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> Meeting of the Minds, ITT: Mental Sumo Wrestling
zzzptm
post Dec 30 2010, 05:11 PM
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MEETING OF THE MINDS

Until I get a better title, that's what I'm calling this competition. It is open to anyone on this board, but geared towards people not involved in studying for AcDec/WSC stuff. I don't want any coaches coming after me with broken beer bottles because I distracted their top Honors...

Since I'm gonna run it, I can't compete. Fair enough. I'll make that sacrifice...

OK, rules... gonna need some rules... this is where you guys can come in and discuss stuff, because you'll be the ones participating in this event. They're all open to discussion and tweaking. The goal is that everyone involved can have a great time, people can make teams or fly solo, we have good-natured competition, and we all keep our minds thrashing away at learning in the process.

QUOTE
1.0 Introduction
"Meeting of the Minds" is a mental competition designed to bring together people from diverse locations and backgrounds for the purpose of learning, questioning, and synthesizing new ideas in a competitive format. Participation is voluntary and open to one and all, provided that person be a member in good standing of the DemiDecTalk.com (DDT) community.

2.0 Structure of Competition
Each competition will be overseen by a judge. (NB: Zzzptm is that judge until further notice.) The judge will adjudicate disputes and expedite procedure. The judge will also assess scoring of the events. There is an appeals process for judge's decisions: the appeals process should not be competitive, but should speak to the spirit of the competition.

Competitions will follow this procedure:
I. Team formation
II. Revelation of questions
III. Team formation of answers
IV. Presentation of answers
V. Judging
VI. Appeals
VII. Awards

2.1 Team Formation
Team formation will involve a declaration of participation, followed by a selection of captains from declared participants, then captains selecting members of their teams.

2.11 Declaration of Participation
The judge will create a thread requesting participants declare themselves. He will stipulate when the thread will close. All persons posting in that thread prior to the thread's close will be allowed to participate. Persons that choose to participate as solo competitors will need to state so in their declaration.

Persons declaring an intent to participate should indicate how much time they can put towards the competition and if they do not wish to be considered for a team captain role. Contestants should also list what topics they consider themselves to be skilled in. This will be of assistance in the team selection process.

2.12 Selection of Captains
The judge will determine an optimum team size based upon the number of team players. The judge will then select team captains from the declared participants. The judge will consider DDT seniority, warn level, and quality of posts as criteria for captainship, but may make choices independent of those criteria as he sees fit.

Captains are also necessary participants in the appeals process. (See 2.6, Appeals)

2.13 Team Selection
Captains will be able to commence selecting teams once they have been notified of their status as captains. Each captain will be given instructions as to what order he or she will draft a team member.

The judge will create a thread for the team draft. Captains will choose from the remaining available players in their draft order as determined by the judge. Captains should respond to the thread in a timely fashion: should a captain not respond when it is his or her turn to select a team member within 12 hours, the other captains may presume said missing captain is negligent and content to subsist with whatever team members the other captains do not draft.

Captains are asked to keep their team selection choices confidential.

Captains are also responsible for naming their respective teams. If a captain neglects or abstains in this duty, the judge will name the team.

Captains should take into account team members' availability and skill sets when composing a team.

2.14 Team Finality
Once chosen for a team, a person is part of that team for the duration of the competition. Team captains may not trade team members at any point of the competition. Team members that are unable to commit to further efforts on behalf of a team will remain part of that team for the duration of the competition for purposes of this rule.

2.2 Revelation of Questions
Once teams are formed, the judge will then reveal the questions for the current round of competition. The questions will be based upon a single theme. The questions may draw upon that theme's relationship to any number of disciplines. There will be one main question that will be supplemented with one or more minor questions. Competitors will then be tasked with answering those questions in a certain amount of time. Contestants will be judged on the completeness, accurateness, and insightfulness of their responses.

The judge will also state at what time the answers to the questions will be due. The judge will stipulate which time zone he will consider as authoritative for determining the final moment he will permit a question to be answered.

2.3 Team Formation of Answers
Teams will be assigned to portions of the forums that are accessible only to administrators and members of the team. Teams will be able to use those forums to direct research, critique draft responses, and assemble final products.

2.31 Confidentiality and Conduct
Forum administrators are admonished to not reveal activity in one team forum to another team or to the board in general. Administrators are also admonished to refrain from commenting on team activity within their forums, so long as such activity does not constitute a Terms of Service (TOS) violation for the board.

Administrators may comment on TOS violations. Team members that incur sufficient TOS violations so as to be suspended or banned will be disqualified from the current round of competition and their teams will have to make do without their contributions on the board. Disqualified competitors will not be recognized in the awards and may not claim such recognition at a later date.

