NAQT IS collegiate tournaments

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suds1000
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NAQT IS collegiate tournaments

Post by suds1000 »

Why does this keep happening? Is it because people are just that lazy?

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Post by AKKOLADE »

Yeah, pretty much (on the part of both teams and hosts), though I think part of it is the intimidation of editing a collegiate tournament for prospective TDs such as myself.

I'll let Weiner/Greenstein/Hairboy tackle this one. Just my short thoughts on the subject.
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Post by ValenciaQBowl »

The implied position behind Sudheer's original post is, I guess, that choosing to pay NAQT to provide questions for a tournament is undeniably bad (bad for the players, bad for the game, etc.). I generally leave the format wars alone, but I did just want to remind the hardcore NAQT haters that there are many different visions of what the game should be. Some schools might indeed pay for NAQT questions b/c they don't want to edit, either out of "laziness" (though it might be other priorities) or unwillingness/inexperience in editing submitted packets. Considering the vituperation many TDs get on the various message boards when they don't live up to the standards of some in the community, it's not hard to see why they might choose to avoid the hassle. Further, though it enrages many, some might pay for those questions because they like them. I've certainly had some players who (dare I . . . I dare!) actually liked them more than ACF-style questions!

In the Southeastern CC QB world, Valencia hosts the only submission tournament (though Bainbridge did one a couple years ago). Because players turn over so frequently and because faculty sponsors are not often experienced, we almost never get any submitted packets. Thus I end up writing 80% of it and then relying on swaps (as I hope to do with Sudheer's school's HS tournament) to fill in the gaps. That's why Palm Beach and Gulf Coast and other CCs usually have NAQT provide questions. Like most of you, I like writing questions when I'm not parenting or working or whatever. But we shouldn't expect every single player/team to share our zeal. It would be nice, but it's certainly unrealistic. And besides, whom would we pound on then? Every tournament would be like the Chicago Open.

I understand that NAQT is anathema to many, and that's just fine. But I don't think it's worthwhile to stigmatize those who choose to pay for questions (from NAQT or anyone else). They'll do it their way, y'all will do it yours, and you'll likely crush them like insects down the road.

Regardless, much love to your Illini, Sudheer; may they smite Western Michigan this weekend.
--chris

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Post by Dan Greenstein »

First, make the assumption that a tournament will be hosted. Ignor the cases where either too few teams show up or submit packets to make the tournament soluable.

The decision on whether to host a packet submission tournament or an NAQT IS tournament relies on both opportunity cost and experience. Assume that since we are assuming a tournament will be hosted, that there is someone who has the necessary organizational skills to reserve rooms, purchase prizes, run statistics, etc, as well as the necessary funds to procure such things. The main opportunity costs are time and money. The other factor, experience, consists of not only quizbowl knowledge but also editing experience. Experience ranges from Joe Bloe, with no quizbowl knowledge and no editing experience, to Subash Maddipoti.

First consider the opportunity cost. An NAQT IS set costs $35 plus $18 per team. Lets use the figure of $250 for 12 teams. Keep in mind teams are generally willing to pay a premium if they are not required to write questions; in addition, not having to write questions will increase the number of teams at the tournament. The entrance fees of the additional teams will greatly offset the additional amount of money owed NAQT. The main non-monetary cost is time. Time lost is minimal; an email to NAQT to request an IS set takes less than ten minutes.

On the other hand, there is no base cost for a packet submission tournament. However, the time cost is large. It takes a total of 20-40 hours of time to edit a packet set. In addition, the editor may have to write additional questions to fill out the packet set, especially if the submitted packets are mediocre. Sometimes, there will be a group of people who will edit a tournament, but most of the time the task falls to one person. This person will be devoting much of their free time for one or two weeks working on a packet set instead of doing what are considered to be fun activities. The editor likely also loses sleep to complete the editing job. I know; I have been awake all night before at least one tournament finishing up the packet set. The editor will also need some cool-down time in the days following the tournament which should be non-existant because the editor has to catch up on tasks he/she has put on the back-burner in order to edit.

