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

Ross Smith smithr
Wed Oct 22 23:12:04 CDT 2008

Big picture.

OVERVIEW: If you cannot figure out, as a coach, how to get a highly 
educational experience for your debaters that is worth the money in 
three days at WFU, ask me for hints. Or do not come. A couple of hints: 
if they do not clear in either division (that's why there are at least  
40 teams clearing, Hoe), have them watch and record rounds. Go back home 
and have them give speeches as if they were in that round. Have them 
record their own rounds. Have them redo speeches from those rounds. 
Jeepers. the"POOR AND THE MIDDLE CLASS" unwarranted jive analogy needs 
to be highlighted here at the top as one of the most ridiculous all time 
claims (claims, no warrants were provided).

Other rebuttalish stuff:

1) The SQ is not an alt. 20+ hour days are wrong.
2) Being there in person, alert, awake, is qualitatively different and 
better for experiencing elim rounds, banquet speeches, and getting back 
to school.
3) Totally exhausted students, who cannot appreciate and participate in 
the to-and-for of an elim round, and totally exhausted coaches/judges 
who have questionable safety when driving and questionable decision 
making skills when coaching or judging are not red herrings. Not to 
mention the fact that the exhaustion does spill over into the next day 
and the day after when students miss classes or undereperform in school 
and teachers/coaches do the same. Question: after a tournament that ends 
on a Monday, when are folks really "recovered" and up and running at 
full speed? By Wednesday? How often are people sick?
4) I give 25%/33% FACTS and Josh calls it "cherry picking." Nope. Just 
the raw numbers. Low hanging fruit, perhaps, but that's what I get when 
the facts are on my side. How about it? Quality/quantity.
5) NDT will probably model our elim day before long, and end before 
midnight (unless someone has a compelling arg against our Monday 
schedule). Therefore, no reason to have our tournament and others be 
"good practice" (by abusing people and ending at 2 am) for an absurd 
event like the NDT has become.
6) The McCain thing is one of the dumbest and most offensive (to me) 
thing I have had directed my way on edebate. Hoe expects me to respond 
by accusing him of advocating debate socialism? WE HAVE THIS THING 

On 10/22/2008 11:10 PM, Josh wrote:
> 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 here.
> 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,
> Josh
> --
> Ross K. Smith
> Director of Debate
> Wake Forest University
> 336-251-2076 (c)
> 336-758-5268 (o)
> http://groups.wfu.edu/debate/
> http://www.DebateScoop.org <http://www.debatescoop.org/>
> _______________________________________________
> CEDA-L mailing list
> CEDA-L at www.ndtceda.com <mailto:CEDA-L at www.ndtceda.com>
> http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/ceda-l

Ross K. Smith
Director of Debate
Wake Forest University

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


More information about the Mailman mailing list