Test Set Exchange Update

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Test Set Exchange Update

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » February 15th, 2019, 5:59 am

Hello, and a Happy (Day After) Valentine's Day to all!

As some of you may know, last year we began allowing links to full test sets from previous seasons to be posted on the wiki test exchange, subject to a takedown policy. This was done as a response to changing demands for testing materials in the Science Olympiad community, done in a manner aligned with our values of providing open sharing of information to everyone. We are happy to report that since that time, the list of test sets has been maintained without incident.

Because of this, we are now allowing for full test sets from the current 2018-19 season to be posted in the designated area on the wiki test exchange. These tests will be held to a very strict takedown policy, whereby if any tournament or tournament director requests that the link is removed, the link will be taken down immediately, and that tournament's link will no longer be allowed to be added for the remainder of that season. Also note that this is a new step for the site, and if this turns out to cause problems, we may have to revert back to the previous setup. However, it is our hope that some test sets will be allowed to remain on the list, for the betterment of the Science Olympiad community, and that this can create a robust bank of tests to be accessible by all teams.

Also, a brief reminder to all members that the Scioly.org Resource Policy (found on the site rules: scioly.org/rules) will still apply. Sharing of tests will still be restricted to Test Exchanges. A special reminder to everyone regarding Rule 2 of this Policy: No solicitation for test trades on any part of the Site, including the forums, chat, and wiki. This will continue to apply with the new exchange policy.

Thanks to all of our members; remember, it is your continued efforts and contributions that make this site great. Best of luck in your continued competitions!
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » February 18th, 2019, 2:52 pm

Based on feedback, if you wish to submit a test set without your username attached to the edit, you can send the link(s) in a private message to myself or to the administrators and/or global moderators, and we will add the link(s) for you. See the wiki page for the full procedure.
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby KC1FVS » February 21st, 2019, 5:53 am

Hello,

I am the director of an invitational tournament in the Northeast, and I was contacted by someone this week (I am assuming they are a student) with an odd proposal. The author asked if we would be willing share the "data" from our invitational (i.e. tests and keys) with them in exchange for 10 "sets" of data from other invitationals which they had successfully solicited from other tournaments. In their email, they listed over 60 tournaments that they could "offer" data from.

It sounds like they are hoarding the data that has been freely shared with them, and then in turn restricting who can access this information. They are only offering 10 sets of tournament data, and additionally they are also only offering it to those who can offer their own Invitational Tournament data in exchange. They are doing this in order to give their own team an advantage over others. They are using information which they have already acquired as leverage to get even more information, which they once again only share selectively and with selected parties. Unless I am misunderstanding something this seems like it violates the spirit of Science Olympiad competition. I need a reality check from others in the SO community; is this okay?

In my reply, I suggested that all of the data they have accrued could simply be posted here. They responded by saying that they do not have the authorization to do so. So, how do they have the authorization to share this same information selectively, using it as leverage to further monopolize the info in their growing database? It seems like a scheme that undermines the spirit of SO competition.

Please correct me if I am off base here.

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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » February 21st, 2019, 6:09 am

Hello,

I am the director of an invitational tournament in the Northeast, and I was contacted by someone this week (I am assuming they are a student) with an odd proposal. The author asked if we would be willing share the "data" from our invitational (i.e. tests and keys) with them in exchange for 10 "sets" of data from other invitationals which they had successfully solicited from other tournaments. In their email, they listed over 60 tournaments that they could "offer" data from.

It sounds like they are hoarding the data that has been freely shared with them, and then in turn restricting who can access this information. They are only offering 10 sets of tournament data, and additionally they are also only offering it to those who can offer their own Invitational Tournament data in exchange. They are doing this in order to give their own team an advantage over others. They are using information which they have already acquired as leverage to get even more information, which they once again only share selectively and with selected parties. Unless I am misunderstanding something this seems like it violates the spirit of Science Olympiad competition. I need a reality check from others in the SO community; is this okay?

In my reply, I suggested that all of the data they have accrued could simply be posted here. They responded by saying that they do not have the authorization to do so. So, how do they have the authorization to share this same information selectively, using it as leverage to further monopolize the info in their growing database? It seems like a scheme that undermines the spirit of SO competition.

Please correct me if I am off base here.
In our opinion, we agree; this violates the spirit of Science Olympiad competition. You can inform the student that now they do have the authorization to post the tests in the designated location.
East Stroudsburg South Class of 2012, Alumnus of JT Lambert, Drexel University Class of 2017

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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby pikachu4919 » February 21st, 2019, 6:35 am

Hello,

I am the director of an invitational tournament in the Northeast, and I was contacted by someone this week (I am assuming they are a student) with an odd proposal. The author asked if we would be willing share the "data" from our invitational (i.e. tests and keys) with them in exchange for 10 "sets" of data from other invitationals which they had successfully solicited from other tournaments. In their email, they listed over 60 tournaments that they could "offer" data from.

