Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

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Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

This question occurred to me the other day, and I thought I'd put it out there. The standard procedure when there is a disputed question during a game is to make an immediate ruling and then reserve a protest after the match "if it matters."

I'm not wild about this procedure as a player because it creates a game where you don't really know how many points your team really has - it's tough to be strategic with your buzzing and negging and whatnot when you have to consider the possibility that a protest may be upheld - then you have to do a lot of math about how points will shift and so on. It's also anticlimactic to win or lose a game because of the resolution of a protest. Plus, who knows, maybe there's even such a thing as "momentum" that gets affected. I understand the normal procedure in most cases, because it keeps games moving - you don't have to stop every time there's a protest and find whoever is in charge of deciding it. But, for clearly important games (games involving at least one team which has a reasonable chance to win the event, maybe), I feel like it might be a good practice to resolve all reasonable protests immediately.

The first situation that pops to my mind was the match between Minnesota and Yaphe's team at this year's Chi Open where the latter team won outright on a protest. I'm pretty confident that I made the right decision about the protest, but I feel like I did Minnesota and the competitiveness of the game in general a disservice by not making the final decision immediately.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Yes.

EDIT: accidentally deleted my content from my post, which, distilled, said that I know that I, personally, play differently depending on the score and have tried to adopt two buzzing strategies at once during games with protests riding with bad results.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I personally have always fallen on the side of resolving protests too, but for a different reason. At least for tournaments where there are paper tiebreakers for playoff spots, it seems a disservice to not resolve these protests since they can affect both PPG and potentially PPB, both of which are routinely used to break ties. For instance, I think it would suck to lose a ppb tiebreaker for the top bracket at ACF Nats because you were negged on a tossup that you were right about and then missed a bonus that was good for you, or at most any tournament really.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by cvdwightw »

As long as people don't go overboard with their protests, this seems like a reasonable idea - chances are that in an important game, you're going to have to resolve the protest anyways, so you might as well do it when it shows up.

However, I'm wary of introducing this at anything other than nationals and open tournaments, where the "important games" are between two teams that only protest when they've really been wronged. Especially with high school, I don't have faith that people are only going to protest when they've legitimately been screwed over by a poor answer line or question. There was that legend about Akshay protesting fully 30% of the tossups in a single round a few years back. Since I think his team had a legitimate chance of winning the tournament in many of those tournaments, it would not make sense to try to decide whether the protests are frivolous or worthy, and then decide on the protest, for all six protests. Rather, it would make more sense to consider them as a group, decide on the ones that are easy to make a decision on, and throw the rest out as not making a difference to the outcome of the game.

The other problem I can see with this is that you'd have to somehow discriminate "important" from "unimportant." From my point of view, my protest is equally worthy whether I'm 5-0 or 0-5, and if I'm 0-5 playing a 1-4 team, I don't want my protest not to be decided, but the same exact protest to be decided in a game between a 5-0 team and a 3-2 team, even though neither one ultimately mattered. To me, that seems to be a slap in the face - saying that my team isn't "important" enough to be treated the same way as a better team. Now, I know you feel like quizbowl is inherently elitist, and I've supported that view, but I'd be extremely cautious about implementing it at tournaments where teams are likely to make multiple protests in a single round, or where they might take offense that their protests are being handled differently from other teams.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Captain Sinico »

I guess the issue is that if you were capable of resolving the protest "immediately" as a moderator, you should have ruled the other team right to begin with. So that means that, unless you're moderating wrong, you have to have some recourse to outside reference, which may not be available in-game, and some time to consider information, which may fuck up your tournament since, all else equal, one room ending a given time later than the others will delay the whole tournament by the same time. Therefore, in the interest of getting the protest right (which should be paramount), I think the right thing to do is to wait until after the round, when you have the time and resources to check whatever needs checking.
To take up your example, Yaphe's protest in the match in question occurred because the first clue of the tossup on Truth and Method referred to the exposition of Yorck's concept of life from Truth and Method, which, according to the protest, is carried on through Being and Time (I think?!) with which Yaphe buzzed. Resolving this properly requires you, essentially, to find the relevant text of Truth and Method and check the references*, which takes a while, even for an able researcher. So, setting-up pressure to resolve the protest quickly to get on with the match fails to serve the purpose here.

