Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

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physicsnerd
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Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by physicsnerd »

Why, exactly, is it that there are more discussions about the trash distribution than the actual sexual harassment that occurred recently?

Why does cheating keep getting more attention than harassment? (On that note, why is there always discussion of the problems of 'ending quiz bowl careers' but no discussion of the problems that keeping harassers in the community creates by allowing them to hurt more people?)

Why is it that the current discussion thread for the recent incident has twelve posts, two of which are a request and reply for the definition of the word 'toxic' (which is clearly in bad faith considering the requester's post history includes a thorough discussion of Brittany Spears' song Toxic)?

You all need to pay some damn attention to your own community. We're doing as was requested in the discord servers; we're posting on the forums, we're providing more than enough evidence. This is not the first time this has happened. It's time to actually deal with these issues instead of getting a few apologies ranging on the scale from reasonably sincere to rather half hearted and moving on.

How do we fix the broader problems that led to this? How do we deal with this specific instance? Listen, and actually engage. (Or are you going to go back and make a few more threads about the trash distribution?)
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Couch's Kingbird »

Firstly, from a college club leader's perspective:

I've realized as I've joined the board at Columbia that there are few, if any, procedures to handle misconduct. In fact, it's not discussed often- and I suspect this applies to many other clubs as well. I realized that if someone approached me with a misconduct/harassment/etc. report, I'd have trouble handling it well. And this is extremely worrying to me- because it really shouldn't be this way. Preventing misconduct and harassment- creating an equitable, inclusive team culture- should be on the top of a club leader's priority list. If the same applies to your club, then there is a lot you can do towards making Quiz Bowl a more safe, inclusive, place. And you need to make sure you prioritize doing so.

Dealing with misconduct is difficult. Having a procedure in place to deal with misconduct that respects the victim and their needs (while also maintaining "innocent until proven guilty" as necessary) is difficult. Building a culture of trust where people are willing to reach out about harassment and misconduct- putting time into listening to your teammates- being reflective enough to see when your club's in-jokes and culture are becoming (gasp) toxic- is difficult. In my experience as a club leader, though, these issues were always secondary to, for instance, "how to sign up for tournaments," "how to TD," "how to manage club finances," etc. My point here isn't that those things are unimportant- but dealing with misconduct and promoting a safe, welcoming environment should be a central, normalized part of participating in Quiz Bowl. And my experiences as a student club leader of forms (captain, president, etc etc) in QB indicate they're not.

I think these are massive oversights. I would say it's shocking, but to be honest- I'm not surprised at the least. But I see this as a place where substantial progress can be made. My thoughts:

1) Heather is absolutely right in the other thread: there must be a code of conduct. Even if this doesn't happen on a community wide level (though it really should!), make it happen in your club. Make anyone who wants to participate in club activities- practices, tournaments, parties, whatever- sign it. If you host tournaments, make the attendants sign it. Make sure the CoC has clear guidelines on behavior and consequences on what happens if the CoC is broken. Make it clear where to report misconduct and the consquences of said misconduct. And make sure you enforce the code of conduct universally. Don't tolerate bad behavior just because it's coming from a high scorer, or a team captain, or a board member, or some other notable team figure. Hold everyone to the same standard.

2) Have a transparent procedure in place to deal with misconduct allegations. This is something I've realized is difficult- it's really not something that can just be thrown together. Handling misconduct cases in a sensitive, empathetic way that doesn't perpetuate (or negate!) the trauma that occurred takes skill, and adopting good procedures takes time and expertise. I think a great idea is getting training from knowledgeable sources if they are available to you (I know Columbia, for instance, has organizations like Sexual Violence Response that hosts training workshops for students- something CUQB is looking to do). If not, see if there are any experienced people in the Quiz Bowl community willing to help. (This is an area I'm not so certain about- but if you're knowledgeable and willing to help teams dealing with misconduct, I think that's fantastic! If possible, make yourself known.)

Another difficult but important aspect of this: if you're hosting a tournament, make sure everyone is aware of how to report misconduct and the procedures in place to deal with misconduct. (This is something I sorely regret not doing in the past) Again, developing these procedures takes time and sensitivity- but it is something crucial to do.

In short: take the time to get educated. It's difficult, yes; it takes time, yes; but it's potentially the most important thing you will do as a club leader.

3) Going off of this: have a transparent place- a form, for instance- to report misconduct within your club. Last year, Columbia developed an anonymous reporting form for the club and also for the tournaments we hosted (though I didn't make the second one available enough- which is something I sorely regret)- which included promises to follow up on reports within 3-4 days and an option to leave contact info. Make sure the form is easy to access (for instance- if your club sends emails, attach it to the signature; if your club has a website, make sure it's in a visible location; etc.). To be honest I think a big issue with the misconduct form right now is that it's very difficult to find. Make sure this isn't a problem in your club.

4) Talk about misconduct. Talk about behaving well. Talk about being anti-sexist (and while you're at it: anti-racist, anti-homophobic, etc.- just anti-exclusionary in general!) Talk about calling out bad "jokes" if you see them, listening to people if they say something's making them uncomfortable. Is it an awkward conversation? Yup. But are they crucial? Of course. Transparency is key here. Make it clear that making people uncomfortable- being sexist (racist, homophobic, etc.)- is and never will be cool.

So now you might be saying- Julia, you have all these ideas, but what even have you, yourself, done, anyways? To which I'd say: fair point, there's a lot more I could've done at Columbia and Darien. But these are things that Columbia is actively trying to fix- and that part (actively trying) is important. I'm sure these ideas are nowhere near comprehensive- and I'm sure that, as my club's board goes through the process of formally installing procedures in the club constitution and such, I'll want to add a lot to these basic guidelines. But I think these are crucial places to start.
If you're looking at this thread and wondering "what can I do?"- establish all of these things, especially if you're in a position of power. Get familiar with the resources available to your school (including organizations like Columbia's Sexual Violence Response, if they exist; your administration's reporting procedure [and also how good your admin is at handling these reports*]. If you're not a leader, push your club's leadership to do all of these things. Do the research; advocate; stress how important this issue is. (And this applies even if your club doesn't have a history of issues!)
tl;dr: Be the change in this community. Do more than just post on the forums.

*a side note note: some things are better handled by school administration, sure, but this doesn't necessarily apply to misconduct. at some schools (like Columbia) admin is notably horrendous for dealing with sexual assault and such- and reporting can lead to a long, arduous process that's frustrating and only exacerbates trauma. victims absolutely should not be pressured to report to them if they don't want to. Hence another reason why internal club procedures is so crucial.


From my personal perspective:

I'm incredibly fortunate in that I've avoided serious sexual harassment as a female quiz bowler in this game. But my experience playing QB has been extremely colored- if not defined- by my gender. My high school years were spent trying to "break into" what felt like an in-grouppy boy's club. There were small things: when the older (male) player on my team graduated, discussion threads on the forums talked about how a younger (male) teammate would lead the team. There were the numerous assertions that my HS team was a "one man team"- despite my presence as second scorer. There was even the joke in a college practice after a question on a woman: *looks at me, the only female in the room* "hey, how about the woman here?" But they stacked up: I felt like, if I wasn't "good" at the game, if I didn't score enough points to draw attention to myself, I couldn't earn a place in the community; and when I worked hard and tried to carve that place out for myself, I still felt invisible. It changed me- it affected my self-esteem, and damaged my relationship with the game.

In some ways, QB has been a source of some of my closest friends- I can't (and won't) deny that. But the QB experience has also been hostile and alienating in many ways- and, at worst, tinged with fear and abuse. As a personal example, I won't forget when I was choosing schools as a high school senior and was warned that [a very notable player] at [a school I was considering] was apparently known for sexual harassment- something that was hugely eye opening and certainly would've made me quit the game had I gone to said school. This is not an isolated incident- incidents like this happen quite often. The attrition rate of women from QB is real. After all, why would you stay in a space that made you feel unwelcome (and/or unsafe), that makes it clear that you are an outsider?

My personal experience doesn't even touch on the abuse endured by other women (some of whom are among my closest friends I've met through the game). It angers me- and it should anger everyone, female or not. It should anger everyone that this has happened before- and it continues to happen over and over and over again. It should anger everyone that the community right now is so reliant on """whisper networks,""" rumors that don't even get necessary information out to the most vulnerable people who need to know it. It should anger everyone that the community's response to misconduct, as a whole, is so disorganized; that it so often devolves into debates on the "proper" punishments, on more empty calls to action. (This is, to be absolutely clear, not a knock on the misconduct form- which I think is a fantastic idea, but not a complete solution to QB's problems).

If you're male: you might not realize how deep this problem goes. You might be quick to dismiss many of these feelings as "bs" or "oversensitivity," to mock female players for "not being able to take a joke." If that is your gut reaction- pause, close your eyes, try to understand and empathize with how it feels to be a woman playing this game. Realize the fact that quiz bowl as it is now is a very competitive environment where abusing power is easy and common- and exists in an age where institutions (such as school administrations) are often terrible with dealing effectively with harassment. These are not "jokes." Girls quit this game every day because they feel, at best, ignored; at worst, demeaned and abused. They quit (or think seriously about quitting) because this hostility and pain is not worth the game- and let's be real, no game is worth harming others to win. Understand where our anger is coming from- and understand that, if you deny this problem exists, you are actively contributing to what's making this community so inaccessible to many people.

In a lot of the discourse I've seen there is a consistent focus on the abuser- the consequences to the abuser, a focus on giving second chances. I, too, am a big believer in innocent until proven guilty- to be absolutely clear, I do not believe in "witch hunts" or some form of strange vigilante justice or the like. But I'm a bigger believer of "believe the victims enough to seek justice for them." If your focus is more on the abusers in this situation- if your sympathy is more with the abuser's career, or downplaying the pain that the abuser's actions caused to victims- reflect on why that's the case, and try to fully understand the damage that being harassed causes. Remember that knowing "harassment is bad" and "misconduct is bad" is the absolute lowest bar here- I urge you to think about how you can actively prevent harassment, abuse; confront internalized sexism in the QB communities you're in (as well as in yourself!)

