Author Topic: Qualification System For NPS  (Read 26424 times)

Rev. Bill Macmillan

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Qualification System For NPS
« on: April 17, 2006, 09:50:49 PM »
this forum is for discussing a potential qualification system for NPS.

i have cross-posted a proposal from Stefan Sencerz to help get things started. this was first posted in the SlamMaster's Forum, but has been moved here to allow everyone who is interested to become involved in the conversation.

please feel free to post other ideas, ask questions about proposals posted & to raise issues that would impact any qualification system.

let the games begin.
-bill mac
--------------------- ---------------------------- --------------------------------

Originally posted by Stefan Sencerz in the SlamMaster's Forum

HOW TO ACCOMMODATE AS MANY TEAMS AS POSSIBLE (OR AS MANY AS WE WANT TO) IN A FAIR WAY -- A MODEST PROPOSAL

I have posted these ideas on another thread hoping they will lead to a discussion, if they gain some support. I've noticed that my "proposal" is now officially on the schedule for the slammasters meeting. So, here I go again.

PRELIMINARIES

There are several seemingly incompatible values that most of us share:


V1) We want to have the National (and other shows) of the highest possible quality.
V2) We want to accommodate as many teams as possible, because we want the slam movement to grow and the poetry spread across the galaxy.
V3) We want to have a manageable show -- not too many venues (as this would be too hard for a host city), not too long (as this would be too hard for the poets).


Here are some ideas that were circulating and some problems with them:

A) REGIONALS : They would contribute to V1. But they could also lead to some problems. For example, they have a potential for cause drama and discord at the local/regional level. To use one example, the beauty of current Texan scrimmages (regionals?) is that nothing rides on them except for bragging rights. We meet old friends, we chill, and we hone our chops so we look OK at the nationals. And we have lots of fun doing it. Then we chill some more. I have heard the same from the folks from the Bay Area, Rust Belt, and so on. Hyper competitive regionals are conducive to destroying this spirit.

Furthermore, if the role of the regionals is to select the teams for the nationals, then it may take years before some small local scenes will be able to send a team to the Nationals. This may be very demoralizing for those scenes. So, this sort of regionals undermines V2.

Finally, regionals do not guarantee that we will have the best possible Nationals and the show of the highest quality. Hypothetically speaking, the worst (and thus eliminated) team in the States of California or New York may be better than the best team in the State of Drunkenness.

B) POINT SYSTEM : Too complicated. Also, it encourages cheating. That's why we have abandoned it.

C) ADD VENUES AND/OR DAYS : I like this idea. But, realistically speaking, we know w cannot go beyond a certain limit. Also, this idea is perfectly compatible with my proposal

SKETCH OF THE IDEA I WOULD LIKE TO PROPOSE FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

1) WE CONSTRAIN THE FIELD IN TWO WAYS:



1.1) Only the scenes that existed (in good standing, in certified venues) for at least a year can play.
1.2) Only the scenes that apply by a certain hard deadline play.


JUSTIFICATION :
1.1: This does not curtail the growth of the movement. But it eliminate teams whose only purpose is to go to the Nationals and to kick ass. If you are this sort of scene, I suggest start your own nationals and run them any way you feel like.
1.2: This proposal is not first come first serve, which Steve hates and which is "officially broken", so far as he is concerned.

2) WE CHOOSE TEAMS ACCORDING TO THE FOLLOWING FORMULA:


2.1) If the number of submissions is lesser or equal to the number of available slots (=80 for year 2006), then everyone is in. If the number of submissions is greater than the number of available slots, then
2.2) All the teams that made the cut in the previous nationals AND all the teams with the same ranking as the last team that made the cut are automatically in.
2.2) The rest of the teams enter the fair lottery defined as follows:
2.3.1) The (Slam-)Nation is divided into several geographical regions, each having roughly the same # of teams.
2.3.2) First, we select the regions that will have to lose at most one team for each region.
2.3.3) From each region, we chose one team that will not play on a given year.


