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MSHSAA bidding discussion 
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Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2006
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
Moderator note: This thread was split from the "Calling Former Players" thread. That thread can be found here.

Some of this post was discussed in my email conversations with Jeremy Gibbs. This thread he started also sprung from a suggestion I had, where I mentioned that I felt that many former players felt alienated, ignored, and powerless. Even though they often have great knowledge and insight and want to help quizbowl in Missouri, they are really unable to do so because their lack of "official" status. What's left to them is this message board, and even well-reasoned arguments repeated so often become shrill. Thus, no one listens or even sees the actual argument (relying only on word-of-mouth mentions of "rude college kids"), and no change is going to take place. I myself have been a part of this, and I think it's time for a new approach.

First off, I'll note that my views are a bit different from some of the people on this board in that I think the Missouri format (50 questions, 20 bonuses) is fine, unique, historic, and not really the problem. I've mentioned this before, and I will explain in more detail below. The big problems are: #1) MSHSAA and its role in stifling teams and outside voices and #2) Questions at the state tournament of dubious quality.

Regarding MSHSAA, problems we see are (but not limited to):travel restrictions, tournament restrictions, poor moderating, lack of expertise with quizbowl, and teams uninterested in improving having too much power. Some of this overlaps with MACA, too. Jeremy (involved with both organizations) has done some work on this front and from what he told me, some of these restrictions are going away.

The second problem has to do with the questions themselves. We don't like one-line tossups, a preponderance of often aimless or cutesy questions, and think there's too much math in the (20-ish-year-old) distribution. This excess math limits the amount of space for other topics (like the arts, religion, philosophy, mythology, and other general humanities and social sciences). As it is now, religion, philosophy, and some arts stuff can be stuffed into other distributions (history, literature, language arts, miscellaneous), but it takes away from other important topics. Math doesn't really have such constraints on its distribution (I go in detail with this in one of my emails to Jeremy, which may pop up here).

I do, however, think that the problems can be solved--first, by using better, pyramidal questions; and second, tweaking the distribution. I've argued for cutting the math in half, which still leaves about one calculation bonus per half and tossup per quarter. (This is roughly NAQT's current high school standard.) It would also ease the burden on the writer and attract higher quality ones. Lots of high school teams around the country like math (maybe in part because a lot of coaches are math teachers) and eliminating math questions entirely isn't going to happen in a Missouri format. Though math questions are different from others, they do perhaps attract smart kids who might not otherwise participate (the same reason I think having a little pop culture isn't a bad thing). Cutting math questions in half would lead to more room for those squeezed topics and provide for a tournament more reflective of a broad-based liberal arts and science-based education, one that encourages "cultural literacy"(or whatever smart-sounding buzzword you like).

In my mind, each Missouri round has essentially a college game (2 quarters of 10 tossups with bonuses) and an additional 30 tossups. Since the bonuses rebound, and if the questions are good, each game is likely (moreso even than the college game) to reward the better team with a victory. I also think some of the timing and recognition issues could be less strict (reading the category also shouldn't be necessary outside calculation questions), but the real impetus ought to be with improving the questions.

I don't think there's anything wrong with a state tournament with games like this. Many, if not most, coaches are comfortable with different types of tournaments. Colleges and ought to continue to run college-style tournaments, as should high school teams if they so desire. Teams who want their tournaments to be more like the state tournament might see these college-ish tournaments as being a help to their programs prepare for state. Without major changes, the Missouri format would be more in step with "modern" concerns about question quality, and college (and post college) kids and their preferred style might be on their way to erasing their bete noir status among less progressive Missouri coaches.

The reasons above are why I've thought about trying my hand at the state tournament this year, and basically why I've been talking to Coach Gibbs. Even if goals such as lessening math aren't accomplished within the next year or two, the state tournament could still be improved considerably--by just having better questions. Much of this can come from accepting bids from good providers, not just cheap ones (which is why good writers should consider bidding). Consider this tossup (that I wrote off the top of my head):

Early in this novel, the title character, a poor day-laborer, while in a drunken rage at a country fair, sells his wife and baby. Years later, his wife Susan and her daughter Elizabeth Jane find this man, who has since become a prosperous figure. What is this tragic novel by Thomas Hardy centered on Michael Henchard?
Answer: The Mayor of Casterbridge

This question isn't that long, but at about 3 lines, it's longer than most Missouri questions. It also has multiple clues, is pyramidal, and rewards knowledge. It's not too easy, either, but it is or ought to be knowable to a lot of teams (or at least guessable--Thomas Hardy book about a seemingly prosperous figure). I don't think anyone would have a huge problem with the MO format if the average tossup were like this. It was a little tough making it 3 lines (I had to really cut out adjectives and make the prose terse), but with some work, two or three sentence tossups that are also pyramidal could become standard. I think I (and probably many of you, especially working together) could write a bunch of rounds like this. It also isn't too hard to write an acceptable bonus the Missouri format.

Jeremy said he might post our email back-and-forth, and I might be on some more this week to discuss my own views a little more. I encourage people in Missouri to take Jeremy up on his offer and attend the MACA convention. I think having question-and-answer sessions, question-writing and study tip help sessions, exhibition matches, etc. as part of the MACA convention experience and MSHSAA state tournament (so kids could see, too) would also go a long way in showing that what we want isn't necessarily incompatible with what they want.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 2:51 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
Mike, can you send me your email address? I have a couple of thoughts I'd like to pass your way off-list. Thanks.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:01 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
MikeWormdog wrote:
First off, I'll note that my views are a bit different from some of the people on this board in that I think the Missouri format (50 questions, 20 bonuses) is fine, unique, historic, and not really the problem. I've mentioned this before, and I will explain in more detail below. The big problems are: #1) MSHSAA and its role in stifling teams and outside voices and #2) Questions at the state tournament of dubious quality.
I feel like problem #2 is directly related to the formatting issue though. Part of the problem in generating interest from high quality question sources is the standard MSHSAA format (which good writers are generally unwilling to write for). It seems to me that if the format changes, the probability of increasing the question quality will go up.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:48 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
I posit that the MSHSAA game format will always inherently be a problem because of the fact it takes an hour to play under most circumstances. This makes it nigh impossible for the fairest tournament formats to flourish (i.e. those that allow more than 3 prelim games to all teams, and that allow for something other than single elimination). Similarly, the better the questions you use for the MSHSAA format, the longer it will take in the vast majority of games because so many moderators are so slow here. This provides incentive for people to use shorter questions in a way that using a more normal format never would. To me, these seem to build the case that the MSHSAA format is partially to blame for the institutionalized bad quizbowl here, and that instead of trying to force good questions into it in a way that damages their quality like what happened at the MST spring tournaments, according to Matt and Jeffrey's accounts, we should recognize that this format's existence actually does indirectly cause a LOT of problems in all facets of quizbowl writing and tournament directing, and we should stop using it.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:12 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
johnboy81918 wrote:
I feel like problem #2 is directly related to the formatting issue though. Part of the problem in generating interest from high quality question sources is the standard MSHSAA format (which good writers are generally unwilling to write for). It seems to me that if the format changes, the probability of increasing the question quality will go up.
I don't really agree with this. The problem with the MSHSAA bidding system is two-fold: the organization has a reputation for both being cheap and liking bad questions (perhaps because there usually aren't any good ones to choose from). A shortish pyramidal tossup isn't hard to write. A MSHSAA bonus isn't too different from a college tournament. MSHSAA has to show demand for decent questions, and we have to show supply.