2.32 Sportsmanship
Teams are admonished to display good sportsmanship both in and out of their secure team areas. Team members should not share information with other teams or solo competitors. Competitors should be respectful in their discussions and refrain from ad hominem attacks, both in private and in public. Competitors should use discretion in critiquing each other and avoid overly harsh and judgmental language.

2.33 Team Collaboration
Teams may collaborate in any fashion they so desire. Team members may choose to assign minor questions to individual members for them to research solo, or may choose to have multiple persons collaborate on each question. Team members are encouraged to volunteer responses based upon their individual strengths.

2.4 Presentation of Answers
On or before the final day of the competition, team members will create a thread in their team forum with their final responses. The thread title will be "Final Response from Team _______", with the team name in the place of the blank. At the end of the final day of competition, the judge will lock that thread and move it to the judging forum.

If the final day has ended and a team member posts to the final answer thread, the judge will delete that post if it has a time stamp past the day of the competition. Posts edited past the competition end time will also be deleted.

Solo competitors will have a special forum which they may use to prepare their answers. It will be secured so that no person may view any material in the forum, including his own material. Solo competitors, therefore, will need to preview their responses and make all final modifications to them prior to submitting them formally.

2.5 Judging
The judge will post his critique of each team and solo response in the thread once it has been moved to the judging section. The judge will also post a rubric thread in the judging section so participants may see his objective and subjective criteria.

While the judge would reduce scoring for erroneous responses, the judge will not reduce scoring for evaluative conclusions contrary to his own philosophy unless such conclusions are demonstrably unsupported by evidence, or that could be demonstrably contradicted by evidence submitted by another competitor or from the judge's personal knowledge. The judge acknowledges that he does not share a unity of mind with all participants and that each participant has a right to his or her own conscience: the judge will not allow such differences to influence scoring.

2.6 Appeals
Following the judge's submission of critiques, participants may appeal his critiques in a thread in the judging area. Each appeal should have a separate thread. Other participants may discuss those appeals and the judge will also further elucidate his mind in the appeals thread. All parties making comment in the appeal must agree beforehand that the appeals process is one of consensus and that a consensus decision will be binding.

If the consensus agrees that the appeal is valid, the judge will adjust his scoring to the satisfaction of the body of the consensus. If the consensus holds that the appeal is not valid, then the original scoring stands and the appealing person or persons will agree to the scoring as stated.

A consensus forms when a majority of team captains agrees on a judgment. Team and solo participants may weigh in their views to inform captains' opinions, but the ultimate consensus is formed by the captains themselves.

Appeals must be submitted within 24 hours of the last critique submitted by the judge. Appeals will continue until it is clear that a consensus on each appeal has formed.

2.7 Awards
Following the appeals process, the judge will then formally announce the ranking of the solo competitors and teams. The judge will also announce ad hoc awards to recognize responses or portions of responses that he found particularly witty, informative, or insightful.

Winners of awards may include those awards in their forum signatures, either in graphical or verbal form. The judge will provide those who receive awards with graphic files they and they alone may use in their sig files. Persons that have not received awards in this competition are advised not to include them in their signatures and that doing so is grounds for an increase in the person's warn level and possible suspension or banning.

Awards are meant to be good-natured recognition of jobs well done. Persons that accrue a number of awards will be likely candidates for high-priority selection by a team captain, or for a team captaincy itself.

Participants are always free to include information about participation in their sigs. A person may indicate that he or she served as a captain or member of a particular team in a given round, or that one was a solo competitor.

3.0 Questions

3.1 Theme
Each competition round will be built around a theme. This theme should always be kept in mind by participants to give proper focus to their research and responses.

3.2 Depth
Based on the main theme, additional questions will be posed that invite responses down specific lines of inquiry. These questions are meant to elicit broader consideration of the topic and are in no way exclusive or limiting. Participants are free to investigate other lines of inquiry that they feel are related to the main theme and can earn additional points for exceptional investigations.

Areas for deeper exploration could include, but are by no means limited to, visual art, literature, drama, film, music, science, history, sociology, economics, philosophy and religion as each topic pertains to the main theme.

3.3 Time Limits
Each set of questions will be submitted to the contestants with a specific time by which all responses are due. That time limit is not subject to appeal or review except in the case of extreme, extenuating circumstances, such as a board outage, nuclear war, and the like.