JUSTIFICATION :
2.1: Self-explanatory
2.2: This point guarantees the continuity and the quality of the show. The top scenes will be automatically in. Thus, this part contributes to V1, above. What does it mean in practice? 20 teams made the cut in ABQ. 5 additional teams did not qualify, though they had exactly the same ranking. All those 25 teams would be automatically in, provided that they meet the deadline for registration.
2.3: This point guarantees that each region in the country will be represented. For example, it will never happen that, say, 3 teams from NYC will all be eliminated.

3) COMPENSATIONS FOR THE ELIMINATED SCENES:


3.1) All eliminated scenes are AUTOMATICALLY in, for the next two years.
3.2) Each eliminated scene receives 5 free passes, free of charge, provided they come to the host city.


JUSTIFICATION:
3.1: This will guarantee that each scene will be eventually able to play (at least 2 times for every 3 years). Thus, each scene will have a goal to pursue and that's good for the growth at the local level. (We may limit it to once every two years, if the movement grows.)
3.2: This will assure that poets from those scenes will still have an incentive to go to the Nationals and to play with the rest of us, work as volunteers, host and manage bouts, etc.

So, those are my ideas. Please feel free to humor me.
"My sense of God is my sense of wonder about the universe"
-Albert Einstein

armiller

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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2006, 04:09:18 PM »
Bill,
As I told you at Slam masters, I am very interested in this subject.

I think that if we approve adding a day to NPS this august, were finally giving ourselves some room to grow. This format allows us to go up to 100+ teams.

However, in regards to the qualifcation system, I believe it starts with a stronger presence within individual slams and thier respective scenes.  

Some ideas,
* PSi makes it part of venue certification, that every slam have PSi literature present and accessible to everyone in attendance.

* Requiring Slam Masters to submit yearly attendance records to PSi. To insure that all competing teams come from a venue that is meeting the required attendance averages. Also, this helps to insure that these venues are holding the required amount of shows. They should be nothing fancy or complicated. Even simple headcounts would be effective.

* Getting tough on Proxy votes. To my knowledge there is no proxy deadline. Lets say proxys had to be in a week before SM or they didnt count.

By raising our expectations of our Slam Masters we help to insure the quality of teams qualifying for NPS. I think before we create a whole new system, we look at why the present one no longer works. Are we holding all slams to high enough standards? These are things I have been thinking about.

these are just a few ideas what do you think?

ARM

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« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006, 07:36:46 PM »
Quote from: "armiller"

Some ideas,
* PSi makes it part of venue certification, that every slam have PSi literature present and accessible to everyone in attendance.


Who's going to police this again?  

Quote from: "armiller"

* Requiring Slam Masters to submit yearly attendance records to PSi. To insure that all competing teams come from a venue that is meeting the required attendance averages. Also, this helps to insure that these venues are holding the required amount of shows. They should be nothing fancy or complicated. Even simple headcounts would be effective.


I do and don't like this idea.  I think before we could implement this one, we'd need to get an extremely clear definition of if the required minimum is per show, semi-monthly or per month.

Once that's codified (versus assumed/inferred), then we get into the honor system way of reporting things.

The other problem with this average issue is that smaller slams (that may have excellent slams and teams already competing) will lose certification and this could potentially decrease the number of teams that get to compete at NPS.  We barely make the projected number as it is (currently 85 slams are registered w/ PSI; can't remember how many are certified - fully of that number.  That includes the number of represented slams at this year's SlamMaster's Conference).  Imagine that ... possibly half of those slams aren't making numbers.  You end up with an event that's only 40 strong at best (also keep in mind that not all certified slams raise the money in time to register or play at NPS).

Quote from: "armiller"

* Getting tough on Proxy votes. To my knowledge there is no proxy deadline. Lets say proxys had to be in a week before SM or they didnt count.


I agree with this one wholeheartedly.  It's ridiculous that the Secretary and/or SlamMaster's are getting emails/phone calls DURING the meeting asking to proxy for a slam.  This information is posted months in advance in multiple places that indicate what's going on and when.  

Quote from: "armiller"

By raising our expectations of our Slam Masters we help to insure the quality of teams qualifying for NPS. I think before we create a whole new system, we look at why the present one no longer works. Are we holding all slams to high enough standards? These are things I have been thinking about.

these are just a few ideas what do you think?