Beyond that, I'm a firm believer that it's better to prevent these incidents from happening in the first place. These changes must happen at the club level. If your club membership is mostly male...please take a hard look at how you treat your players, especially women (and new players, and other marginalized groups!). It is incredibly difficult to be the only woman in the room- at QB tourneys, at parties, while traveling, etc. Please understand that recruiting a more diverse club body is a crucial part to making your team more inclusive. If women aren't sticking around, think: why? This isn't a hard and set rule, of course, but I feel that in many situations there's usually reasons why women leave and don't come back: feeling like outsiders as the only woman in the room, feeling ignored; perhaps a hostile, "boys-club"-esque environment they can't feel comfortable in; etc. etc. Include women; actively listen to us; trust us. Prioritize being welcoming over being a 'cool' part of the club.

Remember that you always have power to change things- even if you're not a leader. Don't be a bystander to harassment. If something isn't right, speak up. Stand up to leaders who abuse their power; stand up against sexist jokes and statements. It's hard to involve yourself- trust me, I know. But everyone- your teammates, your club, the community as a whole- will be better off for it.

And overall: please listen to the women. Please frame conversations about women around women. Please let the women speak about what we've experienced- and actively listen to what we say. Don't shut us down because you don't like the way we say things, or don't believe what we're saying is true, or think we're being "oversensitive," etc. Believe us- and work to make this game, and this community, better.
Julia Tong
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by michellep1771 »

This is my first ever forum post after several months of lurking, but I don't feel comfortable sitting back in silence anymore.

I am fortunate to not have experienced serious harassment in the community firsthand, and I'm happy to have made great friends through quiz bowl. However, I have experienced microaggressions over the years to the point where sometimes I feel like I'm not supposed to belong in the same way male players do. In line with what Heather and Julia have mentioned above, the urgent matter right now is to establish and enforce a code of conduct, with clear measures for what happens when the code is broken. Accountability is crucial, and it shouldn't be controversial to make safety and security a top priority. Players should be held accountable for their actions regardless of how well known they are or how many points they score. In addition to this, we also need to actively promote a more inclusive culture, which isn't a single day event. It is on everyone to contribute to this together- stay mindful, confront biases in your circles, and listen to input on this topic.

Thank you to everyone who has spoken up about their experiences- I want to stress again the importance of this conversation.
Michelle P.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Perturbed Secretary Bird »

I agree with you all that it is sad and horrible that cheating on tournaments gets far more attention than interpersonal misconduct and violence in our community. People like Alex D and Marianna Zhang (others forgive me if I left you out; Marianna and Alex are simply closest to my social circles) have put a lot of effort into implementing the first misconduct reporting systems and standards for tournaments. We definitely need the overwhelmingly male TD's to be aware they exist, implement all applicable guidelines, and publicize them to their players (as discussed elsewhere).

Do you all think that part of this state of ignorance could be helped by building more intergenerational communication channels? Of course, I am not advocating for a strengthening of the whisper network because, as explored elsewhere, that is not sufficient to protect our players. I don't know if this is just an issue of me being out of touch, but since I am never in the QB discord-sphere, the IRC, or the high school forums, I didn't know that all of this was happening or even who the involved parties are until just now. Would more inter-generational connections help to more quickly respond to needs, especially if needs are presented by high schoolers? Or do quizbowlers, especially powerful male quizbowlers, just need to pay more attention to what's going on in the forums now?
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by wcheng »

I would like to second all of the excellent points that have been made here, especially this one by Julia:
In my experience as a club leader, though, these issues were always secondary to, for instance, "how to sign up for tournaments," "how to TD," "how to manage club finances," etc. My point here isn't that those things are unimportant- but dealing with misconduct and promoting a safe, welcoming environment should be a central, normalized part of participating in Quiz Bowl. And my experiences as a student club leader of forms (captain, president, etc etc) in QB indicate they're not.
I'd like to borrow a metaphor about active and passive racism from Beverly Daniel Tatum's book Why Are All of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, and apply it here.
Beverly Daniel Tatum wrote:I sometimes visualize the ongoing cycle of racism as a moving walkway at the airport. Active racist behavior is equivalent to walking fast on the conveyor belt. The person engaged in active racist behavior has identified with the ideology of White supremacy and is moving with it. Passive racist behavior is equivalent to standing still on the walkway. No overt effort is being made, but the conveyor belt moved the bystanders in the same direction as those who are actively walking. Some of the bystanders may feel the motion of the conveyor belt, see the active racists ahead of them, and choose to turn around, unwilling to go to the same destination as the White supremacists. But unless they are walking actively in the opposite direction as a speed faster than the conveyor belt--unless they are actively antiracist--they will find themselves carried along with the others.
Tatum's verbatim message on antiracism is, of course, very much applicable in our community, but I think it is easy to see how this metaphor applies to sexism in our community too. Any sensible person who has been watching our community over the last few years can clearly see that there are many incidents of misconduct, not only sexual in nature, that have been happening year after year. If a tournament director or club leader (especially a cisgender man like myself) doesn't go against the conveyor belt by enforcing codes of conduct (which Marianna Zhang has done excellent work on producing) and instituting an anti-sexist culture in their clubs, they cannot help but be carried away by the trends in our society and community.

By my own words, I condemn myself too. To be frank, in my time as a TD and club leader, I have not given anywhere close to adequate thought about how to prevent misconduct, nor taken active measures to do so. I'm no longer actively involved in quizbowl, but I feel obligated to amplify the important voices speaking up here: If the next generation of TDs, editors, and club leaders in quizbowl wants to keep this community healthy and prevent more people from being harmed by misconduct, you need to pay serious attention to the concerns being brought up here and take action!
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Sylvia Pankhurst »

I'm so tired of having this conversation.
I'm tired of these fights on the forums that leave me terrified after I post that some man at least 5 years older than me is going to rip my words apart like what happened to Chloe's study two years ago.
I'm tired of knowing nothing I say will change anything, no matter how many horrifying anecdotes I include. Remember how horrified we were after reading Matt Bruce's blog? Where did all of that energy go? That anger? That desire to do better?

I, like many other women, have almost completely left quizbowl. Now while that's probably more due to my academic goals than to sexism, I cannot think of a single other thing I've done that was nearly as tiring as being a woman in quizbowl was. I have been pit against any other woman who was remotely close in age to me (to the point of having multiple friendships ruined!) for male attention (very little of which was actually wanted, just something we thought was the way we earned our spot in the "cool kids club"). I've encountered more microaggressions in my college career alone than I think I have in the rest of my life? As a white woman, I have to imagine that this is infinitely worse for BIPOC non men. I can keep listing, but all that'll due is add to the inflammatory nature of this post, and honestly, I'm kinda scared of what my DMs would look like if I said everything I wanted to, and that alone is VERY BAD.

There's a reason why women don't stick around. It's a pretty defeating cycle. I remember when the idea of quitting quizbowl was impossible for me to imagine, not only because I loved the game, but because of the immense amount of guilt and pressure I felt to not be yet another woman who gave up and left. But here I am. This is what quizbowl does to women who care. It tires you out until there's nothing left but rage, but even that shrivels up eventually.

I don't know if there's any advice I can leave here that' hasn't already been said by smarter women that me. I don't know how to help fix the game I used to love so much. I wish I did.
Lauren Onel
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Cheynem »

Sylvia Pankhurst wrote: Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:55 pm I cannot think of a single other thing I've done that was nearly as tiring as being a woman in quizbowl was. I have been pit against any other woman who was remotely close in age to me (to the point of having multiple friendships ruined!) for male attention (very little of which was actually wanted, just something we thought was the way we earned our spot in the "cool kids club"). I've encountered more microaggressions in my college career alone than I think I have in the rest of my life?
This is just sickening. I'm not fully sure what is being described, but male quizbowlers in such clubs or positions, whoever they are or regardless of their actions or intentional are not, need to evaluate their behavior. I'm hardly a paragon in this regard--I've done or said things I'm not proud of--but the level of hurt and fear in these threads is very eye opening (to me, obviously not others).

Edit: That last sentence comes off as pretty asinine--I apologize for that. Obviously I was aware this was a problem before this thread, but the thread has helped me to more fully realize the extent of the problem (which is obviously an indictment of me as well).
Last edited by Cheynem on Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by thederpyaxolotl »

physicsnerd wrote: Fri Jul 10, 2020 6:41 pm
Why does cheating keep getting more attention than harassment? (On that note, why is there always discussion of the problems of 'ending quiz bowl careers' but no discussion of the problems that keeping harassers in the community creates by allowing them to hurt more people?)
There are some individuals where, when they stay around, they end more quizbowl careers than one. They end the careers of the community members that they hurt, and despite many of them being well-integrated into the community, is that justification for tearing others away from a game they love?
Sylvia Pankhurst wrote: Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:55 pm
There's a reason why women don't stick around. It's a pretty defeating cycle. I remember when the idea of quitting quizbowl was impossible for me to imagine, not only because I loved the game, but because of the immense amount of guilt and pressure I felt to not be yet another woman who gave up and left. But here I am. This is what quizbowl does to women who care. It tires you out until there's nothing left but rage, but even that shrivels up eventually.
Lauren said it perfectly. But to add on, the constant tone-policing of those who choose to speak out, while we're criticized for that speaking out about others' language and words, is disheartening. Many times, we speak out strongly because it is the only way we can truly express our rage at how little has changed, at how we are not always listened to when we choose to involve ourselves in yet another circular conversation. Rather than our voices being heard, we're told to tone it down and that we're being prickly or something like that. Like Chloe has said before, the loudest allyship is not the best allyship.

And in the end, we hold on to the friends we've met and made, that thrill of winning a close game. But instead, we're ensnared in an endless pit of despair when we watch the community we loved fail again and again, watch pleas and sickening behavior die behind closed doors, and our hopes crumble to dust.
Last edited by thederpyaxolotl on Mon Jul 13, 2020 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Sylvia Pankhurst »

The thing about being a woman in quizbowl is that you're never just a player. You're a woman first and player second. In my high school career, the men who spoke to me were the men who were trying to hit on me. At ACE Camp before my senior year, the only man who regularly spoke to me was someone who later referred to me as his "girlfriend" (which I was not) and asked me out several times. This pattern continued throughout the rest of the year. Many of the men who became my friends that year started talking to me because they were trying to hit on me. These men were not just high schoolers, but I was newly 18 so that was okay right? This became less true in my Freshmen and Sophomore years of college, but that was only because most of those same people were close my with boyfriend at the time. When we broke up, it started again.

This was my experience, but it's not just my experience. Between my last post and this, someone posted in the discord about having to shut down a discussion of "how to get girls" in nhbb.

I do not know a single woman in qb who played at a relatively high level (be it HS or College) who does not have similar stories.

