[eDebate] The Challenge Format: Framing the Discussion
Wed Jan 28 21:13:18 CST 2004
Like Slusher, I am generally persuaded that the challenge format is not a good idea to implement at every tournament. I certainly don't think, for example, that the NDT should be done on a challenge basis...but don't interpret that to mean that I think this format is a joke or something. I think it is totally awesome to do once in a while...so let's see if I can frame this discussion in a way that will make it more palatable to people.
I think everybody who came to the Berkeley tournament has expressed a desire to come back next year. Others who did not come have expressed an interest in starting to come next year. If the Berkeley tournament implemented the following format for its elimination rounds, how would it impact your decision to attend or not?
The format is:
1. The tournament breaks to octafinals, or maybe a partial doubles. The challenge system kicks in for the Octas and all subsequent elimination rounds.
2. Higher seeds get to choose their opponents, they get 2 minutes to pick an opponent. Once decisions on opposition are made, panels will be made and released simultaneously for all teams. Either there can be a flip for sides (unless teams met in the prelims), or the team on the receiving end of the challenge can choose a side (we can be flexible on this).
3. After all the decisions are in, there will be another assembly, where challenges will be re-issued...and so on, until the tourney is done.
You can't challenge your own squad until such time as you have so many teams in that a close-out is inevitable.
Perhaps we'll add a special award for teams that take on the gutsiest looking draws during the elimination rounds...sort of a badge of honor or something.
Oh yeah...there will be 6 preliminary debates, and any partials will be held on Day 2 and not on elim day, so I don't anticipate time will be an issue. This year's tournament was done pretty early on Monday.
The primary reason that the challenge format was rejected this year was that the tab room thought that it was too late to spring it on people right before the tournament, and we were uncertain what people's reactions would be...so, if the presence of a challenge format for elims would be enough to keep you from coming to Berkeley when you otherwise would come, then please let me know...and if a tournament with challenges would appeal to you, then that would be good to know also. Since everybody seemed to have a good time this year, the presumption will probably be with not changing things (if it ain't broke, don't fix it)...but if enough people say that this would be fun, then hopefully we can try it.
You can feel free to respond via backchannel so as not to clutter everybody's boxes...I can let the community know the results of this informal straw poll at a later date.
As a side note, I'd like to point out that Jim Lux is the only debater I know of who has come out strongly against the challenge format. Everybody else I know who's opposed to it is a coach...and most of the debaters with whom I've spoken seem to think it would be sweet. I think this demonstrates that the perspectives of competitive debaters battling it out with rivals tend to differ a little from those of coaches, who generally I think tend to see tournaments in more big-picture terms. I think is also proves that Jim Lux is a total dork...but I suppose we knew that already.
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