Writing one 50/20 MO round is certainly no more difficult than writing two 20/20 college-style rounds. There are 130 answer prompts (50 tossups and 80 bonus parts) per MSHSAA game (not including extras). There are 80 answer prompts in one college game (20 tossups and 60 bonus parts), 160 in two. Rather than play three (390 total answers) or four rounds (520) minimum like most Missouri-state format tournaments, from my understanding, people usually want five (400) to seven rounds minimum (560) for high school events with college-style questions.

I am aware that some people prefer a big round-robin lasting all day, but that doesn't change the number of questions used in tournaments (an 8-round MSHSAA tournament uses 1040 questions; a 15-round--just about the upper limit--collegeish tournament uses 1200). The number of questions you have to write isn' t really that much different. You could perhaps argue that writing questions in a MO format is slightly harder (one extra part per bonus; more, but shorter, tossups) but I think the only major problem for writers is the tons and tons of math, which I talked about earlier. It's more distribution than format.

There aren't a lot of vendors that specialize in 20-20 rounds at the high school level other than NAQT, and from what's been said before on this board is that NAQT doesn't write the best questions. Charlie and others like PACE better, and they don't do the 20-20 format. NAQT can be pretty good, but they're not necessarily better than if I wrote the questions, or if the Missouri Quizbowl Alliance wrote the questions, or if some college team wrote the questions, etc. Any non-NAQT vendor would have to write these questions from scratch anyway (because they likely don't have a big database of high school questions on hand written by a stable of writers), so the amount of effort isn't much different.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:30 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
3 line tossups are not good quizbowl. Calculation tossups are not good quizbowl. A state championship series that uses geographic quotas and purports to crown the champion after only 5 games is not good quizbowl. Until these things can be fixed about the MSHSAA format, you are going to just be part of the problem.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:26 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
ashkenaziCD wrote:
3 line tossups are not good quizbowl. Calculation tossups are not good quizbowl. A state championship series that uses geographic quotas and purports to crown the champion after only 5 games is not good quizbowl. Until these things can be fixed about the MSHSAA format, you are going to just be part of the problem.
First off--we need to get rid of the dumb quality and value judgments of "good quizbowl" vs. "bad quizbowl." It sounds a like a Republican talking point--"if you're not with us, you're against us." Most quizbowl is somewhere on a continuum from good to bad. We need to get it closer to good in Missouri. If kids want really, really good, then they can play in college, and we can promote the college game as being even better than high school. Quit using lame buzzwords, and try to improve the game. Was the NAQT HSNCT "bad quizbowl?" It had math. It had some three-line tossups (if their regular HS sets are any indication). It had clocks. Aren't these emblematic of "bad quizbowl" to you, Charlie?

Fewer math questions would be better, right? Moving to three-line pyramidal tossups (like a lot of NAQT's HS questions are right now) from one-line buzzer races would be better, right? Getting rid of tournament restrictions would be better, right? Allowing schools to travel to play in any sort of tournament (national, college-style, whatever) would be better, right? Getting people like us more involved as readers at tournaments would be better, right? What exactly are you against? We are both for these changes.

Which is more likely to happen, a shift to the better, or a shift to the perfect? Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good, my brother.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:49 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
I saw 0 three line tossups this weekend at the HSNCT, and when I read at the NAQT state tournament this year I also don't recall seeing anything lower than 4-5 lines long. I similarly never said anywhere that I found timed matches to be a gimmick that will inherently flaw a format. However, yes, I did actually find some aspects of the HSNCT to be quite flawed - see the reaction to it on hsquizbowl from all the top players, and then compare that to the reaction to the PACE NSC. 3 line tossups may be somewhat better than what we have now, but the step-model doesn't work. All it will do is give more teams a reason to be content with settling for something that is still not good, and it will let people ignore the other atrocious aspects of MSHSAA like the playoff format and qualification procedure, and their ridiculous rules. This will not aid everything MOQBA is fighting for, but will actually work to destroy our work and never truly allow Missouri to reach it's potential. The reason why I use these "lame buzzwords" is because history has borne out that they are justified, and that anything else will be a failure.
On a different note, I question your actual editing qualifications for this job. The consensus from lots of players and writers that I trust is that you are not a good editor, and based on the Yale sets I've seen, I think they are on to something. I do not believe that you writing will be a panacea, nor do I believe that incrementally changing will do any good.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:04 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
MikeWormdog wrote:
First off--we need to get rid of the dumb quality and value judgments of "good quizbowl" vs. "bad quizbowl."


Missouri will not be saved by pretending that everything is the same, there are no standards, the current situation isn't a travesty, or that there isn't a way to tell the good from the bad.

Quote:
Fewer math questions would be better, right?


No, more math questions would be better. Right now Missouri has a lot of parlor-trick speed arithmetic, which has little to nothing to do with actual math. I hope you support replacing the current calculation nonsense with actual math, and thus increasing the number of math questions in Missouri from "zero" to "some."

Quote:
Which is more likely to happen, a shift to the better, or a shift to the perfect? Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good, my brother.


With you writing awful tossups on The Mayor of Casterbridge that are simultaneously too hard for lower-tier teams to answer and start with the giveaway so that all good teams buzzer-race on the first clue, I doubt any shift to either will be happening.

Charlie is right, Mike. I don't know what your intentions are or what your real opinions about quizbowl are, but I do know that you've been out of the game for some time and, to be blunt (because the players of Missouri deserve nothing less than our total honesty regarding the future of their game) were never regarded as a particularly good writer during your heyday. The fact that you and Jeremy Gibbs get along so well can only be a black mark against the notion that you have come to understand things better in recent years. Perhaps you mean well, perhaps you do not; but what you actually propose to do here is to rubber-stamp the completely abhorrent status quo with the name of "college quizbowl" or "good writers" or "pyramidality" when you neither understand nor represent any of those concepts.

Missouri needs to change its format and pay competent people to write its questions. I hardly think that is an unrealizable, utopian demand, as it's happened in many other places. It is not asking for "the perfect," it's asking for the bare minimum of what is acceptable.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89204/'>Matt Weiner</a>, Jun 2 2009, 10:20:42 PM.</div>


Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:19 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
Charlie, I edited three Bulldogs over Broadway tournaments, from 2004-2006. So, if you don't like those tournaments, I can't help you. I don't think I edited one BHSAT tournament--that's not how it really operated. I edited sets of three or four rounds out of a 12-13 round set for several years, from 2004-2007. We divided up the work among several senior people and looked for repeats across our rounds, essentially. I contributed a freelance playoff round for the 2008 tournament (maybe the final, I don't remember.) Don't blame me for what I don't write.

