Moderating etiquette

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Moderating etiquette

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

After hearing different things reported at the HSNCT, I feel it would be a good idea to start a thread reminding people what you should not do when moderating.

Do not make uninformed judgement calls on not right answers. Do not prompt on answers that don't deserve a prompt. I shouldn't have to say this, but there are an astounding number of people who have no qualms completely ignoring the answer line's instructions. Obviously if there is something unfair about the question and you are intimately aware of exactly why it is a player deserves a prompt or points, then yes, override the flaws in the packet, but unless that is the case, it is not good to give teams points they don't deserve. I feel too many non-expert moderators take the law into their own hands, making this result. Remember, if the page is wrong, players should be encouraged to protest. Heck, if you suspect the page screwed over a player, I would encourage telling them to protest. However, unless you have certain knowledge the page is wrong, it's not worth it to give a team extra points in games (and especially not games at a national championship). If you don't give them points they deserve, and they win their protests at the end, then at least the game ends fairly.

Do not make conversation on the clock. If there is something you really want to tell teams, feel free to take the miniscule amount of effort to push that little button to stop the timer in between questions. I certainly did this a few times throughout the weekend, because I feel that some players might enjoy a little commentary on things that went wrong in the packet construction or whatnot, but this is only acceptable if it is off the clock. In fact, if there is any point in the game where you could be losing a few extra seconds, push the timer. I did this if I had to cough, or get a drink, or deliberate over an answer's acceptability, and it will ensure that you don't lose the chance to read an extra question just because of how much time you added into the match.

While this complaint will be negated by moderators listening to my above point, when you are already making all kinds of unnecessary chit-chat, don't ignore it when players tell you they don't like it. I didn't see this personally, but I heard back from the team I work with that in an incredibly close game (less than a 1 tossup margin in the final score), they lost after the moderator only got through 17 tossups. Not only was the moderator slow, but he made all kinds of extraneous comments, and one of our players spoke up and asked him to please stop because it was having a big impact on the game. Apparently, the moderator then continued to make comments, which then dragged things out even more. I am most unhappy that moderators can be so cavalier about the clock, even when players try to bring problems to their attention, and I am especially angry that NAQT allowed this moderator to staff. His poor job is unacceptable, and I don't like the idea that the only way players can ensure they get acceptably run games is to take my tack and start yelling at the staff in such a way that will make the game unpleasant. I don't want to encourage students to be rude, but the only message you send out when you ignore that kind of request is that they need to become really aggressive in order to make sure you do your job, which is not good. If a player tells you to shut up, do it, no questions.

If anyone else with experience has good ideas to posts about, please jump in.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Cheynem »

This is a very good thread. I would hasten to add that barring quick little comments if time permits (and even then rarely), comments are not appreciated very often even in untimed matches. I would add the following:

*Moderators should look over the packet and answer lines a little bit before reading it. This will be particularly helpful on tossups, where if there are alternate answer lines, you are aware of this so that time is not lost looking for the either "Accept" or "Do not accept" markers. This also might help so that a question doesn't temporarily grind to a halt while you get stuck on a long or unfamiliar word.

*One thing to be careful on is during bonus parts. You want to be careful that you as the moderator do not do anything to acknowledge that the right or wrong answer is being deliberated upon--I would suggest just not commenting or saying anything until an answer appears to be directed at you. Sometimes it's hard to tell if an answer is being directed when teams are shouting out answers to their captain, so I tend to err on the side of caution (i.e., keep reading the bonus part even if answers are being shouted until I'm pretty clear that one answer is being given me by a designated answerer). You especially want to avoid stuff like "This president signed the Homestead Act. [person shouts "Lincoln!"]" You stop and say, "Is that your answer?" You have to be very careful in these circumstances.

*Never, ever say or give away anything that indicates what the question coming up is about. This seems obvious, but it can include any number of seemingly innocuous statements. Even "I like this question" is a bad thing to say, as if the teams playing know something about you, you give them an advantage. Just don't talk about the question at all, especially not before it is read.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

On tossups:

Read clearly, cohesively, and with a steady pace. I would say that it's preferable to emphasize important key words words, especially to younger/inexperienced teams (i.e. "THIS man, who signed the Homestead Act"), but you don't have to do this much unless you feel the question is unclear about what it is asking for.