It sounds like they are hoarding the data that has been freely shared with them, and then in turn restricting who can access this information. They are only offering 10 sets of tournament data, and additionally they are also only offering it to those who can offer their own Invitational Tournament data in exchange. They are doing this in order to give their own team an advantage over others. They are using information which they have already acquired as leverage to get even more information, which they once again only share selectively and with selected parties. Unless I am misunderstanding something this seems like it violates the spirit of Science Olympiad competition. I need a reality check from others in the SO community; is this okay?

In my reply, I suggested that all of the data they have accrued could simply be posted here. They responded by saying that they do not have the authorization to do so. So, how do they have the authorization to share this same information selectively, using it as leverage to further monopolize the info in their growing database? It seems like a scheme that undermines the spirit of SO competition.

Please correct me if I am off base here.
In our opinion, we agree; this violates the spirit of Science Olympiad competition. You can inform the student that now they do have the authorization to post the tests in the designated location.
Going off of this, please still keep in mind that while we are allowing these sets to be posted on the wiki test exchange, they are still subject to our takedown policy if a tournament director of one of those posted sets contacts us asking to do so.
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby nicholasmaurer » February 21st, 2019, 8:58 am

Hello,

I am the director of an invitational tournament in the Northeast, and I was contacted by someone this week (I am assuming they are a student) with an odd proposal. The author asked if we would be willing share the "data" from our invitational (i.e. tests and keys) with them in exchange for 10 "sets" of data from other invitationals which they had successfully solicited from other tournaments. In their email, they listed over 60 tournaments that they could "offer" data from.

It sounds like they are hoarding the data that has been freely shared with them, and then in turn restricting who can access this information. They are only offering 10 sets of tournament data, and additionally they are also only offering it to those who can offer their own Invitational Tournament data in exchange. They are doing this in order to give their own team an advantage over others. They are using information which they have already acquired as leverage to get even more information, which they once again only share selectively and with selected parties. Unless I am misunderstanding something this seems like it violates the spirit of Science Olympiad competition. I need a reality check from others in the SO community; is this okay?

In my reply, I suggested that all of the data they have accrued could simply be posted here. They responded by saying that they do not have the authorization to do so. So, how do they have the authorization to share this same information selectively, using it as leverage to further monopolize the info in their growing database? It seems like a scheme that undermines the spirit of SO competition.

Please correct me if I am off base here.
To offer the flip perspective on this, in order to acquire tests and keys originally, teams participate in invitational tournaments. They typically pay a fee to register for that invitational and contribute tests for 1-2 events at the tournament. In exchange, they get to compete at the tournament and receive copies of the tests and keys after.

These test sets are therefore not freely shared. Quality tests are a scarce practice resource with a distinct acquisition price: registration fees and contributing tests. In the case of swapping entire test sets, you are effectively trading two sets of information of similar value. We routinely trade and swap tests with other teams around the country, to the benefit of both teams.

As a tournament director, I would not want current-year tests from my invitational posted publicly. If they are, what is the incentive for teams to pay our registration fee, travel to our tournament, and help run events? This creates a free-rider problem.
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby KC1FVS » February 21st, 2019, 10:12 am

Hi Nicholas,

I agree with you in this, but I am starting to see some troubling unintended consequences. Right now, our tournament's tests are password-protected until the end of the season, and only accessible by teams who registered. However, there seems to be nothing stopping individual students to then share those data with unregistered teams, or use the data sets as bargaining chips in an exclusive market of tests as is clearly already occuring. For instance, the student who contacted me boasted that they could provide me data from 62 intivationals, including five in OH - Northmont, Northview, Centerville, Westlake, Solon, Southview, and Kenston.

Unfortunately, the test exchanges are effectively removing the attendance incentive which restricted sharing was meant to provide. I am reconsidering our policy of restricting access of invitational materials to registered teams for this reason. I see that MIT is no longer restricting access to theirs like they once did. After all, accessing tests is not the only reason to attend an invite, and I don't expect to see a decline in registration as a result. The one-for-one test exchanges between two teams are good for those teams, but making access to information less exclusive would be better for SO as a whole in my opinion. If we continue to try and restrict test access (which might be futile), then the biggest losers will be the small teams, new teams, teams who are in remote locations, teams who cannot afford to travel to as many invitationals, or teams who are simply not networking well in this regard.

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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby Unome » February 21st, 2019, 1:59 pm

Hello,

I am the director of an invitational tournament in the Northeast, and I was contacted by someone this week (I am assuming they are a student) with an odd proposal. The author asked if we would be willing share the "data" from our invitational (i.e. tests and keys) with them in exchange for 10 "sets" of data from other invitationals which they had successfully solicited from other tournaments. In their email, they listed over 60 tournaments that they could "offer" data from.

It sounds like they are hoarding the data that has been freely shared with them, and then in turn restricting who can access this information. They are only offering 10 sets of tournament data, and additionally they are also only offering it to those who can offer their own Invitational Tournament data in exchange. They are doing this in order to give their own team an advantage over others. They are using information which they have already acquired as leverage to get even more information, which they once again only share selectively and with selected parties. Unless I am misunderstanding something this seems like it violates the spirit of Science Olympiad competition. I need a reality check from others in the SO community; is this okay?