ARM
*The views expressed by Delrica are not that of PSi nor the Executive Council. Her gems are her own...deal with it*

armiller

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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2006, 02:51:50 AM »
Del,

As for policeing things, it goes back to my idea of PSi paying touring poets to act as slam auditors. they go to the venue, check for membership info, and anything else of interest.

I do think that there needs to be an avg attendance rule. im not even saying paid, just a simpe head count of those in the venue that care. i think 30 is a good place to start.

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« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2006, 04:43:35 AM »
Quote from: "armiller"
As for policeing things, it goes back to my idea of PSi paying touring poets to act as slam auditors. they go to the venue, check for membership info, and anything else of interest.


What about those venues that do not feature regularly?  Like...hmm...all of the Ohio Slams?  Not every venue has a feature every time they slam so this is idea isn't enforceable across the board.


Quote from: "armiller"
I do think that there needs to be an avg attendance rule. im not even saying paid, just a simpe head count of those in the venue that care. i think 30 is a good place to start.


Those in the venue that care?  Bud...if they're in the venue...they care!  If they paid to get into the place that night, regardless of if they're listening intently or not, they care!  And there has to be an average because ARM, do you have the exact same amount of people in attendance every time you do a show?  Then you can't take just that one snapshot of the night, it has to be multiple pictures.

Sorry I've been away for a few days folks...planning a wedding for a friend.  Oh, and ARM...I've been enjoying your ideas so far!  Keep them coming!
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Scott Woods

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« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2006, 07:51:51 AM »
Couple of things:

1) We already have an attendance rule.  It's in the certification rules.

2) As far as I know, PSI doesn't want to pay touring poets to act as auditors.  it's a lot easier for someone to come to PSI and say, "Hey, this venue I know isn't meeting the requirement" and for us to investigate on our terms, not the venue's terms.  When we've needed to investigate a venue in the past, it's best that we decide when that happens, not when Buddy Wakefield happens to be bumping through their reading.
 
Plus, it puts an unnecessarily wary eye on touring poets.

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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2006, 07:53:41 AM »
Quote from: "Scott Woods"
Couple of things:

1) We already have an attendance rule.  It's in the certification rules.

2) As far as I know, PSI doesn't want to pay touring poets to act as auditors.  it's a lot easier for someone to come to PSI and say, "Hey, this venue I know isn't meeting the requirement" and for us to investigate on our terms, not the venue's terms.  When we've needed to investigate a venue in the past, it's best that we decide when that happens, not when Buddy Wakefield happens to be bumping through their reading.
 
Plus, it puts an unnecessarily wary eye on touring poets.


Oh yeah, forgot:

3) The REASON why you want to bone up on certification needs to be clear.  If you're doing it to keep the number of teams out of NPS, it's a bad way to do that.  Plenty of slams didn't send a proxy - we're getting the "oops" emails now.  Putting the onus on SMs and not PSI seems to be working just fine.

Delrica

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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2006, 08:21:03 AM »
Quote from: "Scott Woods"
Couple of things:

1) We already have an attendance rule.  It's in the certification rules.


You're right, Scott. We do have a rule in the certification rules.  Specifically from http://www.poetryslam.com/modules.php?name=FAQ&myfaq=yes&id_cat=4&categories=Venue+Certification:

Code: [Select]
ยท  Are there other minimum requirements?

Yes, your audience must average 30 or more and you must meet the requirements laid out in the Equal Opportunity Statement (remember that from the paperwork above?)


As I mentioned before, there is no clarification of whether or not that average of 30 is over a month, or over two weeks, etc.  There is no set terminology.  If we go by a comment made a while back, then it's per show.  If not, then where do we figure that out?

Quote from: "Scott Woods"

2) As far as I know, PSI doesn't want to pay touring poets to act as auditors.  it's a lot easier for someone to come to PSI and say, "Hey, this venue I know isn't meeting the requirement" and for us to investigate on our terms, not the venue's terms.  When we've needed to investigate a venue in the past, it's best that we decide when that happens, not when Buddy Wakefield happens to be bumping through their reading.
 
Plus, it puts an unnecessarily wary eye on touring poets.


I'd have to agree. Not only that, but if one can hustle to get an audience on nights when features (now gunshy as to which features are being sent by PSI) are there (referring back to Link's comment about monthly featured venues), then it gives a false sense of compliance to PSI.