If there is a word you can't pronounce, my usual thing i do is just blow through it anyway and say whatever i think it is with almost no hesitation (i.e. i hate/don't understand Greek names, so i just say whatever it looks like even though it's almost always wrong), unless you have a feeling that it's incredibly important and your butchering of the word may prevent someone from answering the question right. Basically, pace is more important than perfect pronunciation.

Make it very obvious that you are counting after the tossup. Do not prompt for an answer, but make it clear that you are counting down and that someone better buzz in soon. Even when i've read to teams that have been told that they have five seconds after the question, they've told me that some moderators give them no indication about this five second rule and when they can buzz. Again, i'm talking about younger and inexperienced teams for the most part, who i think it's even more important to be a better moderator for. Many times for struggling teams i do purposefully say "kay, any guesses?" with about two seconds to go. If you know teams aren't buzzing in, i see nothing wrong with encouraging them by reminding them that there is no penalty for doing that. Maybe that's just the coach in me coming out, but good moderators can also find teachable moments in games if they look for them. The players will not forget how you helped them.

On bonuses:

You better give five seconds. In at least four games we had this weekend at HSNCT, moderators absolutely did not five full seconds consistently. And in at least two games, moderators did not prompt for any answer on bonuses at all. This is inexcusable. You are breaking the rules if you do either of these two stupid things. Make it, again, very obvious that you are counting to five seconds. ALWAYS ask "answer?" or "captain?" when you get to your fourth second. And when you count five in your head (i actually tap on the desk to make it about as obvious as i can) call "time" and don't except anything after that. If it not hard to follow these rules, and if you are a moderator that didn't do this right, you may owe some teams apologies for not following the written rules.

Try to look up at the team as they are about to answer. This way, there's no confusion over who is answering, deferring, or just still conferring over the clues. Like Mike said, you don't want to give any indication of a right answer before that answer is officially given.

In general:

Eliminate chatter and discussion. Unless you know you are blazing fast (and you aren't reading on a clock), cut out any conversation. Even the best moderators (including myself) can be guilty of this, but i try to make up for it by reading very quickly and moving from tossup to bonus as fast as i can. If teams start to talk, you might want to say something quick, but i usually just start reading the next clue or question. If they give you the "hey i didn't hear that," then either they will be bright enough to understand that it was their fault that they didn't hear that clue or you can just say "then please stop talking so you can hear better." They will get the message. This isn't a problem for experienced teams, but teams of freshmen in high school just seem to take forever to understand this very basic thing. It is how i conduct my practices at school and they learned that there is time for discussion when i make it clear that it is.

Announce the score for each tossup clearly and loudly. It is annoying for a team to have to say "was that a 10 or 15?" when the moderator should have said "correct for 10 points" or even just "10" after the answer. That's a job you're supposed to do.

Announce the score for each bonus clearly and loudly. Same thing applies... it's really annoying for a team to have to ask (well, they should know anyway) what their score was. Moderators should very obviously say "20 points on the bonus" immediately after the series, then quickly move to the next tossup.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by marnold »

Moderators, the game isn't about you. At all. Act accordingly.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by cvdwightw »

I'm surprised no one's mentioned what I'm now terming my two cardinal rules of moderating:

1. Know the rules before you show up.

2. Treat both teams with the respect you'd expect from the moderator if you were playing the game.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Susan »

marnold wrote:Moderators, the game isn't about you. At all. Act accordingly.
A fine piece of advice!

Also, players--if you have a bad moderator, you absolutely should ask them if they can fix what they're doing wrong (commentary on the clock, timing, etc.), and if they blow you off, let the control room know what the issue is immediately. I definitely saw NAQT responding to complaints about moderators this past weekend (as would any reasonable tournament organizer). I hate to see people mentioning on Monday about how they had a bad moderator over the weekend, since a) that moderator probably screwed up a bunch of other rounds, too and b) since, post-tournament, it's hard to figure out the name of your bad moderator if you didn't get it at the time (and don't recall what room you were in or what number you held during that round), that moderator might be back next year. Please speak up if there is a problem!
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by centralhs »

If there is a word you can't pronounce, my usual thing i do is just blow through it anyway and say whatever i think it is with almost no hesitation (i.e. i hate/don't understand Greek names, so i just say whatever it looks like even though it's almost always wrong), unless you have a feeling that it's incredibly important and your butchering of the word may prevent someone from answering the question right. Basically, pace is more important than perfect pronunciation
.

