[eDebate] Zomp and the value of MPJ
Sat Oct 13 15:38:18 CDT 2007
1) I did not gripe - I actually said, if you actually read, that it was "for
the best" - kind of the opposite of a gripe....But why read when you can
assume because its me I have to be reactionary.
2) Your first paragraph is clearly self-serving - you say "some judges are,
to be fair, better than others. By better, I mean more educational. I know
this will be an unpopular position, but I firmly believe it and will
staunchly defend it. Most of the judges that I want our teams debating in
front of are not ideological hacks, but are instead those individuals who I
think will give both sides of the aisle a fair shake." No kidding - fair
judges are better? Either you are literally making a subjective statement
or you are defining good judges as "thouse your teams would do well in front
Aside from that, dont disagree,
On 10/13/07, Jason Russell <jasonlrussell1 at gmail.com> wrote:
> I havent heard anyone defend MPJ as being valuable only due to competitive
> success. It is valuable because some judges are, to be fair, better than
> others. By better, I mean more educational. I know this will be an unpopular
> position, but I firmly believe it and will staunchly defend it. Most of the
> judges that I want our teams debating in front of are not ideological hacks,
> but are instead those individuals who I think will give both sides of the
> aisle a fair shake and will inform our debaters about how to better make
> their arguments presentable to middle of the road judges. MPJ allows what I
> believe to be a fair isolation of both lazy (bad) judges and ideological
> The K versus policy divide as it relates to MPJ is almost irrelevant. I
> will say this: the far right in debate gets a way more than fair shake
> versus the far left. The appeal against MPJ, and Josh's gripe about the
> policy versus K divide, seems to be that it means that they get more
> moderate judges. I would hope that this is what we are all aiming for.
> Everytime I hear people make a series of arguments against MPJ and in
> favor of extreme judge philosophies I am reminded of the last generation of
> CEDA, an era I participated in, and the awful and often corrupt judging it
> featured. Im certain that the NDT was also not immune. MPJ is good because
> some judges are bad and others are stubborn and debaters shouldnt have to
> debate in front of either if they find this style uneducational.
> K and policy teams alike will have to debate in front of moderate judges
> to succeed, and this does force adaptation to the middle, a skill that I, as
> a communication professional, view as considerably more valuable than
> attempting to persuade openly hostile audiences. It is both more likely
> overall and more likely to be successful.
> Judges spend too much time bashing debaters. They are often bad,
> whiny, and annoying. But, coaches and judges are not above the fray. They
> dont always know whats best and, even if they do, there is educational value
> in letting debaters make their own mistakes and learn from those lessons.
> Preffing the party line for a K team is dangerous; they're bound to get
> out-flanked by someone crazier over time. Preffing the party line for a
> policy team is dangerous; eventually, they're going to debate a K team, get
> a moderate judge, and have no idea why "realism is real" doesn't answer
> "meaning to life". Debaters should learn the lessons about taking their
> arguments to the middle and making their arguments for a more all-purpose
> audience. MPJ *does* necessitate that.
> There is a dangerous paternalism involved in us coaches asserting that we
> know best. I've heard this argument made about topic selection, argument
> restrictions, judging philosophies, and a variety of other debate practices.
> These are short-cuts for thinking. I know that this sounds an awful lot like
> letting the inmates run the asylum, but I happen to hold debaters in quite a
> bit of esteem. If I didn't, I think it would be awfully hard to respect the
> coaches, also, given that their reputations are often built and their
> experience is always based on prior debate practice. The end result of this
> type of thinking about debate and debaters sounds a lot like NEDA or Ted
> Turner. It also smacks of sophistry of the worst type.
> It's unfortunate but true that all judges are not in fact created equally.
> Some of them are more talented educators and as a result more desirable
> adjudicators. They add value to their decisions in giving advice and
> providing insight into the thinking of other judges that makes debaters
> better. It's not to say that there are intrinsic traits that make one good
> at judging; it is largely a learned activity and a lot of successful
> debaters are terrible judges and many mediocre or below debaters show true
> brilliance as judges. Judges have to work at it. The group of great judges
> is not static. It changes as people improve (and stagnate) over time.
> Judging takes effort and getting into grad school or graduating from comm
> school doesn't make someone an automatically qualified debate judge. Mostly,
> modern debate is not a spectator activity. Judges need to work at it to stay
> good at it. Judges need to be actively involved to be great at it. And to be
> excellent, an almost inimitable set of skills is required. Judging is hard.
> I can't imagine why we would expect that everyone would be equally good at
> it. And, if we know that not everyone is that good at it, then allowing for
> coaches and debaters to make discriminations amongst judges is probably not
> only justified but pedagogically required.
> One end result of the type of educational judging I'm describing is that
> these debaters become more successful, but the other is that these debaters
> become smarter. I can't for sure tell you that the education proceeds the
> success, but I can tell you that in large part the debaters who have been
> successful since MPJ are just as educationally equipped as their
> predecessors in the activity who had random or, worse yet, "old boys club"
> assigned judging. I agree with Gary that these are primarily empirical
> questions. I can only cite my observational and anecdotal data on these
> questions. But, I think I would support the hypothesis that, in the
> aggregate, MPJ is a more educational system of judge assignment than any
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