[eDebate] Why MPJ is NOT Educational

scottelliott at grandecom.net scottelliott
Sun Oct 14 18:42:18 CDT 2007

I assume Andy understands that I am using his philosophy to make a point because
he is an exemplar of a K-freindly judge. I know he is qualified to judge my
teams. And, I know that he will be fair and will "educate" my teams by giving
great feedback. That being said, here's how it goes down on Thursday afternoon
in squad meetings selecting strikes:

"O.K. Now that we struck that asshole who gave you a 24 last week, let's look
for the K-Hacks to rank low. There's Andy. Rank him C. There are too many UDL
graduates at this tournament and I am not oging to spend the next two days
having to come up with responses to some bullshit rap and "stick it to da man"
cases. Rank him low and the policy judges high so we can run "T" against these
teams and move on down the road."

I know we all talk about the "educational value" of mpj and can ALL bring up the
bugaboo of rogue judges. When I coached for Florida State University, J and PJ
lost CEDA NATIONALS on a 5-4 decision. The swing vote? A Judge who voted on
topicality even though Jarman and his partner kicked T in the 1NR; but the
judge felt it was his duty to vote against a non-topical case regardless of the
negative team's strat.

So, we all have painful memories. But, just because the past sucked does not
mean MPJ is the panacea. As the hypothetical example of striking Andy given
above indicates, people use MPJ to avoid judges who are qualified and they use
MPJ to create a false economy for speaker points. I found it quite sad to read
a post from a judge who is K-freindly, then appear to beg not to be preffed
low. Some judges really care whether they get preffed and they modify their
judging style to fit in. It is a interesting form of whoring going on within
the debate judging community. The pandering has now shifted. Now the judges
pander to the students, rather than the other way around. That is really
teaching people how persuasion and argument works in the real world, right? If
we can change our audicne's attitudes, our persuaive efforts will be
successful. The desire not to be ostracized by the "community" (LOL) drives
judges to set a base 25 speaker point rate so as not to be "preffed down" by

Let me give you a ridiculous real example from a few weeks ago. One of my
debaters in JV got overwhelmed in a round to the point that he conceded the
debate in the 1AR. I was livid. Then I looked at the ballot. I broke out
laughing. He got a 26 in the round for speaker points!! I would have given him
a 10 and cussed him out if I was the judge in the back of the room. But, if
some team sees those low points, with no context, on Brushke's site, they are
more likely than not going to rank that judge low because they want to maintain
the artificial speaker point levels.

Yeah, I see the real educational value of MPJ. We learn how to game the system
to avoid working for some judges ballots (Mike calls that pandering) and to
coercively-persuade judges to adopt the majority views on what speaker points
ought to be. My estimate is that a 26 is now the lowest score given by the most
highly preffed judges--even if someone X@@%$@$'s-up the entire round!

I think limited strikes solve for the abusive, biased, or incompetent judges.
But as long as I have mpj, I will use it to minimize my workload and to reduce
the chance that my teams have to face a judge that has an entirely different
world view.


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