Stress of the not-so-great kind is the major rationale behind calling NAQT in lieu of doing it yourself. There are plenty of analogies: bring the car into Jiffy Lube instead of breaking out the tools; call a caterer instead of spending hours in the kitchen; order a paper online instead of doing the research, arguments and compilation yourself. I do not recommend that last one if you wish to maintain your good reputation :lol:

The other factor for packet submission tournaments is the experience of the editor. A more experienced editor is more likely to put out a satisfactory or even excellent product than one with less experience. A more experience editor also tends to be more efficient in using the editing time. Many people claim a well-edited packet submission tournament is of higher quality than an NAQT IS set. The better the editor, the more likely that is to be true. Since NAQT IS sets are used in both high school and college tournaments, they are of a low difficulty level. If you want ACF Regionals and above difficulty, packet submission appears to be the only way to go.

I am not great at arguing the superiority of NAQT IS versus packet submission, so I will leave that to the more qualified people. However, I will say each type of tournament has its benefits and neither is the epitome of evil Suds might be implying. I would much rather an inexperienced team run an NAQT IS tournament than a packet submission tournament--unless they are mirroring and have no hand in the editing--because the results would be poor. For more experienced clubs, it could be analogous to buying cheap coffee from the mainstream retailers or going to the co-op and buying certified fair labor coffee. Is it as simple as ideology?

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Post by Matt Weiner »

The fact that it's NAQT is a side issue. I for one think that, for all the flaws that the Sectionals set has, the ICT does a reasonably good job for its field and NAQT high school sets remain, by leaps and bounds, the best choice for high school teams. What I, and presumably most of the people who have a problem with these tournaments, object to is the following:

1) The use of high school questions for collegiate players. As should be all-encompassingly clear from the past year or so's discussion on this board and others, many upper-level collegiate players weaned on high school sets find standard collegiate material too challenging. Introducing college players on high school sets is almost deceptive, and it leads to these problems we've been seeing down the road. Bringing people in one step at a time under the submission junior-bird model; i.e., first introducing them to collegiate questions in novice play, then putting them into open competition, worked fine for several years as a way of having these JB tournaments, and, additionally, it taught new players to write. No one (except, perhaps, the advocates of the CUT format) is saying that JB tournaments should be abandoned, but rather that they should be packet-submission or at least comparable to the easier end of standard collegiate questions.

2) The displacement of standard tournaments by high-school questions. Again, maybe CUT isn't such a bad idea in and of itself; either way, it's a separate issue. But given that teams have limited time and money, any tournament is necessarily in competition with every other tournament, even if they are not held on the same weekend. Instead of teams choosing between a packet-submission collegiate event at Site A and a similar event at Site B based on the host's reputation for editing and hosting, the cost, the relative distance, etc, teams now opt out of packet-submission entirely. This not only hurts packet-submission tournaments in the short run but hurts everyone in the long run. As an ever-larger percentage of quizbowl players falls into the category of "people who have never even attempted to write a packet," the question of just who will write these NAQT questions in the future, and thus where tournaments will come from at all, arises. Again, the old model doesn't seem broken: everyone participates in packet-submission for most invitationals, providing a pool from which NAQT (or any other group that writes packets) can select the best talent in order to produce a limited number of central-source tournaments each year. Abandoning this means that NAQT must rely increasingly on the weaker members of its writing staff in order to satisfy demand, and that NAQT's quality will inevitably go down as any given writer retires without a new generation of writers to replace him or her. This is, again, a problem endemic to any non-submission format that may become prevalent in the future, not anything specific about NAQT.

3) The attempts to solve problem 1 by making problem 2 worse; i.e., the spread of CUT tournaments and other events that market high school questions not only to new collegiate players but to all collegiate players. NAQT is actively pushing CUT events even to teams that traditionally have hosted packet-submission opens. Speaking for most but presumably not all of my fellow experienced players, CUT tournaments drive away the people who put in the most time at making the quizbowl circuit work. I do not have any interest at all in beating some freshman by 500 points on high school questions. It does nothing for me and cannot possibly help him. My only choice is to stay home as more and more traditional JBs and packet-submission opens are displaced or subjected to a shrinking field by the rise of CUT events. Once again, the old model seems fine: new players can compete against players on their own level at JBs and experience a standard tournament at opens. At both events, the players can learn to write and gain familiarity with the canon. By competing either against other novices at JBs on high school questions, or competing against upperclassmen on same, those benefits are lost. CUT as a replacement for undergraduate tournaments, on a packet-submission basis, may be a good idea, but replacing JBs of any kind with it seems counterproductive.

