I'll bring up something slightly different here.
Converting a bad question to a good one can be pretty routine, and can be done fairly quickly, if you have some experience with them. I'm sure there have been posts about this, but since Charlie mentioned something about a day job, I thought I try to pass along what I've learned, as a grad student doing research and classes in the day. Hopefully, this can be constructive in the sense that we can realize that the amt of work needed to appease everybody can be lower than what is anticipated if you set your priorities straight.
A lot of times, the issue can be resolved by deleting things: anything vague, anything not giving a solid clue (place, person, event, item, etc), anything having to do with birthdates or going to college (see: http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~quizbowl/qb-writing.html
); or by adding an extra line in front of the offending easy lead-in (Encyclopedia Britannica, Encarta, etc, but just have to avoid the obvious the best you can. I think if you do those two things for every
question, most people will be happy with you, even if the grammar is a bit lose or the facts slightly off (don't sweat the details). This should take no more than a few minutes per question, let's say (reasonably) half packet per hour, b/c it's just a routine check. I admit if a one-person editing team is at work, this will still take 3 or 4 nights to accomplish, but the result that (pragmatically), people will not notice the obviously bad.
While repeats are not good, I think searching for them is a waste of editing time, and not worth the effort if you want to prioritize. Instead, do the question-by-question edit (1. delete, 2. add) and remove the duplicates if you see it. Also, it's very important to give the right people the right editing duties. If you know no history, give it to the history guy in the club, or even just bribe your history friend by asking her (effectiveness of this method still not proven). I think there're a lot of this type of talk around the forum nowadays, but I hope you won't mind bringing up the strategies again.
Just wanted to show that editing can be less time consuming than you'd previously thought if you order by priority what you have to fix: 1. delete the bad stuff, most important, 2. add a lead-in, 3. polish the giveaway. I'd imagine that some of these steps can be skipped for some questions you receive. Also, if you really want to do it right, you'd look at past questions on the same topic, but most of us don't have time to do this. My question is: is it really that hard or time consuming to edit questions to make them innocuous if not brilliant? Getting rid of the obviously bad things is like editing for grammar, and the most basic for getting people to understand what your writing: in the QB analogy, getting people to buzz
when they understand.
In regards to QB as more popular entertainment as opposed to academic pursuit, I suspect that people who flock to Sword Bowl-type popular tournies are also there to play QB, not just buzz and react. I mean, it's QB! You're already attracting a very specific crowd: that is, those who like academics, study at least semi-frequently, and enjoys learning, at least to some extant. As long as we reject that notion that learning something new from a tournament is some how against the spirit of entertainment in QB, or that hearing something you haven't heard of is necessarily bad, we should be ok. So Sword Bowl could probly use a bit more editing, if nothing else but to bring the next generation of QB players to a better game due to a better QB grammar, just as we were taught grammar in elementary school.
Ray Luo, UCLA.