Toward a True National Organization...

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
User avatar
First Chairman
Auron
Posts: 3875
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Fairfax VA
Contact:

Post by First Chairman »

As one person who has been thinking through the goals of any sort of national organization for a pretty long time, I'm going to underline Matt's and Lee's points: you need a reason to form and a set of goals. PACE already has its set of goals that I feel correlate to the expressed wishes of many people in this discussion. However, after almost ten years of organization, we are very amenable to expanding our goals to fulfill the needs of the circuit. As I have mentioned and repeated myself at least three times on this discussion: we need people who want to discuss goals and solutions, as well as resources that need to be used in order for us to move forward.

On behalf of PACE, I would be interested in seeing more discussions of this sort take place. If such a meeting is going to be set, I am very willing to offer any insight that I have about organizing such a meeting. I think it would be good to know whether the missions you are all wanting to advance could be taken under the PACE umbrella. I just hope I can actually take leave and attend.

I've been involved with deliberations of such a national organization when it comes to graduate and postdoctoral training over the last four years as well. We did organize, and we have been effective in doing certain things, but I don't know if similar success can be achieved without (again) more people and more resources. If you want PACE to be the organization you want, do you want us to charge membership fees? I personally oppose any narrowing down of the membership to just coaches because I feel that the long-term growth of the game is in the hands of the students who play the game. Without their enthusiasm and input, in ten years, you won't get the enthusiastic coaches who will encourage their colleagues to join this activity.
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
Facebook junkie and unofficial advisor to aspiring health professionals in quiz bowl
---
Pimping Green Tea Ginger Ale (Canada Dry)

User avatar
Matthew D
Yuna
Posts: 919
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 9:52 pm
Location: Scenic Grant Alabama

Post by Matthew D »

____
Matt Dennis
Coach DAR Quizbowl Team

User avatar
Stained Diviner
Auron
Posts: 4724
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:08 am
Location: Chicagoland
Contact:

Post by Stained Diviner »

Should we consider changing the meeting from Friday to Saturday to make it easier for coaches to attend? I have no idea what teams usually do on Saturday.

Also, we should try to meet at the hotel (on either day) if possible. A lot of coaches are doubling as chaperones, so the hotel is much preferable to Maine South even though Maine South is a good back-up plan. Somebody should tell NAQT what we are doing and see if they could find space for us.

If people are uncomfortable starting a new organization based on these conversations, then we should still meet somehow. It would be better if we had an agenda just because there is a lot to be done, we don't see each other often, and we want to avoid a gripe session. We all have lots of things to gripe about, but we also have better things to do with our time.

One of the reasons IHSSBCA took off was that there was a common enemy--IHSA. (IHSA has gotten better in some ways with time, thanks in large part to continued lobbying.) There is no common enemy nationally because nobody has enough power to earn much wrath.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

David Riley
Auron
Posts: 1428
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 8:27 am
Location: Morton Grove, IL

Post by David Riley »

I should have a "pre-agenda" by Monday, which I will post here. I agree with DR that we should have it at the motel if at all possible, and let NAQT know what's going on.

jrbarry
Yuna
Posts: 853
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 10:22 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Post by jrbarry »

Guys: count me IN on any informal meeting in Chicago. If my team does not choose to go to NAQT, I'll come up just to meet.

A national organization has been on my radar for many years. But the key is going to be WHY we need one. If a compelling argument can be made answering that question in a way that interests a large group of high school coaches, a national organization could well get started.

bigtrain
Rikku
Posts: 485
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 8:33 pm
Location: Bethesda, Maryland-Atlanta, Georgia
Contact:

Post by bigtrain »

I don't believe any new organization should be formed. One of the biggest problems the game has is the myriad of organizations already in existence (NAQT, PACE, QU, ASCN, etc). If one of the goals of this proposed organization is to unify the game, why not start by creating it "under the PACE umbrella."
Alex Price
Walter Johnson 2006
Emory University 2010

User avatar
Matthew D
Yuna
Posts: 919
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 9:52 pm
Location: Scenic Grant Alabama

Post by Matthew D »

I think I would like to attend the meeting also, I might have to ride up with Lee's crew though
Matt Dennis
Coach DAR Quizbowl Team

David Riley
Auron
Posts: 1428
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 8:27 am
Location: Morton Grove, IL

Post by David Riley »

OK, I've come up with an agenda of 19 points to be discussed (or not) at our proposed meeting at NAQT Nationals. Did I leave anything out?

1. Do we pursue a standard format, or not?
2. Do we pursue a coaches'/players' convention?
3. Should we set up a rating system to rate question suppliers, buzzer systems, moderators, tournaments?
4. How do we recognize excellence?
5. Should we provide a proofreading service?
6. How do we publicize in the standard media?
7. How do we publicize good tournaments to teamd?
8. Increase the number of tournaments, especially in underrepresented areas?
9. Do we want to set up mirrors of good tournaments?
10. Do we want to assist TDs to arrange formats, find questions, find moderators, etc.?
11. Work with pre-existing tournaments (e.g. PACE, Panasonic, ASCN)
12. Do we want to pursue television coverage?
13. Do we want to pursue corporate sponsorship?
14. Do we want to provide liaisons to state organizations?
15. Do we want to pursue a national middle school competition?
16. Do we want to provide for a student advisory board, either separate or as part of what we are trying to found?
17. Should we provide assistance to new programs and provide basic information to inexperienced coaches?
18. Do we want to use a pre-existing model?
19. Do we want a "Senate" or "House of Representatives" model for voting purposes? That is, one vote, one state, or should more active states (e.g. Virginia, Illinois, Georgia) get mopre votes?

Comments? (DUCK!)


David Riley
Scholastic Bowl Coach
Loyola Academy
Wilmette, IL

User avatar
Ben Dillon
Rikku
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 10:47 pm
Location: South Bend, IN
Contact:

Post by Ben Dillon »

I would very likely attend the Chicago meeting, because I am on the Indiana State Quiz Bowl Board, have coached a successful team for ten years, and would love to exchange ideas with fellow coaches.

Unfortunately, my team and I will be attending NAC in DC that weekend, so hopefully someone will post the minutes/lines of discussion so that I and others can follow.
Last edited by Ben Dillon on Thu Mar 02, 2006 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ben Dillon, Saint Joseph HS

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as
six impossible things before breakfast!"

bigtrain
Rikku
Posts: 485
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 8:33 pm
Location: Bethesda, Maryland-Atlanta, Georgia
Contact:

Post by bigtrain »

Unfortunately, my team and I will be attending NAC in DC that weekend, so hopefully someone will post the minutes/lines of discussion so that I and others can follow.
That's extremely unfortunate. I'm not quite sure if you realize that an association of coaches would be primarily made up of the kind of coach who opposes competitions like the NAC and Chip Beal and would strongly urge teams like yours not to attend them.
Alex Price
Walter Johnson 2006
Emory University 2010

User avatar
BuzzerZen
Auron
Posts: 1517
Joined: Thu Nov 18, 2004 11:01 pm
Location: Arlington, VA/Hampshire College
Contact:

Post by BuzzerZen »

I haven't been involved with this discussion particularly, but I'd just like to throw out the idea that the principal constituent (and voting, presumably) members of a national organization really ought to be not coaches or players, but teams. There are teams (mine, for instance) centered more around continuing player leadership and involvement than an experienced coach, and there are of course teams led by very experienced coaches (i.e. the teams of most of the people involved in this thread). Non-discriminatorially having membership be team/program based allows for teams with varying leadership models to participate on an equal basis.
Evan Silberman
Hampshire College 07F

How are you actually reading one of my posts?

