Talk:Quizbowl lingo

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The majority of the (original) entries in this list have articles associated with them that are now redirects - if you intend to link to them, it is likely easier to link to those rather than specific a subsection of this larger article.

For example: Colvin science is found at Colvin science, which redirects to Quizbowl lingo#Colvin science.

Kevin Wang (talk) 09:24, 10 December 2020 (CST)

This is no longer true - redirects have been (largely) undone and terms should have their own dedicated page which is transcluded here.
-Kevin Wang (talk) 19:08, 25 May 2021 (CDT)

Lingo to add

  • bike/biking
  • blank/blanking
  • bot/botting
  • depreflex/depreflexing
  • firstline/firstlining
  • insular/insularity
  • :joy:/:eyejoy:
  • osmosis
  • packet reading
  • :pumblechook:/:finelad:
  • :crabcrab:/:pepegacrab: (incl. :crabcreek:/:pepegacreek:)
  • smint/sminting

User:Eric Yin (talk)

I question the need to have things for every discord emoji, but I suppose there's no harm. Kevin Wang (talk)

Stuff used (essentially) only on Discord might be best presented as a section on the Quizbowl Discord article Jonah (talk) 17:27, 10 December 2020 (CST)
removed psyduck for literally just being an emote of a psyduck - there's no need for an explanation there Kevin Wang (talk) 09:44, 11 December 2020 (CST)

True—Quizbowl Discord should also have a section on region- and demographic-specific Discord servers User:Eric Yin (talk)

If we are seriously debating whether people who have been active quizbowl players at the high school or college level for years are "notable" enough to have pages, then it seems to be that "region-specific Discord servers" obviously do not need pages. If there's an index of such servers on a single article for use in finding them, that's one thing, but one page where people list emojis and in-jokes is one too many and I really doubt we need more of them. Matt Weiner (talk) 21:56, 10 December 2020 (CST)

The first 5 all seem like good terms. If you can actually give important info about the emojis they seem fine to me; my problem with the player pages is that there's no important info on them so they clutter up the wiki. I'd also suggest "insular", "osmosis", and "sminting" (all from Aalok(?)'s list of quiz bowl jargon) as good additions. Benjamin McAvoy-Bickford (talk) 05:43, 11 December 2020 (CST)

Lingo to potentially change

  • buzzer rock-- I think make clear at least that it's a generally bad term to use and is often insulting to less-experienced players
  • fraud-- not a big fan of the way it's worded right now as being purely derogatory towards the player and not a question. Also doesn't really talk about linguistic fraud, which I have actually heard in use fairly recently.
  • ladder theory of quizbowl-- it's a weird thing I haven't heard before that sounds pretty insidery and the connotations with the more well-known "ladder theory" aren't good
  • real quizbowl -- probably not as relevant today, could use more context to explain (especially the exclusion of HS and HCASC questions). Maybe could combine with "format war" to have an article summarizing the history/arguments/posts about the long struggle towards good quizbowl
  • trophy whore-- probably not a good term to use; is there a better substitute?
  • Young's Law-- is this really something worth having on the QBwiki

flagged some of these terms that we might not want to have on the wiki or which could use some changes -Chris Chiego

I agree about most of those. I think trophy whoring and Young's Law get referenced enough (in concept, though not in name) to be worth keeping, though disclaimers about rudeness/offensive stereotypes wouldn't be amiss. Jonah (talk) 20:08, 10 December 2020 (CST)

"Ladder theory of quizbowl" is literally something that a person came up with in the IRC and made a wiki page for one night, and was never heard of again. It's never been a term that anyone really uses. Matt Weiner (talk) 21:45, 10 December 2020 (CST)

Rethinking this model

A page like this could be a good breeding ground for information on new, not highly attested terms, but I don't think we should have redirected and moved established concepts from articles to subsections here. I will try to explain why.

