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

Harris, Scott L sharris
Thu Oct 23 14:21:43 CDT 2008

Shortening the season by a couple of months would help a great deal.  It
doesn't make much sense to me that debate has a season that lasts so
much longer than any sport.

	-----Original Message-----
	From: ceda-l-bounces at www.ndtceda.com
[mailto:ceda-l-bounces at www.ndtceda.com] On Behalf Of Josh
	Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 12:59 PM
	To: Ross Smith
	Cc: edebate; ceda-l at ndtceda.com
	Subject: Re: [CEDA-L] some comments re tournament rounds
	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.
	On Thu, Oct 23, 2008 at 12:12 AM, Ross Smith <smithr at wfu.edu>

		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?
		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

		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
			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,
			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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			CEDA-L at www.ndtceda.com
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		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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