[eDebate] A comment on side bias...

William J Repko repkowil
Tue Mar 27 19:47:43 CDT 2007

... I'm as busy as the rest of you -- and don't really have time to start an 
elaborate thread. So, I won't reply to your backchannel. 

Tone can be tough to detect on email -- chalk this one up to "surprised 
observational guy" post, not the classic "disgruntled sky-is-falling guy" 

If I have read Larson's data correctly, I wanted to point out the following 
from CEDA Nationals: 

Q: In a really competitive field of teams, how many debates did the Aff win 
from the quarters on ?... 


Q: how many did the neg win ?... 


Q: in those seven debates, how many ballots did the Aff win ?... 


Q: how many did the neg win ?... 


Q: is this "just one tourney", or "just a CEDA thing" ?... 

maybe...but, probably not entirely... 

Obviously, it is factually the case that this is one tourney, but I'd 
contend that the teams/judges in the quarters were a fairly indicative lot. 
I wouldn't describe any of these debates as wild mis-matches, and few/none 
of the judges as "critics that never judge an elim @ a major". 

The NDT results will be a little different -- to be sure -- but, for the 
most part, this is a representative sample of what elims "looks like". 

Q: What does this mean ?.. 

Well... It could be used to all sorts of ends... 

side equalization (b/c flips shouldn't be *this* important), anti-side 
equalization (b/c the stakes are so high that the damn tab shouldn't 
dictate), broad topics (more aff wiggle room), narrow topics w/ more 
emphasis on resilient Affs (trying to court a culture where the "neg case" 
is less acceptable), pro-K, anti-K, etc. 

While I do like some of these stances more than others, I posted to make 
none of these points. 

Instead, I posted to say two things: 

a) the eye-opening moment 

I had heard grumbles of the neg bias for some time -- but didn't care and 
(frankly) enjoyed the very act of voting neg. Neg is my "Sweet Home 

For everyone, though, there is an eye-opening moment. Sunday was mine -- 
mostly b/c *when I started coaching, such a huge chunk of CEDA Nats elims 
went Aff*. 

I thought that maybe some of you would find it eye-opening as well. 

I still love the neg -- we'll always be close... but Sunday was the first 
time I saw the 2A's more than "just whiney"... 

b) I think if -- in an attempt to make EVERYONE happy -- the community is 
afraid to limit the neg from: 

 -- specific substantive hits; AND
 -- generic substantive hits; AND
 -- generic K; AND
 -- theory 

And is also afraid to: 

 -- explore greater use of side equalization 

..then I think we may soon see a day where all the octas (and beyond) go 
neg. That might not be so-ideal. 

A closing thought: 

none of this means I will change how I judge prior to the NDT. That's not 
fair to the crop of competitors that have come to rely on my stare 
decisis.... So, I am still neg leaning on the "theory" and "specific 
substantive hits" section from above. Less-so on the other classifications. 



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