Women are not in quizbowl to be the object of your fantasy. Women are not in quizbowl to be hit on. Women are not in quizbowl to fuck you. Women are not in quizbowl to date you.

Finally, if you're one of the men in your second or third graduate degree with a reputation for rotating through the UG women in your circuit, burn in hell.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by naneekeralc »

I’m seeing a lot of men in quizbowl discussing the problem of harassment and sexism in qb but I’m not seeing any introspection. If you’re nearing 30 and hitting on teenagers, you are part of the problem. If you are an adult rating the attractiveness of high school students, you are part of the problem. If you’re saying that I have my SO “by the balls” for no apparent reason, you are part of the problem. If all of your recent partners have been younger women in quizbowl, really consider the nature of those relationships (it is not inherently predatory or problematic to date someone younger than you or in the same activity, but if it’s a pattern for you, stop and consider why that is). Nearly everyone who I have witnessed or heard firsthand accounts of engaging in this type of behavior has also been posting on the forums/discord/ILQBM about how to combat sexism. Instead of pondering the fairest mechanism for maintaining an offender blacklist or whatever, I would encourage you all to really deeply reflect on your behavior. Odds are you have not been actively making quizbowl a more welcoming space for women. My entire quizbowl career has been colored by sexism, be it in egregious, outright sexist statements (shout out to one of the first such instances, in which a high schooler asked my teammate if he was “getting clanal,” a portmanteau of my name and “anal”) or in microaggressions. I’d really like to call some of you out by name, but, even though I have mostly left the quizbowl community, I’m not prepared to handle the backlash. I want to reflect on my quizbowl career fondly, but this community has hurt me and so many others.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Perturbed Secretary Bird »

I agree so much with everything Lauren and Clare said. Older dudes, why the fuck do you even want to sleep with or have relationships with young undergrads? As I get even slightly older- I am only 24- I am struck by how babyish all of the undergrads look. Why are you wanting to get involved with someone with that little life experience? Why are you sleeping with someone who you're also giving quizbowl/game improvement advice to? (Wait, don't answer those, I don't want to know). This goes doubly if you're an older person in a position of institutional or community power. Give us time to grow up, graduate, and establish our quizbowl careers, and go hit on someone your own age. And don't objectify us. We want to be known for what we do in quizbowl, not who we date or sleep with.

(sorry to the originators of this thread from drawing away from the original topic, but Lauren's post dredged up some big feelings I've been harboring for the last half-decade)

Meta-request about this whole situation that is entirely my own, subjective opinion: Please don't go hopping into random qb women's DMs to do all your processing about this or get reads on your own actions. If you want that kind of help, practice getting affirmative consent and ask them if they can talk over a particular issue with you. Better yet, talk about it with other quizbowl men first!! Since y'all aren't doing that out loud on the forums as much as you talk about, say, online cheating.

And if you have done something to apologize for and, due to this moment in time, feel called to make amends, first consider if reaching out to that person will cause harm. If it won't, then you'd better also be ready to say how your behavior is changing or has changed. Of course, this is just my opinion about engaging with members of an oppressed group during a time of harm to said group. But it's an opinion that's been informed by a whole lot of social work classes. I do not speak for all women or nonbinary people in quizbowl, and I'm sure that many have different thoughts about the best way to make amends and practice self-improvement and introspection.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Slightly Less British »

This is probably going to come across as an incoherent rant, but I am so, so far past the point of caring about how the (straight, male) 'quizbowl community' thinks of me.

If you are a man in quizbowl, you have absolutely no idea of what the experience is like for women/non-binary people in the game. It doesn't matter if you think you're a great ally, if you tell yourself that you'd obviously never participate in any kind of misconduct and that you're doing your part to make the community a better place. Almost without exception, you aren't.

Aside from the actual, awful, sexual harassment in the most recent case of online abuse (of a minor!), so many things disgusted me about this community's response. The fact that an entire set of staffers didn't immediately say 'this is unacceptable behaviour' and do something about it is terrible. My first reaction to this was to think "well, this could have been avoided if they had more adult supervision". But could it? Would you honestly trust an average adult man in the quizbowl community to immediately spot that changing your profile name and picture in a tournament to harass someone is beyond the pale?

And I do mean men, because this is my second point: all of the work of making this community become a less toxic place to women should not have to come from women. This is the umpteenth thread like this that has been posted, usually in response to some egregiously vile thing that some guy in quizbowl has done. Almost without exception, the substantive contributions in these threads will come from women. Quizbowl men, be they elite college/open players or freshmen in high school, may wander in and post agreements, or condemn misbehaviour (as is the bare fucking minimum), but it's obviously a far more important use of their time to argue about proper protest resolution methods, powermarking or the best way of subdistributing the literature. News flash: women in quizbowl do not have the luxury to ignore toxic behaviour in their community.

The players with the big names, who are ranked in whatever polls you choose to use, by and large won't bother reading this post. That is part of the problem. If you're staying silent in these discussions, or decide that policing women's anger at our constant mistreatment by a community that has been told what is wrong time and time again and done far too little to improve things, you're part of the problem. Not your behaviour, not your actions, you.

Like a depressingly large number of women in quizbowl, I drifted out of the game because the casual level of misogyny (and, in my case, transphobia) that is present weighed on me. I spent ages trying my hardest to 'fix' the British quizbowl community, and I will always be the strongest advocate possible for other women in quizbowl, but I'm too tired of bashing my head against this brick wall with minimal support from men. In the last year, I have been misgendered at every single tournament I've moderated: I will not do it again. At the last IRL major tournament, the burden of taking the lead on safeguarding was unexpectedly presented to me and the only other experienced female staffer literally an hour before the tournament started: saying no would have meant there was nobody at a tournament of over 100 people who people could report to.

This is not fair. This is not a burden that women should ever have to bear. If you're a man in quizbowl who has the luxury of not caring about this, fuck you. Do better or fuck off out of this community, regardless of your PPG.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

And I do mean men, because this is my second point: all of the work of making this community become a less toxic place to women should not have to come from women. This is the umpteenth thread like this that has been posted, usually in response to some egregiously vile thing that some guy in quizbowl has done. Almost without exception, the substantive contributions in these threads will come from women. Quizbowl men, be they elite college/open players or freshmen in high school, may wander in and post agreements, or condemn misbehaviour (as is the bare fucking minimum), but it's obviously a far more important use of their time to argue about proper protest resolution methods, powermarking or the best way of subdistributing the literature. News flash: women in quizbowl do not have the luxury to ignore toxic behaviour in their community.
100% this. There have been countless iterations of this thread over the 13+ years I've been on here, and frankly, I often choose to no longer engage because I'm tired of quizbowl's inability to create environments that are suitable to those who aren't straight(ish) men. A big part of the reason I moved from playing to logistics was to avoid being part of the inevitable toxicity of the during-tournament environment that women have no choice but to experience if they want to play quizbowl. (Another motivating factor is that I'm not that good, but that's for another thread.)
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by AKKOLADE »

Men need to be paying attention to these voices and do what they can to make quiz bowl a welcoming place to everyone.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

AKKOLADE wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:15 am Men need to be paying attention to these voices and do what they can to make quiz bowl a welcoming place to everyone.
This sort of virtue signaling is unnecessary. What can you do to ensure that you and other men are making quizbowl a more "welcoming place"?
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by mhayes »

Men: start calling out other men for this behavior. Call out your teammates, call out players from other schools, call out players in tournaments that you're staffing, and so on. Don't partake in the behavior, don't laugh at it, don't ignore it, and don't dismiss it as "not a big deal" or "it's not my problem". When you see others that don't adhere to this, tell them so. This behavior cannot be tolerated.

Middle school and high school coaches: the boys on your team will become men one day. When you see even a hint of unbecoming behavior, snuff it out and teach your players why that behavior is unacceptable. In addition to making quiz bowl a more welcoming place, we will make better human beings too.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by physicsnerd »

AKKOLADE wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:15 am Men need to be paying attention to these voices and do what they can to make quiz bowl a welcoming place to everyone.
The fact you could only come up with a single sentence in response to this thread - that people 'need to pay attention to this' - pains me. At least it's clear you're reading the thread...? (Except, maybe it isn't, because if you had read the thread, you should have noticed the complaint that this sort of thread has happened time and time again and the only thing that's happened in response is men coming in and saying 'this is bad'. [*])

You are in a position of power in this community. You have a responsibility to say more than 'this is bad, quiz bowl should be welcoming'. At least this is a start, I suppose?

[*] If I may quote an earlier post, so that you may read the relevant section again:
This is the umpteenth thread like this that has been posted, usually in response to some egregiously vile thing that some guy in quizbowl has done. Almost without exception, the substantive contributions in these threads will come from women. Quizbowl men, be they elite college/open players or freshmen in high school, may wander in and post agreements, or condemn misbehaviour (as is the bare fucking minimum), but it's obviously a far more important use of their time to argue about proper protest resolution methods, powermarking or the best way of subdistributing the literature.
(With thanks to Frances Clark-Murray's post.)
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by jonpin »

One difficulty that I sometimes feel when these conversations come up is trying to find the fine line between, on the one side, repeating platitudes that don't necessarily add anything to the discussion, and on the other side, speaking over the voices of women and non-binary people. And given my tendency to avoid confrontation, that's probably resulted in my just not saying anything in past iterations, which certainly isn't better.

In thinking about my position as the coach of a high school team, there have been very few times when I've noticed explicitly hurtful language being used by a student, and stepped in to correct it. But there have been times when joking remarks have skated by without remark, and due to the very nature of microaggressions, I'm sure there have been many more that I haven't noticed. And I guess that something that The Adults in the Room can do to improve the situation is to consider those behaviors and have counters in mind ahead of time. So that if someone remarks about a question "of course" being converted by a woman, having the response of something like "There's nothing specifically feminine about that, stop stereotyping" to be able to provide an instant punishment (in the behavioral sense). That might not eliminate the harm of the remark, but if it makes the person who said it and the people who heard it less likely to make such comments in the future, it's a step. But I don't always know what a good response can be, especially to seemingly benign remarks which serve to otherize women.

But an even bigger concern might be the private conversations that I and other adults aren't privy to. If a group of boys has a group chat where they are objectifying other quizbowlers, it might never come out until they do or say something in public. And if, before that happens, they're harassing girls in private, all we might see is "oh, that student stopped coming to practice, I guess she's not interested anymore" without pursuing the matter; people abandon activities all the time. And it's another frustration: if I were to have that conversation with someone who left the team, the odds are high I would get a non-committal reply like "I don't have the time" or "I don't like it", and to further press wouldn't seem right. And to expect a different response would be to expect someone to recount their harassment which is bad for me to expect and also something a lot of people are conditioned not to do (don't make waves, don't get someone in trouble over a misunderstanding, etc.).

