Talk:One-person teams

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There is an open question of whether it is worthwhile to have a list of "one-person teams" like the one I added to this page. It is my opinion that this is information that people are interested in and are actively seeking out with some regularity, so it should be included (with some modifications). I have explicitly not added any information outside of the team, roster, year, and placement to present this table as neutrally as possible. I also intend to create pages for every player of every team. -Kevin Wang (talk) 16:28, 21 June 2021 (CDT)

Thanks for all the discussion in the last day. I did the previously mentioned expansion of the early section. I have also commented off the table until a consensus is reached for what are acceptable guidelines for which teams are in it - I still intend to go through and make pages for the players listed, and anyone reading this can help with that too. I still think that is information that is worth having, but perhaps it is better suited for another format. -Kevin Wang (talk) 18:07, 22 June 2021 (CDT)

from Aadi

As one of the people mentioned on this page, I do not think it is a good idea for this page to contain a "list of one person teams" for a multitude of reasons.

(1) The name "one-person team" can be interpreted as derogatory, and I do not think it is a good idea for a (public) history of quizbowl to be derogatory towards people whose only crime is not getting a ton of tossup points.

(2) The criteria for defining a "one-person team" are quite arbitrary (there's no real significance to the "2/3 of a team's scoring" clause), and I don't think it's either useful or informative to demean the skill of the majority of the players on a "one-person team" based on arbitrary criteria.

(3) The name "one-person team" suggests that if that team only included a single person, it would have performed similarly to the full team. As a player on one of these "one-man teams," I can guarantee that this is false. After all, bonuses are worth around twice as much as tossups, and many of these players contribute significantly on the bonuses in ways that aren't really apparent from team statistics.

(4) Classifying a team as "one-person" can basically erase the contribution of specialist or hyper-specialist players (and it has, especially in the case of Justin Wytmar, whom I believe to be an extremely good history specialist - he made Illinois NASAT, after all! same for my own team's Vishal Sareddy, and probably many more people on this list), fueling the misconception that generalism is the only way to play/be good at quizbowl. This is an extremely dangerous perception, one that I have spent a lot of time trying to eradicate in the novice players I've worked with. I don't think very many experienced players will be affected by this, but there are always new players who wander into the wiki and start looking around, and I don't think it's good for them to feel that they have to become a top hypergeneralist carry or whatever to be successful at quizbowl.

Basically, while I don't think that every single use of the term "one-person team" is intended to be derogatory, I think that maintaining a list of such teams in a public-facing space like this one is demeaning. -Aadi Karthik (talk) 17:50, 21 June 2021 (EDT)


I had attempted to address several of these points when I edited the lede of this article; it may be that that section could do with additional expansion. I will present my thoughts on your reasoning:
(1) I think that the use of the term "one-person team" to refer to historic teams which have had major contributions from a single player is both a well-established practice and (more critically) one that is not substantially harmful. Harmful in some capacity, yes, but no more negative than listing players who received votes on a player poll without acknowledging their teammates (which no one seemingly has much problem with). Following this line of thought, this list serves to be descriptive and the situation is no worse than it was prior. It is obvious that being on this list does not "make" a team a one-person team - for one this list is brand new, and for another many of these teams had already been referred to as such for extended periods of time - so this is more a question of whether it is appropriate to be using "one-person team" to refer to historical teams. My answer to that is "Yes, I think it is fine."
(2) The criteria are arbitrary, yes, but objective. The actual definition of a "one-person team" is arbitrary and subjective. Nevertheless, many of the teams which have been historically referred to as "one-person" are included in this definition. I think this reduces to whether the term should be used at all (and again I would say it is okay).
(3) Yes. This is emphasized in the intro to this article, but you are right that that section can be made more substantial.
(4) The passage of time has already erased much of the contributions of specific players - only by actively working against this is any knowledge of the past retained. You speak of what your teammates did on your team - do you know what the players on all these teams in the past did? No, because they have no wiki articles and they are never spoken of in the same sentence as their teammates. The way that an individual's contributions to a team are erased is by setting the "one-person" in opposition to their team. As I previously stated, I intend to make pages for every player on this list - if you couldn't see which players already had articles, could you say which player was the "one-person"? Is it better or worse for players to be remembered as the teammate of a strong player or not at all?
I think that some form of this table should exist - literally immediately upon entering the HS Discord today someone was talking about one-person teams. The most reasonable compromise to me is that it excludes teams from the last X years (let's say 4). -Kevin Wang (talk) 17:22, 21 June 2021 (CDT)

(1) I think the player poll example you've given is different in a subtle way, in that this situation involves putting a player in the context of their teammates rather than in the context of other top players from other top teams. The former seems to me to be more derogatory than competitive, while the latter to me is the opposite.
(4) This is a very good point, and you're probably correct here; the table keeps the teammates of the "one-man" on the same level as them, and generally does a good job of emphasizing the team nature of "one-man teams."
I think your compromise works quite well in this scenario; while it doesn't address everything, restricting teams listed here to, say, teams all of whose members have graduated seems like it will do much to prevent what I consider to be the harmful nature of this list. One other thing I'd suggest is to maybe change the name of the article (of course, keeping "one-person teams" as a redirect) so that it doesn't trivialize the contribution of other team-members as much. How about something along the lines of "single-player-led teams" or "one-person-led teams", something that emphasizes that one player is making up the core of the scoring of the team without implying that that player is the "entire" team? -Aadi Karthik (talk) 18:58, 21 June 2021 (EDT)
I think all nuance about the goods and bads of calling things "one-person teams" will have to go in the article itself - the name is what it is because that's what people call it (actually, people call them "one-man teams" but I took it upon myself to unilaterally change this). I'll remove the recent teams (and make the pages for their teammates anyways). -Kevin Wang (talk) 18:02, 21 June 2021 (CDT)