3.4 Clarification
At any point in the competition, participants may request the judge to clarify any part of any question. Requests for clarification should be worded so as to make the reasoning behind the request evident. All clarifications given by the judge are considered to be binding and to be part of the original question, regardless of when the clarification is stated: it would behoove participants to request clarification early in the competition to avoid later disappointment. Clarifications offered by other participants have no binding whatsoever and participants are advised to refrain from offering clarifications to questions in the interests of fair play.

4.0 Responses

4.1 Research
Participants are to do their own, original research in answering responses. Participants are responsible for any expenses incurred in acquiring research materials: this competition, DDT, and DemiDec assume no responsibility, individually or collectively, for expenses incurred by participants in any way.

4.11 Source List
Participants should maintain a list of sources consulted. Bibliographical entries should include creator name, title of the work, date published. Web site references should state the title of the page, URL, and date of consultation.

4.12 Tertiary Sources
Participants may use material found in Wikipedia and other encyclopedias for their responses, but are strongly advised to base the bulk of their responses on information gained from primary and secondary sources.

4.2 Composition of Responses

4.21 Honesty
Participants are forbidden to plagiarize their responses. While participants may choose to quote a source at length, the quote must be used to support a larger point rather than make the point itself.

4.22 Unity
Although teams are free to divide the research load in any way they see fit, the final answer to the full set of questions must be presented as a unified whole. While the response need not demonstrate the voice of a single author, its tone and conclusions should be uniform throughout.

4.23 Completeness
All parts of all questions asked should be covered in each team or solo competitor's responses. If a team member tasked with covering a particular portion of a response is unable to submit that material, the team captain must notify the judge about the omission. Upon notification, the judge will prorate the team's response to compensate for a reduced workforce.

Solo competitors may answer as many or as few questions as they choose, with the knowledge that a solo competitor with a more complete set of responses will score higher than another solo competitor with a less complete set of responses, all other considerations being equal. Therefore, solo competitors may choose to answer in a broad, comprehensive context or choose to narrow their research precisely - either approach could win top honors.

4.24 Tangential Responses
Responses that are not pertinent to the main theme of questioning may be disregarded in final judging. Participants are encouraged to always defend the relevance of their comments in their responses.

4.25 Foreign Languages
All material presented in a non-English language must be translated correctly into English to be considered relevant to the response.

4.26 Editing
Participants are free to edit their responses up to the time all responses are due. After such time, no further edits will be permissible.

4.3 Response Style Guidelines

4.31 Length
There is no minimum or maximum length specified. Participants, however, must submit responses that are readable in a reasonable amount of time.

4.32 Font
Responses should be submitted in the default font of the DDT board. Emphasis may be indicated with italics or bold print. Section headings may be indicated with larger font size than normal. The responses should be in the default color of text on the DDT board.

4.33 Formatting
All responses should use left-justified text. Given the length of responses, Major sections may be contained in individual posts to a thread: they need not all be in one unified post.

4.34 Images
Images, including charts and diagrams, should either be original work of the participants, available under common license, or quoted with proper reference to the source material evident in or immediately near to the image itself.

4.35 TOS Violations
No part of any response may include material that would constitute a TOS violation. Such material will be deleted by the judge along with any other material in the post in question.

5.0 Scoring and Appeals
Once the time limit for submissions has been reached, the judge will lock all responses and commence scoring them. The judge will post a rubric to indicate what material he is looking for in each response from an objective viewpoint and what subjective elements he is weighing in his scoring process. The judge alone is responsible for scoring each response, but the judge must provide an opinion to substantiate his evaluation. Participants making appeals based on the rubric are advised that the judge is free to clarify the rubric as he sees fit, and that such clarifications are binding.

5.1 Discussion of Responses
Participants are free to discuss any and all aspects of their responses as they see fit during the scoring and appeals process.

5.2 Challenges
Participants that feel someone else has plagiarized materials must notify the judge via PM. Challenges should not be made in any forum post.

5.3 Appeals
Once the judge has posted his critiques of each response, participants are free to appeal those critiques. Appeals may be made if there is a question of consistency of judging criteria, personal bias, or misunderstanding on the judge's part.

5.31 Timing
All appeals must be submitted in a forum post within 24 hours of the last critique submitted by the judge. No appeal may be submitted prior to a judge's critique of the material in question.

5.32 Resolution
Each appeal must be in its own thread. In such threads, all participants are free to discuss the merits of the appeal. Once a majority of team captains have indicated support for a particular position, be it approval or denial, a consensus opinion is reached and will be binding on participants and judges alike. No further discussion of the matter will be necessary at that point.

5.33 Plagiarism
In the event of plagiarism, the judge will notify the team captain via PM if there is proof of plagiarism. It will then be the team captain's responsibility to communicate that information to his team members. Plagiarized material will not be considered in scoring. Appeals regarding plagiarism charges will be handled via the PM system and will not be discussed publicly.