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*NB: Actually, now that I'm reading more, Truth and Method seemingly doesn't explicitly delineate which work(s) of Husserl contain the discussion of Count Yorck to which it's alluding, but rather only asserts that Yorck was a major, explicit influence on Husserl. It may be that the work(s) of Husserl under discussion are implicitly obvious to someone who knows them better than I. Anyway, so this protest's resolution seemingly in fact requires additionally finding the work of Husserl in question and searching through that at some length.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Strongside »

I agree with what Charlie and Dwight said about this issue.

A person could potentially slow up a game by making a bunch of unnecessary an frivolous protests, but I have never seen this. People are usually reasonable about their protests.

I know that most of the people on this board believe that PPG is the best way to break ties in record. I generally believe this is the best way to do this, except I do have issues with PPG as the tiebreaker between teams with the same record.

Building off Charlie's post, here is a hypothetical example of what is wrong with using PPG as a tiebreaker.

Say you are at a tournament with 21 teams. The top two teams in each bracket advance to the championship bracket.

You (Team A) are in a game against (Team B) and are down by 35 points going into the last question. You were negged on a question that would otherwise be correct, but was ruled incorrect because the answer line did not have that answer listed. The other team got that tossup and thirtied the bonus. The bonus was something you guys would have 30'ed because it was subject you are well-versed in. This result is a potential 85 point swing.

Your team gets tossup 20 (the last) and 30s the bonus to win by 5.

After the preliminary round robin the order of your bracket is:

Team X 5-1 300 ppg
Team B 4-2 290 ppg (The one you beat by 5 on the last question).
Team A 4-2 288 ppg (Your team)
Records of other teams in the bracket are irrelevant now.

Based on this you will not advance to the top bracket. Let's say now on the last bonus, you only get 20 points and lose by 5. Your protest matters now, and you win it. The other team loses 40 points, you gain 15, and win by 50. Your team now has a better PPG so you win the tiebreaker. (This doesn't even factor in the potential 30 point bonus you would have had.

The problem with this is that by converting the last bonus, you ultimately cost yourself a chance at the playoff bracket.

The other problem with using PPG as a tiebreaker is if you are in a match that you win by a lot, but you neg on a question that should have been ruled correct. You win by so much that the protest doesn't matter, but like in the first situation, it costs you to lose a tiebreaker you otherwise would have won.

If PPG is going to be used as a tiebreaker, I believe all protests should be resolved immediately. (If the protest is a tossup, resolve it before the next bonus is read, and if it is a bonus, resolve it before the next tossup is read). If this involves interrupting another room, then so be it. If PPG is going to be used as a tiebreaker all protests should be resolved, no matter what the score of the game is.

If Head to Head is going to be the tiebreaker, then PPG is just another statistic, and immediately resolving protests does not matter as much as it does if PPG is the tiebreaker.

Also, I think Points Per Bonus is a terrible way to break ties, the worst of the three. Quiz bowl has two objectives, scoring as many points as you can, and winning. A team should not be punished for getting tossups and zeroing bonuses, because that is better than not getting any tossups.

Hopefully this all makes sense, and hopefully I did not get too off track.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by First Chairman »

In an ideal world, the protest would be resolved on the spot if the reader or judge has on-hand clear knowledge that the protest would be denied outright. Obviously during timed matches, this is impossible to place on the shoulders of the reader, and for tournament expediency, it's easier to set aside the challenge until a more convenient break.

I have had frivolous protests though usually in high school than in college. But even in college games, I am hesitant to do an immediate ruling unless I get back-up. The last thing I want is to put the TD in a bad position by acting unilaterally.

