QSWriter is a website that provides tools that make creating a Quizbowl question set centralized and less stressful. By forming a virtual tournament headquarters with a built-in packet generation, question completion tracking, and a secure database, teams can seamlessly save questions and delegate the responsibilities that come with housewritten question sets.
This website was created for a simple purpose: to make the housewriting process more user-friendly. As a player/writer/editor myself, I saw a need to build something more effective than the Google Docs "Matrix" system my team had used for years. I'll never forget the hours I spent days before our housewritten tournaments copying and pasting questions into packets, as well as writing and rewriting questions (that were either never submitted or were lost). I built this website to make sure that no team has to deal with the technological difficulties often accompanying housewrites, making the process far more efficient and less daunting. The $12 fee associated with use of the website ensures a much less stressful housewriting experience, and it helps keep this resource up and running (the fee costs less than what our coach paid for pizza the night my team stayed after school to finish our missing questions). I hope the quizbowl community can benefit from this site by making housewrites easier to complete.
QSWriter takes security seriously. In order to protect your personal information and questions, qswriter.com was built with security in mind. By requiring you to use your Google Account to sign in, we do not store any password data and get all the strengths of Google’s security features, such as two factor authentication. In addition to using Google for logins, QSWriter uses Google Datastore. Google Datastore is used to securely store login and tournament data. Google Datastore is not vulnerable to SQL injection attacks or other standard database exploits. All the data sent to Google Datastore is transmitted securely using SSL and encrypted by Google while stored. Finally, all communication between you and qswriter.com is protected with SSL so that your data and questions remain yours.
Tournament - Tournaments are the QSWriter representation of question sets. You write a tournament (or more specifically, the questions that will be read at that tournament). Aside from the usual definition of what physical tournaments are (the ones that players go to), tournaments are the foundational units of qswriter.com. In order to use QSWriter to its fullest extent, a user must either be a contributor of a tournament or purchase a "Tournament Credit", which can be used to create a tournament. Tournaments can have up to 900 questions while the number of contributors to a single tournament is unlimited.
Question Type - This term refers to different kinds of questions. The supported Question Types are Powered Tossups, Non-Powered Tossups, and 3 Part Bonuses.
Question States - For organizational purposes, questions each have a state of completion to indicate their progress.
Roles - Contributors to tournaments have one of three possible roles. They are either writers, editors, or admins.
Once a user has purchased a Tournament Credit from the Purchase Page, they can access the Tournament Creator. In the Tournament Creator, the user enters the necessary information about the tournament for QSWriter to generate it.
A list of the fields and descriptions follows:
The next step in creating a tournament is setting up the question distribution. It is a very good idea to know what your tournament's distribution will be ahead of time. This means knowing what types of questions you will be adding (powered tossups, bonuses, etc.), what categories the tournament will have, and how many questions of each category you will have (for example, if your tournament has 12 rounds, and you will be asking 2.5 History questions per round, you will have 30 History questions). There are two buttons close to the bottom of the page. One adds a Question Type and the other removes the most recently added Question Type. Add the Question Types in the order you would like them to appear in the final packets (for example, a 20/20 set would have Tossups then Bonuses; or for example, the format for Virginia High School League would use 3 sets of Non-Powered Tossups). Then for each Question Type, add its categories, name them, and fill in how many questions each category has (whole numbers please). Once this step is done and you have checked everything is correct, your tournament is ready for creation.
Please Note: The Distribution of Tournaments Cannot Change Once Created.
The final step in creating a tournament is allowing the right users to contribute to the tournament. This step is completed using the Manage page after the tournament has been created.
Once you are a contributor to a tournament, you have access to more pages of QSWriter.
The usual progression for any question is as follows. A contributor claims a question and chooses the topic. That contributor then writes the question. Once the question is completely written, an editor will fact check, fix grammar issues, and make sure no information overlaps another question. It is the responsibility of the writer that there are no issues with their question since they have as much access to the other questions as the editor. The editor will then set the question as edited and ready for packeting.
Always save your own copies of questions locally or somewhere else on the web. This will likely prevent future headache if the backups are ever needed.
Managing a tournament is the job of the admins. All the administrating is done through the Manage page, which only admins can access.
On the Manage page they will find panels that allow them to change the Tournament Info that appears in the Dashboard of the Tournament, change contributors and their roles, access final packets and the full edit log, and delete the Tournament entirely if so desired.
This section describes the packeting process.
QSWriter requires that a tournament be at least 80% edited before packets can be generated. Clicking the "Access Packets" button on the Manage page will generate the packets with automatically formatted questions in a pseudorandom order. If for some reason you do not like the order of questions in the packets that are generated, generating the packets again will create a different order each time.
Each time packets are accessed, QSWriter runs a packeting algorithm that creates the order of questions. This algorithm was designed to spread out questions of the same category throughout the packets. For example, if your tournament has 10 rounds and there are 10 History questions in the matrix, then QSWriter will put exactly one History question in each round. If there are 10 rounds and 20 History questions, then there will be exactly 2 History questions in each round. The algorithm does not follow the Question Matrix while packeting. If a question is in "Column 3", it does not necessarily get put in the 3rd Round when packeting. This is because the algorithm takes questions from the Matrix from left to right and top to bottom. This does mean that if categories line up with rounds one to one (for example 10 rounds and 10 questions in a category), those questions DO appear in the rounds they are labeled in the Matrix. This is the ONLY case of that.
The packeting algorithm does not prevent questions of the same or similar categories from appearing sequentially in a packet. Please fix these issues by hand if you wish. Most of the time, two History questions in a row is not really an issue.
The algorithm is designed to create the number rounds you specified with as many questions per round as possible while keeping the number of questions per round equal across rounds. This may occasionally mean that some questions are not used. These questions are put at the bottom of the Packets page for use by you as spares or replacements or however you would like.
There is also the option of manually packeting questions using the "Access Questions" button on the Manage page. This button shows all the questions of the Tournament correctly formatted in order of category. This button only works if the Tournament is at least 80% edited.