Packet Submission discussion

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Packet Submission discussion

Post by rdc20 »

go crazy

[Mod note: Warned for being essentially content-free, and starting a thread with this, no less.]
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by acz13 »

Throwing an idea out there because this Discord discussion was the dumbest I've seen in a while.

Would having something like a question writing workshop help the demographic of somewhat experienced players but inexperienced writers that the "anti-packet sub"bers on Discord are arguing face a too high barrier of entry?
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Ciorwrong »

My opinions on packet submission are well-known. I authored a thread on why it should be abolished for ACF Fall last year and I am extremely grateful ACF decided to make that tournament packet optional.

The issues with mandatory packet submission are, in my estimation, that it enforces a workload on people who might not want it. For example, because I have played quizbowl more than two years and, so has one of my teammates, our ACF Winter team has to contribute a half packet. Writing a few questions isn't a huge time investment for me or another experienced writer but I wonder if the extensive marginal person (i.e. the quizbowler who wouldn't submit a question but has to anyway because of the existence of the requirement or their teammates' status) has a positive experience with question writing. I've written 100s of quizbowl questions, and yes, it's still enjoyable seeing a tossup I wrote make it in. I just don't think that enforcing it is the right approach. In the past, team construction for tournaments like ACF Fall has been based on "well, we need to minimize the amount of required packets" rather than playing ability which I think is unfortunate. Players seeking question feedback should definitely have more option and I of course would be happy to help less experienced writers on UCSD or other teams seeking feedback in areas where I have solid knowledge (e.g. economics.)

Additionally, packet submission has the unfortunate side effect of often creating duplicate questions especially at lower difficulties. There isn't a large surplus of physics answerlines at ACF Fall and I imagine many of the submissions had the same flavor (pardon the pun) even if the answerline varied slightly. Even when I edited the much more difficult WAO II, we got some duplicates and that's okay. Additionally, there is the perverse incentive of having teams write questions on specific topics or authors or whatever that they don't want to appear in the other packets. For example, I used to always write our social science submission on anthropology or linguistics to increase the probability an economics tossup would not be in the MSU packet and would thus be more prevalent elsewhere in the set. I'm glad people seem to be more aware of this perverse incentive for subcategories. An increased focus on subcategories and feng shui should also decrease dupes. Telling a team to write on, say, "organic chemistry" instead of the broader "chemistry" could also help with this.

If we wish to minimize the number of hours spent writing and editing a quizbowl set, I think eliminating packet submission is one avenue to achieve this goal. It is of course not decided that "dis-utility of hours worked" should be the only variable in our objective function. Clearly, other things like quality, freshness, diversity of topics, etc. are all probably more important.

There might be positive "spillovers" from packet submission that make it worthwhile. I conjecture that these spillovers are larger at higher difficulty and guerilla events. I got some amazing submissions for my guerilla pop music tournament MIXTAPE that I would never have dreamed of writing about. The benefit of the amazing submissions greatly outweighed the rare repeat. For a harder or guerilla event, packet submission can be really cool and bring in lots of novel and fresh ideas. I think there should be more guerilla events like DECAMERON because that seemed like a fun time. I don't really see an issue with having the harder ACF Tournaments have a packet submission component especially if the discount is large enough to make it worth the time spent writing quality questions. Given that ACF Winter is yet to take place, I do not yet have a well-formed opinion on that tournament and its packet submission guidelines.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by It's Drew »

Working on ACF Fall this year helped give me some insight on packet submission. My work was pretty specialized to my own subjects, so I didn't see much of the other questions, but my editing process involved enough switching and replacing that, by the time I considered the tossup complete, I had basically rewritten it completely. There were a select few questions that were so good I hardly had to touch them, but we're talking maybe 10% of the questions I received, including from ACF members (i.e. not packet submissions). I have no idea how universal this experience is among subject editors, but, briefly assuming that it's common, I want to suggest a new packet submission model.

Basically, it would involve two tiers of packet submissions. A "full-packet" submission would involve packet submissions as we know them now, where teams submit half-packets of fully-written questions. However, teams with inexperienced or very busy writers could instead opt for a "packet-skeleton" submission, where instead of fully-written questions, each question entry had an idea for a question.

For instance, a tossup in a packet-skeleton submission might look like, using an example from a random tossup I found lying around on my computer for a pet project:
1/0 Biology
  • continuous Kratky-Porod / worm-like chain model
  • Chargaff's rules
  • photo 51, X-shaped diffraction pattern
  • Okazaki fragments
  • Crick-Watson model
ANSWER: DNA
note: emphasize clues about structure and modeling if possible
This list gives a set of clues and benchmarks for the editor to use or consider in their question, and allows the packet-submitter to communicate ideas they find interesting. The packet-submitter does not have to go to any great length to create a coherent tossup that the editor will likely have to dissect and rearrange anyway.

Similarly, here's how a bonus might look in a packet-skeleton submission, based on Purdue A's packet submission from ACF Regionals 2020:
0/1 Mythology
Theme: Oisin's arguments with St. Patrick
Leadin: St Patrick trying to convert Oisin to Christianity
[H] name BOTH figures whose dialogues represent Christianity vs paganism
ANSWER: St Patrick and Oisin
[M] Oisin narrates this work to St Patrick
ANSWER: Fenian Cycle
[E] St Patrick and Oisin are from this island's myth system
ANSWER: Ireland
note: could also clue stuff like theories that "driving the snakes out of Ireland" was a euphemism for converting Irish pagans to Christianity
Once again, this gives the editor something potentially interesting to work with and build off of. However, in the event that a bonus part doesn't work and needs to be replaced, there's no additional hassle to making the parts of the bonus match up, thematically.

In addition, I'd expect that full-packet submissions are worth larger discounts than packet-skeleton submissions, and perhaps that packet-skeleton submissions incur a larger late-submission penalty than full-packet submissions.