All other points made regarding paper tiebreaker issues, I recognize and agree with. I think back in whatever day, we knew this would be a possible consequence and recognized this as being part of the game. Sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some, but you always try not to make that protest be the real difference in whether you made it into playoffs or advanced.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Strongside wrote:Also, I think Points Per Bonus is a terrible way to break ties, the worst of the three. Quiz bowl has two objectives, scoring as many points as you can, and winning. A team should not be punished for getting tossups and zeroing bonuses, because that is better than not getting any tossups.
Though I think this point specifically is getting a little off track, I think it bears a response. Say you have a ten round tournament. A team that somehow knows all 200 leadins will win each game 200-0. That said, that team is failing totally in the "scoring as many points as [it] can" criterion, since it's converting 25% of the points available to it. A team that gets ten tossups a game and thirties all the bonuses will get 400 PPG and probably win a whole lot of games; moreover, it's converting 50% of available points. But PPG isn't necessarily a sufficient measure here: of two 300 PPG teams, I pick the one with ten tossups and 20 PPB over the team with fifteen tossups and 10 PPB, because the former team has deeper knowledge, implying that it's buzzing earlier on tossups and will probably win in a head-to-head matchup.

I mean, it's most important for comparing across different brackets, but again, this is a diversion, I think.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Well, Mike, I feel like I could have gone to the internet in the example cited here and been able to make a final ruling in a reasonably short amount of time (and, of course, the internet is often available via a laptop at tournaments these days). You might argue, to the contrary, that doing this would unnecessarily slow down the flow of a game - it would probably result in some approximately 5 minute hiatus in a match.

And, yeah, Dwight - I'm not talking about resolving all protests, but rather only ones which clearly have a persuasive basis. I'd give any moderator the authority to outright refuse to entertain a dumb protest - to say "come on, that's not protestable, stop being silly." I would envision my rule-of-thumb here to only come into play on pretty rare and clear-cut occasions.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Captain Sinico »

Andy, your argument is not a good one here. A team that's winning 15 tossups per game had better be buzzing early all the time. If these two teams have played the same opponents on the same questions for a significant number of games, it's irrational to assume that the one that has performed consistently worse on tossups is going to start performing better, all else equal. You're assuming that there must be a strong correlation between bonus conversion and tossup conversion, but the data here are telling you that, for whatever reason, that's not the case.
I think this all is yet another argument against using paper tiebreakers for anything important. We could formally say that this introduces additional error into the tiebreakers: the probability that the tiebreaker would rule differently if all the questions were 100% right/if we resolved all protests.
To address the broader point: The only tiebreaker that's an exact analogue to playing an actual game (so it measures everything about the game) is head-to-head. But head-to-head seems to suck as a predictive measure for a variety of reasons...

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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by theMoMA »

In the unique case of matches like ours against Yaphe's team, or most finals situations, I think that resolving protests immediately is the way to go. In the case of our Chicago Open match (and in most finals matches) the tournament director is reading the match and has access to the internet on the game computer. It's perfectly fine to resolve the protest immediately if the proper decision-maker and the means to rule on the protest are readily available. In most other cases, I don't think we can justify stopping the game. Perhaps, if people feel that this changes playing styles, moderators can say something like, "Tossup 20; the score is currently 200-185, but remember, the protest means that there's a potential 65-point swing" or something like that. It's simply good moderator etiquette to say the score before the last three tossups in a close game anyway, and adding in a reminder about the protest is a good way to keep everyone aware and focused on the game situation.

On a somewhat related note, it does seem to me that quizbowl needs to figure out what to do with the protests that don't matter to the game, but do matter to a team's and an individual's total points. With the advent of better-run, centralized, and oftentimes paperless tournaments, it seems like a uniquely stone-age practice to deny teams and players deserved points on protests that "don't matter." In addition to undermining the legitimacy of potential tiebreakers, it reflects what I see as the traditional quizbowl attitude that we should not care about our stats as long as teams are winning. This just doesn't make much sense. If you were right, you (and your team!) should get the points. Regardless of the game outcome, you should never be punished for saying something that should have been right, and you should have a recourse for protest. I believe I've held a contrasting opinion to this in the past, but I've fully come around. All protests should be resolved at the ends of games.