'Bago Power
Kimahri
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 03, 2005 4:48 pm
Location: Saint Joe's
Contact:

Post by 'Bago Power »

For whom is it appropriate to attend this meeting? For example, I am a college sophomore not currently associated with any team. I am a graduate of Winnebago HS in Winnebago, IL, but I am attending school in Indiana. I have thus far found it difficult to be terribly involved, mainly due to the fact that no school within a 45 minute radius of my college evidently has a team. However, I recently became an IHSSBCA certified moderator, and I am looking to get more involved in any capacity possible. Once I get out of college, I am certainly looking to stay involved in the Quiz Bowl community. Would it be appropriate for me to give input on these issues?

User avatar
quizbowllee
Auron
Posts: 2170
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:12 am
Location: Alabama

Post by quizbowllee »

'Bago Power wrote:For whom is it appropriate to attend this meeting? For example, I am a college sophomore not currently associated with any team. I am a graduate of Winnebago HS in Winnebago, IL, but I am attending school in Indiana. I have thus far found it difficult to be terribly involved, mainly due to the fact that no school within a 45 minute radius of my college evidently has a team. However, I recently became an IHSSBCA certified moderator, and I am looking to get more involved in any capacity possible. Once I get out of college, I am certainly looking to stay involved in the Quiz Bowl community. Would it be appropriate for me to give input on these issues?
I think that you would be welcome at this meeting.

As for me, I'm gonna do my best to be there.

Perhaps we can set up two meetings - one at NAQT and one at PACE. Those of us who will be at both can fill in those who aren't. I think that it is important to have a meeting in Durham, since PACE seems to be considering taking this on.
Lee Henry
AP English Teacher
Quiz Bowl Coach
West Point High School
Cullman, AL

User avatar
First Chairman
Auron
Posts: 3875
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Fairfax VA
Contact:

That's a lot of questions...

Post by First Chairman »

David Riley wrote:OK, I've come up with an agenda of 19 points to be discussed (or not) at our proposed meeting at NAQT Nationals. Did I leave anything out?
How long is this meeting going to last? If we had a meeting among just the PACE members to discuss these issues, I don't think we can get past six of those items within three hours.

I certainly wouldn't mind a meeting at PACE, though be forewarned that some of us may have other duties that will supersede attending such a meeting that for the weekend would be of higher priority (I think you understand).

If you don't mind staying around until after the Sunday festivities, that would be the best time to schedule such a meeting... but I'd need to know so I could reserve the room (I have already planned to have all necessary rooms for Sunday reserved until 5pm). Certainly meeting informally during registration on Friday is another option (again, I'd need to see what meeting space there is against whatever other events may be spontaneously run), but you can imagine, I will be thoroughly distracted as host.
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
Facebook junkie and unofficial advisor to aspiring health professionals in quiz bowl
---
Pimping Green Tea Ginger Ale (Canada Dry)

David Riley
Auron
Posts: 1428
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 8:27 am
Location: Morton Grove, IL

Post by David Riley »

I agree the agenda is a tall order, I would hope people would be able to collectively decide what is important beforehand so the meeting would last no longer than three hours tops.

While I'm at it, here's my $0.02 worth regarding the agenda and the meeting in general.


1) I think some key people need to be included. For example, Lorena from Grand Junction, CO; Dr. Rummage from Tennessee, Linda from Edison Beach, CA; not to mention the contributors to this board (Dr. Chuck, the various Illinois and Alabama contingents).

2) The idea of a national middle school tournament is intriguing, but I don't consider this a priority right now. First things first. . .

3) I don't think we should align ourselves with a specific tournament if we are to be a truly national organization.

4) By the same token, we need to respect the natonal tournaments that are already there; yes, including NAC. Whatever people's feelings about Chip, he does attract a large contingent from Texas and New York that I don't think we can ignore.

5) If we can get a workable agenda ahead of time, why not parallel meetings at PACE, ASCN, Panasonic, NAQT, etc., if room is available?

User avatar
Stained Diviner
Auron
Posts: 4724
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 6:08 am
Location: Chicagoland
Contact:

Post by Stained Diviner »

NAQT tells me that they would prefer to have the meeting Saturday evening and would be happy to set aside a large room and put it on the schedule.

Anybody want to be a contact person for this? Personally, I will be at the NAQT meeting but not any of the proposed parallel meetings--I would love to see something come out of all of this and am willing to dedicate hours to it, but I have three small children and don't get out much.

If having it on Saturday is a problem, let me know soon via email or this thread. If it's a serious issue, we can set up a poll or ask people who have expressed an interest. At this point, Friday is still an option.

On another note, I think interested students should consider themselves welcome.

We should all be aware that this process will be somewhat messy--we will end up with at least as many questions as we start with. Some of the most basic questions, such as whether or not to charter a new organization, who is in charge (not necessarily one person), and where funding will come from (even ideas that don't cost much usually require some money for a website or postage), may not be answered immediately.

At this point, it could be helpful for people to pick pet issues. If there is anything on Riley's list that you are willing to work on for an extended period of time, claim it. You won't have the organization's backing until the organization actually exists and discusses your plans (and you should be warned that anything attempted now falls into the guinea pig category), but you could get the ball rolling.

Once we've figured out exactly when and where and how many with the meetings, we should make sure that people from lots of states are aware of them.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

User avatar
Zip Zap Rap Pants
Yuna
Posts: 780
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:55 am
Location: Richmond/Williamsburg, VA
Contact:

Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants »

David Riley wrote: 4) By the same token, we need to respect the natonal tournaments that are already there; yes, including NAC. Whatever people's feelings about Chip, he does attract a large contingent from Texas and New York that I don't think we can ignore.
If that's the case, then somehow this true national organization should have a system to determine a true national champion, whether it's through a poll like the college quizbowl players' poll, or perhaps a handful of matches could be set up at Panasonic between the serious contenders. I say Panasonic just because that's usually the last tournament of the year (with the exception of this year), and most of the legitimate contenders would already be sending from 2 to all 4 of their team members so it wouldn't be much harder for them to go. This whole idea would be separate from the all-star portion of Panasonic; it's just the best time and place because it's after everything else. Heck I bet after this year we won't have any idea who the true champion is, because I can see one team winning PACE, one winning NAQT, and another team finishing second both times. It's crazy :twisted:
Matt Morrison, William & Mary '10, Tour Guide &c., MA in History '12?

