[eDebate] the good old days?

matt stannard stannardmatt
Sun Oct 14 15:19:07 CDT 2007


"Golden age" arguments scare me.  
 
Prior to the MPJ we practice (at SOME tournaments) today, tab room operators routinely placed judges in rounds that favored their teams or the best or most reputable teams.  "Random" judging made it impossible for new and resource-challenged teams to get a break from "circuit" judges.  Some tournaments purposely stacked their judging pools with lay judges to send a message about contemporary debate practices (but never told us they were doing this in the tournament invitations).  
 
Anyone wanting to see what that world was like need only go to the majority of parli tournaments today.  Judges write things on ballots like "I just don't buy that argument, sorry" and "you should tuck in your shirt."  Speaker points range from four 30s to four 12s.  Some judges will drop you for being too patriotic, others for not being patriotic enough.  Good, hard-working judges routinely find themselves on the bottom of 2-1s.  
 
MPJ has some problems, all of which could be solved by more explicitly valuing mutuality a bit more and preference a bit less.  But MPJ has has a tangible, externally-positive effect even on tournaments that don't use MPJ--the judging is better practically everywhere in NDT/CEDA now, than it was in the 1980s and early 1990s when I debated.  And by "better" I mean: judges listen more conscientiously to arguments and work harder to make good decisions.  "Thoughtful decision" is a phrase I find myself saying quietly as I listen to the majority judges talking to our policy teams after debates these days.  
 
I would venture to say (and I think much of the edebate discussion has borne out) that many of those who long for pre-MPJ days debated at pretty good schools themselves, and in circuits where the "random" judging favored them and their colleagues fairly consistently.  Of course many of them would long for the good old days, when some unknown team didn't stand a chance against them and the judges they partied with the night before.    
 
mjs
> Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2007 11:58:04 -0700> From: forensics at lacitycollege.edu> To: edebate at ndtceda.com> Subject: Re: [eDebate] ans Larson> > I think Mike has the right idea about Gary's call for an alternative.> > Prior to the full MPJ we practice today, most national-circuit tournaments> simply allowed a certain number of strikes. Beyond that, judging should be> random. The strikes serve the purpose of controlling specific issues such as> judges who have prejudices against certain debaters or programs (a very real> problem) but randomizing the remaining judging pool does require teams to> adapt in ways that currently do not occur.> > Of course, there is no perfect solution. There will never be complete> adaptation by teams with the great diversity of argumentative approaches> that have developed. For example, my teams are never going to engage in> performance alternatives or be pirates no matter who the judge is. But, at> least there would be a better chance that my teams would have a fair chance> at the few "policy only" judges, as Josh calls them, who might be in the> pool.> > I will admit that the evidence is merely anecdotal and confounds Gary's call> for testable alternatives, but the more I read this list lately, the more I> see that I am not the only person in the community who thinks that there has> been significantly more stratification and interpersonal conflict in the> community since MPJ became standard.> > Ken Sherwood> LACC Debate> > _______________________________________________> eDebate mailing list> eDebate at www.ndtceda.com> http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/edebate
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