Also, just to reiterate my thoughts on PPB tiebreakers: In cases where teams have played a different slate of opponents, there really is no other way to fairly compare them. Regardless of the "statistical tiebreaker" thread's findings that PPB has the (nominally) highest correlation coefficient to future game results, I think that intuitively, it makes much more sense to use PPG as a tiebreaker when teams play a common schedule, because as Brendan said, you should always be rewarded for scoring more points. And even statistically (though I question the methodology and thus the usefulness of those numbers), it appears that PPG and PPB are effective to a similar degree to be within each others' margins of error.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by grapesmoker »

I think in an ideal situation, all protests would be resolved like Andrew says. In many cases, these protests end up not mattering, so most people won't make an issue out of resolving them. I think this is an acceptable compromise simply because resolving every protest regardless of import could be (but doesn't have to be) prohibitive with respect to time. I personally think it's best to wait until the end of the match to resolve a protest; it doesn't seem to me that this would affect the way a team plays all that much and it has the possibility to save 15 minutes if the protest turns out not to matter but would have been time-consuming to resolve.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Strongside »

After reading the rest of the posts in this thread, and thinking things over, every option/possibility has its positives and negatives. We just have to realize that this is one aspect of quiz bowl that is imperfect.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by DumbJaques »

There was that legend about Akshay protesting fully 30% of the tossups in a single round a few years back
I can confirm that this is not a legend. I actually witnessed this happen against RM A when I was a sophomore - 7 questions were protested, and the margin was such that something like five would have had to be overturned for the result to differ.

Incidentally, I also favor resolving protests sooner rather than later, and usually rule in the favor of reasonable protests when I'm reading if the result doesn't matter. I'm not convinced there's any way to meld a general consensus that ruling in favor of good protests would be nice with the practicalities of needing to have a standardized system, though.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Birdofredum Sawin »

I think "resolving every protest, period" is actually a pretty bad idea, simply because resolving protests, under any circumstances, takes time. The example of our CO match is somewhat misleading in this regard, as I was able to say (roughly; I don't remember the exact protest) "there is in fact a chapter of Being and Time which describes the stuff mentioned in the lead-in, as I'll prove by calling up the book's table of contents on Amazon." Since I knew exactly where to look, fact-checking only took a couple of minutes. If I hadn't known that particular fact (but had still been sure enough of my claim to make the protest), or if the question hadn't been so amenable to that kind of search, we could have spent much longer digging around the Internet trying to substantiate my assertion. In that particular circumstance -- a tossup which represented the winning margin in a key match -- obviously the protest has to be settled. But if it hadn't mattered, it's hard to see the point of insisting that a tournament stop for "however long it takes" so that a bedraggled tournament director can do some comparative research on two difficult texts from German philosophy. And given that one cannot know in advance how long any given protest adjudication is going to take, it's probably not a good idea for the default rule to be "all protests should be resolved immediately." Taking 15 minutes to resolve a protest on tossup 8, in a game which ends up being a complete blowout, simply isn't an optimal use of tournament resources, especially given the logistics of contemporary circuit tournaments (e.g. main events which run well into the evening; multiple ancillary events which need to be squeezed in before buildings are shut down).

In short: the current way of dealing with protests is not ideal, but from a practical standpoint it seems much superior to the alternatives.

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Re: Resolve Protests in Games Immediately?

Post by First Chairman »

This is perhaps the reason why you have at least one additional staff person available per bracket (or more immediately, per room). I don't know what percentage of games has a protest, but in the age of accessing internets by smartphone, I would suspect that if we had a research gopher dedicated to finding out the answer to a content-based protest that could be ruled on by the end of a half or game, that would be the best-case scenario.

Alternatively, this also justifies having a team chaperone who is adept at doing the same searches on their phones (quietly) while a game is going on if a protest comes up to verify. I would say it would be similar to a football coach in the media center relaying to a coach to challenge the ruling on a field... except this would be reverse (since the challenge would be issued first). While I was observing a game at the Maryland HS tournament a few years back, I did that on my cell phone: access Encyclopedia Brittanica and figure out whether an alternative answer was truly valid.

The times that we have played the NSC in a multimedia-accessible room, it has always been nice to have internet available to do a resolution of every protest. But the main priority first for every reader and TD is to get the game moving to its conclusion, so for that, I agree this is perhaps the best we can do and the direction we might be going in a year or two.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Coelacanth »

theMoMA wrote: it does seem to me that quizbowl needs to figure out what to do with the protests that don't matter to the game, but do matter to a team's and an individual's total points.
Unless you're playing in that new professional quizbowl league with large cash prizes based on individual stats, or you've bet your financial aid check on the fantasy quizbowl standings (hint: don't do this), an "individual's total points" never "matter". Literally every tournament I've ever played (where individual stats were kept) contained errors in the published individual stats, and it never mattered to me or anyone else.