I am and was busy. I didn't have the time to perfectly edit tournaments for zero money while in grad school working on my dissertation. Next year, I might not have an academic job, and even if I do, it could well be worth spending more time writing because it will earn me some money.

Whatever you think, I'm not against improving quizbowl in Missouri. Ask your fellow MO QB alliance member Matt Chadbourne for the email I sent him regarding my thoughts on writing for the state tournament.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:19 pm
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Matt (Weiner), I assure you, I mean well. Yeah, no math questions would be better. Assuming there was math, I would have mostly calculation (NAQT-ish) with some stuff on theory, history, terms, etc.

No MSHSAA would be better, too. I've fought against them for 14 years. However, that organization is not going away, because it's too powerful. It has the support of school officials. If football and baseball and school music people can be convinced to change it and/or start some new organization to run sports and quizbowl in Missouri, I'd want a 20/20 college format. I don't think that will happen.

My goal is to increase Missouri participation in better-quality tournaments. I think this can be accomplished by making MSHSAA tournaments better. If MSHSAA tournaments are better, then tournaments run by MU, WashU, Rolla, etc. will be seen as being something that could help them at the state tournament. (Right now, lots of teams only like to play on questions like those at state.) If MSHSAA state is more like those tournaments, those tournaments will do better, and more kids will be exposed to such questions. I want as many Missouri kids as possible to play on good questions.

The Missouri NAQT tournament can become the default "real" state tournament--it doesn't really matter to me. The MO Quizbowl Alliance tournament could become this. Like you guys, I want more teams to play on better questions, so that they might want to play in college and/or attend national tournaments. I think the best way of doing that is making the state tournament (that pretty much every team plays in) better. Maybe, in time, people will want MSHSAA State to be like those other (college-style) tournaments, or MSHSAA state won't matter as much to a lot of teams, anyway (kind of like MSHSAA debate). At the least, the state tournament will be better than it is now--it hasn't improved over the last decade and a half, despite protests.

Jeremy Gibbs is working on getting rid of the 14-tournament limit rule. National tournament restrictions could be next to go, as would limits on season length, out of state tournaments, etc. I think working on these problems (which are both more unfair and more fixable) are gaining traction, and are more important than making the state tournament perfect. I think restructuring districts would also be possible. Concentrating our efforts on fixing those problems (and doing so in concert with people like Jeremy and other coaches, who actually have some power to change things) will be more effective. I've had many disagreements with Jeremy, and still do, but I think he's coming around. So far he seems at least willing to listen and make some concessions. I think we ought to try to negotiate in good faith.

Regarding the example tossup, I don't think teams will either get it at the beginning or not get it at all, but it was just one tossup. When there are fifty in one round, individual tossups matter less. One buzzer race matters less. How many teams in Missouri would get that tossup at the beginning, even at the state tournament? Not many, from my experience, but I think many teams would know the answer at the state level (maybe not at districts). If they miss it, there are lots of others to get. For districts, I might write something on an easier novel but start with a slightly more obscure plot point.

I'm certainly not going to want to do the state questions forever, but I might do it for one year. If I happen to get the bid and people like it, I think good writers might want to bid on the tournament (and make a little bit of money) in the future, and keep encouraging changes in MSHSAA's governing positions.

Matt, you're a good writer. Bid on the questions. Charge an amount you feel is fair. You'll have to agree to MSHSAA's standards, but you'd at least be a higher-quality option than Questions Galore or Triple Q or Bryce Avery. Anyone who wants next year's tournament to be better should. Bid the next year, too, and the year after that. If MSHSAA doesn't want people like us writing the tournament over the next couple of years and insists upon cheap, poor-quality options, we can go back to what we've been doing.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89052/'>MikeWormdog</a>, Jun 2 2009, 11:42:16 PM.</div>


Tue Jun 02, 2009 10:41 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
If repeatedly pretending that one's opponents in an argument didn't present relevant, important facts in order to try and build your case, and lying outright to the world to make yourself look good is acting in good faith, then I've lost all faith in humanity.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:25 pm
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Are you referring to me or Jeremy Gibbs?


Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:27 pm
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
Gibbs.


Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:27 pm
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Perhaps not surprisingly, I am in nearly complete agreement with Mike here, but since this was a call to former Missouri quizbowl players to weigh in, I will.

Although he certainly holds some hard-headed views about his ideal quizbowl universe and does not always respond particularly well to criticism, I am pleased that Jeremy Gibbs contributes to this message board even in the amount that he does. Very few other coaches or advisory members ever post here, so the simple fact that he is willing to do so is admirable. I wish that more coaches would contribute, so we could get a better sense of things, but he's what we have for now. I think if you were to track his statements from his first post to his latest you would see some positive change and certainly see a growing understanding of the other side's point of view even as he dismisses or disagrees with it.

I agree with Mike that the "good quizbowl" vs. "bad quizbowl" comparison sounds like a Republican talking point, but I was also reminded of the French Revolution when reading this thread. As in the Revolution, Saturn's children are eating themselves. Decrying anything that is old to be "bad," and denying the credentials of a qualified individual simply because he has not always adhered to some supposed "national standard" of rationality and goodness, seems to me counter-productive.

I want to run down a few of Mike's other qualifications. As some may have forgotten, Mike was Missouri's original Charlie Dees. MSHSAA took over Missouri quizbowl before Mike's junior year. As a sophomore Mike was clearly the best player in the state. He led NKC to the playoffs at ASCN (the best national tournament at that time) that year. The following year, because of MSHSAA's rules, Mike and NKC could not improve on their performance the year before. MSHSAA ruled that no team could compete after the state tournament until school was out. NKC was forced to attend Chip Beall's NAC in 1996 and 1997 because they were held later in the year. Of course, those tournaments were awful, and despite being probably the best player in the country in 1997, MSHSAA prevented Mike and NKC from going to ASCN and likely prevented us from a top national finish. Because Mike was so dominant, MSHSAA changed rules to spite him. Mike's senior year, we competed at several tournaments with three players, and it was well known that we might take only 3 players to state. We were then informed that all teams must have 4 players at all times or risk forfeit, so we had to pull along a 4th. (Other rules were levied against him to such as switching sides at halftime and ruling that the captain had to sit in the middle) Mike was also prevented from competing at large tournaments outside the state such as Dorman and Brookwood. In addition the University of Memphis briefly held a tournament in which the top player received a full ride scholarship to the university. University officials called Mr. Allen as well as MSHSAA to allow Mike to compete at their tournament (and almost certainly win their scholarship). MSHSAA didn't budge and cited their rule about "cash prizes" to prevent Mike's attendance. Don't think that Mike has lost his grudge against MSHSAA.