"All the cool people eat mangoes while they smoke blunts and do cannonballs off a trampoline into my hot tub..."
-Matt Weiner

“In beer there is strength,
In wine is wisdom,
In water is germs.”
-Unknown

new email: mpmorr at email dot wm dot edu

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Post by Matt Weiner »

David Riley wrote:4) By the same token, we need to respect the natonal tournaments that are already there; yes, including NAC. Whatever people's feelings about Chip, he does attract a large contingent from Texas and New York that I don't think we can ignore.
If this organization is going to legitimize horrible tournaments that scam teams out of their money instead of work to eliminate them, then its formation is a net negative. The first priority of any kind of national association for high school quizbowl should be to make high school quizbowl better and more popular; it's just common sense. Chip works against both of those objectives.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
quizbowllee
Auron
Posts: 2170
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:12 am
Location: Alabama

Post by quizbowllee »

Matt Weiner wrote:
David Riley wrote:4) By the same token, we need to respect the natonal tournaments that are already there; yes, including NAC. Whatever people's feelings about Chip, he does attract a large contingent from Texas and New York that I don't think we can ignore.
If this organization is going to legitimize horrible tournaments that scam teams out of their money instead of work to eliminate them, then its formation is a net negative. The first priority of any kind of national association for high school quizbowl should be to make high school quizbowl better and more popular; it's just common sense. Chip works against both of those objectives.
I agree. Enough said.
Lee Henry
AP English Teacher
Quiz Bowl Coach
West Point High School
Cullman, AL

Tegan
Coach of AHAN Jr.
Posts: 1975
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 9:42 pm

Post by Tegan »

Matt Weiner wrote: If this organization is going to legitimize horrible tournaments that scam teams out of their money instead of work to eliminate them, then its formation is a net negative. The first priority of any kind of national association for high school quizbowl should be to make high school quizbowl better and more popular; it's just common sense. Chip works against both of those objectives.
1. Who decides what's legit and what isn't? I for one know that I shouldn't have that power, and I'm not sure how many people would trust someone who ran forward and said "me". I'm saying this as a devil's advocate, as I think there are certain things we would all agree on .... but any national federation cannot become a dictatorship of the minority .... any dictatorship which can will the "bad tournaments" out of existence could turn around one day and do likewise to the good ones. In other words, gestapo tactics will backfire in the long run.

Let me play Devil's Advoate again...you say we should make quiz bowl more popular. I not only agree, but think that should be goal #1. But, don't you think marching into a state/region/area where someone like Mr. Beal's tournaments are popular and saying "boy are you guys wrong....you've got to do this our way from now on." would cause some backlash? Instead of drawing them in, we might inadvertantly be building a brick wall. Someone earlier commented that they would not appreciate a northern group coming down South and legislating change. I think it applies anywhere.

2. Legislating the "bad" out of existence will not work....what it will do is cause fighting, eventually reducing legit national quizbowl to about 20-30 teams in 10 states who meet once a year to hold a token tournament in which no more than ten of them in any given year have a chance of winning.....and as coaches retire will see that number dwindle.
Instead, a National Federation could be used to subtlely bring forth the changes we have discussed. Push, but not too hard, especially at first. Remember, you can kill more rats with poisoned sugar than with just poison. To quote Margaret Hamilton, "These things must be handeled delicately." (emphasis on the delicately).

I see this as a potential opportunity to bring more states into the fold, and hopefully guide them into not making the same mistakes that states like we in Illinois made and then had to dig out of (and we are still digging).....as things (like pyramidality in toss-ups) become more the national "norm"......change will be inevitable.
Last edited by Tegan on Thu Mar 02, 2006 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

David Riley
Auron
Posts: 1428
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 8:27 am
Location: Morton Grove, IL

Post by David Riley »

re Chip: I'm not saying we need to legitimize Chip's or any other tournaments, I'm simply saying that if you want a true national organiztion then you can't afford to alienate two major quiz bowl states, many of whose members happen to play Chip's tournaments.

User avatar
quizbowllee
Auron
Posts: 2170
Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2004 2:12 am
Location: Alabama

Post by quizbowllee »

I think this may be the point at which this whole idea implodes.

Regardless, though, here are a couple of my main thoughts at this point:

1) I'm not necessarily in favor of having us declare an "official" National Champion. I don't have a problem with NAQT and PACE both having national champions. I think I said this before, but it's sort of like boxing. There a few (in this case two legitimate) championships. Any team great enough to win both is "undisputed." TJ A was that good last year.

2) I seriously don't think I'll be able to make the meeting in Chicago if it's Saturday afternoon/evening. We're having to bus all the way from Alabama. Saturday evening after the matches is the only down time we will have, and I'd like to take the team to have some fun in the Windy City. It's not every day that us country-folk get to go to the "big city" with all the fancy lights and whatnot. ;-)

3) Concerning bad quiz bowl: I don't really know what to do. I think this is going to be the crux of this whole idea. Personally, I'm not not for legitimizing, endorsing, or being in any way affiliated with Chip's tournament at all. However, I do see the problem in excluding those places who are fixated on that event. I think we need a lot more dialogue before we move on that area. Is there not someone we can contact from those parts of the country (Chris Romero from Texas comes to mind.) Maybe we can get some input from people in those areas and see what they have to say.
Lee Henry
AP English Teacher
Quiz Bowl Coach
West Point High School
Cullman, AL

bigtrain
Rikku
Posts: 485
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2004 8:33 pm
Location: Bethesda, Maryland-Atlanta, Georgia
Contact:

Post by bigtrain »

I got into an arguement with a coach from White Plains High School in New York this year. He was in favor of Chip, and his team attends his tournaments often. He told me he does not like NAQT because it rewards teams with in depth, specific knowledge that he deamed was not important (this is coming from a teacher). He said he liked Chip because it rewards teams who can think quickly. Honestly, I think Chip teams are lying to themselves and participate in it because very, very few good teams play it and they like to win. Teams like White Plains, and Horace Greeley (also in Westchester), like to go to Chip's tournament so they can play bad teams and come back to their schools the prestigious victors of a national "academic" tournament. Additionally, it takes much less work to excel at Chip Beal than it does to excel on pyramidal questions. I think that with a bit of work, TJ's A team could have won Chip's tournament last year. In fact, I think my own team would do very well at Chip's tournament because we happen to be very good on speed questions (we beat TJ on them last year). However, I'll never ask my coach to take our team on the 20 minute drive to Chip's Washington tournament site because I don't place any value in exceling in a fraudulent game against second rate competition. Instead, we'll make the 700 mile trip to Chicago for the HSNCT and the 275 mile trip to Durham for the NSC.

In conclusion, I have no idea how to get rid of Chip Beal, but I do know his tournament has no place in our game.
Alex Price
Walter Johnson 2006
Emory University 2010

Tegan
Coach of AHAN Jr.
Posts: 1975
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 9:42 pm

Post by Tegan »

Q.B. Lee is right. This is going to take a lot of dialogue. I'm even wondering if a meeting at this point might be premature......

Even among ourselves (I'm not trying to be exclusive, but a lot of the talk is coming from: Maryland, Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois...and that does not even take into account some other major active states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Florida and a host of others with moderate activity, but coaches who are certainly dedicated) there will be a need for talk and discussion in terms of a direction. When we start to talk about spreading out, it will take even more.

I think maybe it would be more appropriate to say that it is better that we start having the conversation now instead of later. Certainly, if there is bad quizbowl out there (no doubt there is, I occasionally play some of it unfortunately), we can use the power of such an organization to try and fix it.....

