Accidental Buzzes

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Off To See The Lizard
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Accidental Buzzes

Post by Off To See The Lizard »

One of my teammates today was stretching his hands above his head while yawning when the reader started reading a tossup. He put his hands back down and while doing so accidentally pressed the buzzer. By the time he had pressed the buzzer the reader had barely gotten three words out, none of which included any substantial clues. If I remember correctly, the words read could be akin to "this author wrote." Since I wasn't familiar enough with the rules I agreed to let the other team count it as a neg and moved on*

But that game ended up going to a tiebreaker so the issue bothered me for the rest of the day, which leads me to ask:

What's the official rule regarding accidental buzzes? When are they, if ever, excusable?

If the answer is never, isn't it a little unreasonably harsh to penalize someone for a clear accident as in the situation I detailed above?

*This is of course my own inevitably impartial opinion of the incident so I invite any member of the Maggie Walker A team as well as their coach to provide their perspective of the situation.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by Cody »

The ACF rule is:
E.11 wrote:If the substantive portion of a tossup has not yet begun—for example, if the moderator has only said “Next tossup,” or “Next tossup. It was…” and not read anything that could possibly indicate what the answer is—and a player buzzes in and claims to have accidentally pressed the button, the moderator will clear the system and proceed as if the buzz had not occurred. Any buzz after a substantive word has been read will be treated normally. Whether a substantive word has been read is a judgment call that is not protestable.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by Off To See The Lizard »

Renesmee LaHotdog Voight wrote:The ACF rule is:
E.11 wrote:If the substantive portion of a tossup has not yet begun—for example, if the moderator has only said “Next tossup,” or “Next tossup. It was…” and not read anything that could possibly indicate what the answer is—and a player buzzes in and claims to have accidentally pressed the button, the moderator will clear the system and proceed as if the buzz had not occurred. Any buzz after a substantive word has been read will be treated normally. Whether a substantive word has been read is a judgment call that is not protestable.
Ah I see. So if the moderator accepted a buzz as an accident and continued to read the question, the other team can't protest? That's basically what happened in our room.

Thanks for the clarification.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by RexSueciae »

As I recall, the buzz occurred and was quickly stated to be an accident, the moderator cleared, several people on our side of the room looked quizzically at him and/or threw their hands in the air, and the moderator (who didn't appear to be very familiar with this particular rule) ruled the buzz to be a neg after Walter Johnson said that he could count it as a neg. No formal protest was lodged by Maggie Walker A at any time during the game, to the best of my knowledge.

While I don't remember exactly where the buzz was made, one of my teammates messaged me indicating that he believes that it occurred following a substantial clue.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by AKKOLADE »

From the description, I would have ruled it a neg under ACF rules, since I would consider "author" a "substantive word."
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by Dominator »

Grams's Go-Go Boots wrote:From the description, I would have ruled it a neg under ACF rules, since I would consider "author" a "substantive word."
I, on the other hand, would not have. I have only ever enforced that rule if a word of a clue was mentioned. So, if the question opened with "This author wrote about a (*) salesman", I would not count any buzzes before the star, so long as they appeared accidental.

Most of the times I have moderated and an accidental buzz happened later in the question, someone from the other team has testified that the buzz was indeed an accident (for example, that they saw the opposing player drop a buzzer) and that the buzz should not be accepted. We're not always lucky enough to have that evidence available, but that kind of sportsmanship is always wonderful to see.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by Schmidt Sting Pain Index »

I think PACE has a rule about it being nullified in the first five words of the question.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by AKKOLADE »

Dominator wrote:
Grams's Go-Go Boots wrote:From the description, I would have ruled it a neg under ACF rules, since I would consider "author" a "substantive word."
I, on the other hand, would not have. I have only ever enforced that rule if a word of a clue was mentioned. So, if the question opened with "This author wrote about a (*) salesman", I would not count any buzzes before the star, so long as they appeared accidental.
I can't really say that's unreasonable. I think that specifying a type of answer counts as a clue, but I can definitely see the other argument.

