Player tossup etiquette

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Player tossup etiquette

Post by jconnell »

Two questions about etiquette during tossups.
1. Is it OK for players to write during the reading of a tossup (i.e. record clues and possible answer lines in notebooks)?
2. Is it OK for players to fake a buzz to bait other team into buzzing early?


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Last edited by jconnell on Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by Stained Diviner »

1. Absolutely yes
2. I would advise against it, but it's generally within the rules as long as it is done silently.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by MorganV »

Re: "buzzer faking", this rarely if ever works and can be considered pretty rude (both because it's angle-shooting and that you're insinuating the other team is naive or impetuous enough to fall for it). There's very little reason to try, unless you have a good existing relationship with your opponents and are just playing around.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by Wartortullian »

Fun fact: under PACE and ACF rules, buzzer faking and other "psychological ploys" are considered minor misconduct, and multiple instances can get you ejected from a game.

Also, the miniscule advantage that a team would gain from buzzer-faking could also be gained from spending a few hours studying.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by Joshua Rutsky »

If you are tempted to use "buzzer fakes", loud whispering of incorrect answers with your teammates, deliberate overacting or showiness, or any other type of psychological or so-called "gamesmanship" practices, DON'T. I have actually had people tell me that they were coached to answer quietly and to mumble or slur answers so that if they were close, the moderator was more likely to prompt for a repeat, allowing them to change the answer to the correct version on the second try. This is wrong, and if you have to be told this is wrong, you aren't a good quizbowl player and you aren't playing the game for the right reasons.

I think that player etiquette is very simple. Play in an honorable fashion, leaving no doubt that if you win, you win on your own merits, and not from any "gimmick" or distraction. If you look at any action you might take while sitting at a buzzer and ask, "Is this something that in some way gives me an unfair advantage or unfairly hinders my opponent?", you will know if the behavior in question is good etiquette. Writing during a toss-up, for example, should not distract an opponent, nor does it give you an unfair advantage; therefore, it is acceptable behavior. Buzzer feints, however, are attempts to trick your opponent into making a mistake, and while some might argue that it is the quizbowl equivalent of a head fake or trying to draw someone offsides, I don't think the analogy holds. You aren't engaged in trying to physically outmaneuver the other player in quizbowl, nor do you want to win because you caused the other team to be penalized. You want to win a quizbowl match because your team worked harder and was better prepared, and because you EARNED the win. A win that is stolen is not a win. If you care about playing quizbowl, do it the right way--by playing better quizbowl.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by literatureboye »

On a similar topic, is bonus stalling allowed?
As in, waiting to answer the bonus until asked by the moderator to prevent a comeback from the other team.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by setophaga »

literatureboye wrote: Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:21 pm On a similar topic, is bonus stalling allowed?
As in, waiting to answer the bonus until asked by the moderator to prevent a comeback from the other team.
Yes, it is the best strategy in a situation when you're playing timed rounds.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by Auks Ran Ova »

setophaga wrote: Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:24 pm
literatureboye wrote: Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:21 pm On a similar topic, is bonus stalling allowed?
As in, waiting to answer the bonus until asked by the moderator to prevent a comeback from the other team.
Yes, it is the best strategy in a situation when you're playing timed rounds.
Waiting until you're prompted by the moderator and then deferring on a bonus in order to burn slightly more than the maximum amount of time, however, is also scummy angle-shooting and should be even more discouraged than it already is.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by dtaylor4 »

Auks Ran Ova wrote: Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:39 pmWaiting until you're prompted by the moderator and then deferring on a bonus in order to burn slightly more than the maximum amount of time, however, is also scummy angle-shooting and should be even more discouraged than it already is.
IMO, deferring after being prompted by the moderator should be codified as being equivalent to giving an incorrect answer.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by CPiGuy »

dtaylor4 wrote: Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:46 am
Auks Ran Ova wrote: Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:39 pmWaiting until you're prompted by the moderator and then deferring on a bonus in order to burn slightly more than the maximum amount of time, however, is also scummy angle-shooting and should be even more discouraged than it already is.
IMO, deferring after being prompted by the moderator should be codified as being equivalent to giving an incorrect answer.
NAQT rules say that the captain can defer immediately upon being prompted for an answer. ACF rules are very explicit about there being no designated captains and that saying "defer" or "designate" can never get you more time on a bonus. Personally I prefer ACF's rules, but I'm sympathetic to NAQT's rules for high schools, as many local HS formats require captains and deferring and so teams may be more used to that. Regardless, Rob is definitely correct that you should not do this on purpose to burn time.