So it's incumbent on the adults in the HSQB and MSQB community, and anyone in a leadership role at any level, to take public stands within their teams to discourage these behaviors. At an early practice, or on the bus or in the car on the way to a tournament, explicitly spell out that harassment, stereotyping, and degrading behavior is unacceptable and could result in dismissal from the program (I expect I will add something to that effect to permission slips going forward). And that, if anyone notices it or is a victim, that they can and should report it to a responsible person (such as yourself) and that you will act on it in an appropriate manner. At the start of any tournament, the TD or some other high level staffer representing the host should include similar remarks, until "This tournament will not tolerate any abusive language or behavior" becomes as commonplace as "Our timing rules are five seconds for everything." I would recommend that it be verbal, rather than just included on any written list of rules, just so that it is reinforced where everyone hears it. I don't know that it's reasonable to expect that every local tournament has an anonymous reporting system like have been introduced at nationals in recent years, but there should be someone in HQ who can receive reports and some way to investigate and act on them.

It's been said enough times: It's not enough to just listen, we need to speak up. And it's not enough to say "We need to speak up", we need to actually :party:-ing speak up.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by naturalistic phallacy »

At the start of any tournament, the TD or some other high level staffer representing the host should include similar remarks, until "This tournament will not tolerate any abusive language or behavior" becomes as commonplace as "Our timing rules are five seconds for everything."
This should not just include "abusive language or behavior" towards women but that towards any person and/or group, especially those who are not in a position of privilege.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by jinah »

On the topic of actionable steps that can be taken, it might be valuable to revisit Alex Damisch’s excellent guide to addressing minor misconduct as a TD and expand it to specifically discuss online tournaments. Given that most if not all tournaments for the next several months will be virtual, the policies and “best practices” that emerge for online tournaments should also consider ways to ensure that all participants, particularly women, other marginalized genders, and BIPOC feel safe and enjoy the experience. Online tournaments make it easy to disseminate information on standards or reporting resources to all players quickly, and the reduced need for onsite staff makes it possible to even have an external person who is on call for receiving reports of minor misconduct. These are just a few suggestions — as most of our community seems like it’s going virtual for the foreseeable future, I’m sure people can put their brains together to come up with more.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Cheynem »

I was reminded last night of this excellent thread (started by Lauren, with particularly good posts by Olivia and Alex) that lists some (very simple) recommendations on being an ally: viewtopic.php?f=297&t=21373.

In regards to other, more concrete suggestions, I think Jon has some very good ideas here. I think he gets at the idea that there are different types of dynamics where misconduct and harassment can happen, most prominently:
a. within a club (i.e. at practices, team chats, travel, or in private settings before/after tournaments)
b. at tournaments
There are other dynamics, of course, but I would say those are probably the main two.

I'll speak on b. more here as that is where I have more familiarity now, being out of a club for a long time. I really do think that TD and staff at tournaments need to have more explicit training in regards to allyship and preventing misconduct/harassment. At national tournaments, where one can be a bit pickier about one's staff, this is more feasible. Before i could teach a class at an university a couple years ago (an online class, even), I was required to go through a training module on sexual harassment (the module was not very good, as its primary lesson was "protect the university from lawsuits!", but that's beside the point). It was not particularly onerous and by completing it online, it signified to the university that I had done it. I think like NAQT or PACE or ACF could set up something similar--you have training for being a moderator or scorekeeper, you could set up something like this (the one I took for the university had a feature that required you to listen to the speaker, not just skip to the end, and there were questions you had to answer at several points). You could potentially have the TD or people in higher positions go through more extensive training (perhaps with in-person components--this may actually already happen, but I don't know for sure). I don't know what such a module would look like--I think for best results it would almost have to be produced by people within quizbowl themselves. This isn't a perfect method by any means--it's pretty easy to blow off and zip through if you're not interested in learning, but I think it may help, particularly if the module itself is well designed.

The other thing that seems more evident from conversations is that we need to evaluate how existing prevention methods are working or not working, particularly when it comes to the areas of awareness, knowledge, and trust. I've see in conversations that people bring up important things like the misconduct form or NAQT's advocate program. In many cases, the responses to these methods are lack of awareness (they didn't know about them), lack of knowledge (people not totally knowing how the form worked, people having little idea who the advocates were and what they did), or, most seriously, lack of trust (people wishing to not use the form or talk to advocates). A lot of these responses, based on the explanations I've read, seem pretty understandable. In regards to the advocate program, for example, I don't know how this is presented to competitors, but at staff meetings, their presentation has been pretty underwhelming. I don't leave the staff meeting having a strong sense of why the program is here, what its purpose is, and what it does. I think we as a community need to be clearer in providing more information about these things at a minimum. Lack of trust is harder to solve--it's absolutely true that presenting these methods as shibboleths or instant solutions is entirely flawed.

One last observation related to my second paragraph the most--as a college instructor, I would say many instructors are pretty vigilant about sexual misconduct. That's not to say they all do a good job at preventing it or addressing it and in fact some behave extremely badly. But no one can say "Well, I never thought about it" or "No one ever told me." There is required training, as I said, but it's also stressed at things like instructor orientation and departmental meetings. Even instructors I knew who were pretty disgusting creeps in private were aware that the general campus policy was "zero tolerance" for certain behaviors in the classroom. This is obviously a "bare minimum" level of awareness--obviously, as I've said, many instructors ignore it, do a bad job at it, or just put on a public facade to hide their private creepiness. But it's a fair share better than quizbowl, I would argue...because it's so stressed at things like training and meetings. Quizbowl should at least get to that level of awareness, where, as Jon says, we are thinking about it on the same level as timing rules and question writing practices.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Sylvia Pankhurst »

Speaking specifically to HS Coaches, I want to draw attention to the bus to/from tournaments, which, in my experience, is often a den of debauchery. Once, while on the bus back from Urbana, one of my friends licked another up their arm and thanked them in front of the entire bus for sleeping with him the previous day. Groping and physical assault are not infrequent. Bullying and teasing are common.

I did two activities which required busing in HS, girls swim team and quizbowl, and my two coaches handled driving the bus in two very different ways. First of all, driving the bus is already quite demanding, so I empathize with the desire to ignore the team behind you and focus entirely on the road. However, I think you have a duty to your students to remain semi present.
At the beginning of every trip, my swim coach would always announce that she was putting headphones in so we could loudly play never have I ever and discuss sex/guys/whatever we wanted on the bus. While this was pretty fun, and I understand (and share!) her desire to avoid listening to minors discussing sex, I think ensuring the bus remained a respectful place is part of the job, and she failed to do that.
On the other hand, I remember a qb coach joining in a couple times when we were teasing someone on the team about a girl from another school who we were convinced had a crush on him. While he never said anything explicitly inappropriate, joining in on the teasing at all was pretty weird. Though I think actively getting involved was worse, he was also able to shut it down when the conversation went too far, which the swim coach never could.
I understand that it's probably impossible to ban sex talk from a bus full of bored teenagers, but it's important to think about the team dynamics that are having these discussions. To bring in another anecdote, one of my friends was, for years, the only woman on her qb team. When these discussions started, it was two teams worth of 17-18 year old men and her, the lone freshman girl, which breeds a really disgusting conversation. While that was obviously an extreme case, it's not like that was an example that I made up. It was still someone's lived experience (and the defining feature of quizbowl bus rides for her), and it's unfortunately not uncommon in quizbowl.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by naneekeralc »

Cheynem wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:50 am That's not to say they all do a good job at preventing it or addressing it and in fact some behave extremely badly. But no one can say "Well, I never thought about it" or "No one ever told me."
I do not buy for a second that any adult member of the quizbowl community could legitimately claim that they “never thought about” this issue. We’ve had this conversation on the forums roughly once a year for as long as I have been in quizbowl. Are your memories really so short? Are you never talking to women in between these discussions? Do you think that the training you get in your school or workplace doesn’t apply to quizbowl as well?

I’d also like to address the incredibly tired statement of “men need to start speaking up when they witness this kind of behavior.” It has been made abundantly clear to me that many adult members of the quizbowl community cannot identify bad behavior in themselves or their friends. Like I said above, most of the men who exhibited the behaviors I listed have also been posting on various platforms about ways to combat misconduct. They don’t think that they are the perpetrators.

Like I said in my first post, I am seeing no introspection, and honestly, I don’t think I ever will.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Cheynem »

Yeah, to be clear, I think "Well nobody told me" or "I never told about it" is a pretty lame excuse that doesn't hold water. But at least in a school setting, you can specifically point to "well, not only were there community discussions and general decency standards, but you had specific training on this. We outlined this in innumerable meetings. There's a specific policy about it in the university code of conduct." Unfortunately, I do believe that a lot of men do not explicitly think about sexual harassment--having the specific training, policies, and community standards in the school setting forces people who do not think about it. I believe doing so in quizbowl would also make people think about it, including those who do not link their workplace and school training to it.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by mhayes »

naneekeralc wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:00 pm
I’d also like to address the incredibly tired statement of “men need to start speaking up when they witness this kind of behavior.” It has been made abundantly clear to me that many adult members of the quizbowl community cannot identify bad behavior in themselves or their friends. Like I said above, most of the men who exhibited the behaviors I listed have also been posting on various platforms about ways to combat misconduct. They don’t think that they are the perpetrators.

Like I said in my first post, I am seeing no introspection, and honestly, I don’t think I ever will.
Speaking only from my own experiences, people acting from a position of privilege often don't listen to those without it. As pointed out by others, few men contribute to these threads, unfortunately. At the very least, the underlying assumption seems to be that "this is an issue for women and isn't relevant to me".

I was hesitant to create my first post because you're right: too many men in quiz bowl do not think they are the problem; in my opinion, we all are. I was also hesitant to make an introspective post since I did not want to make the thread about myself but the issue at hand is clearly important.