Again, this is based entirely off of my own experience editing questions, and I have no idea how universal that experience is. I also don't know if this would appreciably reduce the amount of time that inexperienced writers spend trying to write questions for packet submissions, considering it would still require a nontrivial amount of thought and research to procure the necessary clues, even if you're not translating them into quizbowlese. I came up with this idea on the fly while writing this post, so I expect it to have some flaws I haven't found yet.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Santa Claus »

Ophir wrote:The primary purpose of packet submission is not to minimize waste or burden, to give submitters an opportunity for their questions to be played, to give submitters critical or comforting feedback on their questions, to give players an opportunity to learn new things or improve their quizbowl prowess, to make players do what’s good for them, to provide editors with material for questions (of high or any quality/creativity/diversity), to reduce editors’ workload, to efficiently produce a single tournament, to establish a time- or cost-efficient contribution (or transaction, or barrier to entry) in exchange for playing, and so on.

Those are some possible benefits, yes. But, above all, packet submission is necessary to get enough players’ feet in the door at scale. The existence of packet submission is the only way to ensure quizbowl’s sustainability and freedom. (To keep quizbowl community-driven, not corporatized, faceless, and inflexible.)

Packet submission may not be the most efficient way to produce a single tournament in the short run, but it is the most efficient way to produce many future tournaments in the long run. Packet submission is investment in the existence of quizbowl tomorrow, and defense of the best interests of the activity against short-sightedness and instant gratification. The quality of quizbowl has also increased drastically in the last decade; packet submission is what got us to this maximum. We are playing the best game quizbowl has ever been.

Packet submission is the only way to instill certain essential community values and develop future generations of prolific contributors. Quizbowl only exists at all because it depends on (significantly underpaid) substantial skilled writing/editing community service from a small minority. Without players – i.e. YOU – internalizing that they are a very part of the community that makes quizbowl even possible, quizbowl will languish and cease to exist. The abolition of packet submission, and the erosion of community values, is devastating to upward mobility and the desperately needed player-to-writer/editor/contributor pipeline and makes quizbowl even more elitist and insular.

Yet despite repeated good-faith concessions and relaxations of packet submission requirements, it has actually made the situation far worse: fewer encounters with packet submission mean it is now even easier to completely miss the big picture and not learn the important values of community service. And the fact that this same topic now recurs several times per month shows that this message (which I, at least, explained almost exactly 1 year ago – search my posts for "packet submission") has been a shameful and utter failure. (I usually support reforms, too, but now it honestly makes me want to oppose them instead!)

That is exactly why anti-packet submission is anti-quizbowl. The spread of anti-packet submission ideology and iconoclasm in general is the most alarming thing quizbowl has seen since the hard-fought "bad quizbowl" wars, and possibly ever. Those who misunderstand the purpose of packet submission, the history of quizbowl, or the scale at which quizbowl works, then go on to misinform others, seriously threaten the long-term viability of this activity. Anti-paxxers, perhaps without even realizing it, will not be satisfied until quizbowl as we know it is destroyed.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by vathreya »

At the end of the day, I think the arguments for and against packet submission ultimately boil down to how it serves as a driving force. The arguments for packet submission argue that it is a necessary measure driving people towards greater roles in set production and proliferation, ultimately driving quizbowl forward. The arguments against packet submissions argue that for every person who does enjoy packet submission and uses that as a stepping stone to further involvement, there are numerous others who either leave quiz bowl in its entirety or at the very least just give up on being able to participate in packet-submission mandatory events.

There are merits to the arguments on both sides, and I don't have an easy solution, but I think a good place to start would be to look at this common view of packet submission as a driving force. Can we, as a community, look for ways to introduce people to writing, especially people who may not have been interested in writing to begin with, without at the same time driving away people through the imposition of (in many cases) unreasonable deadlines and (as perceived by those who are driven away) an insurmountable level of work? Can we find a way to recognize that casual members should be treated with the same value and respect as those grinding for a top spot at nationals? Can we, ultimately find a way to bridge the divide between young and old, casual and competitive, and find a way to reinforce and ensure the survival of quizbowl, both in terms of the production of quality question sets, and in terms of the presence of less-competitive teams on the periphery of circuits?

One suggestion I might have is to allow credit for packet submission for other, easier, ACF tournaments, for harder ones. For example, ACF Fall has packet submission optional, but ACF Winter, which is harder, does not. For a mostly new club with 2 or more experienced people, or for a club with quite a few casual members (who have stayed over the years), writing the half-packet for Winter can be a daunting task. Instead, why not just let them submit a packet for Fall instead, for credit for Winter? Perhaps if they play Fall, they should not be allowed to reap the benefits at another tournament, though. In any case, this allows the team to take on a less daunting submission of a packet (while at the same time keeping the motivation for them to write, thereby introducing them to writing even if team members weren't interested to begin with). There are obviously issues with this, however, and I'm not sure how to resolve them here, but I'd like to hear your opinion on whether this could work, or not work.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Ike »

Um there's a lot that one could post here, but I think what Kevin quoted about Ophir's post basically sums up my thoughts.

I would like to add that I think many people fail to realize there are many other benefits to packet submission besides the final product. It is a tool that editors use to seek out potentially promising writers; it's a way for editors to praise writers who may otherwise be overlooked, and to approach them to edit future events. And yeah, from a purely macro- perspective, without producers who love this game, there's no way the collegiate game could survive, ACF would need to 10x their fees if they wanted to pay its writers a reasonable wage; therefore the only way to keep this game going is to inculcate that love into writers, packet submission is one such mechanism we currently use.

Furthermore, I think the packet submission model encourages the development of skills that aren't particularly at the forefront of housewrite tournaments. Packet submission encourages (but does not force) editors to "respect" the work of the authors. Packet submission also allows editors to "alchemize" questions from ideas of inexperience writers -- one may who be so new that they're too sheepish to work on a housewrite. One of my favorite questions from Nats 2019 was a question I received on atmospheric reentry that was raw, to say the least. It would have never occurred to me to ever toss that up unless it came in the form of a submission. I think this collaborative process between editor and writer is a feature not a bug. I think this is true even at lower difficulties, often times you'll find someone from nowhere has written a question that you'll never think to write just because they have different life experiences than you!

