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Effectively Posting and Communicating Your Tournament

Discussion of quizbowl topics not related to specific tournaments
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L-Town Expatriate
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Effectively Posting and Communicating Your Tournament

Post by L-Town Expatriate » Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:56 pm

As the new season gets underway, I figured I'd put together this guide on how to best announce and convey information about your upcoming event. Communication is key to ensuring that teams are prepared for your event, as well as bus drivers, parents, school administrators and bookkeepers.

Your Tournament Thread
I will stress the word "thread". Firstly, it's singular, meaning don't create multiple threads about your tournament. (Board mods will be quick to consolidate if not delete extraneous threads.) Secondly, "thread" also means more than one post. You should be providing regular updates on your field and how the day will progress. When I announce a tournament, my initial post will be the invite letter that I've just sent out to coaches. Go ahead and post that in its entirety, including the critical "when, where, what question set and format, what level of play" details, as well as fee schedule. Once the original post is to your liking, leave it alone. If you ever need to update any details (field expansion, change in rounds, opting to award powers, etc.), reply to the post with the update. You probably should update the original post as well, but it helps to indicate changes in replies, as those are more accurately time-stamped.

Field updates should be put in a dedicated post, which should be created immediately after you create the thread. This post should simply be a list of 1) teams in the field, 1a) teams on the waitlist, on standby, or (optional) have expressed interest in attending but haven't actually registered, 2) who's bringing buzzers, and 3) who's bringing staff. You will edit this frequently, hence the need to make this a dedicated post, and starting it immediately. As you get closer to the tournament, you'll want to indicate which schools have submitted their roster (I usually boldface the school name), and indicate if any teams are eligible for pursuing small school, JV, or other such awards.

On the day of the tournament, post when you can: "Prelims are underway!" "After the prelims, these teams have advanced to the playoffs:" "Congratulations to (winner)!" If you are keeping live stats or providing updates via social media, post a link to that so others can follow along. As soon as you upload stats, post a link to them. I also use that post to extend gratitude to all teams and staffers, as well as the host school and their administration.

Upload Stats? Where?
You will also want to create an entry for your tournament at the Quizbowl Resource Center. It is a guided process once you establish your account there (which also allows you to post on the HSQB forums). The database allows you to post results generated by SQBS, YellowFruit, Neg5 or comparable software.

Your Thread Isn't Enough
Again, communication between tournament host, teams and staff is key. You should e-mail the invite to coaches in the general vicinity of your tournament just before posting on the boards. There are over 430 high schools in Missouri playing quizbowl, and unfortunately not all of them regularly check here. Tailor your invite list to account for skill level, size/activeness of program, conference/district connections, etc.

At least one week prior to the tournament, e-mail a comprehensive primer to all registered teams and staff, recapping the critical details: how to get to your tournament site, when to arrive, when to expect lunch, when you plan on completing games (barring any championship rounds), as well as game format, question set, and the like. You will probably be re-hashing and expanding upon your tournament announcement. That isn't a bad thing, as several teams will have lost your initial invite in the shuffle with invites to other tournaments as well as the other day-to-day things that collect in each coach's inbox.

More importantly, be ready to answer questions, and do so as promptly as possible. There are a lot of details that go into a tournament, and some may not be realized on first glance. Schools like to have all their ducks in a row, so be patient with them.

Don't Bump for the sake of bumping
If you are needing teams to fill out your field, I've found that one-on-one inquiries with potential participants is more effective. Occasionally you could post updates on the current state of your field, but don't be vexatious about it. Instead, identify nearby teams or conference schools you haven't heard from to see if they are in a position to bring a squad. It's possible the invite e-mail fell through the cracks or was eaten by their school's spam filter.

Is A Thread Necessary?
By default, yes. It provides a public notice about a tournament, as well as a record for digital posterity. However, not every tournament should put out a public call. Notably, if you have a closed field (conference tournaments or county leagues), or you are running a true invitational, posting a thread about your event ahead of time might not be necessary. This may attract teams you were not originally intending to bring in. That said, when your tournament is underway and concluded, please post the results here!

Don't Forget The Sanctioning (if you need it)
If you are either 1) hosting out-of-state schools, 2) a neutral/non-MSHSAA member host (college, broadcaster, civic organization, etc.) or 3) an out-of-state host bringing in MSHSAA member schools, you will need to pursue sanctioning through MSHSAA's online system. Note this in your invite, advising schools that they should register at least 30 days prior to the tournament. In the case of numbers 1 & 2 above, you will want to begin the sanctioning process with MSHSAA no less than 30 days before the tournament. Out-of-state hosts should check with their activities association (e.g. IHSA in Illinois, KSHSAA in Kansas) to determine how to start the process; if quiz bowl in your state is not supervised by a state activities association or comparable body, you should probably contact MSHSAA directly.

Post-Tournament Discussion
Remember that any discussion of questions heard at a tournament is expressly prohibited unless and until the question writer has publicly cleared the set for discussion. Violating this will compromise the viability of the set. Otherwise, feel free to pursue discussion on the function of your event in the thread as well as e-mails with teams and staff.

Any questions?
Feel free to ask any of the regulars here on the board.

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