[eDebate] Judge side bias

Andy Ellis andy.edebate
Thu Apr 30 00:34:03 CDT 2009

Think that anumbersgame.net could become the best new debate thing in a

interested to see where this goes

On Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 10:30 PM, A Numbers Game edebate <
edebate at anumbersgame.net> wrote:

> > For
> > instance, how can you reach your conclusion when your poster children of
> Aff
> > bias in 2007-2008--Toni Nielson--voted 24-25 this year?
> I think you are right -- it would be foolish to conclude that a judge
> whose voting record is aff-skewed one year will vote aff more often in
> a subsequent year.
> There are many reasons a judge could be side-biased in a particular
> year. One of the judges on one of the lists emailed me to mention a
> particular counterplan from that year that was handled poorly by many
> affs they saw.
> > It's not "historical judge bias"; it's bias
> > on a given topic.
> Yes, I agree. I was trying to say that. I put the resolutions on the
> page for exactly that reason.
> > Acutally your observation that the voting ratio for the courts topic was
> 50%
> > suggests two things: First, I can't really believe that the aff won 50%
> of
> > the time on that topic given that they were sitting ducks for the
> negative
> Do you mean "I can't believe" like I can't believe it's not butter, or
> like I can't believe in Santa Claus?
> If you mean the latter, the data is/are available at
> debateresults.com, with a copy in the subversion repository at the
> site I pointed to, with a MySQL-friendly copy and a script for
> extracting that copy.
> http://commweb.fullerton.edu/jbruschke/web/ResultsArchives/archiveindex.aspx
> http://code.google.com/p/anumbersgame/source/browse/#svn/trunk/data
> If you meant the former, then I think it may answer your question
> immediately below! It is interesting to see that the courts topic
> produced such a balanced year. That may be useful to those picking a
> topic or wording.
> > Second, who care about historical side bias? If judges seem to vary
> widely
> > in this bias from year to year (as both your calculations and my random
> > couple demonstrate) yet the overall balance is 50%, is there even a
> concern
> > about side or judge bias? Seems like there really isn't.
> Maybe there's nothing wrong with side bias! I think that's interesting
> by itself. Some of the most respected critics appear on these lists.
> Maybe that an indicator that what makes these people great judges
> isn't fairness to the sides, but fairness to debaters, or giving good
> critiques, or just being nice people, or having fast pens!
> Maybe, if some of our most preferred critics exhibit side bias, then
> it's not so important to preserve fair chances of winning for each
> side! If the entire season were made up of critics as preferred as the
> names you list above, and the numbers at the end of the season showed
> affs winning over 60% of the debates, would that be a bad year? By
> what metric? Plenty of games (like chess, for instance, or spectator
> sports with a home field advantage) aren't side-unbiased.
> I don't think the numbers necessarily indicate any problem (or any
> solution to any possible problem).
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