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So I've been thinking 
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Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007
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Post So I've been thinking
Recently I've taken an interest in trying to fill a niche in the Quiz Bowl world. Below is a project that I intend to start development on. I would like comments and suggestions about this web application.

<big>Introduction - What's the project?</big>

I intend to develop a web application to do the following things:
Provide a system for clear tournament postings and information directly concerning a tournament.
Provide a means to create a team profile on the website and add team members to it.
Provide a stat tracking system to be used in tournaments by a moderator. This will provide a live tie-in to games.
All of these things will be discussed in depth later in this post.



<big>Website membership and roles</big>

The site will be broken into sections depending on roles, outlined below.

Unregistered Members
UM will have the ability to see all of the posted tournaments, but will not be able to see obscured information such as email address and phone number of contact points. This is for the poster’s privacy.

Registered Member – teamless
Registered members can see all of the information posted for tournaments, and will have the option to create a team.

Registered Member – team
These members can add other website members to their team. They will also have the ability to edit the team profile (which would have such information as website address) and will also have the ability to create a tournament.

Registered Member – team – tournament creator
The creator of a tournament will have the direct power to edit the information about the tournament. They will also be able to add other registered users to the stat keeping group for their tournament.

Registered Member – Stat Keeper
Stat Keepers will have access to the tournament statistics. This will include a means to add the points, bonuses, names of players, and other relevant information for matches. Stat keeping will be outlined below.


<big>Registering for the website</big>
Registration will be free for both individual accounts and teams. You must provide a real first and last name upon signing up. This is to help teams viewing your profile know who is who (similar to the restriction in place on the hsquizbowl forums)



<big>Creating a Team</big>
Any registered member can create a team via a web form. Collegiate teams will be under a set of restrictions. The main restriction is that the creator must sign up with a valid email address issued by that school. This verifies to me that you are from that school and creating a legitament team.

High schools will not be under this restriction, generally speaking.



<big>Creating a Tournament</big>
Anyone that has a team will be allowed to create a tournament. Created tournaments will be featured on the front page of the website.

Created tournaments will have all information displayed for their individual tournament. Such things as:

Team Hosting, Price, Discounts, Affiliation, Email Address, Phone Number, Teams Attending, Name of contact point, physical address of tournament (complete with google maps API tie-in).

A persons phone number and email address will be available only to logged in users. This is to protect your identity from spam bots.

Creating the tournament will have a stat keeping component, outlined in much more detail below.



<big>Stat Keeping</big>

Why?

Currently, the best in-round stat keeping ability in quiz bowl is a set of programmed spreadsheets. This web application would provide a similar interface to this in that you would simply tab down and enter the points, negs, etc.

This system could give people wanting to see how a tournament is going in real-time the ability to do so. Every time update is clicked within the form, the new data is immediately available. This could mean that, potentially, an RSS feed could be created along with a chat-bot tie in.

I personally feel that having a stat tracker for a tournament would help with smaller tournaments. Since tournaments are becoming increasingly web-centric, a web application for helping to direct and maintain them has been forthcoming for some time.

This would also give teams the ability to see where they stand in a tournament in real-time. With this in mind, teams would know how far ahead, or behind of the field they are, and they can adjust their play styles accordingly.

How?

As stated above, a tournament director can add stat keepers. A stat keeper will create a new scoresheet, select the day and round and fill in the relevant information about that round. Stats can be updated live from within a game and displayed on the tournament results page. This would give people the first ever live tracking of a tournament.

Output of tracked information would be in a similar format to SQBS, as their system does a fine job.



<big>A note about security</big>

This system will be using ASP.NET and Microsoft SQL database. It will be using ASP.NET 3.5’s roles and membership profiles.

If someone creates a falsified account, using a name that is not theirs, a complaint may be filied. In order to verify who you are beyond a shadow of a doubt, a emailed copy of your driver’s license is requested in order to remove a user who’s stolen your identity. This is for everyone’s protection.

I will not sell people’s email addresses or phone numbers, and I will have a privacy policy to go along with the website.

Users must verify created accounts using a email address before being able to access anything on the website that an unregistered user couldn’t see. This is to ensure that accounts are genuine and to protect against automated spam bots.

<big>Conclusion</big>

These are my stated goals. This project will not be complete for some time (due to the fact that I'm a busy college student), but I'm slating for a usable version [although possibly not entirely complete] by the time of Missouri State's spring tournament. I'm open to any suggestions or comments about this system, as I've not began coding on it this is the best time to consider bigger and better implementation ideas.

The system would be completely free.



<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/89146/'>Daegan</a>, Oct 5 2009, 03:45:05 PM.</div>


Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:44 pm
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Post So I've been thinking
The scope of your project is pretty impressive, but there were some things I was wondering:

1/ Is the major advantage to this system that it centralizes a lot of things (statkeeping, announcements, etc.) that are currently located in various locations? That seems to be the point of this, but I wanted to make sure.

