[eDebate] re the new pref system and judge commitment improvements

Jim Hanson hansonjb
Sat Nov 25 17:58:29 CST 2006

here's my thoughts about the "new" system:

allow no more than 10% of judges to be ranked any particular number.

that would include 10% of zeros who would be considered absolute strikes.

i think that would solve most of the concerns that you and will and others
have expressed.

that said, the new system is fine; the old 1-9 system was fine too; the old
rank them in order (1-162 or whatever) system that jp likes was fine too.

many of you took my post for requiring an additional round of judging for
each two teams, $5 additional entry fee, and expectation that judges with
half or less commitment take on an additional round (paid at say $40) as an
opportunity to argue for and against mpj. i'll say a few things about that
now that i am caught up editing theses and what not:

1) i am for mpj. students benefit from getting judges they view as
fairest/most favorable to their argumentation. students do not benefit from
being placed into situations where they feel their arguments aren't getting
a fair shake or aren't getting the kind of feedback they expect. josh, will
and others have made this case in far more detail than i want to go into
here but i will say this: tournaments that have tried to shift out of the
mpj format have witnessed rapid drops in attendance. whitman, for example,
will not attend tournaments without mpj unless we are forced to. it is not
worth our precious resources (time and money) to have a judge miss a disad
or to have a judge be clearly favoring a "k" team over our "p" team--not to
mention, the plain stress of feeling like it just isn't going to be fair.

2) my proposal focuses on a way to improve the operation of mpj--if it
exists, then let's make it work well. if you don't like mpj, i suppose you
can be an advocate of leaving it quasi-broken but that isn't very fair to
tournament directors, to the judges called to cover judging needs, nor to
those who want mpj and want it to work as effectively as it can.

3) tournament directors should not be placed into the unfunded and difficult
situation of assuring that team's get the judges they preference.

4) judges who are called out to provide extra rounds should not have to do
it voluntarily. they should be paid and the community should stop pretending
that providing 4 rounds for 1 team at an 8 round tournament suffices to
cover full judging at mpj tournaments. it does not.

5) while i share concerns about underrepresentation of certain identities
among judges, i would emphasize that we not forget about the students--the
ones who work hours and hours for their debating (judges do NOT put in that
kind of time _for judging_). with that in mind, ethnic minorities, women,
gay and lesbian, etc. _debaters_ should be able to preference judges so that
their identities and arguments are given their fairest shake in debates.

6) tournament directors can and should target highly pref'd judges who are
part of self-identified underrepresented groups in judging--ethnic, age,
gender, etc. for the extra rounds that my proposal advocates. as i remember,
this was a pretty effective way to increase diversity on elim panels. let's
make an effort to do this during the prelims.

jim :)
hansonjb at whitman.edu

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