Wednesday, January 18, 2017

In which we look at the waitlist. And then the other waitlist.

On another note altogether, Hen Hud’s Baby Bump is actually looking quite robust. I did bang a few heads together to let people know that I would frown on their non-attendance, but honestly I think the real issue is that people do indeed want a one-day tournament for their younger students. I know I would. It ought to sell itself, and maybe, in the long run, that is what it did. I do know that anyone who expects me to work their tournament in the future better have an awfully good reason not to support it. I think I may have already ceded one of my commitments next year. Quid pro quo. You don’t come to (loosely interpreted) my tournament, I don’t go to yours. What could be more fair?

Having cleaned up Penn, I’m now in the fun position of regularly checking the entries for drops, and then immediately filling up the slots. I was talking to one coach yesterday who couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t in, and I admitted that I had already let in too many, and as we were communicating enough slots opened up to let his folks in after all. He was, indeed, at the top of the list. Anyhow, that sort of thing is fun. I’d forgotten that Hen Hud was also waitlisting, so I got to clear some more of them, too.

Then there’s Columbia. I rejiggered the deadlines for people a little while ago, but I’m still unsure where we stand. The college is beyond the pale when it comes to letting us know about rooms in a timely manner. Fortunately most of the attendees these days are local enough to adjust, but jeesh! It’s a pain.

And to think, the so-called Emory weekend I have off. That will be nice. Any break in the routine is useful to recharge the old gray cells.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

In which the 2017 Bigle goes into the record books

Bigle X was last weekend. Life went on.

This is one of the few tournaments that JV and I work together on LD. Usually when we’re together, he’s doing Speech. We kept things running on time by having him roam the halls with a lean and hungry look. It did the job.

I realized two things about the 9 vs 6 tiers this weekend, both of which should have been obvious earlier. Supporters of the idea say that when assignments aren’t mutual, they are nonetheless better than when assignments are not mutual in 6 tiers. I’ve always responded, yes, I understand the math, but that by the same token 9 has fewer mutuals to begin with. It occurred to me this weekend, after pairing all those rounds, how different it actually is. Going from 6 to 9 adds 50% more tiers (6 + 3). Further, from 6 to 9 adds a 33% likelihood (1 in 9 vs 1 in 6) that you will not rank any individual judge the same way. In other words, you have a 1 in 6 chance of rating the same way, whereas in 9 tiers you have a 1 in 9 chance. (Grant me the courtesy of accepting that I understand that these figures are slightly askew, and that some judges are more highly preffed than others in any pool. I know that. But the arguments here are reasonable.) I guess what we end up with is how you want to define mutual. If you define it as identical, go with 6. If you define it as closer than it would be if it isn’t identical in 6, go with 9. The thing is, most tournaments I do use 6, and all but a handful of pairings don’t get mutuality. That is not the case with 9.

Of course, since no one sees the prefs other than tab, that may not matter so much, and my main argument against it has always been that it asks the customer to do things a different way from normal, and nobody likes that. I also realized that most people, despite the different system, might in fact remain mentally moored to the old numbers. More than once coaches came into tab wondering why they were getting 5s. The thing is, they’re used to 5s being one short of a strike, whereas in fact a 5 out of 9 is analogous to a 3 in the 6-tier system. No one ever comes into tab to complain about 3s in 6 tiers. I think this buttresses my argument. The average coach doesn’t really grasp the math, is being asked to do something out of the ordinary, and perceives of the system as working against them because suddenly all their prefs are worse. The good news is that they don’t know how often those prefs aren’t mutual.

Still, Vaughan and I worked mightily hard to, on the one hand, improve prefs wherever possible (and it is possible more often than you would think), and to manage the limited judging obligations (the VCA knows well how I feel about that) so that highly preffed but occasional judges were where they were needed for all of the elims. Rather tiresome, to tell you the truth. But at least we earned our princely tabbing salaries for the weekend.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

In which we are about to pack up and go east, old man

As predicted, Kaz has turned the middle school library into a sanity-free zone for novice LDers. I mean, we’ve all done it at one point or other. I’ve tabbed in libraries surrounded by the squawks and snorts of febrile debaters at one another’s throats, and thought nothing of it, although always been happier when they’ve left and I can go back to sniffing glue. Apparently we’re also hosting the local district congress tournament at our venue on Saturday. Oh joy. Oh rapture. So they’re in and out, and the novices are here, there and everywhere. I love managing silly things like that. Makes me look competent. Marginally.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phlier has gone to hell in a handbasket. I was fixing some judge request and saw that the numbers weren’t adding up for this one school. So I checked another school. Different version of the same problem. Another school. An even differenter version. Mes etoiles! I exclaimed, and immediately sent up a flare to Bugsy at tabroom. I went then to check Columbia, but that one is okay. Weird. The good news is that the problem tournament is somewhat in suspended animation anyhow as we wait for more rooms, although come to think of it, so is the Gem, but, well, there you are.

