Poorly Run Event Stories

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Re: Poorly Run Event Stories

Post by pikachu4919 » April 19th, 2018, 10:27 am

drcubbin wrote:
Unome wrote:
PM2017 wrote: I don't want to start a whole argument (I say, as I respond in opposition to a response to my response...), but what reason is there to not let the guy walk in. There are some events that you just can't leave early, or some other unforeseen situation may have arisen.

I would like to see an ES's thoughts on this matter.
If I count as an ES (which, I guess I do seeing as I've run events at regionals and state), I'd let them in late (and have done so in the past). As mentioned, there's no reason to not let someone in, and the lost time is quite a sufficient penalty, especially for a station event where it means they get zero points on the stations they missed.
I agree 100%, Unome. I have never understood the reason for even a time limit (i.e. - no later than 10 mins) since buildings and room are often difficult to locate, like at the Cornell Invitational. Buses break down, kids break down, etc... Maybe for Nationals ok, but even then. If another ES could give me a good reason, I am very willing to have my mind changed - especially since we do make then late for regular school classes.
I have served as both an ES and a tournament executive at different tournaments in the time that I've been in college, and I would argue that missing events due to distance between event rooms is something that can and can't be controlled at the same time. I guess when you're in your phase as a competitor, you can always think, "OK, when I graduate, this is how I would fix the problems I encountered as a competitor" but in reality, it's actually really difficult on the tournament executive board's part to address every possible problem that gets brought up. As much as competitors nitpick at tournaments for not-so-ideal room choices (i.e. having Forensics in a lab that has no gas outlets and thus, no bunsen burners for flame tests) or distances between the rooms, that's not necessarily even in the tournament executive(s)'s control. College campuses always have unique layouts of their buildings on the campus, and every college also has a unique policy for using their facilities. Some require making reservations a certain amount of time in advance, others require special permissions for certain rooms, others have restrictions, etc. While tournament directors try to get optimal rooms for each event, it's hard to shoot for the most optimal rooms with the most optimal distances between them, and at times, it can become even more difficult if rooms are supposedly unavailable for use for that tournament weekend for any rhyme or reason. So, in that case, it could come down to choosing between two main factors: whether the room's location is convenient to access, or whether the room has the optimal kind of setup/equipment for that event. I have a couple examples from my personal experience:

1. MIT Invitational Forensics - finding rooms for lab events, especially Forensics (since the lab portion is a non-negotiable part of the event in order for it to be run well), is always tricky, since you need a pretty nicely sized lab to house everyone, among hoping it's one that will have gas for bunsen burners AND that the faculty will let you use the lab. I ran this event at this tournament this past January, and half of my test writing process was actually hoping and praying that the MIT faculty would let us use the kind of lab we were looking for in the first place - I literally almost had to run this event entirely without any of the lab because it was getting quite down to the wire on that. It isn't ideal at all that the room for Forensics at MIT is always tricky to find (the year before, you had to take the campus bus to get to it, and this year, the building had lots of construction around it and getting into it was very hard to do, let alone making your way up to its 6th floor where the room was), but at least it has a majority of the amenities you'd want in order to compete in it (i.e. gas). I can tell you that lots of teams got lost on their way to the room and I did let several competitors in late due to this. The lesson from this is that either ease of access to the event room or the optimal room setup for lab has to be sacrificed, and in this case, ease of access was sacrificed in order to have a better equipped room.

2. Purdue Regionals this year - we found out a few weeks before the tournament that the ROTC armory (which is a massive room with a really high ceiling that we've always used for flight events at our tournament) enacted a new policy that no one under the age of 18 could even be present in the facility, which really threw a wrench in our plans, and we had to instead rent out some gyms at the Sports and Recreational Center (which is about a quarter to a half a mile away from the rest of the events and homerooms) because that was our next best option in terms of the amount of open space for the devices to fly in and in terms of the short notice. We very well could have looked for a place closer to everything else with a high ceiling, but again, do you sacrifice how convenient the location is for optimal room conditions or the other way around? We chose to go for the more optimal room conditions and in turn, give up location convenience.

