[eDebate] [CEDA-L] some comments re tournament rounds structure

Josh jbhdb8
Wed Oct 22 22:10:17 CDT 2008

I hate to be "arguing" with Ross, in that I really think Ross has earned the
right to do whatever he wants with his tournament and that any tournament
director should run whatever tournament they want to run.  But, as I seem to
be the "disagreeer"

1) Debates now take 33% more time to conduct than they did when the
8-round format was popularized (they have 33% more valuable content if
you think pre-round prep, judge decisions that include careful
inspection of evidence, and post-round discussion of the decision are of
educational value), yet going from 6 to 8 prelims subtracts only 25%.
Or, going from 5 to 8 adds 33%. 6 prelims now is what 8 used to be.
JBH: This is true, but true of an 8 round tournament as they are currently
operated so the 33% argument is kind of cherry picking. However, its true 6
is better than it used to be.....but 8 is still better.

2) Stefan: let's just stop the tournament after semis since finals makes
next to no difference to the Copeland?
JBH: Is that another proposal?

3) Banquets are rare, but they matter. Our activity lacks good social
time, good celebratory time. We honor a national coach of the year. That
ceremony is meaningful, and not just for the person who wins it. The
words spoken in praise resound and reflect on the efforts of all
coaches. The words inspire and celebrate. "Just words"??
JBH: I agree, the question was do they matter as much as 2 more debates.
All of that could happen on the net/edebate/wherever and I would send just
as many congrats letters to whoever won.  As you said above "they have more
valuable content if you think pre-round prep, judge decisions that include
careful inspection of evidence, and post-round discussion of the decision
are of educational value."

In addition the "social events are good" thing flew the coop a long time
ago.  Most coaches go prep if they have a team in. People like free
food. Coaches like being recognized but I suspect most of the non-director
coaches move on to work.

The real question is does the banquet social value outweigh 120 more debate
rounds for the unlucky 60 (or whatever).  As much as I would sometime love
to win coach of the year...I would probably understand getting it without
Greg Achten making fun of me in front of the 300 people (in the fantasy work
in which I won).

4) Audiences matter. Most of us learned a lot from watching elims we
were not good enough to be in. Excessive prelim schedules and late night
elim rounds result in tiny elim audiences. Stefan says only 7 people
participate in the final round. That does not sound good to me. I
envision big audiences for doubles in classrooms that are well suited to
debate (as opposed to early morning cramped hotel rooms with a few
people watching, half of whom fall asleep in the neg block). I envision
relatively well rested people watching the Monday elims all of which
have known starting times.
JBH: This is a red herring, the people who book tickets for monday leave
when the tickets come up...the people who leave tuesday watch rounds...one,
two, three, or whatever.  I doubt very seriously that finals grows in
audience much more with the change.....people start partying and play poker
and hang out or watch rounds...The problem is never that a bunch of people
would watch substantially more rounds if only there were less prelims.

5) High quality elims matter. Especially when there is an audience. It
helps the audience learn more, and helps the competitors. The final
round should be the best round in the tournament. If not, why do we even
use elims to determine the winner? S
JBH: Do they matter as much as 120 rounds to non-elim debaters?  When was
the final round ever the best round of any tournament.  In addition, and
perhaps most important, the NDT is even more of an endurance
contest....having a few tournaments that are equally as rigorous on the last
day is probably a good thing.

6) We will have at least 40 teams in elims, 30% or so of the tournament.
JBH: ?  did you expand to triples?  I might just have missed something
here...All 4-2s?  If so, thats a decent argument....of course, my point is
still those rounds would be good for the unlucky/not as talented 30%

7) There really seem to be two leaders as alts: this year's Shirley of
6/doubles and the alt of 8/octas. The 8/octas was rejected
overwhelmingly by the community at Ga. State and at Kentucky not so long
ago: people clamorred for an extra elim round and all but forced it on
those tournaments. Maybe folks are ready to rethink that. Good for us.
Let's think. 7 rounds has problems of scheduling with a banquet and
severe unfairness in side assignment.
JBH: No, that assumes the sq isnt an alt, or the sq sans banquet, or the sq
w/7, or the sq until semis, all options that have been suggested.

8) Surprised no one has commented on the rules regarding elim judge
decision time and post-round discussion time.
JBH: agreed

9) Total quality of the experience is not solely a function of the
quantity of debates you are in.
JBH: Clever but I suspect its not mutually exclusive with more watching
either way.

10) Judges and coaches matter. A lot. What do we ask of them? What is a
fair demand?
JBH: Again, does making the night better for the 8 teams and coaches and
judges ow the impact on the poor and middle class?  This is Mccain v Obama

Anyway, there was no real discussion of this - I realize the Shirley is
whatever you want it to be.....Thats cool, you have always been supportive
of debate in ways most people only wish to be......I may disagree this
once..but it happens,


Ross K. Smith
Director of Debate
Wake Forest University

336-251-2076 (c)
336-758-5268 (o)

http://www.DebateScoop.org <http://www.debatescoop.org/>

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