[eDebate] The system I intend to use for first-round balloting

Brent Saindon basaindon
Fri Jan 30 19:14:53 CST 2009


Please do not let this discourage you. There are a lot of different factors that go into these decisions. However, I get the sense that you are a little uncomfortable with your ability to make a judgment, so you would rather put in the the hands of the numbers. My understanding is that the bid application process is only a guide, and that ultimately, it is up to the individual that we hold in high esteem to make a difficult call. I do not think this method will eliminate the feeling that people believe you are unfair (z.b. any conversation on the BCS process). A couple of factors that I can think of: 1) some debate teams are much better than their record suggests, perhaps because budget constraints make them travel more regionally. 2) some debate teams start really slow, only to pick up steam at the end (see: Arizona Cardinals), and perhaps one ought to value developing into a better debater over the course of the year. 3) sometimes matchup problems can get the best of you.
 You can be great against 99% of the people, but a middle of the pack team just has your number and you debate a lot. You can say that you have to be better than everyone, but that is not true of any team. Anyone that has deabted really has the team they dread to debate for whatever reason. 4) Judge variations probably only have an effect at the margin, but they will have some. How many times have you looked at a packet, looked at a surprise win, then looked at the judge and go "it figures." Do you have judging tiers to add a level of fairness to the clearly subjective decisions being made there? 5) This seems like a lot of work to come to largely the same conclusions as others do, or so you seem to believe. If the results are pretty standard, then why bother? Do you trust your judgment? Besides, can't you spend all that time you crunch numbers playing Wii?

I know that this matters to a lot of folks (and it used to matter to me), but at some point, you have to trust that your experience and judgment are enough. As the last page indicates, you have not been able to eliminate subjectivity, just move it to a different place and hide it behind statistics (i.e. the numbers of debaters within each tier, the point scales for the tiers, etc.)

Good luck. I hope you find what works for you.

Brent Saindon

repkowil at msu.edu wrote:     
                                                                                                                                                  /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";}   A few people have asked about the ?system? that I intend to use for determining the first-rounds.
 Attached is a document that explains the system that I intend to use this year.
 A few caveats:
 1.????????????????????? It uses data from last year ? so as to avoid the appearance that I may be trying to sway the upcoming vote.
 2.????????????????????? I was not a voter last year ? so if you didn?t care for how you finished in last year?s balloting, this document had nothing to do with that.
 3.????????????????????? I am not entirely wed to this system ???for 2008-9 voting ? I am posting (in part) b/c I believe that this system can be tweaked and improved upon. Gordon Stables, in particular, has a more advanced system for calculating the impact of regional tourneys that ? frankly ? is more advanced than I comprehend. I would be open to non-bombastic critiques of this system that are designed to improve the quality of my voting.
 4.????????????????????? My other motivation in posting is transparency. If School A wants to know the damn system that I intend to use, I think they have a reasonable right to know. I can envision this decreasing the ?shock? of finding out that you narrowly missed. I can envision this even helping schools to roughly ?know where they stand? heading into the closing tourneys of the 2008-9 campaign.
 5.????????????????????? This document excludes data (from 2007-8) for MSU teams. 
 6.????????????????????? I think the two strengths of this system are that:
 a)????????????????????? It weights wins and losses. Losing 5 times to the Copeland Winner is ? in fact ? different than losing 5 times to ?an applicant?.
 b)?????????????????? It weights wins and losses of non-applicants. Each year -- for a host of reasons ? some competitive teams do not apply. Wins or losses to those teams should, in my opinion, still be considered in an applicant's resume.
 7.????????????????????? Nothing in this post means that I intend to divulge the precise breakdown of how I vote for first-rounds in 2008-9. 
 8.????????????????????? I intend to use a different system for second-round balloting. That system involves ?weighting? wins and losses, but places more emphasis on the applicants results against teams that have qualified for the NDT.
 The rest is attached.

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