Big Train's argument is one point. This coach from White Plains (and I have no idea who this person is) might be the most deluded coach on Earth. If this was in fact the case, did Big Train change their mind? From the sound of it, no. Will there always be teams scouting out easier competition to bring home the trophy? Sure. That happens in sports all the time, and will be no different here. I think once we can establish some basic ground rules, we should start coming up with a general framework for what makes "good" quizbowl. If that were to become a part of our "charter" or constitution or fill in the blank.....then perhaps we can use that to get more state organizations (especially any potentially new state organizations) to sign on to this as being the "standard".....thus instead of legislating away bad quizbowl, you isolate it, and make it appear to be more and more "odd".....as more and more people are exposed to good quizbowl....young coaches enter that state, co-opt it in demanding better quizbowl, and soon the state is taken over. There is no revolution, no fight, it happens as a natural process.

I've never met Mr. Beal, not attended any of his tournaments, and thus I reserve any judgement. I've not heard too many kind words though, and they are coming from people with generally respectable reputations. I understand this man's work has gotten under your skin. Based on my experience with people who are more or less backward thinking, it is very difficult to get rid of such people. They can at best be isolated and contained, bu rarely eliminated.

User avatar
Zip Zap Rap Pants
Yuna
Posts: 780
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:55 am
Location: Richmond/Williamsburg, VA
Contact:

Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants »

quizbowllee wrote:
1) I'm not necessarily in favor of having us declare an "official" National Champion. I don't have a problem with NAQT and PACE both having national champions. I think I said this before, but it's sort of like boxing. There a few (in this case two legitimate) championships. Any team great enough to win both is "undisputed." TJ A was that good last year.
That's actually why boxing popularity has been low in recent years. With the departure of Tyson (though he still trys to cling on), Holyfield, and more recently Lennox Louis, there's no one out there who can unite the title as "world's champion." I thought one of the objectives of this proposed organization/federation was to increase quizbowl popularity, and so I figured uniting the title was a good way to do it.

As for the NAC/bad quizbowl issue, I think if NAQT or PACE really pushes to have more tournaments in areas where Chip is popular, they will gradually come to favor academia over trivia, partly because they'll probably see (in New York) State College, Seton Hall, and others showing up and winning. Perhaps then they'll see the light and realize what it takes to be considered a "good" team in real quizbowl.
Matt Morrison, William & Mary '10, Tour Guide &c., MA in History '12?

"All the cool people eat mangoes while they smoke blunts and do cannonballs off a trampoline into my hot tub..."
-Matt Weiner

“In beer there is strength,
In wine is wisdom,
In water is germs.”
-Unknown

new email: mpmorr at email dot wm dot edu

User avatar
First Chairman
Auron
Posts: 3875
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Fairfax VA
Contact:

Post by First Chairman »

bigtrain wrote:I got into an arguement with a coach from White Plains High School in New York this year. He was in favor of Chip, and his team attends his tournaments often. He told me he does not like NAQT because it rewards teams with in depth, specific knowledge that he deamed was not important (this is coming from a teacher). He said he liked Chip because it rewards teams who can think quickly.
Challenge: invite that team to come to Maryland for the Fall Classic when the format is It's Ac. Or similar tournaments where speed is of the essence. Let's see how good his team is. They probably are really good... but the point is to prove themselves against other teams that are also "fast" that also play "in-depth" questions.

I'm surprised that Matt hasn't launched with a few more ICBM's at this assertion, though obviously we're preaching to the converted. There are so many examples of questions where "speed" is not part of Chip's questions. Many of the questions themselves are technically flawed for "speed rounds" because they require subjective "essay responses" (as I call them). If you compare It's Ac rounds to Chip rounds, there's no comparison which work better for the "entertainment value" of speed.

I'm not going to lecture another teacher about Bloom's taxonomy, but it brings up an interesting question whether quiz bowl is all about just "knowledge" and "recall" and should not somehow involve higher levels of "comprehension" or "application." Should it just be about speed or about depth of knowledge (however that is evaluated)? Some will choose one over the other. I myself don't argue which one is better: speed questions work much better for "TV" than pyramidal questions tend to. I just have real issues with the assertion that Chip's questions test "speed" or even "relevant" material.

Besides, among the questions that "he"/his company apparently (allegedly) plagiarized from the Stanford Archive, it's not like he reworked them to be "faster." (This is THE major point most of us have with Chip.)
Last edited by First Chairman on Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
Facebook junkie and unofficial advisor to aspiring health professionals in quiz bowl
---
Pimping Green Tea Ginger Ale (Canada Dry)

User avatar
DumbJaques
Forums Staff: Administrator
Posts: 3083
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 6:21 pm
Location: Columbus, OH

Post by DumbJaques »

E.T. Chuck wrote:
Besides, among the questions that "he"/his company apparently (allegedly) plagiarized from the Stanford Archive, it's not like he reworked them to be "faster."
I didn't hear about this. . . what?
Chris Ray
OSU
University of Chicago, 2016
University of Maryland, 2014
ACF, PACE

User avatar
Matthew D
Yuna
Posts: 919
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 9:52 pm
Location: Scenic Grant Alabama

Post by Matthew D »

I would think that most of the question would be recall. But I would argue the fact that if more of the students could recall the facts, then the it would be somewhat easier to get to the higher steps on the Taxonomy

I like Teagan's idea on an evolutionary process to get rid of bad quiz bowl. It might be a good idea to have some "good" inservice for teachers that are coaches. This would give them some pro credit and also give the person running the inservice time to sell the fundamentals of good quizbowl.
Matt Dennis
Coach DAR Quizbowl Team

User avatar
First Chairman
Auron
Posts: 3875
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Fairfax VA
Contact:

Post by First Chairman »

I wouldn't mind having quiz bowl be part of "professional development" if I knew how to get such an argument constructed.

I do agree that the "evolutionary" aspect of quiz bowl is a good driving force. If anything, it has already begun to dictate that the quality of quiz bowl that is run by NAQT and PACE and many independent circuit events is the direction. Market forces are not preventing Chip from the hundreds upon hundreds of teams that he has gotten, but he has taken a hit on the upper-echelon quality that his competitions attract. Sure, the coach at White Plains may revel in his national championship from NAC, but does he really care whether the "circuit" acknowledges it? Does he really care about a "poll"? Would he really care about this national organization of coaches that really doesn't share in his opinion of what "true quiz bowl" should be? I admit he could be "isolated," but you have to address his concerns regardless.

I have always contended that every team should have the opportunity to attend every national. I strongly suggest that teams attend another national outside before coming to PACE NSC so that one can identify the differences in philosophy and help the NSC to be a better national. It's not a capitalistic attitude to encourage teams to go to NAQT or NAC or ASCN or Panasonic, but it is our desire to be better than we are.

If I recall correctly, I do believe that White Plains does make it to Yale. They haven't won Yale's tournament, but they tend to do okay. Would it bother them if they didn't win that event but went on to win NAC, knowing that there are other teams out there that clean their clock on different questions? I wouldn't be worried.