Along these lines, don't stop and spell words. Just keep going and, if you absolutely feel the need to (and no one has yet rung in), spell stuff at the end of the question. We have had readers stop 3-4 times during a question to spell words, making it almost impossible to maintain concentration on what the question is actually asking.

And please don't ask the person ringing in to spell their answer either. I have seen moderators refuse to award points because a player misspelled an answer, even though what they initially said was correct (but perhaps not the pronunciation that the moderator was expecting.) Do your best to make a judgment based on what the player is saying, since this isn't supposed to be a spelling bee.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

myamphigory wrote:
marnold wrote:Moderators, the game isn't about you. At all. Act accordingly.
A fine piece of advice!

Also, players--if you have a bad moderator, you absolutely should ask them if they can fix what they're doing wrong (commentary on the clock, timing, etc.), and if they blow you off, let the control room know what the issue is immediately. I definitely saw NAQT responding to complaints about moderators this past weekend (as would any reasonable tournament organizer). I hate to see people mentioning on Monday about how they had a bad moderator over the weekend, since a) that moderator probably screwed up a bunch of other rounds, too and b) since, post-tournament, it's hard to figure out the name of your bad moderator if you didn't get it at the time (and don't recall what room you were in or what number you held during that round), that moderator might be back next year. Please speak up if there is a problem!
Moreover--If you're shy about getting the name of a moderator, don't be! The bad ones are probably just as friendly as the good ones, and you can always fake your way through it by feigning interest in what they're studying or whatever.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Captain Sinico »

Carangoides ciliarius wrote:Many times for struggling teams i do purposefully say "kay, any guesses?" with about two seconds to go. If you know teams aren't buzzing in, i see nothing wrong with encouraging them by reminding them that there is no penalty for doing that.
While I largely agree with what you've said, I think this is wrong. You should never prompt for an answer in any way on tossups.
centralhs wrote:And please don't ask the person ringing in to spell their answer either. I have seen moderators refuse to award points because a player misspelled an answer, even though what they initially said was correct (but perhaps not the pronunciation that the moderator was expecting.)
I don't agree with this at all. If a moderator is unsure what a person is saying but thinks it might be a plausible mispronunciation of both the right answer and a plausible* wrong answer, it's good, standard procedure to ask them to repeat the answer, then to spell the answer or part of it. The classic example of this is Manet vs. Monet, but there are many more, like J.E. Millais vs. J.F. Millet (which probably shouldn't really be pronounced the same way, but most won't know it.)
Moreover, most sensible sets of rules state that that's the proper procedure, c.f. NAQT "Correctness Guidelines," C.29 and PACE rule H.11.
Let me give you a couple of examples for how this rule worked for me while I was reading at HSNCT. In one round, a team gave an answer with a "w" as the second-to-last letter (I forget what answer, but it's not important; let's just say it was "Sir William Howe") that I know to be pronounced in the usual way. The player pronounced it as a "v," "Sir William Hove," which I confirmed by stopping the clock and having him repeat the answer, but since I know some people pronounce "w" as "v," I asked him what the third-to-last letter in his answer was, and awarded him the tossup when he said it was a "w." My alternatives were: to neg him for pronouncing the answer wrong (which is poor, as he obviously knows the answer, even how to spell it, and just pronounces "w" as "v" at least for that particular word; in fact, though I was sure of the pronunciation, it's possible that I was wrong and he pronounced the answer in the right way) or to accept his answer outright (unacceptable because, in my judgment and according to the tournament's rules, transposing a "v" for the answer's "w" makes the answer wrong.)
In a later round, a team gave a bonus answer that began with the name of the letter "a" (again I'm not sure what it was, but it doesn't matter; let's just say the answer was the A-star algorithm.) The given answer was "'[vowel sound that might be A, E, or I]'-star." After asking the player to repeat the answer and hearing it substantially the same, I again asked him which letter was the first one in his answer, to which he responded with "[vowel sound that might be A, E, or I]." I then asked him what number letter that it was in the alphabet and when he said 9th, didn't accept his answer.
In both those cases, I think I made the right decision both according to the rules and according to any reasonable standards of fairness for communication of what people know. Moreover, both teams seemed satisfied.