That said, there certainly are some situations where a team's total points do matter. If any statistical tiebreakers are in play for playoff positioning or whatever, suddenly that third bonus part you protested in round 2 in a game you won 420-65 might matter. I think a reasonable compromise solution is:

(1) Note the protest at the time it occurs, but do not resolve it. Both teams play the rest of the match knowing there may be some points hanging in the balance.
(2) If, at the end of the match, the outcome of the match is in question, resolve the protest.
(3) If the outcome is not in question, do not resolve the protest, but note its details just in case. Make a note on the scoresheet along the lines of "Protest on Tossup 14. Answer ____ was not accepted. Potential 45 point swing for Team A". Have the stat room person keep track of these pending protests, so that when it comes time to rebracket, everyone knows fairly quickly if anything needs to be resolved at that time.

I'm not going to open up the "don't use statistical tiebreakers" can of worms again, but if they are in use, the above seems like a reasonable balance between equity and logistical workability.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Games Immediately?

Post by fleurdelivre »

First Chairman wrote:This is perhaps the reason why you have at least one additional staff person available per bracket (or more immediately, per room). I don't know what percentage of games has a protest, but in the age of accessing internets by smartphone, I would suspect that if we had a research gopher dedicated to finding out the answer to a content-based protest that could be ruled on by the end of a half or game, that would be the best-case scenario.
Yeah; this brings up my concern regarding all of this: you're asking a lot of moderators, which is perfectly reasonable at nationals and masters events, perhaps, but not necessarily at other times, when friends, roommates, and very junior team members are often dragooned into reading. As nice as it would be to have a judge in the room with both Internet and some background on the topic, in reality you're either going to be going to the TD or potentially allowing a process less fair than the author's answer choices (which have, after all, been reasoned and reviewed by editors) to determine the game.

That, or you're going to be needing even more staff for every tournament, and needing them to be pretty familiar with the game.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Games Immediately?

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

First Chairman wrote:This is perhaps the reason why you have at least one additional staff person available per bracket (or more immediately, per room). I don't know what percentage of games has a protest, but in the age of accessing internets by smartphone, I would suspect that if we had a research gopher dedicated to finding out the answer to a content-based protest that could be ruled on by the end of a half or game, that would be the best-case scenario.

Alternatively, this also justifies having a team chaperone who is adept at doing the same searches on their phones (quietly) while a game is going on if a protest comes up to verify. I would say it would be similar to a football coach in the media center relaying to a coach to challenge the ruling on a field... except this would be reverse (since the challenge would be issued first). While I was observing a game at the Maryland HS tournament a few years back, I did that on my cell phone: access Encyclopedia Brittanica and figure out whether an alternative answer was truly valid.

The times that we have played the NSC in a multimedia-accessible room, it has always been nice to have internet available to do a resolution of every protest. But the main priority first for every reader and TD is to get the game moving to its conclusion, so for that, I agree this is perhaps the best we can do and the direction we might be going in a year or two.
With the state of the modern tournament, for anything but a large scale national tournament put on in a really organized fashion, these suggestions are entirely unworkable.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by STPickrell »

IIRC, the IHSA has a 5-minute time limit in researching protests. The VHSL rules allow for immediate resolution of disagreements if there is "quick and easy agreement among players, coaches, and staff" (paraphrasing). I know the latter is generally accepted practice in college quizbowl but is it explicitly spelled out?

For finals or top-bracket matches, perhaps, which are usually going to be close, this might be a good idea. Perhaps you can allow both teams one 10-minute 'challenge' per game during which protests can be immediately resolved. Otherwise, protests are resolved at the end of the game.

If total points are to be a tiebreaker, it is only fair that all protests be resolved at some point (the urgency of resolution is certainly reduced.)