There are hoardes of smoke and mirrors that can be placed by a desperate host in order to keep certification for the sake of sending a team to a national event.
*The views expressed by Delrica are not that of PSi nor the Executive Council. Her gems are her own...deal with it*

Scott Woods

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« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2006, 08:33:52 AM »
Quote from: "Delrica"

Code: [Select]
Yes, your audience must average 30 or more and you must meet the requirements laid out in the Equal Opportunity Statement (remember that from the paperwork above?)


As I mentioned before, there is no clarification of whether or not that average of 30 is over a month, or over two weeks, etc.  There is no set terminology.  If we go by a comment made a while back, then it's per show.  If not, then where do we figure that out?


This has come up before.  My understanding from the preivous conversation (a couple of years at least, I think, so it predates these forums) is that it all lies in the word "average".  If your reading hits once a month, you better average 30 people once a month.  If your reading hits weekly, you add up the attendance from your shows, divide it by 4 and that number better be 30.  It's a fluid consideration that works for whenever your show occurs, and I think that's okay.  It's certainly how I, as an EC member, would weigh this concern if it were brought to my attention without any further clarification of this standard.

Steve

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« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2006, 08:35:31 AM »
Anthony's argument is that there are too many ways to cheat on the requirements and we should tighten them up in order to keep the number of teams who come to NPS lower.

You can challenge his reasoning in two ways, but it is important you separate into the correct camps:

1) We don't want to lower the number of teams coming to NPS so we should expand NPS to accomodate a million teams.

or

2) We do limit the number of teams coming to NPS already, largely through the same mechanisms Anthony is suggesting.

I fall into the second scenario.

There is no evidence of "hoards of smoke and mirrors" being used by anyone. If you know someone is cheating, let us know and we'll investigate. If your evidence is one night in the venue when the audience was only 28, we're not going to investigate very hard.

We have a pretty good filter on cheaters already. 1) membership in PSI, 2) payment of certification fees, 3) they swear by the Equal Opportunity Statement, 4) payment of NPS applicaiton fees, 5) membership fees for all members, 6) requirement to participate in the democratic process at SlamMasters. That's a lot of crap to put up with just to cheat your way into NPS.

In all my time with PSI, we have had only three venues investigated for violations and one of those told us about the violations in her venue directly. She wanted to challenge the standard, not sneak into NPS. No smoke, no mirrors. One other one might have had some skullduggery involved, but based on a tip from someone in the scene we investigated and the SlamMaster withdrew himself from consideration. The third one followed a very similar pattern. And thats since NPS 1998. Considerably more than 400 teams have participated since 1998 and we have three examples of cheaters. We also have, to my knowledge, zero examples of legitimate slams kept out by cheaters.

Show me the huge bunch of cheaters out there we are trying to catch. Then show me how they keep "legitimate" slams out of NPS so that I can make an assessment of harm and foul.

I think this is currently a no-harm situation. Now, if some cheater keeps some legit slam out of NPS, then I'm ready to go to war. Until then, what's the conern again?

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« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2006, 02:29:54 PM »
The thing is, is if you do catch a slam cheating, who wants to blow the whistle? I don't

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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2006, 02:51:48 PM »
Quote from: "armiller"
The thing is, is if you do catch a slam cheating, who wants to blow the whistle? I don't


...and THIS is why people THINK we need changes when, in fact, we don't.
We need information to use the system we have in place already, which works just fine for all intents and purposes.

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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2006, 03:17:57 PM »
still having a proxy deadline would be good.

I thinbk scott and i agree just in different ways. I too believe that the tools to properly qualify teams for NPS is there, they are simply not enforced. I think making SM's mandatory is a good first step.  But as we grow and grow there has to be an enforcement of standards. Like the attendance records. look at it this way. Should PSi as a governing body just know general slam attendances in certain areas? Isnt that useful information? So we make it part of registration. We require a little more initiative from the slam master in order to send a team. San Jose already does attendance records and theyre very useful

Also I want to debate an earlier point saying that "if theyre there its for poetry" totally untrue, San Jose's venue does not charge everyone, in fact charging at all goes against our venues policies. But we get to ask everyone there if theyre here for poetry, if they say yes we take thier money. But believe it there are people there who could give a crap.