M

*I mean both something that could be the answer to a similar question, e.g. Manet for Monet, and something that's a genuinely erroneous rendering of the right answer, e.g. I-star algorithm for A-star algorithm.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by centralhs »

The problem with asking players to spell out answers is simply that some people spell well, some people don't. (I know some highly intelligent people with brains filled with facts that are very poor spellers.)If the point is to judge how much knowledge a person has, it seems unfair to penalize that person because he can't spell a particular word, and I have seen this happen. Again, a quiz bowl competition is not supposed to be a spelling bee.

Mike's examples both involve asking a player to identify a specific letter sound that was given, not to spell an entire word. I have never seen a moderator do what he describes, but it seems like it could be a good idea.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Captain Sinico »

Well, yeah, if a moderator requires the whole word to be spelled right, they're beyond what they're supposed to be doing in almost all cases, and the rules say that, too. As someone who's always been terrible at spelling, I join you in saying that requiring exact spelling of answers is not at all what ought to be happening there. Rather, the point of asking for spelling is to confirm or deny something the moderator about the pronunciation of an answer. To that end, I can't really think of any cases in which a moderator should be asking for full spelling: usually just the chunk the moderator's uncertain about should be sufficient.

M
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Yeah, my understanding of the rules has always been that a moderator is supposed to ignore misspellings unless they specifically negate the possibility that the player initially said the right answer.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by jdeliverer »

Somewhere in the IHSA guidelines for moderators, it says something like, "If you are unsure whether a student's answer is correct due to pronunciation, you may ask students to spell the answer. Students need not spell the answer correctly, only enough to differentiate from other incorrect responses. Therefore a spelling of M-A-N-A-Y for Manet should be ruled correct, as it correctly differentiates from Monet."

I think that should be followed here.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Dan-Don »

Citing IHSA rules is a sure way to settle an discussion on HSQB! That's not a bad rule, I'm just embarrassed that the example is to protect players who don't know how to spell Manet and moderators who can't tell the difference. Stop embarrassing our state, dude, with such posts.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Kwang the Ninja »

PACE NSC rules wrote:If a moderator asks for spelling to distinguish between multiple answers, only critical letters need be correct, e.g. “M-O-N-A-Y” for Claude Monet. If a player spells an answer without being asked, however, the answer must be exactly correct and any error will result in the answer being ruled incorrect.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Dan-Don »

Kwang the Ninja wrote:
PACE NSC rules wrote:If a moderator asks for spelling to distinguish between multiple answers, only critical letters need be correct, e.g. “M-O-N-A-Y” for Claude Monet. If a player spells an answer without being asked, however, the answer must be exactly correct and any error will result in the answer being ruled incorrect.
ITT IHSA=PACE. oh noes!

EDIT: Oh also, as long as we're giving suggestion for moderator etiquette, I think we've overlooked a big one. Doesn't everyone think it's polite to uh, you know, actually know the rules of the format for which you're moderating? I had to correct two moderators, one for stopping the reading of a tossup as the clock went off and another for thinking it was three seconds after buzzing in. I'm totally in favor of a demonstration on Friday night.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by jdeliverer »

Dan-Don wrote:Citing IHSA rules is a sure way to settle an discussion on HSQB! That's not a bad rule, I'm just embarrassed that the example is to protect players who don't know how to spell Manet and moderators who can't tell the difference. Stop embarrassing our state, dude, with such posts.
Heh. I in no way supported the IHSA or any of its other rules; this rule, however, does seem like a good one. Good to know PACE stands behind it too, though.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Dan-Don »

jdeliverer wrote:
Dan-Don wrote:Citing IHSA rules is a sure way to settle an discussion on HSQB! That's not a bad rule, I'm just embarrassed that the example is to protect players who don't know how to spell Manet and moderators who can't tell the difference. Stop embarrassing our state, dude, with such posts.
Heh. I in no way supported the IHSA or any of its other rules; this rule, however, does seem like a good one. Good to know PACE stands behind it too, though.
Yes it is good to know for when I'm actually playing in that event.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by nobthehobbit »

Dan-Don wrote:
jdeliverer wrote:
Dan-Don wrote:Citing IHSA rules is a sure way to settle an discussion on HSQB! That's not a bad rule, I'm just embarrassed that the example is to protect players who don't know how to spell Manet and moderators who can't tell the difference. Stop embarrassing our state, dude, with such posts.
Heh. I in no way supported the IHSA or any of its other rules; this rule, however, does seem like a good one. Good to know PACE stands behind it too, though.
Yes it is good to know for when I'm actually playing in that event.
It's also in NAQT's Correctness Guidelines (C.29), ACF's rules (G.11), and HSAPQ's ACF-format rules (G.12), under which I think the NASAT will be played. (All of them use Monet/Manet.)