I'm just saying you will always have the "stubborn ones" out there. White Plains is relatively isolated compared to most of circuit teams. Do they want to play NAQT? No. If they don't want to, why force them? But what would a national organization do on that front?
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
Facebook junkie and unofficial advisor to aspiring health professionals in quiz bowl
---
Pimping Green Tea Ginger Ale (Canada Dry)

User avatar
Matthew D
Yuna
Posts: 919
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2005 9:52 pm
Location: Scenic Grant Alabama

Post by Matthew D »

I would assume that the professional development would have to based around the fact that quiz bowl is based in academics and using quiz bowl as a motivational tool to engage the students OR we could just use the route that most of the coaches use.. you need to be there for a briefing on the rule changes and to have a good time :wink:
Matt Dennis
Coach DAR Quizbowl Team

jrbarry
Yuna
Posts: 853
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2003 10:22 pm
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Post by jrbarry »

1. I have conducted a number of coaches workshops where professional development credit was awarded to participants. It is certainly possible.

2. What is "the circuit?" I didn't realize we had a recognized "circuit" or even an unrecognized circuit.

Most quiz bowl people are not represented on this board as we all are. It is good to remember that we are a minority of quiz bowl in the US.

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Post by Matt Weiner »

jrbarry wrote:2. What is "the circuit?" I didn't realize we had a recognized "circuit" or even an unrecognized circuit.
Anyone who plays on Saturday. Not teams who just do TV events or local leagues, but everyone who goes further than that at all.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

NatusRoma
Lulu
Posts: 84
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:15 pm
Location: New Haven, CT

Post by NatusRoma »

E.T. Chuck wrote:If I recall correctly, I do believe that White Plains does make it to Yale. They haven't won Yale's tournament, but they tend to do okay. Would it bother them if they didn't win that event but went on to win NAC, knowing that there are other teams out there that clean their clock on different questions? I wouldn't be worried.
White Plains hasn't come to BHSAT in at least two years, though my knowledge extends back no further, and they may have come in the past. If White Plains were to come again (which I certainly hope that it will do), its players would, I hope, receive the opportunity to play on challenging, pyramidal questions.

As for the best way to ground out the products of the much-maligned Chip Beall, I will repeat a maxim that has been variously attributed to Max Planck, Paul Samuelson, and John Maynard Keynes: "Funeral by funeral, science makes progress". We might more kindly say that quizbowl will progress retirement by retirement. The way to promote good quizbowl over bad is to outlast those who promote bad questions. When Mr. Beall decides to hang up his buzzer, if there's no one to replace him, his brand of quizbowl will quickly decline in influence, provided that people like you and I, who agree (at the very least) on pyramidal, hose-free questions, are still around to fill the void.

It's most important to continue writing good questions and to continue hosting and attending tournaments. We can slowly convert teams to models of better quizbowl, but large numbers will not come without patience.

That said, a national organization would go along way toward making sure that there is always a quality alternative to poor quizbowl, so good luck with it. If we Yale folks can provide with any help in Connecticut, where our two high school tournaments are among the very, very few quizbowl opportunities available, please let us know.

User avatar
Ben Dillon
Rikku
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 10:47 pm
Location: South Bend, IN
Contact:

Post by Ben Dillon »

Since it seems as if I indirectly started this thread about Chip Beall -- note that at the time I didn't evaluate the quality of his tournaments or questions or anything like that; I merely mentioned that my team would be attending NAC-DC instead of NAQT-Chicago -- I feel it necessary to weigh in on behalf of teams who attend NAC.

I will only speak for my own team: Put simply, we go to NAC instead of NAQT because we prefer the Questions Unlimited format to the NAQT format. My players have played both, and they like straight tossups too much to go to NAQT exclusively, and they like the differing point values in QU, even if they sometimes are assigned poorly. They like that the game isn't over until the fourth round because of the high point values left, whereas a team is almost incapable of recovering from a first-half blowout in NAQT. They don't feel as if they have been hosed by questions in QU.

I freely admit that NAQT writes higher quality questions, and that the evidence seems to point towards Chip at least being complicit in plagiarism. In fact, if NAQT regularly wrote packets in QU format, I think they could make a serious dent in Chip's business.

I guess what I'm trying to point out is this: To me, a true national organization would take a neutral stance toward national tournaments and not look to alienate or dismiss a significant chunk of the quiz bowl population as playing an "inferior" version of the game. If one of the goals of such an organization is to promote the playing of quiz bowl, it seems to me that a "you're too stupid to know that you're not playing real quiz bowl" approach that likely would repel new teams instead of attracting them. I know it's repelling me, and I *like* you folks :)
Ben Dillon, Saint Joseph HS

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as
six impossible things before breakfast!"

NatusRoma
Lulu
Posts: 84
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:15 pm
Location: New Haven, CT

Post by NatusRoma »

Ben Dillon wrote:I guess what I'm trying to point out is this: To me, a true national organization would take a neutral stance toward national tournaments and not look to alienate or dismiss a significant chunk of the quiz bowl population as playing an "inferior" version of the game. If one of the goals of such an organization is to promote the playing of quiz bowl, it seems to me that a "you're too stupid to know that you're not playing real quiz bowl" approach that likely would repel new teams instead of attracting them. I know it's repelling me, and I *like* you folks :)
This is why I'm advocating a patient approach. You and I have an honest disagreement about which style of play is more enjoyable, and, even, better. I hope that someone more skilled at argument than I will eventually persuade you that NAQT, or something like it, is better than QU. If not, then enjoy QU. I've never met Mr. Beall, and it is likely that I've never played on his company's questions (though I can think of at least one Illinois high school tournament whose questions had much the same feel), but I am convinced that pyramidal tossups, even really short ones, reward knowledge more effectively, and thus are better than, the sample tossups available on the QU website.

STPickrell
Auron
Posts: 1501
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 11:12 pm
Location: Vienna, VA
Contact:

Post by STPickrell »

Ben, what it seems you're saying is that you (and your team) prefers the NAC 4-quarter *format* to the straight tossup-bonus format of NAQT. So the ideal for you guys would be NAC *format* on NAQT questions, right?

While it can be pointed out how bad questions reduce the competitive aspect of the game and the fun for everyone, I'm not sure how the tossup-bonus format is inherently better than the myriads of other formats.

If we can only fight a limited number of battles, let's prioritize.

One more thing: Chip Beall recruits aggressively. Several of the teams which finished well at VHSL got letters from Chip congratulating them and inviting them to the NAC. PACE, NAQT and now the USQBA would do well to market aggressively.

User avatar
Zip Zap Rap Pants
Yuna
Posts: 780
Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 12:55 am
Location: Richmond/Williamsburg, VA
Contact:

Post by Zip Zap Rap Pants »

StPickrell wrote:
While it can be pointed out how bad questions reduce the competitive aspect of the game and the fun for everyone, I'm not sure how the tossup-bonus format is inherently better than the myriads of other formats.
I don't think that's the main issue here. The other big issue is pyramidality vs. short "lightning" questions. To some this means academia vs. trivia. If one were to look at VHSL, imo it has improved vastly by increasing its question quality (thanks to you, Mr. Pickrell); however it has not changed its format. I think that types of questions are a lot more important than format, and when you falsely claim to have the best questions in the world and plagiarize from the archives, it lowers the "legitimacy" of a tournament more than any other factor in the eyes of a lot of us.
Matt Morrison, William & Mary '10, Tour Guide &c., MA in History '12?