In the past, I did a poor job of promoting a welcoming atmosphere in practices and at times, I exhibited toxic behavior myself (e.g. inappropriate jokes and "playfully" bullying younger players come to mind). In hindsight, many women quit quiz bowl at my former schools and I know that I indirectly played a role in this. I lacked the awareness and knowledge to ameliorate the atmospheres that I helped to enable. As a younger man, I tried too hard to be "that cool guy", even at the detriment of those around me. Even more damning was that I, like many other men in quiz bowl, would respond to misconduct allegations with incredulity; this is something that I deeply regret because of the offense that I know it caused. However, what helped me to improve was listening to men and women inside and outside of the community who shared their experiences and listening to a spouse who had similar experiences as a former quiz bowl player herself. As a college professor many years later, I strive to create atmospheres that are welcoming of marginalized groups. Although I'm no longer a player, I carry that mentality into tournaments that I staff today because I do not want people to quit this game because they feel unwelcome.

Regarding knowledge dissemination, I think Mike raises good points about sexual harassment training. I'll take it a step further and suggest that in addition to staff, players undergo mandatory training as well. With the help of schools, state quiz bowl organizations, NAQT, and ACF, is such a requirement outside of the realm of possibility?
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by alexdz »

I would be willing to take a lead role in developing a free online training module (or more than one) and helping to manage a database of those who completed it. While I agree that it isn't the be-all-end-all of this situation, it is a concrete place to start and building it can help us as a community continue to codify the expectations we would like to instill in community members. I have some experience trying to build a course on the Udemy platform, which is somewhat well-known, easily accessible, and courses can be made free.

I too have taken the same kinds of university-required ethics trainings that have been mentioned above, and I'd like to actively avoid having any kind of quizbowl training have the same feel. Rather than focusing on what not to do, I'd like to see the course offer practical suggestions on how to intervene safely when you see something inappropriate happening, how to build anti-sexism work into event planning, etc.

My suggestion would be to perhaps start by making such a course a requirement for TDs of events like ACF Fall/Regs/Nats and NAQT's SCTs and state championships. Since there's a structure in place for oversight of those events, they might be a better place to start and collect feedback on the design and content of the training module. Others could still take it, and as we learn more about its effectiveness, it could perhaps be "required" (somehow) for other events as well.

To paraphrase a sentiment going around these days, in a world built on sexism and heteropatriarchy, it isn't enough to simply not be sexist. We must be actively anti-sexist. If this training focused on that aspect of the problem, it might be more useful than the "how to not get a claim filed against you through Title IX"-style trainings so many of us are used to.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by sadieb328 »

naneekeralc wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:00 pm Like I said in my first post, I am seeing no introspection, and honestly, I don’t think I ever will.
I respectfully disagree that I haven’t seen any introspection on the men’s part, because I would consider the discussion of how the discourse makes them feel to be introspection in its own way. But I do think that the current state of the discourse on their side shows a worrying trend. Acknowledging that your behavior has hurt others (whether it was actively causing harm to others or sitting complicit while others caused active harm) and apologizing for it is a good step, but it’s a first step. However, those first steps seem like they do not pan out into anything. Many of the same names as today appear in the old forum threads— I should not need to tell you that this is a massive problem. Recognizing that there’s a problem is essential, but how you proceed once you recognize the problem is much more important.

The vast majority of us here are young adults (or true adults) with critical thinking skills, who should be able to synthesize information and create and implement responses to that information. We have years’ worth of information about how underrepresented genders have been treated in the greater quizbowl community. Now we need to synthesize that information, create a unified response to it, and implement it. To do that, we need the men of quizbowl to acknowledge the overall harm they’ve caused (either directly or implicitly), vow to do better, and then actually do better.

This is an excerpt from a longer post I just made, feel free to check it out here.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by mhayes »

Cheynem wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:50 am
One last observation related to my second paragraph the most--as a college instructor, I would say many instructors are pretty vigilant about sexual misconduct. That's not to say they all do a good job at preventing it or addressing it and in fact some behave extremely badly. But no one can say "Well, I never thought about it" or "No one ever told me." There is required training, as I said, but it's also stressed at things like instructor orientation and departmental meetings. Even instructors I knew who were pretty disgusting creeps in private were aware that the general campus policy was "zero tolerance" for certain behaviors in the classroom. This is obviously a "bare minimum" level of awareness--obviously, as I've said, many instructors ignore it, do a bad job at it, or just put on a public facade to hide their private creepiness. But it's a fair share better than quizbowl, I would argue...because it's so stressed at things like training and meetings. Quizbowl should at least get to that level of awareness, where, as Jon says, we are thinking about it on the same level as timing rules and question writing practices.
These are good points and they lead me to another suggestion for how to address this issue from the higher education perspective:

College quiz bowl clubs: PLEASE get your faculty advisors more involved in the day-to-day activities of your organizations. This is an area in which the community can definitely improve. As Mike said, college faculty are well-positioned to provide guidance on these topics. They will (or should) have a vested interest in ensuring that your club’s environment is welcoming and free from harassment in all forms. If they cannot or will not commit to an active role in your club, then you should find someone else.

This isn’t a matter of simply getting their advice on these topics. Have them visit your practices occasionally. Visit them in their offices for reasons other than getting signatures. Have them staff your high school and college tournaments. Keep them involved if at all possible. This is not a solution in isolation, but it will go a long way.
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Matt, thank you for that concrete, actionable suggestion. Colleges do indeed have a lot of resources. I wonder how many of us have reached out to student offices for additional cultural humility training, harassment prevention training, etc (of course, is a college administration the best source of learning for this? possibly not! is it better than nothing? maybe, depending on your institution!). I will push my club this year to try and take advantage of whatever resources are available. Not to mention that some clubs (cough chicago cough) have budgets large enough to hire a whole-ass diversity consultant or trainer to come in and talk with leadership.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

mhayes wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:57 pm These are good points and they lead me to another suggestion for how to address this issue from the higher education perspective:

College quiz bowl clubs: PLEASE get your faculty advisors more involved in the day-to-day activities of your organizations. This is an area in which the community can definitely improve. As Mike said, college faculty are well-positioned to provide guidance on these topics. They will (or should) have a vested interest in ensuring that your club’s environment is welcoming and free from harassment in all forms. If they cannot or will not commit to an active role in your club, then you should find someone else.

This isn’t a matter of simply getting their advice on these topics. Have them visit your practices occasionally. Visit them in their offices for reasons other than getting signatures. Have them staff your high school and college tournaments. Keep them involved if at all possible. This is not a solution in isolation, but it will go a long way.
I feel that the high school analogue of this suggestion is very worth exploring as well.

It boggles my mind how many quizbowl clubs across the country are entirely student-led. That's just a product of where I'm from; Illinois has a very strong history of teams being coach-led, for various reasons. This is not at all to say that the Illinois circuit is better on misconduct or misogyny in any regard; we're obviously not, and that's evidenced by way, way more than just scrolling up in this thread.

Coaches can be - and must be - vital authority figures. When tons of moderators are college students and tons of teams don't have coaches, you'll very often just have 9 teenagers in a game room, with none of them feeling like they are equipped to stop even aggressive threats, let alone microaggressive speech. That's a recipe for disaster. The dynamic is completely different if just one actual teacher is in the room. It's another world entirely if that coach knows about a quizbowl code of conduct that explicitly condemns all forms of prejudiced speech and action, and it's finally the start of a good world if that coach has enough interpersonal management training to diffuse the situation and correct the offender.

So I strongly advocate that student-led teams work to find a coach at their school. Call it an advisor if you want; some teachers might balk at the idea of "coaching" you in preparation for the game, fine. But you need an adult in the practice room. If you think you don't need an adult in the room, you're wrong. If you find yourself getting offended at the idea that you need an adult in the room, you really need an adult in the room.

Unfortunately, just because coaches are older and employed by a school doesn't mean they're actually better at handling conduct issues. I was a 23-year-old with no training in handling interpersonal communication or misconduct; IMSA hired me as a coach and the only training I got was how to drive the short bus. In the moment, I surely didn't think I did a bad job as a coach, but looking back I know I squandered plenty of opportunities to be an ally for plenty of people. I had no idea what I was doing. That's where we as a community have to be better by advocating that coaches get (as Athena said) cultural humility training or harassment prevention training, and by reaching out with initiatives like the code of conduct (to better equip people for 99% of interactions) and the reporting form (for the egregious 1%). The more that we all hear and share these things, the fewer oblivious coaches (of ALL ages) we'll have.
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Irreligion in Bangladesh wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:39 pm So I strongly advocate that student-led teams work to find a coach at their school. Call it an advisor if you want; some teachers might balk at the idea of "coaching" you in preparation for the game, fine. But you need an adult in the practice room. If you think you don't need an adult in the room, you're wrong. If you find yourself getting offended at the idea that you need an adult in the room, you really need an adult in the room.
If I recall correctly, some national championships require every team to have a coach. I would suggest that all (in person, should they ever happen again) high school and lower tournaments adopt this requirement. Obviously, as Brad points out, that doesn't solve much on its own, but I think it's an entirely reasonable bare minimum for something that aspires to be seen as a legitimate scholastic extracurricular activity.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

In particular, a coach would be in a position to take actual actions when harassment takes place.

Someone who commits an act of misconduct should be removed from their teams and the community for a period of time, after which they should be allowed to apologize to the people they offended, their teammates, and the rest of the community. If that apology is acceptable, they should be allowed to re-join their teams and the community on a probationary status for a period of time; during that time, any further acts of misconduct constitute a final ban from the team and the community. During both of those times, the coach and other adult community figures should be privately available as a source of guidance so that the offender can process what they did wrong, how they hurt others, and what they need to do to change themselves. Those periods of time may be longer for more severe offenses, and extremely vile offenses may skip right to a total ban from the community.

This is punishment. In all but the worst of cases, it's meant to be restorative; it's meant to help the offender grow as a person. This isn't revolutionary. Most importantly, it's not some abstract theory to be discussed as a thought experiment.

The people involved in the THAT Discord incident, as noted in that thread, need to be punished as above. Their respective coaches and parents need to be contacted to enforce that; the community needs to figure out a mechanism to do that.

Basil Sousounis, as noted in that thread and in several other places, needs to be punished as above. If I remember correctly, he's going to Michigan next year; the Michigan team needs to publicly take the actions above.