3. Every Indiana State Tournament ever lol - IU's campus is freakin' massive (either that or it's the same size as Purdue yet more spread out), but the officials there actually do a decent job of trying to center most of its events in a more consolidated part of campus so the event rooms and homerooms aren't spread out THAT far. But the elephant in the room every year at this tournament: MELLENCAMP PAVILION. It is a massive stadium, and it's by far the ideal place for the flight events. But it is LITERAL MILE AWAY from the rest of the events and the homerooms. No other room near the rest of the events has that high of a ceiling with no obstructions besides it tho. If I remember correctly, additionally, the campus transportation isn't open on tournament weekend either since it's on IU's spring break. The solution is to either not schedule yourself for anything within an hour before or after a flight event and walk all the way there, or you cross your fingers you can arrange some kind of team transportation (whether kind volunteer parents driving you there in a car or your bus driver getting you there). Again, optimal room conditions take priority over convenience of the location.

Point is, getting rooms really isn't always that easy. The tournament directors try their best, and if there are some things they can't get, then they just have to go for another plan that may not be as ideal but will still work. We make do with what we've got, and I guess we have a general expectation that we hope that the competitors attending can also do the same. Most of us ES's will cut you some slack if we know that the events are far apart, now maybe cut us tournament volunteers and executives some slack if we aren't able to achieve the optimal conditions due to circumstances that are out of our control.

But again, just like Unome, I still do let late competitors in, as like he said, the time lost due to being late is enough of a penalty since you may not be able to complete as much of the test due to the time loss, which does punish you enough. But some ES's may be stricter than others, and may not have as much mercy if you're late.
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Re: Poorly Run Event Stories

Post by NovaXY1 » April 19th, 2018, 11:23 am

Okay. I also didn't really want to start an argument I was just a little agitated because in past years it has been super strict and this year it was extremely lenient (thanks by the way for what you said because I didn't really think about that).

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Re: Poorly Run Event Stories

Post by TheSquaad » April 22nd, 2018, 4:28 am

This year my state had an atrocious schedule. We also don't have regional qualifiers, so 25+ teams ended up taking experimental design at the same time.

However, when we got to the testing room, there were literally not enough seats and tables for the everyone even though they knew number of teams they were going to have. We ended up on the floor.

5 minutes after the block started, they handed out the single prompt sheet. Except it wasn't a prompt; they told us the exact experiment to do: assess the accuracy of the pendulum formula compared to a Newton's Cradle. So we didn't even have to design an experiment.

Additionally, they didn't have paper ready for us to write on. When I requested paper, the ES said, "there should be enough space on the prompt sheet to write on, right?" We didn't get spare paper until 10 minutes into the block. Also, they didn't give us the Newton's cradle until 15 minutes into the block.

They also gave us the expedez rubric. And people were allowed to use phones as calculators.
Last edited by TheSquaad on April 22nd, 2018, 10:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Poorly Run Event Stories

Post by drcubbin » April 22nd, 2018, 4:57 am

TheSquaad wrote:This year my state had an atrocious schedule. We also don't have regional qualifiers, so 25+ teams ended up taking experimental design at the same time.

However, when we got to the testing room, there were literally not enough seats and tables for the everyone even though they knew number of teams they were going to have. We ended up on the floor.

5 minutes after the block started, they handed out the single prompt sheet. Except it wasn't a prompt; they told us the exact experiment to do: assess the accuracy of the pendulum formula compared to a Newton's Cradle. So we didn't even have to design an experiment.

Additionally, they didn't have paper ready for us to write on. When I requested paper, the ES said, "there should be enough space on the prompt sheet to write on, right?" We didn't get spare paper until 10 minutes into the block. Also, they didn't give us the Newton's cradle until 15 minutes into the block.

They also gave us the expedez rubric. And people were allowed to use phones as calculators.
Ok, this might win "most poorly run" event :cry:

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Re: Poorly Run Event Stories

Post by MadCow2357 » April 22nd, 2018, 7:03 am

Ok, I think I have the story that may be able to top all of the poorly run event stories. Yesterday was my states competition, and all I can say is that Towers event was horrible. Hmm.... How should I start? Maybe worst parts last?

1. The ES also made his circular ring out of duct tape, which does not "retain its shape and flatness when handled". I lent him my 3D printed ring for seeing if the towers met rule 3d. He still hasn't returned it.