  • It makes certain operations unfeasible.
    • Subsections can't be categorized. (This also causes categories in general to be much less useful and less complete.)
    • Subsections can't automatically redirect elsewhere.
    • You can't see edit history specific to a subsection.
    • You can't compare revisions applied to a subsection only.
    • You can't easily see incoming links to a subsection. (Though thankfully, at least incoming redirects to subsections are listed.)
  • It makes certain operations more difficult or time-consuming because the article is long and noisy (as in low signal-to-noise ratio).
    • It's harder to find information in the article itself, for both readers and editors.
    • It's harder to find information in history and incoming links.
    • It's harder to share knowledge because getting the URL to a subsection takes more steps.
    • It's slower to load and compare revisions.
    • You can't easily and reliably navigate from an editor's historical contributions to a topic to the current location or state of that topic; you often have to follow a winding trail like a detective.
      • This is because page contents and section titles are more volatile (change more frequently) than page titles (and their redirects/aliases), especially for long encompassing articles like this one.
  • It makes certain operations inconsistent.
    • It makes editors have to deal with two different ways to edit the wiki conceptually.
      • Learning how to edit a section vs. edit a page may be similar enough, but learning how and when to link to a concept as a page vs. as a section probably adds an unnecessary learning curve and friction.
    • It leads some editors to change redlinks into links to subsections, instead of creating useful long-lasting redirects (e.g. [1] and [2]). These links take more effort to change and cause knowledge to be more decentralized.
    • Some terms have both a "main article" and a glossary entry, so the same canonical information is repeated in two places. This means every edit has to be doubled if the two places are to be synchronized.
  • It doesn't have a clear intent.
    • It conflates concepts with "lingo"; that is, it conflates an encyclopedia with a dictionary (or lexicon or glossary). [note 1]
    • It conflates quizbowl lingo with a list of quizbowl lingo, though this may be easily solved. (See side event and list of side events as a good model, though they are WIP.) [note 2]
      • Incoming links to the concept of quizbowl lingo itself can't be seen easily. (Did you know there were any? In fact, one was even added while I was in the process of writing this!)
    • What's included is determined by unknown or arbitrary criteria with no rhyme or reason.
    • It has no overall theme, and is just a catch-all of unrelated concepts about quizbowl. (The entire wiki itself already serves as a catch-all for concepts about quizbowl! So it creates an unnecessary fractal.)
      • A page should have a good reason (intrinsic to the topic itself) for being long or miscellaneous. (An example reason: to let lots of closely related information be easily read or compared at once.) [note 3]
      • Examples of lists of terms with an intent might be: "obsolete terms" or "gameplay-related quizbowl terms" or "eponymous laws" or an introductory list of "terms you should know to understand quizbowl basics."
        • However, categories are generally a much better choice for this, because it is possible for concepts to be placed in multiple categories. [note 4]
    • It puts highly significant or "notable" concepts (like canon and bad quizbowl and academic) on the same neutral level as concepts that are obsolete, questionable, or undeserving (like custom Discord emojis). [note 5]
  • It makes contributing harder or seem more effortful.
    • It disincentivizes adding useful and relevant information because the encompassing article is very long already.
    • It disincentivizes adding useful and relevant information because the other subsections are already short and create the impression that less information is de facto better.
    • The wiki already suffers greatly from low community interest in editing, so it is valuable to take steps to make it easier.
  • It greatly affects the ratio of pages on quizbowl concepts vs. quizbowl occurrences. [note 6]
    • This point is not ridiculous, despite how it may seem.
    • This point is independent of the utility or value of the latter – regardless of how important or well-served the latter is, the former is clearly desperately underserved on the wiki currently.
    • This point is not about reducing clutter. [note 7]
    • It doesn't play to how external search engines behave and are optimized. [note 8]
    • The random page button is heavily weighted to the latter. I found 2 concepts in a sample of 100. [note 9]
      • This feature is a popular way to engage with the community's knowledge base.

Wiki purpose

The purpose of a community wiki about quizbowl, based on what I understand, is for people both to learn from and to build upon institutional knowledge.

Wikis in general are quite good at reflecting conceptual models of knowledge itself; for instance, the whole idea of a wiki page is already meant precisely to encompass a meaningful concept. Together, the page and the hyperlink are such powerful tools (to say nothing of transclusion). We should move closer to the "concept = page" model to take advantage of what wiki is best at and designed around.

