[eDebate] Reacting to reactions

Mike Davis davismk13
Wed May 20 14:25:12 CDT 2009

Thanks Will,

The answers my question. My concern was that there was a average
quality of win component. This would punish a team that did not lose a
debate at a regional tournament but also did not debate anyone of
consequence. I believe that bad losses at regional tournaments should
hurt you (and will probably be a reason why potential bid teams stay
away), but my concern was that a team that goes to a small tournament
with only a dozen varsity teams and runs the table would be punished
because the average strength of their wins would go down.


On Wed, May 20, 2009 at 3:13 PM,  <repkowil at msu.edu> wrote:
> Ok -- received many emails about the First Round Balloting thing.
> Reactions:
> 1. No such thing (in this system) as a bad win
> This year, I divided teams in 7 tiers... several teams were in a mythical
> 8th tier, where defeating them was worth zero positive points.
> But, beating a team that goes 4-4ish at majors (irrespective of venue) was
> usually worth +1 or +2 points... It is not the same as beating NW FW (worth
> +7 points), but smaller wins do add up.
> ... there were -- however -- some 8th tier wins that Kansas BJ (for example)
> had that were worth zero additional points. This did not help them... and it
> did not cost them (this appears to be Mike Davis' question if I understand
> it correctly).
> To be frank, the top 20 teams beat the teams in the mythical 8th tier like
> 99% of the time... Giving points for such wins would start to become a
> referendum on raw quantity of debates... Some have backchanneled and
> recommended "raw number of debates" as a slightly under-estimated criteria.
> I will consider that -- but that's part of a different post altogether.
> .... so, when I say that KU BJ had +226 in 80 debates, it d/n mean that KU
> only had 80 debates all season... it means that they had 80 debates against
> the top 7 tiers... I average that and compare it to Cal BP's 66 such
> debates...
> 2. Yes, an ordinal process could be used to break some ties or tweak the
> system...
> ... Olney did something like this and I chalk that up to him having more
> advanced math skills than I do. I think DCH and Stables also have used some
> aspect of ordinals in their voting... They could comment more effectively on
> this that I could. But, I think that is an area for improvement in my
> system.
> 3. Regional travel
> I am a little less concerned about the effect this system will have on
> regional travel than others.
> As I have understood it in the past, the fear is as follows:
> a) there is local tourney that we want a first-round team to attend
> b) first round team will pass -- not b/c they need the prep time for the
> next "major"... and not b/c of school... but b/c there's more mathematical
> downside (bad losses) than upside (good wins to be had) in the pool...
> c) this will hurt the tourney via a bandwagoning effect
> However:
> a) Having a tier five, six, and seven (as opposed to say 3-4 tiers only for
> applicant level teams) makes a huge difference.
> Yes, under old systems -- where only "applicant level wins" were considered
> -- a team could rationally say "there are zero or few other prospective
> applicants, so why go ?...".... But, this system gives positive points --
> sometimes 2 or 3 positive points per win -- for certain non-applicant wins.
> As explained in the previous post, defeating Michigan LZ (not a an
> applicant) should be worth something. Wins against that tier of competition
> are available at a great many regional events.
> Also, LOSING to Michigan LZ is weighted as LESS damaging to the resume than
> losing to a less-accomplished team. So, if you go to a regional tourney and
> debate Michigan LZ it counts just as much (or little) as debating them at
> the Wake tourney. To me, that seems fair to the applicant and to regional
> travel.
> b) Pragmatically, the bid/applicant level teams are not hurt under this
> system -- unless they take multiple, multiple losses at a regional event
> (which should count against you).
> These teams (overwhelmingly) don't attend tourneys where zero tier five,
> six, and seven opponents compete. Thus, they pick up a bunch of +1 and +2
> style wins.
> And -- for several reasons -- these bid-level teams tend to lose 0-2 debates
> at regional tourneys. Thus, their "decent, but not quite 1st round" level
> wins tend to more-than-offset their 1 or 2 "bad" losses.
> More concretely, an early elim exit (at a non-major) did not really hurt UTD
> or Oklahoma's bid sheets in this system. That is b/c the "Av elim distance
> at majors" focuses in on the elim performance *at majors*....
> ... so, those losses hurt -- but just as much as losing to any team at any
> venue or any stage of the tourney (in that it effects the +/- rating only).
> They do not effect the important (but secondary) elim depth stat at all.
> While I am sensitive to supporting regional travel, I do think we need to
> notice distinctions in the quality of performance at those venues. For
> instance, UNT CP and USC JL did a better job at non-majors than Whitman,
> UTD, or Oklahoma... That's not meant to be rude -- it is factual distinction
> in those resumes. It made it easier for me to vote USC and UNT ahead of
> those three other teams.
> If we want to build-up regional travel, I do caution against a card blanche
> that says "it can never hurt"... It should help if one does well.. it should
> not be designed to "hurt"... but "hurt" is contextual... If I reward UNT, I
> am basically "hurting" a bubble team in the zero-sum-game that is 16 total
> first-round recipients.
> To me, data is data... win more and build your resume.. lose more and it
> reflects poorly on one's resume...
> c) This is not meant to be a reaction to ErMo system.
> For one -- I think it is important that voters vote differently and spell
> out their criteria.
> For another, I am confident that ErMo's system "notices" that USC and UNT
> did better at regional events than Whitman, UTD, or Oklahoma.
> I much more concerned about systems that treat "all losses the same", or
> ignores poor performaces *because* they are regional performances. I do not
> know of a voter that presently does that.
> 4. What about second-rounds ?...
> I modify this system greatly for second-round balloting.
> I also think regional results are all-the-more important in the second round
> process.
> More on this upon request.
> all for now,
> Will
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Dr. Michael Davis
Director of Debate/Assistant Professor
James Madison University

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