As Mike has already explained, he has also had a distinguished collegiate quizbowl career and has a stellar academic background. Suggesting that he might not be qualified to write Missouri's questions makes one wonder whether his critics want to see Missouri quizbowl improved or destroyed altogether. It seems that they would attack MSHSAA's bylaws with an axe rather than a scalpel (how's that for a political talking point?). Complete destruction is an attractive solution. Obviously if Missouri quizbowl were built again from scratch things would be different. But let's not pretend that any of us has the power to bring about such a change. If Mike (or some other qualified writer or team of writers) thinks that they can write a quality tournament by removing a few of the most egregious of MSHSAA's rules, it's a great step. Heretofore, I, like Charlie, wasn't sure a gradual approach would work. MSHSAA has proven stubborn over the years. But it seems like whatever Mike has written to Mr. Gibbs has not fallen on deaf ears like so many other suggestions and criticisms have. I, for one, am very curious as to how it will play out.


Edited: mixed up my gods


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89055/'>Awehrman</a>, Jun 3 2009, 01:17:55 PM.</div>


Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:03 am
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Post MSHSAA bidding discussion
If I said everything I could say in this thread, I'd wind up rewriting War and Peace in this post. Since I have to go to bed in an hour (I started writing this around 10:30 P.M.), I will try to keep it brief. But there's some background information people need to understand.

I started promoting NAQT questions in Missouri in 2005. I always liked playing them in my active years as a college player. Andy Wehrman and I fought one of the great all-time Missouri quizbowl battles in the championship of an NAQT high school tournament at Rolla in 1997. When Mike and Andy and I played high school, we didn't have pyramidal questions (or very rarely). We had no knowledge of the concept. At least I didn't.

But when I started playing better questions at the college level, I was attracted to the concept of pyramidality from the start. I thought it was a magnificent idea to reward players based on the depth of their knowledge. This simply did not jive with the nature of Missouri-format questions, which were (and still are) less aesthetic. But I quickly realized pyramidal questions were superior by nature.

I started writing questions for NAQT in 2004 because I needed a new challenge. Writing NAQT questions is a lot of fun, and I learned volumes about good questions and how they're written. I attended HSNCT as a staffer in 2005, and I was alarmed at what I saw. I quickly realized Missouri had fallen way behind the times as far as question quality and the competitiveness of teams. Furthermore, I was the ONLY Missouri staffer at HSNCT in Chicago, which isn't that far. This was a situation that needed fixing. So with a lot of help from Rob Hentzel and some powerful friends here, I started pushing the NAQT format. I've never pushed it with the confidence I should have shown; bold action is not my forte.

I had a vision when I set out to do this. I had several goals in mind, much of which has since been accomplished.

--Set up a series of NAQT tournaments statewide so everybody could have the opportunity to attend one (or more).

--Establish an equivalent of an NAQT state championship since no one tournament in Missouri brought every good team in the state together to find out who is the absolute best. My dream for this is what Mike talked about--making it the real State tournament.

--Spark a debate about Missouri-format vs. NAQT/other more modern formats.

--Get teams to attend the HSNCT.

--Bring another national title home to Missouri.

My original vision was to have the Missouri format and the NAQT format exist side-by-side in peaceful coexistence, which basically is what Jeremy is proposing. At the time, I saw the Missouri format the way Mike looks at it now--a fun little relic that should be kept in place. But MSHSAA, MSHSAA's rules, and a lot of complacency stood between me and most of those goals. At the time, I took the brutally pragmatic view that MSHSAA was not going to go away, and so I felt the need to work within those parameters. Pushing against MSHSAA and the rules seemed unwise at the time. But I was convinced there had to be a better way.

Back then, MSHSAA rules forbade automatically qualifying for any national event, which was one of the fundamental facets of NAQT events. Rob Hentzel and I came to an informal agreement which kept me within the word of the law but also allowed me to get teams into HSNCT that wanted to go. At the time, I didn't have a lot of support or help. But I had some influence and a little luck.

Then came the 2006 HSNCT. Helias decided they wanted to go. But MSHSAA was so anal about them going that it became the laughingstock of quizbowl. They got to go, but it was almost a Pyhrric victory. I got so disgusted with MSHSAA's attitudes from that I decided that trying to coddle them was detrimental. By this time, there were people more openly on my side and more people willing to question MSHSAA, the Missouri format, and prevailing attitudes.

That having been said, here is where I stand. I prefer to see a more modern format come to dominance and let the Missouri format die a natural death. But if it turned out that we would have peaceful coexistence between NAQT/modern formats and a well-written Missouri-format State tournament, I wouldn't be too upset. The Missouri format is horribly outdated, and I've said that before. It needs to go gracefully into the quizbowl Valhalla.

At this point, I am more concerned with getting good Missouri teams to attend HSNCT and be ambitious and try to do the best they can. Missouri teams do not get enough attention or credit on the national scene, and this has become my biggest concern. The best way to overcome this is to give teams the opportunity to realize their potential. This requires more NAQT/modern format tournaments, which is rapidly progressing.

This also requires some significant rules changes. MSHSAA doesn't want to understand this, but teams get better by playing good teams. Quizbowl is unique in that playing good teams requires distant travel to other states to play top-notch teams they otherwise would not have the opportunity to play. MSHSAA rules make this very difficult. That has to change. I still hold on to my dream of seeing another Missouri team win a national title, though sometimes I feel like I'm delusional for dreaming that big.

The problem is, MSHSAA lives in a naive universe that does not exist. They're deathly afraid of players becoming "hyper-competitive," as Stacey Schroeder once told me. I despise the bloodthirsty competitiveness that has become a fundamental facet of the American way of life. It's a virulent societal cancer. But I also know that American society is hyper-competitive. I accept it, as much as I dislike it. MSHSAA simply tries to pretend that is not the case. This is why they try to purposely curtail the competitive edge of Missouri sports and activities.

As far as voices from former players, I've been one of the louder ones. As such, I can say that MSHSAA doesn't give a darn what we think. They simply ignore inconvenient details that don't fit into their worldview. If MSHSAA wants to hear from somebody with knowledge and experience, they can call me anytime and I'll tell them whatever they want to know. But I'll have my doubts as to whether or not they will actually listen. As far as the rules changes, show me the money. Then I'll believe it.

As far as Mike's points, Mike is correct in saying that the old-fashioned buzzer beaters can be written pyramidally, and they certainly should. NAQT does one-line questions for some of the television sets they produce, and they require all of those questions to be pyramidal. It's hard to do in 135 characters or less, but it can be done. I've done it.

My guiding principle for Missouri quizbowl is still the same--there has to be a better way. I'm very open into how that vision can become a reality. We should all be open to the possibilities. That's all I have to say. I'm going to bed.


Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:07 pm
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I want to run down a few of Mike's other qualifications.