I cant be alone on this one

Steve

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« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2006, 03:27:16 PM »
Anthony, you know I love me San Jose, but, dude, what do you think is on the venue certification form you fill out every year?

Here's the questions on the form:

What is the cost at the door?   
Is the event open to the Public?   
Do you have an Open Mic?   
If yes, please describe
If so, how many participants per night?   
Do you have a Feature?    
How much is the feature paid?   
Do you have a Slam?   
Average number of Slammers per night?   
How much is the winner paid (if anything)?   
Are they any restrictions on who can Sign Up?
If so, please describe   
Other special features? Describe.

How often is your slam held?   
If Other, please describe   
Day of the Week it's held   
Starting Time   
Average Audience Size   

History
Month/year your event was first held   
Have you always used this venue?   
If not, please list your past venues   
Please enter any additional information you think we should know about your Slam

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« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2006, 05:11:37 PM »
Quote from: "Steve"

There is no evidence of "hoards of smoke and mirrors" being used by anyone. If you know someone is cheating, let us know and we'll investigate. If your evidence is one night in the venue when the audience was only 28, we're not going to investigate very hard.


I didn't say that there were, Steve. I said there are hoards of smoke and mirrors that CAN BE USED by desperate hosts.  Hoards is a strong term, yes, but that doesn't negate the fact that there are several ways one can "skirt" the issue of attendance requirements, or fielding methods for their team selections.  Again, it CAN happen.

Quote from: "Steve"

We have a pretty good filter on cheaters already. 1) membership in PSI, 2) payment of certification fees, 3) they swear by the Equal Opportunity Statement, 4) payment of NPS applicaiton fees, 5) membership fees for all members, 6) requirement to participate in the democratic process at SlamMasters. That's a lot of crap to put up with just to cheat your way into NPS.


Membership into PSI: $15 (usually paid by the SM, unless their venue pays it for them)
Cert fees:  $50 - $125 (paid by most venues, unless it's a free operation, then out of pocket)
Swear by eos: just because one swears by something doesn't mean that they're actually upholding it.  How many people swear to God and still don't do what they're supposed to when they're swearing to God?
App to NPS: $400 can be raised by having each member of the team pay into the fund to "insure" that they have a stake at the big prize at the end of nats.
Payment fees for all members: again...can be paid by each member
Requirement for democratic presence/process at SM Conference: covered by assigning a proxy to avoid having to go

A lot of crap to go through, yes.  But still doable. Only three of these things really, TRULY require some level of fiduciary responsibility, that could prove to be a hinderance on a slam more oft than not. The rest can be handled with a handshake, a hand raised in the air (and two fingers crossed behind the back), and an email/phone call/fax requesting coverage. Again, it CAN happen.

Quote from: "Steve"

In all my time with PSI, we have had only three venues investigated for violations and one of those told us about the violations in her venue directly. She wanted to challenge the standard, not sneak into NPS. No smoke, no mirrors. One other one might have had some skullduggery involved, but based on a tip from someone in the scene we investigated and the SlamMaster withdrew himself from consideration. The third one followed a very similar pattern. And thats since NPS 1998. Considerably more than 400 teams have participated since 1998 and we have three examples of cheaters. We also have, to my knowledge, zero examples of legitimate slams kept out by cheaters.

Show me the huge bunch of cheaters out there we are trying to catch. Then show me how they keep "legitimate" slams out of NPS so that I can make an assessment of harm and foul.

I think this is currently a no-harm situation. Now, if some cheater keeps some legit slam out of NPS, then I'm ready to go to war. Until then, what's the conern again?
 

I'm sure there are more legitimate slams than not, Steve.  But that doesn't change the fact that there are dishonest slams out there. Do I know of any? No.  If I knew about them would I report them? Yeah.  Are there slams that are probably squeaking by that skim the line of ligano vs. nil-ligano? Sure! Do I know who they are? Of course not.  

The point is that as this thing grows (and it will), this will be a growing concern.  Maybe Anthony's proposing this now so that in the future, we don't have to scurry about trying to figure out how to police this later down the road.

Maybe.
*The views expressed by Delrica are not that of PSi nor the Executive Council. Her gems are her own...deal with it*