2/ The email restriction for college tournaments you mention has the drawback that many college tournaments are played by (and won by!) high school teams, and many also feature open teams (including non-students). Neither of those groups would have email addresses, so is there any way of creating a subcategory under college teams that allows those teams? Also, many players play under pseudonyms--the security restrictions seem a trifle onerous, to be honest.

That being said, this looks really interesting--if you get this done in time for your Spring tourney (that's the one in January, right?), we at WUSTL would probably at least look into using it for WUHSAC as well.


Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:49 pm
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Post So I've been thinking
It sounds to me that, if you make the project flexible enough, it could easily be expanded to sports and other activities that use statistics and have online followings in a similar way. This is clearly an awesome idea.


Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:16 am
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Post So I've been thinking
Also, there are some teams that have a leader who is not actually enrolled there - Matt Weiner directs all of the tournaments at VCU, but he has been out of school since 2008. Eric Douglass is the same way at South Carolina. I would suggest loosening the restrictions on having to send an email with a valid school account for those people.


Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:21 am
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Post So I've been thinking
Charbroil:

The advantage is that it centralizes everything and provides a free resource to have stats for tournaments posted, as well as announcements.

The email restriction is not for college tournaments, merely college teams. If there isn't a single member on the team with a valid college email address, they shouldn't get a college name to play under or to post tournaments under that school's name.

Here's an example of this:
A member of the VCU team requests that VCU have a team added to the website. I add it, add the requester. He would then have access to add anyone else with a registered account to the website, even if their emails aren't at @VCU.edu. Any member of this team may post an accouncement on behalf of the team.

I just want to make sure that the person REQUESTING a team to be added would be a current member of that school.

I would accept extraneous circumstances for creating a college team for someone, but I don't see why it'd be necessary.

The biggest reason for this is to ensure that a team on this web application would be owned by people actually on it. Not that Quiz Bowl has any griefers or **** stirrers, but it's not a bad step for security. I feel that high schools are less likely to have something like this happen to them.

As stated previously, restrictions regarding high school teams would be lifted of the email account requirement, as most high schools don't give school email addresses.

The name restriction is because I don't want someone to post a tournament with "Tyrannosaurus Rex" as a contact name for a tournament. In-game stats would allow pseudonyms, just not created accounts. I hope I'm making the distinction clear enough.

EDIT: Profanity is prohibited. -- Jeffrey


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/88961/'>U. Lou Sthagaim</a>, Oct 6 2009, 08:02:58 PM.</div>


Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:00 pm
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Post So I've been thinking
Sounds like a cool idea. It sounds like this would basically combine the functionality of the hsquizbowl tournament database and SQBS. I've always liked the idea of having stats be a web-based application so people can see semi-live results elsewhere, and uploading stats is effortless; unfortunately, my attempt was more of a scores program than a stats program, and by the time I realized people needed actual stats, I just decided that SQBS was sufficient.

One thing: This puts the scoresheet online, so each question is logged, right? How would stats be entered if Internet access isn't available in game rooms?

As someone who has written quizbowl web apps in the past, I would definitely post this to hsquizbowl and see what the rest of the country thinks, so that you can use your time appropriately if nobody will use it.

EDIT: What do stat people do about teams that don't register? I don't think you can really expect everyone on the team side to use this, unless you outright require people attending tournaments that use it to register for the tournament through the application.


<div class="editby">Edited by <a href='http://s4.zetaboards.com/Academic_Competition/profile/88961/'>U. Lou Sthagaim</a>, Oct 6 2009, 08:24:10 PM.</div>


Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:18 pm
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Post So I've been thinking
Let me clarify that.

Whenever a stat person creates a match, the teams are stored as mere Strings (in terms of data types)

The only people that would need to register for this web app are those that want to manage the stats, and given that registration takes about <15 seconds, I don't see why that's an issue.

I'll use unique tournament IDs to store the information in the database and use string matching to do the individual stats and querys. It'll be a pretty simple system, I think.

If internet access isn't available to individual rooms, then this program is not for your tournament. Nearly every tournament I've been to has required this, as the questions are typically distributed through email. You would still be able to use this program after the tournament to post the stats (similarly to SQBS).

You don't have to use the stat tracking system to post a tournament, that's just added functionality.


Tue Oct 06, 2009 9:52 pm
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Post So I've been thinking
The problem with assuming that everywhere will have universal wireless access is that, as we discovered at both our Harvard International mirror and more disastrously at ACF Nationals, some schools will actively block computers that don't have their serial number registered on campus, even if they use a login that is valid. This tournament can only work on those kinds of campuses if all the computers are owned by students enrolled there. I am also very unsure as to whether high schools now offer wireless access, since the wifi revolution was only partially underway by the time I graduated.


