[eDebate] Edebate Comment about Joe's Rankings

Jim Hanson hansonjb
Thu Apr 3 14:31:44 CDT 2008

two things I wanna say:

1. drop two highs and two lows among the rankings instead of just one.

2. I support posting methods for rankings. people on the committee could start that now--they could post and state the methods they use. the committee idea josh suggests below is a good idea. I think that would be incredibly illuminating and helpful.

well, and a third, no offense or attacks meant on any committee members. jz is aok with me.

jim :)
hansonjb at whitman.edu

From: Josh 
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2008 11:33 AM
To: J T 
Cc: edebate at ndtceda.com ; michael hester 
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Edebate Comment about Joe's Rankings


Behind the scenes, I have been consistently agitating for reform of the bid ranking process (first and second round)...especially the last four years.  At some point there was consideration of a committe whose job was to at least compiling the different methods that people used and giving new members a set of methods when they are elected to the committee.  The vast majority of rankers seem to follow similar systems.  The problem is wild disparities.  

I, and I assume from this discussion Hester, are in agreement for the need for this kind of bid ranking steering committee. I volunteered to serve on it last year and would certainly volunteer again this year were such a committee created.  

Oddly enough this interest started for me not because a team of mine didnt get a first round bid.  Rather, it was because a team of mine who cleared at Wake and was 5-3 at UK, had an above .500 win percentage, and was first alternate out of districts....Didnt get a second round bid because some people ranked them like 14th 15th is second round bids.  So self-interest got me involved...but over the last several years there have been some very hard to explain anomolies (that had nothing to do with Michigan).

The bid process is about trying to accurately reward people for worthy seasons.  That makes it a very sensitive subject because you dont want to rain on the parade of people who were successful or publically call out on behalf of people who were excluded.  I do think some polling on what factors should be counted, how they should be valued, as well as work on standardizing methods would help.

As for Joe, he knows this isnt backhanded, he is a great person, great scholar, great debate coach, and really fun person to hang around with.  

Hope everyone is doing well,


On Thu, Apr 3, 2008 at 8:23 AM, J T <jtedebate at yahoo.com> wrote:

  Sorry--I'm with Hester on this one.  While there are numerous methods directors choose in ranking, I see no reason NOT to call people out if one sees the need.  And while you're at it...look at 2nd rounds as well...how many of you paid attention to the note about districts not counting against win/loss record?  I've got nothing against Zomp (really, a great guy), but when one set of ranking stands greatly askew from all others, something should be said---these things SHOULD be discussed...openly...what would anyone have to hide?

  Caution:  this is not a call to openly bash and ridicule people---"WTF?" is a call out 

  michael hester <uwgdebate at gmail.com> wrote:
    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 bids. 


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

      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, No Cost.

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