4) Cost. NAQT does charge money, and the team hosting an NAQT event will have to either raise the entrance fee or lose $200+, meaning they will likely cut a tournament from their attendance schedule.

As for public reaction, I will add my voice to the chorus of people willing to contribute packets, help with editing, or provide constructive criticism to people wishing to host a submission event. There is always going to be feedback on question quality, and it's easy to get a false impression of what people target simply because a) NAQT questions, which are re used for months, cannot be discussed on public fora and b) the line between constructive critism and potshots is always thin, and some people see one where there is truly the other. There should be more effort put into publicizing and compensating people who are willing to write and edit on a freelance basis, so that anyone who wishes to continue or begin a packet-submission event, or even a team worried about writing for one, can find a wise and well-intentioned support network.

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Post by mps4a_mps4a »

In reading this, I had an idea that might be interesting if someone was willing to try it:

NAQT charges money for the use of their high school level sets. People are complaining, saying these sets generally weaken the collegiate game for everyone involved. Matt says he is adding his voice to a chorus who will be glad to write for a packet submission tournament.

Now for the experiment part: A team that would have otherwise bought an NAQT IS set announces that they are going to be holding a tournament, but are going to pay freelancers say $15-20 for a packet (in addition to the usual benefits of submitting to a tournament, i.e. getting the packet set). This chorus Matt speaks of steps up, writes a packet each, and this team can claim their tournament was written by the best question writers in the game (a fair argument, since most of the people who would be responding to a call like this are probably among the most experienced). The money part could be negotiable, but I don't see 12 people willing to write a high quality packet for love of the game alone.

Thus they can tailor-make their difficulty, I would assume ACF Fall level, will spend no more than they would on an NAQT IS set, avoid dumbing down the circuit, introduce players to high quality collegeiate sets, and make everyone live in harmony. Maybe this could even expand into a bigger thing, but I'll not let myself get too far ahead.

Of course this can be changed/modified however. Or ignored, that works too. Just a suggestion, because the problem won't dissappear unless something better comes along to replace it. [/list]

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Post by mrsmiley4 »

A thought, from someone who just came out of a young program:

Packet-sub tournaments, not to put too fine a point on it, are TOUGH. This is not even referring to the difficulty level of the actual questions-- I've been to tournaments where I'm lucky to have HEARD of the clues in the bonuses, and I've been to ones that were among the easiest questions sets I've heard. When I say that packet-sub tourneys are tough, I mean that they require a ton of effort on both the part of the host and the teams attending, and some programs-- especially new or young ones-- either can't or won't put forth that effort, for whatever reason.

When the Grinnell team decided that we were sufficiently organized to run a college-level tournament, I as tournament director for what would eventually become GUT I categorically refused to even consider running a packet-sub tourney. Not because I think NAQT questions are better for the circuit-- I won't contend with the idea that packet-sub makes for a healthier QB community and better players-- but because dealing with editing, formatting, etc was another burden that I didn't want to deal with as a novice TD. I have been emailed in a panic more than once on a Thursday night by some of my friends in other programs, asking me to whip up some history TU/B pairs for the tournament in two days because the ones in the submitted packets were so godawful, and I decided that in light of what I had seen there I didn't have the time/sanity for editing packets and writing replacement questions for an entire tournament. As it was, I had copious amounts of planning help from R. Hentzel, Eric Hillemann, the resources on the Maize pages, etc, and I STILL managed to run around like a headless chicken and achieve several major screwups on tournament day. Having the inconsistent packets that would have been a natural product of my lack of editing skills would have just compounded the pain. Perhaps once the Grinnell team has built up a little more institutional memory there will be someone on the team who feels up to dealing with packet-sub. It wasn't me, though.