Arguments in favor

I struggle to understand the arguments in favor, but I will try to play devil's advocate.

  • There is an audience of readers who want to read multiple terms at once, in alphabetical order, for some reason.
    • But a glossary is a poor model of knowledge.
  • It centralizes some work or discussion about "quizbowl lingo" pages, as seen above on this talk page.
    • But this can be easily solved, either by adopting some kind of "WikiProject"-like meta-organization, or by just designating a page where concepts are discussed holistically.
  • It has enabled some (sporadic) new contributions.

Possible compromises

  • If truly desired, a glossary page can be curated and generated semi-automatically from concept pages.
    • Use the <onlyinclude> tag in an article to mark a short description. Automatically transclude the excerpt in a glossary by using {{:page}}, much like a template. Or remix and reuse any single-sourced content into multiple views!
  • Be more selective in what to include.
  • Merge pages in a more bottom-up fashion, not top-down.
    • For example, list tossup and list bonus could be merged into a single page together, or merged into a larger page about obsolete types of questions.


The new status quo has existed for five months since the initial change without consensus. I thank those who worked to improve the wiki, but I don't think the experiment was successful. The time has come to return to the previous model, and revert the redirects. I plan to be bold and implement this in the near future. If you have something to add, please do so soon. Thanks! Ophir Lifshitz (talk) 06:00, 16 May 2021 (EDT)


  1. Litmus test: a word is lingo and not a concept if there is really nothing more to say about it besides its definition (and perhaps its pronunciation, etymology, or usage). For example, the verbs "bagel" or "firstline" (mentioned above) are merely lingo, not really distinct concepts, since they are just shorthands (for "score 0 points on a bonus" and "correctly answer a tossup in its first line") without additional noteworthy meaning. Obviously, both lingo and concepts can be defined, and for people new to quizbowl, definition of lingo is roughly equally as useful to learn as concepts (like buzzer race or fraud or osmosis). But lingo only has meaning in reference to concepts.
  2. One could argue about how useful a page about quizbowl lingo itself is. But it is not hard to imagine such a page being useful in the context of outreach or insularity, or about what kind of discourse about lingo (or changing established lingo) is constructive, for example. (Such a page is also the only place where using a metalingual title like "lingo" is really necessary, save for a WikiProject.)
  3. A stub may exist for two reasons: either little information exists on the concept, or little information has been so far written on the concept. In this conceptual model, there is nothing at all wrong with the former stubs and no valid reason to alter their true nature (such as by merging them), and the latter is merely a time-based temporary status. And remember, a wiki has no material constraints on number of pages or storage space.
  4. There is no real need to add prose information directly on a category page, or treat any category page as the canonical location for prose information. For example, SSNCT's article used to be at the category page itself. Category pages are harder to link to, search for, and remember exist, because of their being in a separate namespace. Categories are also very brittle in MediaWiki because when they are renamed or moved, references in pages do not automatically update. Also, it may be possible to automatically transclude the list of a category's members on any page (either natively in MediaWiki or using a simple extension).
  5. I'm not sure why this wiki needs entries on custom Discord emojis and memes – but if one insists, why not just make a single page dedicated to them, as basically suggested above?

    My evaluation: it teaches practical skills and values, but sends the wrong message about what should be valued.

    Pros: It lets young people learn how to interact with, and how to edit, this wiki, MediaWiki software, and wikis in general; and it lets them incidentally osmose/absorb other community knowledge in the process. It grows the wiki's audience (which is outreach-like). It teaches good values: that community knowledge should be written down, accessible, updated, and shared. Its intent (for a community to be less insular) is in good faith.

    Cons: It sends the wrong message about what the wiki is for, and what kind of information belongs on it. Unfortunately, information about emojis doesn't really matter. We should want more people to communicate about quizbowl, and not about things that don't matter in the long term.