[this is an edit from my original post, which said that NAQT rules also didn't recognize captains. mea culpa.]
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by iarehavethestupid »

literatureboye wrote: Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:21 pm On a similar topic, is bonus stalling allowed?
As in, waiting to answer the bonus until asked by the moderator to prevent a comeback from the other team.
I would only recommend for close matches, when there's less than a 200 point margin. I personally find it rude/insulting if your trying to stall against a comeback when you up 300 points and their are 3 toss-ups left.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by Victor Prieto »

iarehavethestupid wrote: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:19 pm I would only recommend for close matches, when there's less than a 200 point margin. I personally find it rude/insulting if your trying to stall against a comeback when you up 300 points and their are 3 toss-ups left.
This is absolutely true. This isn't pro football, this is quizbowl, where players genuinely want to hear as many questions as they can. If it is virtually impossible to lose with the amount of time remaining, it isn't polite to the other team to run out the clock as much as possible.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by literatureboye »

Well, if it was possible for them to have a comeback at a very close match and I wasn't stalling by deferring, would this be considered bad etiquette?
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by Joshua Rutsky »

No. In this case, you are using the clock as part of your game, but your taking the full allotted time to answer and "running clock" in doing so is something you are doing that is neither a fraud on your part nor an attempt to unfairly or misleadingly affect the other team. It is a strategy that both teams are aware of, and that both teams know may be employed at the end of a timed match, so coaches and players need to plan accordingly. While I personally HATE timed matches and the idea that a team can close you out of a chance to win based on time alone, it is also an established part of the game at the highest levels, and is essential to any huge event remaining on time.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by cthewolf »

Just curious, how would you buzzer fake?

I have definitely met players (in Certamen, not quizbowl) who automatically buzz when they hear someone else buzz. Unlike quizbowl buzzers, Certamen machines recognize the first buzz on each team (so up to 3 basically simultaneous buzzes for 3 teams), and it's very much possible to fix mistakes, pick the other of 2 or 3 options, or just give the right answer despite being 2nd or even 3rd on a buzzer race.

However, I can't see how you could bait someone into buzzing in quizbowl.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by iarehavethestupid »

cthewolf wrote: Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:39 pm Just curious, how would you buzzer fake?

I have definitely met players (in Certamen, not quizbowl) who automatically buzz when they hear someone else buzz. Unlike quizbowl buzzers, Certamen machines recognize the first buzz on each team (so up to 3 basically simultaneous buzzes for 3 teams), and it's very much possible to fix mistakes, pick the other of 2 or 3 options, or just give the right answer despite being 2nd or even 3rd on a buzzer race.

However, I can't see how you could bait someone into buzzing in quizbowl.
The way I would think somebody would do it is, keep your hand off the buzzer before the tossup is read, then make a quick movement toward the buzzers at some point.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by joshxu »

cthewolf wrote: Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:39 pm Just curious, how would you buzzer fake?

I have definitely met players (in Certamen, not quizbowl) who automatically buzz when they hear someone else buzz. Unlike quizbowl buzzers, Certamen machines recognize the first buzz on each team (so up to 3 basically simultaneous buzzes for 3 teams), and it's very much possible to fix mistakes, pick the other of 2 or 3 options, or just give the right answer despite being 2nd or even 3rd on a buzzer race.

However, I can't see how you could bait someone into buzzing in quizbowl.
I can see it plausibly working with handheld buzzers (like the ones they have on Jeopardy). You can lean toward the moderator, hold up your buzzer, make various facial expressions, put your face down in a way that makes it seem like you're trying to recall something from the back of your memory, etc.

Nevertheless, I don't see the benefits of trying it.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by browen »

joshxu wrote: Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:46 pm
cthewolf wrote: Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:39 pm Just curious, how would you buzzer fake?

I have definitely met players (in Certamen, not quizbowl) who automatically buzz when they hear someone else buzz. Unlike quizbowl buzzers, Certamen machines recognize the first buzz on each team (so up to 3 basically simultaneous buzzes for 3 teams), and it's very much possible to fix mistakes, pick the other of 2 or 3 options, or just give the right answer despite being 2nd or even 3rd on a buzzer race.