A research 'gopher' that aids the TD would be an excellent idea IMO, but it is lower on the staffing needs totem pole. On the other hand, the 'gopher' need not actually be at the tournament site -- while the TD resolves the 'win-or-lose' protests, the remotely located gophers can research the 'matters for total points' protests. This might work well with a tournament that has multiple sites, such as EFT, ACF Regionals, NAQT Sectionals, etc.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Come on guys, I don't want anything in college quizbowl to come from the IHSA rulebook. Shawn Pickrell, you have just proposed terrible ideas for college that I don't think anyone should ever want to see used at ACF Nationals or anywhere else. If we're going to at least have a protest heard, why the fuck not rule on it, no matter how long it takes?
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by grapesmoker »

I don't understand what's wrong with the protest resolution system now in place. Has the hypothetical scenario in which one bonus part makes all the difference in someone's standings ever actually happened? This would require that two teams with identical records be separated by the tiniest of margins, which seems somewhat improbable. Obviously we should not add anything that would prevent a correct protest from being resolved due to technicalities like a time limit on research or some such thing. Resolving only those protests that matter seems like the best possible compromise between game integrity and time. I should also point out that empirically, the number of protests at most tournaments tends to be quite small (on the order of 1 to 2 per tournament), so it's quite possible that resolving all of them will not result in any great slowdown.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by No Rules Westbrook »

Yeah, if I wasn't already, I've been convinced by Jerry and Yaphe here. I'm against resolving most all protests that don't have an impact on the winner of the game in which the protest was made - that just seems like the best compromise of game integrity with time limits and practical considerations, even if it does result in some very minor statistical anomalies.

And after mulling it over a bit, I think I would restrict the rule of thumb I'm proposing in this thread to very particular circumstances - where it seems that the game is clearly important, and that the protest has a pretty high chance of mattering in the outcome.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by cvdwightw »

grapesmoker wrote:I don't understand what's wrong with the protest resolution system now in place. Has the hypothetical scenario in which one bonus part makes all the difference in someone's standings ever actually happened? This would require that two teams with identical records be separated by the tiniest of margins, which seems somewhat improbable.
Jerry, we missed the top bracket by 2 (TWO!) bonus parts at ACF Nationals. Let's say that we convert those two bonus parts. Dartmouth had a 10 point bonus part protest against us that was not resolved because we won by 15, but almost certainly would have been ruled in their favor. If we had converted those two bonus parts, we would have been ahead of Dartmouth 13.04 to 12.97 on bonus conversion. However, if their protest was upheld, they would have been ahead 13.13 to 13.04. So, two bonus brainfarts on our side were the only two things that prevented such a situation from occurring.

The point is that we can come awfully close to such a hypothetical situation, especially when there are so many teams of similar abilities (as is the case this year), and as such we need to be prepared for the eventuality that it does happen.

I think the best thing at the college level is to note each and every protest, but rule on it only if it matters in the outcome of either a game or a tournament.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by grapesmoker »

cvdwightw wrote:Jerry, we missed the top bracket by 2 (TWO!) bonus parts at ACF Nationals. Let's say that we convert those two bonus parts. Dartmouth had a 10 point bonus part protest against us that was not resolved because we won by 15, but almost certainly would have been ruled in their favor. If we had converted those two bonus parts, we would have been ahead of Dartmouth 13.04 to 12.97 on bonus conversion. However, if their protest was upheld, they would have been ahead 13.13 to 13.04. So, two bonus brainfarts on our side were the only two things that prevented such a situation from occurring.
Ok, I guess this answers my question about whether these things actually happen. Still, I think no one will argue against the position that this would have been a protest which did actually affect standings and should have resolved, but if you or Dartmouth had been leading by a large margin in the PPB category, then I would say there would be no point in resolving this protest.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by cvdwightw »

grapesmoker wrote:Ok, I guess this answers my question about whether these things actually happen. Still, I think no one will argue against the position that this would have been a protest which did actually affect standings and should have resolved, but if you or Dartmouth had been leading by a large margin in the PPB category, then I would say there would be no point in resolving this protest.
True. I guess that is why I'm in favor of a four-pronged solution similar to Brian's: (1) note the protest; (2) if both teams quickly agree on a satisfactory resolution to the protest, then the protest is resolved in that manner (e.g. I say "Furies," answer key has "Erinyes" and "Eumenides" but not "Furies," I obviously protest, other team concedes protest because they know I'm right too, protest immediately resolved); (3) if the protest matters at the end of the game, resolve the protest at the end of the game; (4) if the protest could matter in a team's final placement, resolve the protest before playing any tiebreaker games and/or rebracketing and/or the awards ceremony. Essentially, this resolves the protest at the point at which it is easiest to resolve the protest (I maintain that if both teams agree as to the correct resolution of a protest, then resolving the protest is easier than keeping it in the back of both teams' mind near the end of the game), and if it is easier not to resolve the protest, then the protest is not resolved.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by STPickrell »

