[eDebate] Edebate Comment about Joe's Rankings

Morris, Eric R EricMorris
Thu Apr 3 15:49:12 CDT 2008

I like the idea of open dialogue. 


Although Repko didn't rank this year, he has a pretty complex system of
bid analysis that accounts not only for head to head wins, but then
ranks wins and losses by quality. I don't think there's any doubt that,
for example, a win over Berkeley BP was more impressive than a win over
us (simply because there were fewer of them over the year). Similarly,
his system provides credit for wins over teams that clear somewhere,
even if their record, or partner switches, or internal squad decisions
meant that they didn't show up in the 2nd round pool. 


I do think, even in a mostly objective system, there remains plenty of
discretion to figure out who you think is 16 versus 17. But the chances
of a single skew vote determining the outcome is less if most voters
have 15-18 fairly close together, instead of having a couple of outliers
determine the final outcome. Dropping double high-low is also helpful. 


I also, however, think this dialogue should be conducted nicely. The
tradition of waiting to show the specific rankings until after NDT
prelims is a good one, as those ranking need to worry less about who
might disagree and more about what the records show. I think Dallas'
decision to wait a month before making an argument, gently, was a great


It might also be significant to know more about whether those ranking
privilege particular tournaments, particular argument styles, etc. My
personal view is that beating another specific bid applicant is equally
impressive regardless of which parcel of stolen land it occurred upon.
However, the significance of winning the tournament, or clearing, etc.,
should rightly vary depending on the competition. I think we should
reward good wins more than punish bad losses. I think teams should be
rewarded (slightly) for going beyond the minimum necessary national
tournaments, but many 1st round competitors perceive they have nothing
to gain and much to lose from the occasion regional foray. Whether those
perceptions are grounded in reality isn't clear to me, but even if it
is, it might be overstated and damaging to regional tournaments. 


Or, to put it another way....


The process of bid decision making incentivizes some travel decisions
over others. It is NOT just an after the fact assessment, but instead
someone that teams pro-actively adapt to. A single ranker can influence
a team's prospects more, in many cases, than a single judge. Mutual Pref
is probably incoherent here, but perhaps ranking philosophies could be
public before the beginning of the season?





From: edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com
[mailto:edebate-bounces at www.ndtceda.com] On Behalf Of Jim Hanson
Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2008 2:32 PM
To: edebate at ndtceda.com
Subject: Re: [eDebate] Edebate Comment about Joe's Rankings


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 <mailto:jbhdb8 at gmail.com>  

Sent: Thursday, April 03, 2008 11:33 AM

To: J T <mailto:jtedebate at yahoo.com>  

Cc: edebate at ndtceda.com ; michael hester <mailto:uwgdebate at gmail.com>  

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


	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


	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 




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