The only time I can remember calling this was at this year's SCT we hosted, and I was about 8-10 words into a question and had started giving unquestionably significant clues.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by pajaro bobo »

I ran into a situation yesterday when one team buzzed and negged, and then when I cleared the buzzer I got an immediate buzz from the other side. I demanded an answer from them (and it was in the middle of the question, too) but the player and his teammates insisted that it was "accidental" since I apparently cleared fast enough to catch him still mashing the buzzer in frustration from losing the buzzer race. The other team told me they didn't mind letting the buzz not count, so I let them off, and they ended up not getting the tossup anyway. But in hindsight, I feel like I should have got an answer from them immediately. Am I right to be feeling this way?
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by AKKOLADE »

It depends on the timing. I tend to not clear until after the answer is given; if you did that and they still buzzed in, that was more than "I was fighting the buzzer race." If you cleared pretty much immediately, kid had a point.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by pajaro bobo »

I read the question, one team buzzed, they gave their answer, I checked the answer line and ruled them incorrect, I cleared and got the second buzz.

It was pretty much long enough for me to wonder why anyone would still be buzzing in, but I was going pretty fast, and the player seemed legitimately surprised/confused.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by Off To See The Lizard »

RexSueciae wrote:As I recall, the buzz occurred and was quickly stated to be an accident, the moderator cleared, several people on our side of the room looked quizzically at him and/or threw their hands in the air, and the moderator (who didn't appear to be very familiar with this particular rule) ruled the buzz to be a neg after Walter Johnson said that he could count it as a neg. No formal protest was lodged by Maggie Walker A at any time during the game, to the best of my knowledge.

While I don't remember exactly where the buzz was made, one of my teammates messaged me indicating that he believes that it occurred following a substantial clue.
Yeah that's a fair account of the situation and you guys did not launch a protest so the situation just cleared itself up. I still think the clues were not substantive but that doesn't really matter anymore. At least now i know that the decision is based on the moderator's discretion.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by Cheynem »

I think there's room within reason. At ACF Nationals one year, Jerry dropped his buzzer, causing it to go off, quite a bit of the way through a question, but it was in plain sight of the moderator and everyone, so we just carried on. Obviously it's difficult if tell what an "accident" is sometimes (for instance, if someone's deliberately priming, that's sort of the risk you take), but I would tend to take fairly generous views on accidental buzzes if at least the teams can agree.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by zachary_yan »

I didn't feel like making a new thread but an unrelated question about buzzers: Is it legal to hold down the button while the system is locked out to immediately activate the buzzer when it is cleared? I did this at NHBB bee to some avail (obviously I didn't win though). Apparently on some systems it doesn't work, although someone else may have been doing the same thing at the same time.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by dtaylor4 »

zachary_yan wrote:I didn't feel like making a new thread but an unrelated question about buzzers: Is it legal to hold down the button while the system is locked out to immediately activate the buzzer when it is cleared? I did this at NHBB bee to some avail (obviously I didn't win though). Apparently on some systems it doesn't work, although someone else may have been doing the same thing at the same time.
Is there a rule forbidding it? If you think it works, do it until you are forbidden from doing so.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by TSIAJ »

zachary_yan wrote:I didn't feel like making a new thread but an unrelated question about buzzers: Is it legal to hold down the button while the system is locked out to immediately activate the buzzer when it is cleared? I did this at NHBB bee to some avail (obviously I didn't win though). Apparently on some systems it doesn't work, although someone else may have been doing the same thing at the same time.
I've done this on occasion and no one has objected. It shouldn't be a constant thing though; you should still listen to the rest of the question.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by Byzantium1453 »

I know I am late, but after seeing the rules I would reluctantly agree that my teammate negged. The clue was more equivalent to something like a science question that led in with "The lead chamber process..." and my teammate accidentally buzzing here. At this point, there is only one correct answer, sulfuric acid, and enough information to identify it.
I think everyone on Walter Johnson and Maggie Walker knew that the actual buzz was an accident, but the clue was already substantive and specific, unfortunately making it a neg, especially in light of how the game turned out.
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Re: Accidental Buzzes

Post by alexdz »

zachary_yan wrote:I didn't feel like making a new thread but an unrelated question about buzzers: Is it legal to hold down the button while the system is locked out to immediately activate the buzzer when it is cleared? I did this at NHBB bee to some avail (obviously I didn't win though). Apparently on some systems it doesn't work, although someone else may have been doing the same thing at the same time.
The only issue I've run into with people doing this is when I'm running a buzzer system whose reset button is acting up. Occasionally, I'll hit the reset button and it won't work, so, expecting to hear their buzzer go off, the person will let go of the button before the system actually resets. Then when I hit it again and it clears, they aren't buzzing and they think their buzzer is broken, even though it is working perfectly.

Otherwise, there's no rule against this, so go for it.
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