However, I can't see how you could bait someone into buzzing in quizbowl.
I can see it plausibly working with handheld buzzers (like the ones they have on Jeopardy). You can lean toward the moderator, hold up your buzzer, make various facial expressions, put your face down in a way that makes it seem like you're trying to recall something from the back of your memory, etc.

Nevertheless, I don't see the benefits of trying it.
It's rather easy to get an opponent to bite on the Anderson Officiators (by flicking it from the side). I've also seen a team do it successfully twice in one game on The Judge (by knocking the lower palm/wrist on the desk). The easier the set the more likely you can pull it off. When I was first starting out in quizbowl, baiting was prevalent in the speed rounds of four-quarter style tournaments. I don't recall a time where someone tried to bait the other team while playing on plungers.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by Romanos I Lekapenos »

It really only works against a very aggressive team.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by Joshua Rutsky »

I'd also point out that under PACE's NSC rules, it is considered unsportsmanlike and persons doing it can be ejected from a match by the moderator.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by cthewolf »

A similar question: What's the procedure for accidental buzzes?

I saw three separate instances yesterday and just want to know for future reference.

1. A player on the opposing team accidentally buzzed by dropping his buzzer (physically let go, not slid off the table) while a question was being read. Their team, our team, and the moderators kind of acknowledged it wasn't intentional and moved on. His teammate powered the question a few words later. Should he have been forced to give an answer?

2. My teammate buzzed by accident after the moderator had said tossup 16 but before he had read any of the question. Is it a valid buzz at that point?

3. A member of the opposing team accidentally pressed her buzzer. All 4 of the players looked around to see who buzzed before she realized it was her. Then she gave a guess. Is there a difference between this and scenario 1?

I can personally remember pressing down too hard once. I gave a random guess.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by pbergman »

From NAQT Rules, G15:

"A moderator may disregard a signal that he or she deems to be inadvertent (e.g., a signal when all that has been said is “This man” or a signal resulting from a dropped signaling device). The determination of whether a signal is inadvertent is not protestable."
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by t-bar »

PACE"s rule D11 is similar but slightly stricter and slightly more explicit:
PACE rules wrote: 11. If the moderator has begun reading a tossup and has not yet read a verb, or a proper noun, or a word within quotation marks, or a noun or adjective which is a technical term in an academic field, (e.g. "Next tossup. One of..."), a player who buzzes in may claim to have to have buzzed in accidentally. In such a case, the moderator may rule it an accidental buzz [or stray buzz] and proceed as though the player had not buzzed in. The moderator cannot rule any buzz accidental if any one word of the types listed above has already been read.
a. Whether or not a term is "technical" is a matter of moderator discretion and is not protestable.
In my personal opinion, players are responsible for not disrupting the game while a tossup is being read, and paying sufficiently little attention to your buzzer that you drop it or cause it to go off accidentally is generally disruptive. Similarly, if you're priming and you overshoot, then you knowingly took a risk that didn't pay off. Consequently, I would generally be inclined to demand an answer in situations like cases 1 and 3 that Christy outlines. There are a number of situations in which I think the moderator ought to be more lenient, though:
  • Case 2 would clearly be ruled an inadvertent/accidental buzz by both the NAQT and the PACE rules, in my opinion.
  • Sometimes, a buzzer not actually assigned to anyone goes off (e.g., the fifth box in a daisy chain hits a chair leg or something), and I don't think failing to prevent that falls under the duty to not disrupt the game that I posited above.
  • If members of the opposing team readily volunteer that they agree that the buzz was accidental, I'd be inclined to be lenient as well. That doesn't mean you should offload to players the responsibility for making non-protestable decisions, but you can read the room.
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Re: Player tossup etiquette

Post by joshxu »

cthewolf wrote: Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:52 am 3. A member of the opposing team accidentally pressed her buzzer. All 4 of the players looked around to see who buzzed before she realized it was her. Then she gave a guess. Is there a difference between this and scenario 1?

I can personally remember pressing down too hard once. I gave a random guess.
I think that in case 3, the person who buzzed would have to give an answer. If such buzzes would be treated as inadvertent, then players who knowingly buzzed but realized that their initial instinct was wrong could just claim, "Oh, I accidentally buzzed". Unfortunately, I did this once. Worse, it may have cost my team the game.
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