6.0 Real-life Concerns
Persons should indicate the amount of time they imagine they will have available for the competition prior to engaging in it. Those circumstances, of course, are subject to unexpected change and should therefore be communicated to one's team at the earliest possible moment to allow them maximum time to make adjustments.

6.1 Flexibility
No team member should be judged if he or she requests time off to deal with a real-life event or situation. In exchange for that team flexibility, the judge recognizes the need to be flexible in pro-rating a team's score to account for the work lost. Team captains must notify the judge as soon as they are aware of a team member's absence or drop in contribution level in order to be eligible for this pro-rating.

6.2 Captain Availability
Should a team captain have to leave the competition or reduce his input, he or she is free to designate a successor, who will then immediately assume the role of team captain for the duration of the contest.

6.3 Tactical Concerns
Teams may not use these rules to gain some sort of tactical advantage in the competition. Participants are advised that these rules exist as a courtesy to persons that find themselves in need of assistance and that they are not to be abused to boost a team's overall standing.

7.0 Awards and Aftermath

7.1 Awards
All awards handed out by the judge are official in the eyes of DDT. Persons wishing to cite them on resumes or college applications do so at their own risk, but may refer to the judge for contact purposes. Persons are free to accrue awards in their sig files, but are advised to keep sig files as succinct as possible.

7.2 Aftermath
All final responses will be archived for later reference, but will remain locked to prevent vandalism or other malicious tampering. Teams will be free to request deletion of old threads in their team work areas. Any participant wishing to save research done on behalf of this competition is responsible for making his or her own backup/archival copy. this competition, DDT, and DemiDec make no guarantee or warranty about preserving data in the team discussion areas after the completion of a competition round.


That's what I have so far. Let's discuss things and when we think we're ready, we'll get a beta test round going.

I'm excited about this, because it's about time we had something like it in place.

This post has been edited by zzzptm: Jan 2 2011, 12:11 AM
Reason for edit: Added more rules...


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"The world could perish if people only worked on things that were easy to handle." -- Vladimir Savchenko
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Guest_eric..._*
post Dec 30 2010, 05:41 PM
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you may want to post this in the main 'serious discussions' subforum.
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Guest_tryingtothinkagain_*
post Dec 30 2010, 06:50 PM
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I'm in
How often will these competitions occur?
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Guest_TheWerg_*
post Dec 30 2010, 07:13 PM
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Count me in as well, barring a ridiculous workload next semester.
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Guest_bilgeathresh_*
post Dec 30 2010, 07:16 PM
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Count me in.
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zzzptm
post Dec 30 2010, 08:31 PM
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The Fisher King
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QUOTE (eric... @ Dec 30 2010, 11:41 AM) *
you may want to post this in the main 'serious discussions' subforum.


A link from there to here should work. It's obviously in the formative state...

***

Added more rules. What I need now are people to look things over and give me an idea where a rule needs to be clearer or in more detail. I'd like to see people also comment on how long a round should be and how in-depth it should be.

My thought on the latter is that a month would be a good time to announce questions, have people do research, and then formulate replies. I'll add some language about RL conflicts and stuff like that in the rules because I'd like people to be able to participate even if they only had a short amount of time to put into it.


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"The world could perish if people only worked on things that were easy to handle." -- Vladimir Savchenko
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Guest_tryingtothinkagain_*
post Dec 30 2010, 08:35 PM
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Maybe you should stay away from events that are TOO current, like all the bull going on in the Koreas right now, as situations like those could drastically change in a matter of hours, much less over an entire month.
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Guest_Widget!_*
post Dec 30 2010, 09:13 PM
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I'm in.
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zzzptm
post Dec 30 2010, 10:02 PM
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QUOTE (tryingtothinkagain @ Dec 30 2010, 02:35 PM) *
Maybe you should stay away from events that are TOO current, like all the bull going on in the Koreas right now, as situations like those could drastically change in a matter of hours, much less over an entire month.


For fairness' sake, you're absolutely right, along with questions that require too much "internal" response to answer, IE, "Is there a God?" "What food is most delicious?"

OTOH, A question such as, "How does humanity react to _______" with some big idea in the blank would be perfect. Death, for example. It's a Big Question item for sure, but in the context of how humanity reacts to it, ample information to deal with that doesn't just come from inside one's own self.