I want to point out that the myth that winning what is year in and year out one of the worst state tournaments is a positive qualification for being able to write good questions is a myth, along with other things like having a "strong academic background." The discussion of Mitchell Szezpanzyck's Linguistics questions at the HSNCT is driving this home, but just because one has academic expertise/is a graduate student/whatever, does not present itself as a quizbowl writing qualification, and neither really does placing high at events like the 2004 ICT or whatever. Here are the criteria to consider when assessing good writers: do they write good questions? I know (literally) off the top of my head of 10 current high schoolers who I would trust to be able to write a high quality set. I similarly know of numerous collegiate players like Dennis Jang who have never exactly led their team to high tournament finishes, but who also have a track record of writing and editing marvelous tournaments, and he falls into the category, along with many others, of writers who do not have the same kind of "strong academic background" that Mike has considering they haven't even received a bachelor's degree (or high school diploma) yet. I also have read many questions from people who are doctoral students - some write great questions, some write mediocre questions, others write awful questions. All of these non-quizbowl resume builders don't hold the water that actually reading BOB packets, hearing the response from players and other editors who I trust that weren't impressed, and hearing the claims of high schoolers who I also trust who were not impressed by the last few BHSATs, are the kinds of things players should be taking into much stronger consideration than anything else, playing ability included. Someone else requested you make public one of your recent BHSAT games as a sample, Mike, would you consider doing that to demonstrate that you do have the writing ability to impress people at this level? Given the magnitude of this contract in terms of games and where it would be played, I would suggest that strongly.


Thu Jun 04, 2009 4:30 pm
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I don't think I argued that Mike's winning of the state tournament qualified him to be able to write the state questions nor that his academic background was sufficient proof. I was mostly responding to the very odd assertion that since Mike was communicating with Jeremy Gibbs and showed some willingness to try his hand at writing the state tournament that he must have aligned himself with the horrors of MSHSAA and the minions of bad quizbowl. As Mike has already pointed out, he has not fully decided whether he will submit a bid or not, and he does not intend to write for more than one year. He hopes that his writing, along with a closer working relationship with MSHSAA, might produce the sort of results in the future that you and Paul and others on this board hope to see. I don't understand why you would rather stomp this faintly glowing ember of hope than kindle it.

Neither of us has argued that Mike's questions would be the paragon of quizbowl excellence for future generations or that they would be beyond criticism, but we do think they would be a step in the right direction. Personally I would rather someone like Matt Weiner or another very active quizbowl writer get the bid. You're probably right that there are others who might be more in tune with current question trends. Mike might very well toss some esoteric medieval history questions into the mix that will get roundly panned. He probably will need some help writing his science and math questions. I also think that those other writers would likely produce the set more quickly, and I'm not really sure that Mike shouldn't focus on getting his dissertation published or start some other project. But who, pray tell, is going to submit a bid that will be better than Mike's? Matt Weiner has shown no interest in trying again, and I doubt too many other prominent quizbowl writers would be willing to do so either. Mike's at least as qualified as Shawn Pickrell was, and his questions seem to have been passable. I think the stark contrast between Pickrell's questions and Questions Galore has helped move the conversation on better pyramidal questions forward. Mike's questions, I think, would continue that conversation, whereas another round of Questions Galore or equivalent will not only bring unnecessary suffering on next year's teams, but also perhaps create an even greater divide between elite and non-elite teams. MSHSAA seems set against allowing an instate resident write the questions (this is probably another thing for the advisory board to eliminate), so there go writers like yourself, Paul, Matt and the rest of the Missouri quizbowl alliance. Your high school pals would be similarly dismissed. You probably share Paul's view that you would like to see quizbowl "die a natural death," but how does that fit with the over-arching goal of getting quizbowl into every school in the state and allowing as many students who would wish to participate the chance to do so?

Quote:
At this point, I am more concerned with getting good Missouri teams to attend HSNCT and be ambitious and try to do the best they can. Missouri teams do not get enough attention or credit on the national scene, and this has become my biggest concern.


This is to me a defeatist attitude but certainly an understandable one. Many good Missouri teams have attended national tournaments under MSHSAA. Many more would have the opportunity if MSHSAA loosened the restrictions mentioned above, and they would almost certainly become more competitive at those national tournaments if the restrictions were gone. We can't simply focus only on teams who are good enough to go to nationals, however. "Credit on the national scene," doesn't mean that much to me. I would rather see a very active Missouri quizbowl circuit in which schools can easily create and encourage active quizbowl teams so that all students who wish to do so may receive the full benefit of the activity. MSHSAA has sucked and still sucks, but its organizational structure does carry benefits. I do not believe that MSHSAA has in the 14 years of its existence fulfilled the promise of those benefits in the least, but it doesn't seem like it's going anywhere for now. I would like to see MSHSAA in a year or two get to where the IHSA (the Illinois MSHSAA equivalent) is. Illinois has more than its fair share of problems, but it shares many similarities to MSHSAA. The coaches and players there have made huge strides in the last several years. After that I would like to see Missouri become more like Georgia. Georgia has a venerable quizbowl format and values pyramidal academic questions and has a high level of participation. Its top teams are well supported within the state and are always a threat to win national championships year in and year out regardless of the format of the questions. I think those things are possible in the long run. In the mean time, I don't think it is in anyone's interest to see Missouri quizbowl collapse but for a few of the top teams. An external conversion of even a decent minority of the teams in the state to subsist solely on NAQT or other pyramidal questions outside of MSHSAA’s influence will take at least as long given the reluctance of most coaches even to communicate their ideas and respond to suggestions and criticism. Of course, another theme far more important than the activity of former players is the conversion or recruitment of coaches who also want to see these changes. To me the biggest difference between Missouri and Illinois at present is the number of truly dedicated coaches. But that discussion is for another day.


Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:15 pm
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I and many people I know would be perfectly happy to write for Missouri if they would let us write good questions. Despite your incorrect and bizarre political attacks to the contrary, calculation tossups and 3-line questions in 12-point font are not capable of being good quizbowl. Missouri does, in fact, literally require that you write bad questions, and I for one am not going to do that.


Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:21 pm
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ashkenaziCD wrote:
Someone else requested you make public one of your recent BHSAT games as a sample, Mike, would you consider doing that to demonstrate that you do have the writing ability to impress people at this level? Given the magnitude of this contract in terms of games and where it would be played, I would suggest that strongly.
I'd like to pull this out of Charlie's overall post (which is admittedly pretty long, though so are most of the others in this thread) and emphasize this--if people could see your actual writing work, Mike, it would be wonderfully useful in quelling their concerns if those concerns are unjustified.