In my reply, I suggested that all of the data they have accrued could simply be posted here. They responded by saying that they do not have the authorization to do so. So, how do they have the authorization to share this same information selectively, using it as leverage to further monopolize the info in their growing database? It seems like a scheme that undermines the spirit of SO competition.

Please correct me if I am off base here.
To offer the flip perspective on this, in order to acquire tests and keys originally, teams participate in invitational tournaments. They typically pay a fee to register for that invitational and contribute tests for 1-2 events at the tournament. In exchange, they get to compete at the tournament and receive copies of the tests and keys after.

These test sets are therefore not freely shared. Quality tests are a scarce practice resource with a distinct acquisition price: registration fees and contributing tests. In the case of swapping entire test sets, you are effectively trading two sets of information of similar value. We routinely trade and swap tests with other teams around the country, to the benefit of both teams.

As a tournament director, I would not want current-year tests from my invitational posted publicly. If they are, what is the incentive for teams to pay our registration fee, travel to our tournament, and help run events? This creates a free-rider problem.
I'm in a general sort of agreement on this. When I ran a tournament, I intentionally let our test set float through the trading market as a form of advertisement, but did not publically post it.
Hi Nicholas,

I agree with you in this, but I am starting to see some troubling unintended consequences. Right now, our tournament's tests are password-protected until the end of the season, and only accessible by teams who registered. However, there seems to be nothing stopping individual students to then share those data with unregistered teams, or use the data sets as bargaining chips in an exclusive market of tests as is clearly already occuring. For instance, the student who contacted me boasted that they could provide me data from 62 intivationals, including five in OH - Northmont, Northview, Centerville, Westlake, Solon, Southview, and Kenston.

Unfortunately, the test exchanges are effectively removing the attendance incentive which restricted sharing was meant to provide. I am reconsidering our policy of restricting access of invitational materials to registered teams for this reason. I see that MIT is no longer restricting access to theirs like they once did. After all, accessing tests is not the only reason to attend an invite, and I don't expect to see a decline in registration as a result. The one-for-one test exchanges between two teams are good for those teams, but making access to information less exclusive would be better for SO as a whole in my opinion. If we continue to try and restrict test access (which might be futile), then the biggest losers will be the small teams, new teams, teams who are in remote locations, teams who cannot afford to travel to as many invitationals, or teams who are simply not networking well in this regard.
I'd just note that it's possible to acquire a large number of tests even using just a single late-season invitational, as a team I traded with in the past once did (acquiring at least a dozen off of a single February set).
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby lumosityfan » February 21st, 2019, 2:02 pm

People don't really go to tournaments for the tests themselves though. Yes, the tests are valuable but not in a proprietary sense. They go to tournaments for the experience, which you obviously cannot replicate on the web as well as in real-life. As a result, if tournaments released their test sets publicly, that wouldn't decrease attendance as like I mentioned, the live experience cannot be truly replicated unless you actually go there. Thus, teams will still go to tournaments like Penn, like Princeton, like MIT. Also, they go for the competition, for them to challenge themselves. That as well you obviously cannot replicate; thus, teams will still come. Also, tests themselves really aren't as useful proprietary-wise as people may think because there's no inherent format. As we have seen, tests about Fossils let's say have numerous formats, whether they be multiple-choice, short answer, or fill in the blank, with different configurations. In addition, the approaches towards test-writing differ widely as we have seen. As a result, there is no inherent need for tests to be passed around per se for that specific purpose for they are simply practice. But they're valuable practice, because they provide the closest thing to understand what will be asked about in future competitions. Therefore, these test sets will be useful for new teams, faraway teams, teams with little resources as they simply cannot go to tournaments feasibly, whether it be because of monetary needs or administrative approval. If we want to expand Science Olympiad throughout the country, then we need to reach out to those teams, and so giving them these sources of practice in released tests will make them feel more comfortable as they prepare for regionals and states and won't make them feel like they're totally flailing around.
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Re: Test Set Exchange Update

Postby nicholasmaurer » February 21st, 2019, 2:14 pm

I don't think test sets need to remain permanently proprietary - the 2018 Solon tests are posted to the wiki without objection. I agree that tests are not the only reason to attend invitationals. But I do think it's reasonable that the teams who attend a tournament and provide the tests are the ones who receive copies afterwards and benefit from them. Alumni-run tournaments like MIT are slightly different as participating teams do not provide the tests. As an alumni who has written tests for these university tournaments, I do view my contribution as towards Science Olympiad generally, and appreciate that tests are publicly posted.

I also hear the point about assisting new teams, but there are other ways to achieve this. We allowed a new local team to register for our invitational for free this year in order to give them access and experience. We also met with their coach and students on the day of the tournament to give them tips and answer questions. They then received the test set from the invitational like all other participants.
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