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Come on guys, I don't want anything in college quizbowl to come from the IHSA rulebook. Shawn Pickrell, you have just proposed terrible ideas for college that I don't think anyone should ever want to see used at ACF Nationals or anywhere else. If we're going to at least have a protest heard, why the fuck not rule on it, no matter how long it takes?
The mid-game 'challenges,' sure. I was trying to shoehorn the 'resolve protests mid-game' idea in with the need to keep things moving. I'll freely acknowledge it is a cure worse than the disease.

On the other hand, why would having offsite subject matter experts be a terrible idea? If the folks running EFT in one location know nothing of physics, why not send the relevant details via IM or email or phone to someone at another site or at home that does know physics?
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by grapesmoker »

STPickrell wrote:On the other hand, why would having offsite subject matter experts be a terrible idea? If the folks running EFT in one location know nothing of physics, why not send the relevant details via IM or email or phone to someone at another site or at home that does know physics?
There's nothing wrong with it when those people are available, and if I remember correctly, I even posted my phone number once or twice so people could get in touch with me regarding EFT protests. Certainly it's available on Facebook and almost anyone on the circuit could find it if they needed my input to resolve a protest. However, those experts may just not always be available; if they're not, the TD has to rely on whatever the next best thing is, whether that's someone who's had undergraduate classes in the subject or perhaps even a player on a different team that has no stake in the outcome of the protest (I was almost drafted into serving in this role during a tournament last year). I think it's unreasonable to assume that someone offsite is going to be available to help resolve protests; if they are, by all means make use of them, but don't rely on it even for multi-site events.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Do statistical tiebreakers really matter at any tournament other than Nationals? Really, who cares if you got screwed out of a tiebreaker at Cardinal Classic or ACF Winter. These tournaments are meaningless except in the sense that they are fun for participants and/or allowing other teams to observe your team and determine how good it is. I don't think that not resolving statistical-tiebreaker related protests really hurts any of those.

At Nationals you presumably have a lot more resources at your disposal (and its two days long now, right? So you'll already be there a while), so maybe you can afford to spend on the extravagance of being able to resolve any protest relevant to statistical tiebreakers.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

STPickrell wrote:IIRC, the IHSA has a 5-minute time limit in researching protests. The VHSL rules allow for immediate resolution of disagreements if there is "quick and easy agreement among players, coaches, and staff" (paraphrasing). I know the latter is generally accepted practice in college quizbowl but is it explicitly spelled out?

For finals or top-bracket matches, perhaps, which are usually going to be close, this might be a good idea. Perhaps you can allow both teams one 10-minute 'challenge' per game during which protests can be immediately resolved. Otherwise, protests are resolved at the end of the game.

If total points are to be a tiebreaker, it is only fair that all protests be resolved at some point (the urgency of resolution is certainly reduced.)

A research 'gopher' that aids the TD would be an excellent idea IMO, but it is lower on the staffing needs totem pole. On the other hand, the 'gopher' need not actually be at the tournament site -- while the TD resolves the 'win-or-lose' protests, the remotely located gophers can research the 'matters for total points' protests. This might work well with a tournament that has multiple sites, such as EFT, ACF Regionals, NAQT Sectionals, etc.
Oooh, oooh, and to make sure that the 10-minutes are enforced, we can add a tournament official whose sole job it is to look at the clock. And to make sure that the research gopher focuses solely on resolving matters of fact rather than matters of law (as his time is limited), we can add an official whose sole job is to know the ACF rules. And then of course the moderator would be a separate individual, so none of these guys would have to be distracted by a duty to read.