Thu Jun 04, 2009 7:30 pm
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I think that making MSHSAA state marginally acceptable will just lead to fewer coaches becoming motivated to fix all of the problems with it. You guys haven't attended a tournament in Missouri this year, and I can say that from talking to all kinds of coaches, the amazing unprecedented response to Questions Galore from all levels of teams, those that didn't make it past districts, all the way to those at state, have come out to agree that these questions are unacceptable, and the longer that aspect of MSHSAA is unacceptable, the more coaches will start questioning other problems with MSHSAA that we can use to contrast with events like NAQT state to build a case that there are other problems at play besides just the questions, such as format, playoff structure, and all of those ridiculous rules. The more teams that become disabused of the notion that MSHSAA is the be-all and end-all of quizbowl because of the inability to deny that Questions Galore is completely terrible, then the stronger the case will be for those of us who do want to see Missouri become healthy that there are all kinds of other problems with MSHSAA than just the questions. Perhaps it's silly to paraphrase Batman Begins, but it seems pretty clear that people do need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy. If we have the dramatic examples of the awful questions at MSHSAA state vs. the much better questions at MOQBA events, then more coaches will be shaken to fix EVERYTHING than if Mike writes questions that are just semi-acceptable enough that most coaches don't know the difference or have any reason to decide they want change. I have seen many glimmers of hope over the last year, Andy, including the formation of MOQBA so that multiple hosts can concertedly make sure they run lots of good tournaments, and the extreme negative reaction from teams I didn't even know existed before to MSHSAA using Questions Galore, the unexpectedly amazing draw for NAQT State, the many coaches who have decided this year that they want to spend more time preparing for well written tournaments, and the unprecedented 8 (!) teams that realized it is worth their money to work towards attending a national championship and not just care what happens in the MSHSAA series anymore. I fully believe that as long as these glimmers of hope are there, that being able to present a stark contrast between the (ever increasing) MOQBA calendar and the poorly written MSHSAA series will allow us to keep getting more teams to realize how bad the problems are, which will not happen if there is nothing egregious about the questions the MSHSAA uses. This is why Mike's offer to bid on state is not hardly the only faint ember for the future of Missouri quizbowl, especially now that you bring up that you don't think Mike would do a good job writing science which makes at least 40% of the distribution problematic unless a co-editor is brought in.
And as much as it would be a wonderful thing to see all schools in Missouri have normal quizbowl teams, we have to look at things realistically - some schools just are unable to find a coach that wants to spend the time traveling to tournaments. MOQBA is planning on sending out going to be sending physical letters to every team on MSHSAA's roster which will be about as good as anyone can do to draw in teams that otherwise may not have known about all these events, but at a certain point no matter what we have to accept that probably over 1/3 of the registered schools with MSHSAA don't have a team that attends anything, and a bunch of the rest only have a coach that is willing to take them to districts, and that if this is all their programs are ever willing to do, we can't consider them quizbowl teams in any meaningful sense, so there is no real difference if they suddenly drop off the circuit. We can't be everywhere at once to teach these uninterested coaches how to change their ways, and we can't be dictated by teams that aren't teams - thus, this obsession with the fact that if MSHSAA disappeared, participation would fall off seems to only be true in a very technical sense that a bunch of teams that had no way to claim they were at all active will continue to not show up to tournaments. I welcome coaches of those teams to break the mold and start attending more regular season tournaments, but until they make the change, they can't really enter the equation.


Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:59 pm
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It's noteworthy (this came up in a discussion about Illinois too at some point) that people will probably still play MSHSAA Districts/State to make their schools happy and because of the prestige involved. The example someone brought up is how even players from Rockford Auburn, probably the top team in Illinois, still acknowledge that it's nice to say that they won state and that their school still publicizes it even though Illinois State is run on QG and has a lot of other issues. Similarly, don't teams from Virginia still play the imperfect VHSL format despite issues like these?

Thus, given the strong parallels, I'm not really sure if what we gain in irritated coaches (especially irritated coaches who don't know exactly how to improve MSHSAA, and who might not even get rid of non-question related MSHSAA issues such as participation limits, etc.) is worth what we lose in damaging the competitiveness of Missouri teams with bad questions. After all, even the best teams are still going to play the format--they'll just complain their way through it.

Now, of course, that assumes that Mike's questions are actually good--which would mean that this is the point for him to produce that BHSAT set (or another high school set) for people to evaluate. Incidentally, Coach Gibbs, this is also when you can come out as MACA president and try and convince MSHSAA to allow 4 line tossups*--unless you have an objection to those?

*Presumably that's long enough to qualify as acceptable Quiz Bowl even for the hardliners like Matt Weiner & Charlie Dees? Obviously, math computation is still an issue for debate, but I'd like to think there's room for compromise, especially if Mike makes the math pyramidal (with less probability like in NAQT and more actual important calculation, please) and tries to put as much of it in bonuses as possible.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89143/'>Charbroil</a>, Jun 4 2009, 10:20:17 PM.</div>


Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:13 pm
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Well said, Charlie. I'm not sure why it has to take so long to get to the heart of the matter, but I'm glad that we're there. I don't think this is really about having a proper quizbowl resume or about "good" vs. "bad" quizbowl (at least not in the sense that we are on opposite sides). I think we have largely the same end, but we disagree on the means to get there. It's about whether it is better to let MSHSAA suffer through another year or perhaps several years of horrid questions in order to awaken teams to MSHSAA's awful rules in the hopes that they will grasp onto superior questions and formats. Or, is it better to try to get MSHSAA to seek out better questions when possible, loosen restrictions, and have teams awaken that way. I don't know the answer, and you're certainly closer to the front lines than I am, but I am afraid of what MSHSAA's response will be to teams that break away. I could see MSHSAA reversing its stance on even allowing any out of state travel. I could see them severely restricting the schedule or forbidding outside events or vendors. Missouri could just as easily turn into Kansas than Virginia. Would MSHSAA and its supporters allow its power to whittle away? I'm interested in hearing what others have to say regarding these paths. Is there any other solution that we are missing?


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89055/'>Awehrman</a>, Jun 4 2009, 10:23:23 PM.</div>


Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:18 pm
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Uh, Questions Galore doesn't write the IHSA state tournament at all. The VHSL tournament is being taken over by HSAPQ this year, which means it will be a completely acceptable tournament, but nonetheless in the past teams played it just because it was there. I'm not saying I think coaches will skip MSHSAA state if they get frustrated, but I do think that coaches that get motivated will become much more vocal with their involvements in MACA, with their MSHSAA AdCo representatives, their principals who actually vote on lots of these issues, and if push comes to shove and more people attempt to bring legal actions to disband the MSHSAA like they tried in 2008, more people who would be able to come forward and have reasons to argue against the MSHSAA if they keep refusing to make wide reaching changes.


Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:19 pm
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ashkenaziCD wrote:
Uh, Questions Galore doesn't write the IHSA state tournament at all. The VHSL tournament is being taken over by HSAPQ this year, which means it will be a completely acceptable tournament, but nonetheless in the past teams played it just because it was there.
Sorry, my mistake--the second quoted sentence makes my point, though.


Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:24 pm
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Andy, if MSHSAA were to enact rules on the lines of banning teams from ever leaving the state lines, that would be phenomenal material for us to get them in trouble with lawmakers over, so given the implied legal threat if they go overboard in their reaction to teams making it known they don't like MSHSAA, I think it is very reasonable to expect them not to go through with such blatantly awful rule changes because I will personally call all the lawmakers in the state to alert them to these policies of destroying our chances of competing at national tournaments and the like.


Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:24 pm
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Charbroil wrote:
ashkenaziCD wrote:
Uh, Questions Galore doesn't write the IHSA state tournament at all. The VHSL tournament is being taken over by HSAPQ this year, which means it will be a completely acceptable tournament, but nonetheless in the past teams played it just because it was there.
Sorry, my mistake--the second quoted sentence makes my point, though.
Charles, I still don't think you got the point, being that I'm not saying we need to convince teams to not go to MSHSAA state as much as we need them to go, think it sucks, then either refuse to take it seriously or report their complaints.