ITT IHSA = PACE = NAQT = HSAPQ = ACF!!!!
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by jdeliverer »

:chip: Rules: If a player says something that is close to the correct answer but pronounced incorrectly in any way, ask them to spell it. If they do not spell it correctly to the letter (complete with appropriate spaces and punctuation), mark them wrong! The student is practically begging to have their answer marked wrong - why wouldn't you take that opportunity?
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by etchdulac »

Cheynem wrote:*Moderators should look over the packet and answer lines a little bit before reading it. This will be particularly helpful on tossups, where if there are alternate answer lines, you are aware of this so that time is not lost looking for the either "Accept" or "Do not accept" markers. This also might help so that a question doesn't temporarily grind to a halt while you get stuck on a long or unfamiliar word.
Yeah, I started out doing that. That lasted one packet. In the non-ideal world where the tournament schedule is reliant on you moving quickly between games, doing this is an easy way to wind up behind the majority of other rooms. Add in a late team or two, and you wind up with people showing up at your door for round 13 as two teams are beginning round 12.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Skepticism and Animal Feed »

Here's an idea: if you know that you're no good at moderating, don't. There are other ways to be helpful. Write questions etc.

I doubt I'll ever read at ICT again after finding out that I was only getting through 19-21 tossups per game despite reading at what I felt was my fastest coherent reading speed.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Cheynem »

I looked over the packet each time and did not fall behind to a considerable degree--by looking over the packet, I don't mind pore over every word, I mean just skim answer lines--are there particularly complicated ones? Odd ones that might have multiple answer lines? You probably don't need to do this with bonuses because you'll have time to look at the answers while the teams deliberate.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by DumbJaques »

J.E. Millais vs. J.F. Millet (which probably shouldn't really be pronounced the same way, but most won't know it.)
The way I hear people in art pronounce these things are close enough to indistinguishable that I can't imagine requiring quizbowl differentiation.

One thing I'd like to note: If you don't care for something your moderator is doing (or isn't doing), say so! I come across a lot of teams who are just reluctant to speak up because they feel like they're "challenging" the moderator (who is often a teacher/someone older). There is absolutely no reason that you should feel hesitant to respectfully raise an issue with anyone because you're in high school. It irritates me when a team's own coaches enforce this attitude - this seems contrary to what your job should be as an educator (preparing your students to be educated, productive members of society rather than teaching them to ignore a wrong just because someone has placed them below someone else on some arbitrary totem pole). It especially bothers me when I'm moderating, because I really want to know if you want me to be doing something differently.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Captain Sinico »

From what I understand, Millet's name should properly be pronounced something like "me-YAY" (it's French.) I think most people don't do that. In fact, I'm not certain that's even right and, even it it is, it could be argued that "mil-AY" (indistinguishable from Millais) is possibly also a rigorously correct pronunciation, since it's possible that's a conventional way to say that in English. I honestly don't know for sure.
All that to one side, it's definitely true that someone saying "mil-AY" is giving a valid (quizbowl-sense) rendering of both Millet and Millais. It is precisely because these answers are therefore difficult/impossible to distinguish that it is necessary for a moderator to ask for further clarification in general.

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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Megalomaniacal Panda on Absinthe »

The French people I've known pronounce "Millet" something like "Me-lay." My French isn't quite good enough to be authoritative, but my understanding is that the double L in French is not always pronounced as a "Y", even after the vowel "I"; examples might be milliard or billion.

Anyway, "Me-lay" is not quite indistinguishable from Millais, but it's close enough that I don't think quizbowl needs to differentiate.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Yeah, French doesn't pronounce a double l as y most of the time.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Unicolored Jay »

jdeliverer wrote::chip: Rules: If a player says something that is close to the correct answer but pronounced incorrectly in any way, ask them to spell it. If they do not spell it correctly to the letter (complete with appropriate spaces and punctuation), mark them wrong! The student is practically begging to have their answer marked wrong - why wouldn't you take that opportunity?
This has happened several times in the past with us...never from a good moderator, of course.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Captain Sinico »

I don't think people are getting what's going on here. Shantanu and Chris have both said, essentially, "Millais and Millet might reasonably be pronounced very similarly or even exactly the same. Therefore we don't need to try to differentiate the two." However, it is precisely because the former sentence is true, as everyone seemingly agrees, that the latter is so very false. It is precisely (and only) when two plausible answers sound alike that we do need to do something extra to differentiate them, in general. That guideline holds in this case, too.