Many, many other people need to be punished as above.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Ben Dillon »

Irreligion in Bangladesh wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:32 pm In particular, a coach would be in a position to take actual actions when harassment takes place.
Ndg wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:25 pm If I recall correctly, some national championships require every team to have a coach.
Irreligion in Bangladesh wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:39 pm The dynamic is completely different if just one actual teacher is in the room.
...
So I strongly advocate that student-led teams work to find a coach at their school. Call it an advisor if you want; some teachers might balk at the idea of "coaching" you in preparation for the game, fine. But you need an adult in the practice room.
Thinking about the above, no more teams should be allowed to attend a tournament rogue. I have noticed that there have been teams allowed to compete at national tournaments that are not under the aegis of their high schools, e.g. "Rogers Academy" at NSC two years ago. I realize there may have been an adult coach, probably even a parent, but if we're saying that there should be a teacher, especially one with inclusiveness training, at best a parent should be the second chaperone. If a student contacts a TD asking to enter a tournament, the TD should consider the entry rogue until they are confirmed by the teacher/coach.

Going further, though, I wonder whether each school needs to be accompanied by its coach to discourage misconduct. I've certainly been guilty of this multiple times over, acting as a moderator instead of a coach. In my (weak) defense, I've always considered my players mature enough to police themselves. Or should the presence of a moderator in the room be enough if the coach is onsite and can be contacted about observed behavior? I might tend toward the latter, simply because I don't know otherwise how schools would be able to field multiple teams with only the one coach.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

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During the past few years, I have participated in a number of relationships with younger people in quizbowl, mostly undergraduate women, and have hit on some others. These relationships were categorically wrong on an individual level given the inherent age and power dynamics, and reinforced power structures that harm women in quizbowl. In a few instances, I overstepped boundaries and made people uncomfortable. I am deeply sorry for this pattern of behavior. I have been reflecting on my past actions, am educating myself about informed consent, and am reevaluating my interactions with younger quizbowlers, particularly women, keeping in mind my position as a community elder.
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Alright. So I’ve been telling a lot of people about my experiences but for the sake of not giving whisper networks any more weight I want to come forward and share my story. Keep in mind as you read this, though I am a woman, formerly in quiz bowl, and I’ve dealt with way way too much, I’m not blameless. I’ve been a victim and survivor, but I’ve also helped abusers in this community to stay in this community and hurt others. I myself have hurt others. I regret so many of my actions with all my heart.

For brevity, among plenty of other reasons, I’m going to talk only about my personal experiences with people who as far as I know plan to be active in the community next academic year. I’m sure anyone who knows my history can infer that if I wanted to talk about people who had left quiz bowl, there would be a lot of things I could say.

I’m going to talk about three people all of whom are much older than I am. I’ll mention Auroni by name since they’ve already posted about this and agreed to be mentioned here. But what I want to make absolutely clear is that in all these relationships, and every other relationship I have had with someone in quiz bowl, neither age nor grad/undergrad status was the core issue. The issues were whether the sexual interactions were consensual and whether the person I was having sex with was attempting to use their status in quiz bowl to control, manipulate, or abuse me. All considered, I have had significantly worse experiences with the quiz bowl undergrads I’ve dated and hooked up with than with the grad students. Grad students should be mindful and err on the side of caution. I think it is a net positive if no quiz bowl grad student hooks up with a quiz bowl undergrad ever again, but *the relationship being between a grad and an undergrad or the relationship having a significant age gap does not in itself mean that the relationship is abusive/toxic/bad.*

All that said, I’m glad Auroni has reevaluated their interest in undergrads, but I want people to know I was totally comfortable at the time with the relationship I had with them. It was actually weirder to have other people their age pass judgment on that relationship and about my agency or lack thereof.

I hope in the future that grad students will be unwilling to pursue or get involved with undergrads, but in the case that you do see a grad student and an undergrad together just let the undergrad decide whether they feel weird about it. Maybe it’s not a good situation or maybe it is, either way it’s not your role to speculate and spread rumors about their experiences and personal relationships. If they reach out for help, then you can listen and share your thoughts, but like the first rule of all this is that it is really the individual’s call whether or not they’re being abused. It’s their call and only their call if they want whoever they are involved with or have been involved with to face consequences. Gossiping or speculating negatively about someone’s experience, or attempting to get them to take action against someone they’ve been with if they don’t want to, is absolutely wrong and does not make younger quiz bowlers feel more welcome or safe.

In the summer after my first year of college I was involved with another undergrad, but there was still a significant age gap. I know there was plenty of gossip about our involvement and it really made me feel powerless. I wanted so desperately to be able to have some modicum of control over the narratives around me, and it felt terrible to have my consensual relationship with that person be framed in that way. Please don’t threaten anyone’s ability to decide for themselves how they feel about their relationships with negative gossip! It has an invalidating effect on the real issues that can come about in quiz bowl relationships.

That very relationship with the older undergrad actually ended up having some problems. The older undergrad didn’t respond well at times when I wasn’t interested in sex and has repeated this behavior with other people. I will say that one of the reasons I didn’t feel comfortable speaking up about that is because people made bad assumptions about whether I had consented to that relationship at all, so when eventually things did go wrong I was worried the real problems wouldn’t be paid attention to because “why is the 19 year old dating the xx year old anyway???” I wanted to hook up with that person despite the age gap. What I didn’t want was for them to treat me badly. Listen to people about the problems they actually have, not ones you groundlessly believe them to have!

Last summer, the summer before my third year of college, I had a truly terrible sexual relationship with a grad student who is a prominent community figure. In my opinion, no matter what he does to change or better himself, the danger he presents to this community is such that he should not be a part of it. Through the infamous quiz bowl whisper network I have heard that he is vocal about his support of the threads that have emerged over the past several days and promised not to get involved with a quiz bowl undergrad again. Since I assume he is reading this, I want to ask him whether he thinks that’s enough, and whether the way he has treated me as well as other women and girls in and beyond this community is forgivable. I know I don’t think so. I know I am deeply scared for any undergrad he TAs for and any young quiz bowler who has to deal with his condescension and objectification. Through all this he has acted like an ally, going above and beyond to virtue signal without disclosing the ways he himself presents dangers to the quiz bowl community nor the ways he has hurt people here. I don’t think such a disclosure would really be beneficial, but it’s sickening for him to be such a vocal “ally” and to act as though he’s so virtuous when his actions and behaviors are immeasurably far removed from the sort of support women and girls in quiz bowl need. I think if he has any self-awareness or remorse in his heart he should give up this game and all the titles, accolades, praise, and power he gets from playing it.

There are so many good people in this community. There are brilliant, kind souls who love knowledge and love quiz bowl and haven’t caused pain to other people who play. If you really think you’re doing this community a favor by sticking around because you’re smart or good at writing or whatever, you should think again. Who have you hurt? If you weren’t winning national titles would someone who didn’t hurt others be winning instead? If you weren’t writing and editing, would someone who is less dangerous to this community have access to those opportunities? Sometimes the best way you can be an ally is to stop and walk away.

I know the main reason I am not going to play quiz bowl next year is because if I do choose to play there is no way I can avoid people like him.

Please know that unless you are a close friend or someone I’ve alluded to in this post I don’t want to hear from you about anything I’ve said here.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

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Mahria wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 1:57 pmLast summer, the summer before my third year of college, I had a truly terrible sexual relationship with a grad student who is a prominent community figure. In my opinion, no matter what he does to change or better himself, the danger he presents to this community is such that he should not be a part of it. Through the infamous quiz bowl whisper network I have heard that he is vocal about his support of the threads that have emerged over the past several days and promised not to get involved with a quiz bowl undergrad again. Since I assume he is reading this, I want to ask him whether he thinks that’s enough, and whether the way he has treated me as well as other women and girls in and beyond this community is forgivable. I know I don’t think so. I know I am deeply scared for any undergrad he TAs for and any young quiz bowler who has to deal with his condescension and objectification. Through all this he has acted like an ally, going above and beyond to virtue signal without disclosing the ways he himself presents dangers to the quiz bowl community nor the ways he has hurt people here. I don’t think such a disclosure would really be beneficial, but it’s sickening for him to be such a vocal “ally” and to act as though he’s so virtuous when his actions and behaviors are immeasurably far removed from the sort of support women and girls in quiz bowl need. I think if he has any self-awareness or remorse in his heart he should give up this game and all the titles, accolades, praise, and power he gets from playing it.
This was me. I have no excuses, especially for my hypocrisy over the past few days. I’m sorry to Mahria, to Christine for dragging her into this, and to quizbowl as a whole, and will be stepping away from all of my projects, commitments, and playing for the foreseeable future.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Mahria »

vinteuil wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 5:23 pm This was me. I have no excuses, especially for my hypocrisy over the past few days. I’m sorry to Mahria, to Christine for dragging her into this, and to quizbowl as a whole, and will be stepping away from all of my projects, commitments, and playing for the foreseeable future.
I want to thank Jacob for being honest and willing to publicly own up to his actions. I really hope the rest of you who have hurt people are willing to demonstrate the same strength he has here. Respond to the people you have hurt if they mention you publicly or ask to talk to you. Be strong enough to put others first and walk away from this community if there's a need for you to do so.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Doga (Dog Yoga) »

With all the discussion about misconduct, I think the qb community should re-examine its stance on eligibility caps. The stories above are some of the many examples of how age dynamics compound with gender dynamics to create a really hostile space for younger, non-male identifying players. An environment where older men in their late 20s and 30s can exert power over teenagers creates an ideal environment for exploitation and abuse.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Ndg »

Doga (Dog Yoga) wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:10 pm With all the discussion about misconduct, I think the qb community should re-examine its stance on eligibility caps. The stories above are some of the many examples of how age dynamics compound with gender dynamics to create a really hostile space for younger, non-male identifying players. An environment where older men in their late 20s and 30s can exert power over teenagers creates an ideal environment for exploitation and abuse.
I've been thinking about this, too. Given the extent to which PPG seems to determine social capital in this community, with the best players apparently being treated as something like demigods, I do wonder how healthy it is for the same superstar players to be dominating the game for, in some cases, literally a decade.

But I'm hesitant to claim that it would solve much -- first, because I don't think there's good reason to believe that, on the whole, graduate players more consistently engage in toxic behavior than undergraduates. And second, because the people we're talking about are invaluable to the community in other roles -- writers, mentors, etc. -- and unless we decide we're just going to drive them away from the community entirely, those who want to engage in exploitative or abusive behavior would still be able to do so in those roles.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Deepika Goes From Ranbir To Ranveer »

I've been holding off from posting here for a while for a few reasons (not wanting to take up too much space, the fuzziness of my own gender identification, being ashamed), but here are some things I'd like to say.

