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

Josh jbhdb8
Thu Oct 23 12:59:11 CDT 2008


Hello All,

Ross and I had a very nice phone conversation last night....We both agree
with two premises:

1. The tournament day is way too long

2. It is very hard to know what to value.  Most of this discussion is about
different valid concerns that all have different unrelated impacts.  For
instance, we want to find a way to BOTH reward competition and also create
the best environment for learning.  We desire both to make sure the best and
brightest shine and that the young and learning get opportunities to test
their mettle.  We want to be able to cut lots of cards and also have a
chance to socially recognize peers who deserve recognition.

The real question, is how to reconcile the desire for a more humane
tournament day with the many things we try to accomplish with our "national"
tournaments.

I am not sure there is a solution that will salve everyone's various needs
and desires.  One option is for people to try different experiments (like
Wake going to 6 rounds) but to survey extensively during the tournament and
after the tournament to see what the majority of coaches, judges, and
participants feel.  A good follow up would be for the other "national"
tournaments to try different methods (Dallas and others had very interesting
exciting proposals).  In addition, if those other tournaments followed up
with coordinated surveys (with Wake) we might be able to generate meaningful
data about what people value more/most when it comes to what we try to
accomplish with tournaments.

Anyway, I certainly have made enough 15 hour van trips to be pretty
empathetic to a shorter tournament day.  I just want to make sure that our
solutions to the longer tournament day do the best job of accomplishing the
most important goals we value.

Josh

On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 12:12 AM, Ross Smith <smithr at wfu.edu> wrote:

> 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 CALLED A TOURNAMENT
> WITH A WINNER. I AM NOW TAKING A BRIEF TIME OUT FROM MY OTHER JOB OF
> ARRANGING OBAMA RIDES TO POLLS FOR A TERRITORY OF A MILLION PEOPLE TO
> RESPOND TO THROW AWAY B.S.???
>
>
>
>
>
> 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/> <
>> http://www.debatescoop.org/>
>>
>>
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>>
> --
>  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/>
>
>
>
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