[eDebate] Why not ranks?

Justin Green jmgreen
Tue Nov 6 11:04:51 CST 2007

I apologize if someone has already raised this question.  I have been
reading "nearly all" of the posts on this issue, but have not seen
anyone raise the issue of ranks.

Why not use ranks as the first tie-breaker for teams instead of speaker points?

1 - It avoids the lack of a community standard problem.  Out of
recognition that different judges give different points, ranks have
been in place in some regional high local circuits around the country
(Kansas and parts of Texas, althought there probably are others).  The
points based system asks a judge to compare the speaker to the larger
A) there is no uniform community - Since very few, if any, individuals
truly experience the exact same community, (I have not and will not
see many debaters accross the country due to our team's travel)
difference in points among judges becomes inevitable.  An A+ speech in
the Northeast at a local Varsity tournament might be a B+ speech at a
SoCal tournament or vice versa.  At a tournament like Wake, there are
probably more judges whose norm is to attend regional tournaments and
who travel to less than 3 national tournaments a semester.
B) The extremes will still exist - At two tournaments this year that
my teams attended there were multiple 30's assigned in the same
debate.  With a ranks first approach, that does not play as much of a
role.  You can put the scale at a 100 and these two judges would have
probably given block 100s as well.

2 - It breaks more ties than the current scale.  Think about how many
times judges have given 28's and 27.5's to numerous debaters in the
same debate with the only difference being ranks.  Assigning 1,2,3,4
utilizes more variables in one round than some judges utilize all

3 - It acknowledges who performed the best within that debate.   With
8 prelim debates the question of did you win and not did you sound
good receives more credibility.

4 - It makes low-rank/low-point wins far less appealing.  Receiving
low ranks and the win ensures that you face an extremely tough
opponent the next debate.  A low-point win now allows a team to
receive slightly lower points.

The larger the scale for judges to choose the greater difference there
might be for the averages of each individual judge.

Food for thought or at least a discussion topic for Friday's mini-conference.

Justin Green

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