"All the cool people eat mangoes while they smoke blunts and do cannonballs off a trampoline into my hot tub..."
-Matt Weiner

“In beer there is strength,
In wine is wisdom,
In water is germs.”
-Unknown

new email: mpmorr at email dot wm dot edu

User avatar
Ben Dillon
Rikku
Posts: 280
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2005 10:47 pm
Location: South Bend, IN
Contact:

Post by Ben Dillon »

Natusroma:
This is why I'm advocating a patient approach. You and I have an honest disagreement about which style of play is more enjoyable, and, even, better. I hope that someone more skilled at argument than I will eventually persuade you that NAQT, or something like it, is better than QU.
StPickrell:
Ben, what it seems you're saying is that you (and your team) prefers the NAC 4-quarter *format* to the straight tossup-bonus format of NAQT. So the ideal for you guys would be NAC *format* on NAQT questions, right?
Exactly, St. Either NAQT or QU, we enjoy playing quiz bowl; and we certainly have enjoyed playing in NAQT tournaments, just not as much as QU tournaments.

And, Natus, thank you for recognizing that this is an honest disagreement about format/style. I have felt as if some others in the forum simply dismiss those with my preference as being coaches who are ignorant (I'm not saying that's what they are trying to imply, but it is what I end up inferring).
Ben Dillon, Saint Joseph HS

"Why, sometimes I've believed as many as
six impossible things before breakfast!"

STPickrell
Auron
Posts: 1501
Joined: Fri Nov 28, 2003 11:12 pm
Location: Vienna, VA
Contact:

Post by STPickrell »

Hey Matt:

Some pyramidal questions do end up being buzzer races because the pyramid was constructed incorrectly (a certain number of these will unfortunately occur) or the teams just don't know the question until the giveaway (this doesn't reduce the quality of the question or the enjoyment other teams will get from it.)

But to build it on purpose so Every. Single. Tossup. is a buzzer race? That's just a reaction time test, as opposed to a competition of knowledge and recall speed.

(The directed round (10 questions per team), since those are essentially bonus questions, those don't have to be so pyramidal.)

I've been in charge of writing VHSL questions since 2001. I think we've improved some since then, of course. Matt or some of the more seasoned coaches here can talk about the Sandy era.

I think the point I was trying to make was that the NAC *format* as opposed to the NAC *questions* was preferred by some teams. And if we can convert coaches to good (or at least better and non-plagiarized) *questions* by using the NAC *format*, then let's do it! (The potential evils of lightning rounds can be mitigated by good editing, IMO.)

Romero
Wakka
Posts: 157
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2003 11:05 pm
Contact:

Post by Romero »

I just read this thread in one sitting. It is my sense that though your ideas are well-intentioned, any idea of a new national organization is half-baked and destined for failure.

Any unified national is years (if not decades) away. NAQT and PACE have to be commended for their years of dedication to an incremental approach towards widespread "good" quiz bowl. Ironically there are disparate notions of "good" quiz bowl discussed in this thread. I know some folks (e.g. Matt Weiner, Lee Henry, BigTrain) probably agree for the most part with my definition; my impression is that others (e.g. J.R. Barry, David Riley, and Ben Dillon) would oppose that definition. It is my best guess that nothing will come of this discussion because there is no acceptable middle ground.

As earlier suggested, any successful progressivist movement would have to be started under the umbrella of a group like PACE or NAQT, which has put in years of legwork. Simply having a meeting and declaring yourself the king of the high school Quiz bowl Mountain is asinine.

Here is a suggestion. Why not pool your resources to help spread the gospel of "real" quiz bowl? Are your own states free of bad quiz bowl? I doubt that. Though someone previously alluded to a heavy Texas participation at NAC, the number of chip tournaments in Texas has been on the decline for 5 years now. Our progress has been slow but sure. The Texas teams that attend NAC are the ones without real national credentials. Until Texas is free of Chip, it would be inappropriate of me to attempt to thrust my system on others.

Personally my next step is reaching out to local competitions, through packets at reduced rates. Many local organizers are not able to discern good from bad questions, but saving money is a message they understand. My plan is to win new teams iteratively to my brand of competition via this sort of grass roots approach.

Romero
Texas Quiz Bowl
http://texasquizbowl.org

David Riley
Auron
Posts: 1428
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 8:27 am
Location: Morton Grove, IL

Post by David Riley »

OK, after all of the discussion, how's this for a plan:

1) Information/discussion only--no decisions--meetings are held at NAQT, PACE, Panasonic, ASCN, NAC, wherever. Two to three hours max.

2) Each meeting should have a facilitator who chairs the meeting and a secretary who takes detailed notes of everything that is discussed. The notes from these meetings should be a fairly good indicator of which issues are really important to people.

3) The secretary should obtain a list of email contacts of everyone at the meeting who wants to seriously work on this.

4) A grand facilitator (and my firend Tegan would be an obvious choice for a position like this) will sort through the notes, send them to the email contacts above, and all of us who wish to work on this can begin serious deliberatons.

Any volunteers?

User avatar
First Chairman
Auron
Posts: 3875
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Fairfax VA
Contact:

Post by First Chairman »

Ben Dillon wrote:In fact, if NAQT regularly wrote packets in QU format, I think they could make a serious dent in Chip's business.
Well, I may be picking on the argument in isolation, but I'm going to nitpick on the term "business." I don't know how well NAQT's questions are selling relative to Chip's questions. Probably out-pointing them when it comes to regular invitational questions. But Chip also makes money on contracts with other organizations that are not run by school teams, and they are less prone to wanting to change sources without due cause. One would think money would be a good reason, but it's not the only thing. I agree with Romero that we may be talking about a significant generation away from a true unified quiz bowl format, and even that won't be easy to accomplish: if we unify, do we ask successful competitions like It's Ac to revise their format? I don't think so.

Even so, QU's NAC roster has been decreasing in number and to a greater extent quality of field while NAQT's HSCT has been increasing.

I agree that reaching out to local comps with reduced or free packets would help. The next step is to actually train people or have people at the local venues train others to run rounds properly. There are more people not accustomed to reading pyramidal questions or unfamiliar with the "rules of moderating" that would be "tired" of reading NAQT questions.

Regarding the meetings that are being proposed, please let me know who your facilitator and recorders (note plural) for the PACE meeting. If there is someone who has a recordable iPod who can upload the discussion as a Podcast, I would not mind it, provided we get people to sign off. I would also be interested in seeing your discussion groundrules.

In addition, an attendance list while not necessary would be greatly appreciated so I can negotiate and assign a room. I also want to reiterate my position that students should be welcome.
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
Facebook junkie and unofficial advisor to aspiring health professionals in quiz bowl
---
Pimping Green Tea Ginger Ale (Canada Dry)

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Post by Matt Weiner »

Ben Dillon wrote:And, Natus, thank you for recognizing that this is an honest disagreement about format/style. I have felt as if some others in the forum simply dismiss those with my preference as being coaches who are ignorant (I'm not saying that's what they are trying to imply, but it is what I end up inferring).
There are lots of reasons for playing Chip Beall besides ignorance. None of them are good, though. I don't think your defense holds any water; if you really had such an objection to the straight tossup/bonus format that you were willing to play questions you admit are inferior and pay thousands of dollars more to do so (and I have trouble believing your premise in the first place) then maybe you would come to the NSC, which has a varied format an also good questions. I think you're playing Chip for the same reason that everyone else in the contingent of non-ignorant teams at Chip does: because you have a far greater chance of winning it than of winning NAQT or NSC, what with the diluted field strength and more or less random match results. As your team continues to improve, you will find that the second factor starts to outweigh the first, and you will be willing to take your chances at a real national.

