Congratulations to the 2016 Question of the Year on Sports SE: Why is field hockey played with water on the field?

Here are the final results:

2016 Sports SE Question of the Year Tournament

I want to use this post to "debrief" about this tournament.

  • What went right?
  • What could we improve upon?
  • Is this viable for the future?
  • Other thoughts

For reference, the proof of concept can be found here: Sports SE Question of the Year Tournament - Proof of Concept

  • 1
    One fact that bothered me was that you chose to refrain from voting in any round. This would've made sense if you had personally curated the list of questions. But the list of questions was just a reflection of how the community viewed the popularity of those questions. Your vote could've been that tiebreaker in several rounds. Any reasons for not voting?
    – CodeNewbie
    Apr 11 '17 at 5:23
  • 5
    @CodeNewbie Yes. I didn't want to bring the appearance of collusion in any way, shape, or form. I thought about voting during the Elite 8 round where all the ties took place, but I felt like it came across as pulling the tournament in a certain direction. 1) If I had voted at all, I would have voted each round. 2) Voting one round where it was vital (ie, tiebreaker) looked fishy in my eyes, so I refrained. 3) This was ultimately for the community, and although a vote from me is the same as a vote from anyone else, it could be viewed differently as a mod and manager of this tourney.
    – user527
    Apr 11 '17 at 11:56
  • 5
    I fully agree with your second point. But for next time, do consider voting in every round. You are after all a part of the community, even if you hold the precious diamond in your name. Also, it's not like your mod hammer would be any good here, so no harm no foul.
    – CodeNewbie
    Apr 11 '17 at 13:33
  • 5
    @CodeNewbie Thanks for the insight. If this is the community consensus, then the encouragement to vote in such a tournament (as manager of the tourney) is very much noted.
    – user527
    Apr 11 '17 at 13:54

There were two primary reasons I attempted this tournament after conceiving it:

  • Community Involvement (eg, identifying a question of the year would be fun and we all could take part in it and potentially interact about it)
  • Revisiting Questions (eg, if an improvement is needed or the question/answers are worthy of votes, that can be done)

I will evaluate this tournament from these perspectives.

Community Involement

What went right?

We had users vote consistently. We also had different users vote as the tournament went on. Huge shoutout to all who voted.

What can we improve upon?

Expectation wise, I was expecting around 10 votes per question. We almost got there for the championship round, but our average vote count per question hovered around 3-5.

This is in no way reflective of the community at-large, but it would have been nice to get more of our "big names" to participate. Whether it was because of low interest, preference, not being a good fit for this site, or what-have-you, the support may go a long way. Again, this is not reflective of the community and the reasons are ultimately unknown. Addressing why would help. Perhaps what Sports SE is, as we know it, isn't designed for such an event, and that's fine.

We were literally one vote away per question from the Final 4 being against four teams instead of eight (due to ties). More votes would have highlighted great matchups in a greater degree and may have prevented the logjam tie scenarios we got. Admittedly, our tie-break scenario was conceived hastily: https://sports.meta.stackexchange.com/a/703.

Revisiting Questions

What went right?

Some questions were discussed and improved. Although buried in The Clubhouse among discussion about the actual March Madness, there was discussion about several questions and the tournament in general.

What can we improve upon?

The general perception (whether accurate or not) that older questions have already been looked at, voted, and improved as it sits otherwise idle. I noted during proof of concept that I wasn't familiar with a number of questions in the tournament and I see most questions coming in.

Some of these questions in this tournament are great questions. Some questions may be low quality and/or off-topic. Highlighting this definitely brings more eyes on these questions to improve and vote where necessary.

An example (albeit from meta):

This question sat with -4 votes since it was asked and addressed in October 2016. After an answer was added in March 2017, 3 upvotes were given to the question. What a change in perception.

Another example:

A question had -7 votes, was addressed in meta about a year-and-a-half later, corrected flawed perspectives, and now sits at +4. A much more drastic change in perception after it was revisited.

Another example:

Some swimming questions sat favorably for some time, but a number of them were eventually closed by the community in bulk. It led to this meta post that clarified and fortified our position that questions on Sports SE have to be about the competitive aspect of the sport and not just about the general activity.

Is this viable for the future?

Certainly. Addressing some of my points under "What can we improve upon?" would definitely help us understand how we can improve running this tournament in the future. I thought about having an all-time tournament, though that might be overkill.

Other Thoughts

During the tournament, I changed community events to only display the current round and to notify when the next round starts a day in advance. I felt this was a good move to desaturate our bulletin board.

I thought the setup (32 questions, 16 questions a division, 8 matchups per round/week, 6 weeks to complete the tournament) was digestible. I did overlook a week, but fixed that and moved on without a hitch (other than extending the tournament out a week further than planned due to my oversight).

Overall, I thought the tournament was a successful experience and again, huge shoutout to those who voted and made this possible.

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