NAQT Timer Policy

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cvdwightw
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NAQT Timer Policy

Post by cvdwightw » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:45 am

This is not a post about how the clock needs to be destroyed. We can go find that thread when someone else makes it. (feel free to move this into the regular Discussion forum if it doesn't end up mentioning individual questions or other non-blind stuff)

At the Region 15 SCT, one of the Caltech staffers was having problems getting through 20 questions. At some point in the morning rounds, rather than continue to get through 16-18 tossups a match, he decided to instead set the timer to 11-minute halves and give himself a decent chance of hitting 20+ tossups every time.

I thought this was an interesting way of countering a notable problem at SCT (moderators that can't get through 20 questions in the allotted time). It appears to be completely against the NAQT rules, and yet it did not at all detract from the tournament and indeed increased everyone's enjoyment of the tournament relative to yet another 17-tossup game. I am wondering what other community members, and NAQT, think of this rather unorthodox solution of adaptive timekeeping.

On the plus side, it would keep whatever virtues of timed matches exist while solving one of its major problems. On the other hand, it would completely destroy the whole fixed-time-length match structure and almost certainly disorient a few teams not used to such tactics. Also, it would place unfair constraints on the morning rounds of a tournament, unless it's something like HSNCT where most or all of the moderating staff would have the opportunity to calibrate their moderating speed to the clock during the Friday night practice rounds.
Dwight Wynne
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UC Irvine 2008-2013; UCLA 2004-2007; Capistrano Valley High School 2000-2003

"It's a competition, but it's not a sport. On a scale, if football is a 10, then rowing would be a two. One would be Quiz Bowl." --Matt Birk on rowing, SI On Campus, 10/21/03

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Mike Bentley
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Re: NAQT Timer Policy

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:19 pm

One thing that I haven't heard come up a lot in discussions about the clock is that it encourages moderators to read as fast as humanly possible. At several different SCTs I've heard new circuit teams complain after the first few rounds that they've never heard people read so fast.
Mike Bentley
VP of Editing, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence
Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008

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Cheynem
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Re: NAQT Timer Policy

Post by Cheynem » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:25 pm

We had great, good, and at the very least, okay, readers all day. The problem is even with great readers, there are just little annoying things that the clock expounds. You want to take a drink of water or cough? GOODBYE, FIVE SECONDS. Your scorekeeper had a question about who got a tossup? GOODBYE, TWO SECONDS. I understand you can just hit timeout in these cases, but that's annoying and sometimes even more impractical. These are little things that happen at every tournament--with a timed format, that's sometimes the difference between hearing one more tossup/bonus question and not.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

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Mike Bentley
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Re: NAQT Timer Policy

Post by Mike Bentley » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:34 pm

I'll also add that the thing I hate most about the clock is the 2 seconds to answer after a tossup. This is so hard as a moderator to get right! Since you're counting in your head as a moderator, you probably have a variability of somewhere around 0.5 seconds in how long you give someone to answer. With just 2 seconds, one person could get 25% longer to come up with an answer than someone else. With 5 seconds, there is more like a 10% variability. Even really good moderators have trouble with this (e.g. see the debate in the HSNCT finals a few years ago).
Mike Bentley
VP of Editing, Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence
Adviser, Quizbowl Team at University of Washington
University of Maryland, Class of 2008

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bmcke
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Re: NAQT Timer Policy

Post by bmcke » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:38 pm

Bentley Like Beckham wrote:One thing that I haven't heard come up a lot in discussions about the clock is that it encourages moderators to read as fast as humanly possible. At several different SCTs I've heard new circuit teams complain after the first few rounds that they've never heard people read so fast.
I actually found this effect helpful. We got, maybe, one or two comments each of "too fast" or "too slow" all day. Without the pressure to go fast, some of the friendlier moderators at Ottawa would have probably delayed their rooms.
Brendan McKendy
University of Ottawa 2011
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pray for elves
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Re: NAQT Timer Policy

Post by pray for elves » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:43 pm

The instruction I've always given people for reading NAQT is to go "as fast as you can without sacrificing any clarity." More importantly, I like to emphasize ways to minimize wasted time between questions (such as separating tossups from bonuses to eliminate flipping pages back and forth all the time).
Evan
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Coelacanth
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Re: NAQT Timer Policy

Post by Coelacanth » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:13 am

Cheynem wrote:We had great, good, and at the very least, okay, readers all day.
Mike, you had exactly 3 readers all day.

I think I know who the okay one was.
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Cheynem
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Re: NAQT Timer Policy

Post by Cheynem » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:15 am

Yeah, I meant to point out that we had a small field so it wasn't that big a deal--my point was that my team was not screwed over by any bad reading personally.

Okay is definitely better than not okay.
Mike Cheyne
Formerly U of Minnesota

"You killed HSAPQ"--Matt Bollinger

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