Things I've done that are NOT okay (to apologise, and to spur a conversation about how such behaviour can be stamped out)

- Perhaps most egregiously, I played under a team name that """punningly""" made light of rape. I forced my two female best friends to play under the same name (both of whom were deeply uncomfortable). The name was then uploaded to HSQB.
- In second year of my UG, the female President of my club stormed out of a practice because I refused to stop """jokingly""" using the C-word.
- I have engaged in manipulative relationships with men in the community, and subsequently behaved emotionally abusively with the women in their lives too.
- I have far too explicitly talked about my own sex life (or made explicit jokes about the lack thereof) in a bid to attack the disgust with which gay men talking about sex is treated. The motive does not excuse the inappropriateness.
- I have instigated countless "rankings" of QBers by attractiveness (almost always male QBers, but that does not make it okay).

Things I've had done to me that are NOT okay (to complain, and to spur a conversation about how such behaviour can be stamped out)

- I have been called the homophobic F countless times, and the transphobic T once. I have often encouraged this in a bid to "be a cool queer person".
- I have had a teammate point to an AIDS awareness sign and been told "Aayush, that's for you".
- I have been made to feel guilty for changing my mind about wanting to hookup with male Quizbowlers (an explanation was sought).
- I have been told not to make a big deal of it when a female moderator (and close friend) and I hotly objected to the inclusion of a very homophobic quote in a tossup.
- I have participated in countless conversations in which I've had to argue with men about why rape jokes aren't funny, often as the only non-man in the room.
- I have participated in even more conversations in which I've had to argue why non-black people shouldn't use the N-word, almost always as the only PoC in the room.

Some remarks

- In my opinion, _above all else_ what Quizbowl needs is older, mature, diverse leadership in practices and social situations. Much of what I've raised are mistakes that emerging adults make in the process of getting their shit together. However, so long as it's happening under the umbrella of Quizbowl as an activity, it will affect everyone else in the community tremendously.

Maybe I'm thinking of my own nature too much, but an older "authority figure" telling me to absolutely cut it out would have gone a long way. This of course raises issues of marginalised groups (especially women) not being listened to, even when in positions of authority, but I think it would be a BIG help.
- Thank you to all the people forcing these conversations to happen. They are exhausting to have, and to repeatedly bring up, but they are helping. It is not the responsibility of womxn to be leading these conversations, and the group of people for whom this is a high priority needs to be tremendously broadened (yes, this should be a higher priority than, say, "when to prompt on answers").
- I received far more flak for playing an easy-difficulty tournament late in my QB career than for the egregious team name. This fits the trend of "cheating-gate" getting more attention than recent events, which is terribly wrong.
- I am sorry to the people I have treated badly in the QB community. If anyone would like to bring up times that I have behaved inexcusably, please feel free to do so (either privately or publicly), if that's something you would like to do.
Last edited by Deepika Goes From Ranbir To Ranveer on Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Amiable Vitriol »

if someone says you hurt them please do not ask for an itemized list of the hurts because that is emotionally exhausting and will inspire them to write a forums post in all lowercase after crying for a bit bc flashbacks thanks !
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by naan/steak-holding toll »

An apology is overdue for the times I've posted in a manner which, whatever my intentions, have come across as misogynistic and made the community seem unwelcoming. In particular, I'd like to apologize for the manner in which I addressed the haircut thread, which used brusque, misogynistic phrasing in a way which undermined a key implicit kernel of the post - that how men choose to take care of / present themselves in public spaces very much reflects implicit expectations of who they anticipate to interact with, and thus genders the space and can cause others to feel unwelcome.

I've learned many lessons from talking to a wide range of people about these and other discussions on contentious issues which affect quizbowl social spaces and hope to continue applying them in the future. Thank you for helping me to understand these issues better.

EDIT: grammar
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

Hey everyone. In the past I've engaged in some boundary-crossing behavior that I sincerely regret. I've apologized privately, and have been working both to achieve restitution and to consider the nature and causes of my behavior so that I can adjust it for the future.

Thanks.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Calculus? »

Deepika Goes From Ranbir To Ranveer wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:27 pm I've been holding off from posting here for a while for a few reasons (not wanting to take up too much space, the fuzziness of my own gender identification, being ashamed), but here are some things I'd like to say.

Things I've done that are NOT okay (to apologise, and to spur a conversation about how such behaviour can be stamped out)

- Perhaps most egregiously, I played under a team name that """punningly""" made light of rape. I forced my two female best friends to play under the same name (both of whom were deeply uncomfortable). The name was then uploaded to HSQB.
- In second year of my UG, the female President of my club stormed out of a practice because I refused to stop """jokingly""" using the C-word.
- I have engaged in manipulative relationships with men in the community, and subsequently behaved emotionally abusively with the women in their lives too.
- I wrote a meta QB tossup on the sex life of two QBers who were in a relationship (without anything approximating their consent).
- I have far too explicitly talked about my own sex life (or made explicit jokes about the lack thereof) in a bid to attack the disgust with which gay men talking about sex is treated. The motive does not excuse the inappropriateness.
- I have instigated countless "rankings" of QBers by attractiveness (almost always male QBers, but that does not make it okay).
I never thought I would have to write this reply, because I never thought the day would come when you would admit to the damage you did to me (and to those I care about, but this is not the place for that). So since you've invited replies, I'll tell you what's been running through my head for over three years now. To anyone else reading this, unless we're close friends, I don't want to hear from you about it.

You manipulated me, you gaslit me, you lied to me, you broke my trust, you took advantage of me when I was at one of the lowest points of my life, for no other reason than that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and an obstacle in your path. I cannot express in words how much that broke me and how long it took me to recover from it, but know that I spent years being confused about why I had the same feelings towards you that I did towards men who have emotionally and sexually abused me in relationships. Know also that although I am glad you can recognize what you did was wrong, I will never forgive you for it.

I know you are probably aware of how I've felt about you these past few years and how angry I've been. I suffered constantly from some combination of shame at having allowed myself to be treated the way I was, blind rage, the nagging thought that perhaps I'd made up everything that happened, and an inability to speak candidly about a situation that was so personal to myself and others. The venting of my anger may have been inappropriate at times, although I do not think any of that anger was unjustified.

Thank you for admitting this here because maybe this was the closure I needed. I have no way of knowing for sure if your apology is sincere and I'm sure you can understand why I might feel that way. I hope that it is. I hope you have grown as a person and will never again treat someone else the way you treated me, because that's something I would never wish on anyone. I hope you move on to find healthier and more respectful relationships with those around you. I hope our paths never cross again.
Meghan Torchia
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Mahria »

In my last big post I said that I would only talk about my experiences with people who as far as I know plan to be active in this community in the next academic year. I’m still committed to discussing only that subset of quiz bowlers, but I have some more to say about that subset!

I’m gonna add another disclaimer. Both when I was in quiz bowl and after I quit, I did a lot of really bad things to people who were and/or are part of this community. Much of that behavior was abusive. I’m in therapy. I’m working on it. But nothing I say or do will excuse it. Not only am I never going to come back to quiz bowl because of the scary people who are involved with this game; I’m never going to come back to quiz bowl because I am one of the scary people, and I’m taking my own advice.

I’m gonna talk about inaction and complicity in quiz bowl and how it’s making the community worse.

Fun story [this section is a modified excerpt from a forum post I drafted more than a year ago that I was too scared to share because you guys have a delightful habit of picking apart young women’s posts when that is the furthest thing from what we need. Remember when y’all decided to try to rip apart Chloe Levine’s amazing and profoundly rigorous study of gender in quiz bowl? I promise many of the women here do]:

From the moment I joined the UChicago team, I immediately felt intense pressure both internal and external to compete, not against all quiz bowlers, but exclusively against the other women in the room. If I couldn’t be better than the boys at least I could be better than the girls. If I couldn’t be better than the girls, I could be more attractive to the boys. Either would get me noticed; either would give me influence.

Both myself and Halle, the two people most passionate about playing on the D2 team that year, were told by Matthew Lehmann, and Luke, but mostly Matthew that it would be best for the D2 team if we studied fine arts, despite the fact that we were also interested in other categories. I understand that team composition is important, but really? So cliché y’all. I was interested in science, but I was told that studying science would be a waste of my time if I wanted to make the team since two other male D2-eligible players were initially much better in that category. I did not make the team. I wish I had studied science rather than fighting with another girl for points in a category I wouldn’t have studied as much otherwise. I was pushed to compete against Halle when I could have been competing against the men for the science spot.

[end of excerpt]

Yikes. So, let’s talk about that. Why was that handled the way it was? Why were Matthew and Luke in charge of, like, shaping the study habits and practices for that team? They fucked up, but all of you who were there in the UChicago club and saw what was happening to me and to Halle and to everyone else and didn’t try to help: Y’ALL WERE COMPLICIT.

Like what’s team leadership for my dudes? It’s so literal 18 year olds are not in charge. Older people should be in charge and have oversight over the young people. There should be trusted mentors who people can go to. All the potential mentor figures on the UChicago team at that time were pretty checked out. They all knew something was going on. Only Athena tried to talk to me, and only Athena tried to comfort Halle after *Luke made her cry in a special DII practice.* Athena wasn’t even intending to play that year! If Athena hadn’t been there things would have been so much worse. You have to be proactive if you’re a leader or a senior figure in your club. Creating a safe space for everyone on the team is part of the job. You can’t let 18 year olds run any part of your club because obviously that’s a disaster waiting to happen, and guess what: a disaster happened!

So in May 2018, after Luke won his much desired 3rd NAQT national championship, when Chloe’s extremely important report (https://coloradoqb.org/assets/levine-ft ... munity.pdf) came out, I was actually at a UChicago qb practice, and I said something like “hey did everyone see Chloe’s report?” Halle, who I think was the only person who responded at all to what I said, replied that she was looking at the report right then. I thought, “why the fuck are we still reading questions right now? Why aren’t we spending practice discussing this report? Isn’t this more important than reading fucking Sun n Fun 2010 or whatever?” Both myself and Halle had faced really unpleasant comments from a prominent former quizbowler who hurt Chloe too. Matthew Lehmann, our 2020-2021 club president was in the room. So many people who still play this game were in the room. The practice continued as usual; as far as I know UChicago quiz bowl never spent practice time talking about that report.

You fuckers! There are no secrets. You think I didn’t hear about y’all messaging each other to gossip about who’s gonna replace Jacob Reed on the A-Team without a nod to the fucking disgusting climate y’all continue to contribute to? You think it didn’t get back to me that y’all were gossiping/speculating about another quiz bowl relationship of mine after I posted when I explicitly asked y’all to never do that to anyone? This problem is not limited to my experiences. UChicago quiz bowl seems to have worse retention of club members and specifically female players than our school’s most rapey Greek life organizations. I expect this extends to college quiz bowl more generally. I wonder why...

