[eDebate] 50 speaker point scale at Wake

Christopher Langone langonelaw
Fri Nov 2 15:46:57 CDT 2007


I'll through out a crazy idea, since people are discussion possible reforms
-- how about a 60 point scale that consists of a summation of two 30 point
scores based on the current consensus on what those scores supposedly mean
-- one for the constructive and one for the rebuttal -- this would also
allow for a way of really indicating when one particular speech bombs and
loses a debate (i.e give a 26 on the 2NR), but the person still might have
gotten a 28.5 on their constructive.  Given the familiarity with the scale,
it would not seem diffucult to assign a number on a speech by speech basis
-- interestingly, one question that always arises is does a 28 mean avarge
for all debators at that level, or average given the quality of the debate
in a particular round? Often people get higher points for being the best in
a round even though the overall quality of the round might have been poor.
As speech-by-speech ranking might have certain educational benefits as well.
That said, and myself having never run or tabbed a tournament I have not
even considered all the practical/administrative problems such an approach
might entail.
I'd love to hear any reasons why the idea would be insane too...

Chris Langone



On 11/2/07, Charles Olney <olneyce at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Ross suggests the following guidelines:
>
> 49-50: Brilliant. Hard to imagine a better performance.
> 47-48: NDT elim worthy performance.
> 45-47: Powerful but not extraordinary. Workmanlike break round or early
> elim.
> 43-44: Good stuff, but missing what it takes to break into the top
> national level.
> 40-42: Decent. More than one area needs improvement.
>
> This, at most, opens up the range by a couple more points.
>
> 50 = 30
> 49 = 29.5
>
> 48 = 29
> 47 = 28.75
>
> 46 = 28.25
> 45 = 28
>
> 44 = 27.75
> 43 = 27.5
>
> 42 = 27
> 41 = 26.5
> 40 = 26
>
> And it does so at the expense of upsetting a relatively strong
> community consensus about the general spread of points (a consensus
> which admittedly includes a constant upward drift).  We all know what
> a 28 means, even if we have to accept that exactly how that is defined
> by each individual judge is always in question.  We don't know what a
> 48 means, except that it's pretty good.
>
> Someone posted a year or two ago (maybe it was Dr. Larson?) that
> humans really do have a fairly limited capacity to make judgments like
> these.  That the more space you offer, the more people will eventually
> bunch themselves back up in order to eliminate the confusion created
> by gaps between points with no real capacity to discriminate.
>
> Maybe I'm the only one, but I don't really see the current system as
> particularly broken.  As has been pointed out, speaker points are a
> better way to predict who will win a given debate than actual win-loss
> record, which I think is pretty telling.  For myself, I find it
> occasionally difficult to pick between a 28 and a 28.5 or a 27/27.5 or
> something, but I usually don't find it difficult to communicate my
> general thoughts via points.
>
> Frankly, most debaters are pretty good and very few are extraordinary.
> Given that, the range of "needs some serious work" at 26.5 and
> "extremely good" at 29 seems perfectly acceptable.  That's six degrees
> of gradation, which includes some room on the outside for "something
> went terribly wrong" at 26 and "spectacular" at 29.5.
>
> I think to expect a tournament with 100 judges, each making subjective
> decisions on where to draw these lines to ever objectively reflect how
> well a person spoke is impossible.  Adding more gradations only seems
> to encourage community confusion about exactly what distinguishes a
> given speech from another.
>
> This is not to say I'm against the Wake experiment.  I'm curious to
> see if it has a meaningful effect on points, speaker awards, clearing
> teams, etc.  But I don't think it will be any more "correct" than a
> normal tournament, because there's a degree of precision desired here
> that is simply impossible under any circumstances.
>
> As for the season-long judge variance idea, the main problem with that
> is that all things are not equal.  If judging was totally random, it
> would all balance out, but it's not random.  MPJ means judges see
> particular teams, particular styles, and particular levels of quality
> debates more often than others.
>
> This is the same problem with judge-variance over one tournament, so
> of course the bigger the sample size, the less it would be a problem.
> But I have a feeling the sample size will remain FAR too small to
> produce data any more useful than just assessing the points the judge
> decided to assign.  Even the people who judge the most can't have more
> than 80 or 90 prelim rounds over a year.  With MPJ, and a variety of
> tournament contexts (most people adjust their scales depending on the
> general quality of debates they will be hearing that particular
> weekend), I have a hard time believing even that is enough time to
> generate a meaningful sample.  And for the folks who hear 20 prelims a
> year, a few more low-point debates than expected could radically
> affect the rest of their points for the whole year.
>
> Once again, it would certainly be VERY interesting to see this data,
> but I'm skeptical it would produce more "accurate" results.
>
> Charles
>
> --
> And I just can't help believing
> Though believing sees me cursed
> --Johnny Boy
> "You Are the Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You
> Deserve"
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