Thu Jun 04, 2009 9:26 pm
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Charbroil wrote:
with less probability like in NAQT and more actual important calculation, please
Sorry, this is kind of tangential, but why is probability not "actual important calculation?"


Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:12 am
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I don't have any problems with calculation--it just seemed as if most of the calculation at HSNCT was of the "you have two x-sided dice and you want y result, find the probability of said result." There wasn't anything like "find the area x under a curve" or "find the slope m of a curve at point z"--an insufficiency of basic calculation in favor of somewhat silly word problems.

Quote:
Charles, I still don't think you got the point, being that I'm not saying we need to convince teams to not go to MSHSAA state as much as we need them to go, think it sucks, then either refuse to take it seriously or report their complaints.


I really don't see the point of that, though--bad questions are more likely to just turn people off of Quiz Bowl than convince them to migrate to other, better formats.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89143/'>Charbroil</a>, Jun 5 2009, 01:43:23 PM.</div>


Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:42 pm
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Ok, I think I'm ready to chime in on this argument.

I think that having the State tournament get worse and worse is more likely to turn teams off to Quizbowl in general than to make teams explore the other facets of Quizbowl.

I enjoy playing Dungeons & Dragons. I feel that it is a lot of fun when done properly. Recently, a female friend of mine told me she had attended a session of D&D run by an inexperienced Dungeon Master. He did a very poor job, botching the rules and telling the players what to do rather than letting them take charge of their own session. Basically, he improperly handled his role as a Dungeon Master (in the same way that MSHSAA has improperly handled its role as arbiter of Quizbowl). As a result, the friend I mentioned told me that D&D was no fun at all, and questioned my enjoyment of said activity.

It was immediately clear to me, as it is clear to [most of] you, that the reason behind the bad experiences was poor execution. Yet, to this friend, the issue was not with her low-quality Dungeon Master, but with the game of Dungeons & Dragons itself. Although she liked the concept of a role-playing game involving a bunch of friends around a table, her experience taught her that D&D is no fun and she shouldn't play again.

I suspect that that is exactly what will happen with many, many teams in Missouri. Teams will lose interest in Quizbowl entirely if the State series gets even worse. Alternatively, with a State series that gets marginally better with each run, other teams will be intrigued with the concept of Quizbowl and look to explore new facets of the game. I believe that teams like Parkway West will attend more, good tournaments and join the cause of what has been arbitrarily labeled "good quizbowl."

That is the course that logic dictates to me as most likely to cause improvement (of any sort).


Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:56 pm
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And with that comparison of QB to D&D, we have hit a new level of nerdy as a message board. Wow.


Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:21 pm
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scphilli wrote:
And with that comparison of QB to D&D, we have hit a new level of nerdy as a message board. Wow.
I always loved getting Forbis as a moderator, because I would just make nerdy D&D jokes with him all the time.


Fri Jun 05, 2009 11:26 pm
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I just wanted to mention that Mike is on vacation in Florida, so he likely won't respond to questions about his potential bid for a while.


Sat Jun 06, 2009 6:58 am
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Small correction: IHSA series is written by an array of former quizbowlers, coaches, etc. For the most part, they are people who play in college or very recently played. The questions are (mostly) pyramidal although some of the former coaches may have an imperfect understanding of such.

However, members of the IHSA cabal are not supposed to advertise their presence in the IHSA cabal. ;)

MSHSAA will continue to exist, as will good quiz bowl.

Therefore, any efforts to lessen the distance between MSHSAA and good quiz bowl are a positive, in my estimation.

A hypothetical "bad coach" will be opposing efforts to improve quiz bowl anywhere, anytime, from complaining that NAQT is "too long" or "too difficult," to complaining against efforts to remove tournament participation caps, travel restrictions, etc.. to complaining about players who wish to make quiz bowl better.

So the idea that this army of "bad coaches" will stymie further reform once the current crop of possible reforms are enacted doesn't seem entirely plausible, given that this army of "bad coaches" will be opposing reform from the very beginning.

I'm not sure why teams will suddenly stop coming to NAQT and other higher-quality tournaments if reform is passed; if anything, it seems the smaller distance (in quizbowl terms) will make the transition from once-a-year or conference-only to high quality all the easier.

To put it another way, I'm not sure why attendance at high-quality tournaments would stagnate/decline if the state series (i.e. baseline) was made better.

Opponents of reform will be against reform no matter what we do. They will oppose us if we ignore the state series; they will oppose us if we work with the state series.


Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:37 am
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carpenoctem63141 wrote:
scphilli wrote:
And with that comparison of QB to D&D, we have hit a new level of nerdy as a message board. Wow.
I always loved getting Forbis as a moderator, because I would just make nerdy D&D jokes with him all the time.
Forbis no longer showing up to moderate at our tournaments is definitely one of the sadder things to transpire this year.


Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:06 pm
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Shawn, I'm not saying that reform to the MSHSAA's series will kill attendance at everything else - I'm saying that marginal reform to the MSHSAA's series will freeze more wide reaching reform of it. If we want the MSHSAA to start producing an acceptable tournament across the board, then we need enough people to be aggravated at MSHSAA to get them to try and fix EVERYTHING. The less obviously bad the questions are, the less likely it is for coaches to be frustrated by MSHSAA and decide that there are wide reaching problems like the quota system, the 5 total games at the state tournament, the comically long format, etc. If we want to get rid of these things, we need for more coaches to realize that the MSHSAA is not the be-all and end-all of quizbowl, and the best way to get this across to coaches is to make the MSHSAA run tournaments on questions nobody can stand.
To respond to Will, my theory is that if we can work now to expose the people who might otherwise be turned off to quizbowl by any decline in MSHSAA quality to the really good tournaments. I agree that if MSHSAA falls apart and no teams are left who know about good quizbowl, then everything has failed. However, if we can expose all these active teams right now to pyramidal events and start explaining to them what it is that we like about pyramidal questions, and why we think the MSHSAA is flawed, then instead of being turned off by the poor quality of questions, they would know there is something else to spend time on and start caring instead about.
To Andy, I think it is unfair to say that I was using concerns over Mike's ability to produce a good set as a mask for attacking MSHSAA or whatever. They are two separate issues, as I both believe that MSHSAA needs to be taken apart, and I simultaneously don't trust this Wehrman set to be good independently, considering there won't be a science editor and everything anyone's ever told me about Yale high school sets is that they were underwhelming (and have yet to see a sample that would prove me otherwise). Also, contrary to what you claim, you literally did say "I want to run down a few of Mike's other qualifications" and then rattle off how great Mike's high school career was, so pardon me if I read the word qualifications in this thread and thought you meant the obvious.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89049/'>ashkenaziCD</a>, Jun 10 2009, 07:19:54 AM.</div>


Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:15 am
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Quote:
To Andy, I think it is unfair to say that I was using concerns over Mike's ability to produce a good set as a mask for attacking MSHSAA or whatever. They are two separate issues, as I both believe that MSHSAA needs to be taken apart, and I simultaneously don't trust this Wehrman set to be good independently, considering there won't be a science editor and everything anyone's ever told me about Yale high school sets is that they were underwhelming (and have yet to see a sample that would prove me otherwise). Also, contrary to what you claim, you literally did say "I want to run down a few of Mike's other qualifications" and then rattle off how great Mike's high school career was, so pardon me if I read the word qualifications in this thread and thought you meant the obvious.