Anyway, I think that some changes to the packet submission are reasonable. I also think other organizations can ease new players into packet submission better. ACF recently released a module for online training, perhaps they can do one for "writing my first bonus" or "writing my first tossup" as well, and encourage teams to look there, so teams feel less daunted. I'm not saying there isn't a better mechanism than packet submission, but I've noticed many people on the other side of the fence have yet to propose one (let alone any other mechanism haha.)
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by ganman0305 »

acz13 wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:58 am Would having something like a question writing workshop help the demographic of somewhat experienced players but inexperienced writers that the "anti-packet sub"bers on Discord are arguing face a too high barrier of entry?
I actually put together a small PowerPoint I run with Iowa teams every year to introduce people to question writing and have some fun with practicing. It only takes about an hour or so (or could be longer, depending on how much time people have), so I'd love to run it with people who are interested some time. DM me on here or Discord if you'd be interested!!
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Santa Claus »

vathreya wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 10:41 amThe arguments against packet submissions argue that for every person who does enjoy packet submission and uses that as a stepping stone to further involvement, there are numerous others who either leave quiz bowl in its entirety or at the very least just give up on being able to participate in packet-submission mandatory events.
Can we, as a community, look for ways to introduce people to writing, especially people who may not have been interested in writing to begin with, without at the same time driving away people through the imposition of (in many cases) unreasonable deadlines and (as perceived by those who are driven away) an insurmountable level of work?
I find the suggestion that packet sub, especially in its current form, is actively driving away people from quiz bowl to be an incredibly bold claim that you have hinged your entire argument on and think that you should provide some level of justification for it before you take it for granted. The level of effort required to write part or all of a packet, while large, is not any more than the effort that a player would put in if they were improving their ability to play quiz bowl rather than their ability to write for it. Furthermore, it is entirely avoidable by simply playing one of the numerous other tournaments at varied difficulties (including, ultimately, a national) which do not require packet sub, as there are literally only two regular-season tournaments that do: ACF Winter (newly reforged just this year) and ACF Regionals.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Carlos Be »

I condemn the idea that anti-packet submission is anti-quizbowl. While the president likes to take discourse down the slippery slope and argue that all his opponents are radicals who hate America, quiz bowl reactionaries do not need to stoop to his level. Many of the anti-packet sub crowd actively contribute to quiz bowl by staffing tournaments and writing and editing sets, and all of us only want what is best for quiz bowl. Denying that is unconstructive, toxic, and false.

If anti-packet sub people are not anti-quizbowl, why then are they anti-packet sub? I cannot speak for all anti-packet sub people, but I can list the three main arguments that I have heard:

1. Packet submission increases the cost to play quizbowl. Simply put, a team is more likely to play a tournament if the cost to play is $120 than if it is $120 AND you have to write something. Some people argue that a half-packet is not a significant burden, and people should deal with it, but I think this is false. 10/10 can take 10 hours for an experienced writer, and possibly more for newer writers. Even divided amongst four people, this can be a significant investment, particularly if the 10/10 are divided unequally. Clearly it's not so much where literally no one will play, but it's enough to convince teams who might be on the fence about playing not to. If we ever want to get quiz bowl to a place where writers are paid at least minimum wage, then quiz bowl needs to expand, and packet submission inhibits this. Those in favor of packet submission will argue that, while submission is a cost, it is necessary to sustain the quiz bowl economy. That brings me to the next point.

2. Packet submission is no longer necessary to sustain quiz bowl. This point seems to be the most contentious, so I will do my best to explain it well. Quiz bowl has expanded a lot recently, and the writer pool has expanded with it. There are now many sets each year that are written without any submitted packets. ACF might argue that the writers of these sets would not be writers if they had not been introduced to writing through packet submission, but there is no evidence for that, and there are certainly examples where it is not the case. Saturnalia was able go get over thirty writers, many of whom had never written before, simply by posting a public application for writers. Similarly, I don't think many of the high school writers on high school sets were introduced to writing via packet submission. I will admit that these two modes of introduction might not be sufficient to outreach to every type of player who wants to write. But that can be resolved by having more types of outreach. An experienced writer could write up a short guide on how to write your own side event, or how to write your own packet to read to discord. More sets could have open applications, or even just open calls, for writers. Regional sets could announce at local tournaments that they're looking for local writers, and won't turn people down due to lack of skill or experience. This list is not exhaustive, I'm sure other people can come up with different and more effective ways to get people to write. At this point, pro-packet sub people will probably ask, "if you're proposing all these different formats for outreach, why not use packet submission as one of these alternative formats?" That brings me to the final point.

3. Packet submission is a bad format for writing. There are two angles to this point. First, making something mandatory is a great way to get people not to like that thing. Now, I acknowledge that there are people who appreciate being mandated to write. I think this is a minority sentiment, amplified due to survivorship bias. To most people, being required to write turns it from an activity to a task. It becomes something where the primary goal is to get it done, not to do it well, or to enjoy doing it. The arrogance and vitriol with which anti-packet sub arguments are suppressed do not do ACF any favors in this regard. The second angle is about the writer/editor interaction. In packet submission, the writer is completely alienated from the editor. A new writer cannot receive feedback until at least a month after their questions are written. If a question is written with a specific idea that the editor does not pick up on, the writer cannot speak up. Worst of all, a question can be cut or changed beyond recognition arbitrarily and without any input from the original writer. This can lead writers to avoid submitting good ideas so that they can save them for sets where the ideas have a greater chance of becoming questions. For all these reasons, packet submission makes writing seem like a chore that is best done badly. In my opinion, that is worse than than not writing at all.

I, like many people, believe these points are true. Lacking omniscience, I understand these points are fallible. There are counter-arguments that can and should be brought up. Unfortunately, far too often counterarguments have been more about owning the "anti-paxxers" than about defending packet submission. Instead of a discussion that might lead to a productive reform, we see an army of straw men and attacks on our contributions to quiz bowl. The Admin of the quiz bowl discord even decreed that anti-packet sub arguments were banned in the server, solely because he was "personally frustrated" with them. I hear a lot about "community values." What values do you think you're instilling by stifling discussion and claiming that those you disagree with are anti-quizbowl?
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Ike »

Warning: angry post ahead, and speaking entirely personally and not for any organization.

