Thursday, August 14, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In which we tell you to go elsewhere

Last night CP, OC and I chewed the rag on the issue of overbooked registrations. Listen all about it here.

Speaking of rags, before the show we ragged on everyone we could think of in the debate community, just to get warmed up. If you have nothing good to say about people, you might want to join us for one of these sessions in the future.

Monday, August 11, 2014

In which movement is slight, and the weather prediction is, for lack of a better word, predictable

I check in on the Pups waitlist every day, and there’s literally no movement. I sent out a begging message to people to get honest and move out if they’re not taking their allotted slots, but I might as well have sent out a message offering free pokes in the eye with a sharp stick.

Tonight I’ll chat up CP and O’C on the whole waitlist issue. I wanted them particularly because CP invented the software that manages it, and O’C has enough waitlisted entries of his own to populate another couple of tournaments entirely. Yes, there will be attrition, but still… We’ll go over what people said on the NDCA site. We ought to be able to wrest a plan out of that.

Meanwhile, the assembled DisAd14 multitude is champing at the bit. At least I’m champing at the bit. I acquired a new camera for the journey, one of those small DSLRs that weigh about half as much as a regular DSLR. I broke it in over the weekend. I’m still learning the ins and outs of it, but the pictures look great and, in a shocking development, I can report that it is much easier to lug around something that weighs half as much as you’re used to lugging around. It’s really not a noticeable burden anymore, and that’s with an extra lens in the backpack. Although I’m thinking that the longer zoom may be the better normal lens, all things considered. It’s 40 on the bottom, which plays out, I think, a little bigger than 40 used to be on a camera (don’t ask why I think that—it’s technical, and I learned it on the street from the other kids, and look how badly they screwed up the birds and the bees for me). In any case, my experience makes me wonder if I would be happy just leaving it on most of the time. We’ll see. The DisAd should give it the workout it needs. Key for me is the ability to shoot with a polarizing filter. Blue skies, nothing but blue skies!

Okay, I just looked at the extended weather forecast for Orlando. In the 90s every day with a likelihood of t-storms. In Florida in the summer? Whoda thunkit?




Wednesday, August 06, 2014

In which we further ponder waitlists as big as the Ritz

I keep getting people telling me they shouldn’t be on the waitlist, and I’ve been finding that agreeing with them is the best policy, and then I refer them to the NDCA blog post. Not that there’s answers there (although there may be) so much as at least there’s understanding. And I do want to solve this, because I’m going to have to go through it all again for the Tiggers.

An underlying problem with most of the proposed solutions is that they’re onerous. They force the tournament do take difficult measures. And they punish the registrants. Severe entry limits? Well, you get more schools, but is that what you really want, especially at the expense of your longtime stalwart supporters, the schools that have been there year after year with an army or two? Fines or early fees? As CP points out, TBAs are for convenience. Making people put in real names, which really aren’t real, is just punishment for being realistic. Which also means not eliminating TBAs altogether, as well as charging for them way early.

The thing is, the idea that you have to sign up at a certain moment, and that’s your warrant for priority, while seemingly fair, is rather punishing. The coach of one of your favorite programs gets called away for a minute, and is thus too late to get in any team members? It looks to me like a lot of programs assign registration to some kid, poised at the computer as if they’re trying to cop tickets to a hot concert. I mean, really. It’s come to that? The arbitrary nature of first come, first served may have as its only virtue its arbitrariness; it's not a great measure of whether a team is tournament-worthy.

Obviously this is a problem only with certain tournaments, and I’ve heard from folks who say they would kill to have this problem, but in fact, those certain tournaments tend to have national draws, making them everyone’s problem. (And no, you don’t want to be in our position, because I assure you that you have neither the time nor the inclination to answer all the emails, at least not to everyone’s satisfaction.)

I’m going to be mulling this over for a while. I’ll probably throw together the next podcast on this subject.

Monday, August 04, 2014

In which we manage the Pups

Talk about your flurries of activity.

The Pups opened on Friday. It was all waitlist, mostly because we want to be able to manage things a little bit, especially to allow people who need to fly in to have time to make arrangements. I’ve learned over the years that for some people, being on the waitlist and therefore not guaranteed a slot is not fair reason to be hesitant about buying a non-refundable plane ticket. I’ve also had people on waitlists tell me they have a ticket and that therefore they should be taken off the waitlists. I’ve had those people be ones who registered two weeks after a tournament opened.

I have learned from all of this.

On Saturday and Sunday JV and I cleared the waitlists. The thing is, there were up to three times as many registrants as there is capacity in some of the events. Holy Pup Moly! Big Jake also seemed to have very high numbers this year. Is there something in the water we don’t know about? With the Ivies, of course, it includes a lot of people just wanting to visit the school. Even when some of these venues were, shall we say, stinkers, people were still breaking down the doors. With Jake, though, it’s pure desire for $ircuit debate, or at least mostly that desire. It’s not exactly a vacation in Manhattan, despite its official name. The tournament is in the Bronx, and you’re probably staying at a motel in the world famous town of Elmsford. Not exactly bright lights, big city.

Anyhow, the Pups strategy was, first, clear off the far-aways, then hit the rest first-come, first-served. When we were done, I sent out a message to one and all, which immediately generated the predictable when am I going to get off the list questions. Given the numbers we’re talking about, e.g., 200 capacity in PF and 227 on the waitlist after hitting that capacity, I can honestly say that I haven't a bloody clue. Unless you’re, say, next on the list, how can I possibly tell? Although CP says he has some new metrics built into tabroom to track registration dwindle. I’ll be curious about that. Nevertheless, the old mail box was quite full, reminding me of what the season actually looks like once it begins. I had forgotten.

I also dickered a bit with CP over the removal of TBAs. He maintains, I think correctly, that people just put in phony names if you call them on their unassigned slots. But I think that those people are the ones who are really coming. A name change or two won’t hurt anybody. But at the very least, TBAs still on the waitlist disappear when you press the button to do so in tabroom. It makes the lot of the waitlist manager that much easier. In any case, we’ll eliminate them the first week of September. Poof!

And in other news entirely, I was forced today to throw away one of my Disney souvenir tee shirts. The shoddy piece of crap was falling apart. Jeesh! It had the 20th anniversary logo on it, meaning that I had bought it in 1991. I provide this to you as a warning: if you’re buying Disney wearable merchandise, don’t expect it to be around after 23 years or so. The stuff just doesn’t last.


Saturday, August 02, 2014

In which we yammer

I'll just point you over to NDCA for my conversation with Adam Torson about the 2014-15 rezzes. Mostly we agreed. And mostly, they're good resolutions. http://www.debatecoaches.org/blog-1/our-first-podcast

I wanted a couple more folks, but they didn't make it for whatever reason. Next time maybe we will get more voices. I'm not sure yet what to talk about, though. I'm sure something will come to me.