We'd need a lot more staff than usual, true, but perhaps we could attract them if we held a large dinner before each tournament.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Sir Thopas »

Whig's Boson wrote:Oooh, oooh, and to make sure that the 10-minutes are enforced, we can add a tournament official whose sole job it is to look at the clock. And to make sure that the research gopher focuses solely on resolving matters of fact rather than matters of law (as his time is limited), we can add an official whose sole job is to know the ACF rules. And then of course the moderator would be a separate individual, so none of these guys would have to be distracted by a duty to read.

We'd need a lot more staff than usual, true, but perhaps we could attract them if we held a large dinner before each tournament.
You seem to have something against tournament directors above the age of fourty whose first names begin with affricates.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by BuzzerZen »

Sir Thopas wrote:fourty
You seem to have something against spelling. OH BURN.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by grapesmoker »

BuzzerZen wrote:
Sir Thopas wrote:fourty
You seem to have something against spelling. OH BURN.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Sir Thopas wrote:
Whig's Boson wrote:Oooh, oooh, and to make sure that the 10-minutes are enforced, we can add a tournament official whose sole job it is to look at the clock. And to make sure that the research gopher focuses solely on resolving matters of fact rather than matters of law (as his time is limited), we can add an official whose sole job is to know the ACF rules. And then of course the moderator would be a separate individual, so none of these guys would have to be distracted by a duty to read.

We'd need a lot more staff than usual, true, but perhaps we could attract them if we held a large dinner before each tournament.
You seem to have something against tournament directors above the age of fourty whose first names begin with affricates.
Your meta-fu is weak.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by theMoMA »

Coelacanth wrote:Unless you're playing in that new professional quizbowl league with large cash prizes based on individual stats, or you've bet your financial aid check on the fantasy quizbowl standings (hint: don't do this), an "individual's total points" never "matter". Literally every tournament I've ever played (where individual stats were kept) contained errors in the published individual stats, and it never mattered to me or anyone else.
I question the long-held implication that people who care about getting the stats right are just selfish pricks who should just suck it up when they're denied points that they earn. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to receive credit for points your team deserves; it could definitely matter in a tiebreaker situation, and just as importantly, a player deserves to get points for saying right answers regardless of the game situation. Quizbowl is just like any other activity; players take pride in their skills and want their accomplishments to be accurately reflected, and we shouldn't frown on that at all.

I sympathize with the idea that tournaments shouldn't bog down with protests, but resolving whether to give someone a neg five or a ten takes a maximum of a few minutes and has absolutely no negatives. If there's a protest that the moderator feels has a good chance of being upheld, simply read a bonus to the protesting team at the end of the match, and award the appropriate points after the TD does a few minutes of research. The actual resolutions of these unimportant-to-game-outcome protests can even wait until an appropriate break like lunch, rebracketing, or the end of the tournament. The important thing is to get it right, especially when doing that can be done hassle-free.

The bottom line is, we need to stop rolling our eyes at players who are completely reasonable in calling for TDs to take statkeeping seriously.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by Coelacanth »

I don't really disagree with anything you just said there, Andrew, and I certainly didn't mean to imply that you or anyone who cares about accurate stats is a "selfish prick".

I do think in many cases regarding accuracy of stats or resolution of non-game-determining protests, it's just as easy to get these things right as it is to get them wrong. But if I had to make a tradeoff between a score reading 420-85 instead of 420-45, and having all the rooms run on schedule, I'll take the latter every time.

I guess on my list of frustrating things to experience at a tournament, with (a) being inaccurate individual stats, (b) being someone screwed in the standings because a "meaningless" protest wasn't resolved, and (c) being rounds taking 40 minutes instead of 30 on average due to resolving a bunch of protests, they are ranked c-b-a from most to least frustrating. And issue (b) can be clean eliminated by not using stats-based tiebrakers to determine rebracketing positions.

You're always making a tradeoff between statistical accuracy and logistical efficiency. I agree that in the ideal world you have both, but where you come down when it comes to making that tradeoff is probably a matter of personal preference as much as anything, and I would never disparage anyone whose feelings about it differed from my own.
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Re: Resolve Protests in Important Games Immediately?

Post by theMoMA »

Reading an extra bonus takes a minute, and resolving all of the unimportant-to-game-result protests at the appropriate break takes no extra time. There's a way to do both things here.
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