Closer to home, I did manage to guilt most folks into attending Bump. I have a couple who need to come home to roost, but I’ll give them till this weekend. Nudging them will give me something to fill the empty hours when we’re not trying to stump Bro J with 80s trivia, which, by the way, cannot be done.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

In which we mostly ramble

I was thinking of going to the inaugural ball instead of doing Columbia, but then I remembered that I wasn’t even close to thinking that, and returned to my regularly scheduled cogitation.

Today was the most Thursday Wednesday in a long time. Which means tomorrow will only be Thursday. Long week.

Not much news on the forensical front. I think Kaz and I have worked out the priorities for the 9 MJP tiers. Considering that 1-4 in 9-tier Neverland is the same as 1-3 in the real 6-tier world, more or less, most stuff should come out mutual. I’m pretty confident about the settings I’ve been using lately, given the results I’ve been getting. We shouldn’t get too far into the weeds. Of course, a few down-5s could get a 7-8 or something, but that’s pretty unlikely. Entertaining to consider, though. I really don’t like to punish people who are out of the running for elims, given that they paid as much as the people still in it, but the idea that the best prefs should go to the most important rounds does rule, and everyone instinctively agrees to it vis-à-vis a Rawlsian analysis. But throwing a total meatball at a down-and-outer isn’t right either. But but but, some lowly-preffed judges are sitting in the judges’ lounge for the first four rounds wondering if they’re even in the system, and I’ve already talked a lot about the balkanization of the judging pool, one of the problems of MJP that is pretty much inherent. (My number one solution: put them into the PF pool.) Sigh, sigh, and more sighs. The people who come in and complain that they’re judging too much—even though with MJP an awful lot of people only do one flight of the two—should try not judging at all. Every hell personalized just for you…

Meanwhile, I spent way too much time last night wrestling with OpenTable. I started my account on (hiss!) Yahoo and wanted to switch it over. But I couldn’t even get in as a Yahoonian, and if I changed my “forgotten” password once I changed it half a dozen times, to no avail. This should not be that complicated. I got so distracted I burned the sauerkraut, but that’s another story entirely. I finally did get a rez for Friday night, but by then I wasn’t hungry anymore. Hopefully my appetite will return by then.

Oh, yeah. If anybody starting their career wants a job in media, we’re looking.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

In which we wish we had room(s)

Getting rooms out of some of these colleges is a nightmare. The Gem of Harlem is less than two weeks away, and we’re way short of where we need to be, and all we can do is wait. It is not surprising that colleges don’t understand the tournaments their teams host. They’re not in the life, and they don’t realize the magnitude of the operation. They wonder, Why would anyone need to know in advance if they’re going to a tournament a thousand miles away? The foolishness of you people!


We’re in similar straits with Penn, but at least there we still have some time. Unfortunately there we also have a gazoo-load of waitlisted entries.

Sigh again.

So we turn to the immediate future, and Bigle X, where we need 48 rooms for the two LD divisions, and we’re really close with 44. Maybe Kaz is thinking that a good run of dengue fever will take out the 16 extra entries at the last minute, but I would imagine that a few scrambled tables in the library or whatever will cover the overflow. There had been talk of us moving to the high school, which I would have preferred because you can walk into town, but it didn’t happen. The middle school is out on the far reaches of life as we know it, although there is a Dunkin Donuts you can walk to. Also a bagel place, if I recollect correctly, and some other place that sent Vaughan one year into anaphylactic shock over the shellfish in the meatballs or something like that. I just remember him turning purple. In any case, for some reason he refuses to go back there. What a wimp!

Otherwise things look fine. They’re using limited judge obligations, but most of the judges are obligated for the whole thing, and we can work around that. If I’d said it once I’ve said it a million times, that judges should be obligated for the whole damn thing, and that tab rooms should simply insure that they have reasonable schedules, which ultimately depends on the tournament having lots of extra judges. From my perspective, minimal obligations (like 2 rounds over a whole tournament) simply makes no sense. Yes, it’s what colleges do, but no, it’s not what high schools do. A round off? Nice. Four rounds off, sitting on an uncomfy chair in the judges’ lounge drinking bitter stale coffee and watching I Love Lucy reruns on your laptop? Not so nice. Ultimate result: some desirable judges are not judging your round because they are not obligated to do so. Is that what you really want? Kaz and I have gone over this a hundred times, but it is what it is. I did manage to disabuse Big Bronx of it this year. I mean, it’s no big deal to tab, but the effect is clear: fewer available judges means less desirable preferences. It’s indisputable. And the benefit? All that bitter stale coffee, I guess.

C’est la vie.