Tue Oct 06, 2009 10:09 pm
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Post So I've been thinking
ashkenaziCD wrote:
The problem with assuming that everywhere will have universal wireless access is that, as we discovered at both our Harvard International mirror and more disastrously at ACF Nationals, some schools will actively block computers that don't have their serial number registered on campus, even if they use a login that is valid. This tournament can only work on those kinds of campuses if all the computers are owned by students enrolled there. I am also very unsure as to whether high schools now offer wireless access, since the wifi revolution was only partially underway by the time I graduated.
Oh speaking of laptops Charlie, do I need to bring mine this weekend?

Sean


Wed Oct 07, 2009 7:18 am
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Post So I've been thinking
No, it's NAQT so we were given paper copies.


Wed Oct 07, 2009 8:35 am
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Post So I've been thinking
I have a few thoughts

1) You will have to teach moderators all over Missouri how to use this software. This I think will be most difficult.

2) Question companies often repeat questions in different sets, this is well known, this will have to be addressed in the system

3) Many rural schools have no Wifi system, they use cable or DSL-based systems, this would be easy to fix.

4) Many rural schools would not use the system, unless coerced, this is another difficult issue.

5) Another idea is to try a system like this at Districts and State as a test for future tourneys.

6) Link the high school to their MAP District ID, thus the school is properly represented.

It is an excellent idea, which I believe could work.


Sun Oct 11, 2009 3:48 pm
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Post So I've been thinking
Ajax 2 wrote:
I have a few thoughts

1) You will have to teach moderators all over Missouri how to use this software. This I think will be most difficult.

2) Question companies often repeat questions in different sets, this is well known, this will have to be addressed in the system

3) Many rural schools have no Wifi system, they use cable or DSL-based systems, this would be easy to fix.

4) Many rural schools would not use the system, unless coerced, this is another difficult issue.

5) Another idea is to try a system like this at Districts and State as a test for future tourneys.

6) Link the high school to their MAP District ID, thus the school is properly represented.

It is an excellent idea, which I believe could work.
1) The software will be pretty easy to use and very straight forward. You'll click "Post Tournament" and then "manage statistics" if you want to use that feature. Even Missouri coaches could use it.

2) I have no idea what you're referring to here. I'm not tracking actual questions, just the stats.

3) This system is not for them.

4) This system is not for them.

5) This system is probably not for them.


Bottom line, it's more or less for teams that have the "ideal" setup for it.

It's being designed to be used for the Missouri State University tournament (should homework lighten enough to give me time to code it), but it certainly won't cater to the teams that can't make use of it. This isn't a design flaw, merely a factual observation of having a web application.

As a side note, nearly every modern school either has CAT-5/6 jacks or wifi, either of which would give you an internet connection to use this web application.

If a team could make use of this, it'd be a fantastic system for stats that would provide a live view of the game. If you want to enter the stats online later, you can do that too. If you don't want to track stats at all, no big deal -- you can still post a tournament and have it in the list.


Wed Oct 21, 2009 1:09 am
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Post So I've been thinking
I have a working version of the tournament posting system. I'll have the beta online later today, as my web host decided I didn't need FTP access tonight.

It's still in beta so it doesn't have all of the functionality that I'm going to provide (although it's miles ahead of the hsquizbowl.org one).

Notable missing functionality is the ability to:
edit profile (will be in tomorrow)
manage team (edit team information, add team members) - likely to be in tomorrow

I'd like to get some people to test it out and start using this system on a trial basis so I can start working out some bugs. If you'd like to attempt to break my web app, I'd like your MSN/AIM so in case you manage to I can fix the problems quickly.

Your email, real name, phone number, etc will not be available to anyone without an account, so on that note you're quite safe from spam bots.

Other notes:
I officially have the database charts mapped out on how to do the stats, which is exciting because it's pretty complicated. I'm not sure when that system will be live but the project end date remains at 1/1/2010.

PS:

The layout of this site isn't complete yet. My graphic designer friend decided to get sick with bronchitis and has been unable to work on my layout, so you'll have the pleasantries of a computer science's design skills. Also, this web app has only been used/tested/anything on Firefox 3.1. If you're running anything less than Firefox 3.1 or IE 8 I'm not guaranteeing that it'll look properly, and if it doesn't I'd greatly appreciate a post informing me.

If you're running IE 6, however, update your browser.

Link to come soon.


Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:39 am
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Post So I've been thinking
http://173.30.99.237/qbtps/

This supports IE 7-8 and FireFox. I've not tested with anything else.

It's still pretty rough right now, and the stats aren't live. I'm going to add a page tomorrow or the next day to allow a more "detailed" description of tournaments (basically opening up room for the 5000 character text box, and potentially an embedded google map)

Registration takes a few seconds and your password will be encrypted. This is a development server, and the project is in early beta. Bear this in mind and please report anything that's not working as expected.

I've got the database mapped out for the stat tracking, and have come up with a UI for stat management in-game. That system should be live when I have some more free time.


I'm also going to have the pages redesigned, so this template isn't to stay. I hate it too.


Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:58 am
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