Your other comment goes to the heart of why this organization cannot form if, aside from one person's suggestion that it be another instrument of some inexplicable crusade against collegiate involvement in high school quizbowl, it has no defined direction:
And, Natus, thank you for recognizing that this is an honest disagreement about format/style. I have felt as if some others in the forum simply dismiss those with my preference as being coaches who are ignorant (I'm not saying that's what they are trying to imply, but it is what I end up inferring).
There is no 'honest' disagreement about questions which reward knowledge versus questions that do not. It's the difference between an academic and rewarding activity that justifies spending thousands of dollars and hours, and a glorified game of Trivial Pursuit. People who think that the ethical vaccum, pointless questions, and high costs of Chip Beall are worth putting up with are not "different" or possessed of alternate "preferences" or trying out another "style"; they are wrong, and they are acting contrary to any justifiable purpose of high school quizbowl.

Reducing this to an issue of totally subjective personal preference is an attempt to make sure that the central questions facing high school quizbowl today are never resolved. Some tournament wants to award -100 points if someone doesn't wait to be recognized before answering? Personal preference! A state tournament chooses to hire people off the street with no training to moderate the championship match? It's just different, not wrong! The local invitational writes 50% of its questions on 1980s sitcoms? That's their style, who are you to judge!

Until we start talking about correct and incorrect ways to do things, we will be unable to articulate why anyone, at any time, should change anything. Good questions and good tournament formats are just as important as sensible rules and trained staff, if not more so. Why is it considered appropriate to tell people that their moderators, rule writers, and subject distribution have to make some modicum of sense, but out of bounds to ask that the very questions, in whose service all of those facets exist, also comply to rational and time-tested principles? And if you're never going to try to change anyone's behavior at all, then how is this organization going to do anything but legitimize bad behaviors?
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

NatusRoma
Lulu
Posts: 84
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:15 pm
Location: New Haven, CT

Post by NatusRoma »

Romero wrote:Here is a suggestion. Why not pool your resources to help spread the gospel of "real" quiz bowl? Are your own states free of bad quiz bowl? I doubt that. Though someone previously alluded to a heavy Texas participation at NAC, the number of chip tournaments in Texas has been on the decline for 5 years now. Our progress has been slow but sure. The Texas teams that attend NAC are the ones without real national credentials. Until Texas is free of Chip, it would be inappropriate of me to attempt to thrust my system on others.
You're right. I was about to say something like "We here in the Nutmeg State are entirely free from non-pyramidal questions. What next step can we take?" However, when I looked at the list of teams from the 2005 NAC, I noticed several that have attended our tournaments, many of which have displayed real talent on pyramidal questions. If you have any suggestions for how to reach out to these last few, I'd appreciate hearing them.
Matt Weiner wrote:There is no 'honest' disagreement about questions which reward knowledge versus questions that do not. It's the difference between an academic and rewarding activity that justifies spending thousands of dollars and hours, and a glorified game of Trivial Pursuit. People who think that the ethical vaccum, pointless questions, and high costs of Chip Beall are worth putting up with are not "different" or possessed of alternate "preferences" or trying out another "style"; they are wrong, and they are acting contrary to any justifiable purpose of high school quizbowl.
Faulty logic is not the same as bad faith, nor should anyone be accused of one in place of the other. Attending formats other that do not include pyramidal questions is by definition a question of style and preference. That certain styles of quizbowl are demonstrably inferior does not mean that they are not in fact styles of quizbowl.

User avatar
First Chairman
Auron
Posts: 3875
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Fairfax VA
Contact:

Post by First Chairman »

I think a lot of this discussion goes to the heart of what "education" should be about. Clearly we are trying to move successful education metrics away from rote memorization of facts and trivia without context towards higher educational levels on the Bloom. I believe most of us believe that pyramidal questions do allow for a higher level of knowledge, or at least deeper understanding of the recalled information. Contrast that with quick one-sentence questions that reward memorization of lists. Sure, list memorization is going to help a lot when you play college-style competitions, but it only can go so far. Similarly, you can only memorize so much and succeed in real life (hence why recall is the lowest level of learning on Bloom).

If you want to look at "entertainment value," quick questions absolutely work the best on TV. If you want your quiz bowl to be more of an entertainment than an educational exercise, I think that quicker questions work to your favor there. To the point of stylistic choice, I can understand why people think that non-pyramid questions are "the way to do quiz bowl" as opposed to pyramidal style.

Personal preferences are going to be a motivating factor in rules changes and diversifying the quiz bowl formats the way we have it. I don't dislike personal preferences, but I do want a more deliberate discussion of the educational messages that quiz bowl formats take when they make those decisions. As an example, to place more emphasis on "recognition" takes away from truly rewarding students for depth of knowledge. To place more emphasis on having an answer be completely congruent to what the sheet says is the right answer risks penalizing a student from knowing about the topic in depth. I certainly don't advocate anarchy, but thinking of ways to punish teams from over-protesting really takes effort away from truly enjoying this activity.

I think it is this slant that most of us who are adamant against Chip have adopted. Do you endorse plagiarism as an educational technique? I don't think anyone does. Do you endorse an academic competition in which officials apparently create weird seedings, schedules, and eponymous rules created post-crisis and allegedly fail to follow their own policies for due process? I don't know if anyone does. Is the tournament worth the thousands money you spend to send your students, even in the face of drastic budgetary cutbacks to education in your local communities? If you aren't the ones who spend the money but are rather subsidized by a charitable organization, should not those organizations be more interested in the proper accountability and educational value of these programs? I don't know if you call this faulty logic as it could be considered an inconsistent position (at worst).

Now, do I believe it is entirely possible that NAC could be run reputably? Absolutely. The executors of that competition however have to decide to run it that way. It took us 8 years to finally have market forces dictate to Chip to have more than 4 preliminary round matches. It may take us another decade to see improvement in the quality of the questions or the execution of the tournament. Perhaps.

PACE deliberately will not endorse a particular game format, and we have invented our own that we feel best tests academic teams. (You don't need to have me go back to discussing why we didn't go with just 20/20.) That said, we do have our own opinions on what should constitute quality quiz bowl. We don't mind discussing our opinions on it, and those of us who believe in our positions shouldn't be afraid to discuss them. But after discussion, the question remains what to do next. But I'm guessing that's what this thread is all about, right? :)

If the quality of questions and the economic value of an event is important, as I would suspect it is for most market-driven decisions, then there ARE alternatives to Chip. There have been for almost 20 years with ASCN at minimum.

