[eDebate] Tournament Structure

Dallas Perkins dperkins
Thu Oct 23 09:45:32 CDT 2008

This is a very interesting discussion.  I agree with both sides.

One solution that everybody would like is to make the rounds go faster 
without compromising prep and decision times.

I have two ideas on the subject, and I wonder what the community thinks 
about them.

First, we could release the pairings for rounds five and six on Saturday 
evening at 10PM, after most people are done with dinner.  This would not 
keep people from staying up all night working, but it might at least mean 
that they are well-prepared to begin both rounds punctually, with minimal 
time between the two.  I wonder if the community sees this as a useful 

Second, we could reshape the post-round discussion following elims.  As it 
is, the minority judges usually speak first, telling the winners why they 
really lost, then the majority judges tell the losers that in fact they 
really lost, and everyone sits and listens and argues about it all.  This 
can take upwards of forty-five minutes after contentious debates.  I 
propose something like this:  after the decision is announced, each judge 
delivers a brief summary decision, lasting no more than 2 minutes.  If the 
winning team wishes to discuss specifics with any of the judges, 
convention will allow them to go first, ask their questions, demand 
amplification from the dissenters, whatever.  Once they are satisfied, it 
will not be considered discourteous or otherwise inappropriate if one or 
both of the winning debaters excuse themselves from further discussion and 
get on with prepping for the next round.  Given this new convention, I 
think that tournaments would be justified in pushing the schedule 
considerably faster on elim day.  This is especially true at the 
increasing number of tournaments where the elim bracket is published 
Sunday night.

I would be very interested in community input on either of these schemes, 
as we might try to implement one or both at Harvard this year.


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