Oh Jesus, fucking Christ. When you, on the Discord, post shit like:
the acf ideology is a threat to the expansion of qb
...acf people just don't believe it for idk why
No one, not even the most Vulcan of us will want to engage with you in good faith. While I won't be condescending to you about anti-paxxing or whatever it's called. I will be condescending to you about something else: here's a fucking life lesson, if you want to engage with people who are part of a non-profit organization and not have them treat you with vitriol, perhaps you should begin by 1.) sitting down and shutting the fuck up and not attacking their mission statement with a troll belief that ACF's ideology, and by extension, its members ideology, is a form of millenarianism. In many ways Justine, you are behaving like that fucking kid from Aesop's fables who says a bunch of shit, and when someone stops by to try to play tiddlywinks your feelings get hurt, and you pretend like you were kicked into a river. ACF is run by people. People have limited amount of patience and willpower. When you get out of the sensorimotor stage, mail me a letter. Until then, bye.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by AKKOLADE »

rdc20 wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:32 amgo crazy
maybe not that crazy
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by FillorianCandidate »

Ike wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:46 pm When you get out of the sensorimotor stage, mail me a letter. Until then, bye.
Thank you for contrasting yourself with Justine's childishness by acting like an adult in this situation.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Santa Claus »

Carlos Be wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:16 pm 1. Packet submission increases the cost to play quizbowl.
This is true.
2. Packet submission is no longer necessary to sustain quiz bowl.
There are few people who would argue that packet sub is necessary to continue holding sets in the present, including those who were around for an earlier period of quiz bowl in which that was more the case. However, as Ophir put it, an investment in future writers is necessary to ensure that quiz bowl can continue in the future.
ACF might argue that the writers of these sets would not be writers if they had not been introduced to writing through packet submission, but there is no evidence for that, and there are certainly examples where it is not the case.
No one is arguing that 100% of new writers are produced by packet sub, but that they do indeed introduce people to writing and in a way that reaches different people than other methods. There are many examples of writers and teams for which packet sub served as their first experience writing, with members of the Florida team explicitly saying that they would not have begun writing if it had not existed.
Saturnalia was able go get over thirty writers, many of whom had never written before, simply by posting a public application for writers. Similarly, I don't think many of the high school writers on high school sets were introduced to writing via packet submission. I will admit that these two modes of introduction might not be sufficient to outreach to every type of player who wants to write. But that can be resolved by having more types of outreach. An experienced writer could write up a short guide on how to write your own side event, or how to write your own packet to read to discord. More sets could have open applications, or even just open calls, for writers. Regional sets could announce at local tournaments that they're looking for local writers, and won't turn people down due to lack of skill or experience.
Not all efforts for searching for new writers can rely on them to volunteer. It is good that there are more avenues for people who fall into that category to find projects and mentorship, but they make up a minority of the potential writing pool (which is everyone who plays quiz bowl) and do not even fully encapsulate the hypothetical pool of people who would want to be writers. Considering that the number of writers who participated in or even attempted to participate in is dwarfed by the total number of collegiate players, it is not a stretch of the imagination to conceive that that there could be as many (or more) that require different incentives.

Packet sub uniquely finds writers who, for personal or organizational reasons, cannot or do not want to make use of existing resources - none of these proposed methods of getting new writers would do the same.
The arrogance and vitriol with which anti-packet sub arguments are suppressed do not do ACF any favors in this regard.
By god, won't anyone think of the children??!?
In my opinion, that is worse than than not writing at all.
Incorrect. Any writing is better than none.
I, like many people, believe these points are true.
Dubious.
I understand these points are fallible.
Dubious.
The Admin of the quiz bowl discord even decreed that anti-packet sub arguments were banned in the server, solely because he was "personally frustrated" with them.
The Admin of the quiz bowl discord wrote: yeah so because I am personally frustrated with the lines of argumentation here, I am going to request that anyone who wants to seriously discuss packet sub kindly organize their points and put it on the forums
Please learn to read before you tell other people how they should write.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by neilbreen »

Ike wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:46 pm I will be condescending to you about something else: here's a fucking life lesson, if you want to engage with people who are part of a non-profit organization and not have them treat you with vitriol, perhaps you should begin by 1.) sitting down and shutting the fuck up and not attacking their mission statement with a troll belief that ACF's ideology, and by extension, its members ideology, is a form of millenarianism.
Sounds like you got your feelings hurt because someone criticized an organization you're a part of. Why should ACF's status as a non-profit make its mission statement and ideology exempt from criticism? While I don't believe, and I don't think Justine believes, that ACF is intentionally sabotaging quizbowl, there remains the possibility that the way ACF operates is hindering quizbowl's expansion. Getting upset that someone dared to suggest the possibility of this being true and refusing to engage with their argument because of it is pathetic.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Stinkweed Imp »

Santa Claus wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 3:12 pm
Carlos Be wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:16 pm 1. Packet submission increases the cost to play quizbowl.
This is true.
Is this true? The questions used for ACF fall have to come from somewhere, and if they don't come from packet submissions ACF will have to pay people to write them. This would increase tournament costs, which have been previously identified as another major barrier to new teams. Though I think the packet submission model (at Fall, at least) has its problems, packet submission is a primarily qualitative change in the cost of quizbowl, and does not necessarily increase the total cost substantially.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by eygotem »

It's Drew wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 2:14 am Basically, it would involve two tiers of packet submissions. A "full-packet" submission would involve packet submissions as we know them now, where teams submit half-packets of fully-written questions. However, teams with inexperienced or very busy writers could instead opt for a "packet-skeleton" submission, where instead of fully-written questions, each question entry had an idea for a question.

For instance, a tossup in a packet-skeleton submission might look like, using an example from a random tossup I found lying around on my computer for a pet project:
1/0 Biology
  • continuous Kratky-Porod / worm-like chain model
  • Chargaff's rules
  • photo 51, X-shaped diffraction pattern
  • Okazaki fragments
  • Crick-Watson model
ANSWER: DNA
note: emphasize clues about structure and modeling if possible
This list gives a set of clues and benchmarks for the editor to use or consider in their question, and allows the packet-submitter to communicate ideas they find interesting. The packet-submitter does not have to go to any great length to create a coherent tossup that the editor will likely have to dissect and rearrange anyway.
This seems like a good idea that could potentially alleviate the possibly-discouraging burden of writing questions for ACF packet submissions, while keeping the benefits of giving the editing team ideas to work on. In my (admittedly quite limited) experience writing quizbowl questions, I've almost always organized the clues I planned to use into "skeletons" like these before connecting them into complete, clear, pyramidal sentences. The latter step tends to take up much, if not most of the time I spend writing (an issue exacerbated by my perfectionist tendencies, which I imagine a good deal of newer writers share). Allowing "skeletons" like these to be submitted for a lesser discount than a full packet could provide the best of both worlds for players who happen to be busier, lazier, or otherwise less willing to dedicate time to question writing.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by SesameFlakes »