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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by DumbJaques »

I realize my statement was poorly phrased, but I actually wasn't drawing the conclusion Mike suggests - what I meant was that requiring someone to pronounce it "mee-yay" (even if that's right, it's not the common usage in my experience) is quizbowlically invalid. Certainly that creates no logical imperative for not requiring any differentiation at all.

I guess it's logically unavoidable to admit that we apply a different standard to Millais/Millet than we do to Monet/Manet. I don't know that I'm necessarily buying the conclusion that we HAVE to use the same standard, though. For numerous answers, you draw the line somewhere with regards to differentiation. If a question asked for Rutherford Hayes, we don't prompt them in case they mean Isaac Hayes. And I should know - I secretly think of Chef when answering questions on Rutherford, and they never catch me!

That might not be a precise analogy, because the names are the same and differentiation would involve requiring first name knowledge, whereas you could differentiate Millais/Millet by asking for the last letter of the name. But imagine that Isaac spelled it Hays; I don't think we'd be doing things differently. Millais/Millet is also, granted, a lot closer to Monet/Manet than it is to Hayes/Hayes in conflation potential. But it's not nearly identical - I personally doubt that it's really likely anyone has answered a Millais question while thinking of the French agrarian enthusiast, or answered a Millet question thinking it was about the Pre-Raphealite. It's likely people have answered such a question thinking the question was on a single person, but that's not really something we seek out to punish. Honestly, we draw the Monet/Manet line because people often guess one of those people if they have no idea, particularly when the question asks for a French painter. I just don't think it's practically necessary to extend the differentiation line to Millet/Millais and risk punishing someone for forgetting who spells it what way or, worse, knowing facts but not spelling about the painter in the answer line and simply not knowing there's another one. That's just not a practical possibility for Manet/Monet the way it is in this case.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Captain Sinico »

Sure, it's obvious that we have to consider whether the other answers (other than the right one) to which a verbal answer that we're unsure about corresponds could be conflated for the right answer by a reasonable, knowledgable-but-not-perfectly-so player. However, I personally have conflated Millet and Millais (and gotten away with it, though, interestingly, the time someone tried to call me on it, I hadn't conflated them and in fact gave the answer "J.F. Millet...") and it's consequently very reasonable that other people have and will conflate those two answers. Consequently, anypronunciation of the one that is a reasonable rendering of the other really must be disambiguated, or we're categorically imposing a double standard. The case of Isaac Hayes v. Rutherford Hayes is not analogous except for questiosn in which a reasonable person might conflate them (tossup on R. Hayes from filmography or something, maybe?)
Even if you disagree with all that, I don't think anyone disagrees with the principle enumerated above, i.e. that, in the case that there exist two or more answers that could reasonably be confused by a player who is offering a pronunciation that we would accept for either, we ought to disambiguate by other means. Our disagreement lies in whether anyone could reasonably conflate Millet and Millais.

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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Auroni »

On a related note, I remember that in high school we were always prompted for giving answers like "shelley" or "miller," each of which could refer to two or more sometimes contemporaneous authors. Is there a reason that we do not do this anymore?
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Haaaaaaaarry Whiiiiiiiiiite »

Ice Warrior wrote:On a related note, I remember that in high school we were always prompted for giving answers like "shelley" or "miller," each of which could refer to two or more sometimes contemporaneous authors. Is there a reason that we do not do this anymore?
At the NSC, Shelley was prompted for Percy Shelley.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by cvdwightw »

Ice Warrior wrote:On a related note, I remember that in high school we were always prompted for giving answers like "shelley" or "miller," each of which could refer to two or more sometimes contemporaneous authors. Is there a reason that we do not do this anymore?
This still happens in any well-written answer line (I pulled up the first round of the first packet set HSAPQ ever produced; sure enough, bonus 3 has two parts that require you to identify which Bronte is which).

And don't even get me started on Tom vs. Thomas Wolfe. That's even worse than the John (Quincy) Adams problem.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Captain Sinico »

Ice Warrior wrote:On a related note, I remember that in high school we were always prompted for giving answers like "shelley" or "miller," each of which could refer to two or more sometimes contemporaneous authors. Is there a reason that we do not do this anymore?
I'll make explicit what Dwight just said implicitly: it doesn't happen because people are lazy and don't research their answer lines enough, or because the rules aren't implemented.