It might be unfair, but it still seems to me to be exactly what you were doing. You have essentially said that you want Questions Galore again next year in hopes to run MSHSAA into ruin, so I assume that you would denounce any competent writer from writing the state questions. You have not offered up a better writer than Mike and have insisted that you would rather have no good writer at all. Qualifications don't seem to matter. In fact it seems like you think that Mike's questions would be an improvement over last year, because an improvement would potentially do damage to your scheme.

Again, our end goal is the same, but we disagree on the means of getting there. The question remains: Do we attempt to fix MSHSAA or hope for its destruction? If we hope for its destruction, why will this time be different than any other time that that solution has been hoped for? Why will people become aggravated at MSHSAA now when they never have before? How come there is not a single coach willing to stand with you publicly on this?

It would be also helpful to read our posts more carefully. Mike has said that he did not write the BHSAT sets. He helped edit a few groups of packets and perhaps submitted a playoff round or two. I don't know much about the production of those sets, but isn't it just as possible that he brought them up to "underwhelming" from completely horrible? And who said that there won't be a science editor? Mike certainly didn't. Since when did Sean Pickrell or Questions Galore have a science editor? It seems to me that most tournaments do not have any subject editors at all. The fact that Mike might be willing to have someone look over or contribute science questions should be a positive rather than a negative.

I did say that I wanted to run down a few of Mike's qualifications but not before you had already attacked them. Not to mention that you have continued to completely mischaracterize that paragraph. As I mentioned before, my reasoning for writing that was to defend the ridiculous claim that Mike was now somehow aligned with Jeremy Gibbs and MSHSAA as agents of “bad quizbowl.” I argued that Mike had his playing career severely curtailed by MSHSAA and its arbitrary rules, and that he still holds a grudge and is not an apologist for their actions.


Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:51 am
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Awehrman wrote:
It would be also helpful to read our posts more carefully. Mike has said that he did not write the BHSAT sets. He helped edit a few groups of packets and perhaps submitted a playoff round or two.
I'd like to home in on this part of the post, and ask whether we could see those aforementioned BHSAT playoff rounds which Mike did write--those sets are unequivocally samples of his work and thus would give people some room to judge his capabilities.


Wed Jun 10, 2009 3:47 pm
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Charbroil wrote:
Awehrman wrote:
It would be also helpful to read our posts more carefully. Mike has said that he did not write the BHSAT sets. He helped edit a few groups of packets and perhaps submitted a playoff round or two.
I'd like to home in on this part of the post, and ask whether we could see those aforementioned BHSAT playoff rounds which Mike did write--those sets are unequivocally samples of his work and thus would give people some room to judge his capabilities.
Exactly.


Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:54 pm
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I cannot say whether or not those BHSAT rounds will be posted or not. I assume Mike will chime in on that when he returns from Florida. I don't know if he has the packets still or if he would have to contact other Yale people to get them. That said it is not difficult to find questions that he has written or edited in the online archives. Most are college questions, but I think you can get a sense of his style from those. He also apparently wrote a few for PACE NSC in 2004 (I think he also contributed questions from 98-00, but I'm not sure). None of those will be particularly good guides to how he might write the MSHSAA questions though, since their guidelines require a much different approach. I can say that noted coach Mr. Allen told me at HSNCT that it would be "wonderful" if Mike wrote next year's questions, for what it's worth, although he shared some similar concerns about whether MSHSAA would actually select him as the vendor and pay him what he wants.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89055/'>Awehrman</a>, Jun 10 2009, 09:02:41 PM.</div>


Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:01 pm
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Here, for instance, is a packet from BOB in 2005 written and edited by Mike. Although it's a college packet from a few years ago, I think you can infer that a high school tournament written by the same person would be light years ahead of anything Questions Galore has ever produced to say the least.

Mike Packet 05


Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:14 pm
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Hey, given that it's been a complete year since my questions were used, I'm willing to give my questions to anyone who asks. I think the URL is quizbowlpackets.com, right?

I think at the end of 2009-10 I will put my complete VHSL archive online.


Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:59 am
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As far as outreach to other teams goes, I think that a better way than turning people off to MSHSAA is to directly reach out to them through MOQBA. If MOQBA can contact individual schools and inform them of higher-quality tournaments that are coming up, I think that will be highly effective towards interesting teams in "good Quizbowl." Those teams will then see the ills of the MSHSAA system, creating far more demand for not only change, but the kind of change that the members of this forum want to see.


Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:27 am
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WillHack wrote:
As far as outreach to other teams goes, I think that a better way than turning people off to MSHSAA is to directly reach out to them through MOQBA. If MOQBA can contact individual schools and inform them of higher-quality tournaments that are coming up, I think that will be highly effective towards interesting teams in "good Quizbowl." Those teams will then see the ills of the MSHSAA system, creating far more demand for not only change, but the kind of change that the members of this forum want to see.
MOQBA is planning on sending a newsletter to all Missouri high schools in August, so hopefully this will alert more teams to the good quizbowl tournaments that will be taking place next season.


Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:42 pm
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Yeah Will, I don't think anyone is kidding themselves that if MOQBA doesn't attempt to advertise tournaments we're sponsoring that teams will magically find out about us.


Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:40 pm
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Something I forgot to mention that I'm confused by is the assertion that college quizbowl has lower attendance in the present than it did a decade ago. My understanding is that a few years ago, that may have been the case, but over the last few years things seem to just continue growing at the college level. For instance, this year's ACF Fall was the largest ACF tournament ever run if you count all the teams at the different sites. I've asked different people who are much older than me about it, and none of them agree that there's much evidence that there is a decrease in college participation at the present.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89049/'>ashkenaziCD</a>, Jun 13 2009, 02:24:25 AM.</div>


Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:23 am
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This is getting pretty far afield, but it seems to me that during the time I've been playing in college, some circuits have shrunk (notably, the Southwest) while others have expanded greatly, so while there probably has been a net increase in teams, some regions aren't experiencing those benefits.


Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:25 pm
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Dear Interested Question-Writing Companies:



At the last meeting, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Board of Directors approved an extension of the question-writing contract with Question Galore; therefore, this company will continue as the MSHSAA question-writing company for the 2009-10 school year. Thank you very much for your past and/or current interest in writing post-season questions for Missouri. We will keep your company on our roster for future Request for Proposals. Please contact me if you have any questions.



cc: MSHSAA Academic Competition Advisory Committee and State Manager



Stacy Schroeder, Associate Executive Director


Tue Jul 14, 2009 8:14 am
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Ugh.


Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:42 am
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Business as usual.


Tue Jul 14, 2009 10:47 am
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