On the other end of the equation is the massive hurdle that packet-sub poses for young programs, who often have no idea what they're doing in terms of writing. Personally, I found it very difficult to get people to write questions at all (this is probably more a function of my being a pushover than a flaw in the system), and when they DID write questions, the quality was often so poor (on-line writing guides notwithstanding) that I would end up staying up late fixing or even rewriting them. Moreover, since I had only marginally more experience writing questions than the rest of the team, I know I missed a lot of real clunkers, and this was reflected at tournaments when up to half of our packet would be thrown out, prompting righteous indignation from the writers of the TU/B pairs in question and making them less likely to want to write any more questions. Personally, it's not the throwing out of questions I mind (because, let's face it, there's only so much one can do with some questions, particularly when they're sent to you 20 minutes before the deadline) so much as the complete lack of input on those decisions. I feel like in a lot of cases the packet-sub section of the circuit is very much sink-or-swim, and I suspect that attitude puts off a lot of teams. More constructive criticism and/or guides, like that thing that Subash put up for ACF Fall a little while ago, would probably help this problem at least a little.

For that matter, are CUT-style tournaments inherently bad? I know that Carleton's version is responsible for introducing a lot of brand-new or CBI-only programs to the circuit (Hell, Grinnell was one of them), and I'm pretty sure that some of the teams at GUT I were making their circuit debuts as well. If some of those teams go on to become circuit regulars, and even (shock and horror) go to some packet-sub tourneys, so much the better. Yes, it's true to some extent that the format encourages laziness among established programs; that I don't have an answer for, except to suggest that for upper-echelon undergrads CUT-style tourneys may be a way to test their breadth, as opposed to the depth test one gets from your typical packet-sub. (At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. There's a reason I don't get science questions at ACF-style tournaments very often ;) )

Wow, that's a lot to say for my first post on this forum. See, this is what happens when I'm trying to avoid doing actual work.

Brad

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Post by David Riley »

Hey brad! When did you move to Maryland? What's up?

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Post by mrsmiley4 »

About 3 months ago, actually. I'm working on a dual masters in History and Library Science at Maryland (and hopefully getting to read/play some quizbowl on the side). Hope things in Illinois are going well.

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What exactly is the problem here (Asking for clarification)?

Post by cvdwightw »

I would like some clarification as to what the actual problem with NAQT IS College Tournaments is. Is it:

1) That they are taking the place of established packet-submission tournaments because of schedule conflicts and other considerations?

2) That new packet-submission tournaments and question writers are not cropping up due to the proliferation of "NAQT Juniorbird" tournaments among newer and less experienced teams?

3) That all packet-submission tournaments are inherently better than NAQT IS packets because they more accurately reflect college-level difficulty?

4) Something else, which may include, but is not limited to, that some players "hide out" on easier questions; that NAQT tournaments cost more, on average; or that NAQT, by virtue of being a business, runs differently than packet-submission tournaments (ACF included), which rely solely on volunteer work at all phases of the tournament?

5) Some combination of any or all of the above?

It seems like most of the arguments have basically been something along the lines of: "New teams either lack confidence in their abilities or are lazy. Those that lack confidence are too lazy to contact people that might help them with portions of running a packet-submission tournament with which the new teams are unfamiliar. Therefore, they choose the easy way out and order from NAQT. This ultimately benefits no one but possibly NAQT, and hurts the circuit as well as NAQT in the long run." If this is the sole argument for why NAQT IS tournaments should not exist at the college level, then it should be easy to convince people that NAQT IS tournaments are not worthwhile. However, the proliferation of these tournaments seems to indicate that either this argument does not address all parts of the problem or that few people are listening to or understand the argument.

As someone who both wrote questions for packet-submission tournaments and attended Juniorbirds run on NAQT IS sets as a freshman, I find no real problem with either. I think that running tournaments for newer players on NAQT IS sets is no real problem as long as those players also at least attempt to write questions. Let's face it, most packets written by new or less experienced teams are guilty of either horrible pyramidality, horrible/niche answer selection, or both of the above. New players will hear their packet being read and think "I barely even heard a single clue of my own in the entire packet," which can be very discouraging if you put time into writing questions that, simply put, aren't good enough. I think NAQT IS sets, used earlier in the year, will help with the retention of new players as the older ones attempt to teach them the art of question-writing.