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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by grapesmoker »

I always solved the Millet/Millais conundrum by (incorrectly) pronouncing the "s" at the end of the latter's name. Also, I would take anything that distinguished the two, so if someone buzzed and said "Millet the French painter," or "Millais the pre-Raphaelite," I would think that would be acceptable.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Captain Sinico »

I'd say that's mostly fair, Jerry. Certainly if someone gives an answer with an audible "s" at the end, that's going to be accepted without further issue for Millais as a plausible pronunciation of the written word (and not accepted for Millet for the converse reason.)
I'd say in general that it's fine to give other uniquely identifying information, but that's a slipperier issue since it requires a fairly precise assumption about a player's knowledge (for example, that they know Millais the Pre-Raphaelite is in fact someone distinct from Millet the Barbizon, which is what we're trying to deduce to begin with.) So I'm honestly not sure what level of disambiguation is necessary there.

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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by grapesmoker »

Captain Sinico wrote:I'd say in general that it's fine to give other uniquely identifying information, but that's a slipperier issue since it requires a fairly precise assumption about a player's knowledge (for example, that they know Millais the Pre-Raphaelite is in fact someone distinct from Millet the Barbizon, which is what we're trying to deduce to begin with.) So I'm honestly not sure what level of disambiguation is necessary there.
I would be comfortable making that assumption at the college level, or even at the level of good teams playing PACE or HSNCT. The thing is, an assumption of this sort is kind of implicit in asking someone to spell the answer. Or rather, just knowing that a guy named Millais (spelled properly) painted "Ophelia," doesn't actually mean you don't think he's the same guy who painted "The Gleaners."

I think we get ourselves into inconvenient territory when we try to read the players' minds. If you buzz for the wrong reasons and you give the right answer (i.e. an answer that distinguishes between otherwise ambiguous answers) you get points. That's just the way the game is played; if we start worrying about whether their knowledge is truly justified, we're going to run into trouble. In general, I tend to prefer to err on the side of the players rather than trying to find a reason to rule someone wrong.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Captain Sinico »

I agree with you that we shouldn't try to assume anything that isn't necessary and that that's where we get into trouble. That said, we can't avoid the fact that we're assuming that the player does know something by assuming that we should accept an answer that could be, for example, Millet or Millais; doing so is no better a priori than assuming that they don't know that same thing. I think this comes down to a judgment call pure and simple. It's hard to see what guideline could be published to explain the situation in a fair, uniform manner.

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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by theMoMA »

It seems to me that the reason that Monet/Manet is so emphasized is because of the similarity in careers and styles of the painters involved. One could strategically get a two-for-one chance on a French Impressionist tossup if saying an indistinguishable "Muh-nay" were acceptable. That seems a little different than requiring someone to say "F. O'Hara" or "J. O'Hara" to distinguish between two writers, since there no reasonable strategic advantage to buzzing on a given lit tossup and saying "O'Hara." Similarly, I don't think that there is a strategic advantage to allowing "Millais" and "Millet" to stand alone. You would never buzz on a painting tossup to say "Mill-ay" simply because you're getting two-for-one out of the hundreds of potential painters who could be tossup answers, because there is simply no point at which you'd say "Oh, this tossup has whittled itself down to a small group that contains both Millais and Millet;" no such group exists.

I'm with Jerry. If you know that there is a dude whose name is pronounced "Mill-ay" who painted Ophelia, even if you think that's the same dude who painted The Angelus, you should probably get the points. In my view, prompting for first names should be a mechanism to eliminate unfair strategic advantages, like being able to say "Muh-nay" or "Adams" and get points without disambiguating between two very similar people.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Connie Prater »

Carangoides ciliarius wrote: And in at least two games, moderators did not prompt for any answer on bonuses at all.
Seconded. In one game at HSNCT, we were strategically trying to run the clock on our bonuses, and because we were not prompted for our answers, even though we did have them, we just forfeited those points. This happened several times in one round. Mistakes like this could potentially be disastrous (especially when a team is running the clock because their opponents are only a short bit behind them near the end of the second half).
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Important Bird Area »

