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

Stefan Bauschard stefan.bauschard
Thu Oct 23 06:26:25 CDT 2008

RE: #s 2 & 4 -- where Ross references a backchannel I sent.

#2 -- I'm wasn't suggesting or implying that there should be no finals.  I
was pointing out that finals only impacts 7 people and that if you are
usually in the finals you have a good chance of winning the Copeland, which
is obviously a very prestigious award.  It's a good reward for your stamina,
abilities, and preparation.

Maybe Ross is suggesting that the final debate happens so late that the
quality of the debates and/or the decisions is significantly diminished --
maybe, but I haven't heard anyone making that claim.  If this is a
significant problem, then, yes, it needs to be addressed.

The GSU 3am thing seems to be outside the norm.   Based on my memory, there
was basically an hour of prep time before each debate (including some of the
prelims).  Cutting that prep time to 30 minutes would have ended everything
by 1 am.

# 4- Sure, it would be nice of finals had large audiences, but even if they
start at 9pm, audiences (at least at most tournaments) will probably be
limited.  Most people who do not expect to be in late elims travel home on

I guess part of the experiment is to see if (significantly) more people
watch elim debates.

I think # 8 is great.  Though I have no specific data to back it up, I do
think that decision-making times have started to increase over the last two
years.  I also perceive that they were of this length about 10 years ago,
but that we went through a period of time in between where at least most
decisions came in much faster (I realize "most" doesn't help on elim day
because even one long decision slows the whole thing down).  I certainly
think that there is a growing expectation on the parts of debaters that all
relevant evidence be read by the judge(s) after the debate.  While this
model has merit, it does at least appear to be slowing down tournaments --
perhaps too much.  (Re)creating a norm of a reasonable decision-making time
(an our or so depending on when the debate ends) seems quite desirable.

Certainly, all of the large national tournaments do not need to be the
same.   Some could have 6 prelims and doubles, others could have 8 prelims
and ocotos, others could have 8 prelims and doubles,others could have 7
prelims and doubles, and others could could have 6 prelims and quads, some
could have 6 prelims and octocs with unlimited decision-making time (I think
there are only 4 tournaments that have 5 varsity elims in one day and run
late into the night).  Variety can be good.

On Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 9:38 PM, Ross Smith <smithr at wfu.edu> wrote:

> The following are not meant to be exhaustive of the subject, but merit
> consideration.
> 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.
> 2) Stefan: let's just stop the tournament after semis since finals makes
> next to no difference to the Copeland?
> 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"??
> 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.
> 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
> 6) We will have at least 40 teams in elims, 30% or so of the tournament.
> 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.
> 8) Surprised no one has commented on the rules regarding elim judge
> decision time and post-round discussion time.
> 9) Total quality of the experience is not solely a function of the
> quantity of debates you are in.
> 10) Judges and coaches matter. A lot. What do we ask of them? What is a
> fair demand?
> --
> 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
> _______________________________________________
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Stefan Bauschard

President & Co-Founder, PlanetDebate.com
Director of Debate, Lakeland Schools
Debate Coach, Harvard Debate

(c) 781-775-0433
(fx) 617-588-0283
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