[eDebate] [CEDA-L] 50 pts. AT Hoe and Ellis

Josh jbhdb8
Thu Nov 1 14:09:15 CDT 2007


My response to Ross was a backchannel - so most of you dont know what I
said. Basically, I said that this seems like a justification for a more
meaningful use of a 20 point scale.

Some context, I used to try to give more variable points - because i
believed that a more nuanced scale was critical to making points
meaningful.  Right now every round, more or less, determines points for
every debate and ever debater between 27.5 and 30...At the top this means
MASSIVE compression and seems to make who wins first speaker almost a
function more of luck than of skill.  At the very least, speakers 3-20 are
seperated by percentages if at all....Beyond speakers breaks seem also to be
decided more by bad luck then by skill as far as points are concerned.
Despite all of this I compressed my scale because of a discussion with a
certain "Ross Smith" who correctly noted that my lack of compression gave
debaters that preferred me an unfair disadvantage (insert obvious joke

Now, all that said, the solution seems to me, to involve people using a
wider scale...call it the 50 point scale (although NOBODY will use 50
points) the 30 point scale as we have now, or the 20 point scale (probably a
wide enough set of points).  The problem is that in making this new omelette
some eggs are likely to be broken.  If some accept the new scale "as
intended" while others compress points 45-50 some crazy stuff is going to
occur.  Maybe thats worth it?  I guess in a world where all people who
adhere to the new scale "as intended" get on the case of all people who just
run right to compressing the new scale life would be ok....I hope this is
the way it works out.

I will declare here now that I will be adhering to the Ross point plan "as
proposed" (meaning I will follow the grades he suggested).  I hope other
judges do as well.  Points become meaningless in the system we have as it

Hope all goes well,


On 11/1/07, Ross Smith <smithr at wfu.edu> wrote:
> Good points (no pun intended).
> The emporer has no clothes, Andy. Which 5-3's will clear at Wake is
> random as it is (at least with regard to the differences between the
> bottom 5-3's that do clear versus the top 5-3's who just miss clearing.
> We *pretend* that it is meaningful. Yes, there will be a new form of
> randomness introduced. At least there is some *potential* in the new
> system for points to have meaning in relation to performance.
> Making 20-30 "work" has been tired and failed, Josh. One hypothesis I
> have is that no judge wants to give, and debaters do not want to
> recieve, less than a 27. 20-26 is *percieved* as (and therefore "means")
> BAD. There is no reason 40-45 needs to be seen in that same way.
> Choosing a scale that is not a multiple of 30 is part of that. This
> discussion is another. At least we have an *opportunity) to create some
> breathing room in our evaluations.
> --
> Ross K. Smith
> Director of Debate
> Wake Forest University
> 336-251-2076 (c)
> 336-758-5268 (o)
> http://groups.wfu.edu/debate/
> http://www.DebateScoop.org
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