Bonnie Thunders and Teenie Meanie Talk Rankings
WFTDA’s rankings and divisioning white papers raised almost as many questions as they answered, so we’ve set out to clear a few things up by putting some of your concerns to the people behind the project and asking some questions of our own.
The ranking calculator project was masterminded by--among others--Bonnie Thunders, WFTDA’s director of gameplay, and managed by Teenie Meanie, chair of the WFTDA ranking committee.
Teenie skated with Sacred City before taking a leave of absence from skating in 2010, but has remained active with the league as an NSO and will be bench coaching Sacred’s Sacrificers in the 2013 season. She’s been involved with WFTDA since 2008 and has chaired the ranking committee for several years, overseeing the old vote-based system.
As someone who had been involved with the voting system for several years, Teenie wasn’t a fan: “I was ready for that system to die,” she said. “But, we had to have something to take it’s place to allow it to.” In 2011 she got the chance to help with that goal, being given oversight of the ranking calculator project.
A calculator was mooted back in 2009, at which point the project fell under the auspices of Bonnie Thunders, then a member of the WFTDA tournaments committee. She’s now gameplay manager at the WFTDA, with oversight over tournaments, rules, rankings and other gameplay-related matters.
What does Thunders think of the system as it’s come to be after three years of work? “In general I think it’s important for anyone who is looking at this new system to know that this isn’t the end; we can and will always makes things better,” Thunders said. Is she worried about how the system might turn out? “You need to start somewhere,” she said, “and I feel like we could have sat here for three more years and continued to try to make the most perfect system. I think the risk is not so much that we’re going to fail or what we might have not done right, but the risk is that we might not be able to be as nimble in the future to adjust and change things as we go.”
If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?
Winning isn’t everything in this system, and some people have a problem with this. “The original version of the rankings calculator gave all points to the winner, regardless of point spread,” Meanie explained. “The membership rejected that.”
A later version saw one point awarded to the loser of a close game and that too was rejected by the membership. In the end, WFTDA members settled on a system in which points are shared by teams purely on the basis of point spread.
What about the bonus points awarded to teams in playoffs? Under the current system, teams get between 15 and 50 percent more points for post-season games than regular-season games, with that bonus dictated by which tournament the game is in and at what stage of the tournament it’s being played.
“This piece was fairly controversial within the membership, but was ultimately approved by a majority,” Meanie said. She also revealed that under the tournament committee’s initial proposals, games at championships would have had a 300 percent bonus attached to them. “Nearly all of the WFTDA membership felt that this was too high,” she explained, “and I am comfortable with what we ended up with.“