To justify requiring packet sub, ACF should create some sort of official program that either teaches writing or provides a mentorship/feedback system for new writers. To preface, my teammates (and me too) all deeply enjoy writing, and, by their own admission, they probably would not write without mandatory packet submission. I personally have been fortunate enough to have written under the guidance of more experienced writers/editors for high school sets, but most players don't have this opportunity; thus for most people, their first contact with writing ends up being a packet submission tournament. Writing in the beginning can be extremely difficult and daunting—I wrote my first tossup in my third year of quizbowl playing and it was hot garbage. And as others have pointed out, getting feedback from editors in packet sub tournaments—and by extension improving at writing—can be a difficult, opaque, and rarely timely process.

If ACF wants to require teams to submit packets, it should directly teach people to write instead of throwing them into it blindly. If ACF assumes that people won't write on their own volition if packet sub didn't require them to, then neither should it assume people would on their own accord seek out question writing resources. It needs to take more direct action in helping new writers, perhaps by providing a "lecture series" of sorts on the basics of writing (covering things like picking answerlines, doing research, clue placement, etc.) either on discord or zoom that is publicized to teams that have signed up for ACF tournaments. Of course, more participatory processes would be of even greater help to new writers. Ideally, ACF would set up and coordinate a mentorship program to provide new writers with timely and constructive feedback to help them improve with writing. ACF Fall could remain as is, with packet sub being voluntary. ACF Winter could be changed to be mandatory packet sub but with a mentor program attached: established/experienced writers would continue to supply independent half packets but newer writers who lack an experienced team member to guide them would contribute with supervision and feedback from the ACF editors/mentors. While this would require probably a greater investment of time from editors, it would be partially offset by an increase in yield of immediately usable/minimal-editing-required content to offset. For those new to writing, it both eases their transition from experienced player to writer and prepares them for future packet sub tournaments like Regionals.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by EnesKristo »

So, I have no horse in this, but here is a nice way to construct packet sub. Let’s set up some good worthwhile goals for the system:
  • Not too much overlap between submissions. Most tournaments will have a Kant tossup or bonus because Kant is important, but I presume at least a dozen or so are submitted.
  • Ease of writing. If you ask people for an 18th century San Marino history question, there is a slight change that some teams might not have a player capable of writing such a question. We’d want teams to be able to write their questions.
  • No submission should be spread too thin. If University A has tossups in 6 packets, that would probably make the tournament unplayable for University A
.
Here’s my suggestion. When you ask a team to write a half packet, mark all questions with an alternative more specific line. So (Fine arts - Golden Age Dutch painter). The editors can decide on how specific they want to be, although I’d recommend not too specific. Every team has to pick at least half the answer lines to be more specific. This allows a good history team with a breadth of knowledge to write on specific history questions, while allowing them to write more generic science questions on stuff they might be familiar with. Hence the ease of writing part with an added benefit of reducing overlap.

Ideally, over the course of the whole nation, there would be a good mixture of teams that would choose to be more specific on all topics. If a lot of people pick religion to be specific on and make generic science questions, it could be an indication that maybe religion should get more points. This is a topic for another day.

Another thing you can do is give people 18 specific topics and have them pick 12. That could be worth considering, although the first method seems better to me.

You could regionalize packet submission to boost this concentrated idea. Split the nation into 4 or 6 regions (Or keep the ones that we currently have) and generate 2 or 3 packets from each. With the specific questions it will be more viable to generate 3 packets from 10/20 schools. When you run Fall, you just don’t play the region submitted packets. This would help in it not being spread thin.

If this experiment works well, you can try other stuff on top of it and experiment. Make submissions into 8/8 or something, to reduce writing. Up to editors. Even if it doesn’t, still experiment. That will be the best way to see what works and what doesn’t.

This is not me arguing that packet sub should stay. I’m just proposing some changes that I think are worthwhile if it does stay.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Santa Claus »

SesameFlakes wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:14 pm To justify requiring packet sub, ACF should create some sort of official program that either teaches writing or provides a mentorship/feedback system for new writers.

[...]

If ACF wants to require teams to submit packets, it should directly teach people to write instead of throwing them into it blindly.
I think a good starting point would be ACF explicitly pointing writers at existing resources, which is a simple enough to just be slotted into the ACF form email when sending out distributions. Running a dedicated mentorship program without additional editors to help out would be very difficult, but it's a pretty interesting direction for future expansion of the organization. This would be a good way to support portions of the community without strong institutional presence, though, as I and others have mentioned before, such a hands-on approach is not scalable.

As an aside, I don't think framing this as something ACF has to do to "justify requiring packet sub", is a good attitude. Packet sub is not a crime: as you attested yourself, it is able to reach players that would not otherwise write, and I would argue that most of its negative externalities are overstated. If ACF eventually does decide to do it, it'll be because it's good for quiz bowl, not because they need to atone for their sins or something.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by theMoMA »

The question at the heart of this argument is whether quizbowl operates on a community or consumer model. The consumer model supposes that, at its core, quizbowl is a series of arms-length economic transactions in which question producers sell their questions to tournament hosts, who then sell them to players at the prices the market will bear. (Prices that, justifiably, include the time required to produce packet submissions.) The community model is based on something a little more complex: the idea that the time, energy, and money needed to produce questions, host tournaments, and play games don't just balance out in various cash equilibria, because many of the people involved at all stages are also interested in nurturing the health of the game and gaining individual and collective goodwill and respect in ways that do not show up on an accounting table.

Setting aside qualitative judgments for a moment, I don't see much reason to assume that quizbowl, especially at the college level, actually operates on a consumer model. The concern for the community and respect within it are social facts, and they have no obvious cash-out value. Although it's impossible to ignore that money (and the monetary value of time) plays a role in the quizbowl community, and certainly constrains people's behavior, attempting to understand this world through the lens of purely economic transactions leaves off these central features of quizbowl participation.