I’ve been advised to add some #quicktips for being an anti-sexist so y’all don’t just read and think well that’s unfortch and do nothing:

1. Respond and/or apologize to people you’ve hurt when they reach out to you. Don’t try to gaslight them or argue with them. Really don’t ask for a fucking itemized list of the ways you’ve hurt them. Also if you do apologize don’t expect them to forgive you. That’s not the point.
2.Try to implement a code of conduct. Whether or not you can administer consequences to those who violate it is important, but even if you can't fully enforce it, having a code of conduct that people will have to read and think about for your club or tournament that others can refer back to seems helpful.
3. And really, this one’s the most important one, just quit. Say you’re like double the age of some of the people in this community, and had an incidence of online cheating. Say you’ve used my story to be a dick to my former teammates. Say person after person has pointed out to you that you have a problem with being sexist and gross. I don’t care how many people on the board of ACF decided that your science writing was really important or whatever. Do you think you’re helping people? Deep down? I don’t.
4. Or like, say you’re someone who’s dated a high school student you were coaching. Do you think you should keep playing? Again, I personally don’t think so.

The conveyor belt quote from Beverly Daniel Tatum upthread is really relevant. If you aren’t actively anti-sexist you are part of the problem. I hope this is the last time I have to act as a member of the quiz bowl community. I’m posting this and then leaving completely for good because I’m trying not to be part of the problem. Are you?
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Sylvia Pankhurst »

One thing I would like to stress from Mahria's post is a point which has been repeatedly pointed out: men who perform well are repeatedly forgiven for their outbursts. Forgetting everything that Luke had done in high school, much of which was unknown at the time, how was anyone in club leadership okay with allowing a student who made others cry DURING PRACTICE to continue to compete??
This was obviously a pretty extreme case of bad behavior, and most of the misconduct discussed in this thread is less obvious and easier to sweep under the rug, but was that shiny d2 trophy worth it? How do you decide that that trophy is worth more than the well being of the women on the team? Luke may have left qb, but that attitude hasn't.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by heterodyne »

Sylvia Pankhurst wrote: Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:20 pm One thing I would like to stress from Mahria's post is a point which has been repeatedly pointed out: men who perform well are repeatedly forgiven for their outbursts. Forgetting everything that Luke had done in high school, much of which was unknown at the time, how was anyone in club leadership okay with allowing a student who made others cry DURING PRACTICE to continue to compete??
This was obviously a pretty extreme case of bad behavior, and most of the misconduct discussed in this thread is less obvious and easier to sweep under the rug, but was that shiny d2 trophy worth it? How do you decide that that trophy is worth more than the well being of the women on the team? Luke may have left qb, but that attitude hasn't.
marianna wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 10:11 pm Just a quick note: the above information solely pertains to CoCs for tournament events.

With regards to CoCs for college clubs, UChicago quizbowl officers in 2018 (Samir Khan, Alston Boyd, Jason Zhou and I) looked into whether we could adopt a code of conduct for our club, with sanctions for members who violate such policies. We were told by the UChicago club leadership office that we could only remove club members for reasons "directly related to club functions" (eg not attending a minimum number of events described in the constitution, not fulfilling duties of their leadership position).

If we heard of a sexual misconduct report involving a club member, we were told that club officers are not mandated reporters, but that we were encouraged to direct the person to Title IX, and the only reason for which a student member of a club or organization could be removed was through a Title IX investigation. (Disappointing I know, since some survivors may not want to go through Title IX, and Title IX can be a grueling and long process.)

I believe but am not totally sure that similar guidance does not apply to non-club members (eg non-university person who comes to practices, or who staffs tournaments) - we could ban such people in response to any kind of concern.

Individual college clubs should do some digging into their specific college regulations, but just a word of warning about what we found at UChicago in 2018.
I don't want to speak for the other officers at the time without consulting them first, but Marianna's post in the "code of conduct" thread might help answer your questions.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by halle »

I have extremely mixed feelings about what went down with Luke and the D2 team a couple of years ago. Was Luke shitty to me, often in a specifically sexist way? Yes. Did he eventually get spoken to by club leadership about why his behavior wasn’t ok? Yes, as far as my understanding goes, since I wasn’t party to any of the actual conversations that were had with Luke—I just know that they happened. Should these conversations have happened a lot sooner? Probably. Could the club have been more actively pro-women, by doing things like discussing Chloe’s report at practice? Sure, but that’s a lot easier to see in retrospect.

In particular, I think it’s ridiculous to blame Matthew for the club’s failings. At the time of the D2 issues with Luke, Matthew was a first year. He had his own issues with Luke being a difficult and disrespectful teammate, and was doing his best to figure out how to deal with it. He had no position of power in the club, no reason to think that Luke would listen if he told him off. At times Matthew did step in and say something, and has since expressed regret that he didn't do so more often or more forcefully--I truly believe that if this situation was happening today, he would speak up quickly and firmly. Ideally, Matthew would have stood up to Luke more when Luke was harassing me and Mahria. But I do not blame him at all for not doing so—it wasn’t his responsibility to discipline his teammate, and I completely understand the desire to avoid becoming a target of Luke’s anger. Throughout my time on the D2 team, and in the years since then, Matthew has been extremely supportive of me; even though he didn’t do anything to remove Luke from the team or explicitly tell Luke off, he made me feel like I had an ally against the bullying from Luke. Again, this goes beyond what I would’ve expected from him as a first year who was navigating his own uneasy relationship with Luke.

It’s also worth noting that Matthew never made me feel forced to study any particular category; I actually repeatedly solicited his advice on what to study and was tremendously grateful for his guidance. I also want to add that I cry very easily, and this was especially true two years ago, when I was less emotionally stable than I am now. I have made myself cry during practices and tournaments on several occasions. Luke making me cry was not okay, but I almost certainly insisted on playing through my tears. In fact, I remember I powered two tossups during the round of practice during which I was crying, outscoring Luke on that packet. While Luke should have been disciplined for making me cry, the fact that his teammates didn’t do more in the moment was not a problem, as I was very determined to move on from the moment despite the fact that I was still crying. I think this is called being extremely messy and stubborn.

I understand Mahria’s post as, essentially, asking why Chicago hasn’t done better. In my experience, in the two years since Luke left and in the time since Mahria quit, the club leadership *has* done better. To be fair, there hasn’t been another situation as complicated as the one with Luke, so you could say that the leadership in the past couple of years has had an easier time. But incidents that did occur were handled sensitively, and I know the individuals who make up the current club leadership to be extremely thoughtful and motivated to do the right thing, including when it comes to making the club a better place for women. Their response to Jacob’s quitting quizbowl, and to his reasons for doing so, has been admirable, as they have taken the matter extremely seriously. The club isn’t perfect, and at times it is part of the problem. But I truly believe it can be a good place for women (and I hope, despite having graduated, to help recruit more women to the club in the coming years).
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by On a lurgid bee »

I apologize to all involved in the Chicago club during the 2018-2019 year for my lack of opposition to Luke’s problematic behavior. In particular, I’d like to apologize to Mahria, Halle, and Christine for not doing a better job of creating a safe and healthy space among the D2 players. I’m not sure that I have much to add to the conversation in terms of ways to improve going forward beyond simply stressing much of what has already been said. For the most part, I knew what Luke was doing was wrong. I tried to stop it in ways that were more comfortable to me, and I regret that. I should have been willing and able to go well outside of my comfort zone in order to stop Luke. Going forward I will sacrifice my own comfort for the sake of making the team a more comfortable place, and I will do what is in my power as an officer to officially or unofficially sanction those who make the team environment worse.
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Re: Y'all need to pay attention to your own community

Post by Mahria »

I feel like I need to respond. I appreciate Halle’s perspective and Matthew’s apology. Matthew, I’m sorry that my post seemed to fault you. Thank you for your apology, but I agree with Halle that that was a scary time for all of us, and it wouldn’t be too hard to point fingers at me over my time in quiz bowl and be like well why were you enabling persons x, y, and z? Good question. There are a lot of people I wish I hadn’t enabled. For that specific example, and for most others, many people and institutional practices may have had an enabling effect, but it’s likely no single person can be at fault except for the individual person who’s behaving badly.

Matthew, if my post gave this impression I regret it: I don’t want you specifically to take the entire burden of protecting your club on your shoulders. I know I said my piece about club leadership doing more, and yeah, club leaders in every club should do their best, but the point I want people to take away is that quiz bowl as a whole can do better, and doing better requires proactivity.

Matthew shouldn’t have to sacrifice his comfort to make his club a safer place. There should be institutional safeguards at every turn. More things like codes of conduct and pro-inclusion training specifically for quiz bowl should be developed. Things have improved so much since my first year of college, but I hope my story further motivates the community as a whole to do even more and be even more proactive.

My post is using my specific experience at UChicago because I haven’t had much other relevant experience. I did seek Halle’s input before posting, but I did not incorporate it as well as I should have. I should have taken time to make significant edits, so as not to misrepresent her experience in any way. I’m sorry Halle. Thank you for giving a more complete picture of your experiences than I could provide.

I was really trying to use my specific case as a window to the general case. I see I might have gotten too bogged down in the details of my experience to communicate that well.

I want people to step up if they see someone being hurt or someone being hurtful. Halle is absolutely right. Our club’s leadership did eventually take Luke aside to talk to him. But has every club’s leadership done that with every person who has needed to be talked to? Probably not. But talking to someone usually only happens after they’ve already done something wrong.

Proactivity is essential. Proactively standing up for those who are likely to face discrimination and/or harassment in this community, be that through individual action or larger institutional developments on the club or organizational level, is what I believe to be needed for quiz bowl to become a safer and more welcoming community.

Anyway, I hope there’s nothing further that I feel the need to say here. Despite all the ways I’ve been hurt and have hurt others through being a part of this community, it’s been profoundly formative for me in a positive way as well. I’ve learned so much from playing this game. It’s given me great joy over the years and has shaped me for the better in ways I can’t fully acknowledge here. Even though I feel it best to leave and stop trying to contribute, I will always care about quiz bowl and will always want to see quiz bowl grow into an activity that even more people and even more young women can safely and comfortably enjoy. Thank you quiz bowl and good-bye.
Mahria
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