Call for Question Set Bids: AQBL

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Snoopy
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Call for Question Set Bids: AQBL

Post by Snoopy »

The American Quizbowl League is seeking bids and proposals for question sets for our online tournaments in the 2020-21 season. Specifically, we are looking for:

1) A tossup and bonus novice set, at least 12 packets, due in March
2) A tossup and bonus regs set, at least 12 packets, due in February
3) A second tossup and bonus regs set, at least 12 packets, due in April
4) A set of bonuses for a regs-plus set, at least 12 packets, due in May

We are accepting proposals from any writing team or company that wishes to bid, though we would prefer if most writers are out of high school. Existing sets, unannounced sets, and new teams may bid. We are not asking for exclusive use of the sets (though you can quote a separate price for such a privilege in your bid document), but we would like first use rights if possible.

All tossups must be pyramidal and of the high quality customary in the industry. All bonuses must be three-part easy-medium-hard. Tossups will be subject to strict character limits for new sets; character restrictions will not apply to existing ones. Any sets that are not, in our sole discretion, satisfactorily bid for will be written by us in-house.

In order to bid, prepare a bid document with the following information:

1) The set(s) you are bidding for
2) The experience of your editors and writers
3) A half-packet sample for new sets, or two packets for existing sets
4) What your distribution is for existing sets (new sets should conform to the subject distributions posted on our website)
5) What makes your set stand out from the others; what special features there are about your set that make it great
6) A pricing quote, either per-team, flat-rate, or both
7) Any other pertinent information you feel we should know

We look forward to many bids from writing teams all over the country!
"THE" Joe Feldman
President, American Quizbowl League
President, Long Island Quiz Bowl Alliance
President Emeritus, Smithtown High School West
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Ndg
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Re: Call for Question Set Bids: AQBL

Post by Ndg »

What editing and quality control is AQBL itself planning to do with these sets? If I were registering for these tournaments I'd be worried about wild swings in quality and style from event to event on account of different sets being contracted out to entirely different groups of people.
Andrew Nadig

Mannhiem Mannheim Manheim Township, 2005-11
Carnegie Mellon University, 2011-15
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Snoopy
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Re: Call for Question Set Bids: AQBL

Post by Snoopy »

Sure. While we don't have a style guide per se beyond strict character limits for new sets, we have a general idea of what we want sets to play like and what the feel of the questions should be, and we'll control for that. We expect the sets to be of very high quality, as outlined in the OP, and part of the sample is making sure it conforms to what we want to see in the questions in terms of feel, difficulty, creativity, quality, and so on.
"THE" Joe Feldman
President, American Quizbowl League
President, Long Island Quiz Bowl Alliance
President Emeritus, Smithtown High School West
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Re: Call for Question Set Bids: AQBL

Post by Ndg »

I guess what I'm getting at is, what is your plan for when someone shows you a decent half packet, bids low, and later leaves you with twelve rounds of slop? I only ask because you're evidently trying to build more of a brand identity than "guy with a discord server", and I would assume consistent, high-quality questions would be part of that because, well, there's not much else to build it on.
Andrew Nadig

Mannhiem Mannheim Manheim Township, 2005-11
Carnegie Mellon University, 2011-15
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Re: Call for Question Set Bids: AQBL

Post by Snoopy »

If that is the case, I'd either rewrite and correct errors in-house (or pay a head editor to do it) or relet the bid.
"THE" Joe Feldman
President, American Quizbowl League
President, Long Island Quiz Bowl Alliance
President Emeritus, Smithtown High School West
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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: Call for Question Set Bids: AQBL

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh »

Snoopy wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 5:30 pm If that is the case, I'd either rewrite and correct errors in-house (or pay a head editor to do it) or relet the bid.
Hi! This answer is an operational nightmare.

First, existing sets shouldn't be giving tournament hosts the right to edit their questions. (If a team wants to write for just you, that's different, but at that point, shouldn't you just be employing them as dedicated writers?)

Second, if an external writing team makes the mistake of giving you post-delivery editing privileges, you'll either be given A: a perfectly functional set that you won't have issues using, delivered on time, or B: 12 packets of slop delivered with 24-48 hours' notice. This is based on nearly every piece of prior history that this community has ever generated. If you're in Case A, everything will be fine. But if you're in Case B, you won't know the questions are bad until it's too late to do anything about it. You'll ask for progress reports, and they will lie to you. You won't have any way to know that you're in Case B, not A, until far, far past the point where you could find another option.

There's a reason NAQT, PACE, and NHBB don't subcontract writing to the extent that you're looking at. I suggest you reconsider your options here.
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series
IHSSBCA Ombudsman

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
Assistant Coach, IMSA (2010-12)
Coach, Keith Country Day School (2012-16)
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