2. The ES did not count the loading block assembly as part of the load scored. When reminded by my coach, he just brushed it off, saying that it should be fine because he did not count the loading block assembly for the previous teams.

3. According to rule 4bvi, "Participants will load the sand into the bucket and be allowed to safely and effectively stabilize the bucket from movement caused by sand loading. Direct contact with the bucket by participants is NOT allowed. Teams choosing to stabilize the bucket must only use the tips of the bucket stabilization sticks (5.e.) to touch the bucket." There were two problems at the competition that related to this rule. The first was the Event Supervisor not letting my partner to stabilize the bucket from the other side of the testing table (this caused our tower to fail prematurely, but another reason also contributed). There is nothing in the rules that prevents your partner from stabilizing the bucket from the opposite side that you are loading sand. The second issue, was that the ES was literally letting the teams support the load by lifting the edges of the bucket with the middle of the bucket stabilization sticks. I saw multiple teams hold at least 1/2 a kilo more just by supporting the load with the sticks. The rules specifically stated that participants were only allowed to touch the bucket with the tips of the bucket stabilization sticks! And when I questioned the ES about it (while I was watching other teams test their towers, he told me to "chill out, and take a hike." He later said to me while I was testing, that he didn't want teams to be able to "prop the bucket up on the tips". What he didn't realize, however, was the fact that the teams would not be able to prop up the bucket with the tips of the Bucket Stabilization sticks if he had actually attached the spring type door stop!

4. Last but not least (saving the worst for last), one ES also had the great idea (being sarcastic) of using blue Crayola Play Sand for the testing the towers, which I am pretty sure is pre-moisturized. The sand actually came out in chunks, falling into the bucket like rocks. I had no idea that this would happen when I tested my tower, and fist sized chunks fell out of the loading beaker, shaking the bucket so hard that my (rectangular base) tower tipped over (premature failure). My tower failed at 0.5 kg, when I had tested an identical tower the day before which held 9.52 kg, all because of the stupid sand! In fact, the play sand that they used violated rule 5d twice, which read "Sand or other clean, dry free-flowing material (hereafter “sand”).". First, the sand was not dry, and second, it was not "free-flowing".

Basically, towers especially stunk this year. Our 8.5g tower only held 0.5kg when an almost identical 8.4g tower tested the day before held 9.52kg, earning us an efficiency score of 647. However, we still won gold. But hat can I say when about 95% of the other teams had 30+ and 100+ gram towers that even failed prior to holding the whole load? :?:
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Re: Poorly Run Event Stories

Post by MadCow2357 » April 22nd, 2018, 7:04 am

Btw, we (Gallagher Middle School) also made it to nationals for the second year in a row! AMAZING!!! See you guys at Colorado, where I am praying that the ES will not use blue Crayola play sand.
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Re: Poorly Run Event Stories

Post by Unome » April 22nd, 2018, 7:26 am

MadCow2357 wrote:Btw, we (Gallagher Middle School) also made it to nationals for the second year in a row! AMAZING!!! See you guys at Colorado, where I am praying that the ES will not use blue Crayola play sand.
Towers at Nationals tends to be well-run.
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Re: Poorly Run Event Stories

Post by Verdigris » April 22nd, 2018, 8:23 am

A fun one from the Elementary Science Olympiad we held yesterday...

For those not in the know, Elementary SciOly was doing Science Bowl as a trial event this year. As a former Science Bowl competitor, and someone who still helps my school’s Bowl team practice, Science Bowl is not an event that can easily be run as part of Science Olympiad. Bowl typically requires a large amount of resources, including three or four different rooms at the very least (usually an entire hallway would be optimum), and enough buzzer sets to run all of those rooms at once. It’s the kind of event that takes up an entire day all to itself, and I had a feeling it was unlikely to work out, but thought it wouldn’t be that big a problem.

Oh, how wrong I was. Yesterday, I and 5 other people had to try and run Bowl for 50-60 teams using only two rooms/buzzer sets, and had to try and fit three heats within each 50 minute block- with each heat being 16 minutes at the very least, that just wasn’t going to happen. The end result? The playoffs round was never actually held, several teams didn’t get to compete at all, multiple arbitrations were filed, parents and kids alike were angry at us, and it was just overall not a good day. The only upside was that being a trial event, it didn’t impact the final standings, but still.