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Re: What exactly is the problem here (Asking for clarificati

Post by Captain Sinico »

cvdwightw wrote:I would like some clarification as to what the actual problem with NAQT IS College Tournaments is. Is it:
... 5) Some combination of any or all of the above?
Yes, my problem, and that of more or less everyone else I've talked to, consists of all of these, and more. The availability (and, indeed, promotion by NAQT) of NAQT high school questions for college tournaments is destroying packet submission and in-house written events not only through resource allocation conflicts (resources understood in the broad sense to include dates, travel, interest, etc.) but also by creating a generation of players that are unwilling or extremely reluctant to play on harder, or even different, questions (irrespective of their actual goodness); to write questions; or, Zurvan Daregho-Chvadhata forbid, to attempt to edit a tournament. Moreover, the availability of NAQT high school questions for college tournaments is actively subverting packet submission as events that were formerly packet submission at least to some extent (Rollapalooza, for one, which we used to attend but no longer do) increasingly convert to using NAQT high school questions. I have yet to see a single example of the converse of this and, unfortunately, I do not expect to, but I can at least remember when high school question tournaments were novel and insignificant exceptions (e.g. when I attended Gateway my freshman year, the experienced players on my team told me how ridiculously and uncharacteristically easy and silly the questions would be; I would be reluctant to make such a characterization for my own novices.)
As for the "hiding out" issue, the massive proliferation of tournaments on NAQT high school questions really creates issues beyond even this. With all of these CUT-style events, we seem to be witnessing what I can only typify as a class warfare of quizbowl skill. In fact, I see little short of every attempt to reduce the reward for working to get good at quizbowl in these events. From questions that reduce the advantage of the knowledgeable to as thin as the market will bear, to rules that pander to the worst and, generally, most poorly-founded prejudices of the circuit (i.e. those about the dominance of graduate students) I can't help but see an ill-advised and ad hoc strategy that, in the long term, can only serve to drastically widen the skills gap between "good" players and "bad" ones, or experienced players and new ones (and this even without considering the ramifications of not writing or editing.) Moreover, I don't expect these events to do much to normalize field difficulty in the short term, either, unless their fields are highly self-segregating (i.e. if the players who could dominate the field even playing alone elect not to play, which I will see about firsthand.)

cvdwightw wrote:… the proliferation of these tournaments seems to indicate that either this argument does not address all parts of the problem or that few people are listening to or understand the argument.
On the contrary, this behavior indicates to me that they don't care, and one could easily see why that might be when one considers that most of the hypothesized ill effects of the prevalence of these high school questions exist in the long term. If you were, say, a team that doesn't care about this game beyond playing in a few high school question tournaments per year (or, in the extreme case, attending a few such events ever); or a host who cares about making the maximum amount of money with the minimal effort; or a company interested in entering an undercapitalized, secondary market without having to increase production, I have no doubt these tournaments must seem brilliant in the short run. While (obviously) everyone can chose to do what they like, I'd urge you to see these events for what they are. They do not lower the skill gradient and its attendant issues; they simply hide and exacerbate them. They are not a long-term solution for the problem of creating packets (which wasn't much of a problem before there were alternatives) because, in the long term, they consume their own factors of production (future circuit-experienced writers.) I think that, viewed in the correct context and used in the right proportion, such events have their place. They are not, however, in it.

MaS

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Post by Chris Frankel »

So if you haven't read it on Yahoo, here's the Washington Post article about QB... or at least NAQT's perspective of it, God forbid the Post actually seek other perspectives and not just write off a large segment of the community as "jealous" and "dismayed." Anyway, I read this statement (page 2) and found it rather ominous:

"Part of the price of admission to the quiz bowl tournaments of their youth was for each team to contribute a packet of roughly 100 clever questions. Nowadays, companies known as "question vendors" sell such packets to tournaments and trivia contests, with retired packets purchased by teams for practice."