La Maga wrote:In one game at HSNCT, we were strategically trying to run the clock on our bonuses, and because we were not prompted for our answers, even though we did have them, we just forfeited those points. This happened several times in one round. Mistakes like this could potentially be disastrous (especially when a team is running the clock because their opponents are only a short bit behind them near the end of the second half).
[url=http://www.naqt.com/rules.html]NAQT rules[/url] H.2 wrote:After reading each part, the moderator will prompt the team for an answer after 4 seconds.
Maybe we can put this in giant bold font or something next year? Anyway: I apologize for the moderator error and am glad that it didn't change the outcome of your game.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Susan »

bt_green_warbler wrote:
La Maga wrote:In one game at HSNCT, we were strategically trying to run the clock on our bonuses, and because we were not prompted for our answers, even though we did have them, we just forfeited those points. This happened several times in one round. Mistakes like this could potentially be disastrous (especially when a team is running the clock because their opponents are only a short bit behind them near the end of the second half).
[url=http://www.naqt.com/rules.html]NAQT rules[/url] H.2 wrote:After reading each part, the moderator will prompt the team for an answer after 4 seconds.
Maybe we can put this in giant bold font or something next year? Anyway: I apologize for the moderator error and am glad that it didn't change the outcome of your game.
I feel like this was one of the things that you couldn't possibly have been conscious and in the moderator meeting without hearing (leaving aside the fact that I would hope people would read over all the rules BEFORE the moderator meeting).

I wonder if it would be feasible to get some small number of coaches (10 or so) to record their teams' matches throughout the whole tournament, then pass the recordings plus a list of moderator names on to NAQT. It seems like with a small number of volunteers you wouldn't have the compliance issues that you would have with trying to make everyone do surveys, and while you wouldn't get complete coverage of the moderator pool you'd know exactly what happened (well, the audio, at least) in the recorded games.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Down and out in Quintana Roo »

It happened once with a moderator that i didn't know (who also negged Trey for saying "uh" for half a second before his tossup answer because "that was stalling"), and once with a moderator that i definitely know and was shocked that he was screwing up something so important.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Important Bird Area »

myamphigory wrote:I feel like this was one of the things that you couldn't possibly have been conscious and in the moderator meeting without hearing (leaving aside the fact that I would hope people would read over all the rules BEFORE the moderator meeting).
Seriously. This isn't something like the timing rules that's at all peculiar to NAQT play.
[url=http://www.acf-quizbowl.com/documents/acfrules_final.pdf]ACF rules[/url] F.1 wrote:If no team member directs an answer towards the moderator within five seconds, or there are multiple conflicting answers being given, then the moderator will prompt the team captain for an official answer
PACE NSC staff packet G.3 wrote:When one second of conferral time remains, the moderator will prompt the controlling team for an answer
I'm honestly mystified as to where "don't prompt for an answer" could possibly come from.
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Re: Moderating etiquette

Post by Mike Bentley »

myamphigory wrote:
bt_green_warbler wrote:
La Maga wrote:In one game at HSNCT, we were strategically trying to run the clock on our bonuses, and because we were not prompted for our answers, even though we did have them, we just forfeited those points. This happened several times in one round. Mistakes like this could potentially be disastrous (especially when a team is running the clock because their opponents are only a short bit behind them near the end of the second half).
[url=http://www.naqt.com/rules.html]NAQT rules[/url] H.2 wrote:After reading each part, the moderator will prompt the team for an answer after 4 seconds.
Maybe we can put this in giant bold font or something next year? Anyway: I apologize for the moderator error and am glad that it didn't change the outcome of your game.
I feel like this was one of the things that you couldn't possibly have been conscious and in the moderator meeting without hearing (leaving aside the fact that I would hope people would read over all the rules BEFORE the moderator meeting).

I wonder if it would be feasible to get some small number of coaches (10 or so) to record their teams' matches throughout the whole tournament, then pass the recordings plus a list of moderator names on to NAQT. It seems like with a small number of volunteers you wouldn't have the compliance issues that you would have with trying to make everyone do surveys, and while you wouldn't get complete coverage of the moderator pool you'd know exactly what happened (well, the audio, at least) in the recorded games.
The problem with this is that it requires people to know how to use the recorders and how to set them up properly. From my experience trying to get other moderators to record matches I wasn't able to record, this has had only limited success. Recording devices are also mildly expensive (I imagine even cheap ones will be like $30+ per unit). But I guess if you could find cheap recorders that were simple to use this could work.
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