My own participation in quizbowl does not derive from the pleasure-maximizing imperative of the rational "economic man." I certainly do enjoy playing quizbowl and producing questions, and so I gladly participate in the cash exchange involved in those pursuits. Making money from producing questions allows me to continue to do so, and I know that my payments help others do the same. But I also spend many unpaid hours setting policies, discussing theory and questions, administering forums, and voting on awards. I do this for a number of reasons: because I have benefited immensely from quizbowl and want others to be able to say the same; because I want to help people who are interested in entering the inner circles of the community do so, as others once helped me; because I think the game is worth thinking about, talking about, and improving; because I think question writers deserve to hear what people liked and didn't like about their questions; because I think people deserve recognition for their good work; because I want people in this community to hold me in high esteem as someone who thinks carefully, works hard, and plays and writes well; and because I want people in this community to hold others who have graciously given me the chance to work and play with them, or to be their friend, in similarly high esteem.

Caring about the game in this way, as I do, isn't for everyone. That's fine. It takes work and compromise to be so involved. I don't begrudge anyone who simply wants to exchange money for questions and leave it at that. But, and now I return to the qualitative judgments previously set aside, I don't understand any argument that favors the position of people who consider themselves to be "a buyer of something" over people who see themselves as "a part of something."

Even on its own terms, this makes no sense. The people who subscribe to the community ethos contribute huge amounts of value, both monetary and intangible, to quizbowl, while the people who are simply here to consume questions, although certainly indispensable in the aggregate, each only spend a few bucks on tournaments. Passive consumers making individual economic cost/benefit analyses just don't have much power to persuade any marketplace, let alone one that operates largely on the nonmonetary currencies of goodwill and respect.

More to the point, I prefer quizbowl to be a place where people who contribute to the game have reserves of respect and goodwill to draw from when they need something, whether that's a few questions to complete a set or careful consideration of their arguments. I do not favor a quizbowl that caters to utility monsters who chew up new questions and spit them out, contributing nothing but their cash in return. It seems to me that the former creates an environment that fosters genuine participation and community spirit, while the latter transforms quizbowl into a series of cold calculations and ignores basically everything that I've found makes participating in the game worthwhile. (It's perhaps worth reiterating that my preferences align with the existing social reality of the game.)

There are plenty of arguments about packet submission that this whole "community vs. consumer" framework sits atop. The basic question seems to be whether, as the communitarians argue, packet submission is a helpful entree into the community for those who might not otherwise enter; or, as the consumerists argue, it is an onerous cost that drives would-be consumers away from the game. I personally think that some form of packet submission is important for communitarian reasons, and that some form of tempering the time cost of submissions is necessary because quizbowl consumers are a crucial part of the game's economic viability. I think the current requirements strike that balance pretty well, although this isn't a position I'm particularly wed to.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by kdroge »

Goodness, people have stronger opinions about this than I do- I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with a system that provides a good number of novice / intramural / easier / regular difficulty sets for players who don't want to do packet submission and having some harder / acf / regular difficulty sets for players who are willing to do packet submission. This is pretty much the existing system in a nutshell, and is basically just a rehash of Andrew's last point (which he articulated way better than I have).

Here are a few of my scattered thoughts on the issue:

At least in theory, a tournament using packet submission should have lower entry fees than a housewrite. While some teams have essentially unlimited funds, many collegiate teams operate on a tight budget, so there is a tradeoff between the time cost and the monetary cost of attending tournaments. I think this was brought up before, but this is an important point to keep in mind.

I'm not sure I get the argument about how having a time cost to packet submission tournaments being detrimental to expanding the game is such a bad thing. Should football teams and basketball teams have less rigorous practice regimens so that more people can be on the team? I'm also not sure I get how the time requirement of writing is that onerous. In an ideal world, a four person team writing a packet means each person writes 6/6. Very, very generously, this means that each person has to spend 12 hours studying topics relevant to quizbowl and learning about things that they have an interest in. Is that really a difficult ask for someone who wants to play quiz bowl at collegiate regular difficulty level?

In my opinion, the changing attitudes towards packet submission are a result of the decline in the number of packet submission events, and not the other way around. When I was an undergrad at Michigan, writing was seen as an integral activity of quiz bowl because so many tournaments were packet submission. There were practices (or at the very least rooms within or after practices) devoted to writing. Older players on the team would go over useful resources, tips and tricks, etc., and would provide feedback to newer players. On a Saturday day-long practice / fun activities day, there was a one-hour segment where older players each talked about their experiences writing for five or ten minutes. Each packet was a chance for team bonding between sets of players. Fast forward to when I was a grad student at Louisville, and packet writing for the couple tournaments that required it was seen as an annoying chore, and was mostly done on a divide-and-conquer individual basis. Of course that is what will happen when there are only two or three tournaments that use packet submission each year! I'll make a fairly offbeat analogy. If you make a bunch of high school students get up at 7am on a Saturday and spend their day cleaning up a river to earn mandatory National Honor Society hours, the vast majority of people will react "**** this sucks." But if people spend an hour or two cleaning up a river every Saturday for a few months and can see how their actions are contributing to the revitalization of a wetland, a good number will feel as if they're part of an enriching, worthwhile experience in which they've forged new friends in a community- even if the work itself was still mandatory for club membership.

Finally, a thing I did once was to have optional packet (or half packet) submission, so teams were strongly encouraged to write but could opt out and pay a higher entry fee if it was really too burdensome to write. I wonder if this could be something to consider for a regular difficulty-ish tournament in the future.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Cheynem »

I want to think of this issue from the perspective of a team that finds packet submission requirements to be onerous.

1. First of all, many such teams, if they are actually all novice or inexperienced, do not have to write to begin with.

2. Secondly, I think some change in the requirements that allows teams who only have one or two experienced players to only have to produce a half packet or 5/5 or something might be a good idea.

3. Next, I think editors should communicate to teams that the goal is to produce a good tournament, not force the teams to scramble and get frustrated. If for some reason producing a packet is very difficult or impossible (everyone flaked out, sudden emergency, can't write good ___ questions), it should be very clear that teams can communicate with editors to produce a reduced size packet of some sort (perhaps including an incomplete packet in the sense of how Drew talks about).