I know a lot of that is just a reflection of mainstream media's inability to comprehend the full details of technical issues and what not, but still, considering that NAQT provided all the answers used for this article, why don't they just come out and say that they're trying to kill packet submission tournaments (since they don't seem to be interested in acknowledging that they still exist and constitute the mainstream of college competition)?

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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist »

Chris Frankel wrote:So if you haven't read it on Yahoo, here's the Washington Post article about QB... or at least NAQT's perspective of it, God forbid the Post actually seek other perspectives and not just write off a large segment of the community as "jealous" and "dismayed."
If you disagree, you can always write a letter to the editor. I am sure they would enjoy printing a contrarian reaction.

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Post by Chris Frankel »

QuizbowlPostmodernist wrote:
Chris Frankel wrote:So if you haven't read it on Yahoo, here's the Washington Post article about QB... or at least NAQT's perspective of it, God forbid the Post actually seek other perspectives and not just write off a large segment of the community as "jealous" and "dismayed."
If you disagree, you can always write a letter to the editor. I am sure they would enjoy printing a contrarian reaction.
Actually, I am in the process of writing one to mail to the author. I'm not expecting some sort of retraction or elaboration, but I think it's worth clearing up the facts. I don't see why you have to dismiss my opinion as contrarian, as I've provided a reasonable argument to defend my position in the Yahoo thread.

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Post by QuizbowlPostmodernist »

Chris Frankel wrote: Actually, I am in the process of writing one to mail to the author. I'm not expecting some sort of retraction or elaboration, but I think it's worth clearing up the facts. I don't see why you have to dismiss my opinion as contrarian, as I've provided a reasonable argument to defend my position in the Yahoo thread.
There exist some people who would disagree because of contrarian character. There exist others who would make a reasoned argument against, baesd on either accurate or inaccurate premises. I did not pigeonhole you into any category, although I do believe that newspapers like letters which take a contrary position to quotes in articles.

If you write a letter might get published on the letters page of the newspaper, you will have to write something shorter than what you posted to Yahoo.

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Post by First Chairman »

From what I can tell of the article, it's not the responsibility of NAQT nor the WP to seek contrarian points of view. The piece was more a "lifestyle" piece of interest than it was a hard-hitting expose of the world of quizbowl. I'll give props to NAQT for seeking PR for themselves and for their product; I'm so used to Duke (the University) doing the same for back-patting purposes.

I don't know what a letter to the editor will get you. It's not like the facts in that article were flat-out wrong. It's not like there is a policy by NAQT to squelch all other forms of academic competition (that I am aware of anyway).

But yes, I will concede that maybe this year as much as in any year, people are much more lazy about writing questions. Maybe we're at the point where NAQT is now our only available fix because after three "generations" of players, no one has the knowledge to write quality academic questions anymore (some of our own company here excepted).

But the fact that this laziness has extended to trash competitions now is greatly disturbing.
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Post by Theory Of The Leisure Flask »

Take a look at the really old questions from the Archive. Pretty much anything from the early 1990s.

It's obvious that our standards for what constitutes a "good question" has skyrocketed since then. And with ever more stringent standards, it becomes harder and harder to write, let alone edit what is generally accepted as quality material. The skill becomes rarer, and there therefore exists a large group of players with casual interest, but without the time or ability to produce ACF-quality material. Enter NAQT, which on one hand fills a definite need, but on the other hand exascerbates it.

I've edited four tournaments, and I'd say that Dan's estimate of 20-40 hours is very conservative. Most of the time, it involved essentially ignoring work, social life, and sleep for a full week beforehand, plus all the time put in before that. It is a daunting task, and expecting everyone who runs a tournament to do the same will lead only to burnout and dissilussionment, given the current high question standards.