As Matt points out, we have a history of proven, good practices with many tournaments run across the country. We haven't gotten complete participation coast-to-coast, but we have enough collective knowledge to know what is "quality" and what is not. It is that knowledge that should be communicated and taught to future participants, TD's, question-writers, and administrators. And that is what PACE wants to do if we are so convinced that there is (financial and personnel) support to address that need.
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
Facebook junkie and unofficial advisor to aspiring health professionals in quiz bowl
---
Pimping Green Tea Ginger Ale (Canada Dry)

User avatar
First Chairman
Auron
Posts: 3875
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Fairfax VA
Contact:

Post by First Chairman »

StPickrell wrote:Ben, what it seems you're saying is that you (and your team) prefers the NAC 4-quarter *format* to the straight tossup-bonus format of NAQT. So the ideal for you guys would be NAC *format* on NAQT questions, right?

While it can be pointed out how bad questions reduce the competitive aspect of the game and the fun for everyone, I'm not sure how the tossup-bonus format is inherently better than the myriads of other formats.

If we can only fight a limited number of battles, let's prioritize.

One more thing: Chip Beall recruits aggressively. Several of the teams which finished well at VHSL got letters from Chip congratulating them and inviting them to the NAC. PACE, NAQT and now the USQBA would do well to market aggressively.
Just following up on Shawn's post on this one, because I do like a lot of the points that are brought up.

It's Academic alone proves that you can have a "fun" quiz bowl format that is not dependent on tossup-bonus pyramidal style. However, there are different facets that such a format rewards. There was also a drive to have "quality" four-quarter formatted games a few years back by some former Detroit Country Day students. I don't think though that you can remove the association of Chip with 4Q.

There are always going to be limits on our resources until we get more resources. We're involved in education non-profit after all. And even for-profit firms don't have infinite resources. Marketing aggressively is going to be an ongoing battle regardless. Chip's been around longer and has multiple streams of revenue to support mailing every high school in the country, so it's going to take some time for us to reach that point.

I'm sure that if PACE and NAQT decided to up entry fees to $1000, we can subsidize a lot more marketing to aggressively pursue additional schools for our events. Would this be pallatable to the teams that participate in each national? This is where the real arguing begins.
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
Facebook junkie and unofficial advisor to aspiring health professionals in quiz bowl
---
Pimping Green Tea Ginger Ale (Canada Dry)

Tegan
Coach of AHAN Jr.
Posts: 1975
Joined: Mon Nov 01, 2004 9:42 pm

Post by Tegan »

NatusRoma wrote: Faulty logic is not the same as bad faith, nor should anyone be accused of one in place of the other. Attending formats other that do not include pyramidal questions is by definition a question of style and preference. That certain styles of quizbowl are demonstrably inferior does not mean that they are not in fact styles of quizbowl.
This is what I am thinking.....

I've never been to Mr. Beal's tournaments, though I've heard enough stories that would make me think he is something like an evil Wink Martendale-esque type. For the moment, I will make that assumption as complete fact....not because I disbelieve anyone who says it, but because I have not experienced it.

Let us then jump to the conclusion that priority one of the noble quiz bowl types is to wipe the Earth of any quizbowl like this.

Option 1 is to try and slug it out...organize protests, mailings comparing good and bad quizbowl, revival-like meetings to convert the heathen masses, etc. etc. I see this as expensive and non-productive because it is akin to having an argument that starts with "Idiots of the world, I have come to save you from your own stupidity." Even if we assume it is the truth, I would be turned off to anything that came later.

Option 2 muscle out bad quizbowl by flooding the market place with good quizbowl. Again, this is expensive, time consuming, and the person-hours may not be there to pull it off.

Option 3 Do nothing. It might work that as the converted go forth and multiply as coches, more and more teams will attend the good quizbowl tournaments. On the other hand, some coaches retire that have taken their kids to NAQT or PACE for years, and the new coach tells the team "For a REAL good time, let's head to San Antonio". This might end up as a push, a growth, or a loss. Two of those outcomes are undesirable. The odds of success are minimal.

Option 4 It is slower, but you get State Associations to do more work for you. If a state Association were to mandate pyramid style questions, a more open style of play, etc then those who hate it will fold up the tent. Those who don't care will play along. Those who care will get better. In any event, going to a tournament that doesn't play by those standards becomes a waste of time.

The problem with this system is that it takes time. It offers no fast solutions, but it can offer an opportunity for state to clean up their acts, and for new states to start on a clean slate.....And rather than blanketing every high school in the nation, you only need to communicate with (at most) 51 high school associations.

User avatar
Matt Weiner
Sin
Posts: 8413
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:34 pm
Location: Richmond, VA

Post by Matt Weiner »

And Ben's ultimate conclusion is correct even if he gets there in a distressing way: Of course it's possible to write good four-quarter rounds. I don't really care whether someone uses vanilla tossup/bonus, four quarter, NAQT-style, VHSL-style, Illinois style, NSC style, whatever. The point is that the questions themselves need to be good.
Matt Weiner
Founder of hsquizbowl.org

User avatar
Captain Sinico
Auron
Posts: 2843
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2003 1:46 pm
Location: Champaign, Illinois

Post by Captain Sinico »

Okay, see, the problem here is that everyone's talking right past one another. People are trying to say "Well, what do we do to promote good quizbowl practically?" but the fundamental problem, and the one that's being argued in subtext (or maybe being supressed?) here is that no concensus exists regarding what good quizbowl is. If you're going to found an organization, I agree with the underlying contention that its objective should be to do practical things to promote good quizbowl. However, without a solid definition, even within that purposed organization, regarding what that is exactly, it doesn't matter what you decide to do about it.
So, your first order of business should be to establish exactly what you want to promote. You can get to what you want to do about it after that; to do things in the opposite order would be pointless.
Also, assuming everyone is a good-faith partner without an agendum is about the worst thing you could ever do, in my opinion. The fraction of people involved in this game for the game's benefit is actually rather small in my experience, especially at the high school level (no offense meant to anyone; I'm not presuming to pass judgement on anyone I haven't met, I'm just saying what I do know.)

MaS

User avatar
First Chairman
Auron
Posts: 3875
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2003 8:21 pm
Location: Fairfax VA
Contact:

Post by First Chairman »

Mike, you're exactly right... except I think some of us have been saying what you're saying. :cool: Until there is some impetus and standard for what constitutes "good quiz bowl", we're going to continue to have disparate efforts and wasting a lot of it. Tom is right saying it's going to take a long time no matter what tact we take; Chris has stated that, and I realize it too. That's a disadvantage since we have no "national organization" to make changes much more quickly. Of course from my own experience with Decathlon, a national organization can also be an impediment to change. We have 30+ state organizations and one national organization coordinating one event. Does that make AD a better organization? Not necessarily. There is no coaches association with AD, and I don't see one forming any time soon. (Won't go into details on that.)

I think some of us, perhaps a near majority of us know who are in college or beyond college recognize what qualities constitute "good quiz bowl" but even with that we don't really agree how to promote it. Until you clearly define what the organization is supposed to do, you will waste resources and energy.

However, I do think market forces and restrained school budgets are going to make a difference on the national scene. But there is not a lot known about what makes good quiz bowl, what are the influences that support a good program, and what ways we can contact schools that don't know about this board or this activity. We have to remember that we are an extremely vocal minority... perhaps no larger than 15% of all people who participate in some aspect of academic competition.
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
Facebook junkie and unofficial advisor to aspiring health professionals in quiz bowl
---
Pimping Green Tea Ginger Ale (Canada Dry)

Locked