[eDebate] MPJ at tournaments with multiple divisions

NEIL BERCH berchnorto
Tue Nov 11 12:37:15 CST 2008

That would be, as all of Gary's efforts are, a tremendous boon to our community.  Speaking as someone who has tabbed multiple tournaments with MPJ in three divisions, I think it's important to recognize one other practical issue.  At most such tournaments, there are a few judges who are self-restricted to JV and Novice, and there are often many judges who are self-restricted to Novice.  Thus, if one starts by pairing Novice (because Gary's point is of course correct with regard to the impact of the order of pairing), one runs the very real risk of not using enough of those Novice-only judges in Novice and then running out of judges by the time you pair Open (which then requires tab room intervention to move judges from one division to another, and I share Gary's strong belief that minimizing tab room intervention is a primary goal).

Bottom line is that being able to assign judges across multiple divisions at once in TRPC would be a great improvement, and we should all be grateful to all of those who work to improve the mechanics of what we do.

--Neil Berch
West Virginia University
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Gary Larson<mailto:Gary.N.Larson at wheaton.edu> 
  To: Edebate<mailto:edebate at ndtceda.com> 
  Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 1:24 PM
  Subject: [eDebate] MPJ at tournaments with multiple divisions

  My understanding of the amendment parallels Jeff's.

  I should note, however, that the order in which divisions are paneled with respect to MPJ potentially makes a huge difference.  Given a moderately size open and JV and/or novice division, unless one consciously downgrades preference choices in the first division paired, subsequent divisions will not receive anything near the same level of preference.

  STA (which is not currently used at the majority of multi-division tournaments) provides the ability to panel judges for multiple divisions simultaneously, using a variety of strategies for prioritizing individual debates.  For instance, in a round where you wish to privilege break rounds, followed by rounds above the break, followed by rounds where both teams have been eliminated, STA will first assign judges to all of the break rounds in all divisions selected (using average pref of previous rounds as an additional tiebreaker) followed by above and below.  Selecting the option of pairing more than one division simultaneously has as an inevitable outcome the reduction of pref in the division that you would have paired first coupled with a significant improvement in divisions you would pair subsequently.  Additionally, the average overall preference across all divisions would slightly improve because of the ability to consider many more alternative placements.

  Since many more tournaments use TRPC as opposed to STA with many tournaments still assigning judges using a largely "manual" or "computer-aided" strategy, Rich, Jon and I are working on a new version (or successor) to TRPC that will be able to integrate my judge assignment algorithms (as an option) into the interface that most members of the community are already comfortable with.  While I had hopes of completing that project by now, it is still a few months away.


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