4. Teams should be provided with as many resources as possible to write questions. This can include editors actually giving answerlines or ideas, modules of the kind Ike speaks about (I would LOVE to see a module on writing your "very first" tossup--most question writing guides assume a certain level of experience from the writer), and a point to links or guides or sources that are especially helpful.

5. Next, I think trying to challenge the concept of writing as particularly burdensome or onerous would be helpful. If you've never written a question before, it can seem very daunting (again, this is why a new writer module would be terrific). You might think you're going to spend hours on one question (and indeed, you might, I have). But writing should also be seen as an opportunity to share interesting clues or question ideas. As Kurtis alludes to, like any sort of potentially onerous task, the more it is normalized and seen as beneficial, the more it becomes easier to perform. As the great author William Forrester said, the key to writing is to write--I do not necessarily think the solution to very real frustrations about packet submission is to take away the requirement, but to find out how writing can be made easier for all.

6. Finally, there should be more feedback loops. While being respectful of the time sink for everyone involved, we should think about what feedback the packet authors could receive. I'm wondering if what might be helpful is something along the lines of what I would do for students for end of the year papers--because I'm grading pretty fast, I do not tend to produce a ton of line by line comments (unless they request them), but rather I write up a summary explaining the grade that tends to highlight the strongest and weakest features of the paper--maybe something like this could be done for some packets ("I really liked your bio tossup--the idea was creative and the clues very solid." "Your literature was pretty hard--for a tournament like this, I wouldn't ask about stuff you would rarely find in an intro lit course.")
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Megachile dupla »

Several people in this thread have mentioned the desire for more feedback on their question writing and for less intimidating ways to get involved in writing than packet submission with no previous writing experience.

PACE’s Writing Mentorship Program has been running for three years, and not only offers feedback to newer writers, but also the chance to potentially write for the NSC. Many participants so far have benefitted from the program and were encouraged to continue writing and editing, but this year we received significantly fewer applications. We don’t know why, apart from 2020 being such a crazy year. If you did not apply, please share with us your reasons so that we can make the program best serve the community.

The program will be continuing next year and for the foreseeable future. If you are trying to find a way to get involved writing in a comfortable environment while receiving feedback from some of the best and nicest writers and editors around, we believe the program is one of the best opportunities. Applications for next year’s program will open around July, so watch out for that and let your friends, teammates, and others know about it as well!

Please consider that giving individuals good feedback tends to be extremely time consuming on the whole, and that calling for more feedback naturally calls for even more from those in the community who may already be overburdened. Packet submission distributes the work of guidance and feedback across dozens of teams with more experienced clubmates.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by High Dependency Unit »

Packet-sub was a really good way to get some of our younger players to start writing questions -- and is certainly a potential step towards something like the writing mentorship program, WORKSHOP, etc. However, it is a little absurd that Winter is the most expensive tournament we'll play this fall AND we had to write 12/12 for it; in my opinion it would make a lot of sense for ACF to be half-packet-optional (and maybe half-packet required/full optional for regionals) with much stricter guidelines on what to submit. Many of the teams whose submissions ACF will use have players capable of writing on a topic they are learning about, and that part of question writing is also an important lesson for newer players. And as its structured, optional submissions do lower the entry fee for submitting teams (it may also be good to provide a bonus for quality packets, which I think has been done in the past).

Either way, ACF should have a way to construct a good tournament with 30-40 submissions rather than the 60, some of which will go unused, submitted for Winter (seriously, I'd write 5/5 for Fall if asked, and I'm sure other people would as well).
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by OctagonJoe »

I'm not speaking for ACF here, but I wanted to add some comments.
SesameFlakes wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:14 pmIf ACF wants to require teams to submit packets, it should directly teach people to write instead of throwing them into it blindly. If ACF assumes that people won't write on their own volition if packet sub didn't require them to, then neither should it assume people would on their own accord seek out question writing resources. It needs to take more direct action in helping new writers, perhaps by providing a "lecture series" of sorts on the basics of writing (covering things like picking answerlines, doing research, clue placement, etc.) either on discord or zoom that is publicized to teams that have signed up for ACF tournaments.
ACF has a guide for how to write questions. It covers all the points you brought up, although it is not as fancy as a lecture series of videos, which is not a bad idea, and Jerry's guide has gotten on in years since it was first written.
Santa Claus wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:02 pm
SesameFlakes wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:14 pmTo justify requiring packet sub, ACF should create some sort of official program that either teaches writing or provides a mentorship/feedback system for new writers.

[...]

If ACF wants to require teams to submit packets, it should directly teach people to write instead of throwing them into it blindly.
Running a dedicated mentorship program without additional editors to help out would be very difficult, but it's a pretty interesting direction for future expansion of the organization. This would be a good way to support portions of the community without strong institutional presence, though, as I and others have mentioned before, such a hands-on approach is not scalable.
ACF actually had an entire feedback program less than a decade ago, run by Jonathan Magin. However, it ended after a few years for a couple of different reasons, one of which was just that it takes a lot of work to provide feedback, and ACF is already putting a lot of work into creating and running multiple tournaments every year. Also, as Tejas mentioned, PACE has a currently operating mentorship program that people should definitely apply to if they are interested in becoming better writers (or even just becoming writers).
Ciorwrong wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:25 amAdditionally, packet submission has the unfortunate side effect of often creating duplicate questions especially at lower difficulties. There isn't a large surplus of physics answerlines at ACF Fall and I imagine many of the submissions had the same flavor (pardon the pun) even if the answerline varied slightly. Even when I edited the much more difficult WAO II, we got some duplicates and that's okay. Additionally, there is the perverse incentive of having teams write questions on specific topics or authors or whatever that they don't want to appear in the other packets. For example, I used to always write our social science submission on anthropology or linguistics to increase the probability an economics tossup would not be in the MSU packet and would thus be more prevalent elsewhere in the set. I'm glad people seem to be more aware of this perverse incentive for subcategories. An increased focus on subcategories and feng shui should also decrease dupes. Telling a team to write on, say, "organic chemistry" instead of the broader "chemistry" could also help with this.
EnesKristo wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:18 pmHere’s my suggestion. When you ask a team to write a half packet, mark all questions with an alternative more specific line. So (Fine arts - Golden Age Dutch painter). The editors can decide on how specific they want to be, although I’d recommend not too specific. Every team has to pick at least half the answer lines to be more specific. This allows a good history team with a breadth of knowledge to write on specific history questions, while allowing them to write more generic science questions on stuff they might be familiar with. Hence the ease of writing part with an added benefit of reducing overlap.