For anyone planning to run an ESO tournament and hoping to do SciBowl, my word of advice is: either don’t bother, or make sure you have AT LEAST three sets of buzzers so you can run three or more rooms at once.
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Re: Poorly Run Event Stories

Post by waffletree » April 22nd, 2018, 8:45 am

MadCow2357 wrote:Ok, I think I have the story that may be able to top all of the poorly run event stories. Yesterday was my states competition, and all I can say is that Towers event was horrible. Hmm.... How should I start? Maybe worst parts last?

1. The ES also made his circular ring out of duct tape, which does not "retain its shape and flatness when handled". I lent him my 3D printed ring for seeing if the towers met rule 3d. He still hasn't returned it.

2. The ES did not count the loading block assembly as part of the load scored. When reminded by my coach, he just brushed it off, saying that it should be fine because he did not count the loading block assembly for the previous teams.

3. According to rule 4bvi, "Participants will load the sand into the bucket and be allowed to safely and effectively stabilize the bucket from movement caused by sand loading. Direct contact with the bucket by participants is NOT allowed. Teams choosing to stabilize the bucket must only use the tips of the bucket stabilization sticks (5.e.) to touch the bucket." There were two problems at the competition that related to this rule. The first was the Event Supervisor not letting my partner to stabilize the bucket from the other side of the testing table (this caused our tower to fail prematurely, but another reason also contributed). There is nothing in the rules that prevents your partner from stabilizing the bucket from the opposite side that you are loading sand. The second issue, was that the ES was literally letting the teams support the load by lifting the edges of the bucket with the middle of the bucket stabilization sticks. I saw multiple teams hold at least 1/2 a kilo more just by supporting the load with the sticks. The rules specifically stated that participants were only allowed to touch the bucket with the tips of the bucket stabilization sticks! And when I questioned the ES about it (while I was watching other teams test their towers, he told me to "chill out, and take a hike." He later said to me while I was testing, that he didn't want teams to be able to "prop the bucket up on the tips". What he didn't realize, however, was the fact that the teams would not be able to prop up the bucket with the tips of the Bucket Stabilization sticks if he had actually attached the spring type door stop!

4. Last but not least (saving the worst for last), one ES also had the great idea (being sarcastic) of using blue Crayola Play Sand for the testing the towers, which I am pretty sure is pre-moisturized. The sand actually came out in chunks, falling into the bucket like rocks. I had no idea that this would happen when I tested my tower, and fist sized chunks fell out of the loading beaker, shaking the bucket so hard that my (rectangular base) tower tipped over (premature failure). My tower failed at 0.5 kg, when I had tested an identical tower the day before which held 9.52 kg, all because of the stupid sand! In fact, the play sand that they used violated rule 5d twice, which read "Sand or other clean, dry free-flowing material (hereafter “sand”).". First, the sand was not dry, and second, it was not "free-flowing".

Basically, towers especially stunk this year. Our 8.5g tower only held 0.5kg when an almost identical 8.4g tower tested the day before held 9.52kg, earning us an efficiency score of 647. However, we still won gold. But hat can I say when about 95% of the other teams had 30+ and 100+ gram towers that even failed prior to holding the whole load? :?:
omg that is depressing
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Re: Poorly Run Event Stories

Post by Naycow » April 22nd, 2018, 1:31 pm

This really wouldn't be considered a poorly run event... but it sure affected the score a lot. During the 2018 Science Olympiad CyFalls tournament, I did Solar System (I really love astronomy.) The test that they gave wasn't even related to the rules (there were some questions regarding last year's Reach For The Stars) and it seemed like a test that was used years ago in a previous astronomy related event. Despite this, I knew most of the questions on the test, but I was surprised by the ranking I got on the test: 25TH. We always get our tests back and when I investigated what went wrong, the proctor used THE NUMBER OF QUESTIONS THAT I GOT WRONG AS THE SCORE!!! (There were a 100 questions.) Our 3rd team got 10th place in the event, and they had 30 fewer points than my true score. I was positive that I could've placed that time, but it was only an Invitational so it really didn't matter. I'm from Kealing Middle School and for that tournament, we ended up tying with Seven Lakes Junior High but still got second overall. (First was Beckendorff.)

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