[eDebate] Thought Experiment to Working Group - Anyone want to help me look at possible solutions?

Sue Peterson bk2nocal
Tue Jul 22 11:06:41 CDT 2008

I think Veronica's final "dystopian" idea is the default for MOST schools as
is.  There are the top 20-25 or so programs in the nation that make the
national run of tournaments every year, but the rest of us try to get their
better teams to a "national" tournament or two each year and then deal with
the region for the rest of it.  I agree that if you have a very good team,
this becomes a negative experience in certain areas because those regional
tournaments do not have a meaningful caliber of competition for those teams
because the other teams that good in the region may have the resources to
get out to the national tournaments on a regular schedule.

I thank Greg Achten and Gordon Stables and Jon Bruschke for making sure that
California continues to have "national" level competition within driving
distance.  And although some of you may be disappointed with the schedule
change for the swing tournaments, if Jon and Gordon would have decided to
just give these tournaments away to some other district in the hopes of
regaining their holidays with family and friends instead, it is mid-level
programs in California who would have suffered.  So, I am thankful they took
the time and effort to find a way to make it work with their schedules but
keep the tournaments in California.  The Berkeley tournament brings teams in
that we would never otherwise see not traveling nationally, and again, we
don't have to fly.  But, not every region has tournaments of these caliber
and they HAVE to fly to get to even a few national tournaments each year.

So, what is the answer?  Well, one of them might be to begin to think on a
larger scale than we currently do for tournaments.  I know that Gordon
brought this up at the summer meeting and I've been mulling it over in my
head for a while as well.  Maybe we need to stop thinking of just our own
teams and start thinking on a more regional scale for travel.  If our
regions were to get together and start booking "group travel" would we save
any money?  I know that sometimes the busses between So Cal and Nor Cal
would be cheaper than individual vans would have been (and the sleep instead
of driving was GLORIOUS!).  I know there are organizations like Student
Travel Agency (STA) who does mainly international student travel, but may be
helpful domestically?  There is also Groople (perhaps not the only one -
just the one I'm familiar with) where you can get special group discounts
for over 10 people traveling.  I definitely don't know at this point, but if
we could book group travel on airlines by combining squads - rent busses at
tournaments instead of individual mini/12 pass vans, etc. would it save us

I think this is one thing that the CEDA organization is dedicated to
figuring out for our national tournaments in the future, but it is something
that I think many of us could start talking about in our own regions
(regional reps - here is a possible topic of discussion) and tournament
directors might think about checking into for their tournaments (maybe
providing some local bus company names for those wanting to check on bus
options), etc.

I am willing to take the lead on this particular issue as a "working group"
in CEDA if there are others who would be willing to help me out, perhaps we
can put together a "white paper" or something with ideas and choices
available to squads.

Anyone else out there willing to get involved?  My thoughts are to
brainstorm different options - maybe check what sports teams, etc. at our
Universities are doing to deal with this, explore the internet options like
Groople, etc. and then assign out a person to each type of travel to do cost
estimations - so at what point does it become cheaper to travel by air
versus car/bus (considering luggage costs, etc.)?  How many people do you
need to get different group discounts?  I think this would be valuable
information for everyone in debate and even more valuable to those who might
be making an entrance into debate as a new program in these tough travel
cost times.

On Tue, Jul 22, 2008 at 7:22 AM, Veronica Guevara <
veronica_m_barreto at hotmail.com> wrote:

>  Denver University, a small program with a small budget but big talent, has
> done this for at least 4 or 5 years.  They did it to reduce costs associated
> with printing and copying.  They carry all their files on their laptop, they
> carry a printer and some paper.  They carry a copy of the 1AC and plan text
> and I think these days they have most of their major 1NC shells ready to go
> to.  It's feasible, but they have gotten resistance from competitors.  Some
> have even made arguments about how Denver's tech is elitist.  Often times,
> those shells being read against them off of a laptop.  They are incredibly
> vulnerable to technical difficulties and the solution to that may be to have
> back ups that could keep rounds running a little behind schedule.  The folks
> who have debated and coached for Denver probably have better insights into
> the process.
> To deal with equity claims, they've tried a number of set ups.  I remember
> judging a Denver team at Texas a few years ago and they brought a third
> laptop that which was a very barebones system for their opponents to access
> anything they wanted.  There were definitely glitches like the power cord
> shorted if it moved, but it worked. Now they hand over their jump drives to
> whomever asks, which functionally gives their opponent access to every
> single one of their files which can all be downloaded during the course of a
> debate. They shrug it off and take it in stride but they do get some
> static. So it's not ideal but I think it would be much more workable when
> the contraints of taking multiple tubs hits those with perhaps more
> influence than a smaller program. Plus one laptop or one printer going out
> would be less of a hassle if more people also used that system.  I do have
> to say that travelling is really tough on a printer and I don't know how
> many programs could afford disposable printers.
> I know Jim Hanson has an awesome database set up for Whitman's files.
> Weber digitized its files two years ago. We carry one tub or less (sometimes
> a backpack) with what we need but we still roll with the confidence to deal
> with a backfile check because we have our warming, dedev files etc on a jump
> drive and each team and coach carry one.  We also fly the great greyhound of
> the skies, Southwest airlines, every time it's even possible because they
> have no extra fees.
> The more drastic change that may occur as market forces push debate to
> evolve could be a diminished emphasis on the national circuit, most of which
> happens in my old backyard of D6.  Cross country airfares are unspeakable.
> I run the numbers on every major national tournament whether it's on our
> schedule or not at least once a month in the off season.  Ga State travel is
> up over $1200 from last year per team and that's just the airfare and hotel
> to say nothing of the rising costs to feed folks, the new judging
> requirement which we'll meet but it means we sell less judging which in turn
> we use to pay registration, and the banquet fees which makes
> that registration tab very hefty (believe me our budget does not have our
> debaters eating ANY meal for $25/head), then there's car rental and gas for
> that car, etc. This is after Joe and Mike have done everything they could to
> be conscientious and deal with operating costs as best they can.  Some of
> the numbers I ran are just obscene and those numbers don't include the best
> or cushiest itineraries and they certainly do not include tournament hotels,
> which are categorically struck from consideration.
> We treat teams who don't/can't attend the big shin digs as pariahs or as if
> their programs just aren't serious about competing or they diminish that
> teams' accomplishments because they're running from competition. Teams
> without exposure get seeded lower for prelim debates, their speaker points
> are affected because they have less exposure to the judging pool. We'd love
> to have every prebid applicant in the country in D9 or D2 or D1 and often.
> Instead the West exports its best debaters to compete out East because it's
> minimally necessary to be considered competitive and they wouldn't be our
> best debaters if they didn't.  But if the number of tournaments that created
> those opportunities increased and diversified in geography we would either
> all equally share the burden of travel or we could each compete within our
> geographic proximity with maybe 1 national fall tournament, 1 national
> spring tournament, CEDA and the NDT -- now that's utopian! :) (or for some
> folks a dystopia, I guess)
> I heart D6 & West Coast Love to all.
>   *Veronica M. Guevara*
> **
> *Weber State University*
> *Department of Communication*
> *1605 University Circle*
> *Ogden, UT 84408*
> **
> **
> ------------------------------
> Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 04:24:32 -0500
> From: rwgallow at samford.edu
> To: edebate at ndtceda.com
> Subject: [eDebate] Thought Experiment: Two Tub Limit
> What if, instead of saying that "schools must supply 5 rounds of judging
> for every team..." a tournament invitation instead said..."EVIDENCE
> REQUIREMENTS.  Teams are prohibited from bringing more than 2 tubs of
> evidence to contest rounds."
> I mention this because the market may essentially be forcing such a system
> upon us anyway.  With airlines cracking down on extra baggage and the high
> costs of travel than AK mentions, the burden of carrying extra tubs may
> force innovative solutions to our heavy packing needs.
> So my query is:  what would you do, either as a squad or a coach, if a
> tournament your team HAD to attend (for whatever reason that means to you)
> banned the carrying of more than two tubs.  Some initial ideas:
> *Rich Edwards wrote an article in the Rostrum a few years back on the idea
> of a team using one tub, a laptop, and a printer.  Is the technology
> currently available to essentially "print as you go?"  I heard rumor that
> the MSU squad essentially debated under this system the first day at Texas,
> without tubs, printing as they went.  Is this feasible, partially feasible,
> or utterly utopian?  I ask those with more tech experience and the debaters
> who debate in an era where file printing/card printing in rounds is common.
> *Jim Hanson has apparently claimed that we are only a few years away from
> tubs being obsolete.  What do he and others think about moving to two tubs?
> *Would this encourage the carrying of a "third laptop" so teams could share
> evidence with the other team?  I've heard this as a possible tech
> solution--teams bring a third laptop and evidence the other team needs to
> read that was read off the computer could be flash drived to the third
> computer for the other team/judge to read.
> *Could there be an "evidence room" in each building for squads to stash the
> "squad copy" of certain backfiles?  In other words, instead of every team
> from a large squad carrying their "backfile check" answers could an evidence
> storage room for the team copy be put in a building and teams get one "time
> out" to go raid the evidence storehouse.  Likely infeasible, but a thought.
> *Would this encourage or discourage negative disclosure of arguments that
> might require a heavy printing burden?  Would teams be tempted to run
> certain arguments in a gambit that "they don't have answers to this
> printed?"
> *Is it feasible that tournaments could supply some back-up printers in case
> of emergency?
> *Would teams become less reliant on evidence and more reliant upon
> analytics?  Would judges be amenable to the transition?  My guess is that
> the "tech solutions" are more likely.
> Two last thoughts:
> One answer to the thought experiment is to essentially cheat and re-define
> tub to mean "bankers box" or something huge that isn't a tub.  Hoping people
> play by the rules in responses to encourage a discussion as to how squads
> could rely on technological solutions and/or less evidence to bring to
> tournaments.
> Second, this is not a serious proposal for tournaments to move to, but
> rather a question about what would happen if the market essentially forces a
> system upon us like this.  More curious about what would occur if we were
> forced as a community to consider a world with substantially less tubs.
> Just designed as a thought experiment to see what would happen in a world
> with less tubs.
> Ryan
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Sue Peterson, Director of Speech and Debate at CSU Chico
sepeterson at csuchico.edu

"To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it,
requires brains." -- Mary Pettibone Poole, 1938
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