The old model is untenable: people with the time and energy to do what it takes to sustain a strictly packet-sub paradigm in this age of ultra-high standards are by necessity going to be few and far between, and the glut of NAQT tournaments is, while filling a definite need among casual players, worsening the perception of packet-sub as something impossible and daunting. What should happen is that there should be more in the way of mirror tournaments, with multiple sites sharing the burden of submission and editing, and there should be less of an emphasis on quality and not quantity in submission: it would be wonderful if we could eventually have the luxury of just demanding 15/15 from each team, with the stipulation that they be really polished. Same effort as a standard 25/25, and a hell of a lot more satisfying, as editors have to tinker less, and a larger percentage of submitted q's get used. Of course, this is something that could only work with a multiple-mirrored tourney, with all sites submitting.

Sorry for the rambling there. It's what I do when I'm procrastinating.
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Post by Chris Frankel »

E.T. Chuck wrote:From what I can tell of the article, it's not the responsibility of NAQT nor the WP to seek contrarian points of view. The piece was more a "lifestyle" piece of interest than it was a hard-hitting expose of the world of quizbowl. I'll give props to NAQT for seeking PR for themselves and for their product; I'm so used to Duke (the University) doing the same for back-patting purposes.

I don't know what a letter to the editor will get you. It's not like the facts in that article were flat-out wrong. It's not like there is a policy by NAQT to squelch all other forms of academic competition (that I am aware of anyway).

But yes, I will concede that maybe this year as much as in any year, people are much more lazy about writing questions. Maybe we're at the point where NAQT is now our only available fix because after three "generations" of players, no one has the knowledge to write quality academic questions anymore (some of our own company here excepted).

But the fact that this laziness has extended to trash competitions now is greatly disturbing.
I still have yet to see a viable defense of what looks to be a potshot on the part of NAQT against its critics, making the false and offensive claim that any criticism of the organization is limited to a niche few WITHIN THE CIRCUIT who are motivated primarily by jealously and enmity towards the success of players like Jennings and Olmstead in game shows.

No attacks were made against Jennings or Olmstead by anyone in the community, so this is a false statement which misrepresents proponents of academic quiz bowl. Someone should take responsibility for it or account for it.

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Matt Weiner
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Post by Matt Weiner »

The point about increased commitment to high-quality questions is valid to an extent, but I must note that editors have always prided themselves on putting in a respectable amount of work on a set. As an example, check the Usenet archive for discussion about the 1996 Penn Bowl set. This is essentially a "CBI-style" tournament that wouldn't fit today's standards at all, but the editor still put in weeks of work to create a set that met his own standards. So, changing standards of question length, clue density, etc are not entirely responsible for the perceived increase in the difficulty of pulling off packet submission.

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Captain Sinico
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Post by Captain Sinico »

If question standards have changed to any great extent in packet submission during my tenure playing this game (since 2001,) I certainly have not noticed it. While things were certainly much different ten years ago, they don't seem to have changed since five years ago, except that the number of college tournaments run on NAQT high school tournaments has monotonically increased (from the order of 1 to a dozen or so) in that time. Thus, while you do make a valid point, I don't see how your reasoning can explain away the nature or magnitude of what's going on.
Moreover, we seem to be making an implicit appeal to some standard that one can reference with respect to what makes an "acceptable" tournament. I don't think any such thing exists. It seems to me that tournaments have always been of various difficulties; distributions; and levels of rigor, if you will, in formatting, editing, and submission requirements. That is to say that, beyond the objective basics (no incest, correct clues, etc.), different tournaments are held to different standards. It would seem that the market will tolerate a lot from packet submission, especially if the editor is newer, and especially if they’re open to feedback. After all, everyone makes mistakes.
That understood, I've yet to see a case of this hypothetical brand new editor who tries their heart out but makes mistakes due to being brand new and is lampooned for it. It seems to me that people have always been damn tolerant of the errors of new editors, even when it was fairly certain that they must have resulted a lack of work rather than experience or talent, so long as those errors were not overwhelming. I know, for example, that people were more than apt to accept but politely point-out the many mistakes I made as a first time editor, and I did my best to accept and learn from their criticism. It seems to me that a lot of the griping on the circuit results from tournaments being run poorly; or repeated, egregious, and unapologetic errors in editing by established editors; or an editor who has the wrong reaction to someone's critique of their questions. While editing is hard, well, frankly, it's not that hard. Try it some time; you might be surprised.

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