The idea here is to have a team assemble an answer that is both deep and wide. In the example of death, I'd ask questions about art, music, and the like. Participants would be free to make their own selections. In music, one could focus solely on requiems of different faiths, while another team could consider New Orleans funerals, and a third team take in all those ideas. Each team is able to critique and collaborate in such a way as to elicit the best responses from each of its members.

This means the team captain slot will require a good deal of management skill to execute properly.

I could see this as a situation:

1. Person volunteers to take on the "art" part of a question.
2. Person researches narrow answer, composes response.
3. Other team members review response, ask for additional aspects to be added to the response.
4. Person goes back to research and composition, submits revisions for review.

Therefore, it's ideal to have people on the team that are willing to be edited and to take direction from other team members. Dynamics within a team will be critical... and can lead to some people wanting to be solo competitors... and that's cool, too, although I'd prefer the team collaboration approach.


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"The world could perish if people only worked on things that were easy to handle." -- Vladimir Savchenko
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zzzptm
post Dec 30 2010, 10:10 PM
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SAMPLE QUESTION SET:

All cultures, all people have to deal with the event of death. How do we as humans grapple with death? How have humans used music to cope with death? How do people use visual art to communicate belief systems surrounding death and the afterlife, if any? How has death been handled as a theme in literature? In what ways do major world religions and philosophies handle the issue of death and the end of mortal existence? Historically, how have periods of intense warfare, famine, or plague impacted the culture of persons subjected to the intensities of those trials?

Let's say you had a team of 4 people, including yourself. How long would you want for your team to have in order to answer that question?

As the judge, I'm thinking I'd like to know the team sizes before posing the question set. The above has five sub-questions and one major thematic question. If your team was made up of 4 people, including yourself, with your exact class/work load, how much time would you think would be "right" to produce a well-thought out response?


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"The world could perish if people only worked on things that were easy to handle." -- Vladimir Savchenko
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Guest_Jonesy_*
post Dec 30 2010, 10:34 PM
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So ad hominem attacks are banned, but it doesn't say anything about physical attacks. I'm in tongue.gif
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zzzptm
post Dec 30 2010, 10:36 PM
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QUOTE (Jonesy @ Dec 30 2010, 04:34 PM) *
So ad hominem attacks are banned, but it doesn't say anything about physical attacks. I'm in tongue.gif


8.0 Physical Contact

...

OK, so Jonesy makes six. We could do a beta of this with two teams of three once you guys weigh in on how much time is needed for a question set as I outlined above.


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"The world could perish if people only worked on things that were easy to handle." -- Vladimir Savchenko
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Guest_Widget!_*
post Dec 30 2010, 10:55 PM
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QUOTE (zzzptm @ Dec 30 2010, 03:36 PM) *
OK, so Jonesy makes six. We could do a beta of this with two teams of three once you guys weigh in on how much time is needed for a question set as I outlined above.


A month seems about right, I guess.
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zzzptm
post Dec 30 2010, 11:05 PM
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OK. Cool. What about the name? Is it cool enough, or does it need more oomph?


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"The world could perish if people only worked on things that were easy to handle." -- Vladimir Savchenko
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Guest_Andrew Hartman_*
post Dec 30 2010, 11:42 PM
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I'm in
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Guest_overly_critical_man_*
post Dec 31 2010, 12:37 AM
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I'm in, but I demand a ridiculous signing bonus to whatever team drafts me.

/NFL rookie holdout
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zzzptm
post Dec 31 2010, 12:38 AM
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QUOTE (overly_critical_man @ Dec 30 2010, 06:37 PM) *
I'm in, but I demand a ridiculous signing bonus to whatever team drafts me.

/NFL rookie holdout


Lol, I'mma make you a captain, member #25 with no warn level.


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Guest_overly_critical_man_*
post Dec 31 2010, 01:00 AM
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Is having no warn level really that uncommon? unsure.gif
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zzzptm
post Dec 31 2010, 01:18 AM
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QUOTE (overly_critical_man @ Dec 30 2010, 07:00 PM) *
Is having no warn level really that uncommon? unsure.gif


Not really all that uncommon, unless your name starts with a "Jones-", "Research Monke-" or a "Widge-".


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Guest_eric..._*
post Dec 31 2010, 02:42 AM
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ill do it as well, but i think two weeks is probably better than a month (since i have no doubt that the vast majority of work will occur in the first 48 and final 48 hours of each 'challenge').

but i dont want to do the beta. and i definitely dont want to be a captain.

that said, im still not short on opinions. like you need to have a decent number of teams to keep the 'competition' aspect fun. and perhaps being somewhat more broad in composition of questions would allow this... thus allowing teams to head in one of several directions (philosophy or art or music instead of philosophy AND art AND music).
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