[eDebate] Even more mutual

Michael Kloster kloster
Tue Nov 21 20:10:23 CST 2006

I posted this idea back in April. It didn't receive any comment back
then, so I pretty much dropped it. I'm posting it again since the topic
of MPJ came up again. Let me know if you think this would be an improvement.

Ideally, in any given debate, both teams will look at the judge assigned
and will have full faith that the judge will make a fair and accurate
decision. Mutual preference judge placement strives to make this happen
as often as possible.

Currently, judge preference selections are made without consideration
for the side of the resolution the participant will be debating, nor the
participant's opponent. This leads to a situation where for a specific
debate if you look at the preference sheets a judge placement may be
exactly mutual (say a 1-1 placement) but in fact, one team believes that
the assigned judge gives an advantage to their opponent.

The solution is to allow judge preference selections to be
differentiated based on which side of the resolution a participant will
be on and who their opponent will be.


1) I may rank a judge 5 when I'm aff, but 1 when I'm neg.
2) I might rank a judge 1 in general but 8 if I'm debating against team Y.
3) I might rank a judge 1 if I'm debating team Y on the neg, but 8 if
I'm debating against team Y on the aff.

By allowing consideration of side and opponent the judge placement
system can do a much better job of placing actually mutually preferred
judges in particular debates.

Since doing preference sheets is time consuming, software would be
needed to make such a system feasible. For example, I can imagine a
website with a complete list of judges and teams of debaters.
Participants can log in to the site to maintain their judge preference
sheet. The sheet can be completed once and reused for each tournament.
It could be updated throughout the season as needed. On the preference
sheet, each judge could be ranked in general. Participants would have
the option to override their general preference to take into
consideration side and opponent. With such software, the time required
to complete preferences before a tournament could be even less than it
is now, even though you have more options.

Adding consideration for side of the resolution and opponent makes sense
regardless of the preference system whether ABCX, 1-9, ordinal ranking,
or the new system of judge grading (1-100).

This suggestion is purely in the "idea phase". The software to include
side of the resolution and opponent when considering preference is
probably a ways out. I'd like to know if anyone is interested.

Michael Kloster

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