    Archaeology often studies artifacts and texts that only end up having any interesting information content indirectly due to the promise of potential insight into how people lived, but we must go to great lengths to even make any reasonable assumptions about what they valued and thought and why. Most of it is literal rubbish whose explicit contents are utterly meaningless now. Does it matter to us today exactly how many copper ingots a merchant or accountant recorded on his fleeting tablet? No. Literature however gives us the ability to say something meaningful directly to the future. Not only that, but with computer technology, we can do so in a format that can be very flexible and long-lasting if used in the right way and carefully preserved. (Although it must be warned: it is very easy to take this situation for granted.) Until now, nobody has even asked the question "why is this page in this form?" or seriously answered the question "why should there be entries on emojis on this wiki?" as far as I'm aware.

  6. I define concepts to include the set of information that is important for someone who is learning about quizbowl to know. Articles on concepts deserve high traffic/views. Occurrences include school/team/player anecdotes, affiliations, stats, records, and anything relatively short-lived. Occurrences do not much help someone understand the game of quizbowl itself, as it primarily includes such information that, in an alternate universe, could have been completely different (e.g. all proper nouns randomized or anonymized) and yet make no real difference to learning what quizbowl is. (The continuum in between includes instances like question sets and side events, and regional or state-specific rules that are irrelevant to quizbowl in general, but necessary to a subset of people.) History textbooks are not useful for being merely chronicles or collections of facts, but for having narratives and teachable lessons that still matter today; in the same way, good community wikis are more like primers, not yearbooks or ephemerides.
  7. Deletionism, as proposed before elsewhere, is not a great solution, especially as it depends on first reaching a consensus answer to contentious questions like "who/what is notable?". At the end of the day, notability is a complete red herring; we must simply be always doing the hard work of expanding useful information. Time spent deleting or discussing deleting stale player pages is simply better served expanding something else instead.
  8. Web search engine algorithms are based on ranking nodes by number of incoming links, so fewer nodes reduces precious information. Repeated content can be deemed spammy and penalized. Search engines will present users with more generic titles and less useful snippets (Google does okay with a search like "quizbowl fraud," but other engines fail abysmally at extracting the relevant snippet), and already-visited purple links.
  9. This could be improved by having several random article buttons limited by category scope or even namespace (i.e. a hyper-category): Random concept, Random school, Random player, Random guide, Any random page. Consider for example splitting Person, School, and Guide from the default namespace! The name resolver could be modified to route unqualified links to the best match (e.g. Duke → School:Duke).

I generally agree with Ophir's point. I think it makes sense to have a list of "minor" or "less common" lingo together on one page (although some of these seem to have fallen out of use and/or sound a bit like in-jokes from the late 2000s IRC), but if something is sufficiently important to merit its own page on the QBWiki it probably makes more sense to have that page stand on its own and then include that page as part of a category on "lingo". -Chris C.

I don't have any particularly strong opinion on the main point here, but I do think that a) there is value in tracking "occurrences" because b) the thematic lessons of history can only come out of striving to accurately discover and study the trend of occurrences and c) we don't know which occurrences that we have the ever-diminishing ability to track now before they are forgotten will be important to understanding history in the future. In the quizbowl sense, I've noticed that there is a huge lack of understanding of what came before. It was recently pointed out that there is almost no one around who can explain to a journalist the history of College Bowl and keeping HBCUs from competing in mainstream tournaments. We have people who are accumulating meaningful influence in the "community" who have taken their teams to events such as the National Academic Championship or are trying to participate in the College Bowl TV show. This would have been anathema a decade ago, but no one remembers why and 90% of players think that quizbowl was invented by the upperclassmen in their club in 2018. There is also a lot of insight about why formats, distributions, rules, etc. are the way they are that could be gained from a historical approach, as opposed to the unanchored rationalism which philosophically dominates quizbowl theory discussions today.

There are other reasons to track occurrences, such as showing that quizbowl achievement (as player, organizer, writer, or more) is taken at least as seriously as a Magic the Gathering tournament, Division III lacrosse, or any other given event for which endless reams of historical data and anecdotes are available. Matt Weiner (talk) 04:22, 18 May 2021 (CDT)

Yeah I can undo the moves - I continue to enjoy the idea of an aggregated list of lingo/concepts but I have no problem to switching that to a model with individual pages for everything and transclusion here.

-Kevin Wang (talk) 09:00, 25 May 2021 (CDT)