from Reilly

Aadi makes some very good points here. My own opinion is that while there is certainly an argument to be made that this article is useful (more QB info on the wiki > less QB info on the wiki), there are a lot of other things we (QBWiki contributors) could be spending our time doing that would benefit the wiki more in a less controversial way (updating old pages, adding recent stats and results, etc.). -Reilly Melville (talk) 17:02, 21 June 2021 (CDT)


This is not a formal argument but I will politely ask you to scroll through the Recent Changes page and see whose name pops up. -Kevin Wang (talk) 17:24, 21 June 2021 (CDT)
I'm not at all saying that this article is bad or that contributing to it is bad (like I said above, more info on here > less info on here), and I'm sorry if I came off that way. I just think this particular article, though useful, isn't as useful as some of the other things on here. You, of course, are welcome to spend your time however you wish (and I think I speak for many other people when I say that I appreciate the amount of work you've put into the wiki recently). Reilly Melville -(talk) 18:06, 21 June 2021 (CDT)

from Chris

Strong agree with all of Aadi's points. This seems like a really odd thing to catalogue on the QBWiki. In general, I think it's much better to focus on team histories too rather than individual players since that can provide a more complete story of the net contributions of all members and would save a considerable amount of time that would otherwise go into making separate individual player articles as well as the overall team article. -Chris C. (talk) 18:01, 21 June 2021 (CDT)

I second everything Chris said here, particularly that this is an odd thing to have on the wiki. Reilly Melville (talk) 18:08, 21 June 2021 (CDT)
I do not think this is an odd thing to catalogue - there is a very natural inclination to document the use of common phrases, especially when it aligns closely with topics like team performance. I think that this is information that people want access to. Conversely, while it would theoretically be easier to compile all information about a team in their article rather than in player pages, I don't think it reflects how most people use the wiki. Most articles have links to people, not to teams - individual stories are also compelling.
While reading through some older threads I found direct testimonial from individuals on some of these teams that expressed frustration with the use of the phrase, which is a much stronger argument than any other that has been presented thus far. I hope that creating articles for every player on these teams is an adequate way to balance this out - if not, then this list can go. -Kevin Wang (talk) 19:46, 21 June 2021 (CDT)
It's more than fine to have a page on this term and similar terms (and I like the distinction between this and a "solo" team for instance), but making a list of one-person teams, as others have pointed out here, is fraught with a number of issues. Like Reinstein notes, I don't think creating extra pages for other teammates really balances this out either and would be a whole lot extra work for you. Maybe you could highlight a couple of examples of one-person teams so long as the members of that team were okay with it. -Chris C. (talk) 13:44, 22 June 2021 (PDT)

from Benjamin

My biggest issue with this article is that this isn't what a one-person team often refers to. The standard being used for inclusion here is far too loose- few of these teams would be called one-person teams in normal usage. The article shouldn't exist in the first place but it would be less bad if it only included teams that actually would have placed roughly the same if one player from them had been solo. Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford (talk) 05:59, 22 June 2021 (CDT)

In my experience, people use "one-person team" to refer to "a team with a really good player on it" and I don't think the threshold I chose was that far off from what would be required to only include teams that "placed roughly the same" - it could certainly be tightened further. I'm not sure where your assertion that "few of these teams would be called one-person teams in normal usage" comes from, though - I have heard people call almost every team on this list a one-person team. -Kevin Wang (talk) 13:07, 22 June 2021 (CDT)

from David

I agree with Aadi. Also, Buffalo Grove does not meet the criterion anyways. Also, I don't think writing articles on everybody mentioned is viable unless you plan on writing articles saying in their entirety Person X played for High School Y that finished in 17th place at HSNCT in 2014. David Reinstein (talk) 07:12, 22 June 2021 (CDT)

There were some approximations made when compiling the stats, namely using prelims individual PPG vs overall team tossup points. As Benjamin noted, though, the criteria should probably be tightened anyways.
A sparse article is better than no article. -Kevin Wang (talk) 13:12, 22 June 2021 (CDT)
I was thinking about it some more, and my suggestion is to have something along the lines of an article on players who were in the top ten individuals and on a top ten team. The two people who hit those criteria from this year's HSNCT are Amogh Kulkarni of Arcadia and Rohan Ganeshan of Buffalo Grove. The people who hit them from this year's NSC are Aadi Karthik, Nathan Sheffield, Arjun Nageswaran, Tegan Kapadia, and Justin Posner. I think that would give a pretty similar list to what is here without insulting people because the focus would be on the performance of the top players rather than implying a lack of performance from their teammates. David Reinstein (talk) 13:32, 22 June 2021 (CDT)
I think that if I were to compile that list, it would look exactly like a page for, say, a high school player poll. Much like that page, nobody's teammates would be visible at any point - I don't feel like that's better. -Kevin Wang (talk) 14:26, 22 June 2021 (CDT)