[eDebate] Edebate Comment about Joe's Rankings

michael hester uwgdebate
Thu Apr 3 09:15:03 CDT 2008

1) I'm sorry, i should have clarified the purpose of my post.

Yes, I think these rankings -  as well as the numerous backchannels i've
received either supporting my condemnation of this year's rankings or giving
examples of previous Zomp rankings that made no sense - are evidence that
disqualify Joe Z from future Bid rankings. Whether it's because he doesn't
travel enough to the tournaments where Bid applicants compete, or whether
it's because he has some arbitrary system of ranking that creates poor
choices, the fact is his rankings are absurd.

2) Being really bad at doing one thing in debate doesn't mean you're bad at
everything, or that you are not very good at a lot of other things. my
disparagement of Joe's ability to accurately assess Bid applicants should
not be construed as any knock on his coaching ability or his efforts in
building programs in tough circumstances. i have no doubt he does a great
job with his other duties. and i KNOW he's a better communications scholar
than i. probably a better administrator, and several other things as well.

for example, my posts in the last 24 hours are clearly evidence i'm not very
good at public relations. i'm a smart ass, and not very politically correct,
and am more than willing to say something that ends up causing a public
brouhaha. i would be a horrible choice for any committee or position which
required pumping sunshine up someone's butt.

3) although my "wtf?" was more of a rhetorical question, i don't think
there's anything wrong with calls for a public defense of one's decisions in
debate. we are a communication activity. why shouldn't someone be able to
explain their rankings publicly?  while you're correct that calling someone
out on edebate isn't the most constructive way to alter someone's behavior,
that wasn't the intent of my post. as the backchannels i've received make
clear, Joe has been asked via backchannel about his rankings and they didn't
get any better. they aren't likely to be any more accurate next year.

whether it be poor judgment in ranking teams, or even bad points in a given
round, i don't think it's a bad idea to be ready to defend yourself. the
"good ol' days" where judges made decisions and didn't give any post-round
RFDs weren't good at all. they sucked. they encouraged and allowed bad
judges to make intentionally bad decisons without ever having to explain
themselves. this is not to imply that Joe's rankings had evil intentions.
sure, he may have homered for NU FW, but the other ones don't follow any
logical pattern, malignant intentions or otherwise.

4) You're 100% correct about the potential deterrent of people being willing
to serve on committees. And for that, I am sorry. The community needs most
of these committees, and the people who sacrifice their time and effort to
serve should be applauded. I'd hate it if someone was reluctant to serve b/c
of potential crap they may have to deal with from loudmouths like me.

perhaps the solution would be to remove "Bid ranking" from those duties. the
skills necessary to make positive contributions on such committees appear
completely independent from the skills one needs to accurately rank Bid
applicants. maybe it means just stripping the regional reps of their ranking
responsibilities. maybe it means creating a completely new panel to do
rankings. not sure.

5) this issue is important enough for public chastisement. to be clear, i'm
not a cheerleader for Harvard RW (more like neutral swiss). heck, given that
i've never even judged Tripp, i'm guessing they struck me (which means they
probably think i'm not a very good judge, at least for them). so this isn't
a case of me sticking up for my buddies. and geez, i've applied for the NU
job and my post knocked his rankings for having FW too high at #2 (sorry
Matt & Matt's partner, you know i love you guys). so my willingness to
ruffle feathers is clear. but i do recognize a travesty when i see it, and
feel it's worth mentioning, even for trivialities for things like 1st round


On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 3:40 AM, Justin Stanley <jms787s1 at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Hester,
> This is Justin Stanley, Director of Debate at Illinois State and colleague
> of Joe Zompetti.  I disagree with your comment on Edebate about Joe's
> rankings.
> One caveat to my response to you:  Maybe you and Joe have a friendship
> that encourages public shit talking to one another in much the same way Ozzy
> and Bricker shit talk on this site.  If that is the case then I apologize
> for the following comments as I am clearly overreacting.
> I also don't care how correct you are that Joe's rankings were incorrect.
> My problem with your posting is that I don't think your post serves any
> purpose other than a harmful one
> The entire post seems to be you asking for a public explanation of his
> rankings.  I don't ever recall anyone else ever having to give such an
> explanation. I also don't understand why such an explanation could not of
> occurred via private email between you and Joe.  If what you really wanted
> was an understanding of his thought process then maybe you could of gotten
> that in a different, less harmful, private way
> Maybe your purpose was to ridicule someone so that they don't get elected
> or choose to serve on any committee.  If that is considered common practice
> then I would doubt anyone would ever want to serve on these committees. Why
> would you choose to serve on a committee in which you really don't benefit
> from and instead only open yourself up to public ridicule from your
> colleagues.
> Maybe your pupose was to publically shame Joe into taking more time and
> put more thought into his rankings in the future.  This is also something
> that could have been accomplished privately and based on your tone, I would
> doubt he chooses to serve on such committees in the future.  Also, you may
> not understand or be aware of  all of the personal issues that effect an
> individual and how that may effect their decisionmaking.  You don't know why
> he made decisions and a private request of such an explanation may have been
> warranted in this circumstance.
> Your post is full of unnecessary sarcasm and is overly specific to the
> point of diminishing returns.  I don't understand the difference between
> this type of post and a forum that is open to people ridiculing judges
> decisions or speaker points that were given. Can you imagine a post that
> said, "You gave Ozzy a 28.5 and the JV debater from Vanderbilt a 28.5.  A
> blind monkey throwing darts could clearly see that Ozzy is a better speaker
> than any JV debater"  Yet,such unexplainable points happen all the time.
>  If sarcasticly ridiculing somone for rankings in debate was
> considered common practice then we would drive even more people out of this
> activity than we do know.
> Joe has built a program at ISU that was dead before he got there.  The
> program has increased in numbers and quality since his appointment as the
> DOF.  He also overseas a speech program that has won numerous National
> championships.  I believe that public ridicule on such a "trivial" issue for
> no reason is an insult to the service that he provides to the community.
> I don't know you well, but everyone that I do know respects you as a coach
> and a person.  Your service to the community should also be applauded.  I
> think that sometimes when someone who contributes so much to something we
> love does something we disagree with they deserve better than sarcastic,
> public, insensitive ridicule.
> Whether you disagree with me or not, I still respect all that you do for
> the activity and wish you a wonderful end to your semester.
> Justin Stanley
> ------------------------------
> You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one month of Blockbuster
> Total Access<http://us.rd.yahoo.com/evt=47523/*http://tc.deals.yahoo.com/tc/blockbuster/text5.com>,
> No Cost.
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