be played via fishbowl. We could all save a lot of money on travel. And when that does happen, I hope someone invents a time machine. Then I can go back to the sixth grade, quit the quiz bowl team and commit myself to becoming a pro soccer player and agent.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Important Bird Area »

Matt Weiner wrote:While I am perhaps the chief opponent of "HEY GUYS I BUZZED EARLY SOMEONE FIX THIS" I would like to note that the stats in that NAQT thread seem to be coming from one or two tournaments of unknown provenance. Small sample size doesn't prove much.
Small sample size beats zero sample size every day of the week. Matt, would it be useful if I posted (maybe at the top of that thread?) which tournaments the conversion stats come from?
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by abnormal abdomen »

I find all of this discussion on powers and such interesting. One question I have pertaining to all of this is the place of powers at various types of events. People have mentioned (and it's obviously a fact) that ACF Nats, for example, doesn't use powers. Does judgment on powers change if, for example, there's a consideration for their use at a novice event (regardless of whether it's for high school or the collegiate level)? Similarly, would that change apply to negs as well? I know that people's opinions on both subjects varies, so I'm guessing there won't be just one definitive answer to this, but I'm still interested.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Black-throated Antshrike »

List of villages in West Virginia wrote:It's always been my opinion that if you're not going to use negs in your tournament, powers don't need to be there either.

But if you are using negs (as the vast majority of competitions do, and just about every single one we attend all year), then power marks should be included as well. If you can take 5 away, you can also grant 5 extra.

Like already mentioned... if it's not gimmicky to take 5 points away from a team ("ha! that's what you get for being aggressive! that'll teach you to take a chance next time! as if the penalty of practically handing the other team the question isn't enough!"), then it's not gimmicky to add 5 more points for a great early buzz.
This is a great reason to add powers. If you have negs you should have powers too. If you are going to make it so people are always penalized for being aggressive and failing, you should conversely reward them for being aggressive and successful. Is there truly a downside to playing in a tournament with powers? I cannot think of any given example where powermarking a set makes it less enjoyable to play.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by sir negsalot »

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote: Is there truly a downside to playing in a tournament with powers? I cannot think of any given example where powermarking a set makes it less enjoyable to play.
Exactly.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Broad-tailed Grassbird »

Andrew Jackson's Compatriot wrote:
List of villages in West Virginia wrote:It's always been my opinion that if you're not going to use negs in your tournament, powers don't need to be there either.

But if you are using negs (as the vast majority of competitions do, and just about every single one we attend all year), then power marks should be included as well. If you can take 5 away, you can also grant 5 extra.

Like already mentioned... if it's not gimmicky to take 5 points away from a team ("ha! that's what you get for being aggressive! that'll teach you to take a chance next time! as if the penalty of practically handing the other team the question isn't enough!"), then it's not gimmicky to add 5 more points for a great early buzz.
This is a great reason to add powers. If you have negs you should have powers too. If you are going to make it so people are always penalized for being aggressive and failing, you should conversely reward them for being aggressive and successful. Is there truly a downside to playing in a tournament with powers? I cannot think of any given example where powermarking a set makes it less enjoyable to play.
That's what a bonus is for.

So the idea is enjoyable = mandatory? We all enjoy playing tournaments for free. So make them all free.

I cannot think of any given example where not powermarking makes a set less enjoyable to play. If you get that much out of a rise out of hearing "Power" don't play non-power marked sets. You'll be missing out. I really don't get what's wrong with the status quo.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Riot In Cell Block Nine wrote:I find all of this discussion on powers and such interesting. One question I have pertaining to all of this is the place of powers at various types of events. People have mentioned (and it's obviously a fact) that ACF Nats, for example, doesn't use powers. Does judgment on powers change if, for example, there's a consideration for their use at a novice event (regardless of whether it's for high school or the collegiate level)? Similarly, would that change apply to negs as well? I know that people's opinions on both subjects varies, so I'm guessing there won't be just one definitive answer to this, but I'm still interested.
My argument is that the sole good argument against powers is that they are unfair because power-marking can be non-uniform between subject areas (every other anti-power argument I view as either subjective or fallacious).

If this is the issue with negs, then it becomes more salient as the tournament becomes more important, because legitimacy of results becomes more important as the tournament becomes more important. We don't want nationals decided because science tossups were worth slightly more than literature tossups due to inconsistent power-marking.

At novice tournaments? That's much less important. Sure, we don't want people leaving quizbowl due to observed blatant unfairness, but apart from avoiding that, there is a greater tolerance for error. Nothing as important as a national title is on the line. So I'd say that the argument for powers is even stronger at novice tournaments.

I should note that I'm not arguing for making powers mandatory: nobody is, except whoever made the OP, and nobody's really taking him seriously at this point. Rather, I'm just here to defend the compatibility of powers with good quizbowl, because some posters have decided to over-react to the OP by making strong (and IMO flawed) arguments against powers in general.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by bag-of-worms »

The problem with powers is that they assume the powering team has significantly deeper knowledge than the other, when that isn't necessarily the case.
For example, if the 2nd clue is the last power clue, and team A buzzes on clue 1, but team B got buzzer beat or knew the 2nd clue, there isn't much of a disparity between the knowledge of the two teams. Both teams would have powered it against a worse team; they have this arbitrary "power knowledge." However, when the two teams play each other, only one team can power, so the other team is penalized 1.5 or twice despite having the capability to score a 15 or 20.

I'm not saying a powering team doesn't deserve to get the points over a team with slightly less knowledge, but I don't think they deserve more points because some arbitrary mark.

Perhaps when a decent team plays a bad one, this isn't a huge issue, but when two closely matched teams play, it doesn't differentiate between the quality of two closely matched teams.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Francis the Talking France »

bt_green_warbler wrote:
Matt Weiner wrote:While I am perhaps the chief opponent of "HEY GUYS I BUZZED EARLY SOMEONE FIX THIS" I would like to note that the stats in that NAQT thread seem to be coming from one or two tournaments of unknown provenance. Small sample size doesn't prove much.
Small sample size beats zero sample size every day of the week. Matt, would it be useful if I posted (maybe at the top of that thread?) which tournaments the conversion stats come from?
I'd like it if you posted which tournaments the conversion stats came from. 9 powers on a question combined from 2 tournaments in the DC area and Illinois would probably be much different results than 2 tournaments in North Carolina/Florida/other areas that are not as big on quiz bowl. This may be a hassle, maybe not, just my 2 cents.
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Re: Making PowerMarks standard and mandatory

Post by Coldblueberry »

Uncanny wrote:The problem with powers is that they assume the powering team has significantly deeper knowledge than the other, when that isn't necessarily the case.
For example, if the 2nd clue is the last power clue, and team A buzzes on clue 1, but team B got buzzer beat or knew the 2nd clue, there isn't much of a disparity between the knowledge of the two teams. Both teams would have powered it against a worse team; they have this arbitrary "power knowledge." However, when the two teams play each other, only one team can power, so the other team is penalized 1.5 or twice despite having the capability to score a 15 or 20.

I'm not saying a powering team doesn't deserve to get the points over a team with slightly less knowledge, but I don't think they deserve more points because some arbitrary mark.

Perhaps when a decent team plays a bad one, this isn't a huge issue, but when two closely matched teams play, it doesn't differentiate between the quality of two closely matched teams.

I agreed with this at first, but since the 1.5X goes both ways, it doesn't really make a difference in head-to head matches. Additionally, one of the benefits of powers (mentioned by posters here) is that they differentiate among all the teams at the tournament.
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