a guest Apr 22nd, 2019 102 Never
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- Hello Shawn and the writers of RMBAT,
- Thank you for bringing up that concern- I was not TDing at all and I did not indicate that I was. The team thought that because I already had an account on hsquizbowl.org, it would be best if I was able to spread the postings and contact the right people on the community. The email I gave Anson to send the packets was not under my control- it was in the control of the moderators and I apologize for not making any of this clear. The moderators (Pratham Patel, Robert Lucas, Sarod Nori, Jon Devries-captain and pretty much main organizer, Holly Ellsworth, Mr. Andrew Floyd- advisor, Cindy Wang, and Jayden Elliott) had made strict measures so that I or any of the house team could not access any of the packets so that I would be playing ethically as well as showing zero partiality. Therefore, there was no possible way for me to access the packets beforehand.
- The tournament director today was Sarod Nori, currently at UIUC. He, too, made sure that I did not have possession the packets today, right before the tournament started and he does know that I have been studying from wikipedia, protobowl and quizdb.org the past few weeks to better prep and study as nationals is creeping around the corner.
- As I was playing, as much as I enjoyed the packet, I too was also very shocked to see the stats, and felt that something might be wrong. As you know, I am not a scorer with the capabilities of powering of over 33%, according to previous stats, nor have I reached over 65 ppg ever in tournaments/local conference leagues (I have had a 100 ppg playing in the Okemos B team for the 2018 winter league when I was a junior, but the league did not put up individual stats during that time and it was a NAQT IS-A packet).
- The questions in the packet today were unsettling. Every break after each round, I talked to the mods and they also agreed that the questions felt that the way that the questions had demonstrated the strengths of the Okemos High School's classes, with particular focuses in certain historical periods, specific science knowledge (i.e in learning about the lorentz factor and components such as speed of light in special relativity, which I believe was in round 6 according to my tournament notebook), and as well as having a strong fine arts program, both visual and auditory, which can be backed up by the accolades students have received for their performance and work. Overall, the mods and I had the same consensus that this packet set was the best "fit" for us Okemos kids, meaning that the tossups were of the strengths that the usual Okemos student would have if taken the classes at the school, and such classes would have allowed Okemos students to power more frequently.
- One particular case I'd like to bring up is round 2 when we had played against DCD A. There were roughly 18 powers total- and as you could tell, that's a very rare occurrence at any tournament, especially in a packet at regular-plus difficulty. However, as the match ended, both sides expressed our shock at the questions and how well it reflected schoolwork, the concepts stressed in class, as well as individuals' interests (i.e watching the Vox Youtube video on how France produced 50 world cup players, ending up a buzzer race on the very first line of that corresponding question in the packet). I right down the answers to every tossup heard (with corresponding clues) and for bonus answers, ones that I do not know in my notebook, regardless whether I was right or wrong and indicate if the other team was answering or if it were our team, so that I can look them up after when I get home. I noticed the ones I powered for that round were the following (answer, main category/field in parentheses, and the clue that I buzzed on): flying tigers (history) on Claire Chennault, entropy (chemistry/physics) on it's not Gibb's Free energy, Abbasid on conquering Mesopotamia and Persia, aging (biology/disease) on progeria, France (sports/trash) on the 2018 World Cup, Paul Bunyan (just my favorite tall tale) on pea soup, McCarthy (history) on Margaret Chase Smith speech, and red (visual arts) on land feature color of Hokusai. These are categories that I study for the team and the academic cannon were covered in classes such as AP Chem, AP World, and some were just because I like them (i.e really loving to pay attention to all kinds of sports/sports facts and having favorite stories). Such analyses can be applied to other rounds as well.
- Another case I would like to bring up are the way I scored the bonuses. As the mods can attest, the house team either scored on average a modest 18.88 ppb. This shows that the strengths I possessed were in only certain categories of bonuses, and other categories were not known very well. Playing with underclassmen fairly new to quizbowl, I was the main one answering the bonuses as well. Many of the bonus sets were related to social sciences and literature, the team seldom scored over 10 or even 10 points on bonuses in such fields. However, for science, history, and fine arts, the bonuses tended to have scored more bonus points then, usually obtaining 20 ppb for them.
- If I was in your position, I would also view this as a possible case of cheating and unethical playing just looking at the stats and from the same information you have. I do agree that I should have stated in the post for the tournament clearly and to Anson that I was just relaying information for the mods and should have indicated that I was to be playing in the house team as well as making it clear that I did not have any access to the email prior to the tournament. However, the mods for the tournament have done a great job of blocking access to the packets, not sharing any information about the packets to the house team, and have put in hours of work so that this relatively inexperienced player would be able to play and improve in one more tournament setting before heading to the last tournament in his high school career, nationals, in May.
- I also think that this set brought my strengths as a quizbowl player, also that I was playing as the lone varsity team member on the house team. I know that I am just an okay player, and I'm not a crazy loon to just flex on MB and RM quizbowl on the way I study or specialize and etc because, come on, you guys are MB and RM, giants in qb. However, I want to say that the ways I answered corresponded to what I cover, and sometimes players have "their day" or one really lucky day where the set has a lot more of their strengths, and some days, not their best form or the set has a lot of weaknesses, and I'm sure you all have experienced this in the past. And today, I guess, was my lucky day. I am not disparaging the packets or the questions either- the questions were definitely tough but classes and such had immensely helped me a ton by covering such key details in the fields that I specialize in, and the packet just had them up for tossups. In contrast, if you look up UMich SCT-DII or MSU Harvard Fall mirror stats for me, I was absolutely terrible and they were the worst form of me. After seeing my final stats today, one hand, it gave me a new spark in liking quizbowl on another level- possibly pursuing it at either Princeton or MSU this fall as well as finding new ways to help the lowerclassmen in the club get better and have fun in quizbowl. On the other hand, I was also worried because I have never played to that ability at at tourney before nor will I ever play up that ability unless the packet is designed to be more science/history/fine arts/sports/etc tossups, like today's set. Also I do not want any defamation to Okemos' reputation especially despite going the extra mile in extreme measures and preventing any sort of unfair advantage for everyone.
- The point of quizbowl is not to get ridiculously high PPG's or to get wins. It's to have fun sharing knowledge in the form of a game and create a sense of a community that there are people out there who are deeply interested into learning more facts in multiple disciplines. Being a person who somewhat finally found a community where I actually fit in, I never want to abuse this in this community nor set a bad precedent to the lowerclassmen in the club. In addition, I would never cheat in the first place because it does not help at all in preparing for nationals- it does not allow me to see what things I know and things to work on while prepping.
- I would like to finish by apologizing again for such lack of clarity- I should have made it clear that I was playing in the tournament, not TD, and that I was relaying information to both sides to allow for the tournament to happen and no such access to the quizbowl team's email from the start. I will make sure that such miscommunication will not occur again. Do know that there were zero forms of dishonesty in the tournament, especially from me, the house team, and the mods, but also we all respect the work and time put in writing the RMBAT series, and it would be disrespectful if such deceit occurred. If you have any further questions, such as seeing my notebook to prove my statement above or etc, comments, or clarifications, please feel free to contact me here or email my personal email at email@example.com.
- Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope this clears things.
- Joseph Chung
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