Ideally, over the course of the whole nation, there would be a good mixture of teams that would choose to be more specific on all topics. If a lot of people pick religion to be specific on and make generic science questions, it could be an indication that maybe religion should get more points. This is a topic for another day.

Another thing you can do is give people 18 specific topics and have them pick 12. That could be worth considering, although the first method seems better to me.
Cheynem wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:22 pm4. . . . This can include editors actually giving answerlines or ideas . . .
High Dependency Unit wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:19 pmIn my opinion it would make a lot of sense for ACF to be half-packet-optional (and maybe half-packet required/full optional for regionals) with much stricter guidelines on what to submit. Many of the teams whose submissions ACF will use have players capable of writing on a topic they are learning about, and that part of question writing is also an important lesson for newer players. And as its structured, optional submissions do lower the entry fee for submitting teams (it may also be good to provide a bonus for quality packets, which I think has been done in the past).
One thing to keep in mind with providing specific answerlines or even just specific topics is that, in a similar vein to what Harris mentions about how teams will write on a topic to make sure it doesn't appear in a packet they're playing on, telling a team to write on something very specific gives the team a good idea of what won't come up in other packets. If I know that my team was asked to submit a question on a Golden Age Dutch painter, I can now make an inference that other teams were not asked to submit such a question. Part of the idea of only giving teams broad categories like American literature and chemistry is that every team has the same information that those topics are being submitted in every packet, but nothing more.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by cwasims »

Ciorwrong wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:25 amAdditionally, packet submission has the unfortunate side effect of often creating duplicate questions especially at lower difficulties. There isn't a large surplus of physics answerlines at ACF Fall and I imagine many of the submissions had the same flavor (pardon the pun) even if the answerline varied slightly. Even when I edited the much more difficult WAO II, we got some duplicates and that's okay. Additionally, there is the perverse incentive of having teams write questions on specific topics or authors or whatever that they don't want to appear in the other packets. For example, I used to always write our social science submission on anthropology or linguistics to increase the probability an economics tossup would not be in the MSU packet and would thus be more prevalent elsewhere in the set. I'm glad people seem to be more aware of this perverse incentive for subcategories. An increased focus on subcategories and feng shui should also decrease dupes. Telling a team to write on, say, "organic chemistry" instead of the broader "chemistry" could also help with this.
EnesKristo wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 4:18 pmHere’s my suggestion. When you ask a team to write a half packet, mark all questions with an alternative more specific line. So (Fine arts - Golden Age Dutch painter). The editors can decide on how specific they want to be, although I’d recommend not too specific. Every team has to pick at least half the answer lines to be more specific. This allows a good history team with a breadth of knowledge to write on specific history questions, while allowing them to write more generic science questions on stuff they might be familiar with. Hence the ease of writing part with an added benefit of reducing overlap.

Ideally, over the course of the whole nation, there would be a good mixture of teams that would choose to be more specific on all topics. If a lot of people pick religion to be specific on and make generic science questions, it could be an indication that maybe religion should get more points. This is a topic for another day.

Another thing you can do is give people 18 specific topics and have them pick 12. That could be worth considering, although the first method seems better to me.
Cheynem wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:22 pm4. . . . This can include editors actually giving answerlines or ideas . . .
High Dependency Unit wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:19 pm In my opinion it would make a lot of sense for ACF to be half-packet-optional (and maybe half-packet required/full optional for regionals) with much stricter guidelines on what to submit. Many of the teams whose submissions ACF will use have players capable of writing on a topic they are learning about, and that part of question writing is also an important lesson for newer players. And as its structured, optional submissions do lower the entry fee for submitting teams (it may also be good to provide a bonus for quality packets, which I think has been done in the past).

One thing to keep in mind with providing specific answerlines or even just specific topics is that, in a similar vein to what Harris mentions about how teams will write on a topic to make sure it doesn't appear in a packet they're playing on, telling a team to write on something very specific gives the team a good idea of what won't come up in other packets. If I know that my team was asked to submit a question on a Golden Age Dutch painter, I can now make an inference that other teams were not asked to submit such a question. Part of the idea of only giving teams broad categories like American literature and chemistry is that every team has the same information that those topics are being submitted in every packet, but nothing more.
I think the obvious solution here would just be to publish the subdistributions that are being sent to the teams publicly. To make this system work I don't think the topics would need to be as specific as "Dutch Golden Age painting" but I think even telling teams to submit on "20th century art", "Renaissance art", etc. would go a long way towards reducing overlap and ensuring the submissions cover a wide range of topics without providing much meaningful information to either the teams receiving the topic or the playing audience receiving the complete list of topics about the exact selection of topics that will come up. I'm also not really convinced it's that much of a problem at this level if some people are able to gain a minuscule amount of information about the subdistributions that might appear in other packets - in practice this is not much different than submitting a good question and reasonably expecting that it might be included in the set, thereby crowding out questions on similar topics.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Maybe I'm a confused old man, but why is this such a theoretical discussion? Has packet submission not been dying for close to a decade? If reducing packet submission has deleterious effects on player and writer development, should we not be seeing some consequences by now? Instead it seems that apart from the whole pandemic thing, quizbowl is thriving and there is no shortage of good young players and good young writers.
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Re: Packet Submission discussion

Post by i never see pigeons in wheeling »

Skepticism and Animal Feed wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 9:48 am Maybe I'm a confused old man, but why is this such a theoretical discussion? Has packet submission not been dying for close to a decade? If reducing packet submission has deleterious effects on player and writer development, should we not be seeing some consequences by now? Instead it seems that apart from the whole pandemic thing, quizbowl is thriving and there is no shortage of good young players and good young writers.
It's hardly inconsistent to claim that quiz bowl is doing well but could be doing even better if not for the alleged deleterious effects of packet sub. I think most people here arguing against it would claim that quiz bowl has done well despite packet sub, and that the large degree to which we've seen packet sub reduced has in fact been part of the net positive uptick in quiz bowl's vibrancy that you've observed.
Ankit
Cal '16
Bellarmine College Preparatory '12
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