October 2020

Limited Preparation Events Waiting Rooms

Many limited prep events use the same prompts for all competitors in a section. In a face-to-face tournament, this is easy enough to manage by having competitors wait in the hall until it's their turn to speak. In an online environment, this can be more challenging. Until now.

With our new Waiting Room mode, you can be sure that you competitors don't hear their prompt until it's their turn. Judges in limited prep events can activate Waiting Room mode in any Individual Events (Speech) Competition Room:

Once enabled, the judge will see the Waiting Room icon at the bottom of their screen. A red badge tells you how many competitors are currently waiting and selecting the icon provides you with a list of the competitors currently in the waiting room:

The judge may admit competitors one-by-one by selecting "approve" next to the competitor's name.

If any competitors have arrived before the judge, they should be asked to leave while the judge activates the Waiting Room. Once it's active, competitors will enter their room via the posting as usual and confirm their role in the room, but instead of entering the competition room, they'll receive notice that they're in the Waiting Room:

Competitors may adjust their status to communicate to the judge that they're double- or triple-entered or that they're ready to compete:

Extemp Draw room

We're excited to introduce our extemp draw room. Built according to our guiding principle--to make your experience on Yaatly as much like a face-to-face tournament as possible--we hope you'll feel at home when you're preparing for your extemporaneous speaking events.

Draw rooms are run by a draw room manager who oversees release of topics to competitors using the tools built into the room. Anyone with administrative priviledges at an event can serve as a draw room manager. Tournament administrators activate the draw room in the Event Management panel found in the lobby of their event.

Enabling the draw room makes it visible to all participants in the lobby, right next to the Auditorium and their Team Room.

Draw room managers set up the room when they enter for the first time. You must have postings for the round containing your extemp event uploaded before you can set up the draw room. When the draw room manager first enters the draw room, they'll select which events will make use of the draw room. More than one event may be selected (if you're running Varsity/JV divisions or separate extemp events like US and International Extemp).

Selecting the events that will use the draw room automatically imports those postings into the room so they're visible in the draw room. If multiple events are selected, each event will have its own draw room accessible from the tabs at the top of the screen.

From within the draw room, the draw room manager will be able to set up draw times for each event by inputting the start of the draw time, the length of prep, the interval between speakers' drawing and the maximum number of speakers in any section. Draw and speak times for each speaker will be auto-generated and displayed for everyone in the draw room.

When it's time for the next speakers to draw, the manager posts questions in the lower left corner.

Draw room managers also have other tools available to them, like the option to add another event, the ability to turn their camera and mic on and off, the ability add another event and a live list of contestants in the room. Only managers have video capability in the draw room; competitors have audio capability only.

When it's time for the next draw, the manager may simply close the tab(s) for the event(s) that are complete. When all tabs are closed, the manager will be prompted to select from the next batch of postings to set up the next round's draw room.

Remember that you must have uploaded the postings for your extemp events before you can set up your draw room. This is true for initial set up and for each subsequent round for which you set up the draw room

Breakout rooms from within Team Rooms

Team rooms are a very popular feature on Yaatly. The ability to gather with other members of your squad to debrief rounds or plan strategy--or just to socialize--is a critical part of successful competition. Now we've added a new feature that makes our Team Rooms even more useful.

You can now create breakout rooms from within your team room. You can use breakout rooms to to have conversations apart from the chaos of trying to get a word in edgewise in a crowded team room.

To create or access breakout rooms, select the "Rooms" tab in the right sidebar. You'll see options to create a room, join an existing room or delete rooms. You can even give your breakout room a name that tells others what's happening in there!

Tools to manage connectivity issues

Given the wide range of internet connections, devices and geographic locations from which people connect to Yaatly, we can't always control for the stability of their connectivity. At time, users' connectivity may affect the quality of other users' experience because of the demands it puts on your internet connection or your device's CPU. We've built in tools to help you manage connectivity issues.

Pause video

You can control whether your screen displays the other participants' videos to lower the demand on your internet connection or CPU. In the lower right-hand corner of competition rooms, you'll find an option to pause video tiles. When you select this option, your screen will no longer display other participants' videos. You'll still be able to hear their audio and other users on other devices will not be affected. You can also pause a single participant's video tile on your screen by clicking the pause icon on that user's video tile. Other users will still see that participant's video and hear their audio.

Backup Rooms

If you room becomes unstable, you can elect to join a backup room from within your competition room. In the lower right-hand corner, you can select "join backup room" to be taken directly into a standard videoconferencing room. Note that all members of the room must choose this option; typically a judge will ask competitors to move to the backup room.

New IE/Speech Platform

We’re very excited to roll out our new platform for synchronous Speech/Individual Events tournaments. You can also watch a recording of a recent demo that walks through many of these features. You can now upload postings from SpeechWire or Forensicstournament.net directly into Yaatly. Postings--and links to the competition rooms--appear in the lobby, neatly organized by tab for each competitive event.

Our IE/Speech competition rooms are built on the same functionality as our debate rooms but have features devoted to the needs of IE/Speech competitors, like direct import of speaker lists from postings, Double/Triple-entered indicators for competitors, in-room timers and the ability to split the screen for Duo events.

You can read more about creating IE/Speech postings or the features in our IE/Speech competition rooms in our documentation.

New Auditorium options

We’ve reconfigured our Auditorium to make it more functional. By default, the Auditorium now uses a Jitsi meeting room that has all the features you’ve come to expect--screen sharing, chat, participant controls and more!

Jitsi rooms are limited to 75 participants. Need more space? Prefer your own video conferencing service? You can now make the Auditorium button in the lobby link directly to a room in Zoom, Webex, Google Meet or any other service. Go to Event Management → Event Settings and drop in the link to your room:

By the way--Team Rooms, Congress and on Yaatly will also use Jitsi rooms. For Team Rooms, you are not able to substitute your own VC provider.

Excel file upload for Debates (can include binary and 4-team debates)

We’ve switched from CSV to XLSX (Excel) file format for uploading debate postings. Why?

XLSX allows you to upload multiple sheets from your spreadsheet program in one file. Running multiple formats of debate in the same time block? How about multiple divisions (Varsity, JV, Novice, etc.) of the same format? Yaatly can handle that!

Just create a separate sheet for each of your formats or divisions within the same XLSX file. Yaatly uses the name of each sheet to create a separate tab for each format or division on the posting.

Using SpeechWire or Forensicstournament.net to tab your tournament? Both programs already export your postings for debate or IEs in the XLSX format. You’re ready to run your event!

You can read more about managing postings with XLSX file uploads in here.

Capacity/Time extensions

You’ll automatically get a notification when your event is nearing the time you set for the day to conclude or you’re within 10 people of the capacity you set. Tournament running late? More people attended than you expected? No problem!

Now you can increase your event’s time or capacity on the fly! Check the Event Management panel for the Event Details option, then choose to edit your event information. Yaatly automatically calculates the credits needed to extend time or capacity.

Change/Delete event dates before they start

Need to adjust the dates, times or capacity of your event before it begins? Enter your event (it’s in demo mode before it goes live, but you can still make adjustments) and go to Event Management → Event Details to make the adjustment.

When you change your event’s parameters, Yaatly automatically refunds credits no longer needed or tells you how many additional credits will be required.

Automatically mute non-speakers in IE rooms

Participants in IE/Speech Competition rooms are automatically muted when a competitor takes the floor. This prevents accidental interruptions of the performer and relieves the judge of having to remind people to mute their microphones.